It is likely that a God or gods exist
I am not interested in a semantic debate. By God or gods, I do not refer to a specific monotheistic Judeo-Christian conception of God. Rather, I use a more general, commonplace definition in which gods are either supernatural creators of the universe or even simply supernatural entities that are responsible for a specific aspect of the universe (for example, Poseidon is the god of the ocean, or Mars is the god of war). That is not to say that God cannot possess attributes such as being omnipotent or omniscient or omnibenevolent. Rather, Pro does not necessarily need to establish both that the creator of the universe exists and that he possesses characteristics ascribed to him by Judeo-Christian theologians and philosophers.
Both Pro and Con share the burden of proof.
Round 1 is for acceptance only.
I accept. Please begin with your opening argument.
Kalam Cosmological Argument
This argument can be formulated in the following way.
1.Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2.The universe began to exist.
3.Therefore, the universe had a cause of its existence.
The first premise is very obvious to just about anyone. Our practical experience confirms that things do not pop into existence out of nothing. Moreover, for something to come out of nothing is metaphysically impossible. Nothing has no properties. Also, if universes could pop into existence out of nothing, why doesn"t anything and everything pop into being out of nothing with no cause? We do not see horses pop into existence in our living rooms. Due to both metaphysical and empirical reasons, the first premise seems very plausible.
Hence, the crucial premise is the second premise. Some nonbelievers claim that the universe has an infinite past and has never began to exist. However, the premise that the universe began to exist can be found in any science textbook. According to the Big Bang Theory, the universe began approximately 13.7 billion years ago.
Moreover, the second law of thermodynamics provides proof that the universe cannot have an infinite past. According to the UC Davis Chemwiki, the second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of the universe, as a closed isolated system, "will always increase over time" . Moreover, the second law states that changes in entropy in the universe "can never be negative" . If the universe never began to exist, it would have an infinite past. However, if the past was infinite, then the entropy in the universe by now would be so great that life would be unable to exist. Since life does exist, the universe must have had a beginning a finite time ago.
Moreover, the very notion of an infinite past is metaphysically impossible. This is because the idea that an infinite number of things can actually exist is metaphysically impossible. For example, what is infinity minus infinity? Mathematics gives contradictory answers. In truth, while the notion of potential infinity is useful in mathematics, the concept of an actual infinity is metaphysical nonsense. This suggests that rather than there being an infinite past, the universe must have a finite past and hence must have begun to exist.
Given premises 1 and 2, the conclusion that the universe has a cause of its existence naturally follows. Since the universe consists of all time, space, and matter, the creator of the universe must be timeless, spaceless, powerful, and immaterial. Moreover, the cause of the universe must also be personal. This is due to several reasons, but here is one of them. The only things that can possess timelessness and immateriality that we know of are abstract objects and disembodied, supernatural minds. But abstract objects cannot cause anything. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be a disembodied mind, a supernatural creator of the universe which qualifies as a god.
The Fine-Tuning Argument (Argument from Design)
Physicists commonly agree that the universe is "fine-tuned" for the conditions of life. Many constants in the universe are fine-tuned for life in the sense that if these constants were very very slightly changed, intelligent life could never exist. To give an example, physicist Luke Barnes says that the amount of matter in the initial stage of our universe is fine-tuned to one part in 10^55 . That is a 1 followed by 55 zeros! And that is just one of numerous examples.
This form of the teleological argument works by using the fine-tuning of the universe as evidence of design. It can be formulated as follows.
1.The fine-tuning of the universe is the result of law, chance, or design.
2.The fine-tuning of the universe is not the result of law or chance.
3.Therefore, the fine-tuning of the universe is the result of design.
The chance that the universe is fine-tuned by accident is almost zero. And no law of the universe seems to suggest that the cosmological constants need to be the way they are. That means that the fine-tuning must be due to design. But that implies that there is a designer of the universe, quite possibly one who was interested in creating life. Since such a designer would be timeless, spaceless, powerful, and immaterial, that creator would fulfill the qualifications of a god as we know it.
Argument from Religious Experiences
Many people are theists due to the cosmological argument and the argument from design. However, many people are also theists for an additional reason- religious experiences. Throughout human history up to the present day, most cultures have had a concept of religion and gods. According to the Pew Research Center, today more than 80% of people in the world belong to a religious group . For a few of these people, God"s existence may simply be a comparatively abstract fact about reality, in the way that "there are seven days in a week" is a comparatively abstract fact. However, for a large proportion of believers, their belief in God or gods is much more than a simple abstract fact. They believe that they have or have had real religious experiences. Some Christians call such experiences "bearing witness to the holy spirit." Likewise, people of practically all religions report knowing that God or gods exist due to feeling the inner presence of a divine being.
This fact can be awkward for a naturalist. For on naturalism, there is no reason to expect that people would have any religious experiences at all. If God or gods do not exist, why should people have such powerful, moving experiences? If theism is true, there is a very straightforward explanation, namely that God or gods exist. The atheist, however, is hard-pressed to come up with any explanation for why people have religious experiences. Unless atheists can provide a compelling explanation for religious experiences, they will be hard-pressed to convince anyone who believes that they feel the presence of the divine in their daily lives. So my opponent must provide a naturalistic explanation for religious experience in order to give the atheistic worldview any credibility at all.
The atheist might object to this argument, questioning the validity of religious experience due to the apparent contradictions between the doctrines of different religions. In response, the atheist would do well to consider the parable of the elephant and the blind men . In the parable, blind men touch different parts of the elephant and come to greatly different conclusions about the nature of the elephant. This story serves as a useful metaphor to explain religious pluralism and defend against the atheist"s objection. Just because people claim different things about the nature of the Divine does not mean that the Divine is not real. It simply means that people interpret religious experiences differently, rather than meaning that gods (the elephant in the parable) do not exist.
In conclusion, I have presented three arguments for the existence of God or gods. These arguments are the Kalam Cosmological Argument, the Fine-Tuning Argument, and the Argument from Religious Experience. If my opponent wishes to show that atheism is true, he must refute all three of these arguments and construct his own positive case for atheism. I again thank my opponent for accepting this debate.
 A version of the parable may be found at http://www.cs.princeton.edu...
God - "the greatest being that can be conceived"
God possesses the following intrinsic maximums: omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience. The intentions of this argument is to convey that one specific attribute of God's is sophistry. If I successfully do this, it demonstrates that the concept of God is incoherent. If I do this, my burden of proof is fulfilled. The attribute I intend to attack is specifically "omnipotence". Omnipotence is defined as "
P3) ◊(~∃x) (~Mx)⊃ (~∃x) (~Mx)
P4) (~∃x) (~Mx) ⊃ (~∃x) (~Mx)
P5) (~∃x) (~Mx) ⊃ (~∃x) (~Mx)
C) ∴ (~∃x) (Mx)
The Omnipotence "Paradox" and Reverse Ontological Argument
My opponent says God is the greatest being that can be conceived. He claims that God has omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience. Note that I never claimed to be defending such a narrow, strict, Judeo-Christian concept of God. In round 1, I stated the following:
"Rather, I use a more general, commonplace definition in which gods are either supernatural creators of the universe or even simply supernatural entities that are responsible for a specific aspect of the universe (for example, Poseidon is the god of the ocean, or Mars is the god of war). That is not to say that God cannot possess attributes such as being omnipotent or omniscient or omnibenevolent. Rather, Pro does not necessarily need to establish both that the creator of the universe exists and that he possesses characteristics ascribed to him by Judeo-Christian theologians and philosophers."
Indeed, none of my arguments imply that God or gods are omnipotent and omniscient. A God or gods might be very powerful, but I never claimed that they were all-powerful or all-knowing. Hence, both Con"s argument against omnipotence and his reverse modal ontological argument are simply irrelevant to this debate.
The Argument from Atemporal Minds
In regard to this argument, I dispute the second premise. If you make a house, are you not allowed to live in the house you made? Many theologians, such as William Lane Craig, believe that God exists omnitemporally, entering into time when he creates the universe . Moreover, my opponent has not proven the fifth premise. Even a timeless mind can hold beliefs and knowledge eternally, without ever interacting in time. So it would seem that the Argument from Atemporal Minds is quite inadequate at disproving the existence of a God or gods.
Kalam Cosmologoical Argument
My opponent questions both premises of the argument, but his objections are weak. He claims that I provide no non-inductive justification for the first premise. I protest! I did provide good non-inductive reasons for believing in the first premise. For example, how can something come from nothing when nothing does not have any properties? My opponent gives no response to this argument.
Moreover, my opponent claims that somehow using inductive evidence like the fact that our everyday experience confirms the first premise is somehow a flaw in the argument. Science relies on induction all the time, so why should we suddenly question the value of inductive reasoning when it comes to the causal premise? My opponent is committing what has been called the Taxicab Fallacy, in which he takes and applies the causal premise to almost everything, yet gets out of the taxi when it takes him somewhere that he does not want to go, namely to the question of whether the universe must have a cause of its existence.
My opponent also questions the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, namely that the universe began to exist. However, he does not provide an alternate, compelling theory to compete with the standard Big Bang model of the universe to show that the universe has an infinite past. He claims that entropy did not increase until after the Big Bang, but this assertion is completely unsupported with no sources (In fact, his opening statement contains no sources!). In contrast, in the previous round, I provided a source that explicitly stated that the entropy in the universe "will always increase over time" and "can never be negative" . Contrary to my opponent"s claims, the second law of thermodynamics does appear to provide evidence that the universe had a beginning.
Moreover, my opponent fails to show that the concept of an actually infinite number of past events is metaphysically possible. Why is it that if one tries to subtract infinity from infinity, one gets contradictory answers? Such results are metaphysically absurd. For a more in-depth illustration on how this is crazy, see the Hilbert Hotel thought experiment .
My opponent also claims that the Kalam Cosmological Argument as a whole is an inductive argument and therefore somehow weak. But this is a poor objection. Both the Cosmological Argument and Fine-Tuning Argument are deductive arguments in which their conclusions follow deductively from their premises. Only the Argument from Religious Experiences is not formulated deductively, but that is an argument for the best explanation. It would seem like any complaints about these arguments on the basis on their form simply fail.
Therefore, it would appear that my opponent has failed to provide any strong objections against the Kalam Cosmological Argument.
Amazingly, my opponent denies the existence of the fine-tuning of the constants of the universe, a truth which most physicists accept. An appeal to authority is not fallacious when the claim is not particularly controversial among the majority of experts. I recommend that my opponent listens to the podcast I cited in the previous round with astrophysicist Luke Barnes if he wishes to know more about how the constants are fine-tuned . Here is one example. Robin Collins claims that "if the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as 1 part in 1060, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form" . Collins also cites numerous physicists in his article to demonstrate the scientific consensus on fine-tuning . So I believe we have good reason to believe that the universe was fine-tuned.
Argument from Religious Experiences
My opponent provides almost no case against the Argument from Religious Experiences. He claims that it does not show that God exists necessarily, but I am not arguing for a conception of God as a maximally great being! Moreover, he points out that some people do not feel an inner divine presence. But this objection is as weak as saying that since some people are color-blind, colors do not exist! The fact is, very very many people throughout the world and throughout history have had religious experiences. There is a very simple explanation of them, namely that the divine exists. Meanwhile, divine experiences seem very implausible on atheism, and they require an explanation from the atheist. Without a good explanation on behalf of atheism, theism is clearly the best explanation for religious experiences. Arguments extend.
I have shown that my opponent"s arguments are either irrelevant to the debate at hand or simply false. Meanwhile, I have shown that my opponent"s objections to my arguments fail. Unless my opponent can provide a stronger case for atheism, we have good grounds for believing in a God or gods.
 See William Lane Craig"s Debate with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong in the book God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist
 http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com.... I will not rehash the long argument here, since this source explains the thought experiment in a much better way than I could with the limited space I have in this debate.
The Omnipotence Paradox and Reverse Ontological Argument.
I concede that the Omnipotence Paradox is irrelevant to this debate - not the RMOA. If we were to replace "MOA", with "God" or "Gods", then the argument would be completely acceptable.
My opponent completely drops this argument.
Reverse Modal Ontological Argument
My opponent's revised argument does not work because it requires God or gods to be necessary beings. Necessary beings must exist in all possible worlds. I have not argued that God or gods are necessary beings! Hence, the third premise of this argument does not work. I could even make a parallel argument to try and "prove" that my opponent does not exist! Clearly, without the assumption that God is a necessary being, this argument is simply invalid.
Argument Against Atemporal Minds
My opponent completely misunderstands my objection. Deities cannot exist outside of space-time "before" creating it because there was no time before the origin of the universe. Rather, I claim that the creator of the universe used simultaneous causation to create the universe. Moreover, God can be omnitemporal, entering into time at the moment of creation. This is what I mean by the fact then when you make a house, you can live in the house. God can exist omnitemporally when he creates space-time.
The above response also deals with my opponent's claim that a mind involves processes that do involve time. Nevertheless, my opponent has not specified how a mind must exist temporally other than asserting it in the previous round. Even a timeless mind can hold beliefs and knowledge eternally. My opponent has not explained which processes require a mind to exist temporally, as well as prove that a mind must necessarily, by definition, carry out those specific processes. No amount of underlining words can prove this for him.
Therefore, it seems that all three of Con's arguments are hopelessly inadequate to disprove the existence of a God or gods. What about my arguments?
Kalam Cosmological Argument
My opponent's objections are very confused. First, my opponent objects to one of my arguments for the first premise by saying that it does not point in the direction of a deity. Alone, of course it doesn't! The argument is meant to support premise 1 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, namely that whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence. This is a theologically neutral premise, as is the premise that the universe began to exist. It is the combination of both these premises that point to the existence of God. My opponent also seems to think that this argument is a mere appeal to intuition. But I provided justification for this argument, namely that since nothing has no properties, it is absurd for something to pop into existence out of nothing.
Contrary to my opponent's claims, I have also provided evidence for the first principle in terms of everyday experience. If a horse popped into being in his living room, would he just think it appeared with no cause? Or would he investigate the horse and surroundings for a cause? The first premise is validated every day by our experience, yet my opponent does not want to apply it to the universe. That is an example of the Taxicab Fallacy, and no amount of underlining changes that fact.
My opponent's objections to the second premise are also confused. Last round, I challenged my opponent to provide evidence for his assertion that entropy did not increase until after the big bang. He has not provided such evidence. He also doesn't realize that if entropy increases for an infinite amount of time, it would be too great to permit life in the universe. He also does not provide an alternate explanation to the standard model of the origin of the universe, in which the universe was created billions of years ago in the Big Bang. With all due respect, my opponent's responses to my scientific arguments are abysmal.
My opponent also disputes that the Hilbert's Hotel thought experiment shows that an actual infinite is metaphysically impossible. Note that Hilbert's Hotel is logically possible- but it is absurd. If there was a hotel with an infinite number of rooms with all rooms occupied, and everyone occupying an odd-numbered room checked out, then there would still be an infinite number of people in the hotel. In fact, the manager could fill the vacancy by shifting everyone one room down. So infinity minus infinity equals infinity, right? But if everyone but the occupants of rooms 1, 2, and 3 check out, then it would seem that infinity minus infinity is three! This is metaphysically contradictory and absurd. So my opponent"s objection that Hilbert's Hotel does not show anything is also false.
Hence, it would appear that my opponent has failed to debunk either premise of this argument. But that means God exists.
I am astonished at how poorly my opponent has responded to this argument throughout this debate. I have given many sources from physicists to verify that the universe is fine-tuned, but my opponent has denied my evidence. Moreover, he has not given any reason to believe that the universe is not fine-tuned. In fact, in his last round, he implied that he does not deny the fine-tuning of the universe after all! But since he does not dispute any of the other premises of this argument, this means that my opponent has to conclude on the basis of this argument that God exists.
Argument from Religious Experiences
Con misunderstands my arguments. Once again, he makes assertions that he does not back up, such as that faith cannot provide objective evidence. He challenges my analogy to colors, but his challenge misses the point. If ten people who have never heard of science are in a room, and eight of them say that they see colors and two of them state that they do not see colors, what is the best explanation for this result? That colors exist, or that eight out of ten people are participating in some sort of mass delusion? The theory that colors exist is simpler and more plausible. Likewise, the theory that God or gods exist is more plausible than the theory that everyone but the atheist is experiencing some sort of mass delusion. The theory that God exists is also supported by the parable of the blind men, which throughout this debate my opponent has completely failed to respond to.
He also claims that people believing in ghosts does not prove that ghosts exist. I agree! But people do not report having an inner sense that ghosts exist, and very few people claim to have ever experienced the presence of a ghost. The false belief in ghosts can plausibly be explained by fallacious reasoning and delusions among a small number of people. The theory that religious experiences are due to mass delusions is a much less satisfactory explanation for religious belief.
Thus, the Argument from Religious Experiences also succeeds in proving that a God or gods exist.
In conclusion, we have seen three arguments for the existence of God or gods, namely the Kalam Cosmological Argument, the Fine-Tuning Argument, and the Argument from Religious Experiences. All of my opponent's objections to these arguments have been rebutted successfully. Meanwhile, my opponent has dropped his argument against omnipotence, and I have successfully rebutted his other two arguments. I thank my opponent for the engaging debate, and I encourage voters to VOTE PRO.
Very early in its history, the whole Universe was very hot. As it expanded, this heat left behind a "glow" that fills the entire Universe. The Big Bang theory not only predicts that this glow should exist, but that it should be visible as microwaves - part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
This is the Cosmic Microwave Background which has been accurately measured by orbiting detectors, and is very good evidence that the Big Bang theory is correct."(4)(5)