The Instigator
batman01
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
ninjakitty97
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

It is Probable That God Does Not Exist

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 564 times Debate No: 102517
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)

 

batman01

Pro

This will be a simple debate on whether or not it is probable that God exists. You can obviously use any argument you'd like to attempt to prove this, burden of proof is shared.

First round is for acceptance only.

Please do not accept this debate if you are not going to be able to finish it.

Thank you.
ninjakitty97

Con

I accept. Thank you in advance for debating me. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
batman01

Pro

First off, I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.



LACK OF EVIDENCE:

This will no doubt be the shortest of my arguments.

The idea is quite simply that at this point in time we have literally no empirical evidence for the existence of a god which created the universe. People often say that there is no conflict with the Bible and science, if there is a conflict I think this is it: being religious in unscientific because it assumes the existence of a being for which we have no evidence. Take the statement:

'There is no conflict between god and science.'

Now take this statement.

'There is no conflict between Santa Claus and science.'

These statements are equally true. In each case there is the fact that there is no literal conflict between science and the following, however that does not make the existence of the being true. The fact that there could be a Santa Claus, ie that a Santa Claus could be existent doesn't prove that there is a Santa Claus. The same with god.

COSMOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS:

Let's now look at different ways in which the universe could be created without a god.

There are several different possibilities which could explain the existence of the universe without the necessary inclusion of a god being.

Quantum Fluctuations:

The universe it seems could have been formed as a result of quantum fluctuations or the existence of tiny particles which can appear briefly or fluctuate out of nothingness. Some scientists think this could have been enough to trigger the Big Bang. The Quantum Fluctuation seems to make sense and it has been developed into several different cosmological models because of this as it allows the universe to get into a stable low energy state so that it can stop expanding. Once it's in the low energy state, it stays there, and we don't see other universes forming because any quantum fluctuations would put the universe into a higher energy state.

The Quantum Fluctuation is a way in which theoretically we could create a universe without god.

(1) http://www.space.com...

(2) https://profmattstrassler.com...

Hartle-Hawking state:

Another theory in which god is not required is the Hartle–Hawking state which is a hypothesis which ignores the beginning of the universe, stating that before the Planck Epoch there existed no time (that is space-time becomes all space and no time), therefore constructing an mechanism behind the Big Bang would be a meaningless endeavour.

(1) - https://en.wikipedia.org...

Mathematical Proof:

There has now also been a mathematical proof that the universe could have spontaneously existed based upon solutions to the Wheeler-DeWitt Equation. See the paper below for more details:

(1) - https://arxiv.org...

Conclusion:

I have shown in this debate that there is no evidence for a deity and that the universe can and will create itself.

The existence of a deity offers little explanatory value and is a claim for which there is literally no evidence.

ninjakitty97

Con

The first argument for God's existence is based on Aquinas's cosmological argument, which essentially states that, in our universe, every effect requires a cause, which in turn must be caused by some other cause, and so forth. This chain of events cannot exist in and of itself, for if each event is caused by something else, nothing would come into existence. The existence of the series of events, then, must be attributed to something that exists independently from the series. This separate cause, says Aquinas, is God. [1]

My opponent will likely object here that some phenomena in quantum physics can in fact be their own cause. [2][3][4] It should be noted here that, even in quantum mechanics, causality is still thought to be retained. [5][6] The appearance of matter spontaneously relies on the presence of quantum fields, and we have no explanation for where these come from. [7]

Even discounting this, Anselm's cosmological argument can still be applied to the origin of the universe because any origin theories rely on the laws of quantum physics themselves. [7] All of my opponent's arguments presuppose the existence of the laws of physics in order for the universe to have come into existence spontaneously. None of the arguments given (in fact, none at all that I am aware of) provide any explanation for the existence of physical laws. Because the universe itself cannot exist without these principles, the laws of physics are, in a sense, a part of the chain of causality, and must be explained. My opponent's own source readily admits this, saying, "The 'divine spark' was whatever produced the laws of physics ... And I don't know what produced that divine spark." Furthermore, that same source says that the possibility of a Big Bang origin to the universe without the existence of a deity does nothing to disprove the existence of God. [2] My opponent's source does ask, if this is the case, who caused God? However, Aquinas's argument does not require God to have a cause. Rather, it only says that everything that exists in our physical universe must have some cause. Thus, God, as a being that by definition transcends the physical universe, does not necessarily have to have a beginning or a cause. He is outside the series of events, and therefore is not bound by the laws which are a part of that series. [1]

My second argument for the existence of a God is that the universe appears to be fine-tuned to allow life to exist. In addition to being unable to explain the very existence of physical laws, the origin theories given by my opponent cannot explain why these laws appear to be fine-tuned to allow life to exist. Everything from the amount of matter in the universe to the mass of quarks, if changed even slightly, would render life impossible. [7] The fine-tuning of the universe is almost undeniable. While it is hard to determine the probability of such a universe coming about either by chance or by design, it is certain that it is much more likely that an intelligent designer would have made our universe than that it would come about by chance. [8] Consider the following analogy. A person who lives in the Amazon jungle, completely separate from modern civilization, is walking along a riverbank when she finds a watch in the dirt. Even though she is unfamiliar with most technology and has never seen a watch before, she recognizes that every piece is designed to make the hands move. Its symmetry, efficiency, and evident purpose make her suppose that it is man-made. It is highly improbable, in her mind, that this object could occur in nature, and she is right. Similarly, when faced with the complexity and apparent design in our universe, a philosophical tool called "inference to the best explanation" [9] says that we should assume that the universe was designed by an intelligent creator.

I thank my opponent and look forward to their response.

Sources:
[1] D'Souza, Dinesh. "What's So Great About Christianity?" p88
[2]http://www.space.com...
[3]https://profmattstrassler.com...
[4]https://arxiv.org...
[5]http://crossexamined.org...
[6]https://phys.org...
[7]https://cosmosmagazine.com...
[8]http://www.discovery.org...
[9]https://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
batman01

Pro

Thank you for a well-thought out response Ninjakitty.

I'd like to first note that my opponent did not really respond to any of my arguments, this may have been an accident but because of the lack of response to my original arguments I will not really have to answer my opponent's rebuttals and will head straight into rebuttals of my own.

1. The Aquinas Cosmological Argument

My opponent brought up the Cosmological Argument in his first round of debating. This does not in my opinion further his side at all. The argument is that everything has a cause and if we channel back these causes to the beginning we are left with an uncaused causer or god.

My first rebuttal is: why can't the uncaused causer be the laws of physics? This makes just as much if not more sense as a being which just exists and is not caused. Why would the being exist? It certainly is a much smaller leap of faith to say that a set of rather abstract laws existed before the Planck epoch than saying that a divine creator did. We have evidence that the Laws of physics exist, we know that they exist. We don't know that god exists. It makes much more sense to assume the thing which we know exists has existed forever than saying a thing for which we have no evidence has existed forever. So in other words, the Cosmological Argument is not in favor of religion generally, it can just as easily be used in support of atheism.

"None of the arguments given (in fact, none at all that I am aware of) provide any explanation for the existence of physical laws."

I could say the same thing about god. There is no convincing argument for how god exists which I have heard. On the other hand we can see physical laws, we have not and never will see any god.

You must admit at some point that something exists without cause, what makes more sense: a god for which we have no evidence who has existed forever and for some inexplicable reason cares and loves you or a set of rather insignificant laws which allowed this universe to be formed?

CONCLUSION:
This argument could be more effectively applied to my position as there is evidence that my "god" (physical laws) exist whereas there is no evidence that any being exists. If you believe god can exist abstractly and without cause, you must doubly believe that physical laws can exist abstractly and without cause.

2. The Fine-Tuning Argument

I will admit I have never found this argument particularly appealing. Life does not seem to be fine-tuned to me for several reasons.

Firstly, we exist on this oblate spheroid in the middle of a tiny solar system nestled in the corner of a petty galaxy of which there are billions more. We exist in our solar system in the greatest cradle of life which we have ever discovered and even in this abundant cradle of being we live on a planet which can support life in some of it's places and of the life which it has supported more than 99.9%(1) of these species have since perished. The universe does not appear to be fine-tuned for life, it seems to very rarely support small patches of life in tiny solar systems. This universe is not fine-tuned, it is cruel and malevolent if anything.

Secondly, if the universe seems fine-tuned for life it's because we are living. The universe could never not seem fine-tuned for life because if it was not fine-tuned for life there would be no consciousness there to perceive it.

Thirdly, the universe likely would have seemed fine-tuned for life 200 years ago and then we learned of Evolution. It would seem more fine-tuned fifty years ago and then we learned more detailed and delicate explanations of the creations of the cosmos. In fifty more years the universe is going to seem even less fine tuned. Science makes things simpler. If you have based your argument upon how mysterious and fine-tuned the universe seems then your argument has been getting smaller and smaller for 10,000 years and will continue to get smaller until the end of human existence.

CONCLUSION:
As you can tell if you read my arguments, there is actually very little reason to believe that this universe is fine-tuned. It supports little life, what life it has supported is already 99.9% dead.

The last thing I'll say is that you never really gave any attacks to my previous positions. I claimed that there was no evidence for a god and after reading your arguments I strongly maintain that position. Your first argument proves too general to provide evidence for a deity and your second argument seems to be an overly excited reaction to the fact that some paltry insignificant life exists on parts of this minuscule little planet.

You never argued with me that a universe can come without a deity (which it can, see first argument).

To be religious you must believe that god exists while not having a shred of evidence in support of this fact. It really is like believing in Santa Claus. Neither god nor Santa Claus are impossible, but are they probable in any sense of the word? No. Simply no.

(1)-http://www.pbs.org...
ninjakitty97

Con

First, I will address my opponent's claim that I did not address any of their arguments. This is patently false, but just in case their is any confusion, I will reiterate my previous points and explain in more detail why exactly they weaken my opponent's argument.

My opponent did not give multiple arguments in their first essay, as was implied. Rather, the entire essay comprised one rather simple argument which goes like this:

Premise 1: There is no evidence that God exists.
Premise 2: There are hypothesized ways that the universe could have come about without the existence of a deity, using solely the laws of physics.
Supporting evidence 1: Quantum fluctuations
Supporting evidence 2: Hartle-Hawking state
Supporting evidence 3: Mathematical proof that the universe could have existed spontaneously
Premise 3: (Implied) The simpler of two hypotheses should be preferred if the more complicated one provides no extra explanatory value.
Conclusion: It is probable that God does not exist.

My opponent appears to want me to attack the three hypotheses were given as supporting evidences to the second premise. I do not need to do this in order to dismantle their argument. All I need to do is attack the premises themselves, which I did.

Most of my first essay was spent providing evidence that contradicts Premise 1. Aquinas's Cosmological argument and the Fine-Tuned Universe argument both provide evidence contrary to at premise. We can argue the merits of this evidence, but it is unfair and wrong to say that I did not address that premise.

I also addressed the Premise 2, and, to an extent, my opponent's supporting evidences. I think this is what my opponent refers to in saying that I have not addressed their arguments. I attacked this premise in the third paragraph of my first essay, asserting that all of my opponent's theories offer no explanation for the laws of physics themselves, and this presupposition of their existence undermines the second premise. I will expound upon this later.

I will now move on to my opponent's rebuttals.

My opponent argues that Aquinas's uncaused cause may be the laws of physics themselves. Such a belief is a rather unconventional and probably incorrect view of scientific law. According to astronomer Robert Jastrow, it is important to recognize that before the Big Bang there were no laws of physics. Such laws, being a product of the Big Bang, are meaningless in explaining the event of their origin. Dinesh D'Souza excellently describes Jastrow's position, saying, "The laws of science are a kind of grammar that explains the order and relationship of objects in the universe," having no meaning or purpose outside that universe. [2] An intrinsic part of the universe, physical laws describe, rather than determine, what happens, so they originated with the universe. My opponent's own source states that the universe began as a singularity, [1] where the laws of science did not apply. [3] My opponent's second premise creates an oxymoron by assuming that physical laws, which are a part of the universe, predated the universe. Thus, the universe (or part of it) preceded itself.

The assumption that scientific law transcends the universe removes us from the realm of science and replaces it with a highly speculative philosophy, relegating physical laws to some ghostly realm of absolutes similar to Plato's forms. [4] There is certainly no more evidence that this is the case than there is that God exists, and probably less. It is certainly not the common scientific understanding. It it is an acceptable belief, but don't pretend to have science on your side in believing it.

My opponent also objects to my argument by saying, "What makes more sense: a god for which we have no evidence who has existed forever ... or a set of rather insignificant laws which allowed this universe to be formed?" First of all, continually repeating "there is no evidence" does not make it true. Second, it does make more sense that God would exist without cause than that physical laws would. Physical laws, as I have shown, are believed to be characteristics of our universe. In our universe, everything must have a cause. Anselm's argument does not require everything to have a cause. Rather, in our universe, a series of events depends on something else that exists outside of the series, as I have said. However, the law of causality is only necessarily true within our universe. Which makes more sense, that the laws of physics, existing within a universe in which everything requires a cause would break that law of causality by existing autonomously, or that a being which exists independently of our universe and is therefore not bound by the law of causality would not have a cause?

In addressing the fine-tuning argument, my opponent invokes the vast size of the universe as a counter-argument. The fact that life is rare in the universe does not undermine my position in the slightest. In fact, if anything, it supports it. The incredibly low probability of complex, intelligent life forming at all [5] indicates that not only our universe, but our planet, is fine-tuned, only making my position stronger. Furthermore, the very laws of physics which are my opponent's "god" are exactly designed to permit life. For example, if down-quarks were heavier than they are, the matter in the universe would behave like helium, rather than hydrogen. All matter would be inert, rendering life impossible. The universe would be formless and void. [6] If the universe had expanded at a rate one-millionth slower than it did, it would have collapsed before stars could form. [7] If the force of gravity had differed by 1/10^40, stars like our sun could not exist, rendering life impossible. [8] The list goes on, but I hope that this gives a bit of insight into how special our situation truly is. Detail and harmony suggest purpose, indicating design.

My opponent articulates my point rather well, saying, "The universe could never not seem fine-tuned for life because if it was not fine-tuned for life there would be no consciousness there to perceive it." Exactly. If the universe did not possess all of these exact factors, life could not exist.

Finally, my opponent claims that my argument diminishes in power as we learn more, but the fine-tuning argument depends not on our ignorance of the world, but on our knowledge of its complexities. The more we learn, the more fine-tuned our universe seems to be, and the more it points to a God. For example, prior to the 20th century, many scientists believed in a steady-state universe. Einstein's theory of relativity proved highly troubling to many scientists because it pointed to a beginning, and therefore a designer. [7] The incredible complexity of the cell, rather than obviating the need for God, undermines evolution as an origin theory. [9] Even Christopher Hitchens cites the fine tuning argument as the strongest argument for intelligent design. [10] The fine-tuning argument becomes more relevant, not less, with time.

In conclusion, the fine tuning argument provides strong evidence that the universe could not come about by chance, and God is the only probable explanation of the existence of scientific laws that does not run contrary to logic.

Sources:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] D'Souza, Dinesh. "What's So Great About Christianity?" p.121
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[5]http://blogs.discovermagazine.com...
[6] https://cosmosmagazine.com...
[7] Geisler, Norman, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist." p. 73, 105
[8] http://www.discovery.org...
[9] http://www.ideacenter.org...
[10] https://www.youtube.com...
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by canis 8 months ago
canis
If you know nothing... Everything is probable...Its up to your imagination...
Posted by kenballer 8 months ago
kenballer
If you answer this question, I will accept this debate:

If the scientific evidenced showed that the Judeo-Christian God existed, would you pursue a relationship with him to obtain salvation?
Posted by missmedic 8 months ago
missmedic
While similar, possible and probable have very different meanings.
While similar, possible and probable have very different meanings.
Posted by missmedic 8 months ago
missmedic
While similar, possible and probable have very different meanings.
Posted by missmedic 8 months ago
missmedic
While similar, possible and probable have very different meanings.
Posted by kenballer 8 months ago
kenballer
If you answer this question, I will accept this debate:

If the scientific evidenced showed that the Judeo-Christian God existed, would you pursue a relationship with him to obtain salvation?
No votes have been placed for this debate.