The Instigator
robertvroom
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
FreeThinker35
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Science provides excellent evidence for the existence of God

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision - Required
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,385 times Debate No: 16153
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

robertvroom

Pro

Science has provided excellent evidence pointing to the existence of a creator of the Universe. The arguments that interest me most are in the realm of cosmology and abiogenesis. I am not hugely interested in evolution, but am fine arguing against Darwinian Evolution as part of a larger debate.
FreeThinker35

Con

I invite you to go ahead and provide science's proof of god's existence.
Debate Round No. 1
robertvroom

Pro

There are two points I will use to begin the debate, in both of which I draw mainly on the work of William Lane Craig. My first topic will follow the Kalam Cosmological argument which states;

1)The Universe began to exist
2)Things that begin to exist have a cause
3)Therefore the Universe has a cause

The most current knowledge we have regarding cosmology shows that the Universe began to exist from absolute nothingness at a finite point in the past. In their article, "Inflationary Spacetimes are not Past-complete", Arvind Borde (physicist out of Tufts University), Alan Guth (Working out of Tufts & MIT, and the developer of the Inflationary Universe Theory), and Alexander Vilenkin (Tufts University and the developer of the Quantum Creation Theory) state that "a cosmological model which is inflating – or just expanding sufficiently fast – must be incomplete in null and timelike past directions." They show that according to our understanding of physics, any expanding universe or multiverse must have an absolute beginning. They make similar statements in other works as well. Guth is the person responsible for the statement that "The Universe is the ultimate free lunch," meaning that everything came from nothing. This statement (any many similar) can be heard in these podcasts from Scientific American http://www.scientificamerican.com...
https://www.scientificamerican.com...

On page 176 of his book Many Worlds in One, Vilenkin states, "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning."

On page 180 in his new book, The Grand Design, Hawking states, "Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing in the manner described in chapter 6. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist."

Notice that while the scientists listed above are atheists, they believe that the Universe had a beginning from absolute nothingness. When discussing the beginning, it is important to note that we are not just talking about matter expanding into existing time and space, but are talking about the coming into existence of time, space and matter at a finite point in the past. If there is no creator, what caused the Universe?

I do not have room to argue for premise 2 at this point, but will argue it if you are interested in a later section.

My second argument is that the odds of the Universe existing in a way that allows for life are so small as to be non-existent unless it was intentionally designed by an intelligent being. There are a number of constants in the Universe that need to exist within a very small range of options. If the strength of these constants (the strength of gravity and other forces, the rate of entropy, …) was slightly different, no life of any type could exist. If gravity were too weak for instance, stars would not form. If too strong, the universe would have collapsed quickly. Do scientists agree with this assessment? Here are a few quotes:

Richard Dawkins, "The God Delusion" p 169-Physicists have calculated that, if the laws and constants of physics had been even slightly different, the universe would have developed in such a way that life would have been impossible." He then gives examples.

Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of P 129 "The laws of science as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of masses of the proton to the electron...The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life...." On page 141 of The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking tries to explain this problem away by saying "In other words, the quantum probability that the universe has more or less than three large space dimensions is irrelevant because we have already determined that we are in a universe with three large space dimensions. So as long as the probability amplitude for three large space dimensions is not exactly zero, it doesn't matter how small it is compared with the probability amplitude for other number of dimensions."

In other words, it does not matter what the odds were that the Universe would exist in the way that it does. There is a 100% chance that it exists the way it does now, so we shouldn't ask about the odds. We should instead determine what path the Universe most likely to get here. John Leslie gives an excellent example of why this logic makes no sense. Let's say you are in front of a firing squad with 100 trained marksmen aiming rifles straight at your chest. You hear the command to fire, hear the roar of the guns… and notice that you are still alive. Should you be surprised to find that you are still alive? According to Hawking, no. Using the example given above, of course the bullets missed! If they had not missed you would be dead, and since you are alive it has already been determined that you are still alive, and as long as the probability amplitude for your being alive is not exactly zero, it doesn't matter how small it is compared with the probability amplitude for your being dead.

In the real world of course we look for explanations for why the marksmen missed. The obvious explanation is either that one person decided to put on this mock execution for reasons known only to him (intelligent design). The idea that pure chance is the cause is so small it does not even deserve consideration.

So how do scientists explain these facts? Let's see what Lawrence Krauss states in part 2 of the Scientific American podcast I referenced earlier…

"But what's just been realized, of course, is by thinking about these fine-tunings that may be possible in nature that Alan was referring to, is that it's possible to fine tune the universe so that the Higgs is not observable. And if that were the case, Alan is absolutely right; the only really sensible explanation is since all of the evidence suggest that unless you really fine tune things, the Higgs should be observable at the LHC or a machine like it, then it would tell us that there are some other fundamental fine tuning in nature that would strongly suggest that the universe we see is not generic and is very special. And that would certainly provide evidence that we're an outlier and therefore there must be more universes."

Notice the last sentence? If we find evidence that the Universe is not generic, it provides evidence that the multiverse must contain more universes than currently thought. Why do we need so many universes? Because the odds that the Universe exists in a way that allows for any kind of life are so small, that they cannot be realistically attributed to chance. This means that either an intelligent agent designed the Universe with the needed fine-tuning, or that there are so many universes that chance becomes an option. After all, hitting a one-in-a-million chance is very likely if you have 100 million shots. There is much more that can be said about the fine-tuning of the Universe (which is accepted by most every scientist including Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins), and if you want to investigate this further, I will be happy to do so.

Using the argument for the beginning of the Universe and the fine tuning of the Universe, it seems like we have two real options; either something or someone created the Universe, or an infinite number of unobservable, untestable universes popped into existence from nothing for no reason at a finite point in the past. Frankly, the second "scientific" reason seems like a far greater stretch than the first.
FreeThinker35

Con

Definition of "GOD"

[1] God :
the supreme or ultimate reality: as
a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe
b : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well your first argument is clearly flawed.The premise of you arqument is baced on a mere theory and hypothesis that has not yet been proven throughowly enough.

1 First Argument

In you first argument you bacically say, nothing can come into existence without there being something therefore, the universe is most likely caused and created by a supreme ruler( GOD ).
Even if this is accepted( Which is not due to Quantum Fluctuacions [2] ) this isn't an argument for a creator (God) existing. I would also point out that this argument doesn't argue that the universe must have a cause, but rather a more modest claim that the universe is most likely caused. And obviously it doesn't argue that God is necessary for the universe to exist.

2. Second Argument.
Sadly but reasonably I disagree with your assesment.

"...odds of the Universe existing in a way that allows for life are so small as to be non-existent unless it was intentionally designed by an intelligent being."

"... was slightly different, no life of any type could exist. If gravity were too weak for instance, stars would not form. If too strong, the universe would have collapsed quickly"

Here you say that the chances of life are so minute that it is imposible for us to be here.Yet science proves that it is still posible for us to be here without gods help. Yes, albeit life might be hard to come into existence this does not mean it is imposible.

You completly rule out any chances of life beacause of chance/coincidence by basically saying that slightly tweeking with gravity would create NO life whatsoever, and this argument is fallacious. It is erroneous because basically increasing the gravity of our solar system ( increasing the mass of the sun considerably) or reducing it ( decresing the ammount of mass the sun posses considerably) will just cause planets to move close to the sun, or farther away respectivly. This ajustment of length from the sun( slightly tweeking with gravity) would not mean that life would NO be able to exist. This would just mean that the planets within the habitable zone or as I enjoy calling it, the Goldilock area.[This Goldilocks area, is an area in the space that is suitable for life to flourish] will be the ones to produce life.

"My second argument is that the odds of the Universe existing in a way that allows for life are so small as to be non-existent unless it was intentionally designed by an intelligent being."

Acctually if you think about the chances of life in the universe are relativly good. Out of the BILLIONS of stars in the universe plenty will be in a safe galaxy away from black holes and other celestial" life destroyers". Then we need one to contain all the right elements and substances needed for micorbes and bacteria to exist. And finally the planet needs to be in the goldilock area so that an atmosphere can form and so that the intense heat from the local star won't kill off all life and so extreme sub-zero temperatues won't freeze water and life itself.

3.

"Using the argument for the beginning of the Universe and the fine tuning of the Universe, it seems like we have two real options; either something or someone created the Universe, or an infinite number of unobservable, untestable universes popped into existence from nothing for no reason at a finite point in the past. Frankly, the second "scientific" reason seems like a far greater stretch than the first."

In this part of your argument do you really believe that astronolical coinsidence and chance are less likely than GOD ?!?!?

I find this to be highly unreasonable and illogical. Are you suggesting that a .... [3]
  • Being that has never left any physical evidence of his existence on earth
  • Being that has never spoken to modern man, for example by taking over all the television stations and broadcasting a rational message to everyone.
  • Being that "created" religious scriptures are probavly incorrect and is obviously the work of primitive men rather than God.
  • Being who "listens" to prayers and then when we analyze prayer with statistics, we find no evidence that God is "answering prayers."
  • Being who let huge, amazing atrocities like the Holocaust and AIDS occur without any response from God.
  • And so on…

    is more likely to be true than some astronomical "luck" and chance !

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


My argument



1. Ordered complexity requires an explanation.

"Ordered complexity" means a system composed of several parts that are arranged in such a way as to produce some specific function that is otherwise improbable. An example is your TV: There are many parts which are arranged in such a way as to produce a specific function, and that function is highly unlikely to occur from a random arrangement of parts. Such complexity is very improbable unless it was brought about by something such as an intelligent designer or evolution by natural selection, and so we say these things require explanation.

2. God is a being of ordered complexity.

A being that is conscious (as a personal being is by definition) and can create must be very complex because consciousness and creativity only come about through a series of very specific mental steps. This will become a little more clear with the following quote:

"To see that consciousness itself is complex, consider that consciousness requires the ability to store and access information that is linked together in many intricate ways as well as the ability to process that information and to reason. The web of intricately interconnected data that consciousness requires is extremely complex. One measure of the complexity of a system is the logarithm of the number of states of the system. Applied to a conscious system, this measure of complexity is proportional to the number of pieces of data that the conscious system knows times the degree of interconnectedness in the data."

There are three interesting things to note here:

1) this measure of complexity is very large if a large amount of
data is accessible;
2) the interconnectedness of data that consciousness
requires greatly increases the complexity; and
3) for an omniscient
being, this measure of the being's complexity diverges."

Sources: http://freethought.freeservers.com......

3. Therefore, God requires an explanation.

4. But God does not and could not have an explanation
(such as being the result of an evolutionary process or
the work of a higher designer).

5. Therefore, God (probably) does not exist.


Excuse me if there are grammar error and some weird stuff I have loads of work to do and I need to go to sleep :)

Thank you for understanding !

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...;[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3]http://godisimaginary.com...
Debate Round No. 2
robertvroom

Pro

Good morning Thinker, thank you for your response.

You said that my first argument is flawed because it is based on a hypothesis that has not been proven thoroughly. I would first like to say that in my statement on what I planned to debate I said I would provide evidence, not proof. Proof is an impossible requirement. I cannot for instance prove that I am not in a padded room drooling in a corner, and imagining that I am writing this response. There are certain basic ideas that we need to assume are true without proof if we are to examine our universe… For instance; other people exist, math and logic are reliable tools (science cannot prove this as science is based on these tools), the laws of physics are the same in all galaxies (what if for instance, a red shift means something different in another galaxy, so our measurements are all wrong?)… Without positing some improvable points, we cannot gain knowledge of any kind.

You are correct that my first premise is based on theory, but both of my premises are based on theories that is accepted by almost all scientists working in the field. Read Stephen Hawking, Alex Vilenkin, Alan Guth, Roger Penrose, Martin Rees… Even Richard Dawkins admits to the beginning and apparent fine tuning of the Universe.

In my last argument I ran out of room when trying to present evidence for the statement, "Things that begin to exist have a cause." You correctly state that a number of scientists see quantum fluctuations as an exception to this belief. There are major issues with citing quantum fluctuations as a cause however.

First off, quantum fluctuations occur in a universe that is full of energy. Even the nothingness of "empty space" has light passing through, microwave & other types of energy passing through. If time, space, matter and energy all began at the Big Bang however (again, a point agreed upon by most scientists), the nothing that came prior to the Universe was fundamentally different. In the absence of time, space, matter and energy, can there be the probability that something will happen? Even top scientists smuggle something in prior to the Universe to avoid this problem. As Alex Vilenkin states (Many Worlds in One p 204)

"The entire eternally inflating spacetime originated as a miniscule closed universe. It tunneled, quantum-mechanically, out of nothing and immediately plunged into the never-ending fury of inflation. Thus the universe is eternal, but did have a beginning."

So spacetime existed in nothingness… But this means that it was not nothingness, and on page 176 in the same book Vilenkin said, "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning."

If the Universe did begin to exist, it seems there are two choices; either it came to exist from absolute nothingness, or it was created.

If it was created, are there things we can know about this creator? Let's see…

1) If a creator created time, space and matter, this creator is not composed of matter or limited by time and space.
2) It is intelligent. Why? Because a non-intelligent force cannot decide to do something at a specific point. A chair sitting in place from eternity would need something external to act upon it before it could move. A person sitting in this chair from eternity can decide to stand up if he chooses. If there is an infinite cause and a finite effect, the cause must decide to produce the effect.
3) If we accept that everything that begins to exist has a cause and this creator is the first cause, it must be eternal and uncaused.
4) This creator must be incredibly powerful, since it created the Universe(s)
5) This creator made the Universe with the expectation of life. The constants of the Universe (strength of gravity, the charge of protons/electrons, the strength of the strong nuclear force…) all need to be tuned to a very high degree of precision to allow for any form of life to exist, and this implies that the existence of life was intentional

So using reason to point us at what a creator must look like if one exists, we get an intelligent, eternal, powerful creator of everything. Sound familiar? This of course instantly eliminates beliefs that think of God as an impersonal force or as something that came to exist within the Universe from pre-existing stuff.

You objected to the point that "The odds of the Universe existing in a way that allows for life are so small as to be non-existent unless it was intentionally designed by an intelligent being." You state that "science proves that it is still posible for us to be here without gods help." Would you please provide an example of one or more of these proofs?

I am not talking about tweaking the gravity in our solar system, but tweaking it more fundamentally at the earliest points. If gravity is so weak that stars cannot form for instance, we end up with a universe composed almost completely of hydrogen and helium. Can such a universe produce chemistry or life? What would happen if the charge of a proton was 1.1 and the electron had a charge of -.023? could atoms form? Anyhow, science is on my side in this again, and most scientists will say the same thing (see the ones named above or choose your own top-notch scientist)… The Universe appears fine-tuned for life.

You next say that chance can account for fantastic odds, and this is true… to an extent. When odds reach a certain point however, it is no longer realistic to accept chance. For instance, Roger Penrose says that the chance of the entropy rate having the value it does is 1:10^123. What does this mean? It means that we can expect to have this value one time out of every 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 times ( 6:53, but an interesting discussion beginning at 5:00). Other scientists give even smaller odds than Penrose. When looking at odds so small, chance can reasonably be discarded as a possibility.

You say that, "if you think about the chances of life in the universe are relativly good. Out of the BILLIONS of stars…" Again, I am talking more fundamentally here, not about the odds once the Universe exists. I will tackle this one if space permits however.

You gave a list of reasons that God is unlikely, (inaccurate scriptures, left no evidence, does not make himself known to everyone, the existence of evil…) but again, this is a less fundamental issue than I am discussing. If you are right and these issues cannot be explained, you may prove that a certain religion is wrong (A point that as a Christian I would be happy to debate in a more specialized debate), but it says nothing about whether a creator of the Universe is unlikely.

You state that "Ordered complexity requires an explanation." Fair enough. A mind can think complex thoughts, but is not necessarily complex in itself. God being eternal mind has no body, no parts per say… The Universe (and life in particular) however display huge amounts of ordered complexity. I am running out of space however, so if you want to discuss abiogenesis and evolution, it will need to be in the next section.

You provided three examples of complexity and listed a source, but it did not take me to the specifics of the argument, just to the home page. Would you please provide links to the articles you are referencing?

Have a great day Thinker, I will talk to you later.
FreeThinker35

Con

FreeThinker35 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
robertvroom

Pro

I forfeit this round so my opponent and I can remain on equal footing (he had too much going on to allow him to respond).
FreeThinker35

Con

FreeThinker35 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
robertvroom

Pro

robertvroom forfeited this round.
FreeThinker35

Con

FreeThinker35 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by robertvroom 6 years ago
robertvroom
LOL, I understand how hectic things can get Thinker. I will forfeit this round as well so we are back on equal terms.
Posted by FreeThinker35 6 years ago
FreeThinker35
I feel so embarassed, I was not able to respond to my opponent.
Altgough I ant to make it clear that time restriction held me back from being able to debate.
I deeply apologize it has been a hectic week for me, 2 state exams on the same week ! ( NYC)
Once again I'm sorry I could not respond.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
robertvroomFreeThinker35Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: FF