The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Rematch Debate: God Exists

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 5/11/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,892 times Debate No: 75060
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (45)
Votes (2)




This is a rematch debate of ours, between Philocat and I. Please accept this debate. If you wish to debate something else, you can tell me, but I feel this debate shall be a great learning experience for both of us. After our intensely popular "God Exists" debate, with 215-odd comments that made it to the front page [], we're having the rematch. This shall, no doubt, be an amazing and interesting debate. I request that my opponent NOT accept till the 12th of May at 11:30 P.M. DDO time.

Full Resolution

God most likely exists.

BoP is shared.


God - an omnipotent, intelligent, transcendent, immensely great, and all-seeing creator of the universe.

Likely - probably; >50% chance of.

Exist - have metaphysical/physical, objective reality.


1. A forfeit is not allowed.
2. No trolling/kritiks/deconstructional semantics.
3. All arguments must be visible in this debate. Sources may be within this debate or in an outside link.
4. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.

Debate Structure

Round 1: Pro's case
Round 2: Con's case and refutation, Pro rebuts Con's case and defends
Round 3: Con rebuts Pro's case and defends, Pro rebuts Con's case, defends and crystallizes
Round 4: Con rebuts Pro's case, defends and crystallizes, Pro waives

I look forward to an interesting debate.


Thanks Tejretics, I accept the debate.


As the burden of proof is shared, all I must do is provide better arguments than Con that pertain to the probability that God exists. In other words, I have no burden of proof to prove that God definitely, inarguably exists, nor that he definitely is omnipotent, omniscient etc... All I must do is provide cogent arguments that conclude that it is probable that God exists, and that it is probable that he is omnipotent, omniscient and so forth.

As my opponent is well aware, there are many different arguments for the existence of God. I will choose the one I use based on not just its cogency, but on its ability to assert the probability of God having the attributes he is defined as having in round 1.

These are:

1. Omnipotence (the ability to do any logically possible action)

2. Intelligence (having a sentient mind with complex ideas and a high level of knowledge)

3. Transcendence (being outside space and time, although this does not mean that God cannot enter space and time if he so wished, all this means is that he is not essentially bounded by space and time).

4. Immense greatness (being comparatively large in a variety of aspects)

5. All-seeing (being able to observe all that it is possible to observe)

6. Creator of the universe (the cause of the universe's ultimate existence, where the universe is defined as all space, matter, energy and time considered as a whole)

I have a shared burden of proof to argue that it is probable that God exists and that it is probable that he has the above attributes.

Teleological argument

This is an argument that uses abductive reasoning, viz. an appeal to best explanation from observation of a given phenomenon. For this argument, I observe the phenomenon of the universe having the exact properties that entail the existence of complex life, and seek to postulate the most probable explanation for this phenomenon.

For characters' sake, I will refer to the 'universe having the exact properties to entail complex life' as an 'LPU' (life permitting universe). But note that I am specifically referring to complex life, the likes of mammals, reptiles, birds and so on - including humanity.

Observation: The universe is an LPU.

This is uncontroversial, we can observe empirically that complex life exists, and hence the universe permits it.

From this observation, we have multiple possible abductions we could make:

1. The universe is an LPU by chance
2. The universe is an LPU because it is necessarily so, viz. it could not have failed to be an LPU
3. The universe is an LPU because it was designed to be an LPU

The first two abductions are naturalistic, the last is deistic.

Now, we must address the relative probabilities of the three potential explanations.

1 - Chance

This explanation is by far the most improbable. The maximum deviations of any of the main universal constants are as follows:

Ratio of Electrons to Protons- 1:10^37
Ratio of Electromagnetic Force to Gravity- 1:10^40
Expansion Rate of Universe- 1:10^55
Mass Density of Universe- 1:10^59
Cosmological Constant- 1:10^120


If any of these constants deviated by more than their above values, then the universe would either be unable to form stars, be unable to form complex-life-permitting stars (LPS) or be unable to form galaxies. (2)

Just to give an idea of the huge improbabilities of even the most flexible of the above constants (1:10^37), I will quote Dr. Hugh Ross, a doctor of Astrophysics:

'One part in 10^37 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.). Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 10^37' (3)

But the probability of the universe being an LPU by chance is even more unlikely than 1 in10^37. If even one of the above constants deviated more than its maximum deviation then the universe would not be an LPU. So, in reality, the probability of the universe having the exact constants is:

(1/10^37) x (1/10^40) x (1/10^55) x (1/10^59) x (1/10^120) = 1/10^311

Which is an unimaginable tiny number. At this level, the probability is effectively 0.

2 - Necessity

Whilst this is an explanation that would explain why the universe is an LPU, we can reason that the universe is not necessarily an LPU.

This is because, in a modal sense, X is necessarily Y if and only if it is absurd or incoherent to postulate that there is a possible world where X =/= Y.

But it is not absurd to postulate a possible world where the universe is not an LPU, so the universe is not necessarily an LPU.

3 - Design

Compared to chance and necessity, this abduction is the most reasonable.


Therefore, via abductive reasoning, the most probable explanation for the phenomenon of the universe being an LPU is that it was designed to be life permitting. Consequently, there must exist a being that is responsible for this design.

What do we know about this being? Is it probable that this being is omnipotent, intelligent, transcendent, immensely great, all-seeing and the creator of the universe?

'Creator of the universe'

What we do know is that this being designed the universe (as this is how His existence is abduced). It is reasonable to postulate that the designer of the universe is also the creator of the universe, as otherwise we need to postulate another God-like being that created the universe using the designs of the God we have already proven. But this contravenes Occams's Razor, since it is a needless postulation of extra entities. So we can conclude that it is probable that if God designed the universe, he also created it.


The creator of the universe must not be essentially a part of the universe, otherwise he would be creating himself (which is absurd). Therefore, God must be outside space and time (transcendent).


The creator of the universe must be a being of considerable power, since the universe is so unimaginably large and complex. It is probable that this being is omnipotent, as a lack of omnipotence implies a physical limitation; yet a transcendental God is outside space and time and so cannot be subject to any physical limitation. Therefore it is probable that the creator of the universe is omnipotent.


By the same measure, it stands to reason that the designer of our huge, fine-tuned and complex universe would be intelligent, otherwise the designer would not have been able to ensure a state of affairs that allows complex life to exist.

'immense greatness'

Although the term 'immensely great' is arguably subjective, it is a fair appreciation of the designer and creator of the universe to call this being immensely great.


This property is an implication of being omnipotent, since omnipotence entails the ability to observe everything that God so wishes to see.


I have used a teleological argument to:

1) Prove that a designer of the universe exists

2) Assert that it is probable that this designer has the properties ascribed in round 1.

3) Identify this existent being as God.

Hence I affirm the resolution.

(2) Ibid.
(3) Ross, Hugh - 'The Creator and the Cosmos' p.115
Debate Round No. 1


I thank Philocat for accepting. My opponent and I have agreed that I must only present my case in this round and shall rebut my opponent’s case in defend my own in the next round.


My opponent makes multiple observations regarding the definitions to each of the properties. I accept all definitions, except that of ‘transcendence’. God is, by definition, transcendent. This would mean he is transcendent in every conceivable way in the present. If eternalism and the block-universe hypothesis of time is true, that would mean he was, is, and ever will be transcendent, meaning he *cannot* enter the universe.

Furthermore, when a property is ascribed to a being, isn't that being permanently of that property? For example, the property of intelligence. Doesn't that mean God is intelligent permanently, i.e. he can't become ‘non-intelligent’ temporarily? The same applies to transcendence, so God cannot enter the universe by definition. While one may argue omnipotence allows this, omnipotence cannot violate the other properties. It can do something logically possible not in violation of the other definitions for the purposes of this debate.

C1) Incoherence of a Caused Universe

a) Requirements for Causation

Physicist Sean Carroll notes two features that allow us to coherently talk about any form of causation whatsoever. [1]

i. Time & the arrow of time (determined by entropy)

ii. Physical laws

Time and the arrow of time are naturally required to speak of causation. Without an arrow of time, it is impossible to coherently speak of a ‘process’ of anything, or a ‘beginning’ of something. The beginning would have to have a fixed point in the arrow of time, without which it is impossible for anything to coherently ‘happen’ over a period of *time* (because there is no time).

For something to ‘occur’, it has to occur with a principle supporting its possibility. Possibility is incoherent without physical laws, as objective properties or actions are incoherent without limitation. It can be illustrated by the paradox of the stone, which admittedly does not disprove omnipotence, but illustrates how physical laws are necessary for anything to coherently have a ‘cause’ or beginning.

Prior to the origin of the universe, there were neither physical laws nor time. Sans these essential features of the universe, to speak of causality is incoherent. That the universe was caused is the primary assumption of deism, and without these properties, a caused universe is incoherent.

b) Eternalism

To argue for causation is to propose a capacity for ‘change’. Change is only possible if there is an absolute moving reference point. If there is no such absolute moving reference, to speak of change, and, thus, causation, would be incoherent. According to the B-theory of time and eternalism, the universe is a ‘block’, with no such absolute moving reference, and, thus, is unchanging and cannot have been caused. [2]

According to general relativity, space is ‘stretchable’. This was confirmed by the Friedmann observations and Hubble’s Law, that were used by Georges Lemaitre to propose the Big Bang theory, that states the universe is expanding, which is shown via. the cosmological redshift. [3] The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin singularity theorem, derived by Arvind Borde, Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin, further supports the theory that the universe is expanding. [4]

General relativity also yields ‘eternalism’ or block universe, where the past, present and future are all equally real, and the passage of time is illusory via. the B-theory of time. General relativity models time as a ‘fourth dimension’ of space itself, allowing for the block universe theory to be likely true. Causality cannot be stressed on unless one assumes the presentism ontology of time, which is dubious in light of scientific discoveries supporting eternalism, especially special and general relativity. “Many [scientists and philosophers] have argued against presentism on the grounds that presentism is incompatible with the theory of relativity.” [5]

If eternalism is true, causation is incoherent. In special relativity, each observer has their own ‘plane of simultaneity’, a small section of three-dimensional space where all events are simultaneous. [6] “Special relativity suggests that the concept of simultaneity is not universal: according to the relativity of simultaneity, observers in different frames of reference can have different perceptions of whether a given pair of events happened at the same time or at different times, with there being no physical basis for preferring one frame's judgments over another's (though in a case where one event A happens in the past light cone of another event B, all frames will agree that A happened in the past of B). So, in special relativity there can be no physical basis for picking out a unique set of events that are all happening simultaneously in ‘the present’.” [7] This entails eternalism. Therefore, temporal change and, thus, causation, are incoherent.

C2) Argument from Atemporal Minds

I shall now use a contention to attack the metaphysical possibility of an atemporal mind, i.e. God.

P1: God is an atemporal being with a mind.

P2: All minds require processes.

P3: Processes are always temporal and require time.

C: An atemporal mind is a contradiction, thus God cannot exist.

P1 is true by definition. As God is the creator of the universe, he must be external to the universe. Outside of the universe, there is no time. God is intelligent, and, therefore, has a mind.

P2 is accurate as we don’t have a quantitative understanding of intelligence, which must be a subjective property unless it has a process. Subjective properties are incoherent if paired with transcendence, as noted by the incoherence of greatness as a property, thus intelligence has to be objective for the existence of God as a mind, ergo it must involve a process. To argue a mind is not a process is to also concede that the entity is static, and essentially non-causal, thus the mind must involve a process by definition. [8]

P3 follows as if time does not exist, there will be no passage of time. It is impossible to coherently talk of a process without the passage of time. For something to coherently ‘happen’ and change something because of that, there has to be the passage of time.

The conclusion directly follows from the premises.

C3) Law of Parsimony

a) Deductive

The Law of Parsimony, a form of Occam’s Razor, posits that in a group of equally likely explanation, the one with least number of assumptions is a priori most likely. [9] Theism, or even deism, has greater number of assumptions than atheistic metaphysical naturalism. The former assumes the existence of a physical universe, its laws and God, the latter only assumes the existence of a physical universe and its laws. Therefore, if the existence of God is not required and the functioning of the universe can do without the addition of God, then the other explanation is more likely. [10]

On this, philosopher Bertrand Russell writes, “Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.” [11-12]

b) Subjective

The definition of God requires additional properties, such as ‘greatness’, which is incoherent, intelligence, which requires a process, and properties such as omnipotence that we don’t have a quantitative understanding of, and may be incoherent. These properties constantly add complexity to the being, making God’s existence less and less likely.

c) Ad hoc hypotheses

Occam’s razor also supports the explanation that invokes least ad hoc hypotheses. [13] “[A]n ad hoc hypothesis is a hypothesis added to a theory in order to save it from being falsified.” [14] If you notice, arguments such as the argument from atemporal minds and the incoherence of a caused universe have to be refuted only by the addition of ad hoc hypothesis.


I have presented three deductive arguments to think atheism is likely true, thus negating the resolution soundly. I shall address my opponent’s case and defend my own in the following round. I thank Philocat for their arguments. I’m looking forward to an interesting debate.












11. Ibid.


13. (see Section 3, “Falsificationism”)



Thank you Tejretics :)


Whilst I disagree with Con's view of the absoluteness of transcendence, I am willing to accept for this debate that God's transcendence is absolute because such a concession does not harm my argument.


The argument here is that the universe's causation is incoherent, since causation requires:

A) An 'arrow of time'
B) Physical laws

I will now address these conditions:


Con limits the concept of causality; he asserts that causality is a temporal process that happens over a period of time.Whilst this is the case for many examples of causality, for example a loaf of bread being baked by an oven; there is such a thing as simultaneous causation. For example, if one sits down, then the effect (having a lap) is simultaneous to the cause (sitting down). Therefore, the universe could be simultaneously caused by God, at time t=0.

Con writes a lot about eternalism, but I would like to say here that eternalism does not, by itself, refute the coherency of causality. Instead, the more problematic concept for the hypothesis of simultaneous causality is the 'relativity of simultaneity'.

For the voters who do not yet understand this concept, I will quote Wikipedia:

'In physics, the relativity of simultaneity is the concept that distant simultaneity – whether two spatially separated events occur at the same time – is not absolute' (1)

Con may argue that simultaneous causality is incoherent because of this very concept. However, this would only apply to spatially separated events - since this is what the above definition states. If the cause and effect are not spatially separated, then there is no relativity of simultaneity.

Now we can see that the relativity of simultaneity does not refute the hypothesis that God created the universe via simultaneous causation, because the cause (God) is not spatially separated from the effect (the creation of the universe). Hence we can say with sureity that these events can be objectively simultaneous.

Therefore, neither eternalism nor the relativity of simultaneity refute the coherency of the notion that God created the universe by simultaneous causation.

Physical Laws

The assertion that causality cannot exist without physical laws is actually false. I will give an example:

P1: All cows are mammals
P2: Edward is a cow
C: Edward is a mammal

This is a simple deductive syllogism. Ignore its content, just note that the premises cause the conclusion to be true. This is a clear example of causation. There is a cause and an effect; the cause is the veracity of the premises, and the effect is the veracity of the conclusion.

But this causal relationship does not require the existence of physical laws, yet it is clearly a causal relationship. Therefore, the assertion that causality requires physical laws is false.

Applying this to God, the falsity of Con's assertion entails that God did not require the existence of physical laws to create the universe.

Atemporal minds

The logic of Con's syllogism is sound, although it is its premises that contain the argument's falsity. The one I contest is P2:

'All minds require processes.'

This premise is unjustified. It is true that all human and animal minds require processes, it is a unjustified jump to the conclusion that all minds require processes. There is nothing incoherent in postulating a mind that is unchanging - possessing eternal ideas and thoughts. As Con's argument seeks to assert the incoherency of an atemporal mind, he would have to show that an eternal, unchanging minds is incoherent.

Con writes some lines about the subjectiveness of intelligence, but does not support his claims. I maintain, there is nothing subjective about a mind containing eternal, unchanging ideas and Con would have to demonstrate otherwise in order to save his argument.

My opponent opines that a mind without processes is 'essentially non-causal', yet I disagree. Such a mind can have an eternal idea to cause X at time Y. For example, God could have the eternal idea of 'I will cause a thunderstorm over New York on 8th May 2016', and hence he would cause this despite having an eternal, unchanging mind.

Therefore, an eternal mind is not essentially non-causal.

As I have refuted P2, the argument as a whole is refuted.

Law of Parsimony

I accept the law of parsimony, or Ockham's Razor as it is more commonly known, but I would like to bring to mind this caveat:

'posits that in a group of equally likely explanation[s], the one with least number of assumptions is a priori most likely'

The emphasis is on 'equally likely explanation', as the Law of Parsimony only applies to cases where competing hypotheses are equally likely. However, my teleological argument demonstrates how the 'God-hypothesis' is much more likely than any naturalistic hypothesis concerning the fine-tuning of the universe.

In other words, even if A is more complex and has more ad hoc hypotheses than B, we should still accept A if the arguments for A are stronger than those for B.

I will now pass over to Tejretics :)


Debate Round No. 2


R1) Teleological Argument

I accept that the universe is an LPU. But this is no justification for intelligent design, as this is easily subject to reductio ad absurdum, wherein one might say the universe is an RPU -- a rock permitting universe. If the universe has to be ‘finely-tuned’ for life, it would also have to be ‘finely-tuned’ for rocks. This is ascribing intrinsic value to life with no justification. Now, Pro’s teleological premises are that the universe could have been an LPU by “chance, necessity or intelligent design.” The universe could have also been an RPU similarly, etc. But to ascribe something with actual value is incoherent, thus the ideal analogy is that the universe is a “universe-permitting universe”, i.e. the universe exists out of either chance, design or physical necessity.

Now, I shall be supporting the concept that the universe could exist out of physical necessity with equal probability as intelligent design. Pro says the universe being non-LPU is not absurd, thus it is not necessarily an LPU.

This variation of the teleological argument is referred to as the ‘fine-tuning’ argument, i.e. the idea that the universe is unique in that it is a universe fine-tuned for life, with the physical constant values of the universe [1]. According to philosopher Theodore M. Drange, “Other values for physical constants [are] highly improbable. … [T]he burden of proof is still on the advocates of FTA [to show that other values for physical constants are possible].” [2]

Furthermore, “[Michael Hurben and Theodore Drange] have offered various objections to this new argument to design: that the values of the various physical constants aren't really ‘tunable’ and thus couldn't have been ‘set’ to anything other than the values we find.” [3] According to particle physicist and philosopher Victor J. Stenger, “[I]t can be shown that the conditions necessary for the evolution of some form of life would have arisen from a wide variation in physical constants.” [4]

While I do not outright reject the fine-tuned universe hypothesis, as Drange poses, how is it possible for the universe to have been ‘tuned’ otherwise? Stenger also posits that our ‘type’ of life, i.e. carbon-based life, need not be the only type of life possible [5].

According to inflationary theory, “an inflaton field in the first 10−30 seconds of the universe produces strong repulsive gravity, and the universe and space-time expand by a factor of 1030. After 10−30 seconds, gravity starts to become attractive. In this framework, with such rapid expansion, the overall shape of the universe at 14 billion years is much less sensitive to initial parameters … thus, the fine-tuning issue disappears.” [6] Andre Linde proposed a theory of ‘chaotic inflation’, “the peaks in the evolution of a scalar field (determining the energy of the vacuum) correspond to regions of rapid inflation which dominate.” [7] This theory of eternal inflation was proven by Paul Steinhardt and Alexander Vilenkin independently, and further supported by Alan Guth [8]. This allows for a wholly naturalistic explanation for fine-tuning [9]. Stephen Hawking proposed that the early universe was a superposition of possible initial conditions, only a small fraction of which contributed to the conditions we see today, thus providing a further naturalistic explanation for fine-tuning [10].

Therefore, physical necessity has equal probability as intelligent design, and the argument does not affirm God’s existence. Thus, the teleological argument is refuted.

C1) Incoherence of a Caused Universe

a) Requirements for Causation

First, I shall refute Pro’s analogy of simultaneous causation. Pro asserts that when one sits down, the cause (sitting down) and the effect (causing depression on the cushion) happen at the same time. This is incorrect, as it takes time (i.e. t > 0) for the effect to occur after the cause. In other words, after sitting, it takes an extremely small, albeit finite, amount of time for the cushion to be depressed. For simultaneous causation to be possible, one assumes a presentist ontology of time. As special and general relativity entail eternalism, simultaneous causation is likely impossible.

Pro asserts that the cause and effect are not ‘spatially separated’, but since they are (as illustrated above) temporally separated, if eternalism is true, then they are dimensionally separated, and, thus, spatially separated, by the definition of four-dimensionalism [10]. Eternalism, four-dimensionalism and the B-theory of time are all entailed by each other, thus four-dimensionalism is also likely true.

The deductive syllogism presented by Pro is entirely cognitive and subjective, and does not include metaphysical causation as described in God’s creation of the universe. This is not a metaphysical causal relationship, and *metaphysical* causal relationships require metaphysical restrictions [11].

b) Eternalism

“I would like to say here that eternalism does not, by itself, refute the coherency of causality.”

This is a bare assertion. I clearly showed in Round 1, as I will repeat now, that only presentism implies a capacity of change. Eternalism, as mentioned before, entails (and is almost synonymous with) four-dimensionalism and the B-series of time. Philosopher and metaphysician John McTaggart argued that only the A-series of time and presentism can allow for genuine change and causation [12][13]. I used relativity of simultaneity to *prove* that eternalism, the B-theory of time, the B-series and four-dimensionalism are likely true.

C2) Atemporal Minds

For a mind to have ‘eternal’ ideas, there would have to be *time*, for it to even be ‘eternal.’ Eternalism entails impossibility of change, thus all minds are unchanging, and for a mind to be ‘eternal’, it would necessitate the passage of time. Ergo, if I can show that all known minds require processes, then it would be logically coherent to derive that all minds, known or unknown, require processes. Since God is ‘intelligent’, God would have to have the psychological definition of intelligence. Differential psychologist Lloyd Humphreys defines intelligence as “the resultant of the process of acquiring, storing in memory, retrieving, combining, comparing, and using in new contexts information and conceptual skills.” [14] Since intelligence requires a process, if eternalism is true, it is accurate to believe all minds require processes. Thus, the premise is adequately justified.

As mentioned, causation requires time. God could say I would cause a storm X, where God is the cause and X is the effect. The ‘thinking’ of it is a process, which requires time to coherently ‘happen’.

C3) Law of Parsimony

I accept Pro’s interpretation of Occam’s razor, and thus extend the razor from the prior round.

I thank Philocat for an interesting debate, and pass it over.













13. Michael Tooley (1999). Time and Causation. p. 158.



Teleological Argument


My opponent compares the conclusion that the universe was finely-tuned for life to the conclusion that the universe was finely-tuned for rocks. Of course, the implication of the universe being finely-tuned for life would entail that the universe is indirectly finely-tuned for rocks, since many of the conditions for life existing are shared by the conditions for rocks existing (such as the existence of heavy elements). But we must ask ourselves which one of these existing objects (be it rocks, humans, trees etc...), is the reason why the universe was finely-tuned. Did the creator fine-tune the universe for rocks? Or for humans?

In round 1, I concluded that the creator of the universe is likely to be intelligent, and therefore a person. Persons essentially seek reciprocated, personal relationships with other persons. As Martin Buber wrote, there are two types of relationships a person can have; an 'I-It' relationship which is objective, reasonable and empirical, and an 'I-You' relationship which is subjective, inter-personal and reciprocated. (1)

The very essence of a person seeks to develop 'I-You' relationships, since 'I-it' relationships are cold and impersonal. Since 'I-You' relationships are personal and reciprocated, they can only be relationships between persons, not between a person and an object. Therefore God, as a person, would seek to develop 'I-You' relationships and this can only be done if He were to create persons with which to have these relationships with. This implies that the universe is fine-tuned to allow persons to exist, and it just so happens that complex life is necessary in order to embody these persons.

To summarise, God as a personal being (inferred by his intelligence) would decide to fine-tune the universe to allow humans, not particularly rocks, to exist; even if fine-tuning the universe to allow humans to exist would also allow rocks to exist.


Con argues that the universe being LPU is metaphysically necessary, and hence it is not prudent for a theists to conclude that fine-tuning is the most likely explanation.

Michael Hurben is cited as stating that the values for the relevant physical constants 'aren't really tunable'. But why is this? No evidence is given that the constants are non-contingent. This would imply that, for example, the ratio of proton mass to electron mass had to be 1836.15267245 (2), and that there is no possible world in which it has a slightly different value. Yet one can clearly conceive of many. It is a bare assertion that the relevant physical constants are non-contingent.

Victor Stenger is also cited as claiming that 'some form of life' could have arisen from a far larger variance of the physical constants. However, this is the reason why I wrote in my initial argument that I am referring to complex life, by which I mean multicelluar, intelligent organisms. Complex life entails the existence of heavy elements because these elements (namely carbon or silicon) are the only elements that can form the large variety of compounds necessary to form complex life. Life could have still formed if heavy elements never actually came to exist, for example in hydrogen based life (3). But this is not complex life and hence they are not persons, so there would be no reason why God (a person) would create a universe to allow them to exist. Therefore it is complex life that my argument pertains to, even if I acknowledge that light elements such as hydrogen could create simple lifeforms.

Next, Con talks about inflation theory, but he does not actually explain why the rapid expansion of the universe entails that complex life could have arisen from a much larger variation of the physical constants. His science is complex and no doubt impressive to the casual reader, but this does not hide the fact that it does not clearly pertain to a rebuttal of the fine-tuning argument.

Even if, as Stephen Hawking speculated, the early universe was a 'superposition of possible values', it does not explain why the exact possible values needed for complex life became the exact actual values. It would be far more likely that another possible value, one that did not allow for complex life, became the actual value.

Therefore, Con has failed to give an explanation for how the universe is necessarily a LPU, and hence my argument stands.



Con misreads the example of simultaneous causation. The depression of the cushion is irrelevant. The fact remains that the casual relationship is as follows:

Cause: sitting down

Effect: Having a lap

One does not sit down and then, after a finite time, begin to have a lap. Instead, the instant that one sits down, one immediately (with no time delay) has a lap. This is simultaneous causation because the cause and the effect are not temporally separated (they happen at the same time).

Furthermore, simultaneous causation is compatible with eternalism. All eternalism entails is that time is a dimension in roughly the same way as space is a dimension (well, three dimensions). But just as there are distinct, objective points in space, there are distinct, objective points in time. If both the cause and effect exist in that distinct point in time, then they are simultaneous.

Therefore, eternalism does not refute simultaneous causation.

In terms of physical laws, Con has qualified his argument to state that metaphysical causation requires physical laws; but why should metaphysical causation require physical laws? Surely only physical causation (i.e a physical cause and a physical effect) requires physical laws? Metaphysical causation should therefore be subject to metaphysical laws, but Con has not given evidence that metaphysical laws were created by the Big Bang, and so metaphysical causation could happen outside the universe.

Finally, eternalism does not refute causality - Con's argument does not even imply this. Even if I accept four-dimensionalism this does not refute causality - why would it?
With all due respect, Con has also shot himself in the foot here. For if causation does not exist then Con cannot cause the effect of him winning this debate, and hence voters would be wrong to award him the victory. If causation does not exist, then Con cannot cause himself to win the debate!

Atemporal minds

Here I would like to apologise for my carelessness, I accept that 'eternal' implies that something is inside time, yet what I meant by 'eternal idea' is an idea that is not constrained by time in any way, because God is defined as transcendent and therefore outside of time. Nevertheless, this is a semantic technicality that is easily rectified.

Con commits the appeal to definition fallacy (4) by claiming that intelligence necessitates processes by definition, yet it is clear from this definition that the definer is referring to worldly, evolutionarily-developed organisms not metaphysical, disembodied minds. This is a fallacy because it is taking a definition out of context, as well as treating a limited definition as an infallible authority on the true nature of things. It's like saying 'gay marriage is impossible because marriage is defined as between a man and a woman'. The truth is that definitions are not absolute authorities, especially not when taken out of context.

Moreover, by insisting that minds require processes, Con contradicts himself. This is because processes require change and yet, according to Con, change is not coherent within an eternalist theory of time.

Law of Parsimony

As Con has agreed with my interpretation of the law, I extend the argument and let the above arguments/rebuttals speak for themselves.

Over to you Tejretics!

(2) CODATA Value: proton-electron mass ratio". The NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty. US National Institute of Standards and Technology. June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-23.
Debate Round No. 3


R1) Teleological Argument

Hurben argues that there is no other possible ‘tuning’ to change the proton mass. Pro’s response to this is that, if there is no possible tuning apart from what it is, it is impossible to conceive of something such as this. Conceivability is *irrelevant* to metaphysical possibility. For example, the existence of stars is physically necessary, but we can conceive of a universe without stars.

Secondly, Pro is shifting BoP without justification, but via. Hitchens’ razor, Pro is making the claim that the universe cannot have been an LPU except for intelligent design, thus Pro has the burden of proof to affirm the fine-tuning argument. I need only show that the physical necessity option is not *absurd* to refute this argument, since this argument rests on the assumption that the universe being an LPU by physical necessity is absurd. All I need to show is that ID and physical necessity have equal probability.

The fine-tuning could very well be necessary, as Hurben argued, and Pro has not adequately justified it because of conceivability being only relevant to subjective possibility, and not possibility in the metaphysical sense.

“[I]t does not explain why the exact possible values needed for complex life became the exact actual values.”

As Hurben argued, it is necessary for them to be the exact actual values since entropy showed them to be such, and since that argument still stands, that is the contention I shall extend here.

C1) A caused universe is incoherent

a) Requirements for causation

Simultaneous causation of the universe entails an immediate contradiction, wherein one cannot coherently conceive of what is the ‘cause’ and the ‘effect’. The universe cannot have been simultaneously caused by God, as that would beg the question, as God would, for an atemporal moment, be simultaneously timeless and temporal. God has absolute transcendence as observed, thus exists timelessly sans creation, and cannot exist temporally by definition. The transcendence observation is primary here, since that guarantees that it is impossible to conceive of God as temporal, thus this entire objection begs the question and is logically contradictory. Additionally, there would be absolutely no way to determine what caused what. If God exists, the statement ‘X caused Y to be’ is seen as coherent, especially in the case of God causing the universe. But if God caused the universe simultaneously, then it cannot be demonstrated temporally if God existed forever or was caused by what God himself caused, thus being momentarily temporal and, thus, employing circular reasoning.

Pro argues that there are likely no metaphysical laws, and I agree. But for something to coherently happen, there must be restrictions, else a causal relationship would be incoherent, since otherwise the effect would run into problems such as doing something logically impossible. Without restrictions, the coherency of ‘being caused’ is non-existent. A causal inference such as the creation of the universe requires logic which bases its foundation on physical laws.

b) Eternalism

“Finally, eternalism does not refute causality - Con's argument does not even imply this. Even if I accept four-dimensionalism this does not refute causality - why would it?”

Pro has entirely dropped my argument that if the B-theory and eternalism are true, there is no coherent capacity for temporal ‘change’, which is implied if the universe was caused [1][2]. I extend it to this round.

c) Conclusion of argument

“With all due respect, Con has also shot himself in the foot here. For if causation does not exist then Con cannot cause the effect of him winning this debate, and hence voters would be wrong to award him the victory. If causation does not exist, then Con cannot cause himself to win the debate!”

I’m not arguing that causation does not exist, I’m saying causation does not exist without the passage of time or physical laws. Since physical laws and time surely exist where Philocat is and where I am, I can most certainly cause myself to win the debate. Thus, Pro is presenting a straw-man [3].

C2) Atemporal minds are impossible

God is ‘intelligent’, and if defined as such, is ‘intelligent’ by the standard interpretation of such a property.

“[I]t is clear from this definition that the definer is referring to worldly, evolutionarily-developed organisms, not metaphysical, disembodied minds.”

How so? The definer is merely standardly defining intelligence. The definition is: “the resultant of the process of acquiring, storing in memory, retrieving, combining, comparing, and using in new contexts information and conceptual skills.” [4] Here, there is no implication that it is a worldly organism, thus Pro commits a bare assertion fallacy, an assumption via. ipse dixit [5]. The definition is not taken out of context, so I have shown that intelligence itself is a process and requires time.

“Moreover, by insisting that minds require processes, Con contradicts himself. This is because processes require change and yet, according to Con, change is not coherent within an eternalist theory of time.”

That processes require change is a bare assertion. Processes only require a directionality of change, not temporal ‘change’ in itself, and eternalism and the B-series accept a directionality of change, according to John McTaggart [6][7].

C3) Occam’s razor

Pro and I agree on this interpretation, and since the teleological argument has been refuted, I extend this contention.

Note to Voters

To fulfill my burden of proof, I need only uphold a single of these contentions as they are individual, and refute my opponent’s contention. Thus, if you find any of the three contentions convincing, vote Con. For example, since my opponent concedes Occam’s razor, if I have adequately refuted the teleological argument, Occam’s razor would apply and I have fulfilled my onus.

I thank Philocat for an engaging debate. Please remember to waive Round 4. The resolution is resoundingly negated. Vote Con.

1. Michael Tooley (1999). Time and Causation. p. 158.






7. Source 2.


As per the debate rules, I will waive this round.

Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 4
45 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ClashnBoom 3 years ago
Great read. Too bad I only knew it existed now.
Posted by lannan13 3 years ago
Sorry that was a test to see if I met the ELO restrictions. Voting and reading now.
Posted by usernamesareannoying 3 years ago
Sorry, there's a typo in the transition of the Atemporal Minds argument.

It should be: " Con replies, saying that Pro commits the bare assertion fallacy, as Philo has no way of proving that those were the author's intentions".

My bad.
Posted by usernamesareannoying 3 years ago
RFD part 2

Atemporal Minds (continued)

intentions. Hence, Pro did not adequately refute premise two. Therefore, this argument also goes to Con.

Occam's Razor

Pro has no problem with this argument.

If I have missed anything important please say, and I will be happy to justify my vote more thoroughly.

Good debate guys! Since Con refuted Pro's affirmation, and many of Con's arguments remain, Con wins this debate.
Posted by usernamesareannoying 3 years ago
RFD part 1

Teleological Argument

This argument goes to Con, as he pointed out that intelligent design and physical necessity each have equal probability. "As Hurben argued, it is necessary for them to be the exact actual values since entropy showed them to be such".

Philo also committed the 'shifting the burden of proof fallacy'.

Caused universe

1) causation
Pro's refutation to this argument is that God could have simultaneously created the universe, as the cause and effect happen simultaneously. However, this observation is refuted by Con, as he stated it begs the question. And Con also proposed that if the cause and effect happen simultaneously, there is no logical way to determine what is the cause and what is the effect.

2) eternalism
Pro states Con's argument does not disprove causality. Pro says "for if causation does not exist then Con cannot cause the effect of him winning this debate". But, Con refutes the analogy, since Con is proposing that something can only be caused within time, hence causation without time is sophistry. Hence, Pro's refutation is a strawman of the argument's intentions.

Philo drops the argument "that if the B-theory and eternalism are true, there is no coherent capacity for temporal "change", which is implied if the universe was caused". Since this contention was dropped, the argument goes to Con.

Atemporal Minds

Pro attacks the second premise of this argument, saying that Con has not justified that an eternal mind needs to abide by the physical laws that human/animal minds do. However, Con soon justifies this by mentioning that intelligence requires processes, and since all 'known' minds need to be temporal, the jump that all minds need to temporal is justified. Pro quickly argues that Con commits the appeal to definition fallacy, as the definition provided is only referring to organisms on earth. Con replies saying that Pro commits the bare assertion fallacy, as Philo has no way of proving that those w
Posted by tejretics 3 years ago
No, I just thought that was funny. And yeah, I'll post my argument late, np.
Posted by Philocat 3 years ago
I know I got that value from Wikipedia - so what?

Btw, can you wait until the last minute to put the argument up, because I am a away this weekend and am unable to get to a computer, thanks :)
Posted by tejretics 3 years ago
Um ... I wasn't even talking to you. I was talking to Philocat.
Posted by amVoiceofReason 3 years ago

I said your logic was sound. You're getting defensive to someone who doesn't disagree with you.
My sole point being that you misquoted your opponent in that he never said "depressing the cushion". That is all. I never asserted that your temporal physics were faulty. Relax a little please and come to understand that not everyone on this site is your enemy or trying to pull a smack down "gotcha" moment.
Posted by tejretics 3 years ago
"CODATA Value: proton-electron mass ratio". The NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty. US National Institute of Standards and Technology. June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-23." -- no you didn't use that as your source, lol. You used Wikipedia as a source, or you wouldn't type "retrieved 2011", and you would use the link. It's a web-page. Lolol.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: THIS RFD IS NOT FINISHED. I am voting on this debate as if it were that of a regular debate. Sources go to Con, this is due to Con using scholarly websites from colleges and philosophical websites. True that each side used wikipeadia Pro used it as a larger majortiy of his arguments. If he simply wishes to use wikipeadia then I suggest that he use the links at the bottom of the page which tend to be more reliable.
Vote Placed by usernamesareannoying 3 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFDs in comments. Nice debate.