The Instigator
Bible2000
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Burncastle
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Is it reasonable to believe that God exists?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/29/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 780 times Debate No: 62402
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
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Bible2000

Pro

Round 1 is ONLY acceptance.

There is no burden of proof. The side that gives the best arguments wins majority of votes.

I will be debating it is reasonable to believe that Jehovah, the Bible God, exists. Part of Jehovah's absolute perfection is the perfect balance of his qualities. For this reason, "omni" words would not be the best words to describe him. Those words aren't even in the Bible. Jehovah is not all power just like he is not all knowledge. Although he is the most powerful being in existence, he can control his power. Which is why, although he is the most knowledgeable being in existence, he also has selective knowledge. He chooses not to know certain details he does not need to know to avoid, for example, violating our free will, or right to make a choice. Our choices have consequences, and those who do not strive to live a life Jehovah approves should not expect to benefit from the blessings he promises in his word the Bible. However, he does not torture anyone eternally. That is not what a God who IS love (love is his greatest quality) would do. In fact, a place of eternal fiery torment is contradicted many times in Jehovah's word, the Bible.

Science can not prove any specific God, or a creator in general, exists just like it can't disprove it. This is because, as I have explained in a previous debate, "Science is a tool for discovering things that exist in the natural universe like protons, neutrons, and electrons. God, by definition, is a super-natural being, existing outside the physical universe. Science is incapable of discovering things outside of the physical world. Science is irrelevant when it comes to discovering God's existence because science is incapable of measuring the existence of God."

However, "I'm not saying that determining whether God exists is a scientifically quantifiable endeavor. Rather, some of the evidence we offer in favor of God's existence relies on scientific data."

Quotes from my previous debate: http://www.debate.org...

When I use scientific evidence, it will be to prove it is reasonable to believe in a creator. When I use Biblical evidence, it will be to prove it is reasonable to believe in Jehovah.

Do you accept this debate? If so, may it be an enjoyable debate.
Burncastle

Con

I accept this debate and although I would like to correct some of the things you said in your first round (the issue of the burden of proof would be one of them), I will wait until the next round since this is only for acceptance.

Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Bible2000

Pro

No, there will be no correcting. By accepting the debate you have accepted the clear rules I have given in round 1. Failure to follow them will cost you to lose for poor conduct. I must debate why it is reasonable to believe that God exists, and Con must argue why it is unreasonable. I also made it clear that I will be debating not only why it is reasonable to believe in God, but also why it is reasonable to believe in Jehovah, the God of the Bible. If science suggests a God, it is reasonable to believe in God. If we can see God's power, then it is reasonable to believe in God. If we see God's power in the Bible, it is reasonable to believe the true God is the God of the Bible, Jehovah. With all this in mind, I will begin my arguments. First, let us see what science suggests.

We know the universe had a start. Many scientists are convinced our universe began with the Big Bang. I have no problem accepting this, since the Bible actually talks MANY times about the expansion of the universe. However, a question remains. The Big Bang had a beginning. What caused the Big Bang to begin? Surely such an explosion would require a decrease of entropy. Entropy is the unavailability of thermal energy that is transformed into mechanical work. This is what we call order. But, according to the second law of thermodynamics, entropy tends to increase. If the availability of thermal energy is constantly decreasing, how can there ever be enough to even cause the Big Bang? And how could this explosion, which you feel happened randomly by chance without a creator, create such an orderly universe? Think about it. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules. What is even more surprising is that it abides by rules of mathematics! The universe doesn't have to behave this way. One could easily imagine a random universe with constant unpredictable conditions, and even things popping in and out of existence, coming from such a random explosion. However, this is not the case. Here is an interesting quote from Albert Einstein to think about: "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is so comprehensible." (http://www.tokseminars.org...)

We have seen what science suggests. The fact that so many ignore God's power when it is right in front of them in the marvelous creation is quite depressing. The true God wanted us to learn about him, and he even shows us his power in his word the Bible! Consider the following Bible prophecies:

(BEGINNING OF QUOTE)
`42; Prophecy: Isaiah 44:24, 27, 28; 45:1-4: "Jehovah . . . the One saying to the watery deep, "Be evaporated; and all your rivers I shall dry up"; the One saying of Cyrus, "He is my shepherd, and all that I delight in he will completely carry out"; even in my saying of Jerusalem, "She will be rebuilt," and of the temple, "You will have your foundation laid." This is what Jehovah has said to his anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue before him nations, so that I may ungird even the hips of kings; to open before him the two-leaved doors, so that even the gates will not be shut: "Before you I myself shall go, and the swells of land I shall straighten out. The copper doors I shall break in pieces, and the iron bars I shall cut down. . . . For the sake of my servant Jacob and of Israel my chosen one, I even proceeded to call you by your name."" (Writing by Isaiah was completed by about 732 B.C.E.)

`33; Fulfillment: Cyrus had not been born when the prophecy was written. The Jews were not taken into exile to Babylon until 617-607 B.C.E., and Jerusalem and its temple were not destroyed until 607 B.C.E. In detail the prophecy was fulfilled starting in 539 B.C.E. Cyrus diverted the waters of the Euphrates River into an artificial lake, the river gates of Babylon were carelessly left open during feasting in the city, and Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians under Cyrus. Thereafter, Cyrus liberated the Jewish exiles and sent them back to Jerusalem with instructions to rebuild Jehovah"s temple there."The Encyclopedia Americana (1956), Vol. III, p. 9; Light From the Ancient Past (Princeton, 1959), Jack Finegan, pp. 227-229; "All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial" (New York, 1983), pp. 282, 284, 295.

`42; Prophecy: Jeremiah 49:17, 18: ""Edom must become an object of astonishment. Everyone passing along by her will stare in astonishment and whistle on account of all her plagues. Just as in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and her neighbor towns," Jehovah has said, "no man will dwell there."" (Jeremiah"s recording of prophecies was completed by 580 B.C.E.)

`33; Fulfillment: "They [the Edomites] were driven from Palestine in the 2nd century B.C. by Judas Maccab"us, and in 109 B.C. John Hyrcanus, Maccab"an leader, extended the kingdom of Judah to include the w. part of Edomitic lands. In the 1st century B.C. Roman expansion swept away the last vestige of Edomitic independence . . . After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. . . . the name Idum"a [Edom] disappeared from history." (The New Funk Wagnalls Encyclopedia, 1952, Vol. 11, p. 4114) Notice that the fulfillment extends down to our day. In no way can it be argued that this prophecy was written after the events had taken place.

`42; Prophecy: Luke 19:41-44; 21:20, 21: "He [Jesus Christ] viewed the city [Jerusalem] and wept over it, saying: . . . "The days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and p. 62they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected."" Two days later, he counseled his disciples: "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her withdraw." (Prophecy spoken by Jesus Christ in 33 C.E.)

`33; Fulfillment: Jerusalem revolted against Rome, and in 66 C.E. the Roman army under Cestius Gallus attacked the city. But, as Jewish historian Josephus reports, the Roman commander "suddenly called off his men, abandoned hope though he had suffered no reverse, and flying in the face of all reason retired from the City." (Josephus, the Jewish War, Penguin Classics, 1969, p. 167) This provided opportunity for Christians to flee from the city, which they did, moving to Pella, beyond the Jordan, according to Eusebius Pamphilus in his Ecclesiastical History. (Translated by C. F. Crus", London, 1894, p. 75) Then around Passover time of the year 70 C.E. General Titus besieged the city, an encircling fence 4.5 miles (7.2 km) long was erected in just three days, and after five months Jerusalem fell. "Jerusalem itself was systematically destroyed and the Temple left in ruins. Archaeological work shows us today just how effective was the destruction of Jewish buildings all over the land.""The Bible and Archaeology (Grand Rapids, Mich.; 1962), J. A. Thompson, p. 299. (END OF QUOTE)

http://wol.jw.org...

I can not ignore all those fulfilled prophecies, and neither should anyone who really cares about the truth. It is good that you are a skeptic. Why stay in a faith that can't stand to scrutiny? But this applies to atheism as well. What more evidence do you need? Jehovah is literally showing off his power in his creation and right there in his word the Bible! It would be unreasonable to deny God exists.

I eagerly await your response, Burncastle. Thank you.
Burncastle

Con


Thank you for your arguments.


"No, there will be no correcting. By accepting the debate you have accepted the clear rules I have given in round 1. Failure to follow them will cost you to lose for poor conduct. I must debate why it is reasonable to believe that God exists, and Con must argue why it is unreasonable." Fair enough, although I would like to point out that there is in fact a burden of proof, it is simply shared; there can be no debate if there is no burden of proof since it would mean that no one has to present his case.


The first thing that we must do in order to debate the topic at hand is to make sure that we understand it properly. The title contains 3 important concepts: reasonable belief, God and existence. Let's explore these concepts to make sure that we are on the same page.


Reasonable belief: To evaluate whether it is reasonable to believe something, one can turn to David Hume who famously said "A wise man apportions his belief to the evidence". In other words, one's degree of certainty regarding the truth of a given proposition should reflect the amount of evidence in support of said proposition.


God: In most debates that revolve around the existence of God, theists will attempt to defend a vague deistic God, a prime-mover or necessary being of some sort. While my opponent has (rather courageously) decided to defend the God of the Bible, he did not give a clear description of that God (aside from the fact that "omni" was NOT a good description and that Jehovah is his name), which means that we are still stuck arguing about a rather vague deity. It gets even worse we he flatly says: "Science can not prove any specific God, or a creator in general, exists just like it can't disprove it" which, to me, sounds like an absolute defeater to the resolution.


Existence: While this may seem like a rather easy concept to grasp, it may actually get pretty complicated when put in conjunction with entities that exist "outside of space and time", which is how most modern theists choose to describe their God. Is it possible to exist "outside of time"? If God exists now and... now, hasn't the duration of his existence just increased by two seconds? I am going to need some clarifications from my opponent before I can expand on this point (a clear description of his God would be a good start).


So, is it reasonable to believe that a God exists? The answer is: probably not. I can tell you right now that from my perspective, it is absolutely unreasonable to believe that a God exists because I have not seen any evidence that would suggest that one does. While I can not claim for certain that NO ONE on Earth has ever seen good evidence that would support the existence of a God, I can claim with moderate certainty that no one has because if they did, it would most likely be world wide news.


That being said, there are some versions of God that are in fact internally contradictory and therefore can not exist: a God that allows free will yet knows the future (which my opponent does not defend), an all-loving omni-God that sends people to Hell for unbelief, an all-loving omni-God that allows gratuitous evil, etc.


Now on to my opponent's arguments.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



My opponent basically made 2 arguments, which I will address one by one.


1) THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT


"We know the universe had a start. Many scientists are convinced our universe began with the Big Bang." The choice of words here is very important; it is true that scientists believe that OUR universe had a beginning, but most of them also accept the idea of an eternal multiverse (and also, most of them do not believe that a God caused the Big Bang).


"I have no problem accepting this, since the Bible actually talks MANY times about the expansion of the universe." Really? And where does it do that exactly?


"However, a question remains. The Big Bang had a beginning. What caused the Big Bang to begin?" This is plainly false; the Big Bang did not HAVE a beginning, it WAS the beginning. According to our current understanding of cosmogony, time (as we know it) began at the Big Bang and therefore the idea that it needed a cause to happen is nonsensical.


"Surely such an explosion would require a decrease of entropy. Entropy is the unavailability of thermal energy that is transformed into mechanical work. This is what we call order." Two things: First, our usage of the term "explosion" in everyday life can not be used to describe the Big Bang (expansion would be more accurate). Second, an explosion does not "require" a certain amount of entropy to happen, it is simply a rapid increase of entropy.


"If the availability of thermal energy is constantly decreasing, how can there ever be enough to even cause the Big Bang?" Again, the Big Bang is not an explosion, entropy is not needed to cause an explosion and the Big Bang does not need a cause. Furthermore, the fact that the entropy of the early Universe is extremely lower (Penrose 1989) than it needs to be for life to exist would constitute a good argument against a personal God that created the Universe for us.


"And how could this explosion, which you feel happened randomly by chance without a creator, create such an orderly universe? Think about it. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules. What is even more surprising is that it abides by rules of mathematics! The universe doesn't have to behave this way. One could easily imagine a random universe with constant unpredictable conditions, and even things popping in and out of existence, coming from such a random explosion. However, this is not the case." I was going to address this section one sentence at a time, but this will be quicker: argument from ignorance fallacy. As a side note, I would like to point out that before proposing "item X" as an explanation for "phenomenon Y", one must first demonstrate that "item X" actually exists.


For the sake of argument, let's set aside all of that and assume that the Universe MUST have had a cause, what reasons do we have to believe that this cause is a personal mind?


"We have seen what science suggests. The fact that so many ignore God's power when it is right in front of them in the marvelous creation is quite depressing." A fascinating statement. Does this "marvelous creation" include cancer, tsunamies, tornadoes, earthquakes, AIDS, famine and birth defects, all of which happen on a planet only scarcely habitable in a Universe almost entirely non-habitable?



2) THE ARGUMENT FROM FULFILLED PROPHECIES


The second argument that my opponent presents is a series of "fulfilled prophecies" found within the Bible. There are several problems with this argument:


- Confirmation bias: Obviously, if you start with the assumption that God exists, then it is easy to interpret passages in the Bible as actual historical events. I could easily interpret each the prophecies my opponent presented in a way that does not reflect historical events, so the question is: how does my opponent know that his interpretation is the right one? How dos he know that the historical event he is referring to is actually the one that God was talking about?


- Cherry picking: My opponent is going to choose only the passages that CAN be interpreted in a way that fits history and leave the others out. But shouldn't they ALL be fulfilled if God told them? Examples of unfulfilled prophecies: http://www.answering-christianity.com...


- Non-sequitur: Even if the prophecies that my opponent brought up were accurate, how does this show that there is a God? I would instead propose the following explanation: a time traveler went back in time and wrote something that he knew would happen in order to make a global practical joke. Now, do I actually believe this explanation? No, but I do believe that it would be more likely (if the prophecies were accurate).


- Known prophecies: For a prophecy to have any value, it must be rather secret until it actually comes to pass; if everyone is actively trying to work towards the fulfillment of the prophecy, then it has no merit. Furthermore, some of these prophecies are phrased as demands by God, which were obviously followed. If I demand a very specific sandwich in a restaurant and they bring me that specific sandwich, are they fulfilling my prophecy?



"Why stay in a faith that can't stand to scrutiny? But this applies to atheism as well." Atheism is not a faith-based position. Even if there was a massive amount of evidence regarding the existence of your particular God, it still would NOT be a faith-based position because it does not take faith to reject a claim. Atheism is the default position, the "null-hypothesis".


"What more evidence do you need?" REAL evidence would be a start.


It is now my turn to eagerly await your response.


Debate Round No. 2
Bible2000

Pro

Reasonable belief: In round two I have made clear that I have a few ways of proving belief in God is reasonable. If science suggests a God, it is reasonable to believe in God. If we see God’s power in his creation, it is reasonable to believe in God. And if we see God's power in the Bible, it is reasonable to believe the true God is the God of the Bible, Jehovah. I can prove it is reasonable to believe in God in one or all of these ways.

God: It is true I said, "Science can not prove any specific God, or a creator in general, exists just like it can't disprove it." However, we are debating if it is REASONABLE to believe in God. It is reasonable to believe in many things that simply can’t be explained by science.

Existence: Time is a characteristic of the physical universe. The origin of all things could not be limited by time. This means God had no beginning, he created the beginning of time. And he will have no end, but he currently exists now in the spiritual dimension called heaven, which is not limited by time. Thus, it is possible to exist outside of time.

Now on to my opponent's rebuttals.

“it is true that scientists believe that OUR universe had a beginning, but most of them also accept the idea of an eternal multiverse”

In round 2 you held that, “one's degree of certainty regarding the truth of a given proposition should reflect the amount of evidence in support of said proposition.” Now explain to me, what evidence could we possibly have of an eternal multiverse when most of OUR universe is beyond the reach of our telescopes?

“This is plainly false; the Big Bang did not HAVE a beginning, it WAS the beginning. According to our current understanding of cosmogony, time (as we know it) began at the Big Bang and therefore the idea that it needed a cause to happen is nonsensical.”

Burncastle is presumptuously assuming that only things inside of time can have a beginning. We have agreed that things can exist outside of time. If before the beginning of time God decides to create something that has not always been there, would it be nonsensical to say God was the cause? The Big Bang could have been the beginning of what we know as time; this does not mean the Big Bang does not have a beginning or cause.

“the Big Bang is not an explosion”

“big bang theory ((cosmology) the theory that the universe originated sometime between 10 billion and 20 billion years ago from the cataclysmic explosion of a small volume of matter at extremely high density and temperature)”

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

Explosion “a violent expansion in which energy is transmitted outward as a shock wave.” (Oxford Dictionary)

“entropy is not needed to cause an explosion”

Of course not. Entropy is the unavailability of thermal energy that is transformed into mechanical works. If that unavailability of thermal energy is constantly increasing, how can there ever be heat extreme enough to cause the Big Bang, or any heat at all?

“before proposing "item X" as an explanation for "phenomenon Y", one must first demonstrate that "item X" actually exists.”

I am not proposing “item X” as an explanation for “phenomenon Y”. Rather, I am using “phenomenon Y” as evidence suggesting “item X”.

“what reasons do we have to believe that this cause is a personal mind?”

First of all, an ordinary explosion would require extremely high temperature. But for sake of argument, let’s say the temperature randomly increased enough for the Big Bang to happen. Is it reasonable to believe a random explosion without an intelligent mind resulted in such an orderly universe that even follows laws of mathematics? Consider the illustration I gave in my first debate. You are walking through the woods and see a beautiful log cabin. Do you assume: "How wonderful! The trees must have fallen in just the right place."? Of course not! Is it a possibility? Yes. But is it a reasonable assumption? NO.

“Does this ‘marvelous creation’ include cancer, tsunamies, tornadoes, earthquakes, AIDS, famine and birth defects, all of which happen on a planet only scarcely habitable in a Universe almost entirely non-habitable?”

No. It does not include those things because if the true God is the God of the Bible, Jehovah, he is not responsible for the things that make us suffer. Also, that most of the universe is non-habitable is irrelevant. God created us to live on this planet, not underwater, not in lava, and not in any other planet in the universe (at least not yet).

Job 34:10 - “So listen to me, you men of understanding: It is unthinkable for the true God to act wickedly, For the Almighty to do wrong!”

James 1:13 - “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone.”

Isaiah 33:24 - No resident will say: “I am sick.”

John 5:28, 29 - All those in the memorial tombs will […] come out.

Revelation 21:4 - And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.

“I could easily interpret each the prophecies my opponent presented in a way that does not reflect historical events, so the question is: how does my opponent know that his interpretation is the right one? How dos he know that the historical event he is referring to is actually the one that God was talking about?”

Your interpretation is irrelevant. To understand the Bible, we must let it interpret its self. When something is symbolic, usually the Bible its self will tell you what it means. I will give you an example.

Daniel 8:7-8:7And I saw it coming into close touch with the ram, and it began showing bitterness toward it, and it proceeded to strike down the ram and to break its two horns, and there proved to be no power in the ram to stand before it. So it threw it to the earth and trampled it down, and the ram proved to have no deliverer out of its hand. 8And the male of the goats, for its part, put on great airs to an extreme; but as soon as it became mighty, the great horn was broken, and there proceeded to come up conspicuously four instead of it, toward the four winds of the heavens.

These verses of Daniel chapter eight are another example of a fulfilled Bible prophecy. But who is the ram and the hairy he-goat? And what does the great horn breaking and being replaced by four smaller ones represent? That same chapter of Daniel answers these questions.

Daniel 8:20-22: 20The ram that you saw possessing the two horns [stands for] the kings of Me′di·a and Persia. 21And the hairy he-goat [stands for] the king of Greece; and as for the great horn that was between its eyes, it [stands for] the first king. 22And that one having been broken, so that there were four that finally stood up instead of it, there are four kingdoms from [his] nation that will stand up, but not with his power.

So, the ram is Me′di·a and Persia. The hairy he-goat is Greece. The great horn that was between its eyes is the first king since Greece became the dominant world power after the he-goat, "proceeded to strike down the ram and to break its two horns", Alexander the Great. After that horn was broken, when Alexander died, four stood up instead of it; he was replaced by his four generals.

"My opponent is going to choose only the passages that CAN be interpreted in a way that fits history and leave the others out."

Well, there are symbolic prophecies, and there are prophecies that will be fulfilled in the future (this explains your supposed false Bible prophecies.). None of those would be relevant in the debate, so "cherry-picking" is not a valid rebuttal.

"Even if the prophecies that my opponent brought up were accurate, how does this show that there is a God?"

The Bible claims to be inspired by God. If it can prove it by showing that God's powers, through fulfilled prophecies for example, it is reasonable to conclude it is the word of God.

"I would instead propose the following explanation: a time traveler went back in time and wrote something that he knew would happen in order to make a global practical joke."

That explanation is just as reasonable as saying a beautiful log cabin was made because the trees fell in just the right way. Is your explanation a possibility? A very unlikely one, considering what we know about science now. Reasonable? NO. Even you admit it, "Now, do I actually believe this explanation? No". Why not just accept the Bible is from God when that's what the evidence suggests?

"For a prophecy to have any value, it must be rather secret until it actually comes to pass; if everyone is actively trying to work towards the fulfillment of the prophecy, then it has no merit."

Isaiah's prophecy was recorded some 200 years before the fulfillment. During those 200 years after the prophecy was written, was there any other king Cyrus who tried to conquer Babylon, the most powerful city in the world at the time? No. There was only one emperor Cyrus; and just like the Bible said, the waters of the Euphrates river were dried up, and the most powerful city in the world was conquered without a fight because the gates were carelessly left open!

"REAL evidence would be a start."

We are debating if it is reasonable to believe in God, and Con has not given any valid arguments supporting it is unreasonable to believe in God, or any valid arguments about why my reasons to believe in God are unreasonable. Con also wanted to know where the Bible talks about the expansion of the universe:

(BEGINNING OF QUOTE) The characteristic of the universe stated more frequently than any other in the Bible is its being “stretched out.” Five different Bible authors pen such a statement in eleven different verses: Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 48:13; 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12; 51:15; and Zechariah 12:1. [...] (END OF QUOTE).

http://www.reasons.org...;

I once again eagerly await Con's response.



Burncastle

Con

This will be a rather short round because I am currently drowning in homeworks. Next round will be much better.

"It is true I said, "Science can not prove any specific God, or a creator in general, exists just like it can't disprove it." However, we are debating if it is REASONABLE to believe in God. It is reasonable to believe in many things that simply can’t be explained by science" I agree that it could be reasonable to believe something that CURRENTLY can't be EXPLAINED by the scientific method (such as the fact that the Universe exists). That being said, I do not believe that it is reasonable to believe an unfalsifiable hypothesis (which can NEVER be explained by science) nor that it is reasonable to believe something that can't be DEMONSTRATED by science to actually exist. If my opponent has counterexamples, I would like to see them.

"The origin of all things could not be limited by time. This means God had no beginning, he created the beginning of time. And he will have no end, but he currently exists now in the spiritual dimension called heaven, which is not limited by time." This is nothing more than an baseless assertion. Since beginning is a temporal concept (and time began at the Big Bang) then God, if he exists, also began at the Big Bang. How could my opponent possibly know that Heaven, if there is such a place, is "not limited by time"?

"In round 2 you held that, “one's degree of certainty regarding the truth of a given proposition should reflect the amount of evidence in support of said proposition.” Now explain to me, what evidence could we possibly have of an eternal multiverse when most of OUR universe is beyond the reach of our telescopes?" This is one the few things I will address in my next round, but for now I would encourage my opponent to read some books on the multiverse if he wants an adequate answer to this question (I am no physicist).

"Burncastle is presumptuously assuming that only things inside of time can have a beginning." Since the term "beginning" is a temporal concept, it is true that only things inside of time can have a beginning.

"We have agreed that things can exist outside of time." Asserting that things can exist outside of time is in no way equivalent to "we have agreed", nice try though.

"If before the beginning of time God decides to create something that has not always been there, would it be nonsensical to say God was the cause?" Yes it would be since the decision must come BEFORE the action, which is impossible without time.

"I am not proposing “item X” as an explanation for “phenomenon Y”. Rather, I am using “phenomenon Y” as evidence suggesting “item X”." This is still invalid:

- If A then B
- B
- Therefore A

This is an INVALID syllogism.

"Is it reasonable to believe a random explosion without an intelligent mind resulted in such an orderly universe that even follows laws of mathematics?" Saying that the Universe "obeys the laws of mathematics" is completely circular since mathematics are a DESCRIPTION of the way our Universe works.

"You are walking through the woods and see a beautiful log cabin. Do you assume: "How wonderful! The trees must have fallen in just the right place."? Of course not! Is it a possibility? Yes. But is it a reasonable assumption? NO." The reason why we recognize design in a cabin is because we have many examples of cabins being designed by intelligent agents and no examples of cabins arising naturally; through the experience of contrast, we are able to distinguish a pile of wood from a cabin. In the case of the Universe, we have no other Universe to compare it to and therefore we can NOT use our intuition regarding its origin.

"No. It does not include those things because if the true God is the God of the Bible, Jehovah, he is not responsible for the things that make us suffer." So who created those things? Earthquakes and tsunamis also follow the laws of mathematics so according to my opponent's logic, they must have a designer as well.

"To understand the Bible, we must let it interpret its self" I have rarely seen such an empty statement. A book does not "interpret itself", an interpretation is a subjective understanding of something.

"Well, there are symbolic prophecies, and there are prophecies that will be fulfilled in the future (this explains your supposed false Bible prophecies.)." This give me the impression that my opponent did not actually read the prophecies I provided since the deadline of their fulfillment is supposed to have been within the time of the Bible. And what exactly is a "symbolic prophecy"? Because to me it seems like an excuse that someone might give in regard to unfulfilled prophecies.

"Isaiah's prophecy was recorded some 200 years before the fulfillment. During those 200 years after the prophecy was written, was there any other king Cyrus who tried to conquer Babylon, the most powerful city in the world at the time? No. There was only one emperor Cyrus; and just like the Bible said, the waters of the Euphrates river were dried up, and the most powerful city in the world was conquered without a fight because the gates were carelessly left open!" How does this even remotely answer my point? The fact that the prophecy was recorded 200 years before its fulfillment only SUPPORTS what I said. This seems to be an answer to the interpretation question rather than the problem of "known prophecies".

I will address the expansion of the Universe in the Bible in my next round.

I await your response.



Debate Round No. 3
Bible2000

Pro

"I do not believe that it is reasonable to believe an unfalsifiable hypothesis (which can NEVER be explained by science) nor that it is reasonable to believe something that can't be DEMONSTRATED by science to actually exist."

(BEGINNING OF QUOTE) Science is a tool for discovering things that exist in the natural universe like protons, neutrons, and electrons. God, by definition, is a super-natural being, existing outside the physical universe. Science is incapable of discovering things outside of the physical world. Science is irrelevant when it comes to discovering God"s existence because science is incapable of measuring the existence of God. [...]

What is love? Do I love my wife? This is a question that science can"t even begin to address. What is a virtue? What is a vice? Should I kill my neighbor? Is what the Third Reich did in World War II appropriate or immoral? These questions are not addressable by the tools of science. Therefore, presuming science is the only way of knowing things is a mistaken assumption. (END OF QUOTE) http://www.str.org...

"This is one the few things I will address in my next round, but for now I would encourage my opponent to read some books on the multiverse if he wants an adequate answer to this question (I am no physicist)."

The following is a quote from a debate I am currently having with an atheist, who believes in a multiverse, concerning the existence of God:

(BEGINNING OF QUOTE) The Kalam argument states that anything with a beginning must have something causing it to begin. The universe had a beginning, so something must have caused it to begin. That "cause" is the creator/God. As much as atheistic scientists would love to get rid of a beginning to the universe, they can not present any evidence for the belief of an eternal universe, because there is none. [...]

Con claims his eternal universe idea is backed up by evidence, unlike my God. However, briefly after he admits, "there are multiple studies that [...] dismiss it." Here is the "evidence" Con talks about:

"Throughout the universe, particles and antiparticles spontaneously form and quickly annihilate each other without violating the law of energy conservation. [...] If this admittedly speculative hypothesis is correct, then the answer to the ultimate question is that the universe is the ultimate free lunch! It came from nothing, and its total energy is zero"
http://www.astrosociety.org......

This source isn't even about an eternal universe. It attempts to prove the universe could come from nothing. The source its self describes the hypothesis as speculative, or without firm evidence. It also has a gross misuse of the term "nothing". The quantum vacuum has energy, it fluctuates, it can cause the expansion of the universe to accelerate; we can describe it, calculate, predict and falsify its properties. The Quantum vacuum is not "nothing".

"We thought it would be interesting to write about a radically new scientific idea with far-reaching implications at a time when it is first emerging and before it is proven."
http://www.physics.princeton.edu......

Again, you site from a website that clearly says there is no proof of an eternal universe. [...] You also didn't say anything about the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem which shows that a universe characterized by cosmic expansion can not be eternal in the past, but must have an absolute beginning. [...]

1. An eternal multiverse would not disprove God.

2. There is no evidence for an eternal multiverse.

3. There is overwhelming evidence that the universe had a beginning.

4. Many reason that if there are enough universes, anything is possible. Simply by having an infinite ammount of universes, however, you couldn’t be sure that you’d get one that was right for life. Consider the infinite collection of even numbers. You will never find a number with the property of oddness in that list. Clearly, having an infinite collection does not mean you got everything you might want. (END OF QUOTE)


http://www.debate.org...

(BEGINNING OF QUOTE) Note that neither the multiverse nor the "God hypothesis" is testable. However, the "God hypothesis" is much simpler. The naturalistic explanation requires the presence of a complicated, unproved super universe that has the capacity to randomly spew out an infinite number of universes with different laws of physics. How does this hypothetical super universe know how to do this? Why would it even want to do this? Ultimately, why should there be any universe at all? None of these questions are logically explained by naturalism. Only an intelligent Being would be motivated and expectedto produce any kind of universe such as what we see. If we use Occam's razor, which states that one should use the simplest logical explanation for any phenomenon, we would eliminate the super universe/multi-universe explanation in favor of the simpler God-designed universe model. The evidence for design in the universe and biology is so strong that Antony Flew, a long-time proponent of atheism, renounced his atheism in 2004 and now believes that the existence of a Creator is required to explain the universe and life in it. (END OF QUOTE)

http://www.godandscience.org...

"Since the term "beginning" is a temporal concept, it is true that only things inside of time can have a beginning."

Alright, let's use the term "cause". We know the Big Bang must have had one because because the Big Bang is an expansion. And, as I've already explained, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem shows that anything characterized by expansion can not be eternal in the past, but must have an absolute beginning.

- If A then B
- B
- Therefore A

This is an INVALID syllogism.

This is only invalid when it is not true, or unreasonable. For example, it would be reasonale to say if I got burned, I probably touched something hot. I got burned, therefore I touched something hot. However, touching something hot is not the only way to get burned, although it is the most probable. You can try to prove I got burned by touching something extremely cold. But I have not been around anything that cold, so that's unreasonable. What is the point of that illustration? If a phenomenon can not be reasonably explained any other way, accept the reasonable explanation. Many atheists argue that all arguments for God are the result of gaps in our scientific knowledge. According to this reasoning, the gaps should decrease as our scientific knowledge increases, right? Ignorance of the gaps is not evidence against God:

(BEGINNING OF QUOTE) "God of the gaps" refers to the perception that all arguments for the existence of God are the result of gaps in our scientific knowledge. [...] Many skeptics believe that all arguments for the existence of God fall into the God of the gaps variety. According to this premise, one would expect these arguments to become fewer in number as scientists make more discoveries and learn more about our world. In reality, evidence continues to accumulate suggesting that the universe was designed by an intelligent agent. The evidence suggesting that the universe and its physical laws were designed continues to accumulate at a rapid rate. Although we are not certain about the degree to which the earth and solar systemare specially designed, evidence to-date suggests that earth-like planets are rare in the universe. [...]

Origin of life studies continue to run into problems with uncooperative chemistry, and planetary science discoveries about the nature of early earth environments. Replicator-first models fail to establish mechanisms to produce even the basic chemical building blocks for an "RNA World", including a failure to produce homochiral sugars and amino acids. Beyond these problems, the assembly of rudimentary biological membranes under early earth environments is virtually impossible. (END OF QUOTE)

http://www.godandscience.org......


"So who created those things? Earthquakes and tsunamis also follow the laws of mathematics so according to my opponent's logic, they must have a designer as well."

Lack of Bible knowledge is not evidence against it or against God. The ruler of this world, Satan (1 John 5:19), uses God's own creation to make us suffer. For example, wind, which can be a good thing, is not so good when it becomes a destructive tornado or hurricane. God does not cause anything that makes us suffer. However, he does temporarily allow it. Why? That is irrelevant to this debate. However, you can read about it here: http://www.jw.org...

"I have rarely seen such an empty statement. A book does not 'interpret itself', an interpretation is a subjective understanding of something."

We let a book "interpret itself" by looking for the meaning of something we don't understand in the context. I gave a very clear example.

"How does this even remotely answer my point?"

Here is the important part of my quote that answers your point: "During those 200 years after the prophecy was written, was there any other king Cyrus who tried to conquer Babylon at the time? No. There was only one emperor Cyrus [and he conquered the most powerful city in the world without a fight.] Vague? No. Unlikely? Very. But it fulfilled, because it was a prophecy from God. Prophecies give us conviction that the Bible is from God, but it is not the only reason why we consider the Bible. Along with my explanation of what a symbolic prophecy is, I will also explain why the Bible is worthy of consideration in my next round because of character limit. What I will tell you now, once again, is that lack of Bible knowledge is not evidence against it or against God. I don't "cherry pick" what is symbolic or not. I simply consider the context. I will explain better in next round.

Thank you. I once again await Con's response.


Burncastle

Con

I thank my opponent for his response.

"Science is a tool for discovering things that exist in the natural universe like protons, neutrons, and electrons. God, by definition, is a super-natural being, existing outside the physical universe. Science is incapable of discovering things outside of the physical world. Science is irrelevant when it comes to discovering God"s existence because science is incapable of measuring the existence of God" The fact that science can not tell us anything about this God is PRECISELY the reason why I do not believe that it is reasonable to believe that he exists. If science can't tell us anything about it, then what could possibly be the justification for believing that such a being actually exists?

"What is love? Do I love my wife? This is a question that science can"t even begin to address." Not quite. This feeling that we have, which we label "love", is caused by the release of an hormone called oxytocin.

"What is a virtue? What is a vice? Should I kill my neighbor? Is what the Third Reich did in World War II appropriate or immoral? These questions are not addressable by the tools of science. Therefore, presuming science is the only way of knowing things is a mistaken assumption." Ah, so my opponent's point is that science can not tell us about morality, but that is straightforwardly false. Morality, like science, is all about evidence and observation; if the consequences of your actions do not improve the well-being of the people involved, then it is by definition immoral. Let's take the "killing your neighbor" example:

Action: You kill your neighbor
Observations: Your neighbor is dead, his family is most likely crying and you find yourself in jail.
Evaluation: Well-being was not improved.
Conclusion: Killing your neighbor is immoral.

This is a direct application of the scientific method. Keep in mind that science is not limited to labcoats and microscopes, it is a method of investigation.

My opponent then goes on to quote a huge part of one of his previous debates and refutes some points that his past opponent made. While much of this is irrelevant, there are some points that I want to address:

1) The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem does NOT say that the universe had a beginning, it simply says that our ability to describe it with classical understanding of time breaks down at some point in the past (I am paraphrasing Sean Carroll).

2) I agree that an eternal universe would not "disprove" God, but it does make him superfluous and Occam's razor takes care of him.

3) Regarding the evidence of the multiverse, I will once again encourage my opponent to read on this subject from an actual scientific source (which I am not). On a side note, I find it odd that theists are quick to criticize the multiverse because it "lacks evidence" and yet are more than happy to accept the Big Bang when, for a very long time, the only evidence that we had for the Big Bang was a series of mathematical equations which is exactly what physicist and cosmologist are using to ague for the multiverse.

4) "Simply by having an infinite amount of universes, however, you couldn’t be sure that you’d get one that was right for life. Consider the infinite collection of even numbers. You will never find a number with the property of oddness in that list. Clearly, having an infinite collection does not mean you got everything you might want" This is probably the most ridiculous analogy I have ever seen regarding this topic. The reason why you will never get an odd number in a series of even numbers is because these two categories are by definition mutually exclusive. This reasoning does not work at all with the multiverse.

"Note that neither the multiverse nor the "God hypothesis" is testable. However, the "God hypothesis" is much simpler" Much simpler? The idea that a mind, which is independent of anything material (is this even possible?) and is not affected by time and yet has desires and emotions, created the whole universe from nothing just because he wanted is NOT SIMPLE. The multiverse, on the other hand, is simply a collection of universes and since we have an example of a universe (which is not the case for a God), then conceiving that there could be others is not that much of a stretch.

"The naturalistic explanation requires the presence of a complicated, unproved super universe that has the capacity to randomly spew out an infinite number of universes with different laws of physics." A super universe? I would like to see the scientific paper that mentions such a thing.

"How does this hypothetical super universe know how to do this? Why would it even want to do this?" The concepts of knowledge and "want" are completely irrelevant. "Knowing" and "wanting" are properties of the mind.

"Ultimately, why should there be any universe at all? None of these questions are logically explained by naturalism." The famous "why is there something rather than nothing" question. I will answer this question with a question of my own: is a state of absolute nothingness really coherent? Is it actually possible for there to be absolutely nothing?

"If we use Occam's razor, which states that one should use the simplest logical explanation for any phenomenon, we would eliminate the super universe/multi-universe explanation in favor of the simpler God-designed universe model" And as I said before, God is NOT a simple concept, not by a long shot. The very concept of "outside of time" is something that no one can possibly comprehend.

"The evidence for design in the universe and biology is so strong that Antony Flew, a long-time proponent of atheism, renounced his atheism in 2004 and now believes that the existence of a Creator is required to explain the universe and life in it" If my opponent is going to point to a specific conversation, then I will point to the MASSIVE amount of scientists that do not believe in God. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

"We know the Big Bang must have had one because because the Big Bang is an expansion. And, as I've already explained, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem shows that anything characterized by expansion can not be eternal in the past, but must have an absolute beginning. " Again, no. https://www.google.ca...
(sorry about the long link)

"This is only invalid when it is not true, or unreasonable." No. A syllogism does not become valid simply because the conclusion is true, that is not at all how syllogisms work.

"If a phenomenon can not be reasonably explained any other way, accept the reasonable explanation" I agree, but God is NOT a reasonable because it is NOT supported by any evidence. My opponent keeps quoting people who say that "there is a lot of evidence for God", but my advice to him would be to actually GIVE the evidence instead of simply saying that it is out there, and do so with actual scientific, peer-reviewed paper (www.godandscience.org is NOT a reliable scientific source).

"The ruler of this world, Satan (1 John 5:19), uses God's own creation to make us suffer." Glossing over the fact that there is no evidence to support this explanation, couldn't God do anything about it? I would point out that my opponent's link specifically says that God's power have no limits, so he should be able to stop him. By the way, if my opponent wants to have a debate concerning the link he used, I will be more than happy to accept the challenge.

"God does not cause anything that makes us suffer. However, he does temporarily allow it. Why? That is irrelevant to this debate." The problem of evil is irrelevant to a debate about the existence of God? That's a first.

"We let a book "interpret itself" by looking for the meaning of something we don't understand in the context. I gave a very clear example." Actually, what my opponent gave was a passage where interpretation is not required since there is clarification following the passage. That was not the case for any of the passages given previously, which demonstrates my point about cherry-picking.

To my surprise, my opponent is still clinging to this idea that fulfilled prophecies (if there is such a thing) is a clear demonstration of the existence of God, yet I do not see the justification. Since I do not have a degree in history, I will not go down the road of "how do you know this really happened" or "how do you know that the prophecy actually came before it's fulfillment" (although these are legitimate questions). However, I will press my opponent for an answer regarding the causal link he is drawing between said prophecies and the existence of a God (as far as I can tell, my time-traveler explanation still stands). I would also like a better answer concerning the interpretation issue.
Debate Round No. 4
Bible2000

Pro

Bible2000 forfeited this round.
Burncastle

Con

Well this has been an interesting debate. I encourage the voters to read and evaluate the arguments carefully and vote according to their assessment of this debate and not simply based on their presupposition (which we are ALL prone to do).

Cheers.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Bible2000 2 years ago
Bible2000
I am sorry, Burncastle. I have been very busy with homework and also had family from Tampa to visit. But these were an enjoyable 4 rounds. Perhaps soon we could do a part 2 and I can give you the response I did not have time to give you on this debate. :)
Posted by Bible2000 2 years ago
Bible2000
Oh, I understand. I just now realized I made it a three round debate instead of five, haha. I will fix that right now. But, again, round one is ONLY acceptance.
Posted by Bible2000 2 years ago
Bible2000
Oh, I understand. I just now realized I made it a three round debate instead of five, haha. I will fix that right now. But, again, round one is ONLY acceptance.
Posted by Bible2000 2 years ago
Bible2000
Sure. Accept the debate and give your arguments in round 1.
Posted by Burncastle 2 years ago
Burncastle
Before I accept, could you make this a five rounds debate?
No votes have been placed for this debate.