The Instigator
Eros
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
comoncents
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

It makes no sense to ask for scientific evidence for Gods existence.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
comoncents
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/19/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,072 times Debate No: 10146
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (5)

 

Eros

Pro

It makes no sense to seek scientific evidence for supernatural existence.

If what is meant by "scienific evidence" requires confirmation by repeatable experiments, then by definition of supernatural, a system that is at a higher hierarchical level than the natural, confirmation by experiment is impossible.
This is to say, the natural system as the sub-system is unable to access the supernatural system as the super-system. In Causal terms, there is nothing we can do in the natural system as a cause that will direct or require an effect to happen in the natural system from the supernatural system.
The acknowledgement of any debate concerning "supernatural" and "God", is accepting the general concept of a larger system, being described as supernatural, that is not subjected to the certain sub-system, being described as natural. This does not require acknowledgement of the existence of the particular larger system named "supernatural", but only the relationship, if it were to exist.

The demand by Con for Causal Evidence is equally opposed by Pro in stating that this is impossible by definition.

The statement by Con that all we know is the natural system is opposed by Mathematics which is a formal system, not a natural system.

Consider the nature of an unary relationship such as is the relationship of an astromer with the stars. He may only observe the light and movements the stars make. There is no direct effect on the stars that may be caused by the astromer. He is only able to observe and compare.
Consider the nature of a binary relationship such as between a parent and a child. Though the child pleads and whines, his wishes are often ignored. Though the parents speaks or responds, the child does not always understands and rarely comprends the response.

The only potential for experience of the supernatural in the natural system is the effects whose direct cause resides wholly within the supernatural. The natural has no direct control over the supernatural. No direct control over the effects cause by the supernatural. The properties of that portion of scientific evidence which requires a repeatable experiment for confirmation are only available within the same hierachical system level.

Thus, if we were to consider evidence for the existence of a supernatural realm,
it must be of some other nature.

Eros for your correction.
comoncents

Con

I would like to thank Eros for starting this debate, as it will be my first in the area of religion.

The position of pro is backing,
"It makes no sense to ask for scientific evidence for Gods existence."

God is not defined in a proper way so I will only be able to assume since he is from America and conservative, he is talking about The God of Christianity.

Creationism.
You claim of making no sense to ask for scientific evidence for god's existence but you would have to discount evolution vs. creationism.
Christians believe that god exists, evidence of us as humans, and the beauty of the world… Then would it not be important to have scientific evidence that God created the earth and us.

Therefore it makes sense to have scientific proof that evolution is wrong and God does exist, therefore creating us.

Jesus.
Jesus is god. (Theoretically) it would be important to the Christian religion that they could prove Jesus' existence though scientific evidence. Yes, if there were evidence, than science would play a role in evaluating its authenticity and accuracy.
History does play a role as well, but so does science. Therefore scientific proof is needed to credit god's existence.

I know that you claim it is nonsense to try to force supernatural into science, as the two do not mix… but you miss the point in which people ask for scientific proof.
If a document came out explaining Jesus miracles then I would ask for scientific proof to check its accuracy. I would ask for scientific proof to tell me it is real… in turn asking for scientific proof that god exist... a very much needed reason to have scientific proof that God exists.

Scientific evidence would force people to believe in God. The goal of God is for everyone to follow him. Therefore it makes sense to Christians having scientific proof… as well as logical people not believing in God if it were not for scientific evidence. Therefore it does make sense to continue to ask for scientific evidence for Gods existence.

I will let you write a rebuttal to that as we do have 4 rounds to debate this in.
Debate Round No. 1
Eros

Pro

Thank you for accepting the challenge of this debate.
I decided on the four round debate as the first round is consumed by generalities and introductions.

I find the most value in debates to narrow the terms material to the debate by definition and leaving the other terms in the most general interpretation.
Thus I attempted to narrow the definition of "scientific evidence" and I left God undefined as I do not consider the particular definition material to the debate, except for the inclusion of the notion of supernatural.
Since in your introduction you expanded the concept of scientific evidence, I will attempt to respond to it and I see no additional difficulty to citing of particulars for God.

1) Creationism vs. Evolution
…..As I view this argument, we have the scientific theory of evolution that shows the slow development of species and shows that they are all related. Evolution does not show the mechanism for the divergence of species nor how life itself began. However as a theory, Evolution enjoys the esteemed position that its explanations for what it covers have been proven true by rigorous standards.
Thus, the thesis of Creationism has room to explain how the exceptions to theory could have occurred and this is substantiated by pre-scientific knowledge from the ancients.
A) Scientific evidence could someday fill in the gaps of theory, but the thesis would gain no value unless the science proves that it was impossible for nature to accomplish these tasks. In that event, even though the thesis gains indirect substantiation by the failure of the naturalistic explanation, the theory remains as a failure for scientific proof of God.
That is, that absence of scientific proof does not constitute supernatural proof.
B) It makes no sense for Christians to disprove a scientific theory to further their religious beliefs. As you put it "…it is nonsense to try to force supernatural into science, as the two do not mix…". Proving or disproving a theory should be done for the sake of truth. Though the motivation may come from the perception of contrary concepts, the goal should be that of finding truth whatever that truth may be. Even if science discovers that the mechanisms that caused life to appear and species to diverge have naturalistic explanations, this does nothing to disprove the thesis of Creationism. They are not contradictory. There is no need to disprove Evolution as it does not stand in the way.

2) "Jesus is god."
….There are two suppositions to this statement. That there was a historical person and that he had a supernatural connection.
A) The historical documentation of his existence, though substantiated by science, remains as historical evidence.
B) That he had a supernatural connection is beyond science. Again, though there may be no natural explanations for the events that were documented, the lack of scientific proof or theory does not provide scientific evidence.

3) Let us consider investigating supernatural phenomena today, as "…miracles…".
A) Science may play the secondary role of substantiating the validity of documentation of some sort of miracle, but can do nothing to prove or disprove the miracles. Even though we may have a video tape of an apparition and objects moving, this constitutes documentation and evidence, but not proof nor scientific evidence.

4) As for "…you miss the point in which people ask for scientific proof." I have been presented with quantum theory as a model for proof in my last debate.

5) Finally, in your last paragraph, you bring forth the psychological value of "sense" in seeking scientific evidence as that it would facilitate "belief". You are expounding the expanded sense of "sense" to include in it a subjective rendition.
A) It makes no sense to seek scientific proof for the supernatural as it is by definition beyond the science of the natural world. The seeking of scientific evidence is a failure of understanding the nature of science and its limits. Thus for an analogy, it made sense to doctors a couple hundred years ago to bleed people to cure their ills, but makes little sense today. Even though scientific theory could be expanded by hypothesis to include a supernatural realm, the availability of scientific evidence would remained constrained by the relationship.
B) As for "…logical people not believing…"
….If one considers the overwhelming documentation and testimony for spiritual existence, whereupon the only logical conclusion is that there must be some sort of supernatural existence, these people are not thinking logically. Thus, ‘not believing' as well as ‘believing' must have as primary, a spiritual driver and ignorance as the secondary driver. Science will do little to change individual beliefs. The two diverse groups make no sense to each other.

To summarize:
The supernatural realm is beyond the reach of causes evoked by the natural world.
The reasons scientific evidence is demanded is because of either ignorance of science or spiritual misleading. Though this is an explanation for the demands, it does not make sense to "bleed the sick to cure the disease".
comoncents

Con

1) Creationism vs. Evolution
In this topic you fail to see the direct correlation between proving evolutions theory as a means to prove if The God of Christianity existed. It is a means to find out about the super natural. Your claim is one that has holes. It would be as I said 2 does not equal 12. Just looking at the numbers in there raw state would be incorrect. Rather 2 does equal 12, if 2 were added to 10. To actually prove God exists one does need science to work with history.
Creationism also relies on scientific evidence to prove the existence of God. When they claim that a rush of water, Noah's flood, created the Grand Canyon they are using scientific evidence to in turn prove the bible was accurate, in turn proving Gods existence.
http://www.grandcanyonflood.com...

A) It is nonsense, and off topic to respond to A,

B) This too is off topic a bit, but you still miss the point.
Scientific proof is the only way to prove history is correct in terms of biblical accuracy.
It may not be the jump off in which a theologian would start but would be a key factor in proving God to the world.

2) "Jesus is god."
A)
"The historical documentation of his existence, though substantiated by science, remains as historical evidence." ….

But still needed is scientific proof to sustain it, therefore solidifying my argument.

B) "That he had a supernatural connection is beyond science."

It is not beyond science to prove if Jesus was God or not. You would not need science to prove if he talked to "God" or had a "relationship" with "God", he was claiming to be "God". A much larger significance then just a small super natural that is not beyond contestation. Everything that he did would be backed by history and needed to be proved by science, proving that scientific evidence would indeed be needed to prove that this guy was super naturally "God".

3)
A) "Science may play the secondary role of substantiating"
In playing a role it is therefore needed and warranted that we use it to have a percentage of proof.

"Even though we may have a video tape of an apparition and objects moving, this constitutes documentation and evidence, but not proof nor scientific evidence."

But science would play a role in determining if the tape had been spliced or not.

4) "Quantum theory as a model for proof in my last debate."
Still, this is now. And you seem to be losing your debate, http://www.debate.org....
I also am not claiming that there is "sufficient evidence", as you did, just that it plays a part in super natural things. Therefore scientific evidence should not be disbarred from helping to prove Gods existence.
If you were trying to debate a reversal to your loss then you should have worded it exactly like you did then. Your lack of attention to detail makes this debate an extremely different debate.
Debate Round No. 2
Eros

Pro

Huh? There was something I failed to see? There were details I failed to pay attention to?
The style of my debating may be different, but it is what makes the most sense to me.

Thank you for not expanding the debate any further.

Your statement set is inconsistent as there are contradictory statements.

1) C vs E
From R2 what you state by "…to see the direct correlation between proving evolutions(sp) theory as a means to prove if The God of Christianity existed." seems contrary to your statement in R1 "Therefore it makes sense to have scientific proof that evolution is wrong and God does exist,…"

The hope you must be expressing is that somehow the further development of evolution theory will prove God's involvement and more generally as I interpret your other statements that the demand for scientific evidence is warranted based on the hope for proof or disproof of God's existence by science. This is the point of the debate and even though you acknowledged it in R1 "…it is nonsense to try to force supernatural into science, as the two do not mix…", you counter yourself when you go on to say in R2 "It is a means to find out about the supernatural." This indicates an implicit inconsistency in your position which I suppose would be resolved by your conceding that repeatable scientific experiments are excluded from the supernatural, but that science theory may support certain historical facts and allow a certain hypothesis to stand. This if I am interpreting your statements correctly, we are in agreement with.

In the argument between Darwinism and Creationism, Evolution Theory is sometimes disparaged as only a theory.
This implies the understatement of the concept of ‘theory' as a theory is a body of statements, theorems, and laws, all considered as the truth rigorously shown to be so.
Though a theory isn't the facts, it is supposed to explain the facts accurately, where the hypotheses which are not proven must still be justified with the facts and where exceptions between facts and theory are noted.

Creationism cannot be called a theory, it can not be proven true or false since it postulates a super-natural source for gaps in science such as those exceptions found by anthropologists.

In the studies of science, statements of a theory may only be proven within a system.

Since the Creationism thesis postulates super-natural existence, a system which being outside of the empirical system, is not readily accessible to everyone. Proof of any Creationism postulate is dependent on the cooperation of the operators of that larger, super-natural system, and as the effects generated by them are not controllable by us, scientific proof will be at the least elusive, but within the definition of science, impossible.

This debate, whether or not it makes sense to expect science to find evidence of supernatural existence hinges on the question of whether or not it is possible for science to determine supernatural causes or supernatural effects. I propose this separation of causal events as that I suspect you agree that a cause originating in the supernatural would go unnoticed by us and that we could not force such for experimental purposes. What we are left with then are only supernatural effects that may be available for our inspection. Thus you propose the surmising about the creation of the Grand Canyon. This is about as far as you can get from an scientific exposition, however, Noah's Flood is not in dispute and how literal is the translation of the Bible is not in dispute. Whether or not water literally covered the Earth is not significant to the truth of the Bible, but only that a significant enough deluge occurred needs to be shown. There are much better sites for evidence of the great flood. My favorite site for the deluge includes the area around the Black Sea and the Bosphorus Straits. Even though science may substantiate portions of the Bible and thus bolster claims for the religion, this substantiation of historical events does not provide scientific proof that they were supernatural effects. All we are left with is the testimony that Noah had been warned about the calamity that was to befall them. Proving the Bible to be accurate and true provides evidence as testimony to God's existence, but does not provide scientific evidence.

Though you were not explicit, I suppose your ‘2 and 12' analogy or metaphor was meant to address the idea of ascribing the supernatural to the gaps or unknowns in a theory because it all makes for a nice story. This process if done right may be considered a proof in the sense of a logical proof as that basically all that is required for a logical proof is consistency, but this is not scientific evidence. For science, a proof not only requires consistency, but also substantiation by experimental data. The gaps in one theory are not scientific proof for some hypothesis.

Categorical inconsistency is nonsense. For example, ‘Science will go blue in the face if the gain finds its heart on the indirect.'
The dismissal of 1A) as nonsense means I failed to make my point about the inability of science to provide evidence for the supernatural. But since we failed to communicate, I see no value attempting to expand these comments further as you indicated no path for me to follow to help you. I will merely reassert 1A) as response, hoping that the statements above will aid interpretation.

2) Jesus is god.
A) Again the scientific substantiation of historical events is not scientific proof of supernatural effects. Scientific proof requires use of the scientific method. Scientific method requires repeatable experiments. Propose an experiment that may be conducted to show a supernatural effect.
B) Here in R2, opposite to my basic claim, you claim that it is not beyond science to prove the supernatural aspect, but offer no indication how this is so. For my claim I offer that if science discovers a mechanism, for instance, if science discovers the steps to how life came to be, science would only recognize and acknowledge the mechanisms as naturalistic as this is all that science is able to acknowledge. Any supernatural causes would be obscure.
Again, how would someone conduct an experiment to prove that a spiritual agent is at work?

In R2 you say scientific evidence is needed to prove the supernatural but do not say why it is needed. In the last paragraph of R1 you postulated needs to which I gave response 5). I say not only is it impossible to acquire scientific evidence , but also it is unnecessary given the enormous historical and living testimony.

3) Yes, science plays its role, in validating testimony and validated testimony plays its role as evidence, but testimony by a person or document, to include the video or film as documentation, is not scientific evidence. Testimony and scientific evidence are two separate categories. Testimony may be given by a person that they witnessed someone shooting, but the scientific evidence would come from the fingerprints on the gun matching the shooters.
I have encountered before comments like yours that mention of ‘percentage of proof". I have wondered how this would be done. ‘Percent accurate' would suppose all the points of description to be known and then the degree of conformity could be determined, but even with the historical events that have been shown true, the supernatural points in the explanation remain unproven.

4) Yes, the voters were unkind to me in that last debate. My pointing to it as an example was to counter your comment in R1 that I "…miss the point in which people ask for scientific proof." I did chose a different track in this debate to make the same point in that debate. In this debate I chose to narrow the subject down to the singular negative in an effort at simplification.

Whether or not scientific evidence should be disbarred is mute
as scientific evidence for the supernatural is impossible.
comoncents

Con

I will make it more simple and change the approach.
We are not getting anywhere with the last format and getting a little off topic..

Here is the most simple i can make it...
You are defining God as supernatural and science as natural. You are arguing off that foundation.

The resolution is that "It doesn't make sense".

Whether or not something makes sense is based on logic and reason, and since science is the outcome of logic and reason, it HAS to make sense.
Debate Round No. 3
Eros

Pro

Wow! That was simple.

Actually I do not like defining ‘God' as a singular entity, but would rather use the word "God" to refer to the collection of supernatural entities, much like we use the word "mankind" to refer to the human race and I would define science as the knowledge that has been found as truth by rigorous proof according to scientific method. This scientific knowledge normally consists of the mechanical properties inherent in our universe.

Expanded our debate reaches up to the supernatural realm and down to the natural realm. The premise of my argument is that the natural realm may not directly initiate an action in the supernatural realm, therefore no scientific experiments are possible, thus it makes no sense to seek scientific evidence for God's existence.

Logic is the study of correct reasoning. As much as our experiences may be subjected to rigorous inspection by more than one observer, science does use logic to make sense out of our experiences. The problem with supernatural experiences is that they do not subject themselves to such inspections.

I do hope that my exposition here has made sense. That people have a better sense of the capabilities of science. That the debates including notions involving the supernatural will make more sense.

Eros for your correction.
comoncents

Con

All right, I would like to thank Eros for this debate.

"It makes no sense to ask for scientific evidence for Gods existence."

That was your debate, which I believe I have proven that science is needed to prove gods existence.

Than you change in your opening argument to include the super natural.
A totally different debate, but this is interesting.

Super natural things are broad and full of made up stories, to prove something is super natural you would need science, therefore science is still useful in proving evidence for super natural things.

I get what you are trying to pose, but you are wrong in your opening and also stretching it in your first round.

Should we try to prove every super natural thing with science? No, b/c brilliant minds should not be wasted on nonsense, but to prove something is true (or existing); one does need science to back it.

But your words are incorrect.

You really should not be asking if it makes sense, you should be arguing whether or not we should be doing it.

B/c to prove something to be true, one needs science, so obviously it makes sense to have scientific evidence.

Thank you, voters, and I know you will use logic to support a con verdict!

Vote con
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
Eros: You know the answer to the question you asked. Questions like that come up routinely in court for example.

I suggest you read this:
http://www.godlessgeeks.com...
"""
Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder.
"""

If there is no difference between a cosmos in which God exists, and one in which he doesn't exist, what does "God exists" mean? You see, I accept your assertion that "It makes no sense to ask for scientific evidence for God's existence" but unlike you, I believe that precisely because "God" makes no sense unless you define scientific evidence that could potentially prove its existence.
Posted by Kaylus 7 years ago
Kaylus
The "just because you didn't see it, doesn't mean it didn't happen" scenario that you bring up fails to convince. Certainly if no witnesses were around and two humans contest a word that was said or an action that doesn't leave evidence was performed, then you definitely will have issue.

Comparing that to claims that can be tested for accuracy is tantamount to silliness. I can claim that the Invisible Pink Unicorn is responsible for all life in the universe. In fact, the IPU is shown to be more powerful and thus more realistic than any common description of god. She is so powerful that she can be both invisible and pink at the same time. True, we have faith that she is pink -- but the logic tells us she is invisible, otherwise we would see her.

The burden of proof is on the one making the claim. Anecdotal evidence does not evidence make. People who "dowse" state they can do so reliably, people that claim ESP state they can perform it reliably. Many religious individuals state that prayer can cure illness, and that religious miracles can be performed by those with enough faith. All of these claims have been found wanting.

Christian beliefs are founded on Jesus being an incarnation of God. The burden of proof is on them, the burden of proof for any theists religious stories is on them. The great flood? Bring forth the evidence. 6000 year old earth? Bring forth the evidence. Enki, Enlil, Ninhursag? Bring forth the evidence.

Any individual can claim anything in the world, it does not make it true. Just because you label your claim as supernatural does not make my claim that bubble-gum is sentient when no one is looking less likely. Logic, deductive reason, scientific method are all art of what makes it less likely. I believe your first debate on this subject clarified it quite well.
Posted by Eros 7 years ago
Eros
daniel t; If your brother came home and said he kissed a girl at the roller rink, how would that be proved? Since he bragged about it she was embarrassed and refused to kiss him again.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
"It is supposed that the supernatural system has access to the natural system, thus the concepts that we have of the supernatural are those that the supernatural sponsored."

According to your position, there is absolutely no reason to make such a supposition.

Meanwhile, ESP and dowsing are both "supernatural" systems that are routinely tested... and found lacking. So apparently supernatural systems can be tested.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
pantheism: a doctrine that identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a manifestation of God.
Posted by Eros 7 years ago
Eros
It is supposed that the supernatural system has access to the natural system, thus the concepts that we have of the supernatural are those that the supernatural sponsored.

I need to study the pantheist system, but if not categorized as supernatural nor as sucular, then does it have it own category?
Posted by Kaylus 7 years ago
Kaylus
I have to agree with Daniel, I myself find it hard to vote based on the substance of the debate as it stands. It makes it hard to argue a statement: It makes no sense to seek scientific evidence for that which could never be scientifically verified.

Worded as an absolute as such, it is beyond debate. I don't think the debate delved deep enough into why it was absolute that it could not be scientifically verified, the slippery slope of an idea that somethings can just be imagined and told as universal truths without requiring proofs, and while totally disregarding the reality that many people state that god takes an active role in the life and times of individuals.

With claims such as "Prayer helps curing illness", and "God will provide", God came to earth as a living being and performed miracles, the argument slowly diverges into one needing scientific analysis and evidence. One would have to regard claims of God-given Divine power as false to assert that asking for scientific evidence of God's existence was unnecessary.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
I'm in a quandary, and I'm not sure how to vote. I accept Pro's proposition but only because Pro has implicitly defined the supernatural as "that which cannot be scientifically verified."

Con brought up the evolution vs creationism debate, but neglected the fact that the only thing creationism attempts to do is disprove evolution. Disproving evolution does not, in any way, prove the existence of neither the supernatural nor God. Something along these lines is true for all of Con's points.
Posted by Rob1Billion 7 years ago
Rob1Billion
"the natural system as the sub-system is unable to access the supernatural system as the super-system"

Yeah, fine, but if the natural system is unable to access the "super-system", then how did we come up with the idea of the super-system in the first place? Answer: we made it up.
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 7 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
No one mentioned a secular God.

A pantheists God is by definition not supernatural, and of course it is possible to beleive in parts of the supernatural without believing in God.
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Vote Placed by beamer1 7 years ago
beamer1
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