The Instigator
Microsuck
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

It is improbable that God exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Microsuck
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,014 times Debate No: 24356
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (3)

 

Microsuck

Pro

**ONLY TAKE THIS DEBATE IF YOU ARE SERIOUS**

TERMS

Resolved:
It is improbable that God exists.

Rounds:

1. Acceptance only
2. Opening arguments
3. Rebuttals
4. Rebuttals/clash (No new arguments)

CLARIFICATION

For purpose of this debate, "God" is going to be defined broadly as a Judeo-Christian type God (i.e., one who is: omnipotence, omniscince, omnibenevolent, and omnipresent). Because I am not referring to a specific diety (i.e., Allah, Jesus etc.) doctrines such as the Trinity and Bible errors are completely irrelavent.

The burden of proof is shared. As such, it is not enough for my opponent to simply refute my case but he would need to prove the negation of the resolution.

Also, I request no more than 3 arguments from either side.

**ONLY TAKE THIS DEBATE IF YOU ARE SERIOUS**
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

As an Atheist I will be playing devil's advocate in this debate, I will be arguing against my opponent's claims that it is improbable that God exists.
Debate Round No. 1
Microsuck

Pro

Thank you, rational thinker, for accepting this debate. I always wanted to debate you and it is a pleasure to finally get to do so.

PART 1: A CASE FOR WEAK ATHEISM

In part 1, I am going to be making a case for weak atheism; namely, it is a lack of belief in the existence of any gods. This differs from strong atheism because strong atheists assert that no gods, or just a particular god, do not exist. (Matthew)

Contention 1: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

Undoubtedly my opponent has heard this statement before. It is beyond all reasonable doubt that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In summary, it is this in syllogism form:

1. If a claim is extraordinary, then in the absence of extraordinarily strong evidence in its favor, the claim may be considered false.
2. The claim that a god exists is an extraordinary claim.
3. Therefore, in the absence of extraordinarily strong evidence in its favor, the claim that a god exists may be considered false.
4. There is no extraordinarily strong evidence for the claim that a god exists.
5. Therefore, the claim that a god exists may be considered false.[1] (Krueger)

As defined by Krueger, an extraordinary claim is a claim that contradicts accepted physical laws or our common sense, everyday experiences of the world. (Ibid)

First of all, this is not to say that miraculous events cannot happen nor is this saying that God cannot exist. Rather, it is saying that in the absence of evidence for God’s existence, the claim that God exists should be taken as false. In other words, atheism is the default position.

Why do I say that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? Consider the following statements:

  1. 1. I ate a hotdog for lunch.
  2. 2. I am an owner of a multimillion dollar mansion
  3. 3. God spoke to me last night and called me to be his prophet.

In those three statements, which are you least likely to believe without evidence? Surely, it would be claim number 3. Why? Because I have provided zero evidence that God spoke to me last night and called me to be his prophet. Consequently, you would be rational to reject such a claim—especially if it requires you to change your entire worldview and change how you live.

Why is God’s existence extraordinary? Because it is a claim about a being who is vastly different from any known human or animal with regards to power or intelligence. It is a being that is all-powerful; knows everything (even the words I’m typing on this page and the words you are reading now); and a being who exists outside of time, space, and the natural realm; yet, at the same time, can co-exist within that realm and interact with it. As such, we should demand extraordinarily strong evidence before believing that Theism, as defined in round 1, is true.

So, is there strong evidence for God’s existence? I will refute my opponent’s arguments and will demonstrate that there is no evidence for God’s existence. For point in blank, many Christian Theists have held that there was not enough evidence for God’s existence. As Dr. James Dobson states:

"[F]aith ranks at the top of God's system of priorities.... This determination to believe when the proof is not provided and when the questions are not answered is central to our relationship with the Lord. He will never do anything to destroy the need for faith." (Dobson)

PART 2: A CASE FOR STRONG ATHEISM

I am a strong atheist. I do not believe that any gods or supernatural beings exist. The next two arguments will layout my case as to why I can say that rather confidently.

Contention 2: God is Incoherent

This argument shows that God cannot exist because his attributes are self-contradictory in the same way that a square circle cannot exist because it is contradictory.

1. Anything with contradictory properties cannot exist.
2. God has contradictory properties.
3. Therefore, God cannot exist.

Remember, the God that I defined in the opening round was that of a Judeo-Christian type God. As such, this extends to ALL attributes of the Judeo-Christian God. As defined by the Catholic Almanac, 1968, God is:

[A]lmighty, eternal, holy, immortal, immense, immutable, incomprehensible, ineffable, infinite, invisible, just, loving, merciful, most high, most wise, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, patient, perfect, provident, supreme, true. (Smith)

At least two of the above attributes are contradictory; namely, incomprehensible and ineffable. How can God’s nature be known if God cannot be neither understood nor described?

So, in syllogism form:

1. God is ineffable

2. God is incomprehensible.

3. Therefore, he cannot be described nor understood.

4. Yet there are many known attributes of God.

5. Therefore, God can and cannot be described/understood.

This is clearly incoherence.

I rest my case.



[1] This was from a formal debate that originally took place on the FRDB discussion board. Douglas E. Krueger, the member defending atheism, used the syllogism that I used in this debate.

Bibliography

Dobson, James. When God Doesn't Make Sense. Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1993. 20 June 2012. <Quoted on http://www.infidels.org...;.

Krueger, Doug. The Krueger-McHugh Debate: Theism or Atheism. 2003. Document. 20 June 2012. <http://www.infidels.org...;.

Matthew. An Introduction to Atheism. 1997. Document. 20 June 2012. <http://www.infidels.org...;

Smith, George H. Atheism: The Case Against God. Los Angeles: Nash, 1974. Web. 20 June 2012. <Quoted on http://rejectionofpascalswager.net...;.


Rational_Thinker9119

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this debate, as I'm sure it will be an interesting exchange.

A Case For Weak Atheism

It is true that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence as far as new knowledge claims are concerned, however I do not think such evidence is required for belief. Belief and knowledge are certainly not mutually exclusive, but there can be vast differences between the two in particular circumstances. What is an example? Well, if I hand you a random card out of a 52 card deck, it's rational to believe that it is not the King of Diamonds, this is because the odds of you getting that specific card are 1 in 52. However, it would be irrational to claim to know that the card is not a King of Diamonds until you turn it over. Now, when it comes to God, I would claim that one could make a probability claim that he most likely exists and form this belief rationally, without any extraordinary evidence at all. For example, I believe that extraterrestrials exist somewhere in the universe, and I am justified in this belief due to how fast life started on Earth and how many Earth like planets there are...Do I have any extraordinary evidence for extraterrestrials? No, but I do not require this because I am not making a knowledge claim, I'm making a belief claim which still requires justification in situations (like in situations involving debating of some sort), but not extraordinary evidence.


Since theism and atheism are based around belief specifically, and not knowledge specifically, one is justified in belief in God (or belief that he doesn't exist) without any extraordinary evidence.

Syllogism

Now, I have a major problem with this:

"1. If a claim is extraordinary, then in the absence of extraordinarily strong evidence in its favor, the claim may be considered false."

It is not rational to believe an extraordinary claim is false, simply because there is a lack of evidence for said claim. It may be rational to not accept that the claim is true, however there is a huge difference between simply not accepting a claim is true, and accepting that the claim is false. One needs further justification for that.

Based on the above, I believe that I have shown how my opponent's case for weak atheism, was rather weak in itself.

A Case For Strong Atheism

My opponent's justification for strong Atheism is the "incompatible properties" argument. Why does this line of thinking fail? Well, if there are two properties that contradict each other, one could easily remove one of the two properties with regards to the said definition of God, redefine God in a more coherent manner, and we are back to square one....Incompatible properties don't necessarily eliminate God, they just require that one of the two contradictory properties needs to go.

Now, my opponent may argue that the Judeo-Christian God is defined as having these properties, so any other God without these properties, would be a different God and not the God we are debating about (The Christian God more or less). This would seem like a strong rebuttal on it's surface, however who is to say that humans got their definition of the Judeo-Christian God correct? The Judeo-Christian God Jews and Christians claim to have experiences with, could still exist even if humans failed and defining him and giving him coherent properties due to humans being flawed beings. Thus, my opponent's case for strong atheism fails as well.

It Is Probable That The Judeo-Christian God Exists

The criteria set by my opponent, states that I must not only refute his claims that God is improbable, but present my own arguments for God being probable. I will present two arguments to defend this notion: The Teleological Argument, and The Argument From The Resurrection Of Jesus.

The Teleological Argument

This is more or less the fine-tuning argument, however I will be the ditching the syllogism format. Now, The combination of physical constants that we see in our universe is the only one able of sustaining life as we know it. The rate of the expansion of energy/matter that followed The Big Bang needed to happen at exactly the correct rate. If it had expanded any faster, matter would have dissipated too fast for solar systems and stars to form. If this expansion happened any slower, the universe would have collapsed in on itself in a Big Crunch. Also, scientists calculated that changes in the nuclear strong force of as little as ±1% would have dramatically affected the breakdown of the known elements in the universe, and life we know it would be absolutely impossible [1]. This seems much easier explained by the fact that a designer chose the universe to be this way, instead of everything we see around us arising by simple chance. Since we are talking about probability here, what are the odds that the universe we have right now would exist if an all powerful God willed it to? I would say 1 in 1. However, what are the the odds that the universe we have right now would exist if it was simply due to random forces acting and chance? The odds are so low I don't even want to think about it, clearly God existing is more probable given this than the alternative.

The Argument From The Resurrection Of Jesus

Most New Testament scholars seem to agree in large sums that the resurrection of Jesus is no joke. Now, if Atheists can accept claims from physicists when it comes to matters of physics due to large agreement amongst the experts in the field (lets face it, we don't truly understand the intricacies regarding the physics information we intake), why can't theists accept claims from Biblical scholars with it comes to matters of religion due to large agreement amongst experts in the field? Also, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, and heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings, or it is the most remarkable fact of history. It seems like the burden of proof would rest on the one claiming the conspiracy (like how the burden of proof is on 911 Truther conspiracy theorists to show why 911 was an inside job), instead of the one simply adhering to known and accepted historic accounts. Since God clearly is the most likely candidate with regards to raising Jesus from the dead (Jesus himself, is God), then belief in the Judeo-Christian God seems to more rational than the alternative.

Conclusion

My opponent failed to present good arguments in favor of weak atheism and strong atheism. I met my burden by providing a better case for why God is probable by using the fine-tuning argument, and made sure my argument entailed the Judeo-Christian God by arguing in favor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the resolution seems to have been negated early, maybe my opponent will prove me wrong.

Source(s)

[1] http://wiki.ironchariots.org...


PS. My apologies for the lack of sources, I mostly just used arguments that came from my mind for this one.
Debate Round No. 2
Microsuck

Pro

Thank you, rationalthinker, for accepting this debate. It is certainly a pleasure to debate you. I would like to call you out though on a violation the second round was for opening arguments only and you brought in refutations to my opening statements. In this first rebuttal I will address some of the problems with RT’s argument for the existence of God. In the subsequent round, I will address his rebuttals to the arguments in my opening statement.

REBUTALS TO CON’S ARGUMENTS

To defend a belief in God, con brought up two arguments: 1) The teleological argument; and 2) The resurrection of Jesus Christ. The teleological argument shows that the universe is mathematically impossible and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ shows that without God; Jesus could not have risen from the dead and that Jesus’ resurrection did occur.

THE TELOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

Con attempts a fine tuning argument for the existence of God. There are several flaws with the argument that I am going to exploit in my first rebuttal.

Problem 1: God’s attributes cannot be determined

The first and foremost problem with this argument is that the attributes of God cannot be derived nor deduced from this argument. My opponent’s burden is to prove that a Judeo-Christian type God exists, which cannot be done with this argument. As such, the argument is bugged. Why do I say that? Well, for the sake of argument, let’s concede that this argument successfully shows that there is a divine being or a prime mover that guided the formation of the universe: we cannot, in any way, show that God is morally perfect nor can it show that God is omnipresent. God can still exist, but be malevolent

Problem 2: The Atheist Teleological Argument

As for the rest of the argument, it does not fare much better. It is true that the universe appears to be finely tuned. However, that is just an illusion and is far from the truth. As Richard Carrier notes:


"Similarly the “fine tuning” of the universe’s physical constants: that would be a great proof—if it wasn’t exactly the same thing we’d see if a god didn’t exist. If there is no god, we will only ever find ourselves in a universe finely tuned (in that case, by random chance), because without a god, there is no other kind of universe that can produce us. Likewise, a universe that produced us by chance would have to be enormously vast in size and enormously old, so as to have all the room to mix countless chemicals countless times in countless places so as to have any chance of accidentally kicking up something as complex as life. And that’s exactly the universe we see: one enormously vast in size and age. A godless universe would also only produce life rarely and sparingly, and that’s also what we see: by far most of the universe is lethal to life (being a deadly radiation filled vacuum) and by far most of the matter in the universe is lethal to life (constituting stars and black holes on which no life can ever live). Again, all exactly what we’d expect of a godless universe. Not what we’d expect of a god-made one.

Thus, we have exactly the universe we’d expect to have if there is no god. Whereas a god does not need vast trillions of star systems and billions of years to make life. He doesn’t need vast quantities of lethal space and deadly matter. Only a godless universe needs that. I make a more detailed survey of this kind of evidence in “Neither Life Nor the Universe Appear Intelligently Designed” in John Loftus’s The End of Christianity. It also does no good to say such a random accidental universe is improbable, because the convenient existence of a marvelously “super-omni” god is just as improbable. Either way you are assuming some amazing luck. Which leaves the evidence. And the evidence is just way more probable if there’s no god. Thus, we’re forced to choose between which lucky accident it was, and the evidence confirms the one and not the other." (Carrier, Richard Carrier Interveiw, 2012)

Indeed, the universe is one cosmic killer! Richard Carrier further nails this point in his book Why I am Not a Christian:

"The fact that the universe is actually very poorly designed to sustain and benefit life is already a refutation of the Christian theory, which entails the purpose of the universe is to sustain and benefit life--human life in particular. When we look at how the universe is actually built, we do find that it appears perfectly designed after all--but not for producing life. Lee Smolin has argued from the available scientific facts that our universe is probably the most perfect universe that could ever be arranged for producing black holes. He also explains how all the elements that would be required to finely tune a perfect black-hole-maker also make chemical life like ours an extremely rare but inevitable byproduct of such a universe." (Carrier, Why I am Not a Christian, 2006)

So the teleological argument fails—miserably. Not only does it fail to meet the burden of proof, but it can be changed around to be support for atheism rather than Theism. So, how do Atheists get around the problem of the improbability of life? Simple: By showing that the universe, though improbable, is not that more improbable than winning the lottery. Why are lotteries won so frequently? Because of the amount of time that the lottery is played. To quote Richard Carrier again:

[T]he laws of probability entail the odds of winning a lottery depend not just on how unlikely a win is--let's say, a one in a billion chance--but on how often the game is played. In other words, if a billion people play, and the odds of winning are one in a billion, it is actually highly probable that someone will win the lottery. Now, if the game is played only once, and the only ticket sold just happens to be the winner, then you might get suspicious. And if the game was played a billion times, and each time only one ticket was sold and yet every single time that ticket happened to be the winner, then you would be quite certain someone was cheating. For nothing else could explain such a remarkable fact.” (Carrier, Why I am Not a Christian, 2006)

So, in short, the universe is indeed unlikely—yet it is overcome because of the amount of time that the game of life is played.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

My opponent has not even attempted to prove that the resurrection of Jesus even occurred. Even still, this debate is not focused on a specific deity per se; rather it is on a Judeo-Christian type God. Therefore, the argument itself violates the rules in round 1.

I’m out of room and will defend my opening statements in the next round. Thank you.



Bibliography

Carrier, R. (2006). Why I am Not a Christian. Richmond, California, United States of America: CreateSpace. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://www.infidels.org...

Carrier, R. (2012, January 3). Richard Carrier Interveiw. (TheBestSchools, Interviewer)

Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Due to:

"Because I am not referring to a specific deity (i.e., Allah, Jesus etc.) doctrines such as the Trinity and Bible errors are completely irrelevant."

and

"My opponent’s burden is to prove that a Judeo-Christian type God exists, which cannot be done with this argument (The Teleological Argument)"

I must concede the debate, because this debate is a complete waste of time.

If one cannot use scripture or any philosophical arguments (teleological argument, Kalam Cosmological Argument ect.) then anyone who accepts this debate is committing suicide, and it's clear my opponent is not here for an intellectual exchange. How could one argue for a Judeo-Christian like God without using any scripture and backing up the plausibility of a God existing with philosophical argumentation for a first cause or fine-tuning?

It was my fault for accepting this debate without properly acknowledging the stipulations, so please vote for Pro. However, the conditions were utterly stupid. If this debate was "It is improbable that God exists" without the specific stipulations which guarantee him a win, this debate would have turned out much differently.
Debate Round No. 3
Microsuck

Pro

Thank you. Vote pro.
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Yes, vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
Ok, I can do one where a scripture is allowed. I just didn't want this to get too technical. Since you would be pro God, challenge me.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Why don't you start the debate again only without limiting your opponent? Why can't scripture be allowed? Why must the God be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent? Why can't a God just be defined as an intelligent creator of the cosmos? Just make is a regular debate about God dude, what you scared of?
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
Rt, you'e allowed to use philosophical arguments, when did I say you couldn't?

ahmed, it is a while to explain, but in short, agnosticism is not a religious position, but it is a theory of knowledge. In all actuality,all agnostics are atheists.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
@Ahmed.M

Weak Atheism and Agnosticism aren't mutually exclusive.
Posted by Ahmed.M 4 years ago
Ahmed.M
You shouldn't have given up so easily rationalthinker, you could have argued the definitions since judeo-Christian is the God of Christianity/Judaism which it is then contradictory to then say that no specific deities are being referred to.

Microsuck, if weak atheism is only a lack of belief in gods, what is agnosticism then? Agnosticism is the lack of belief in Gods.

Anyways nice on the victory.
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
Ok. Anyway, argument up tomorrow. Been slacking a bit. The arguments that you provided are extremely weak so I think I may have this ;)
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
three*
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Fair enough, It's only one round out of two though. I still got this ;)
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
Not to mention refutations weren't sippose to come until the next round =D
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Oh snap, I totally forgot that the debate stipulations couldn't involve specific deities....I guess the resurrection argument is void now....Oh well, I still believe I can win this :)
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by nyyfan 4 years ago
nyyfan
MicrosuckRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro shouldn't have made stipulations after the first round but I'll begrudgingly give him the win.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
InVinoVeritas
MicrosuckRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
MicrosuckRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.