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Is There a God?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/19/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 848 times Debate No: 40827
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (17)
Votes (2)




Scientists have calculated the probability of a single protein emerging by chance from the right ingredients of atoms in a hot soup to be at most 1 in 10^301. Please refer to the following link to find further illustrations of this:

One response might say that this probability could be raised dramatically by the very long passage of time since the big bang. Well, after accounting for that, the probability will, in fact, increase to 1 in 10^158. This is the probability of just one protein. Imagine how absurd it would be for a whole cell to emerge by chance from atoms and molecules.

Now please bare in mind that I'm not talking about evolution as a theory. I'm only talking about the theory of biogenesis.

I've searched the internet for an atheist's response to this argument, but I failed to do so. That's why I entered this website. This is my first debate.

Hope to hear from you soon


Let’s say I agree, move onto your evidence for creationism.

You see the problem. Disproving Abiogenesis or Evolution does not add evidence to the claim that God did it.

God definition

You haven’t defined God so we’re left with standard dictionary definitions. I’m ok with a 3 omni creator, infinite mind or another standard definition.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”

Source flawed assumptions:

-Strict laws govern biochemical reactions naturally producing proteins they are not formed randomly.

-The first self-replicating protein was not 1000 amino acids, it was likely closer to 30.

- The figure is calculated for 1 sequential trial rather than a enormous number of simultaneous trials.

- There aren’t only three steps: amino acids, complex proteins then bacteria. There are several steps and an incalculable number of iterations: chemicals, polymers, replicating polymers, hypercycle, protobiont then bacteria.


Debate Round No. 1


If you agree to reject chance, then you have to submit to intelligent design. Is there a third option?

All I'm trying to prove is that our universe is made by an intelligent being (No need to define God)

These strict laws only come from a design. I'm talking about the time when there were no designs to begin with and the only laws applied were classical physics & Chemistry laws. And Chemistry has no magic behind it. It's all attraction forces that create the chemical bonds. So what laws are you talking about? You have to be very clear here.

How many simultaneous trials are there? Because I did, in fact, account for that. I was generous to give it an amount of 10^151. That's why the probability of 1 trial (1 in 10^301) was dramatically raised to a probability of 1 in 10^158.

I used 2 kinds of amino acids. There are 22. Please give me your structure of the first protein to calculate its probability. And if possible, a rough shape of the first cell to calculate its probability as well


“Is there a third option?”

The default position is always, “I don’t know.” Again, Abiogenesis is unlikely therefore God did it is in no way an argument for an intelligent creator.

“All I'm trying to prove is that our universe is made by an intelligent being”

Great, that’s one of the most common definitions of God. What do you call it?

“These strict laws only come from a design. “

This is what you still need to prove.

It's all attraction forces that create the chemical bonds. So what laws are you talking about?

I’m talking about these natural attractive forces that form proteins in animals.

“How many simultaneous trials are there?

No idea but one kilogram of the amino acid arginine has 2.85 x 1024 molecules in it.

“Please give me your structure of the first protein”

A self-replicating peptide discovered by the Ghadiri group is only 32 amino acids long.

This is a shifting of the burden of proof. You still have not presented a case for God and have only asserted that Abiogenesis is false.

Debate Round No. 2


third option "I don't know"
I disagree because we do know, according to physics, on this molecular level, chaos rules besides the attraction forces (ionic, covalent & metallic bonds). We know this for sure. And when I say chaos, I mean atoms & molecules moving freely in space, colliding with each other either forming a bond or repulsing each other. This scene is well understood by physicists on that small scale. Nothing is mysterious about it. On the large scale, it's only chaos. If you know of an invisible force that magically brings atoms together to form complex & delicate molecules other than chance, then you have to explain what it is. You only said natural attractive forces. You need to explain that in detail. What causes it? You came up with it, you have to explain it.

Note: I will never be able to prove the existence of God 100%. I will only be able to prove 99.9999...% of it. The rest is a leap of faith.

I promise to get into the calculations after we clear this.


“third option "I don't know"

What I’m saying is, if Abiogenesis were proven false tomorrow and you asked me how life formed I would say, “I don’t know.”

You seem to understand how basic chemical bonds are formed so I do not know why you are equating this to chaos/chance.

The building blocks of proteins, amino acids, form naturally from methane, the most basic naturally occurring organic compound, [2] and form into polypeptides and protobionts. The building blocks of simple microorganisms form naturally making abiogenesis very plausible. “God did it,” doesn’t explain anything, it’s not an answer.

“You came up with it, you have to explain it.”

This is a shifting of the burden of proof, I have made no positive claim of the existence of anything, and you have. Biochemistry of even single celled organisms is obviously complex but it still depends only on the natural attractive forces.

I’d settle for 95% proof for God so you had better get started.


Debate Round No. 3


It's the third time you mention "natural" without elaborating. If by natural you only mean the physical forces and chemical bonds, then I'll explain even further how they would still result in chaos:

We start by the basic elements of proteins, 22 different kinds of amino acids. These building blocks are flying around everywhere in this hot soup in no particular order. 2 collide and stick together forming a chain of 2 amino acids in length. A third and a fourth follows up and so on to reach the 32-chain protein. I will ignore the difficulties of the sticking process and jump to another point, that is there are 22^32 * 2^32 (4x10^52) possible combinations of a 32-chain, and all these combinations are equally probable to pop out. And only very few are essential for life. So what force will increase the likelihood of these special proteins to arise from an enormous number of equally possible combinations? (This is what I mean by chaos)

We can't proceed to the God proof until we clear this



“you mention "natural" without elaborating.”

I’ve tried to be clear. Yes, by natural I mean physical forces and chemical bonds.

The Statistics:

My source says 4.29*10^40 possible combinations but these numbers are not that large considering there would be billions of simultaneous trials [1] and that there are likely trillions of habitable planets in our universe [3] and a strong possibility of an infinite number of universes.

Also, “On the early Earth it is likely that the ocean had a volume of 1 x 1024 litres. Given an amino acid concentration of 1 x 10-6 M … then there are roughly 1 x 1050 potential starting chains, so that a fair number of efficient peptide ligases (about 1 x 1031) could be produced in a under a year, …The synthesis of primitive self-replicators could happen relatively rapidly, even given a probability of 1 chance in 4.29 x 1040.” [1] peptide ligase = amino acid polymer catalyst.


Debate Round No. 4


Ok I'll take your number.
To calculate the number of simultaneous trials, we need the number of amino acids available in the universe, the number of instants of time available, considering every nano-second is an instant.
# of Amino Acids in the universe = 3E68 (# of Atoms in the universe is 10^80)
# of instants since the big bang = 4E17
Total # of events = 3E68 * 4E17 = 1.2E86
Given we have 4.3E40 combinations (your number) and 1.2E86 events, # of proteins to arise is roughly 2E45. That's equal to 1E21 Kilograms of protein. But wait!! Putting all that protein in Earth alone is absurd. This amount has to be divided among the whole universe evenly. Earth's share will be at most 1E21 / 4E22 (number of stars in the universe) = only 25 grams!!!

How's the math?

I didn't account for multiple universes because it is science fiction and has no scientific proof whatsoever. To include multiple universes, you have to account for the fine tuning of physical constants, and that will require another debate


You’re using a scientific argument that the bulk of scientists disagree with. No credible consensus of biochemists have brought up the problems you have with the theory.

You assume there is only one combination of proteins that can be useful in forming life. We’re not looking for one first protein it could be one of an enormous number of possibilities. “in the sequence space of 220 nucleotide long RNA sequences, a staggering 2.5 x 10112 sequences are efficient ligases” … “Similarly, of the 1 x 10130 possible 100 unit proteins, 3.8 x 1061 represent cytochrome C alone!” cytochrome C is an important protein in mitochondria.

“If you know of an invisible force that magically brings atoms together to form complex & delicate molecules other than chance, then you have to explain what it is.”

Yes, I would have to and so do you. Again, God did it is not an explanation. It’s ironic that you can see that magic solutions are not helpful in one context but accept a magic explanation for life.

Debate Round No. 5
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 2-D 2 years ago
Fair enough, I didn't mean any offense. As I sad it looked like you may have been making more of a design or fine tuning type argument. I can't think of another option for life than Abiogenesis but I have not studied the origins of life.

I don't think you'll find someone to accept such a strong resolution since Abiogenesis may be highly improbable. It only had to happen once after all. How about, "Abiogenesis is the most likely explanation for life." I'll just set this up. you can decline to accept until we get the details right. Just make comments and I will edit the debate.
Posted by Moze 2 years ago
It hurts me that you say I fell for this common fallacy. You know I'm better than this. When I asked about the third option, you said the third option was that we don't know. And when I attempt to diminish the third option using a valid argument and then ask for the fourth option, you ignore my argument and also ignore my question.

I also didn't conclude that there is a God. I only concluded that there is intelligent design. There's a difference. Intelligent design could be explained by many things like aliens as I mentioned before.

I'm not angry. I'm just disappointed.

Anyways, this is not the place to settle this. I agree to have another debate but only to speak about Abiogenesis. Select this title "Abiogenesis is highly probable". If we settle this, we'll move to another debate to talk about intelligent design. If we settle that, then we'll talk about God.
Posted by 2-D 2 years ago
It still looks like you're propping up one of the most common logical fallacies used to support a creator, an argument from ignorance: "I can't think of another explanation, therefore God did it." I think what you're leading toward is that the complexity of the physical laws demands a creator.

Anyway, do you want to do another God debate or focus still on Abiogenesis? I would be wiling to go Pro for something like, "Abiogenesis is the more likely than creationism," which sort of continues our discussion.
Posted by Moze 2 years ago
I didn't get the chance to explain my proof of God because of the 1000 character limit (my bad). But here it is even though I accept my defeat because I didn't mention it in the official debate (Rookie mistake):

If we agree that Abiogenesis is ridiculously improbable, then besides an explanation of the existence of an intelligent designer, you mention that there is another option and that is "We don't know". Well, how sure are we of the validity of the laws of Physics? Do you get where I'm going with this? My argument is that we do actually know to a certain extent. Scientists don't proceed with their findings (consider them as facts) unless statistically, they show 99.9999% consistency. The rest (0.0001%) is left to "we don't know". Therefore, if Abiogenesis is ridiculously improbable and "we don't know" is very improbable, then the rest of the probability (99.9998%) is left for the existence of an intelligent designer who created life (This intelligent designer could be the God the believers pray to or could be some very intelligent aliens who where able to create proteins and DNA and plant them in asteroids that later struck Earth millions of years ago). Is there a fourth option???

Remember: My argument is just to prove the existence of an intelligent designer and not the existence of God. That will require me further proof. I want you to reach the conclusion that Richard Dawkins reached when he said I believe there is intelligent design implanted in life forms that could've came from aliens. You can easily youtube this.

You don't have to reply here. This is just for your information. I await your debate challenge to speak of this extensively.
Posted by 2-D 2 years ago
Well my degree is in chemical engineering so I'm used to dealing with large numbers and...well I don't know what I was expecting but I take your point. That is a very large number.
Posted by Moze 2 years ago
It's not "Jeez!! Only 1E80 atoms in the universe"
You should say" Wow!! 1E80 is a very big number"
You're not thinking exponentially
Posted by 2-D 2 years ago
No need to apologize. I was trying to get you to support your title (resolution) because I saw that you are new.

Yeah not trying to debate in the comments, there's just no room for general comments like this in a 1000 character debate. The number just looks to be very low but I googled it and it looks like you're likely closer than I thought. jeez, only 1E80 atoms in the universe?
Posted by Moze 2 years ago
I'm very sorry I chose a very general title. The title I intended was about the possibility of Abiogenesis. Please forgive me, it's my first debate.

By the way, the number of reactions estimated was for the whole universe and not just Earth. The number was 1E68. Bare in mind that the total number of atoms in the whole universe is 1E80. How is 1E68 very low? And what would you suggest it to be?

I'll wait for your response in the debate. Not here.
Posted by 2-D 2 years ago
Your math is probably fine but your estimates of the possible reactions on earth look to be incredibly low.

You already concluded without putting up a fight. I kept trying to get you to post a God argument but you kept on about Abiogenesis :)
Posted by Moze 2 years ago
Because my resolution depends heavily on the math. So I'm waiting for you to agree on the accuracy of my math and then I can conclude.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Orangatang 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not fulfill his burden of proof. The theist always holds the burden of proof in these debates as he holds a positive claim for existence of a deity. Con correctly, did not let Pro shift the burden of proof. Con had better arguments, no consensus of biochemists can even quantify this probability, there are too many possibilities and the evidence is beyond our scientific reach at this moment. Con had more reliable sources as well.
Vote Placed by MrVan 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to provide any sources or meet the burden of proof.