The Instigator
stubs
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Dan4reason
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

It is more probable that God exist than that God does not exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
stubs
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/30/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,240 times Debate No: 22452
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

stubs

Pro

1st round is for clarifications of rules and acceptance only. Each of us have equal burden of proof for showing out position is more probable. I will specifically be arguing for the Christian God. Good luck to my opponent and thanks for the opportunity.
Dan4reason

Con

Agreed. Thanks pro for starting this debate.

See you at the end!
Debate Round No. 1
stubs

Pro

I am glad to have this debate. I will defend two arguments in this debate. That there are good reasons to believe that God exist and that there are not sufficiently good reasons to believe that God does not exist. If Dan4reason wants to show atheism is more probable than he must refute my arguments and give reason to believe atheism is true. I will let my opponent give his arguments and then refute them rather than attacking straw men at this point.

My first argument is the basic kalam cosmological argument:
P1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause
P2: The universe began to exist
Therefore, the universe has a cause.

We notice that the two premises are not religious at all. The fact that the universe began to exist can be found in any astrophysics and cosmology text book. This premises can be shown true for a few reasons.

First: If the universe is infinite, then an infinite number of past events had to occur. This is obviously false because infinity is not an actual thing but rather just an idea. David Hilberg possibly the greatest mathematician of the 20th century said, "the infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. it neither exist in nature nor provides a legitement basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea." For example, what is infinity minus 10? Infinity plus 2? Mathematically you get self contradictory answers. Also Stephen Hawking (physicist) said, "Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the Big Bang." Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, The Nature of Space and Time, The Isaac Newton Institute Series of Lectures (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1996), 20.

Since everything that begins to exist has a cause and the universe began to exist, we must look to see what the cause has to be. The cause would have to be an abstract object such as numbers or a personal mind. The personal mind would have to outside of space and time, immaterial, personal and powerful. It cannot be an abstract object because they cannot cause anything. The personal mind would have to be outside space and time and be immaterial in order to be logically coherent.

Anthony Kenny (agnostic philosopher): "A proponent of the big bang) theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that matter came from nothing and by nothing." Anthony Kenny, The Five Ways (New York: Schocken, 1969), 66.

We know this cannot be true because out of nothing, nothing comes.

My next argument is dealing with the fine tuning of the universe. I will give a few examples.

Stephen Hawking said that if the rate of the universe's expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed into a fireball.

Also, British physicist P.C.W. Davies has concluded that the odds against the initial conditions being suitable for the formation of stars, which are necessary for planets and thus life, is a one followed by at least a thousand billion billion zeros.

Davies also said that if the strength of gravity were changed by only one part in 10^100 life could never have developed. For comparison there is only 10^80 atoms in the entire known universe.

Francis Crick (Nobel Prize winner, biologist): "An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which had to have been satisfied to get it going." Francis Crick, Life Itself: Its Nature and Origin (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981), 88.

Even Richard Dawkins (zoologist) said, "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: Norton, 1986), 1.

Here Dawkins admits that things seem be have been designed for a purpose. However he gives no reasons as to why they only appear to be designed and were not actually designed.

I look forward to hearing the refutation of these arguments from my opponent, as well as seeing his arguments for atheism. Thank You
Dan4reason

Con

I myself agree with the basic arguments of the cosmological argument. The universe did have a cause. This cause must have existed outside time, else it would require a cause itself or have to exist forever which we both agree is impossible.

The cause would have to be an abstract object such as numbers or a personal mind.

I do not see any justification for this assumption. The only requirement for this cause is that this cause exist outside time. Also pro is assuming the existence of the mind or some invisible thing that controls our bodies.

However, with science we can see detect how different thoughts manifest themselves by making different parts of the brain active. Scientists know about different centers of the brain that
deals with sight, emotion, and memory. Maybe everything in the mind is explained physically, or maybe there really is invisible spirit-stuff inside us, we don't know. There has just been no need to assume the existence of the mind yet.

There may be a cause outside space-time that created the universe that is different than matter and energy, but is not a mind or a number. One cannot just rule this out. That is something scientists are looking into right now. They are trying to figure out what started the big bang.

We know this cannot be true because out of nothing, nothing comes.

That is interesting. In fact, if one tries to do something to nothing, they will never be able to transform nothing into something. This is actually an argument against God creating the universe out of nothing. Another problem is that energy cannot be created or destroyed.

So how do we get complexity from non-design processes? Isn't creating the fine-tuning of life impossible without design? Let me explain this by giving an example of an improbable event. Lets take the probability of flipping a coin and getting heads 10 times in a row.

The probability this is 1/2^10 or 1/1024 or .098%. So the probability this won't happen is 1023/1024. So what if we try ten rounds of this? The probability that we will have at least one round in which we get heads in all ten flips is 1 - (1023/1024)^10 = .97%. What if we try 100 rounds? Now the probability is 9.3%. If we do this for 1000 rounds the probability of getting at least one round in which all ten flip is heads is 62.36%. 10000? 99.99%.

So an unlikely event that is tried many different times, or has many different ways of happening can become possible or even likely. I call this the

If an instructor asks her students to flip a coin 100 times and then turn in the results for credit, the students will most likely just make up their results because they are too lazy to flip a coin 100 times.

Students will try to make their results look very random (e.g. htththhththt) and will actually make their results look too random with not enough lucky runs, and a good statistician can actually catch that.

This is human nature. We under-appreciate how likely seemingly unlikely events are when we try them many times. This creates the illusion of design. So far this principal is very abstract but I will be using this principal to address my opponent's fine-tuning arguments.

Stephen Hawking said that if the rate of the universe's expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed into a fireball.

Yes, if there is only one Big Bang, then it is likely that it would fail. The question is, how many Big Bangs have happened? Why assume it had only happened once? If it happened many times then we are bound to find a big bang that does succeed according to the imminent luck principal.

Davies also said that if the strength of gravity were changed by only one part in 10^100 life could never have developed. For comparison there is only 10^80 atoms in the entire known universe.

That again assumes that there was only one big bang. If there have been numerous big bangs then we are eventually going to end up with a universe suitable for life. And how are we defining life anyway? If a universe is unfit for earth-like life does not mean it is unfit for all possible life.

Lets apply the imminent luck principal to the complexity of life.

200 years ago scientists once thought that the complexity in life required a designer who created it. This universe has a vast number of planets, environments, forces, and patterns. So the probability that any given combination of these could produce the enormous complexity in life is pretty small. However, because there are so many combination of forces and enviornments in the universe, maybe at least one of them will be able to.

In fact natural selection and mutations are two forces that combined will produce biological complexity. All life evolved from a common ancestor and the vast majority of its complexity is due to these two forces. Mutations will change the genetic code of a population over time, with some mutations being good, others being harmful, and still others being neutral.

Over time natural seletion will weed out bad mutations and keep good mutations that improves the population over time. We have seen evolution in the lab, and have seen bacterial evolve to become resistant to drugs.

We also have extensive fossil evidence for human evolution, whale evolution, bird evolution, land-animal evolution, and mammal evolution. If pro chooses to challenge the theory of evolution, I will go into much greater detail.

We have even found that stars form from gas clouds that pull themselves together because of gravity. When stars die they create higher elements that are then pulled together to form planets around stars. These ideas have a lot of evidence and are common knowledge in cosmology. If pro wishes to challenge them I will happy to present the evidence.

Over time we find that more and more things in nature are shown to have non-design explanations. Religious people once thought that Gods made volcanoes go off, created thunder and even made windy days. Now that more and more is being explained with science there is less and less for God to explain. Now God's domain has been pushed back to the origin of the big bang and the origin of the universe.

If God is no longer the direct cause of the complexity of life even when life seems so fine-tuned and complex then how do we know God is the direct cause of the origin of life or even the origin of the universe just because some people choose to see "fine tuning" in these things?

Over time the gaps for God to exist in are closing, and I predict that the gaps that pro is trying to explain with God are going to close and actually be explained with science. Why? Because this has happened so many times before. Lets not make the same mistakes our ancestors made.

Next I want to point out that Con is specifically arguing for the Christian God. Even if a designer could be proven that would not prove the Christian God rather than Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, Thor, Apollo, etc. The Christian God is based on what we see in the bible but the bible has many problems.

For example, Jesus is supposed to have atoned for our sins by dying for us. However, how is it right for an innocent person to be punished for the sins of the guilty? If a criminal was about to be put to death for murder, would any judge allow the criminal's father to take his punishment for him? No! When you do something worthy of punishment it is you and you alone who must be punished. To punish someone else for your crimes is giving them what they don't deserve and is letting you off from what you do deserve.

The Christian God is supposed to be omnibenevolent and just. It is more likely that such a God would never do the space-goating that was done in the new testament, so it is more likely that the Christian God does not exist.
I apologise for the length of my post, I just needed some room to show how a universe without design is possible.




Debate Round No. 2
stubs

Pro

Thank you for the response.

As I said in my 2nd round. I will defend two arguments: That there are good reasons to believe that God exist and that there are not sufficiently good reasons to believe God does not exist.

During this round I will offer my responses to Cons rebuttals of my arguments. However, we still have yet to hear a reason to believe that God does not exist.

My opponent seems to think that the creation of the universe could be something other than an abstract object, such as numbers, or a personal mind. I did not think this point would be argued so I left out the justification for it, but I will provide a justification now.

My opponent even said, "The only requirement for this cause is that it exist outside of time." But, anything that is outside of time must also be changeless because if something is not changeless then we will see an infinite amount of times this "thing" changed. And as I have already pointed out an actual infinite amount of things cannot exist. Therefore, if this being must exist outside of time and must also be changeless it must also be immaterial because material things are always changing at least on the atomical and molecular levels. This being must also be personal because personhood is implied by the timelessness and immaterialness of the cause. Simply because, again, the only thing that can possess these qualities are abstract objects or unembodied minds. This being must also be unimaginably powerful since it created the world out of nothing.

My opponent seems to think that the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed is an argument against God when actually it is an argument for God because if energy cannot be created than how do we have it now if not because a timeless, spaceless, personal, and powerful being made it?

His next argument is that if someone has enough time they will, eventually, make something randomly happen that is highly improbable. The problem is that his entire argument is resting on the case that more than one big bang occurred. However, not only is there no evidence supporting such claim, there is actually evidence against the claim and I will provide that by restating one of my earlier claims, "Stephen Hawking said that if the rate of the universe's expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed into a fireball." Now, even if there was more than one big bang, this claim Stephen Hawkings made would apply to the first big bang that happens, because if the rate of the universe expansion was different the universe would have "collapsed into a fireball" making it impossible for any other big bangs to occur.

I am not arguing the theory of evolution. I have no problem believing that God used evolution. However, my opponent must show how living organisms can come from nonliving material. The normal big bang model explains how time, space, and energy came into being, but not living organism. Darwin himself assumed a creator in his book the origin of species, "There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one . . . from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved" (460).

My opponent proceeds to raise the old "God of the Gaps" argument. Is that what these arguments do though? Are we simply putting God into the gaps in our scientific knowledge? The arguments I gave are not based upon gaps in our scientific knowledge, but rather on what the best of scientific knowledge does tell us. It was not plugging in God to fill our ignorance, but rather it is saying that the best scientific evidence we have indicates that space and time are finite in the past, that the universe did begin to exist, that it did have complex and fine tuning of the initial conditions and these point to a greater reality as its explanation.

I will put it another way. The first argument, in its deductive form, states that
P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause
P2: the universe began to exist
Therefore the universe has a cause

Now in a deductive argument, if the premises are true than the conclusion follows necessarily and inescapably, and I think that the premises are both more plausible than there negations.

The fine tuning argument can also be put into a deductive form
P1: The initial conditions of the universe are due either to law, chance, or intelligence
P2: The initial conditions are not due to chance or law
Therefore they are due to intelligence

Again it all depends on whether the premises are true and I believe based on the scientific evidence we have that both premises are more plausible than there negations. So again, I am not filling in God for our ignorance but rather it is saying that the best scientific evidence we have indicates that space and time are finite in the past, that the universe did begin to exist, that it did have complex and fine tuning of the initial conditions and these point to a greater reality as its explanation.

Con points out that I am arguing for the Christian God. Yes, because of my own personal convictions I believe in the Christian God but in these two arguments I am only arguing for in essence a creator. Whether doctrinal statements of the Christian faith are un-ethical or not is not up for debate. Saying that God is un-ethical does not disprove his existence.

I fell that I have negated all my opponents claims and if I have not, once con restates whichever claims I did not refute, I will do so in the next round. We have yet to hear a claim against the existence of God as well.
Dan4reason

Con

First I would like to thank pro for the quality of the response.


Con points out that I am arguing for the Christian God. Yes, because of my own personal convictions I believe in the Christian God but in these two arguments I am only arguing for in essence a creator. Whether doctrinal statements of the Christian faith are un-ethical or not is not up for debate. Saying that God is un-ethical does not disprove his existence.

Con said in the first round that he would be specifically arguing for the Christian God, so that is the God that I will be arguing against. If I can show that such a God more likely does not exist, then I have won the debate. Pro specifically only argued for a general designer but the debate is about the existence of the Christian God. This Christian God is supposedly omnibenevolent, yet supports scapegoating in the case of the atonement. This is a contradiction so such a God is not very likely to exist.

Here is another example of the justice of the God of the bible:

Exodus 34:5-7

New International Version (NIV)

5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation..

I will not try to disprove the existence of a creator because theists have defined him in such a way that it is impossible to disprove such a being. Lets say that I told you that there is an elephant in the room. You then look around and tell me that no such elephant exists in the room. I then tell you that this elephant is invisible and can move through matter and does not make any noise. You cannot disprove an invisible elephant in the same way that you cannot disprove an invisible person who made the universe.

What I can do is show that it is more probable that such a being does not exist by showing that a non-design explanation is more probable.

But, anything that is outside of time must also be changeless because if something is not changeless then we will see an infinite amount of times this "thing" changed.

That sounds reasonable. Keep in mind that we could also have a change-less non-design cause of the universe too.

Therefore, if this being must exist outside of time and must also be changeless it must also be immaterial because material things are always changing at least on the atomical and molecular levels.

Just because matter changes if it is inside time does not mean that it cannot exist outside of time. Maybe when it is outside time it is frozen. Maybe matter cannot exist outside the universe for some other reason but pro has not identified it.

This being must also be personal because personhood is implied by the timelessness and immaterialness of the cause. Simply because, again, the only thing that can possess these qualities are abstract objects or unembodied minds.

Pro's problem here is that he is exclusively looking inside this universe for causes of the universe. So that is why pro is assuming minds and ideas are the only candidates for what caused our universe because those are things that pro knows about. What if the cause of the universe is entirely foreign to anything in our universe or anything we experience in our daily lives?

Pro next assumes the existence of a mind, and assumes that a mind can exist outside the body. Pro also assumes that an unembodied mind is timeless, and changeless. My mind if it exists is changing all the time as my personality and character changes. My thoughts occur within time.

My opponent seems to think that the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed is an argument against God when actually it is an argument for God because if energy cannot be created than how do we have it now if not because a timeless, spaceless, personal, and powerful being made it?

If energy cannot be created, when what makes anybody think that God can create it? It makes no sense.

The problem here is that if there is no time outside the universe then how could the universe be created in the first place? Everything in a time-less place is changeless. and if universes began popping out of nothing for whatever reason, then this is a state of change and violates timelessness. This is a problem for both our arguments. This is a puzzle for me either because I don't know enough about cosmology or because we don't know about the origin of the universe yet.


The problem is that his entire argument is resting on the case that more than one big bang occurred.

All I am saying here is that pro is calculating the odds of a universe expanding with the right initial conditions without knowing how many universes have undergone a big bang. If we found a star that we have never seen before, would we assume it is the only one of its kind? No, because the conditions that were met to create that star could have been met elsewhere at least once. The same holds true for the universe.

For the longest time, people assumed that the sun was the only star, and there was the only solar system and now we know that they were wrong. Lets not make that same mistake and assume that this is the only universe.

Now, even if there was more than one big bang, this claim Stephen Hawkings made would apply to the first big bang that happens, because if the rate of the universe expansion was different the universe would have "collapsed into a fireball" making it impossible for any other big bangs to occur.

According to your reasoning it would be impossible for this universe to expand again. What about another?

However, my opponent must show how living organisms can come from nonliving material.

Scientists are working on that but we really don't know how living organisms were created. If I am required to show that abiogenesis is true, then pro must show that God made the first life-form.

For the longest time people thought that God was responsible for the creation of humanity. Now we know that humans actually evolved. If the complexity of humanity and life can be directly explained without design then why are we assuming that life itself could not be created without design? So pro cannot show that God made the first life-form.

The arguments I gave are not based upon gaps in our scientific knowledge, but rather on what the best of scientific knowledge does tell us.

Actually all your examples of God's design are in areas we know very little about e.g. the origin of the universe, and the origin of life. Pro makes a lot of assumptions when trying to demonstrate design. So yes, you are using the god of the gaps argument.

With all these unknowns then how do we know that it is more probably that there is no designer? We know this because whenever there has been a question about our origins that we have been able to explain scientifically it has been explained without design, defeating the design argument in these area. So non-design explanations have a stronger predictive power than design explanation when we are trying to explain the origins of everything. This is why it is more likely that there is no God, however we cannot prove it either way.



Debate Round No. 3
stubs

Pro

I again thank my opponent for the response. I was hoping this debate would focus on the plausibility that a God designed the universe over the plausibility that it happened by chance, rather than old testament ethics. Regardless I will refute whatever arguments con presents.

I am not positive on what is the argument regarding the Exodus 34:5-7. I think con is trying to show that God does not have a good sense of justice. While con hasn't proven that this is an injustice, I will defend it regardless. The same type of language is used in Exodus 20:5-6 "You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." (ESV) Both these passages are just saying human experience confirms that immoral behavior on the part of parents results in suffering for their children and grandchildren. This is one of the grievous aspects of sin, that it harms others besides the sinner himself. But this general principle is qualified in two ways: First, it applies only to "those who hate me" i.e., to those who persist in unbelief as enemies of God. The cycle of sin and suffering can be broken through repentance. Second, the suffering comes to "the third and the fourth generation", while God shows "steadfast love" to those who love them.

When interpreting these passages we must: be careful we do not isolate verses out of context, understand how the original audience would have read the passage, and examine other text that relate to the verse(s) in question. After we do all this we see no reason to believe God has a bad sense of justice and no reason to believe he is not omnibenevolent.

"I will not try to disprove the existence of a creator because theists have defined him in such a way that it is impossible to disprove such a being."

That is not true, all you have to do is show that it is more probable that God does not exist.

The elephant example is just silly. First off there is no reason to believe the elephant exist because it is not necessary and does not serve a purpose, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence unless we could expect other things. First this is highly hypothetical because elephants are not invisible and they do make noise when they move. Furthermore, we could simply put a heat sensor in the room and could see the elephant if it indeed existed because elephants body gives off heat. I'm guessing my opponent would say something to the extent of well this elephant does not give off heat. Well than why call it an elephant if you are going to rob it of all its properties.

Even if it was impossible to disprove the elephant in the room, it does not in any way influence my original arguments for the existence of God because I am arguing God exist necessarily as the best reason for the origin of the universe and the fine tuning of the original state. The elephant does not exist necessarily.

"Just because matter changes if it is inside time does not mean that it cannot exist outside of time."
This is logically incoherent because the universe includes all matter, space, time and energy. Therefore, to say that matter can exist outside of time (the universe) it is a contradiction.

"What if the cause of the universe is entirely foreign to anything in our universe or anything we experience in our daily lives?"
I am proposing that this personal, timeless, changeless, immaterial, moral being is unlike anything in our universe.

"My mind if it exists is changing all the time as my personality and character changes. My thoughts occur within time."
I do not see how this affects any of my claims. Please explain and I will be more than happy to discuss this.

"If energy cannot be created, when what makes anybody think that God can create it? It makes no sense."
As I already stated this being that created the universe would necessarily be more powerful than what we could imagine. I believe that this is more plausible than the universe coming from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing.

"This is a problem for both our arguments. This is a puzzle for me either because I don't know enough about cosmology or because we don't know about the origin of the universe yet."
So you are saying essentially (correct me if I'm wrong. I do not want to put words in your mouth) that you really don't know what created the universe because we don't have enough evidence to decide. If this is the case and you don't give any evidence to show that it is more probable that God does not exist than I have won the debate because I think I did give good reasons to believe God exists and con has dropped much of my original two arguments.

"All I am saying here is that pro is calculating the odds of a universe expanding with the right initial conditions without knowing how many universes have undergone a big bang."
Con seems to be arguing that a multiverse exist even though there has been no scientific evidence to suggest one could even possibly exist.

"For the longest time, people assumed that the sun was the only star, and there was the only solar system and now we know that they were wrong. Lets not make that same mistake and assume that this is the only universe"
Just because people were wrong then does not mean my evidences are wrong now, or even that it is probable my evidences are wrong now.

"Scientists are working on that but we really don't know how living organisms were created. If I am required to show that abiogenesis is true, then pro must show that God made the first life-form."
You don't have to prove it is true. Just that it is more probable. I showed that it is more probable that God made the first living organism than that it came from non living material.

"For the longest time people thought that God was responsible for the creation of humanity. Now we know that humans actually evolved. If the complexity of humanity and life can be directly explained without design then why are we assuming that life itself could not be created without design?"
For the purpose of this debate I concede the evolutionary process. I already said I have no problem with it happening. But evolution does not say how nonliving material came to make living material which is the real matter (no pun intended) at hand.

"Actually all your examples of God's design are in areas we know very little about e.g. the origin of the universe, and the origin of life."
I did not say we had tremendous knowledge about any of these topics. I said I am using the best scientific knowledge we have about it. I already explained why it is not the God of the gaps argument but I will repost it in the next round if you want me to.

As I said earlier I would defend two basic contentions: That there is good reason to believe God exist and not sufficiently good reasons to believe God does not exist. Con has given up on most of my original two arguments and started talking a lot about old testament ethics. While this is okay with me, because it's even easier to defend, I was hoping for a different focus of the debate. Either way we have not heard a reason why God does not exist and Con has not been able to refute either of my first two arguments. Thank you for your time.
Dan4reason

Con

Again I thank Pro for this debate. It has been very fun.

Either way we have not heard a reason why God does not exist

I only have to show that it is more likely that he does not exist.

(ESV) Both these passages are just saying human experience confirms that immoral behavior on the part of parents results in suffering for their children and grandchildren.

No, they are saying that God is visiting the iniquities of the parents onto the children. it is God who is doing the acting.

There are examples in the bible of generational punishment being carried out:

Deuteronomy 23:

2 No one born of a forbidden marriage nor any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, not even in the tenth generation.

When Pharaoh would not let the Israelites leave Egypt, why did God oppress ordinary Egyptian citizens for the crimes of their king? God killed their livestock, gave them boils, killed their crops with locusts, and killed their firstborn children because their king was stubborn. A just God would have only punished Pharaoh for his stubbornness.

It is wrong to punish an innocent person for the crimes of the guilty because the innocent person did not commit those crimes. This runs against the whole idea of justice.

This is logically incoherent because the universe includes all matter, space, time and energy. Therefore, to say that matter can exist outside of time (the universe) it is a contradiction.

The universe is the particular bubble of space-time we are in. Pro's argument assumes that this is the only bubble of space-time with matter in existence. Surely even pro believes that there is more in existence than just this universe.

I am proposing that this personal, timeless, changeless, immaterial, moral being is unlike anything in our universe.

If pro is not arguing for the Christian God I don't see any reason to suspect that this creator is moral. If pro is, then see the above verses I presented to show that God is not just.

Pro can propose all the things he likes but he does not know about every kind of thing that exists outside space-time and so cannot know that a mind is the thing that can create a universe. Therefore, the cosmological argument fails to prove that God exists.

I do not see how this affects any of my claims. Please explain and I will be more than happy to discuss this.

You said: "This being must also be personal because personhood is implied by the timelessness and immaterialness of the cause."

My problem with this is that we don't have any evidence for the existence of the mind, an unembodied mind, or a timeless mind. If the fact that the cause of the universe is timeless implies that it is a mind, then therefore a property of the mind is timelessness. This has not been demonstrated in any way.

As I already stated this being that created the universe would necessarily be more powerful than what we could imagine. I believe that this is more plausible than the universe coming from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing.

If this is true, then pro is admitting that it is possible to create energy out of nothing. I have never argued that the universe came from nothing. It could have been transformed from another state.

So you are saying essentially ... that you really don't know what created the universe because we don't have enough evidence to decide. If this is the case and you don't give any evidence to show that it is more probable that God does not exist...

I will freely admit that I don't know exactly how the universe was started for sure because our scientific knowledge has not reached that point yet.

Let me give you some things which we can explain: volcanic eruptions, weather patterns, how the brain works, thunder, the complexity of life, and the origin of planets an stars.

Here are some things that we have not yet explained: The cause of the big bang and the origin of life.

A long time ago, theists thought that all of these were explained by Gods because they did not have any scientific explanation for them so they filled these unknowns with Gods. Whenever the light of science has touched any of these areas they have been shown to have non-design explanations.

The God prediction has been shown to be wrong when it comes to the complexity of life, and the origin of the stars and planets demonstrating its awful predictive power. Non-design explanations have shown to explain more and more of the unknown so if I were asked whether design or non-design more likely explains things that are currently mysteries, I would have to opt for the non-design explanations.

So we can still make a probability judgment even when we don't know exactly what started the universe, however we just can't be completely sure.

Con seems to be arguing that a multiverse exist even though there has been no scientific evidence to suggest one could even possibly exist.

There is no scientific evidence either way. To be sure that there is just one universe, or that there are multiple universes are both assumptions. All I am pointing out is that as long as multiple universes are possible, pro cannot assume there is only one universe, and so cannot calculate the odds that at least one universe is right for life.

For the purpose of this debate I concede the evolutionary process. I already said I have no problem with it happening. But evolution does not say how nonliving material came to make living material which is the real matter (no pun intended) at hand.

That is true, but what I am saying is that evolution showed how the greatest fine-tuning in the universe, the complexity of life is actually explained through natural processes. This shows that the design argument (complexity indicates design) is a failure because natural explanations have been shown to be very viable for even the greatest complexity and fine-tuning.

Just because people were wrong then does not mean my evidences are wrong now, or even that it is probable my evidences are wrong now.

I showed that it is more probable that God made the first living organism than that it came from non living material.

People were wrong in the past when they assumed that God directly created the complexity of life because they assumed that complexity means design. It seemed unlikely that complexity could be produced by chance, but I have shown that seemingly unlikely events can become likely if there are many ways to do them and they are tried many times. I will call this argument the imminent luck argument. This argument shows that complexity does not necessarily mean design so this argument is stronger than the design argument.

Pro is likely wrong like the creationists of the 19th century because he is using the exact same argument they did, the design argument, which has a track record of not working. Pro cannot say that it is more probably that God made the first living organism because this reasoning is based on the design argument, and the design argument has been refuted.

What I have shown is that design is not necessary for complexity because we have seen many instances where great amounts of complexity have been produced through natural processes, and the imminent luck argument shows the flawed reasoning of the design argument. So we cannot infer design in the origin of the universe or the origin of life.

The design hypothesis also violates Occam's Razor because it needlessly adds complexity to our explanations. To suppose the existence of an invisible person who exists outside time who made our universe, is a clear violation because such an explanation isn't necessary when natural processes can account for complexity just fine. Because the design inference violates Occam's razor it is less likely than non-design explanations.

Anyway, what are the chances that existence is lucky enough to contain a powerful, intelligent mind existing timelessly without cause? Isn't this itself a violation of the design argument and Occam's razor at the same time?


I will follow proper debate ettiquet and not post any new arguments in the final round.

Debate Round No. 4
stubs

Pro

Thanks to Con for his argument. You are allowed to post whatever you like in the 5th round (even new arguments) because we did not specify in the first round.

Con seems to think he does not have to give a reason to show God does not exist. While his burden of proof is to show that it is more likely God does not exist, that would be nearly impossible to do if he does not give any reason to believe in atheism. Even if he tries to prove that God is not necessary, that still does not mean that God does not exist. If Con wants to show that God does not exist he must give evidence for belief in atheism.

I am still sad to see that this debate is turning into old testament ethics, but I will defend it anyways. I think my opponent is misinterpreting "assembly of the LORD" in the verse he provided of Deuteronomy 23:2. Assembly is generally the term is used in Deuteronomy to refer to Israel gathered at Horeb/Sinai. To say that a descendant of a forbidden marriage cannot enter the "assembly of the LORD" is not something unjust when we realize that the Assembly is only talking about Israel gathering at Horeb/Sinai.

"The universe is the particular bubble of space-time we are in. Pro's argument assumes that this is the only bubble of space-time with matter in existence. Surely even pro believes that there is more in existence than just this universe."
I do not believe it is likely that there is more in existence than just this universe because we have no astrophysical or cosmological evidence to give even slight verification to such a claim.

"Pro can propose all the things he likes but he does not know about every kind of thing that exists outside space-time and so cannot know that a mind is the thing that can create a universe. Therefore, the cosmological argument fails to prove that God exists."
I am not saying I know every kind of thing that exist outside of space and time. I am saying there are things that this being would necessarily be in order to be logically coherent. I have already showed that this being would have to be personal, timeless, changeless, immaterial, and extremely powerful not because that is what I like to think but because it is logically necessary as I proved in round two. I will post this argument again:

My opponent even said, "The only requirement for this cause is that it exist outside of time." But, anything that is outside of time must also be changeless because if something is not changeless then we will see an infinite amount of times this "thing" changed. And as I have already pointed out an actual infinite amount of things cannot exist. Therefore, if this being must exist outside of time and must also be changeless it must also be immaterial because material things are always changing at least on the atomical and molecular levels. This being must also be personal because personhood is implied by the timelessness and immaterialness of the cause. Simply because, again, the only thing that can possess these qualities are abstract objects or unembodied minds. This being must also be unimaginably powerful since it created the world out of nothing.

"My problem with this is that we don't have any evidence for the existence of the mind, an unembodied mind, or a timeless mind."
I am arguing it exist necessarily and logically. (See above)

"If this is true, then pro is admitting that it is possible to create energy out of nothing. I have never argued that the universe came from nothing. It could have been transformed from another state."
Possible for God to create out of nothing? Yes. For energy to appear from nothing by nothing I don't think is plausible. There is not evidence of there ever being another state before the big bang.

"The God prediction has been shown to be wrong when it comes to the complexity of life"
While this is false, it is not my main argument. As I gave a citation for earlier, even Darwin himself believed in an initial creator to get things going. Dawkins even says that life seems to have been designed for a purpose (citation above).

"So we can still make a probability judgment even when we don't know exactly what started the universe, however we just can't be completely sure."
That is exactly what I am saying. I am not trying to argue that we have 100% mathematical certainty that God created the universe, but I think it is much more likely that he did rather than the negation.

"All I am pointing out is that as long as multiple universes are possible, pro cannot assume there is only one universe, and so cannot calculate the odds that at least one universe is right for life."
Of course it is reasonable to assume there is only one universe since there is no evidence of a multiverse. This is a metaphysical truth that most assume just as they assume other metaphysical truths such as, "how do we know the world wasn't created 5 minutes ago with the appearance of age and memory." We all assume this to be true when debating but there is no cosmological evidence against it.

"That is true, but what I am saying is that evolution showed how the greatest fine-tuning in the universe, the complexity of life is actually explained through natural processes."
My arguments for fine tuning does not try to explain the complexity of life, but rather the complexity of the initial conditions.

"Pro cannot say that it is more probably that God made the first living organism because this reasoning is based on the design argument, and the design argument has been refuted."
My reasoning is not based on the design argument. It is based on the fact that non living matter cannot logically produce living matter. Leaving the best explanation of life to God.

"To suppose the existence of an invisible person who exists outside time who made our universe, is a clear violation because such an explanation isn't necessary when natural processes can account for complexity just fine."
Natural process cannot explain the complex initial conditions or the turning of non living matter into living matter. I am arguing that God exist out of necessity to answer such questions.

"Anyway, what are the chances that existence is lucky enough to contain a powerful, intelligent mind existing timelessly without cause?" Again, I wouldn't say that it is luck that the cause contains these qualities, but rather out of necessity the being logically needs to possess these qualities.

I wish my opponent had given me at least one argument against Gods existence to negate, but maybe he is saving it for the fifth round so that I can not refute it.

I said in the beginning of the debate that I would offer two basic contentions: That there are good reasons to believe theism is true, and not sufficiently good reasons to believe atheism is true. Con, so far, has not been able to refute that either a multiverse, or creation from nothing by nothing is more probable than a God creating the universe. Con also has not been able to explain the complexity of the initial conditions of the big bang. He only tried to defend the complexity of the life forms. Thus, since he could not refute my initial two arguments and did not give any evidence against the existence God I believe I have shown it to be more probable that God exist than God does not exist.

Thank you for the debate. It has been fun.
Dan4reason

Con

"assembly of the LORD" in the verse he provided of Deuteronomy 23:2. Assembly is generally the term is used in Deuteronomy to refer to Israel gathered at Horeb/Sinai.

It is still wrong to exclude people born of an inappropriate relationship because it is not their fault. Why does this verse say that their descendants were banned from assembly for ten generations? This indicates that this assembly is not a temporary thing but goes on for generations.

I do not believe it is likely that there is more in existence than just this universe because we have no astrophysical or cosmological evidence to give even slight verification to such a claim.

How likely is it that the phenomena that started the big bang happened only happened once? Whatever phenomena that caused the solar system and the sun to exist likely happened elsewhere and therefore people 1000 years ago should have been sure that our sun and our solar system are not the only ones. Natural phenomena almost never happens only once, and lets not make the same assumptions as our ancestors. It is more likely that the big bang happened more than once.

So you cannot calculate the odds of a universe being fit for life because you don't know how many universes there are,

I have already showed that this being would have to be personal, timeless, changeless, immaterial, and extremely powerful not because that is what I like to think but because it is logically necessary as I proved in round two.

Ok then, lets see your arguments from round two. In quotes are your arguments from round two.

"Therefore, if this being must exist outside of time and must also be changeless it must also be immaterial because material things are always changing at least on the atomical and molecular levels."


I have already refuted this argument. Matter in this universe changes because it exists within time. If it were outside time, it would not change so it could be changeless too.

"This being must also be personal because personhood is implied by the timelessness and immaterialness of the cause."


if pro wants to rule out matter because it changes within time, then pro will have to rule out minds too because our minds are constantly changing all the time. Minds are not changeless or timeless so by your own reasoning a mind is not a candidate for the cause of the universe.

Plus, how do you know that all things that are non-matter and outside time are minds? There are almost surely many things outside the universe we don't know anything about so how do we know none of them fit this description too?

I am arguing it exist necessarily and logically. (See above)


Above, pro assumes that the mind existed in the first place, that it is timeless and changeless, and that a mind is the only thing with these qualities.

Possible for God to create out of nothing? Yes. For energy to appear from nothing by nothing I don't think is plausible. There is not evidence of there ever being another state before the big bang.


There is also no evidence for the idea that the universe came from nothing by the hand of God so why does pro accept this idea, yet reject the idea of the universe forming from pre-exiting "material"? Energy cannot be created or destroyed so it makes more sense that the material in the universe existed in some form before the big bang.

Again, I wouldn't say that it is luck that the cause contains these qualities, but rather out of necessity the being logically needs to possess these qualities.

Pro seems to be saying that there logically needs to exist a being with the power of God even "before" the universe existed. Even if you could prove that God existed you cannot show that somehow this being must have to exist logically without cause. Then why not argue that the naturally created universe logically needs to possess the characteristics to support life?

Dawkins even says that life seems to have been designed for a purpose (citation above).


You are taking Dawkins out of context. He is addressing the illusion of design when really life was created by natural selection and mutations. I have read his books.

My arguments for fine tuning does not try to explain the complexity of life, but rather the complexity of the initial conditions.


My reasoning is not based on the design argument. It is based on the fact that non living matter cannot logically produce living matter. Leaving the best explanation of life to God.

Sorry I misunderstood. Bacteria are really molecules arranged in such a way that they can replicate and use resources from outside them. Bacteria are created from physical materials during replication anyway so all we need is for bacteria to be created from non-living matter without replication. Obviously they would have to be far more simple that modern bacteria. Given the many different combinations of forces and environments in the universe we are bound to find at least some that can create life.

People once said that it was impossible for the complexity of life, and stars and planets to be created without a designer. They said this because of the design argument and because they could not conceive how these things could be made naturally so they assumed these came about supernaturally. This is called the fallacy from ignorance, or the following statement; "I don't understand how life could come about without design so it couldn't have come about without design."

Lets not make the same mistake about the origin of life. If natural processes can create planets and the complexity of life then it is easily possible that they could produce the first replicating organisms on earth.

Just because the universe seems fine tuned for life doesn't mean it was designed. The theory of evolution and the imminent luck argument both disprove that. This argument cannot be used because it has been shown to be wrong about the greatest complexity in the universe, the complexity of life.


I wish my opponent had given me at least one argument against Gods existence to negate, but maybe he is saving it for the fifth round so that I can not refute it.

This debate was about whether the Christian God likely exists or not. I have shown that the supposed nature of the Christian God is in contradiction with his supposed actions so this idea is in contradiction and is likely false.

You have failed to present any evidence that the Christian God exists.

Even if there is a 50% that a God exists, there is not a 100% change that this God is the Christian God so there is less than a 50% chance that a Christian God exists making his existence less probable than not existing.

I have also shown that a designer is not necessary to explain complexity or anything else, but naturalistic explanations do this just fine.

Therefore the design hypothesis adds unneeded complexity to our explanations and is unparsimonious or in other words it violates Occam's Razor. Because it is unparsimonious it is less likely than naturalistic explanations. God himself violates the design argument.

The design hypothesis makes predictions that turn out to be wrong and people once thought that the stars, planets, complexity of life, and weather patterns were designed. Naturalistic explanations explain everything about our origins that we are able to explain. Naturalistic explanations have replaced design explanations over time making them more likely explanations for future mysteries. As the light of science explains more and more, theists have less and less to explain with design.

What if theists tried to explain all the thing we don't understand about earth's weather with God? In the past, naturalistic explanations have done just fine explaining past mysteries so the God hypothesis is unecessary and unparsimonious and so is less likely to explain current mysteries than naturalistic explanations for weather.


I thank pro for his arguments and have found this debate to be quite a challenge.
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by stubs 5 years ago
stubs
Thanks man
Posted by Meatros 5 years ago
Meatros
BTW - "I already said I couldn't care less about winning debates I just like to have the conversations."

Is a great attitude to have. I wish more people had it in general.
Posted by Meatros 5 years ago
Meatros
I'm not sure I can give conduct points to Con, it looks like he C&Ped his opening, but it could be from his own blog. I can't tell.
Posted by stubs 5 years ago
stubs
That's fine. You can give Con all the points because I took Dr. Craigs arguments if you would like. I already said I couldn't care less about winning debates I just like to have the conversations.
Posted by innomen 5 years ago
innomen
Plagiarism should result in a loss in conduct, and argument, seeing that it isn't their own, but lifted. Beyond that I don't see any further impact on the debater.
Posted by stubs 5 years ago
stubs
I did use mostly just his arguments but I cited nearly all the quotes from other scholars that I used
Posted by Meatros 5 years ago
Meatros
It's one thing to use his arguments in your own words, it's another to basically C&P his debates.
Posted by stubs 5 years ago
stubs
Yeah a lot of my stuff is right from Dr. Craigs debates and website. Everyone can tell
Posted by Meatros 5 years ago
Meatros
Crap, Con, did you write this: http://distraffreligion.blogspot.com...
Posted by Meatros 5 years ago
Meatros
The Pro's argument seems to be WLC argument, at places almost word for word, or at least that's what it seems. From here, WLC:http://www.leaderu.com...

Stubs Wrote: "David Hilberg possibly the greatest mathematician of the 20th century said, "the infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. it neither exist in nature nor provides a legitement basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea." For example, what is infinity minus 10? Infinity plus 2? Mathematically you get self contradictory answers. "

WLC Wrote: "David Hilbert, perhaps the greatest mathematician of this century states, "The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea.""
+
"But mathematicians recognize that the idea of an actually infinite number of things leads to self–contradictions. For example, what is infinity minus infinity? Well, mathematically, you get self–contradictory answers."

Stubs Wrote: "Anthony Kenny (agnostic philosopher): "A proponent of the big bang) theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that matter came from nothing and by nothing." Anthony Kenny, The Five Ways (New York: Schocken, 1969), 66.

We know this cannot be true because out of nothing, nothing comes."

WLC Wrote: "Now this tends to be very awkward for the atheist. For as Anthony Kenny of Oxford University urges, "A proponent of the Big Bang theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the universe came from nothing and by nothing."{4}

8. But surely that doesn't make sense! Out of nothing, nothing comes. So why does the universe exist instead of just nothing? Where did it come from?"

There's more, but I'm not going to scrub all of WLC arguments in order to figure out which one Pro actually took his stuff from.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by ConservativePolitico 5 years ago
ConservativePolitico
stubsDan4reasonTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The argument was about probability and Pro successfully proved that it is far more probable that there is a God than isn't. Con never gave a strong reason or argument supporting the probability that God does not exist and was on the defense most of the debate.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 5 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
stubsDan4reasonTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a debate about probability. Therefore the BOP was shared. Pro used the Kalam and the argument from design and defended them well. Well Con objected to these, he failed to give an argument against God's existence. Therefore Pro fulfilled his BOP and Con did not. Nice debate though. The debaters were courteous and gave good arguments.