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Science does not disprove intelligent design

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,788 times Debate No: 33790
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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Round 1 for acceptance only!

This debate is not focused around any specific god or religion. Just intelligent design.

Good luck!


I accept this challenge, and I will support my side of the resolution by proving that the current extent of scientific knowledge renders intelligent design an non-viable explanation and dismisses it as a hypothesis; in other words, I will attempt to prove that what we currently know about science leads us to the conclusion that intelligent design lacks evidence and cannot be considered a viable scientific theory.

I wait impatiently for my opponent's exposition.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you to my opponent for accepting this debate. I look forward to a productive and fruitful exchange of debate and opinion.

I will start off by defining the word, "disprove." According to disprove is defined as "to prove (an assertion, claim, etc.) to be false or wrong; refute; invalidate: I disproved his claim."

In order to use science to disprove the theory of intelligent design, this assertion must be completely shown as false and not valid. My opponent has stated that it is "dismissed as a hypothesis." Much like the theory of evolution, intelligent design is one that has not been disproven nor proven. Theory is an important word.

Theory is defined as, "a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity. Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine."

Therefore, theory is not something that is shown as fact nor it is shown as something that is not true at all.

We must look at intelligent design as the claim that there is a supreme creator that has made everything around us - the universe, stars, the earth, life, and us as human beings. I believe that no human discovered and asserted scientific claim can ever disprove the existence of an intelligent creator due to the fact that it is automatically assumed that evolution, relativity, gravity, and many other scientific propositions were used in the process of the creation of the living universe. If these are facts, it serves no basis to show that there is no god whether it be Allah, Jesus, Zeus, Apollo, Yahweh, etc.

There are many interpretations of each religion that serve as a guide to show that science was incorporated by an intelligent creator and should not be dismissed as blasphemy. Creation and science have been shown to be compatible together. I will use the argument that everything has a beginning. It is quite over-used but still valid and perfectly acceptable.

If I were to take the origins of the universe and trace it down to the very beginning planet by planet, star by star, explosion by explosion, process by process, we'd eventually reach a point where it all started. And what was before it when it started. Nothing? What is nothing? You cannot define nothing. A creator of some sort had to have started it all. Where he/she/it came from is a mystery and will never be figured out, however no amount of science can show that this has not happened based on the assumption that it was incorporated into the creationary cycle.

I wait eagerly for my opponent's response.


I thank my opponent for presenting his exposition, and shall promptly present mine.

To begin with, we will need to contend with the idea of disproving, since it will show itself to be very abstract in this debate.
To understand this, one must first understand the concept of scientific theories. A theory is not held to be true by definition only due to the fact that there might, somewhere, be questions the theory might not be able to answer. But, due to the fact that a theory manages to answer all the questions we know of today, and offers an explanation shown by evidence to be viable as to problems we face today, a theory is true until proven otherwise.
We can see this very well in the example of gravity, the theory of which is still, as is obvious, a theory.
Yet, we do not make it a daily habit to walk off edges of cliffs.

On the other hand, intelligent design wishes to make itself an accepted explanation, that is, answer, to the same questions we use other theories (the theory of evolution) to answer. To do so, it must assert itself as a hypothesis and subject itself to the scientific method. [1] According to the method, a hypothesis competing to be proven as a theory and to be considered true indefinitely must be testable and falsifiable. Intelligent design is neither. It fails to even compete with any other theory used in modern science due to the very fact that it can't be proven completely wrong - to prove something wrong, there must first be evidence in support. As long as there is none, intelligent design is false until proven otherwise, and considered disproven by its very nature.
It answers none of the questions we have answers to today (supported by evidence) thanks theories subjected to the scientific method, and cannot even be considered scientific.

It is worse than disproven - it fails to even reach a phase where one can rationally speak about proving or disproving it, as a result of the fact that better explanations exist to all the questions it is supposed to answer.
Answering questions posed by the scientific community is how one proves a theory correct, therefore this also indirectly disproves intelligent design.

To conclude this elaboration about disproving said hypothesis, intelligent design is:

a) Disproven by its very nature.
b) Indirectly disproven through proof of other theories/hypotheses.

Now onwards to my opponent's arguments regarding intelligent design itself. To begin with, my opponent attempts to prove that creation and science are compatible.
Sadly for him, they are not, due to the fact that creation cannot be considered a viable scientific hypothesis until proof is offered in support; that is, until it fulfills its burden of proof (see Russell's teapot [2]).
To claim its compatibility with science only due to the fact it hasn't been proven wrong is an argumentum ad ignorantiam.

Furthermore, the argument my opponent attempts to use to prove intelligent design is the argument of first cause, which is truly, as has been remarked, overused.
And will now be disproven.

This claim holds two fallacies in its very exposition:

a) Removal of criteria of proof. My opponent claims that everything must have a first cause, therefore the answer is a creator. However, by furthering this line of deduction, one concludes that a creator must then also be subjected to having a first cause. Magically, however, he doesn't. Unless an explanation is offered as to why a creator should be exempt from this criteria, the deduction fails.
Claiming that a creator is outside the space-time continuum is only a further removal of criteria of proof - firm explanation or evidence needs to be offered instead of withdrawal.

b) The argument is a non sequitur, even if one is to ignore a). It is postulated that a first cause is necessary, thereore God. This is huge and pretentious leap, and it does not follow from the premise of causation (even if the premise were to be true - this shall be discussed) that a creator is necessarily the answer.

Now, as to the argument of causation.
My opponent claims that everything must have a first cause, but the space-time singularity which creates this universe is an exception to that claim. Unlike my opponent, I shall explain my postulation.

About 5*10^5 light years away from the Earth is a wall of radiation known as cosmic microwave background radiation [3][4]. This radiation is a flashback of an explosion compatible with what we call the Big Bang, both in structure and the approximate time of creation.
The wall of CMB radiation is extremely important to our understanding of the universe, because by measuring the scale of entrance of matter into the wall of radiation, one can determine whether the universe is flat, or closed. A flat universe, corespondent to a scale of 1° , would allow for creation ex nihilo (the other two types are correspondent to 0.5 and 2° , respectively).

Research has proven that the scale of our universe is exactly 1°, allowing for creation ex nihilo from a supercondensed space-time spot of potential energy that is the singularity. The singularity itself is mathematically necessitated, for there can be no pure void in physics (such a term cannot be defined). Following from that, the Law of the simplest beginning [5] mathematically necessitates something which is not matter, but potential matter, the nature of which will be to simply exist - with this, intelligent design, and a creator, are one again rendered unnecessary, because there are, and always will be, better explanations.

Back to my opponent.





[4] Lawrence M. Krauss: A Universe from Nothing, 2012. / C. Richard Dawkins, Lawrence M. Krauss: A Universe from Nothing, lecture


Debate Round No. 2


I apologize for being inactive so long. I just moved and got internet back!
Anyways back to the debate:

My opponent offers many valid points and comments. However, there are some that need to be addressed.

I would like to start out round 3 with a statement my opponent has made, "Disproven by its very nature."

This is very debatable. We as humans have a small knowledge of the world, universe, and our existence. What we have discovered and assumed so far is huge, however in the greater scheme of things, we could be completely wrong about what we have previously discovered outside of our viewing range.

Science is never capable of proving the non-existence of anything.

For example, unicorns. It seems fairly silly, correct? They don't exist. They never have. It is all in fairy tales. Do I believe myself that they exist? No. Do I know that they don't exist? Well, when I truly think about it, no I don't know. Here's the key word: believe. Can science prove that unicorns don't exist anymore than I can? No. All we can really say is that we have been looking for unicorns unsuccessfully for a very long time. Therefore, we may hypothesize from this that unicorns do not exist. The proof that they are not present on earth is not there. Just the same as the proof that they are here on earth is not there. Science can show the specific details and ink in a book, but science will never show the meaning of a book.

So the assertion that intelligent design is false until proven otherwise is not necessarily true. Because saying that it is false could be completely and utterly wrong.

To prove or disprove the existence of a higher deity, the scientific method must be followed. Of course first, a hypothesis must be proposed (ie: God does/does not exist). At this very first stage is a problem that is run into. How is this god defined? How is it described? How do you characterize a higher being such as this?

Us as humans perceive and observe things through our five senses. We see, smell, hear, taste, and touch. This higher deity is not meant to perceived through any of these. With intelligent design, there can be no proving through any human experiment or observation. We are confined to earth with telescopes and other materials that can reach barely outside of our solar system. Through these limitations, the disproving of intelligent design seems to be very dim as going to every corner of the universe where there could be proof does not seem to be the agenda of human beings anytime soon.

There are many predictions, assertions, and claims that can be made that render scientific methods of proving it, null.

Perhaps we were all made as human beings last Thursday with our memories made with us. You can't disprove that happened.

Perhaps you had a previous life and you have no recollection of it, as with the rest of humanity. Again, you cannot disprove that.

Disprove in this is a very important word, as my opponent has previously stated.

In this way, the claim that humanity, the universe, and all living things were made by a higher power at the beginning of time is something that cannot be disproven.

In the words of Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."




I thank my opponent for offering his rebuttal, and shall now offer mine in turn.

Therefore, without further ado, let's begin.

To begin with, I shall comment on my opponent's opening statement. It is true that, perhaps, there are some things out there in the vast cosmos that we could be wrong about. However, we haven't as of yet uncovered such a truth, and we cannot predict whether or not it will ever happen.
That is why scientists consider something to be true or false in relation to the current state of affairs, hence the terms true until proven otherwise / false until proven otherwise, which I've already commented on. Some things are claimed to be proven, some to be disproven, in a relation to the present; this is where the scientific method comes into play.

We cannot talk about disproving something definitely, for we might always be wrong, and never hold on to any truths. We must set ourselves a certain prism through which to look. This prism is the present and what matters is what we have proven or disproven now through use of science.

An example for this are mathematical axioms. [1] Axioms cannot be defined and cannot be proven. For all we know, they could be a virtual fabrication of reality. But, since they function perfectly in answering our questions and problems in the field of mathematics, we consider them proven as true. If I were to contradict any of the axioms, I'd be contradicting the nature of mathematics as we know it, and therefore my claim would be disproven by empiricism and empirical experience - it would be disproven by its very nature until potentially proven otherwise.

Indeed, science isn't able to definitely prove the non-existence of anything. But, for something to even enter the scientific community as a possibilty, it must have substantial evidence in support. This is why all claims which fail to present such evidence, and are contradicted by empiricism, are considered false by default, disproven until it is shown otherwise - this is the scientific method and this is how, in the modern world, we determine truth. Thus it is only correct and appropriate to discuss the term disprove in this context.

It is, therefore, perfectly correct that intelligent design is false until proven otherwise. Intelligent design is supposed to be used as a viable explanation for the development of life and the universe itself, and therefore it must be shown why that should be considered a good explanation.
Currently, all the evidence points to the fact that intelligent design was unnecessary for any phase of the creation of life and the universe, and other theories, like evolution, offer better claims, substantiated by evidence, to offer answers. Our current experience and evidence shows that we are to consider intelligent design false until we have some evidence it could be true - this is the only way we can filter the truth from nonsense.
And yes, we should also consider the existence of unicorns to be a false premise. Belief is not a word accepted in the scientific community, and belief should never come into the sphere of proof and disproof - but it keeps insisting to compete on par with science. Hence, it will be subjected to the same methods and rules, and it won't have a good time.

My opponent is correct when he says God cannot be defined. So why should we even accept such a hypothesis? Why would we consider a possibility of it being correct until it is shown to be so? It is a matter of belief, not of scientific proof, of subjetive and not objective thought, and therefore the objective community will consider it disproven - hence, in general, we can safely claim it is disproven.
Everything else, every attempt at proving without proof, is removal of criteria of proof, a fallacy my opponent commited again in the last round - if a deity isn't meant to be percieved, it isn't meant to be considered true, simple as that. If the hypothesis wants to enter the world of scientific perception, its nature as "unpercievable" will force it to be considered false.

"Perhaps we were all made as human beings last Thursday with our memories made with us."
Perhaps. But we've reasons to claim otherwise. Your claim contradicts all human experience and rationality, and if you don't offer proof, we'll be completely correct to dismiss it and consider it disproven by empiricism, because, as was well quoted on your part:

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

And finally, my opponent completely ignores my refutation of his ex nihilo nihil fit argument, and yet claims that "In this way, the claim that humanity, the universe, and all living things were made by a higher power at the beginning of time is something that cannot be disproven.". As a matter of fact, no, we don't. We claim what we observe by science, which, as I've described, shows us with certainty that ex nihilo creation is possible and probable without any divine help.
Believers claims otherwise, but this is once again a matter of belief.
If you wish to legitimately defend your claim, you should offer an explanation as to why your claim should be correct - the same thing you ignore as criteria for intelligent design.

After this refutation, back to my opponent.


Debate Round No. 3


Thank you for your excellent rebuttal. I will begin the last round with a few refutations and I will conclude. Thank you for an excellent debate. Kudos to you!

I will start off with one my opponent's previous refutations to "Perhaps we were all made as human beings last Thursday with our memories made with us." Even though it is just an example and it sounds very wild and out of the ordinary, my opponent's response to this is of great importance. However, please keep in mind that this debate is about whether science can disprove intelligent design, not about whether intelligent design is true.

My opponent's rebuttal to this is, "Your claim contradicts all human experience and rationality." What is human rationality and why is it here? Is our experience and rationality the one and true sense of the world and should we actually listen to it? It is manmade. We have no scientific explanation of morals, our "human rationality", and emotions except for "chemicals." However this is a different argument. Our rationality and experience has nothing to do with science, and this does not render intelligent design disproven. In our own minds, we may deem it dismissed and illogical, but in the grand scheme of things, we have no proof to serve it as not true.

As with God - we as mankind have been worshipping them since the dawn of our being. Today, more than 80% of the world believes in a higher power. Who it is does not matter, but we as humans look at the miraculousness, beauty, complexity, and advanceness of the world around us and conclude that this is not coincidence.

My opponent has stated, "Currently, all the evidence points to the fact that intelligent design was unnecessary for any phase of the creation of life and the universe, and other theories, like evolution, offer better claims, substantiated by evidence, to offer answers."

Unless every possible dimension of the universe can be explored entirely, we cannot conclusively declare that there is no God. What we have discovered so far serves no proof for God. However, so far. Faith is a very different discussion, but if there is physical evidence of an intelligent creator somewhere lurking behind a star or galaxy, we have not been there, therefore we don't know. We cannot deem it false, because saying it is false is conclusively stating that it is not true, when indeed it is not conclusive at all.

Science has its limits. So saying, "Trust in only what can be scientifically proven" is contradictory because this statement cannot be proven itself through the scientific method. If the intricies of DNA were to be examined in all its complexity and glory, how could there be no designer? How could this have happened by accident?

As with Axioms, and being disproven by empiricism and empirical experience, if this intelligent designer was as mighty as everyone previously stated, what human found evidence and man-made reasoning is needed? We are so puny and insignificant as science has shown, that it shouldn't even be considered to disprove intelligent design.

As for my opponent's ex nihilo argument, I apologize for not correctly acknowledging that last round - I completely forgot!

With this scientific research and assumptions on the scale and energy of our universe, we must keep in mind that whatever deity we are talking about is assumed to be greater than us and the rest of the universe itself. We must acknowledge that everything ever claimed and asserted about the cosmos can and could be incorporated into the designer's creationary process. And with this statement, it cannot be disproved because we as humans cannot simply detect it with our five senses, yet.

So in conclusion - intelligent design cannot be disproven by science due to the larger scale of this designer and how it can all of what we know about this universe be created. Science has its limits and even like religion, can be contradictory. No amount of human-discovered "evidence" can show the absense of a God. While we may assume that this is false until proven otherwise, that does not mean science accurately showed that there is no designer.

Again, thank you to my opponent for an intriguing debate. Good luck with the votes my friend!



zgb1997 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Ragnar 5 years ago
A better resolution might be "Evolution and Intelligent Design are not conflicting beliefs."
Posted by bladerunner060 5 years ago
Science doesn't disprove evidenceless assertions that make no useful predictions.
Posted by StevenDixon 5 years ago
Duh, intelligent design just isn't science.
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