The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

On balance of probability, there is a God.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/13/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,326 times Debate No: 20374
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)





On balance of probability, God exists.


I will not necessarily be arguing for the validity of any particular faith system (unless my partner wants me to); rather, I will show (with logic) that G-d exists.

  1. Acceptance
  2. Opening arguments
  3. First rebuttals
  4. Second rebuttals
  5. Closing
  1. First round is just for acceptance (and a thesis statement).
  2. No new arguments in the last round.
  3. If you wish to forfeit, then post it! Don't let the time run out.
  4. If you troll, I will delete you
  5. These will get you an automatic loss:
    1. Plagarism
      1. Cite all sources either in the debate, a link to a debate, or comments.
    2. Ad hominem attacks
    3. Forfeiting multiple rounds.
Good luck to whoever accepts


I'll play. I shall demonstrate there probably is no morally perfect and all powerful being. The sort of being Abrahamic religions would call "God".
Debate Round No. 1



Thank you for accepting this debate. I am sincerily delighted in the ability to debate a formidable partner. Given your previous debates, I look forward to your rebuttals.

==My case==

Contention 1: The KCA
  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
  2. The Universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the Universe has a cause.
Premise 1 is metaphysically true--namely, something cannot possibly come from nothing, the denial of which is absurd. If something can come into existence without a cause, then we are begging the question as to why we do not have any examples of this constantly happening. The question: Why doesn't everything and anything pop into existence withotu a cause? The reason is because nothingness is constrained by physical laws, for there is nothing to constrain. To deny premise 1 is to deny causual regularity. Philosopher David Oderberg has argued that the first premise is necessarily true:

We are asked to countenance the possibility of the following situation: the nonexistence of anything followed by the existence of something. The words “followed by” are crucial — how are they to be interpreted? What they cannot mean is that there is at one time nothing and at a subsequent time something, because the nonexistence of anything is supposed toinclude time: to say that at one time there is nothing whatsoever is self-defeating because it is to say that there is a time at which nothing exists — hence something did exist. But it is hard to see how else we are supposed to understand “followed by”; or when the denier of the causal principle says that it is possible for something to come from nothing what are we to understand by “from”? Again it cannot have a causal sense because something is supposed to have come into existence uncaused. All that appears to be left is a timeless contradiction — the existence of nothing and the existence of something. [1]

Premise 2 is supported by both philisophical and scientific evidence. Scientifically, the beginning of the Universe has overwhelming support in modern cosmologists. The Origin of Life project has a prize for those who come up with the truth of how we got here.

"Appeals to multiple or 'parallel' cosmoses or to an infinite number of cosmic 'Big Bang/Crunch' oscillations as essential elements of proposed mechanisms are not acceptable in submissions due to a lack of empirical correlation and testability. Such beliefs are without hard physical evidence and must therefore be considered unfalsifiable, currently outside the methodology of scientific investigation to confirm or disprove, and therefore more mathematically theoretical and metaphysical than scientific in nature. Recent cosmological evidence also suggests insufficient mass for gravity to reverse continuing cosmic expansion. The best cosmological evidence thus far suggests the cosmos is finite rather than infinite in age." [2]

Likwise, phenomena such as redshift, cosmic background radiation, the expansion of the universe, and the second law of thermodynamics point towards the idea that the universe did indeed begin to exist. Any universe in a state of cosmic expansion must be finite in past duration. [3]

Philisophically, if the universe were to have been eternal, this implies the existence of an actual infinite. However, we know that it is impossible for an actually infinite set of things to exist; hence, the universe must be finite in past duration.

From this is follows that the universe has a cause. But why think this cause is God? Contradiction argues:

Firstly, it must be noted that since there is nothing prior to the cause of the universe, it cannot be explained scientifically, as this would imply the existence of antecedent determining conditions. Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused, for how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect? Moreover, the cause must transcend space both matter and time to create both matter and time. It must also be changeless, since there was no time prior to the creation of the universe. Finally, in order to create the universe ex nihilo, this cause must be enormously powerful, if not omnipotent. One is warranted in concluding that therefore, God exists. [4]

Second, Matt Slick notes:

"A single uncaused cause of the universe must be greater in size and duration than the universe it has brought into existence; otherwise, we would have the uncaused cause bringing into existence something greater than or equal to itself. An event that is part of the universe cannot cause itself to exist." [5] Therefore, it logically follows this cause must be transcedent (i.e., outside of space and time).


1. David S. Oderberg, "Traversal of the Infinite, the “Big Bang” and the Kalam Cosmological Argument", Philosophia Christi 4 (2002): 305-36 quoted from;



4. 1



Thanks to Mr.Infidel for the topic. In this first outing, I am going to give three reasons why God (=df. an all powerful morally perfect being) does not exist.

Divine hiddenness

Many of us lack think no God exists. Some of these non-believers possess considerable epistemic virtue: their wrong belief is not a consequence of a strop with god, nor of irrational quirk. They may be careful and intelligent, have devoted lots of study to God’s existence, etc. In short, there are some inculpable non-believers: they did their best – ‘called it as they saw it’, but they saw it wrong.

These people are good evidence God does not exist. For God is able to show these non-believers their error. Further, there are several reasons why a morally perfect God would do this:

1) In many religions, disbelief has vast eternal penalty. There is incalculable benefit in stopping people casting themselves into damnation by honest error – indeed, failing to do so seems negligent.

2) One might say that the correct relationship to God brings goods that a secular life – no matter how richly it flourishes – cannot provide. God would want to maximise access to these goods, and would not want people missing out through no fault of their own.

3) One of the adjectives commonly applied to God is ‘perfectly loving’. It is plausible a being would want to enter into a relationship with every one of us. This sort of relationship is stymied in those who fail to believe there is a God to relate with.

We put it formally like this (modified from Schellenburg)[1].

1) If God exists, inculpable non-belief does not exist

2) Inculpable non-belief does exist

3) God does not exist

In support of [1] we have my foregoing case about why a morally perfect being would want to prevent inculpable non-belief on ground of eternal consequence, religious goods, and as a pre-requisite for a loving relationship. In support of [2] we have the data of vast numbers of seemingly epistemically virtuous atheists: consider philosophers like William Rowe or Graham Oppy, smart non-specialists working in science or medicine, or just non-believers you know who don’t seem irrational. The conclusion follows by modus tollens.

Here’s a pretty map of this argument:

The demographics of Theism

There are many more Muslims than Christians than Saudi Arabia, many more Catholics in Ireland than Vietnam, and a very small ratio of Theists to pagans two and a half thousand years ago.

This spatio-temporal pattern is very surprising on Theism. It is bizarre why God would let such important matters like faith hinge so strongly on the happenstance of the place and time of one’s birth, for similar reasons why it is bizarre why God would let there being inculpable non-believers.

What makes this point stronger (and stops it being a repetition), is that atheism explains the demographics of theism better. If God does not exist, and religions are but elaborate social constructions, then we would expect their demographics to obey the contours of history and geography similar to other beliefs and ideologies: the conquestors’ religion should supercede the conquesteds’; a religious belief should start at a single point and spread outwards, and not from many geographically isolated regions at once; religious beliefs will generally be stable over time - the distribution should not change completely from one generation to the next; amongst many other things. This is what we observe.

We put it formally like this (after Malitzen)[2]

4) The demographics of Theism are better explained by Atheism than Theism

5) [Prime principle of explanation]. If the demographics of theism are better explained by Atheism than Theism, then the demographics of Theism make Atheism more plausible than Theism.

6) Atheism is more plausible than Theism

I aver that Theism is a very poor explanation of its own demographics so that they are highly surprising. In contrast, Atheism makes the demographics of theism unsurprising. So Atheism should be considered much more plausible than Theism.

Here’s a pretty map of this argument:


The world is filled with evil. One could talk about the case of Neil and Kasumi Puttick, parents who committed suicide after their child contracted meningitis and died. Or the case of the Mutilation, where a young woman was raped and her arms cut off. Or the 25 million (and counting) who have died of AIDS.[3] And so on, and on, and on. To the litany of human suffering, one can add verses without end. Each and every one is an outrage to the human condition.

In almost all cases, these awful events appear unjustified. Our moral faculties (the ones we rely upon in our daily lives) can find no reason why (for example) the Mutilation is necessary for some greater good, or to avert a greater evil. We should treat these appearances credulously: if the mutilation appears unjustified, it probably is unjustified. (And you can show when there are very large numbers of evils that appear unjustified, it is extremely probable at least one is unjustified).[4]

Unjustified evil shouldn’t obtain in God’s creation. For if God existed, there should only be justified evil. For God to add to the justified evils unjustified ones seems closer to sadism than moral perfection. Yet it is extremely probable that there are such unjustified evils. So it is extremely probable God does not exist.

More formally, after Rowe[5]

7) If God exists, unjustified evil does not exist

8) Unjustified evil does exist

9) God does not exist

Here’s a pretty map of this argument:


Hiddenness, demographics and evil provide three decisive reasons for Atheism. I look forward to Pro’s response.


[1] See Schellenburg, J L (1993), Divine hiddenness and Human Reason. Cornell University Press, Ithaca. pp 5-10. See also Schellenburg J L (2006) ‘The hiddenness argument revisited (1)’ Religious studies vol. 42 no. 2 pp. 201-215.

[2] See Malitzen, S (2006) ‘Divine Hiddenness and the Demographics of Theism’ Religious studies vol. 42 no. 2 pp. 177-191.

[3] See Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (2006) Overview of the Global AIDS Epidemic. (available here: As this report is six years out of date, the total death toll is likely to be substantially higher now.

[4] Cf. Bass, R (2011) ‘Many Inscrutable evils’ Ars Disputandi vol. 11 pp.118-132. (Bass shows that one can use n appearances of unjustified evil to give a likelihood ratio of [P(Unjustevil|appearance)/P(Justevil|appearance)]n. So long as this fraction is marginally greater than unity and the events are independent it will climb rapidly as n increases. The independence assumption can be greatly weakened to preserve this result if n is very large, which it is.)

[5] See Rowe, W L (1979) ‘The Problem of Evil and Some Varieities of Atheism.’ American Philosophical Quarterly vol. 16 no.4 pp. 335-341

Debate Round No. 2


I apologize to my partner, but I cannot respond in this round. I am extremely busy with finals and request an apology. Please extend both of our arguments in the next round. As for my partner, please wait a few days before submitting your rebuttal to the KCA.



Your turn, Pro.
Debate Round No. 3


Thank you so much for your superb conduct. (Voters, give con the conduct point).


My partner has provided three basis of arguments for his non-belief in God. First, he has presented Drange's Argument from Non-belief; second is the demographics of Theism, and finally is the Problem of Evil. As we shall see, my partner's arguments fail on several levels. To demonstrate each point, I will use Jewish theology for my belief and rebuttals, as I feel Jewish theology accurately refutes all of my partners arguments.


Divine Hiddeness

Rebutals to observations:

1-2) In Judaism, we do not have a vast eternal punishment for one that disbelieves. Likewise, we do not believe that one must convert to Judaism in order to have a place in the world to come. [1]

3) Indeed, God does desire to have a relationship with each and every one of us. Gentiles to can find a relationship with God. [2]

Refuting the Syllogism

1) If God exists, inculpable non-belief does not exist.

1. What is the basis of this claim?

2. How does one determine "inculpable non-belief?"

2) Inculpable non-belief does occur

1. How does one determine this? Likewise, one can say that inculpable non-belief does not occur!

2. What "evidence" would it take for one to convince you of G-d's existence?

More refutations [3]

1. Bias

Human beings are often biased towards a certain viewpoint. Sometimes, this bias gets in the way of an objective analysis of the evidence. Whatever is the cause, it is possible that those who claim that they have been provided with insufficent evidence are merely biased regarding to the evidence that they have.

2. Anger

Sometimes a person may be unsatisfied with the way things are going in their life and they feel that, if God existed, He should do something about it. Perhaps they are upset that somebody they care for died. Anger can often consume an individual and get in the way of rational thought. This could lead to an unjustified rejection of the evidence for God’s existence.

3. What counts as "evidence"?

As I stated earlier, this argument begs the question as to what counts as "evidence."

Problem of Evil

1) If God exists, unjustified evil does not exist.

2) Unjustified evil does exist.

3) God does not exist.

In his book Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonidies wrote that all bad that exists within humans are a matter of the individual's attributes, but all the merits of humanity are due to their general characteristic.[4]

According to Maimonadies, there are three types of evil in the world:
  1. Evil caused by nature;
  2. Evil that humans bring upon others; and
  3. Evil brought upon one self.
One cannot blame God on evil that humans purposefully bring upon others and one that brings evil upon oneself.

Matt Slick explains the PoE like this [5]:

  1. How can it be established that unnecessary suffering occurs?
  2. What criteria would anyone use to establish what is unnecessary suffering?
  3. God can certainly have reasons for allowing suffering to occur in the world:
    1. As a demonstration of the effects of sin in the world.
    2. As a demonstration of the effects of rebellion against him.
    3. As a means by which sin is shown to be bad.
    4. As a means by which people can learn to depend on him.
    5. etc.
  4. Simply stating that unnecessary suffering occurs does not mean that it is so.
  5. Christian theology states that suffering is a result of sin in the world. This is the result of Adam's free choice and the effect of sin upon his descendents and the world. All suffering is then the necessary consequence of this sin.
Onto con!

==Notes and Sources==

1. We cal these the "righteous gentiles" who uphold the Noahic covanent. For more, see the book The Path to the Righteouss Gentile.

2. The biggest proof for this comes from the book of Jonah. Note that most rabbinical commentaries place Islam and Christianity as valid faith systems for gentiles to get to God.






In this second outing, I hope to show why Pro’s argument (the Kalam Cosmological argument, or KCA) fails. The first two reasons will show the KCA does not show that God exists. The second two reasons will show the KCA is unsound.

The KCA is inapposite as the ‘God’ shown is not morally perfect

Even if the timeless cause of the universe is this timeless spaceless all powerful agency, none of this shows the attribute of moral perfection. Such a creator could be morally ambivalent or malevolent. So we could accept every single claim PRO has made, and still find the resolution unsupported.

The KCA is inapposite as there is no good case for any of the divine attributes

PRO tries to move from ‘cause of the universe’ established by the argument to God. He doesn’t offer any argument, but quotes both Contradiction and Matt Slick approvingly. Sadly, they don’t offer any argument either: both quoted paragraphs are rambling, inchoate with non-sequiturs, and of poor philosophical quality. I shall reconstruct the assertions they sort-of imply, and show them to be inscrutable or false.

Transcendent of space and time

Both Contradiction and Matt Slick argue that the cause (whatever it was) must be ‘outside time and space’. I agree that the ‘spark’ that set off the universe would have to be without temporal-spatial index (I have no idea what “transcend space and time means”), but that wouldn’t mean it would remain this timeless spaceless object afterwards. The ‘cause of the universe’ could cease to exist, for example.

Really powerful

Both writers make gestures that the cause must be ‘immensely powerful’ to make a universe. Not so: the cause of the universe may only be able to cause the universe, and be completely impotent thereafter. Moreover, it might just be the ‘spark’ that kicks it off, with the ‘power’ of universe generation undertaken by some prior laws of physics.

Regardless of the semantics over ‘power’, it is clear that there is no guarantee the abilities the cause of the universe has corresponds with the abilities God is supposed to have. So showing the universe was caused does not prove there is a causal factor with remotely God-like power.


Contradiction asserts “Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused, for how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect?” I cannot see how we leap from “no prior determination” to “must be personal agency”, and I don’t see why personal beings have a monopoly on being timeless causes to temporal effects (indeed, personal causes suffer considerable explanatory penalty given agency is temporally indexed, which doesn’t jive with immutability or timelessness). At any rate, there is no substantiation why this cause of the universe need be a personal being, or a mind, or whatever else. It may just be a quirk of the aether.


Contradiction seems to believe that without antecedent determining conditions (as we’re ‘before’ the cause of the universe), this cause is outside the purview of science. Au contraire: our best science currently has instantaneous causation (non-locality in quantum physics), and who knows, it maybe there’ll be retrograde causation too. At least in principle the ‘before the universe’ physics would be wholly determinate and may even be tractable to us.

You might want to say ‘but there can’t be any physical laws’ prior to the universe, but that ain’t necessarily so. For all we know the laws of physics are metaphysically necessary, and obtain in all possible worlds, even those ‘causally pre-universe’. And maybe these laws will specify the (atemporal) mechanics of universe generation ‘ex nihilo’.

We have seen the cause of the universe shown by the KCA need not even be anything like a God. Due to these, PROs case fails to support the existence of God even if his only argument – the KCA – is sound.

Why the KCA is wrong: B-theory

There are two main schools of thought in philosophy of time.[1] One is A-theory: only the present exists, and the future will come into existence, and the past has existed. On this theory the second premise of the KCA (“The universe began to exist”) makes sense.

The other option is B-theory, which says both past, present and future all exist (in a 4d or n+1d block), and the present is just the current image seen on progression through this block, no more real than those before or after. On this view, although it makes sense to say the universe had a past space-time boundary, it does not make sense to say it ‘began to exist’: our 4d block ‘always was’, metaphysically speaking. Craig and Sinclair agree:

From start to finish, the kalam cosmological argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived.[2]

The problem for the KCA is that most experts think B-theory right and A-theory wrong. Almost all physicists are B-theorists, as the majority of philosophers of physics.[3] Until PRO provides warrant to think the preponderance of expert opinion is wrong, we should follow them and reject A theory, and consequently the second premise of the KCA.

Some further support for B-theory. What is happening on Pluto when I snap my fingers? Thanks to special relativity, the answer depends on your frame of reference with respect to me. B-theorists can easily accommodate this, but A theorists seem obliged to say there is a ‘correct’ answer as only a given point of time exists across the universe at any instant, and so demand a privileged frame of reference. Yet this requires various contrivances unnecessary on a B-theory view.[4]

Why the KCA is wrong: Iterating to infinity

If there are a past-infinite ensemble of causal events, then there is no first cause of the universe, in the same way there is no ‘first’ negative integer. Note this does not demand an infinite past duration of the universe – we can ‘cram in’ the infinite number of causal events hyperbolically, for example. So PRO’s labour to show the universe is past infinite does not defeat this objection

PRO asserts that “we know an actually infinite set of things cannot exist”. There are several groups who disagree: Platonists about numbers posit infinitely many actual things, and various theories of physics (like many worlds) also propose an infinite array of physical objects. Given it isn’t obvious these views are wrong, PRO’s assertion should be rejected.

Here’s a map of the objections (sorry for using one big picture, but the internet kept spitting at me if I used more than one picture):

PRO’s case is both inapposite and unsound, and should not be accepted.

[1] See Mctaggart, J M E. (1908) The unreality of time. Mind vol. 17 pp.457-73

[2] Craig, W L. and Sinclair, J D. (2009) The Kalam Cosmological Argument. pp. 183-184 In Craig, W L and Moreland, J P. (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford.

[3] See the Philpapers Survey here: Note that B theorists outnumber A theorists 2:1 generally, and this ratio increases when considering relevant specialists.

[4] See Balashov, Y. and Janssen, M (2002) Presentism and Relativity: A critical notice. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science vol. 54 pp. 327-346

Debate Round No. 4


Unfortunately this round is JUST for closing (no rebuttal, see R1) and we still have gotten pretty much nowhere with this debate. Therefore, I request that my partner agrees to a part 2 of this debate and have this debate as a "tie" for right now.



Okay by me. A shame we didn't get properly moving. Let's try again soonish.

Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 6 years ago
In a chapter of his 1936 book Language, Truth, and Logic, A. J. Ayer argued that one could not speak of God's existence, or even the probability of God's existence, since the concept itself was unverifiable and thus nonsensical.
Posted by Microsuck 6 years ago
Con, where did you get your image maps?
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
Suggest defining "God" at the start of the debate. Con assumed the O3 god and Pro seemed to go along. However, Pro proposed the first cause God and there is no logical connection to the O3 god. The Deist god is first cause, for example, but not O3.

The premise that everything that exists has a cause is extremely doubtful. Many religions assume the universe always existed, Buddhism for example. Science certainly admits the possibility, since the Steady State Theory once dominated. It may or may not be true, but it's certainly possible.

Science also now accepts uncaused events, quantum fluctuation, for example.

Pro should have taken the loss for forfeiting, but it debaters both want a tie, okay.
Posted by Mr.Infidel 6 years ago
Indeed they are. Pictures make me look boring
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
Your argument maps are awesome, Thasymachus.
Posted by Mr.Infidel 6 years ago
Up to you. However, please wait for a day or so to post. Again, I am VERY sorry I had to miss this round.
Posted by Thrasymachus 6 years ago
Hello Mr. Infidel.

A bit confused. Do you want me to not post this round?

Posted by Mr.Infidel 6 years ago
Excellent round! I'm glad I'm finally debating someone scholarly.
Posted by Thrasymachus 6 years ago
I should note that my R2 was approx 1350 characters under the limit, which I'm pretty sure is greater than the number of characters used in the text in the argument maps. So I hope readers do not think I am using pictures as a way of cheekily evading the character count - their use is purely expository.

Enjoy life!
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources cause of the cool pictures and he had reliable ones. (pro did too bu cons where better) Arguments pro as he defended his Guntar better and con never refuted it, but pro never really toppled cons arguments either so I tie it with conduct.
Vote Placed by imabench 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro and con agreed to a part 2 for this debate, i will respect that. However pro did request we give conduct to the pro, so i will respect that too. however we have to make this a tie as agreed upon by both sides, so ill give grammar to the pro
Vote Placed by wiploc 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Fascinating stuff. Good job both. I request notification when you finish the follow-up debate.