The Instigator
Bookwormav
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Biodome
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Is There A God?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Biodome
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 520 times Debate No: 73984
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

Bookwormav

Pro

Is there a God? This is a question many people have posed, and I would like to debate this with someone. I will be taking a pro stance that there is a god. Here are the rules:

1: No swearing or profanity

2: Respect Christianity and I will Respect your stance.

3: If you can, use sources if you quote something. Because this is a religious debate this might not be a problem.

First round can be accepting the debate or starting. Either doesn't bother me.
Last round is a conclusion.
Biodome

Con

I thank my opponent for the opportunity to have this debate and I will gladly accept Con's position.

Since my opponent has specifically mentioned Christianity in this round, I will assume that he will be arguing that a Christian God exists, as opposed to any God of any religion. Since there are a variety of different Christian denominations, I would like to ask my opponent to define the term "God", as he understands it, in the next round, so that we have a basis of discussion.

Alternatively, if Pro will be arguing for a God of any religion, a God in general, a deistic God or even polytheism, I would be happy to take Con's position in that case as well, but I would still appreciate a clear and specific definition of the concept in the next round.

Once we have the definition out of the way, I believe that the BOP lies with the Pro to show that there is such a God, as it would be impossible for me to prove a negative. Therefore I will await Pro's arguments in the 2nd Round and I will try to refute them.

Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Bookwormav

Pro

I would like to thank you for accepting this debate. As to what you said, I will be debating about the Christian god, though I think that my argument can be modified to work with all religions.

First off, I would like to say that for a long time I was an atheist in a Christian household. I was ever since I was taught in school that the world could populate itself through evolution. But, over that time, I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something more then that. So I began to dig, and what I found shocked me.

To start, the oldest parts of the Evolutionary Theory are based completely on faith. We have no evidence of anything during that time, nor can we copy the conditions of the time. I'm not saying that evolution doesn't exist, because it does, all I'm saying is that a large part of it is detour mined by faith and not actual science.

Some make the argument that extraterrestrial life had planted us here. What they refuse to believe to think of is even if we were planted here, something had to create the aliens for them to plant us here. Something had to bring them into existence. Something had to create everything.
Biodome

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for clarifying his case and providing arguments in support for it. I will now try and argue against my opponents claims and provide argumentation against his case.

My argument will consist of three parts. Firstly, I will rebut my opponents' claim that ancient evolution is based completely on faith. Secondly, I will show that his argument from first cause (i.e. "Something had to create everything.") is insufficient proof for God. Thirdly, I will show that the God of the Gaps reasoning that my opponent seems to be using is also insufficient proof for God.

1. Prehistoric Evolution is not based on faith.

My opponent states that "the oldest parts of the Evolutionary Theory are based completely on faith", asserting that "We have no evidence of anything during that time". These claims seem to be completely false. Faith implies blind belief in something which lacks evidence. However, there is a lot of objective, empirical evidence for evolution which applies not only to contemporary examples, but also to ancient examples.

A. The universality of the genetic code suggests that all life on Earth is related and is likely to have arisen from one common single-celled ancestor. [1]

B. Our rich fossil record clearly shows that species have been constantly changing over time, adapting to changes in the environment through Natural Selection. [2]

C. Comparative Genetic analysis provides evidence that species are genetically similar and are related to each other:
a) Humans share 90% of their genes with Cats [3]
b) Humans share 80% of their genes with Cattle [4]
c) Humans share 75% of their genes with Mice [5]

D. Embryonic development of different species show surprisingly similar steps and morphology, again, implying that different species are related. [6]

E. Results from long-term experiments with bacteria suggest that over time through natural selection a species can develop genetic changes and actually better adapt to their environment; increase in fitness. [7]

These are some basic and common examples of evidence for evolution. They provide us with a clear understanding that Evolution is directly responsible for the huge variety of life on Earth - both contemporary and ancient. It also shows that life is related and that all new species arise through natural selection from an ancestor species.

Therefore, the Theory of Evolution is supported by objective, empirical scientific evidence. Therefore, no faith is required in order to accept it as fact.

2. Argument from first cause is insufficient proof for God.

My opponent states that "if we were planted here [by aliens], something had to create the aliens for them to plant us here", then he goes on to generalize this statement in the following way: "Something had to create everything".

A. "Something" is not necessarily a divine or conscious entity. If we are specifically talking about how life could arise, one hypothesis could be abiogenesis. [8] While abiogenesis is often proposed as an explanation of life on Earth, it could also be a perfectly valid hypothesis for life on other planets, if such life would ever be discovered. Abiogenesis in itself is an unconscious process, generating biological life from non-biological molecules. That does not require divine intervention.

B. If by "Everything" you mean not only life, but also the whole universe, then the same point stands. A God is not necessary for a universe to exist. For instance, the Big Bang is a perfectly valid and, in fact, likely explanation for how the universe, matter and time came into existence, and the scientific consensus currently sees Big Bang as a fact, due to the huge amount of empirical evidence. [9]

Therefore, unless you can show that God is the one and only way for something to come into existence, this argument from first cause is insufficient proof for God.

3. God of the Gaps reasoning is fallacious.

Looking at the arguments provided by my opponent, I can see that he might be applying the God of the Gaps fallacy. [10] I must emphasize that even if, say, Evolution, Abiogenesis or the Big Bang was proven to be wrong, it would not automatically prove the existence of a God. The Pro must still provide reasoning and proof why God exists, as simply trying to negate scientific theories will not be sufficient for his case.


Sources:
[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[2]http://biologos.org...
[3]http://genome.cshlp.org...
[4]http://www.sciencemag.org...
[5]http://journals.plos.org...
[6]http://necsi.edu...
[7]https://en.wikipedia.org...
[8]https://en.wikipedia.org...
[9]http://science.nasa.gov...
[10]http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Bookwormav

Pro

Because there is a lot of information to go through, I will try to organize my arguments as to correspond with the arguments that my opponent has stated.

A. I would like to point out that because all life on our planet is made of the same things, our DNA is going to appear similar. All DNA is made of the same four materials; Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine. It is entirely possible that life can be similar because it has to live in all the same conditions. We all need food and water, we all have numerous organs and cells that are the same in shape or function, and all the animals you stated in Section C were mammals as well, meaning that their DNA is similar already.

B. Our fossil record stops at a mile below the ground, and with it does all evidence of complex living creatures. One of the oldest recorded creature on the planet, a trilobite, has never been found to have an older ancestor. And it is not for lack of trying. Even completely untouched stretches of rock layers have no evidence of fossils that could possibly be the ancestor to the trilobite. Also, for the fossils to prove the Evolutionary Theory, there should be nearly endless amounts of creatures in between the creatures of today and the creatures of the past. There have never been found a fossil that shows the in between stages, or "missing link", between different species either. No fossil has ever been found of legs turning to wings or reptiles growing feathers or fur. According to evolution, there is no way such drastic jumps could be made.

D. According to the scientists Karl von Baer and Wilhelm His, the drawing or photos of the said embryos were false. Even the creator of the drawings, Ernst Haeckel, said that he exaggerated the similarity's between the embryos to prove his theory.

E. I have already agreed that a creature can adapt to better survive there surroundings, and the bacteria is doing just that. Even though the bacteria can go through hundreds of millions of mutations, only a few of them last long enough to become fixed on the DNA. Also, even if we evolved from bacteria, the bacteria would have to be there in the first place. Many scientist have repeated the conditions they believe there to be at the beginning of the earth, and none of them have been able to produce a viable cell of any kind.

F. Abiogenesis has not a possibility. Like I said before, experiments have been preformed before that have failed to make any living creature of any type.

G. To debunk this, I show one of the Laws of the world. "Matter can neither be created, nor destroyed," if this is a true statement, which it has been proven to be time and time again, it shows that the big bang cannot have brought everything into existence. Even if there was something that existed before the Big Bang, something would have had to create it. I'm not saying that the Big Bang didn't happen, I'm saying that it could not have created new matter from nothing. This goes against the Law we know to be true.

H. To fight off the "God of the Gaps" argument, I can only say that things are too perfect. It is hard to believe that everything randomly occurred to get us to were we are today. According to the evolutionary theory, it would be like if we put all of the materials for a house into an area, and then over time those materials would construct a house. this is a crazy claim, but it parallels with evolution. Everything is constructed to delicate and perfect for there not to be an intelligent creator behind it.

Sources:
http://www.ucg.org...
http://humansarefree.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.ucg.org...
Biodome

Con

1. Defence of the Theory of Evolution

A.
My opponent seems to think that the universality of the genetic code and the genetic similarities between species could have arisen through pure chance, just because those species have been living in similar conditions. I see that as a very unlikely and unsubstantiated claim to make, because Evolution provides a far more probable and elegant explanation that is, as I have shown in my previous argument, supported by actual empirical evidence. I am not talking just about the presence of A, G, C and T as genetic bases; I am also emphasizing the genetic code, which organizes the bases in triplets (i.e. AGT, AAC, CTA etc.), which then code for specific amino acids. This code is the same between all species, with a few minor exceptions. I find it highly unlikely that this code could have arisen by chance independently in all species, since I fail to see any evidence that this code is pre-determined by environmental factors. If it arises randomly, then Pro's argument is almost a mathematical impossibility.

B. My opponent states that the lack of fossils in the early stages of life somehow challenge the Theory of Evolution. I would disagree, because a lack of fossils in the very early stages of life is to be expected. Fossil preservation requires a lot of things, for instance, a solid, calcified outer shell. It may very well be the case that species before Trilobites were without such shells. Therefore, we cannot find their fossils. However, in no way does this suggest that Evolution didn't happen or that Trilobites did not have any ancestors (in fact, the exact opposite seems to be the case [1]). There is no reason to believe that the process of Natural Selection only appeared after the Trilobites, because any individuals of all populations of species should find themselves under various environmental pressures and therefore struggle for survival, resulting in Natural Selection and, therefore, Evolution.

My opponent then goes on to claim that we have never found any "missing links" between different species. But that is simply not true - we have very clear transitional fossils between a variety of species. I will now provide some examples.

"No fossil has ever been found of legs turning to wings [...]"

Here is an example of a leg, covered in feathers - a transitional fossil between reptiles and birds, discovered in China. [2]
bird fossil with leg feathers

"or reptiles growing feathers or fur"

Here is an example of Archaeopteryx, a genus of reptile covered in feathers that is considered to be a transitional fossil between reptiles and birds. [3]


Due to space constraints, I will refer you to more examples here: [4] & [5].

My opponent states that "According to evolution, there is no way such drastic jumps could be made", which is correct if he means "drastic jumps" as something that happens relatively quickly. But Evolution predicts that such transitions can indeed occur on relatively long timescales, and we can look at transitional fossils as evidence for this.

C. I agree with you that Haeckel's claims were unsubstantiated and his paintings were false. However, there is reason to think that embryos might still reflect the course of Evolution, although scientists generally believe that it is not that obvious and direct as Haeckel has claimed. [6]

D. My opponent stated that "only a few of them [mutations] last long enough to become fixed on the DNA [of bacteria]". What do you mean by fixed? If a mutation happens, it is, by definition, already fixed on the DNA. Could you clarify what you meant here?

My opponent says that "even if we evolved from bacteria, the bacteria would have to be there in the first place". The scientific consensus is that we evolved from Archaea, rather than Bacteria. And indeed we see both Archaea and Bacteria in the fossil record, dating to 3.48 billion years. [7]

2. Defence of Abiogenesis and Big Bang

A. Failure to produce microorganisms experimentally does not disprove the possibility of Abiogenesis, because Abiogenesis requires vast timescales, and experiments generally do not last long enough. I've provided credible sources for the possibility of Abiogenesis, and I do not see why you would ignore them.

B. The Law that you cite applies only after Big Bang, not during, not before, at least to our knowledge. Also you again apply The First Cause argument, but you do not provide evidence that it has to be God.

C. Argument from Astonishment is fallacious. [8]

Sorry for the briefness; character limit.

Sources

[1] http://www.bioone.org...
[2] http://www.livescience.com...
[3] http://www.livescience.com...
[4] http://www.transitionalfossils.com...
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[8] http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Bookwormav

Pro

A. My argument about the bacteria, when I said "Only a few of them last long enough to be fixed on the DNA" I meant it as a view of the species as a whole. According to evolution, many mutations are bound to occur, but only the ones that benefit the species as a whole are able to survive long enough to become a true part of what a creature in that species is.

B. The arguments for Abiogenesis simple boil down to this; it here is no way to prove it, nor deny it, because we do not have the time to do so. And even if there at bacteria and other cellular forms of life found in fossils, this also does not prove the existence of a higher being that placed it there. It is still not real evidence. Cellular life has been here in the beginning and is still here today. Finding cells from so long ago is not proof.

C. If we attack the laws that we have set up today, then how can we apply any of the science behind the Big Bang? You are saying that before the Big Bang, matter could have been created in some way. By saying " The Law that you cite applies only after Big Bang, not during, not before..." you completely lose sight of all the research and studies done with the subject using the information we have. If we throw that out, then all knowledge we have can be thrown out as well. You fight for the science that supports your argue meant, but disregard the Natural Laws on which the universe is based on, what we know to be the only truth about the universe, we lose everything. It makes much more sense that a divine created existed then that the Laws of the Universe were nonexistent to make the science work.

Because, this is supposed to be a conclusion I with end with saying that no evidence can for sure prove or deny the existence of a celestial being. But, because I believe that there has to be something bigger than us in the universe, I will continue to believe that there is a God, who created all of us for a reason.
Biodome

Con

First of all, as this is the last round, I would like to thank my opponent for this interesting and engaging debate. I thank him for dedicating his time and thought into this. Hopefully, the spectators enjoyed it as well.

I will now go through a few rebuttals and then conclude.

1. Final rebuttals

A.
I thank my opponent for clarifying his argument. He states that "According to evolution, many mutations are bound to occur, but only the ones that benefit the species as a whole are able to survive long enough to become a true part of what a creature in that species is." I agree with this statement in principle, although there are some nuances to that. I would have personally used different wording. For instance, neutral mutations (mutations that are neither beneficial nor harmful to an individual [1]) may also sometimes spread to the whole population. [2] This occurs slowly and rarely and is generally a result of Genetic drift. [3] However, I do not see how this is an argument for Pro's position. It doesn't even seem to attack Evolution.

B. My opponent states that there is no way to prove Abiogenesis, nor deny it. I must emphasize that this is only true if we take our current technology in account. However, Abiogenesis is a scientific hypothesis, which is falsifiable, therefore it could be proven or disproven in principle. I only mentioned Abiogenesis as an alternative to Divine Creation, showing that God is not necessarily the cause of Life on Earth. I did not intend to prove it, as this is currently impossible. But I supplied sources which show that Abiogenesis does not contradict our understanding of biology, chemistry and physics and even has some scientific merit. Even though we have no direct experimental evidence for Abiogenesis, I would still argue that this is the best hypothesis we have for explaining how life could have occurred, and I would also argue that it has more scientific merit than Divine Creation, thus, making Abiogenesis a far more compelling explanation.

My opponent states that "[fossilized bacteria] also does not prove the existence of a higher being that placed it there. It is still not real evidence." I don't see how this is an argument against my position, as I am not arguing for any higher beings. The fossil record of single-celled life forms can be studied in order to discover morphological trends and evidence for speciation. We study ancient bacterial fossils and compare them with more recent species in order to see how Natural Selection has changed them. This provides evidence for evolution. [4] This is basically a reiteration of my argument from 2nd Round about the fossil record. The fact that we have contemporary species of bacteria does not negate Evolution in any way.

C. My opponent states that I somehow "lose sight of all the research and studies done with the subject" by saying that some current Laws of Physics did not apply before or during the Big Bang. But that is not true. I am not in any way negating our cosmological knowledge. I am simply stating that we have no knowledge of whether our current Laws of Physics, such as the Laws of Thermodynamics, are applicable to the time before or during the early stages of Big Bang. We simply have very limited evidence for that time period, and the only thing that we can rely on are a few speculative hypotheses with no scientific consensus. [5] However, we do hope that our experiments, such as the Large Hadron Collider will ultimately provide some insight. Until then, I simply cannot accept your Conservation of Mass argument as proof that "big bang cannot have brought everything into existence," because this is not a scientifically valid statement, and the Conservation of Mass argument should not be used so loosely and casually.

Conclusion

Throughout this debate my opponent has tried to challenge several points about Evolution and the Big Bang. I believe that I have defended them adequately. However, even if I had failed to do so, my opponent did not provide any credible arguments why those theories could be replaced by Divine Creation. He applied several arguments throughout the debate, such as God of the Gaps (if Evolution or Big Bang are false, Divine Creation seems as a likely substitute) and Argument from Personal Astonishment (the perfection and complexity of the universe implies Divine Creation), but I showed that they are fallacious and inadequate. He concluded with an Argument from Belief, which is obviously fallacious. Therefore, I conclude that Pro has not met his Burden of Proof and failed to demonstrate that the existence of God is likely or necessary.

Vote Con!


Sources:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.cs.unc.edu...
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu...
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by usernamesareannoying 1 year ago
usernamesareannoying
Interesting debate. I can't vote unfortunately...
Posted by RippedFlesh 1 year ago
RippedFlesh
Is there a God? An interesting question and an easy one to answer!
Since no proof has ever been presented to back up the claim "God exists", and also the fact that it's impossible to prove that God does not exist, the answer to the question should always be "I don't know!"
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by mwesigwa1 1 year ago
mwesigwa1
BookwormavBiodomeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I really hate to do this, because I am vehemently on pro's side. However, his arguments were weak and easily ripped apart by Biodome.
Vote Placed by joetheripper117 1 year ago
joetheripper117
BookwormavBiodomeTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Both sides were very well mannered, logical, and formal throughout this debate, and I commend them for that. The only reason that I vote with con regarding arguments is that pro has not met his burden of proof regarding the existence of a god. Overall, both sides should be proud of this debate.