The Instigator
RyuuKyuzo
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
phantom
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points

Resolved: The Cosmological Argument Fails to Prove God

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
RyuuKyuzo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/12/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,680 times Debate No: 31202
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (107)
Votes (12)

 

RyuuKyuzo

Pro

Resolution

The Cosmological Argument Fails to Prove God

As Pro, I will be affirming this resolution by showing that the Cosmological Argument (CA) does not present a compelling argument for the existence of God

Burden of Proof

The BoP rests with Pro (me). Therefore, it is to be assumed that the CA is sound until shown otherwise.

Definitions

All terms requiring clarification once the debate has started will be defined using the merriam-webster online dictionary definition that best fits the context of this debate [1]. If there is a dispute on which definition best fits the context of this debate, the final arbitration is reserved for myself.

Any specific stipulations Con wishes to make should be request in the comment section prior to accepting.

Rules

1. First round is for acceptance

2. Users with Elo under 2800 need not apply

3. Any questions on this debate should be asked in the comments section prior to acceptance

4. No semantics/ trolling

The Argument:


    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

    1. The Universe began to exist.

    1. (Therefore) the Universe had a cause.

    1. That cause is God*


God, in this case, is the Abrahamic God.

NOTE: I will not be using arguments such as "This argument fails to prove Moses split the red sea, therefore it doesn't argue for the Abrahamic God" as these arguments are clearly abusive and don't actually address the logic of the CA. I only specify the Abrahamic God to exclude atypical definitions of God.

*The actual CA only goes up to point 3. Point 4 is the assumed point.

This debate is impossible to accept at this time. If you're interested, apply in the comments section. This will not be a first-come first-serve method of acceptance. The higher your ELO ranking, the more likely you are to be accepted as the contender.

phantom

Con

Accepted and good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
RyuuKyuzo

Pro

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

  2. The universe began to exist.

  3. (Therefore) the universe had a cause.

  4. That cause is God

For clarification, universe = our universe and Universe = multiverse (everything)
____________________________________________________________________________________

I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting. He's playing "devil's advocate" in this debate, so it will be interesting to see what sort of arguments an atheist will come up with to defend a theistic argument.

My Argument:

P1: An infinite amount of time and energy guarantees all possible outcomes will occur an infinite amount of times.

P2: Our Universe is composed of an infinite amount of time and energy.

C: Therefore, by the laws of probability, our universe was guaranteed to come into existence by mere chance.


P1 Justification:

With enough time, everything that is not completely impossible becomes guaranteed to happen an infinite amount of times. Even if the occurrence of an event only has a <0.0001% chance of happening, so long as it isn't 0% and so long we never stop the clock, it MUST happen an infinite amount of times. Take the room you are in right now, for example. Let us say that the odds of all the atoms needed to form your room coming together and doing just that is as such that it will only likely happen once every billion years.

Since we have an infinite amount of “billions of years”, we will also have an infinite amount of occurrences of this room forming spontaneously. In the same way, if there is some sort of "is-ness" above our universe compossed of an infinite amount of time and energy, then our universe was a statistical certainty and didn't requre intentional orchestration.


P2 Justification:

Super-string theory posits the existence of higher spatial dimensions, with some theories arguing as high as 26 additional spatial dimension [1]. Consider the implications of this; a 3-dimensional reality is made up of an infinite amount of 2-dimensional planes placed adjacent to one another. Likewise, a 4-dimensional reality is comprised of an infinite amount of 3-dimensional branes (3-branes) placed adjacent to one another, so on and so forth in this fashion. It is therefore clear that there are an infinite amount of realities like and unlike our own, each with their own timeliness. In other words, we have an infinite amount of “stuff” (and therefore energy) and an infinite amount of time (which must be the case if we can have an infinite amount of universes like our own, each with their own time-line).



C Justification:

Since both premises are valid, the conclusion must be accepted. An infinite amount of time guaruntees everything that is not impossible will happen an infinite amount of times, and an infinite amount of energy means all things are possible, therefore, our universe was statistically certain to come into existence organically. I'd like to point out to the voters that this is the actual conclusion the CA points to. The original CA stops at point 3, and if we stop the argument at point 3 what we have is a logical argument proving that the universe had a cause, but there's no argument for that cause being self-aware or that the cause created the universe intentionally.

The only thing that needs to be assumed given the CA's conclusion is that there must be something outside our universe which possesses an infinite amount of time and energy, because these are the only qualities necessary to guarantee the emergence of our universe. The rest of the qualities attributed to to God (e.g. sentience) are unwarranted.

Conclusion

So long as there exists an infinite amount of time and energy in our Universe, we must conclude that our universe was guaranteed to exist, not just as-is, but in every possible combination an infinite amount of times. Modern theoretical physics points to such a conclusion and the CA stops at this conclusion. Since God is not necessary for our universe to have begun, we must conclude that the CA fails to present a compelling argument for his existence. The resolution is affirmed.

VOTE PRO

Sources

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...



phantom

Con


Pro ->"Our Universe is composed of an infinite amount of time & energy".


I'm afraid what evidence pro has supported for this is very limited. His entire arguments rests necessarily on Superstring theory which he has made literally no argument for that I can see. He starts off telling us what string theory says, then argues from there. In order to tell us what higher dimensions of space entail, he first has to demonstrate that the theory which predicts these higher dimensions is true. He hasn't done so. Pro hasn't argued how there are any more than 3 spatial and 1 time dimension. If Superstring theory is indeed correct, my opponent has a better case, but he has not proved it to be so. He only assumes it. As such, he hasn't gotten anywhere so far & still needs to provide some kind of proof for these dimensions.

Pros argument seems a little confusing. He claims that a 3 dimensional reality is made up of an infinite amount of 2 dimensional planes all adjoining to one another, a 4 dimensional reality with infinite 3 dimensional planes so on. Perhaps I'm not entirely sure what he means by this, but he hasn't shown why these planes must or can stretch out for infinity. Besides the time dimension, dimensions are spatial, so you can't have dimensions without space. If space is infinite, these series of dimensions pro seems to be postulating may be infinite, but if space is finite, a series of dimensions must be finite. Pro would have to somehow prove space is infinite rather than the possibility of a space/time boundary. He hasn't done any of that and I'll latter provide arguments to the contrary.

Furthermore, he says that time is infinite but his only argument for an infinite succession of dimensions is for spatial dimensions. This doesn’t address the single dimension of time. Indeed, since time is only one dimensional, it does not have the 3 or more dimensions that pro posits lead to an infinite amount of others.


Pro says theoretical physics points to the multiverse conclusion but that is actually very far from the case & even people who would be considered ultimately defenders of Superstring theory would not agree with pros claims (Greene as shown in a bit). Superstring theory only explains certain constants of nature but does not point to where pro wants it to because it’s completely untested or falsifiable. Briane Greene admits Superstring theory is just a mathematical structure that can explain some parts of the world, however we've never even been able to actually test the theory even once! [1] Greene says perhaps in five years we can do so, but so far the theory is untestable beyond just how it works mathematically. Greene is a physicist who has done a lot of research into multiverese theory & string theory, defending the possibility of it, but claims "I don't believe a darn thing until it has observational or experimental support, proof of that sort."[2] Greene admits, Superstring theory has nothing of that sort, so while he advocates further research into it, & the good possibility of it, he does not even believe in it because so far he says there just isn't the evidence to warrant belief, & thus no one should believe in it.



It is safe to say the multiverse & Superstring theories have little compelling evidence in their favor. Mathematical coherency does not equal evidence. Yes, in theoretical physics, it is a worthwhile theory to look in to, but it remains purely theoretical without any actual evidence for it. That's why people like Greene do not believe in it despite advancing the mathematical structures for it.



Lee Smolin, a former defender of string theories, explains that Superstring theory has no testable predictions which are fundamental to a good theory. On top of that, attempts to explain reality by adding in extra dimensions has been going on since the early 1900's. The competitor to Einstein's space/time theory was in fact this idea of extra dimensions but it was shown to be wrong. Physicists find the view very attractive & it's continually used in attempts to explain things but also continually fails. There is no scientific refutation of Superstring theory (yet) but scientists like Smolin see it simply as an exhaustion of twisting & modifying the idea of multiple dimensions after continual failures with previous variations of the theory. In short, String theory is dead but physicists are too in love with it. [3]


When I criticize Superstring theory as merely something that works mathematically, I am not in any way rejecting mathematical proofs. But the mathematical support for String theory is not in any way a proof. If you could mathematically prove it, that would be perfectly fine, but so far all you can show (after much twisting & modifying the theory) is that it works mathematically.

I could predict pro making the fair accusation that I'm imposing a double standard by claiming Superstring theory does not meet the standards of a good scientific theory while still arguing God as a sound explanation. The difference between the two is that Superstring theory is scientific while God as an explanation is mostly philosophical. If you were to argue Superstring theory as a philosophical argument, there would be different standards in regard to testability & such, but that is not the case. While we do need evidence for God as being the cause, the kind of evidence needed for the two opposing theories is different as one is mostly philosophical while the other is scientific.

Infinity

Pro presumes energy & time are both infinite. This is highly problematic when mathematically we find it leads to absurdities. We can imagine what it would be like for there to be actual infinities & the conclusion we draw will be absurd. For example, under pros theory there would exist in reality an infinite amount of, let's say, rooms, copies of pro & copies of me. So let's say we take all the infinite copies of me & put them in the infinite amount of rooms. The rooms should be full. But then, what if we want to put the infinite copies of pro into these rooms too? Well let's see, there are an infinite amount of odd numbers & an infinite amount of even numbers. Therefore since there's an infinite amount of copies of me, we can put all copies of me that are in even numbered rooms & fit them into the infinite amount of odd numbered rooms. Now we have an infinite amount of empty even numbered rooms & the infinite amount of copies of pro can move in. This leads to absurdities because infinity plus itself would be equal to itself & infinity minus infinity would equal infinity. These type of situations are logically impossible in the real world.

God

As shown, an infinite regress cannot exist. It hasn't been contended that the universe had a cause, therefore we assume the universe was caused. Since it wasn't caused via the multiverse, we have to drop pro's theory & move on to another one. Since we can't have an infinite succession of causes, eventually we have to come to an uncaused cause. Since we cannot have an infinite past in time, this cause must transcend time. Since the universe is the beginning of all matter & energy, the cause must be immaterial as well. The only immaterial things are things like numbers & other abstractions or an immaterial mind. Since numbers & such, cannot cause things into existence, it must be a mind as an explanation. The mind either caused the universe ex nihilo (out of nothing) or ex deo (out of its own essence). Either case would require extreme power. Finally, since the cause has no external cause, it must exist necessarily. Therefore, the cause of the universe is a transcendent, necessary, timeless, sentient intelligence that is extraordinarily powerful. Thus, we can postulate a sentient creator of the universe that fits as a definition of God.

[1] 16:15 http://goo.gl...
[2] 3:12 http://goo.gl...

[3] http://goo.gl...

Debate Round No. 2
RyuuKyuzo

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response.

Con has failed to understand my argument and so his counter argument misses the mark entirely. To clarify, string-theory is not the key to my argument, so arguing that modern theoretical physics is only theoretical and should therefore be dismissed is a moot point even if it were a reasonable counter-argument. I also do not have to argue for string-theory. It is the leading theory in modern physics as a contender for the Theory of Everything [5] and the voters should accept this theory to the extent they trust that these physicists know what they're doing. I'm not here to lay out any field-theory, my argument is that the CA only justifies a belief in an infinite amount of time and energy, not God.

Consider this chart:

God
-Not limited to the constraints of time as we understand time to be
-Infinite energy
-Self-aware

Multiverse
-Not limited to the constraints of time as we understand time to be
-Infinite energy

As we can see, the argument I'm putting forth only excludes sentience from the equation. The if the CA successfully argues for God, then it also successfully argues that there exists something outside our universe which is comprised of an infinite amount of time and energy. Therefore, if the CA only justifies a believe that there is something outside our own universe which spans an infinite amount of time and energy and fails to justify sentience, then at best this argument justifies my argument and at worst is completely invalid. Either way, Con will lose.

Once again, the CA goes as follows:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

  2. The universe began to exist.

  3. (Therefore) the universe had a cause.

  4. That cause is God


This argument provides a strong argument that our universe had a cause, but as I showed in R2, all you need is an infinite amount of time and energy for there to be the statistical certainty of our universe forming un-guided. Since God requires these things PLUS sentience, "God" requires greater justification, but since none is given in the CA, we must conclude that the CA does not provide a compelling argument for God.

If the CA is valid, then it argues for my argument, not God. If the CA argument is invalid, then it fails to argue for God anyway. Either way, Con can't win.

Let's look at some of the things Con said specifically.

Multiverse

Con claims that string-theory does not argue for a multiverse. This is bizarre. A multiverse is defined as a set of multiple-universes, which is exactly what string-theory argues for. The wiki-page for "Multiverse" has a section devoted entirely to the string (M) theory version of a multiverse [1]. In fact, on that very same page, there is a list for the 9 (count them, NINE) different types of multiverse Brian Greene (a theoretical physcist) has discussed [2]. Why would a string-theorist create a list of 9 different types of multiverses if they were comlpletely irrelevant to string theory? One of them is even clearly labelled "brane multiverse";

"The brane multiverse follows from M-theory and states that each universe is a 3-dimensional brane that exists with many others. Particles are bound to their respective branes except for gravity."


Infinity

"Pro presumes energy & time are both infinite."

Wrong. The CA presumes these things. Think about this; if there is nothing outside our universe which is eternal and comprised of an infinite amount energy, then we have also excluded God. Con cannot argue against the existence of an infinite amount of time and energy without defeating his own position. He must argue FOR God's sentience (within the constraints of the CA), not against "infinity" and "omnipotence".


Con goes on to mention a logical contradiction one can come to with infinity. The problem Con is talking about can be solved by understanding the concept of different cardinalities of infinity. In other words, some infinities are bigger than other infinities [3] [4]. In this way, you can have an infinite amount of multiple things without logical contradiction. Even if this seems confusing, you can at least trust that the worlds leading physicists and mathematicians have considered these issues before and worked them out. Con will not be single-handedly debunking string-theory in this debate, nor would it matter if he could as my argument doesn't actually need string-theory.

God

Con states that we require an uncaused cause. This is true, but all the uncaused cause requires is eternity and infinite energy. Sentience is not a requirement as eternity and infinite energy are all that is required to statistically guarantee all possible outcomes, including the natural formation of our universe.

Con then states that the universe must have been created by a mind since only abstractions and mind are immaterial. Finally, we come to an argument that attempts to justify sentience. His argument goes as follows:

1. The universe is the begining of all matter and energy
2. Only abstractions and mind can pre-date matter and energy, since they are neither
3. Abstractions cannot create the universe
4. Therefore, a mind must have made our universe.

Firtly, this argument assumes abstractions cannot create matter and energy. If a mind can create matter and energy, why not abstractions? At best, Con can say that abstractions can't will things, and therefore it is incredibly unlikely for abstractions to result in matter and energy. However, we must take into account an infinite amount of time (which must be the case if something is time-less), which would guaruntee that very thing would occur.

Secondly, Con cannot simply assert that there was no matter or energy before our universe. If it's possible for abstractions and mind to pre-date our particular universe, then why not matter and energy? Con needs to justify this. Furthermore, abstractions and mind are expressions of energy. Therefore, since energy pre-dates our universe, and whatever pre-dates our universe must also be timeless (or eternal, if you will), we once again have established all the necessary requirements to guartuntee our universe's existence without the need for intention.

In short, when you remove all the unwarranted assumptions in Con's argument, you end up with my argument.

Conclusion

The bulk of Con's rebuttal is an attack on string-theory, not on my argument. An attack, by the way, that fails to discredit string-theory. I want to make it clear that I did not bring up string-theory to be the corner-stone of my argument, but to show that theoretical physics is arriving at the same conclusions with math that I am with philosophy. That is, the existence of something outside our universe which is comprised of an infinite amount of time and energy. Funny enough, this is exactly what the CA also argues for, except theologians try to sneak "sentience" into the conclusion. As I've shown, "sentience" is an unwarranted assumption. The probability of our universe's existence is already infinite with eternity and infinite energy alone, and so "sentience" requires further justification than Con has currently given.


Con will have to argue that the CA successfully establishes the necessity for sentience if he wishes to win this debate. As he has yet to do so, the CA does not stand as a compelling argument for God. The resolution is affirmed.

VOTE PRO.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. [video]
4. [video]
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...;
phantom

Con


Causes


Pro grossly misinterprets the kind of cause I argue for. It's somehow completely different to everything I said last round. Pro's cause is materialistic and infinite in energy and time. God is immaterial, not composed of energy, and not infinite in time because he transcends time. There's essentially nothing even similar about the two, except that they offer an explanation for our universe. Last round I stated the properties of the cause the CA would lead to is a, transcendent, necessary, timeless, sentient intelligence who is extraordinarily powerful. The cause pro advocates is not transcendent, not necessary, not timeless, not sentient and not powerful. God is also a first cause, whereas pro's eternal multiverse can't have a first cause since it exists for eternity.

Pro says the only difference between my cause and his cause is sentience. This just proves that he's completely misunderstood the argument!

Here's a much more accurate chart.

Multiverse
-Infinite in energy
-Infinite in time
-Eternity of causes
-Materialistic

God
-Not composed of energy
-Not infinite but transcends time
-First cause
-Exists necessarily
-Immaterial
-Sentient
-Extremely powerful

Obviously very different. Pro's argument would only be convincing to someone who wasn't paying attention to anything I wrote.


I also want to correct pro that I argue for an uncaused first cause, not just a cause.

Pro asks why abstractions cannot create a universe. Is this a serious question? Do numbers have any causal power? The possibility abstractions causing a universe is zero. A mind however, could, if powerful enough, create the universe because it does have causal powers. Any mind can potentially cause things so all it has to be is powerful for it to be able to cause the universe, which is why it is not hard to draw God as the conclusion from the CA, since it leads to an extremely powerful mind as the only explanation.


Pro says, "Con cannot simply assert that there was no matter or energy before our universe". Pro needs to understand the CA leads to a first uncaused cause. This means it was the cause of all matter and energy. If there was any material existence before the big-bang, it just means the beginning of matter and energy was sooner than the start of our universe. It doesn't change anything at all. In fact, most theologians would include any pre-material existence as part of the definition of "universe". This is what I will assume but either way nothing changes. It's unimportant.


Multiverse

I was astonished when pro said he doesn't have to argue for string theory since it's the leading theory in modern physics as the contender for the sought after "theory of everything". It's a massive appeal to popularity. It ignores everything I and physicists said against it. For one thing, it may be popular, but no one would say it's been proven. Brian Greene, a person pro sites, as I already showed, does not believe in it because there's no scientific evidence for it. Greene is a very big figure in String theory but says he only believes in things that have observational and experimental proof which String theory does not have. And then I also showed Lee Smolin, a person who used to advocate String theory, basically saying it's had it's turn.

Pro cannot ignore major physicists opinions simply because String theory is popular. Roger Penrose, "A theorist whose name will be forever linked with such giants as Hawking and Einstein" is apposed to it [1] Also, Richard Feynman.[2] There's plenty more trust me, but I don't need to go on.

It's amazing that pro would say viewers should just "trust the physicists". Can we please treat this as an actual debate?

In addition, appealing to the popularity of theories in theoretical physics is even worse than actually observed and tested theories. String theory hasn't reached observational or experimental stages which makes the appeal even worse.


So what else does pro say? I'm afraid he attacks something I never said which was that String theory doesn't argue for the multiverse. Now to pros credit, looking back I can see a couple sentences that could have implied that, however that was not at all what I was saying and it should have been at least clear, taking my whole case. My argument was that theoretical physics does not point to the multiverse, because all it does is show it's conceivable.

Pro has also completely neglected to respond to my rebuttal of the argument for infinity that a 3 dimensional reality is made up of an infinite amount of 2 dimensional planes all adjoining to one another, a 4 dimensional reality with infinite 3 dimensional planes so on. Last round I pointed out pro gave no warrant to this claim and the assumption that space has no spatial boundary. He's chosen to not continue this argument. I also pointed out that though pro argues time is infinite, his argument was only for 3 dimensional spatial planes and so on. Time is a 1 dimensional non spatial plane, so how did anything that he argued point to an infinity in time?


Infinity

Pros response just begs the question. He says the explanation is just that they're different infinities. Okay, well if there are different infinities in reality, surely there are some infinities that are the same? Surely if I search throughout the infinite multiverse I'll find some infinite copy of someone/something that fits to the same infinite copy of me, right? Well why not? If there are different values of infinity, pro has to concede that some of those infinities are of the exact same value. So we can assume for sake of the analogy that the infinity of copies of pro, is the same as the infinities of copies of me, as well as the rooms, and then we're still at the problem. Pro hasn't escaped the issues at all.

In addition, the problem with pro's first video about infinity is it does not apply in the scenario I had. An infinite set of integers is less than the infinite amount of numbers between 1 and 2, but is this kind of mathematics in any way applicable to our scenario? In the video he used sheep as an example, but in reality you can only count sheep as the value of an integer. So if the scenario were in real life, each sheep could only be the value of an integer. The second video even shows you can't lay out an infinite amount of decimal numbers like you can with other types, so even in mathematics it's a problem. Surely then it can't be applicable to reality.

The second video also is completely inapplicable to a real life scenario. It claims that an infinity of positive integers is less than an infinity of both negative and positive integers. But how do you assign negative and positive values in real life? It could only be arbitrary. We could assign an infinite amount of copies of me as negative and another infinite as positive. It's the exact same as with odd and even, so nothing solved.


Conclusion

Pro assumes the multiverse and God both posses similar properties so that if you take out all unwarranted properties of God, you essentially just get the multiverse. However, when we look at the properties of both, everything pro claimed about their similarities were wrong and ignored my entire explanation of God in the last round.

Reasons to believe in the multiverse are merely Superstrings explanatory power. However scientific evidence for String theory is essentially zero. Even Brian Greene states that there is no observational or experimental evidence for it. It hasn't been tested or observed. It doesn't even make predictions that we can test. All you can give it is it's mathematical comprehensibility.

Also, you can make a step by step to deduction to find the cause of the universe would have to be a transcendent, necessary, timeless extraordinarily powerful, sentient intelligence. Ergo, God.

I'll say it again. Pro's case would only be convincing to someone who payed no attention to what I said. Any tentative reader should accept my side as most superiorly argued in this debate.

[1] http://goo.gl...

[2] http://goo.gl...

Debate Round No. 3
RyuuKyuzo

Pro

I thank my opponent for a fun debate.

Before diving into Con's argument, there is one key point that the voters need to keep in mind when reading these arguments. That point is:

Con cannot refute my argument without simultaneously refuting God.

Given this, his one and only task is to justify the necessity for sentience. Everything else is invital to this debate. Therefore, if Con has not already established the logical necessity for sentience, then he has already lost this debate.

-----

I'm afraid Con's argument is entirely semantical. He claims God transcends time, but is not eternal. God is extremely powerful, but has no energy. He also adds a bunch of fluff to the list such as "first cause" and "exists necessarily". These are the things we're debating about, so it's pointless to put them in the list until such things are established.

For the purposes of this debate, transcending time and being eternal are the same thing. The point is that the clock never runs out. If God is able to perform any sort of motion (even moving through thoughts), then some sort of temporal effect is occurring, even if it's not time as we understand time to be. "Power" and "energy" is also a meaningless distinction. Both mean the same basic thing -- "the ability for things to happen". If there is something outside our universe that transcends the limitations of time and has an infinite capacity for things to happen, then we have established that our universe's existence was a statistical certainty. My argument still holds up with Con's language. He is using semantics because there's not much else he can do.

Con scoffs at my challenge to him to show that a mind has causal power but not other abstractions. No, this is a serious point. I've yet to see a mind create matter. As far as science is concerned, mind is limited to the abstract, and so if one form of abstraction can have causal power, why not any other? Con has failed to show why this is the case, and since he cannot make new arguments in the last round he has lost this point.

Con argues that it is tautological that there cannot be energy and matter before the cause of our universe because then it wouldn't be a first cause. He's talking about the entire multiverse now, not just our universe, even though he said universe (small "u") before. This brings us back to semantics. Before matter existed (as we understand matter to be) the potential for matter to exist had to be there, and it had to be infinite potential as a God that is not infinitely powerful cannot be a candidate for the title of "the Abrahamic God". Furthermore, this potential must transcend the limitations of time, which allows for infinite opportunity for matter to come to exist in all possible forms. Thus, we once again have met the requirements for our universe to come to exist without the need for intentional creation.

Multiverse

Con has continued to attack string theory. It seems he still doesn't understand, string theory is not vital to my argument. I've clearly laid out the "string-theory free" version of my argument several times now. My point in bringing up string theory is to show that my conclusion is backed by mathematical proofs. I've never claimed string-theory is true beyond mathematical proofs, but mathematical proofs are nothing to scoff at. If Con is to dismiss string-theory simply because it is a mathematical proof, why accept any mathematical proofs? Con isn't attacking my argument, he's attacking the use of mathematical proofs, and he's doing this for the same reason why he opened with a semantical attack -- he has nothing else going for him.

I'm not ignoring his criticism of string-theory, he simply hasn't provided any relevant criticism. He says there are physicists who disagree with it, well that's as much of an appeal to popularity as pointing out that there are physicists who agree with it. Yes, string theory is just a mathematical proof, but that's all I used it for because that's all need it for. The voters can decide for themselves if a mathematical proof is enough for them to agree with its conclusions, but either way it is the case that my argument is consistent with the mathematical proofs modern physicists have come to. Con is trying to make it out that I'm saying "just trust the physicists". This is not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying if you (the voter) trust mathematical proofs, then you can trust these scientists to that extent. If you don't, that's fine. Just focus on my argument then (even if Con doesn't...).

Con then says I missed his argument on 2/3/4 dimensional planes.

This was extra information on how string-theory posits the same thing I'm arguing for. Con decided to attack string-theory, so I used last round to specify how my argument needn't be backed by string-theory to work. I'd like to elaborate on the hierarchy of dimensions in string-theory, but I'm not here to argue string-theory and I don't have the character space to do so. These are things I said last round as well.

The take-home note here is that, in string-theory, each higher dimension can be said to be comprised of an infinite amount of the planes of the dimensions below it, which means if we go 2 dimensions above our own, we have an infinite amount of parallel dimensions each with their own time-line, ergo we have found a space outside our universe which is comprised of infinite time and energy [1]. If this doesn't make sense to you, just focus on my argument. The point is that string-theory provides a mathematical argument for the same conclusion I'm arguing for.

Infinity

Con claims that, given an infinite multiverse, there would be an infinite amount of copies of ourselves. This is true, but I don't see the problem. Con is talking about a logical issue with having an infinite number of rooms, putting an infinite number of me in even rooms and an infinite number of him in the odd rooms. This is the exact problem the video I linked deals with. I highly suggest checking the video out to better understand what I'm saying. It's all about your ability to draw lines connecting certain integers to others. As it turns out, this isn't a logical problem at all, just a perceived problem due to the unintuitive nature of infinity.

Con goes on to criticise the "real-world" application of the video's I linked to last round. I don't know how Con doesn't see how the sheep-example applies to his scenario. It's the same issue -- fitting one (or more) infinity into another. Either this is going over Con's head, or he's bluffing his rebuttal.

Conclusion

The bulk of Con's arguments throughout this debate have been an attack on modern theoretical physics and mathematical proofs, NOT my argument. His only rebuttal to my actual argument has been entirely based on semantics. I'm suspicious that a great deal of the concepts at play here went above Con's head since his argument has basically been "I don't get it, therefore it's wrong". Now, I don't mean that as an insult, but the only other option is that Con could not think up a real counter-argument to my original argument, and so he intentionally shifted the focus of his rebuttals onto bashing the use of mathematical proofs in order to cover this up. Either way, this means Con loses.

As of this round, it still stands that God must be self-aware, outside the constraints of time (eternal), and have the infinite capacity for creation. It also stands that all we need to make our universe a statistical certainty is for the outside of our universe to be outside the constraints of time and have the infinite capacity for creation (one could say "free-floating power" if the word "energy" doesn't sit well with you). Therefore, since my opponent has made no compelling case for why sentience is necessary and since he is unable to make new arguments in the last round, he has lost this debate. The resolution is, both once again and finally, affirmed.

Thank you for your time.

VOTE PRO

1. http://www.wisegeek.org...;
phantom

Con

I'd like to thank pro for letting me participate in this debate and the voters for fairly analyzing each side.

God

Pro wants it so that if you remove all the unproven properties in my argument, you get his cause. Unfortunately, if pro had successfully disproved all points he argued against in my case, you'd only get some cause. You wouldn't get the multiverse; just a cause. That's why pro has to make an argument for the multiverse. Once you refute my case, you're not left with the multiverse, only the fact that it was caused.

I'm not sure pro understands my reasoning. Every single property was argued for. God has not existed for an infinite amount of time because that's impossible as shown. He must transcend time then. We don't know what it's like to transcend time, but it's a reasonable thing to posit. The dimension of time need not to exist for an immaterial being. To explain it to pro, God is powerful without energy because energy is a material thing. At best you could say God has a non-material type energy, but that's just confusing. Since God is immaterial, he is not made up of energy, and definitely not an infinite amount of energy.

He exists necessarily because if he were contingent, he'd need an external cause. But since he's the first cause, he can't have an external cause, thus can't be contingent, thus must be necessary. It's an amazingly simple argument but pro fails to understand it. And the reason why he must be the uncaused first cause is even more obvious given my argument against infinity and thus the need for a first cause which is itself not caused.

Pro says that since God is able to perform motion, such as thinking, then some temporal effect is happening. Why can we say there's a completely different type of time but there can't be no time? For all purposes, a different type of time could do for God as long as it escapes the infinite regress, which pro's multiverse does not by the way. However, in order to escape the problems of infinity, I don't think we could say it's still time. It would be something completely different. Time is a dimension that must have had a beginning.

Pro sneaks in a last round argument which states that for my argument to fit the Abrahamic God, he must be infinitely powerful thus of infinite potential. Well, for one, this does not in any way entail infinite time and energy, two, the Abrahamic God is omnipotent, not infinitely powerful. Omnipotence is maximally powerful. That's a limited power, not an infinite one.[1]

If you look at pro's actual argument, he never actually asked how minds can create matter and energy. All he asked was that if a mind can, why not abstractions? However, as I stated, there's no conceivable reason to believe a mind cannot cause things. That much is obvious. From there you just have to say a mind could create energy and matter only if it's extremely powerful which is part of the argument. The semantics over "universe" is irrelevant. The major importance is that if any matter or energy predated the universe, it had a beginning. And no matter what you use, my same arguments apply that lead to God as the uncaused first cause. It's not even an argument.


Multiverse



Pro keeps telling me String theory is not vital to his case. Yes I understand that, but even if it's not vital, it is part of it and if I were to ignore String theory, I'd be admitting the multiverse exists, which I don't. I'm sure he'd love it if I ignored a point which refuted my case, but that's not going to happen.

Pro strawmans me. Mathematical proof is perfectly valid. But unfortunately String theory does not have mathematical proof. It has mathematical coherency and explanatory powers. That is far from proof. I already stated in my original case that, "I am not in any way rejecting mathematical proofs. But the mathematical support for String theory is not in any way a proof." The contention is that String theory is only a mathematical model that explains certain parts of reality but has not been tested once and certainly not mathematically proven. Its equations work out but no physicist in the world would take that as proof.

My citing physicists who disagree with String theory was only in response to his incredible appeal to popularity himself. In addition to pointing out his fallacy, I wanted to also point out that String theory did not have as much consensus as pro posits. Extremely credible physicists disagree with it. What pro was saying was he does not have to argue for string theory because it's the leading theory in modern physics and if the voters trust physicists to know what they're doing they should trust the theory. Oh, just if you trust the physicists. Well who on earth reading this debate doesn't trust physicists to know what they're doing? This is an absurd 'argument'. No one would say the physicists don't know what they're doing so he is making a massive appeal to popularity. It's just that String theory has no consensus nor proof.

Pro says voters can accept a mathematical proof if it's good enough for them. What proof!? Pro cannot merely say there's a mathematical proof. It's a very wild claim to say String theory can be proven mathematically. I'd think he'd need some support for that assertion. Yes String theory is mathematically comprehensible, but it's an extreme jump to say it's mathematically proven which no credible String theorist would believe.

Pro's continued to fail to justify his denial of a spatial dimension boundary. All he's done is rehashed his initial statements. I needn't make the same response. I already questioned why he assumes this is the case. Since he's so fixed on not making an argument for string theory, there's no reason to accept any of his claims.

Infinity

Pro completely ignores my biggest objection which is that we can still take infinities of the same value for use in the analogy. Let the value of the infinite copies of pro be equal to x. As long as we search through the infinite multiverse we're statistically certain to find 2 other infinities with a value of x. Pro's escape of the problems was that infinities can have different values. But even if infinities can have different values, we could still make a hypothetical scenario where all infinities in the scenario are of the same value. Pro’s argument presents no challenge.

Mathematical tricks are not always demonstrative in reality. You can mathematically get infinities of different values, but you can't show how the trick applies to real life. What's important is whether you can quantify all copies of pro as the numbers between 1 and 2 and copies of me as the infinite amount of integers. This seems absurd. How are you supposed to say the value of copies of pro is equal to the value of all numbers between 1 and 2 and the value of copies of me is equal to the value of all integers? I'm asking pro how he quantifies this. How is it applicable to real life? It makes no sense except as a mathematical trick. Pro assumes just because you can do it mathematically, the same thing works out in reality.

Conclusion

Pro presented 2 reasons for believing in the multiverse. I largely discredited String theory and pro barely put up a fight. His other (main) argument was an absurd strawman built around the proposition that if I refuted the multiverse I was refuting God since the multiverse possessed essential properties of God. As I showed, there's much more to this and God is both not infinite in energy and not infinite in time.

For the infinity contention, I had two counters but the main one went like this.

Me: Infinities existing in reality presents absurd paradoxes thus invalidating the multiverse.
Pro: Oh, well there can be different values of infinity so no problem.
Me: Okay, if so we can still find infinities in the multiverse which have the exact same value and apply them to the analogy.
Pro: [No response]


[1]
http://goo.gl...

Debate Round No. 4
107 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by narmak 4 years ago
narmak
Con i have an issue with your infinity scenario. For this lets say copies of con are x and copies of pro are y. What you are saying is you have infinite amount of xs and ys you then create an infinite amount of rooms. So for what you have right now are 3 seperate cases of infinite. you then divide the rooms by 2 as you are making even and odd number rooms. we now have 4 cases of infinite. infinite xs ys oddrooms even rooms. xs fit into odd roos and ys fit into the infinite even rooms. where exactly is the issue with this. you have 2 cases of infinite with empty rooms and you are filling the rooms with another 2 cases of infinite.

This is like the argument where you line dollar bills then take out all the even number bills people say that means inifnite minus inifinite is equal to infinity but they are ignoring parts of the equation. what is happening is you are dividing one case of inifnity into 2 cases of inifnite. One case of infinite being the dollar bills lined up. The two cases of infinite are the even and odd number bills. THe equation is wierd as &$% to show so i am attempting to explain it. We have one case of infinity and breaking it into two seperate cases. then we are taking away one case of infinity leaving us with the other case of infinity like it should.

infinity minus infinity will always equal 0
Posted by narmak 4 years ago
narmak
Ok well you guys are smarter than me at the moment so i want to say somthing and ask some questions. I have not read the entire debate yet it will take me some time to get and understanding of it.
First pros job is to disprove the ca and he goes to attack it in what looks to be a much more difficuly way. 1. everything that begins to exist has a cause 2.The unverse began to exist 3. Thereforethe universe has a cause 4. that causeis god.

The way i see it the problem lies wth point 2. The universe began to exist. There is no proof to support this. There is however proof to suggest the universe has always existed. A little bit of logic for this part. Somthing cannot come from nothing that is a known fact 0 does not equal 1. That being said logically we can conclude somthing has always existed leaving us two possibilities. God or the universe. God has absoloutely no proof to even suggest an existance. However if we take a look at the laws of physics. . Matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed again proving somthing cannot come from nothing. This is the 1st law of thermodynamics and has been proven to be 100% true. That being said if matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed then we should logically conclude that they have always existed. Both exist within time and space so space and time must have always existed. The universe is made up of matter energy space and time therefore we can conclude that the universe has always existed and therefore does not have a cause.

For my questions did i go wrong somewhere in my logic?
Pro why do you assume there is an infite amount of energy and space?
I understand the infinite time just not those two.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
That assumes a number of things. Firstly you assume you know exactly what type of a universe a perfect being would create. It may not seem perfect to you but you don't know how God wants it to be. More importantly, omnipotence is limited. God can't just do whatever he wants. He's bound by logic. So it's not likely he could make a perfect universe.
Posted by Argumentative9 4 years ago
Argumentative9
I would just like to be an unbiased arguer. Firstly, there is not an unlimited amount of energy in the universe, that is untrue. As the fundamental law of the conservation of energy shows, energy can neither be created or destroyed and scientists have indeed calculated the approximate amount of energy in the universe. Secondly, god is considered perfect. However there are so many imperfections it implies it was created by an imperfect creator which is not god.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
Didn't realize there was voting on this after me. Why would more people vote after I voted? I voted. That should be enough for everyone.
Posted by Smithereens 4 years ago
Smithereens
I have been continuing my analysis of the debate for a good detailed RFD, but the more I study it, the more I am convinced that this was a tie between the two with excellent material coming from both sides. So I'll conclude my RFD instead.

Pros first premise I have already explained as being In pros favour, But what was apparent to me throughout the debate was that the person who just spoke appeared to be the person who was winning. Since that could go on forever, I wouldn't postulate anymore that one person deserved the win more than another. This was indeed, a very good debate.
Posted by Smithereens 4 years ago
Smithereens
RFD #3: The affirmative case, Premise 2:
'Our Universe is composed of an infinite amount of time and energy.'
In the previous RFD I explained why premise 1 of Pros argument was solid regardless of Con's infinity point. Now I am going to do my critique of the second premise. Actually, screw everything. I'm going to have lunch. brb.
Posted by Smithereens 4 years ago
Smithereens
RDF #2: The affirmative case, Premise 1 (continued):
Con could have picked apart Pro's appeal to authority a number of ways. Technically, con is allowed to simply dismiss it since Pro didn't cite any professional opinions, but ignoring it works as well. The infinity argument latter developed/degraded into a series of exchanges on the logical validity of an infinite regression. Pro refuted Con's hotel paradox by his introduction of greater infinities, but Con correctly pointed that it was irrelevant. The hotel paradox is still a paradox regardless of how big infinity is. I think this was a strong rejoinder by Con. Pro in response suggested putting an infinite amount of people into each room, which doesn't refute the analogy of the hotel, as each person represents a single event. If you put an infinite amount of people into a room, you can represent an infinite amount of events per room, but the paradox of an infinite regression is still present. In round 4, Pro says: 'I don't see the problem.' In his final address to the hotel paradox. This probably explains why both parties are shooting at different targets. He then finishes his address by stating that the hotel paradox isn't a logical contradiction, it is a perceived contradiction. This point would have won Pro the argument on infinity if only he showed why it was so. Pro admittedly did not understand how Hilbert's hotel applied to the real world and since Con did, it was evident who won this point. Normally, that would be the end of the story. Premise 1 would be refuted and the entire argument would collapse. However, by the end of the debate, the argument on infinity was irrelevant to the first premise and thus didn't refute it. What was established by the argument was that an infinite regression of events was not possible, which directly attacks the second premise. (continue next RFD)

And I've just noticed that I've been spelling RFD as RDF.. so you can take a spelling and grammar point of me.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
Wait, you're giving infinity to pro due to his appeal to authority?
Posted by Smithereens 4 years ago
Smithereens
RDF #2: The Affirmative case, Premise 1:
'An infinite amount of time and energy guarantees all possible outcomes will occur an infinite amount of times.'
While Con didn't notice, Pro had employed a very contentious claim in this premise. It was the assumption that 1 divided by infinity equaled 0. The shaky grounds that Pro was walking on was where he stated that any event x with finite probability will become certain if the probability of it is raised to infinity. In a like sense, lowering the probability of it by infinity brings it infinitely close to 0. This was where the mathematical contention was. Pro argued that x has therefore no chance of occuring or else certain chance of occurring if the probability approaches 0, or approaches infinity. It is quite easy to argue that it is impossible to eliminate the existence of the probability of an event by increasing the probability of that non-event to infinity by successive addition as required by time. While con did make an argument for the absurdity of an actual infinite regression of events via the famous Hilbert's Hotel paradox, he would have been able to do more damage by making it impossible for Pro to assume a foundational and pivotal cornerstone for his first premise by attacking everything that looked suspicious. My thoughts are that Con didn't pick up on it due to how well it was hidden, or how convincing Pro sounded when he made the argument. Otherwise, it could simply be that neither side noticed.

Now, moving on.
The rest of the debate had precious little in relevance to the first premise, with the exception of Con's argument against an infinite regression. In rebuttal, Pro introduced the theory of greater infinities, which no one in the realm of mathematics really understands. He then concluded with an appeal to authority, saying that mathematicians have it all worked out. In a non-technical debate, that would be fallacious, but here it is legal, even if it looks a little lazy... (continue next RD
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by darkkermit 4 years ago
darkkermit
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO used multiverse theory to demonstrate how the cosmological argument fails to prove god. God must have energy and matter, which multiverse theory shows with time, energy, and matter this universe can be created. However, the cosmological argument requires the extra condition of sentimental, which is an unnecessary condition. The universe can be created without a self-aware mind.
Vote Placed by Magic8000 4 years ago
Magic8000
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Reasons for voting decision: After flip flopping, I've decided to give this a tie. Pro gives an argument which I think has great foundations, but it works if "Sentiant" was the only God making property. Con showed infinite time and energy were not properties possessed by God. Pro then equivocates time to include "non time" but Con failed to understand what "energy" meant. When investigating Pros argument, you see It means just potential. I really feel Pro caused too much problems by using string theory in his argument. He also could've made it clear that he's not arguing for the validity of string theory. Pro does appeal to authority, yet so does Con, and Pro commits an appeal to hypocrisy in pointing this out. Pro never gave an example of an actual infinite, he just pointed to an arbitrary measurement of numbers. What I mean by that is, we know about numbers by observing objects and we assign a word as to how many exist. This argument is also used against God. Con never responded to that. So I think it's a tie.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 4 years ago
Smithereens
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments, making this tied.
Vote Placed by royalpaladin 4 years ago
royalpaladin
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro gave himself the burden of proof and failed to fulfill it. His case rested on two premises, one of which was justified in case by string theory. Pro did not justify the plausibility of string theory; he only asserted that it was true, and then attempted to become a moving target and posit that his case did not require string theory to function (even though in round 2, his justification for the multiverse still rested on string theory -_-). I didn't really find phantom's insistence that God is special and can have special properties that we cannot comprehend to be convincing, but ultimately he wins because the burden was on Pro.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
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Reasons for voting decision: The attack on string theory wasn't needed and Con's infinity paradox seemed out of place. The core of the argument was straightforward; Pro presented a plausible list of factors necessary for the beginning of the universe, none of which led to a God concept. Con restructured this list to include such God elements. Obviously this inclusion deserved and required the bulk of Con's argumentation, yet received previous little until the final round. I agreed with Pro that some of the distinctions used (e.g. timeless vs transcending time; energetic vs powerful) were arbitrary, at least insofar as they were not sufficiently elaborated upon. The most catching point for me, though, was the abstraction vs mind creation argument. At no point is the audience instructed on how a mind could create a non-abstraction, aside from saying it could if it were powerful enough. Considering mind-driven creation is necessary for the God concept and yet is not inherent in the CA, Pro's case stands.
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
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Reasons for voting decision: comments
Vote Placed by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
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Reasons for voting decision: Props to pro for making an unusual attack on the KCA. It's nice to see something new every now and then. There were several problems with Pro's case, though, which Con pointed out. Pro affirmed contradictions, such as that the cause of the universe was both timeless and had infinite time, as well as immaterial, but being made of infinite energy. Pro relied on a an unproven theory which he made little attempt to defend, and which Con showed was unproved. Pro's only response to the "sentience" aspect of the cause was to object to the notion that minds have causal powers but abstract objects don't. I found that to be an incredibly weak argument since we have first person experience of minds having causal powers, and since abstract entities are abstract, and not concrete. They have no causal powers precisely BECAUSE they are not concrete things.
Vote Placed by Eitan_Zohar 4 years ago
Eitan_Zohar
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Reasons for voting decision: S/G: Con had consistently bad grammar throughout the debate, making his arguments hard to read. Arguments: Pro basically claimed that since existence was infinite, our universe had to come into being anyway. Con rightfully pointed out that this was tautological and amounted to a semantic. Pro never demonstrated that Con's mathematical paradoxes were irrelevant. I didn't quite understand how the videos were applicable. The core of this debate was about the possibility of an actual infinity existing, a burden which was never fulfilled by Pro. If the resolution was that the CA proved God, I would have voted against it, but since Pro had the BOP here it's appropriate to say that he lost. Good job to both.
Vote Placed by Jarhyn 4 years ago
Jarhyn
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Reasons for voting decision: Con never actually established any logical basis for the claim that infinities are not possible in reality; As per PRO's sources, they very succinctly argue that infinities can and do exist in reality, particularly because current physics demands a flat topology, which would mean the universe is infinite in spatial extent. It doesn't matter if CON cannot wrap his head around extant infinites, that just means CON is small-minded.
Vote Placed by Chicken 4 years ago
Chicken
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Chase200mph