The Instigator
thett3
Pro (for)
Winning
26 Points
The Contender
GMDebater
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Resolved: God exists.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,953 times Debate No: 17460
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (5)

 

thett3

Pro

I am happy to be debating GMDebater on this very important topic! For the purposes of this round, God will be defined as: The creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being,

BOP is shared, although this will be mostly a logical debate. First round is for acceptance. Cross examination is permitted.
GMDebater

Con

Thank you for sending me this challenge. I will accept the definitions and rules. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
thett3

Pro

Sorry for the delayed response GM.

Without further ado, I will now present my arguments in support of the existence of God.



Argument one: The Kalam cosmological argument.

1. Everything that began to exist has a cause.

2. The Universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the Universe had a cause.

All three premises of this argument are relatively undisputed in the scientific community, what is disputed is that the cause of the Universe was God. So why is it logical to believe God to be the cause of the Universe? For one, it is impossible in our Universe for something to arrise from nothing, and since prior to the Universe's existence nothing that we can understand existed. Matter, energy, and even the time that our Universe is constructed with does not merely pop into being, to believe so is insane and scientifically inexplicable. However, unless we believe the Universe to have always existed, than that's exactly what happened. How does this all lead to God? Well since the ability of something to come into nothing is impossible using scientific law, the only logical explanation is through a power that has the ability to undermine scientific law, such as God.

Argument two: Objective Morality.

1. Objective morality can only exist if a divine power mandates our morals.

2. Objective morality exists.

3. Therefore, a divine power exists.

In order to prove this argument, I must support the 1st and 2nd premises, and the thrid logically follows.

Explanation of premise one:

Morality is not something that can be properly explained through evolution and natural selection. While some moral facts have practical purposes, this does not explain the moral aspect of it. Yes, animals will avoid killing a member of their own species if possible, but if they must do so they will not feel guilt afterward like humans would. This begs the question, why does humanity have morals? They do not help our success as a species, they in fact weaken it. Objective morality is not something that would survive natural selection, and thus the only rational explanation for their existence is God. Objective values such as "do not murder" or "do not lie" are not mere instinct, rather they are direct commands. A command can only come from an intelligent being, thus for morality to truly be objective, there must be a supreme being who issues the commands for our morality.

Explanation of premise two:

I look at history in order to prove this. For my example, I will use the brutal war between the Teutonic Knights and the pagan Lithuanians[1]. The Teutonic knights (along with many other Christian kinghthoods/groups at the time) had a strong desire to purge the world of all people non-Christian. After failing to destroy Islam during the crusades, they turned to the weaker pagan powers such as Lithuania. The Teutonics won their war, forcing the Lithuanian nobles to convert to catholicism. From there, the Catholic church forcefully imposed it's doctrine and worldview upon the peastanty[2], thus ending Paganism in Lithuania, and forever destroying an ancient culture.

This relates to Objective Morality, because although all the pagans had been destroyed, we still know that acts such as these are immoral even though they didn't effect us. If Objective Morality did not exist, such acts would not be viewed as immoral because all of the dissenters were killed or exiled.

More examples can be found in successful genocides all around the world and all over history, if objective morality did not exist, under what basis could we condemn these actions?

Premise three logically follows the other two.

Argument three: Plantinga's modal argument.

1. Its possible that God exists

2. If its possible that God exists, then God exists in some possible world


3. If God exists in some possible world, then God exists in every possible world


4. If God exists in every possible world, then God exists in the actual world


5. If God exists in the actual world, then God exists


6. Therefore, God exists

In order to disprove this argument, my Opponent must show that it is not possible for God to exist.



I reserve the right to post more evidence and arguments, and greatly anticipate the next round. Vote Pro.

Sources:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...;
GMDebater

Con

I thank my opponent for this opportunity to debate. Thank you for your opening arguments.

Argument one: The Kalam cosmological argument.


1. Everything that began to exist has a cause

That is not a necessary truth. The law of causation is derived from observation and not a priori reasoning, and therefore, like all empirical conclusions, the law of causation could be false. This is all the more so since we cannot even guess at the probability of it being true when discussing a unique event like the origin of a universe. For no statistics derived from events within a universe have any categorical analogy to the universe itself, which is drastically different from its parts. For example, the origin of the universe marks the beginning of time, yet we have never observed anything comparable to a beginning of time, and it seems self-evidently incoherent to propose that time had to have a cause, since "cause" seems to be an inherently temporal concept, void of meaning outside the context of time itself.

This also begs the question, "who created god?" Surely, he is MUCH more complex than anything he created.

2. The universe began to exist.

How sure are we of that? Not very. Though we have good evidence that the observable universe began about 14 billion years ago, we know nothing at all about what existed before then. For example, a leading contender to standard Big Bang theory today is Brane Theory, which posits that the Big Bang was just a Local Bang in a much larger metauniverse. On that theory, which is entirely consistent with all current scientific evidence, the universe could have been around for an eternity before that event occurred--and in fact, such events might happen all the time, like every few trillion years. Other theories posit that the Big Bang was a "bud" from another universe, and that in fact there are an infinity of interlocking and budding universes, stretching back endlessly. And so on. Not only are such theories consistent with empirical evidence, they are coherent. Therefore the proposition "the universe began to exist" is not necessary but only true to some measure of probability. How probable? The likelihood of it being true is inscrutable to us, because we lack the information we need to assess probability here. Therefore, any conclusion derived from this premise shares the same inscrutable probability. In short, it gets nowhere better than agnosticism: we just don't know.

How is the logical explanation God? Who created him? You need to address this.

I'm now going to drop down to the 3rd argument.

Argument three: Plantinga's modal argument.


My opponent, sadly, has not defended ANY premises. I'd love to have a defend of P2-5. Just take "God" and transfer that to anything you don't believe in--like the Invisible Pink Unicorn (Blessed be her holy hooves). Therefore, my opponent really needs to defend this.

Moral Argument

I'll be honest, this one is the only one I seen every single debate. This is by far the best argument--but fails miserably. This beg the question, "Which god are we to follow?" Every religion has its own, "morals" and "laws" so which one is it?

Let me give you a quote.

"Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."


"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people."

-Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)


Know who said that? None other than Adolf Hitler! So my point is, what god are we to follow? Does God make things right because it is already right and things wrong because it is already wrong; or are things right/wrong cos he made them that way?

Back to pro!
Debate Round No. 2
thett3

Pro

Thanks GM, for a timely response (much more timely than mine)

I will now defend my arguments and refute GM's thought provoking objections.



Kalam cosmological argument

Premise one: All that began to exist has a cause

GM states that this is not a necessary truth. He states how it could be false, however it is well recognized that in our Universe, things do not just come into existence without cause. He goes further to state that since the creation of the Universe is a unique event, we don't know this statement to be empirically true. This is particuarly interesting, because something arrising from nothing violates scientific law. GM is stating that due to the uniqueness of a Universe-creation event, scientific law could possibly be undermined. Until GM shows us how these laws could be undermined, the only rational conclusion we can draw is that creation comes from a power that as the ability to undermine scientific laws, such as God.

Why God is exempt from scientific law.

Since we can conclude that the Universe could not have been created using known scientific laws (I.E. something cannot arrise from nothing), it is rational to accept God as the creator. But why does God have the ability to undermine Universial law? As the creator, he is exempt from such law. Here's an example to elaborate on what I'm saying.
A. GM makes a video-game.
B. In that video game, all characters must dance around with a lampshade on their head.

C. Therefore, GM must dance around with a lampshade on his head.

Anyone can see that the conclusion to this is false. Since GM is the creator of his video-game, and GM is an infinitely more complex "being" than his characters, laws that apply to them do not apply to him. The same can be said about God.

Time cannot be infinite.

GM contends that "and it seems self-evidently incoherent to propose that time had to have a cause". We can conclude that all in our Universe that began to exist, including time, has a cause. Time began to exist, because infinity is impossible. Heres an example to explain:

Infinity-14,000=Infinity. This is puzzling, because mathematically it is impossible, yet at the same time it is possible by the definition of infinity! This is paradoxical, and since paradox cannot exist in scientific law time cannot have existed infinitely. An objection might be raised that God had to have existed infinitely. This is false, in a sense. While God is uncaused he has not existed for an infinite amount of time because time is finite. Before the Universe, God existed, but he did not exist in time.

What caused God?

Nothing caused God. If you refer to my argument, you see that it states "everything that began to exist has a cause". God did not begin to exist, he is, by definition, uncaused! Furthermore, even if we were to accept this objection and believe that God did begin to exist, it still does not invalidate the argument. That everything that began to exist had a cause is a law in our Universe. I have already shown with my video-game analogy that God is exempt from the scientific laws he created.

Premise two: The Universe began to exist.

GM contends that we do not know that the Universe began to exist. He then goes on a very interesting and in-depth analysis of how the big bang could perhaps just be a small event, in a large multiverse. This is a very interesting theory, however it does not invalidate the argument. Indeed, all this shows is that the Universe did begin to exist! And while we can agree that the multi-verse theory is extremely compelling, it does not show our Universe to be uncaused.

Again, he asks, who created God? I've already cleared this up that God is uncaused. However, even if I conceded to this point, none of my statements would be invalidated! Indeed, the belief that our Universe was created through the intelligent design of a being is not undermined even if that being himself was created by an even greater being.

Plantinga's modal argument

GM contends that we can replace anything with God in this argument. This is false, because not all things meet the qualifications to fit this argument. Let's take GM and the videogame analogy again. If what GM says is true, that anything can be replaced in this argument, than the following argument will stand (and it will not.)

Say GM creates a video-game character named Kat. While she exists in the world of GM's video game , does she exist in the real world as well? Let's take a closer look.

1. Its possible that Kat exists

2. If its possible that Kat exists, then Kat exists in some possible world


3. If Kat exists in some possible world, then Kat exists in every possible world


4. If Kat exists in every possible world, then Kat exists in the actual world


5. If Kat exists in the actual world, then Kat exists


6. Therefore, Kat exists


Premises 1 and 2 are logically valid, but once we reach 3 the entire argument falls apart. Why? Because Kat the video game character does not meet the requirements for this argument to be fufilled. The reason God does, is because by the commonly accepted definition, God is an all powerful being, and if he existed in one possible world, by virtue of being all powerful he would have to exist in our world. Indeed, since God is the super natural creator of our Universe, he has a unique set of attributes that allow this argument to stand. Things such as Kat and the IPU (blessed be it.) do not.

Objective Morality

GM asks us which religion contains the objective moral standard. However if you look at the definition of God we are debating, the religion that could be affiliated with him is not relevant. He gives a rather fascinating quote from Adolph Hitler showing how Hitler used God to promote his own despicable agenda. This is not proof that Objective Morality doesn't exist, rather it is only proof that people are willing to try and twist the Objective standard that does exist to their own benefit. In defence of Objective Morality, I would ask GM to show me a religion or code of ethics that does not condemn murder.

He has not disputed that Objective Morality cannot exist without God, and thus I extend this premsie. He tries to show that Objective Morality does not exist by showing how people like Hitler do evil things in the name of God. This proves nothing, because we all do immoral things at one time or another. The fact that such actions like the Holocaust happened does not prove Objective Morality is false rather it shows how far one can stray from our Objective standard.


I greatly look forward to GM's next reply, and urge a Pro vote.
GMDebater

Con

GMDebater forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
thett3

Pro

This is proof. God came down from heaven and made my Opponent forfiet.


Oh also. EPIC argument.


1. We know God exists because the Bible says he does, and it's the ultimate source of truth.


2. We know the Bible is the ultimate source of truth, because it's God's word.


3. Therefore, God exists.



Oh, and extend all my REAL arguments. Vote pro.
GMDebater

Con

GMDebater forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: harrytruman// Mod action: Removed<

7 point to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: Much better arguments, including Greek philosophy, natural laws, etc, etc

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter doesn't explain conduct, S&G or sources. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. Merely stating examples of arguments the voter found convincing is not enough.
************************************************************************
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Could be. It depends on the rules agreed to. For academic debates, I can see the point, because it is passing off some else's work as your own. The judging includes the originality. Nonetheless, the arguments are still true or not based upon their merits.

Remember Joe Biden was caught plagerizing in speech a few years ago. Didn't disqualify him from being Veep.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
Roy, that's ridiculous...

If you were judging a live debate and someone did that, they wouldn't lose... they would be disqualified.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Copying without acknowledgement is a conduct violation, and Con lost conduct. However, the arguments presented still stand or fall on their merits. The arguments are none the worse for having been copied.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
what can I say? Religion is nowhere near my strong-point for debate. Although Con did plagiarize you know
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
I think the debate was close. The Pro arguments are false and have been well refuted over time, but Con forfeited shortening the debate and leaving the refutations subject to counter arguments.

One thing missing from the debate was an argument that if God created the universe, that he must also be omnipotent and a moral arbiter. That does follow at all. God could just be a universe-creator and no more, or he might be only somewhat good. The argument that objective morality exists implies a God fails for the same reason that the claim that anything exists implies a God.

Turning to science, we now know that uncaused events not only exist, because they are observed, but they are necessary for the universe to function as it does. Whether the Big Bang was uncaused or not is a separate question. Certainly science believes that it might have been, so arguments that it is necessarily impossible are false.

Whether time is infinite is not known scientifically, but the possibility is certainly open. Basically, anything that can be mathematically described that is consistent with observation is possible.

A discussion of modern cosmology is presented in Hawking's "The Grand Design."

I think the Plantanga argument is a slight update to the ontological argument. It essentially defines existence as a necessary property of God. Define Kat as a character that has many properties including existence in all universes. Kat might exist in some universe, therefore Kat must exist in all universes.

The Pro arguments for God are so old and well-beaten at this point I think they ought to be retired. However, disproving those arguments does not eliminate the possibility of a God.
Posted by Curt 5 years ago
Curt
Sad debate, con. Pro, I'd take ya up on this.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
It's alright thett, he has a tendency to do this, and when he gets busted he kills that account and starts a new one.

http://www.debate.org...

He admits to it in http://www.debate.org... comments.

I wonder what his next user name will be, he's pretty transparent most of the time.
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
He's done it actually a few times. (plagiarism) I thought he might have finally stopped, but no. Disappointing.

Oh well maybe it's best that I won't be having the "God exists" debate we were going to do.

Although I was going to specifically say no plagiarism allowed.

Funny that his website says any one who plagiarizes will be banned...
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
what a shame, its not like my points were ir-refutable. seriously all he had to do was cite it!
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Balacafa 1 year ago
Balacafa
thett3GMDebaterTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited twice, hence my vote on conduct to pro. Since Pro defended his arguments and Con wasn't able to respond (due to his forfeitures), this lead to all of this being undisputed by Con and hence why I vote Pro on arguments as well as conduct.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
thett3GMDebaterTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
thett3GMDebaterTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Plagiarism = Disqualification
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
thett3GMDebaterTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: The points were well argued before Con's forfeit. Con adequately refuted Pro's contentions. Con loses conduct for the forfeit.
Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 5 years ago
ApostateAbe
thett3GMDebaterTied
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Reasons for voting decision: forfeit