Is There Evidence for God?
Debate Rounds (4)
If it isn't presumptuous of me, I'd like for the debate to take the following format
Round 1: Intro and Clarification of Position
Round 2: Opening Statement
Round 3: Rebuttal
Round 4: Closing Statement
Hartshorne Ontological Argument
(P1) God is perfect (from the definition of God)
(P2) Perfection cannot exist contingently. (premise)
(P3) If God exists, then he necessarily exists (exists in all possible worlds). (from P1 and P2)
(P4) God is not impossible (there is a possible world in which God exists). (premise)
(P5) If p is necessarily true, then p is actually true (modal axiom).
(P6) If God necessarily exists, then God actually exists. (from P5)
(P7) If God does not actually exist, God necessarily does not exist (does not exist in any possible world). (modus tollens from P6)
(P8) God either actually exists or does not actually exist (Principle of Excluded Middle).
(P9) God either necessarily exists or necessarily does not exist. (substitution, P6 and P7)
(P10) God necessarily exists. (P9, P4, disjunctive syllogism, i.e. if there is a possible world in which God exists, it cannot be the case that he does not exist in all possible worlds)
(P11) God exists. (P10, P3, modus ponens).
Plantinga's Ontological Argument
1. A necessary proposition is defined as one that, if true, is true in all possible worlds. (definition of necessary propositions in modal logic)
2. God is defined as a maximally great being - meaning one that exists necessarily and is necessarily omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good. (definition of God)
3. Possibly God exists. (Premise)
4. There is a possible world in which God does exists. (By 3)
5. Therefore, there is a possible world in which it is necessarily true that God exists. (By 2 and 4)
6. God exists in all possible worlds. (By 1 and 5)
7. Therefore, God exists. (By 6 and since necessarily true propositions are true)
All that is left is to prove premise 3, but this follows from the fact that things that are logically possible are things that have no contradictions in their definition. So, for example, it is logically possible that if you pick a number between 1 and 10, the number is 5, which means that there is a possible world where the result is 5. In the same way, if God can logically exist, then there is a possible world in which he exists.
To understand necessary and possible existence, picture a checkerboard. To say something possibly exists is to say that you put an X in one box where that thing exists (one possible world). To say something necessarily exists means that you must put an X in every single box (every possible world). If you agree that God is possible, meaning you can conceive of a being that is omniscient and omnipotent and cannot find a contradiction there, then there is a possible world where God exists, so put an X in one possible world. But since by definition God must necessarily exist, that means that if there is an X in one possible world, God must exist in all possible worlds. Because God either necessarily exists (exists in all possible worlds, with X's in each box) or necessarily does not exist (with no X's in any boxes). So once you've placed an X in one box, you know that it's not possible for God to necessarily not exist, so he must necessarily exist.
1. Something cannot come from nothing.
2. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. (from 1)
3. The universe began to exist.
4. The universe is infinite.
5. A finite entity cannot create an infinite entity.
6. God is infinite.
7. God caused the universe to exist. (from 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2)
There are certain constants in physics, like the value of the strong force, which if altered by even the tiniest fractional amount would create a completely unstable universe. All of these constants being in exactly the correct range is impossible, so some entity must have fine-tuned the numbers by design and that entity is God.
The argument goes: "It was recognized centuries back that conditions necessary for the flourishing of life were fairly tightly constrained (making the move to design in natural conditions and laws inherently attractive), but not until quite recent times has it been revealed through science itself just how wildly tight the constraints actually are, and just how many separate things have to converge, each within a miniscule value interval. For instance, here are two examples taken from Robin Collins:
1. If the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as one part in 1060, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible. (As John Jefferson Davis points out, an accuracy of one part in 1060 can be compared to firing a bullet at a one-inch target on the other side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away, and hitting the target.)
3. Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by one part in 1040, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible. (Collins 1999, 49.)
In light of these and other examples, Collins remarks that "Almost everything about the basic structure of the universe … is balanced on a razor's edge for life to occur." (Collins 1999, 48).
There is some disagreement over just how many such independent factors there are, but by some counts there are over 100, although not all requiring the above degree of precision. But the apparent probability of all the necessary conditions sufficient to allow just the formation of planets (let alone life) coming together just by chance is utterly outrageously tiny—by Roger Penrose's calculation, the probability of chance alone producing cosmoi capable of producing planets is 1 in 10 raised in turn to the 10123 (Penrose 1990, 343–4)." http://plato.stanford.edu...
My opponent's entire case seems to hinge on 1) God cannot be verified and 2) supernatural explanations are always wrong.
The problem with the first is that it is just an appeal to ignorance. Just because God cannot be verified does not mean that he does not exist. The above philosophical arguments prove God's existence, even if he cannot be verified.
In regards to the second, I never claim that the Judeo-Christian God exists or that the Bible and Creationism are correct. I merely prove the existence of a maximally great omnipotent/omniscient being (Ontological argument) and I prove the existence of a Creator of the Universe. Personally, I believe that the Creation Tale is an allegory is not meant to be taken literally. God created the Universe and caused the Big Bang (since everything has a cause), created the perfect constants for life to exist (a stable strong force, stable constant for gravity, etc), and then sat back and let physics form planets and let evolution take its course.
So my opponent could prove that the Bible is 99.99% wrong, and I can still win this debate as long as I win that it is rational to believe God exists.
Now, what about the arguments that my opponent provided for the existence of God, well we heard two versions of the ontological argument, one of its premises being that God is defined as a maximally great being, some of the attributes of which are omnipotence, omniscience and perfect goodness. The ontological argument hinges on these attributes being logically consistent with each other. Let's take a look at omnipotence vs omniscience. If a being were truly omnipotent, then he is all-powerful, nothing is impossible to this being. Omniscience means that this being is aware and has full detail of every event that has happened in the past, present and future. When you attempt to reconcile these two attributes, it leads to logical contradictions. If a being is omniscient, then he is aware of every decision that he will make in the future. In a sense, everything he will ever do has already happened, the decisions have already been made. This contradicts the attribute of omnipotence. After all, how can a being be omnipotent if he cannot even change his own decisions.
But the ontological argument faces more problems. For example, is the concept of a necessary being an intelligible one? A necessary proposition of a triangle is that it has three angles. This yields only the conditioned necessity that if a triangle exists, then it has three angles. We can apply that further, lets say for the moment than one of the attributes of "X" is that it exists. The farthest that you can get with that argument is IF X exists, then X necessarily exists. IF God exists, then God necessarily exists.
Another thing to consider is that, as the philosopher Immanuel Kant put it "being is obviously not a real predicate". What I mean by that is being cannot be considered an attribute of the concept of something, but rather implies that there is something to which the concept corresponds to, in this case, God.
Now, the Cosmological argument.
The arguments first two premises are incorrect. In particle physics, particles are constantly jumping into existence without cause. This is what is known as a quantum fluctuation, it is a temporary change in the amount of energy at a point in space, which allows the creation of these, what are called, virtual particles.
In addition, the third and forth premises have no evidential nor argumentative support. How do you know that the universe began to exist? How do you know that it is infinite? If you can answer these than i will address them a little more in my closing remarks.
Little to quarrel with for premise five, premise six is unsubstantiated, but even were i to grant that god were infinite, premise seven relies on him existing before it can work. The farthest you can go, even were I to grant that premises one to six where all substantiated and accurate, is to say that it is possible, and nothing more than that, that God created the universe.
So, what about this fine-tuning, this teleological argument, now bear with me on this one, it gets a little technical.
Let's look at the big bang example. Stephen Hawking, in his book, "A Brief History of Time", writes "The rate of expansion of the universe [in the inflationary model] wold automatically become very close to the critical rate determined by the energy density of the universe. This could then explain why the the rate of expansion is still so close to the critical rate, without having to assume that the initial rate of expansion of the universe had to be carefully chosen". In other words, the inflation model, which is widely accepted by astrophysicists and cosmologists, takes care of this problem, and no fine tuning is necessary. Inflation also deals with the issue of the mass density of the universe, to which I'm now coming.
There are five examples of alleged fine tuning, not all of which were suggested by my opponent i know, but i like to fight on my feet when i can, for which it is claimed that if any of them were any different, then life of any kind would never have evolved. The other constants are solely to do with the low probability of our kind of life, if these were any different, they still might permit life different to our own, we simply don't have enough information to rule that out.
Therefore I would like to focus on these five main constants, these are as follows:
Ratio of Electrons to Protons = 1 part in 10 to the 37th power
Ratio of Electromagnetic Force to Gravity = 1 part in 10 to the 40th power
Expansion Rate of the universe = 1 part in 10 to the 55th power
Mass Density of the Universe = 1 Part in 10 to the 59th power
The Cosmological Constant = 1 part in 10 to the 120th power
We have already discussed the expansion rate of the universe, so lets look at the ratio of the electromagnetic force to gravity. There is no one universal way to describe the value of the gravitational pull of an object. It depends on the mass of the object in question. The reason the gravitational force as a whole can be described as small, is because the masses that are being worked with, stars, planets etc. are small, on a cosmological scale. The real question here is why are the masses so small, which we are able to answer. In the standard model of particle physics, which to date has agreed with all observations pertaining to the field in question, all particle masses are intrinsically zero. They pick up a small mass as a correction, caused by what is known as the Higgs field, which is what gives matter mass. So we have given a natural explanation for 3 of the 5 constants that, if different, would prevent any kind of life, so lets now examine the ratio of protons to electrons, now this is a very simple explanation, the ratio is exactly what it should be if the total energy charge in the universe is zero, which incidentally is what it should be if it came from nothing.
As for the cosmological constant, if my opponent wants me to explain that in detail then i shall do so in my closing remarks, because it is a highly technical issue, that would take a long and laborious explanation that i doubt I have time to fully give justice to in the 1000 characters that remain to me, so i shall turn the floor over once again to my opponent, and see what he has to say about my responses.
THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
R1) Logical incoherence
My opponent's first argument against the ontological argument is that omnipotence and omniscience are incoherent. This is a pretty standard objection, which can be easily rectified because the omnipotence paradox is self-refuting.  There are two types of omnipotence: maximal omnipotence and common omnipotence. Maximal omnipotence is the ability to do absolutely anything, with no limitations, including the logically impossible. Common omnipotence, which is used by many philosophers and Christian thinkers, is the ability to do anything that is logically possible.
So my opponent says that God cannot have maximal omnipotence and maximal omniscience because then God would be able to do something that is logically impossible: to both know all of his decisions ahead of time and to change his mind. However, from the definition of maximal omnipotence is the ability to do things that are logically impossible, so if we accept that God is maximally omnipotent and omniscient, he has the ability to do things that defy logic. This is why the omnipotence paradox is self-refuting.
If we accept that God has common omnipotence and omniscience, then God either cannot know his decisions with 100% certainty ahead of time, OR he cannot change his mind, assuming these imply a logic contradiction, because God can only do what is logically possible. However, it's not even clear that the two imply a contradiction; if God changes his mind, it's merely the case that his omniscience will inform him ahead of time of his intention to change his mind. Let's pretend for a second that you can see the future and you know that in 5 minutes, you will eat an apple. If after two minutes, you decide to eat a pear and are no longer hungry, the future will change and you will see that in 3 minutes you DON'T eat an apple. It's true that this is not an example of maximal omniscience, but it is an example of common omniscience.
R2) Conditioned necessity
My opponent's argument here is that the farthest you can get with the argument is "if God exists, he necessarily exists." However, this is just factually wrong. It's easier to see in formal logic, but fundamentally, the conclusion of the ontological argument is JUST that God exists. I'll show exactly in formal logic how the Ontological Argument takes the statement my opponent made "If God exists, he necessarily exists" and goes further to prove God does exist.
G = God exists
n (x) = x is a necessary proposition
~ = not (not A is ~A)
=> means implies (if A, then B is A=>B)
(1) G => n(G)
(3) ~n(G) => n(~n(G))
(4) n(G) => G
(5) n(G) OR ~n(G)
(6) n(G) OR n(~n(G))
(7) ~n(G) => ~G
(8) n ((G) => n(G))
(9) n(~n(G)) => n(~G)
(10) n(G) OR n(~G)
Explanations for the above:
(1) Translated: If God exists, he necessarily exists. [my opponent's premise]
(2) Translated: "It is not impossible that God exists" or "It is not true that God necessarily does not exist" [this comes from the definition of possibility as existing in a possible world, which means it is not possible for God to NOT exist in all possible worlds]
(3) Translated: "if it is not true that God necessarily exists, then it is true in all possible worlds that ‘it is not true that God necessarily exists.'" [this is Becker's Postulate, that if something is not true in all possible worlds, then in each individual possible world, it should still be necessarily untrue]
(4) Translated: "if God exists in all possible worlds, God exists." [definition of logical necessity; if something has a certain property in all possible worlds, it obviously also has that property in THIS world, since this world is a possible world]
(5) Translated: "God either necessarily exists or does not necessarily exist." [this is from the Law of Excluded Middle, which says that for any proposition p, p is either true or untrue; there is no middle ground; this is inherently logical; 2+2 either equals 4 or it doesn't]
(6) This is just a substitution of 3 and 5 because if ~n(G), then n(~n(G)), so we replace ~n(G)
(7) In logic, this is called modus tollens or forming the contrapositive of #1. Forming the contrapositive involves flipping the if and then statement and negating both, while distributing the negative correctly. This is logically equivalent. For example, "if I bought milk, then I went to the store" = "if I didn't go to the store, then I didn't buy milk."
(8) Translation: "it is true in all possible words that ‘if God exists, he exists necessarily'" [from #1, if something is not logically contradictory, it should be true in all possible worlds; if God exists, he exists necessarily is not logically contradictory]
(9) Since the contrapositive in #7 is equivalent to #1, we substitute it, since #8 is essentially n(#1), and then we distribute the n.
(10) This is a substitution of #5 and #9 since if n(~n(G)) is true in #5, then n(~G) is true (from #9)
(11) This is called a disjunctive syllogism using #10 and #2. Since we know from number 2 that n(~G) is not true, we can remove it from our OR statement, just like if 2+2 is 4 or not 4, and we know it's "not not 4," we can remove that from the or statement.
So the Ontological Argument uses the supposed conditional existence my opponent talks about to prove that God's existence is necessary, NOT conditional.
In fact, we could use the same style of argument to prove that a triangle exists because it is possible that it exists, and if there is no logical contradiction in its necessarily having 3 angles and existing, then it does exist. This seems obvious. If a triangle always has 3 angles, it of course also exists, because you have to be able to conceive of it or draw it to know for certain that it always has 3 angles. A triangle that does not exist cannot necessarily have 3 angles.
What my opponent stated is also logically incoherent. He says, "lets say for the moment than one of the attributes of "X" is that it exists. The farthest that you can get with that argument is IF X exists, then X necessarily exists." I think my opponent means "one of the attributes of X is that it NECESSARILY exists." But by my opponent's logic, if one of the attributes of something, say you the reader, is that you exist, according to my opponent, the farthest you can get with this argument is that "IF you exist, then you exist," since according to him, all attributes are contingent on existence. This, however, makes no logic sense since we CAN know the existence of certain things for certain.
R3) Kant – "existence is not a predicate"
Kant's argument is essentially that if we say that A has the property of B, we are inherently saying that A exists, i.e. we are saying "we can call out and find A somewhere in the world and A has property B." This is a classical argument against older Ontological arguments, like Anselm's, but modern day philosophers like Plantinga have overcome it.
But first, the problem of saying that existence is not a predicate. 1) If existence is not a coherent predicate, neither is non-existence, so it is impossible also to say that God doesn't exist. 2) If existence isn't a predicate and naming something implies that it exists, then it is impossible to say anything doesn't exist. For example, saying that Socrates doesn't exist requires that Socrates at one time DID exist. But going even further, saying that dragons do not exist would require them to exist first in order to conclude that they have the property of non-existence. 
To give an example, if I wanted to say "triangles have 3 angles" that translates to T => 3, which is "if it is a triangle, then it has 3 angles." My opponent tells us this implies the statement "if a triangle exists, then it has 3 angles." But then the statement "dragons don't exist," written as D => ~E, translates to "if dragons exist, then they don't exist." Existence has to be a predicate or else we can't conclude that anything doesn't exist.
Some philosophers have put forward a solution that if we're talking about an individual entity, existence can be a predicate. When we say horses have 4 hoofs, we are of course saying both that we can find something called a horse and it will have 4 hoofs. But when we say "Socrates is a philosopher," we are not implying that we can currently find Socrates, now that his body has long ago decomposed. Since God is a specific entity, not a class of indefinite entities (like horses), it makes sense to use existence as a predicate.
Lastly, Plantinga argues that although it may be true that existence simpliciter (existence in THIS world) cannot be a predicate, necessary existence can be a predicate because it DOES make logical sense to question whether a concept that exists in this world ALSO exists in other possible worlds. Saying "a horse has 4 hoofs," does imply existence simpliciter since a horse must exist in this world to have 4 hoofs. That doesn't mean that horses exist in ALL POSSIBLE worlds (necessarily exist). Since the Ontological argument assigns necessary existence as a property of God, not existence simpliciter, it doesn't run into Kant's critique.
THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
I can actually simplify it to:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. A necessarily existent omnipotent being must have caused the universe to exist.
#3 follows because an entity that created the Universe must have existed, existed in all possible worlds, and been immensely powerful.
My opponent claims that something may spring from nothing in particle physics. The first problem with this is just because it appears to spring from nothing, this merely means that we have failed to yet deduce or observe the cause, not that a cause does not exist. In fact, something must have created the quantum fields that allow for the phenomenon of quantum fluctuation.
In addition, particles created through quantum fluctuation are known as virtual particles because they don't really exist: it is a particle and anti-particle pair that quickly annihilate each other. The creation of anti-matter means that "something" is not really being created because "anti-something" is created at the same time. I don't claim to perfectly understand particle physics, but the modern view is that energy is not actually created by quantum fluctuations. "In the modern view, energy is always conserved, but the eigenstates of the Hamiltonian (energy observable) are not the same as (i.e. the Hamiltonian doesn't commute with) the particle number operators." 
My opponent asks how I know the Universe began to exist. This is commonly accepted in physics that nothing existed before the Big Bang. None of my opponent's other arguments apply to this simplified proof. The cosmological argument does not pre-suppose God's existence to prove its conclusion since his existence follows from the premises.
I likely have not done justice to the Cosmological argument. Here is a better version:
(1) Every contingent fact has an explanation.
(2) There is a contingent fact that includes all other contingent facts.
(3) Therefore, there is an explanation of this fact.
(4) This explanation must involve a necessary being.
(5) This necessary being is God. 
THE ARGUMENT FROM FINE TUNING
The argument here is that there are certain constants in physics that if altered by even tiny amounts would result in the universe being completely different than it is now and life being untenable, so some entity must have fine-tuned these numbers. In fact, the numbers my opponent cites in his previous round are how much those constants (such as the ratio of electrons to protons), would have to be altered to make life unviable. If the Cosmological Constant were altered by 1:10^120, life would be unviable (according to my opponent).
Now, my opponent claims that the expansion of the universe is explained by inflation. However, inflation in the perfect range is caused by the Cosmological Constant being in the perfect range.  It's too bad my opponent never gets time to discuss this.
But it also doesn't answer the argument from Robin Collins, that if the Universe INITIALLY expanded 1x10^1060 slower, it would have collapsed on itself, or 1x10^1060 quicker, it would have expanded too fast for planets to form. My opponent's argument about inflation only proves why the Universe is CURRENTLY expanding at the near perfect rate; it doesn't describe the early nanoseconds of the Universe.
My opponent also never answers the Roger Penrose's calculation: the probability of chance alone producing cosmoi capable of producing planets is 1 in 10 raised in turn to the 10123. This calculation includes multiple factors.
Fundamentally, every argument my opponent makes here is a straw man, since I never referred to those specific ratios he is refuting. The CONSTANTS in physics equations are more important than those ratios, since constants could in theory be anything, but are required to be in the exact range they currently are to support life.
"strong nuclear force constant
if larger: no hydrogen would form; atomic nuclei for most life-essential elements would be unstable; thus, no life chemistry
if smaller: no elements heavier than hydrogen would form: again, no life chemistry
weak nuclear force constant
if larger: too much hydrogen would convert to helium in big bang; hence, stars would convert too much matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible
if smaller: too little helium would be produced from big bang; hence, stars would convert too little matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible
gravitational force constant
if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn too rapidly and too unevenly for life chemistry
if smaller: stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion; thus, many of the elements needed for life chemistry would never form
electromagnetic force constant
if greater: chemical bonding would be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission
if lesser: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry"
My opponent seems to claim that gravity has no constant. Not true. http://en.wikipedia.org... gives the exact number.
He talks about how bosons (subatomic particles) are said to have no mass, but the particles they make up (like protons and neutrons) definitely do have mass. If they had no mass, they would have no energy (E=mc^2) and nuclear explosions would not be possible. Thus, my opponent never really even refutes his own straw man, that the mass density of the universe, if altered by 1x10^59, would make life unviable.
boss1592 forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con did not adequately point out the flaws in Pro's arguments. In the comments section, Pro did it himself when asked. Now the problem for Con is that he was supposed to refute the arguments himself, not his opponent, and not the voters.
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