The Instigator
kenballer
Pro (for)
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The Contender
EgoDuctor
Con (against)
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Should the God Hypothesis be a Scientific theory

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/22/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 709 times Debate No: 31566
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
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kenballer

Pro

FIRST ROUND IS ACCEPTANCE AND RULES ONLY

Understand that my approach is suppose to be of a scientist using the scientific method not a philosopher like William Lane Craig and other debaters attempt to do, So its a little bit different. I am arguing that the God Hypothesis should be a scientific theory.

In principle, I technically have all the Burden of Proof, but for the purpose of winning and losing this debate, my opponent must explain why it should NOT be a scientific theory. In other words, my opponent should be focusing on explaining why its unfalsifiable rather than try to falsify my hypothesis. There is a difference. However, I do welcome any attempts on his part to try to falsify it regardless.

My opponent will have to try and show how my hypothesis fails to better explain the data compared to the Null hypothesis and how it does not reach the essential criteria of being an established theory:

Essential criteria

"The defining characteristic of all scientific knowledge, including theories, is the ability to make falsifiable or testable predictions. The relevance and specificity of those predictions determine how potentially useful the theory is.......A body of descriptions of knowledge is usually only called a theory if it has fulfilled these criteria:

1. It makes falsifiable predictions with consistent accuracy across a broad area of scientific inquiry (such as mechanics).

2. It is well-supported by many independent strands of evidence, rather than a single foundation. This ensures that it is probably a good approximation, if not completely correct.

3. It is consistent with pre-existing theories and other experimental results. (Its predictions may differ slightly from pre-existing theories in cases where they are more accurate than before.)"[1]

The "God Hypothesis" is there exists a personal God who is the creator of the universe and who is interested in having a human affair.

A "scientific explanation" therefore makes an unknown phenomenon comprehensible by relating it to known scientific facts and established theories.

Moreover, since my approach is scientific in nature, It needs to be five rounds for me to have enough ground to work under, and so I can adequately respond and address my opponents objections. Plus, I will probably be adding some new elements to this theory that were not present in my other debates.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
EgoDuctor

Con

I thank my opponent for opening this interesting debate. I will try and prove that while the concept of god is an interesting hypothesis it is hardly a concept that can be called a well established, by a vast body of evidence supported constructed that is worthy of being called a theory.

I accept all but one of the proposed definitions.
Before my opponent proceeds to argue that the “God Hypothesis” should be treated as theory it should be well defined what exactly god is. A scientific term is essentially one that eliminates all grounds for misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
Defining god as creator of the universe, personal etc is hardly accurate. His nature must be defined explicitly before it can be supported by scientific facts.
Until stated otherwise I will assume that the god in question is the Christian one.

I look forward to my opponent's points and a good and educating debate.

Debate Round No. 1
kenballer

Pro

THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE

According to the Hartle-Hawking's model, The Space-Time Theorem of General Relativity clearly states that space, time, and matter and energy all had a concrete beginning. Now, what I mean by the universe having a beginning is that at one point in the past space, time, and matter/energy came into being. At this point, called the initial singularity, gravity, space-time curvature, density etc. becomes infinite. In a place where the curvature in space-time is infinite or near infinite the laws of physics break down and do not apply, which means the aforementioned first law of thermodynamics would not hold inside a singularity and matter may be created or destroyed. Since matter and energy cannot exist without time, the singularity had to have come into being as well. [1]

Borde, Guth,Vilenken developed a theorem that proves inflationary models must contain singularities [2]. They also authored the BGV theorem which proves that ANY universe that is on average in a state of cosmic expansion greater than 0 throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past, but must have a past space time boundary [3]. This theorem does not assume Einsteins equations and holds even when we don't have a complete quantum theory of gravity of the early universe.

In fact, Even if we are just a tiny part of a so-called "multi-verse" with another version of space-time that follow different laws of nature, their theorem would STILL require an absolute beginning from this multi-verse as well. This is because the BGV theorem carries only one assumption: If the expansion rate of any universe is greater than 0, the universe began. One more evidence that seems to compound the idea that there must have been a beginning is the second law of thermodynamics. A universe that exists infinitively in the future will come to equilibrium (heat death). Therefore, if a universe was also past eternal, then it should have already been in a state of equilibrium.

THE FINELY-TUNED UNIVERSE

The fundamental laws and constants of nature fall under an extraordinarily narrow range of life permitting values ,within an infinite set, in which the right value was chosen every time. The slightest change in these values would prevent any kind of life from evolving or existing. Moreover, these perfectly fine-tuned laws and constants came into being right after the big bang, error free and without change throughout this process.[4]

Let me explain what I mean by "fine-tuned for life". I am talking about fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life of any kind requires under the general definition of scientists presently use [5]. In other words, If the constants were even altered just a little, You would not get chemistry or matter much less planets and stars that can serve as places where life might evolve (In science, the meaning of the term "life" is not fully established or defined) [6]. There are experiments that show amino acids and RNA viruses ,which are two of the three essential components of life, can come from non-life. Thus, there could be other types of life forms besides human life we don't know or have not discovered yet we might call "life" now or in the future.

The phrase "finely tuned" universe is a scientific term scientist use to describe the measurement of the laws and constants. We know that present day particle physics have a whole lot of adjusted parameters like the mass of certain particles along with the strength of certain forces.

How do we know the values are fine-tuned? We know through math that most of the values in the parameters will not allow life to exist if these values were smaller or larger. This means we don't need to know what values don't produce life, just the relevant values of the constants that do produce a life permitting universe. [7]

THE GOD (ALTERNATIVE) HYPOTHESIS

Philosophically, there cannot be an infinite amount of time because Time is by definition a series of "moments". The nature of a moment is "a beginning of the future and an end of the past." The assumption of an absolutely first moment would consequently carry with it the implication of a period of which is terminated by, and prior to, that first moment, and the prior time would itself contain moments. Thus, if time was eternal in the past, we would have never have arrived at this point, which means there has to be an absolute first cause.

This has been shown to be evident when scientists try to map and implement the idea of infinite "sets" upon the real world. It has "lead to severe calculational problems in the mathematical modelling of ensembles of universes or universe domains, blocking any meaningful application of probability calculus" every single time [8]. Now, Science essentially has concrete evidence that points to the same conclusion regarding the Big Bang singularity. The initial singularity, which is a single point of infinite density and heatness, was a timeless thing that created most of the matter in the Universe.

However, this was not just any old bang from a simple beginning, but a great expansion of exquisitely arranged magnitude containing galaxies, planets, stars and all other heavenly bodies. The other important aspect of this extraordinary order following the big bang was the creation of our habitable planet Earth. So the question before us is this, "If there is even a cause at all, What force is ultimately responsible for all the known phenomena and complexity within the universe?" .
If a great order arose from an expansion, then it should be understood that the intervention of an intelligence was involved in every moment of this expansion. This is because we have only observed intelligent minds design complex things. I will call this force the God Hypothesis.

PREDICTIONS

If the God hypothesis is true, then the universe should exhibit divine properties from divine intelligence with a human- like identity. Moreover, this universe should exhibit intricacies of underling purpose and intention throughout the universe that allows for human relationships to exist. The null hypothesis is that there is no cause for this finely-tuned universe and it just quantum fluctuated out of nothing. However, CON can falsify my hypothesis completely by showing that intelligence arises entirely from natural processes.

THE INDUCTIVE METHOD

Now, the space-time boundary prevents us from observing this entity directly to discover the properties of this cause. However, there are all kinds of things that we can't see or identify but yet we see there effects which led us to potential hypothesizes about what they potentially were and how those things manifest using the inductive method of reasoning.

In the next round, I will provide the experiments that prove my hypothesis and the experiments that potentially could falsify it.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://arxiv.org...
[3] http://arxiv.org...
[4] John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle" p. 288
[5] Paul Davies, "How bio-friendly is the universe?" International Journal of Astrobiology, vol. 2, no. 2 (2003): 115.
[6] http://arxiv.org...
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[8] http://arxiv.org...
EgoDuctor

Con

EgoDuctor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
kenballer

Pro

OMNI-PRESENT, ETERNAL, AND IMMATERIAL

The Law of Cause and Effect states that for every effect there must be a cause for it. In addition, The Law of Biogenesis, attributed to Louis Pasteur, states that life (as we know it) only arises from pre-existing life.

Both these physical laws together indicate that whatever is responsible for this complexity and beginning must have been an eternal life force without Spacial and Temporal properties who programmed the first self-replicating DNA molecule along with the universe itself. It must be eternal and therefore changeless without the universe because it created time. Since it also created space, it must transcend space as well and must therefore be dimensionless/immaterial not physical. Lastly, it must be a personal mind since the DNA contains information and ,according to information theory [1], information only comes from minds. Thus, the properties of this cause would be omni-present, eternal, and immaterial as well as a personal force.

ABSOLUTE MIND

There are only two possible candidates we are aware of that could possibly have the properties of an immaterial, omnipresent, eternal and conscious entity: either an abstract objects (mathematics) or a human mind (or consciousness).

The first candidate would be abstract objects. Abstract mathematical objects are not found under rocks or grown out of trees nor are they understood to be contingent upon human minds, but yet they can apply to virtually everything that exist. Moreover, these kind of abstract objects are demonstrable and produce a large amount of predictive power which have been useful in making highly accurate predictions in reality. Something that can generate many testable predictions are usually deemed not only scientific but a theory.

The second candidate would be human minds. Human minds are understood to have agent causality where a cause would be able to bring about new effects at will without any physical dimensions or determining conditions by virtue of its agency. This is called "substance dualism" where there are two fundamental kinds of substance: mental and material. The mental would not have extension in the spacial and temporal constraints with the universe but occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world [2].

However, abstract objects by definition are not suppose to stand in casual relationships with reality, and human minds are understood to be intrinsically connected to material substances that naturally possess physical constraints on knowledge and power. Thus, if it cannot be an abstract object or a human mind, then maybe its a combination of the two which would involve an absolute mind where there would not be a brain or body attached.

A mind absolute force would explain why you can get a temporal effect with a beginning from an eternal cause with unlimited properties. We should find, from more empirical observations, attributes of an all-knowing and all-powerful being exhibited within the universe.

ALL-POWERFUL AND ALL-KNOWING

According to the BGV theorem, the expansion rate of the universe, which is called Eternal inflation, will continue to accelerate forever; this suggest that there's potentially an infinite degree of power being exerted to expand the universe. This is attributed to the cancellation effect between negative and positive energy ,called the cosmological constant [3], which happens to be finely tuned to 120 decimal places making it the most well adjusted fine-tuning parameter of them all. Since this constant along with the rest were present from the very beginning of the universe, it follows logically that the cause for this beginning was responsible for the fine-tuning of the cosmological constant.

Moreover, If this cause is all-powerful, then it would have to be all-knowing as well to know the position and velocity of every particle in the universe, the potential outcome of all future interactions of these particles, and be able to control and anticipate each potential outcome from this future eternal inflation in a inconceivably (error free) precise manner. Thus, the attributes of this cause must be omniscient and omnipotent.

FALSIFICATION

Two out of three predictions have already been experimented on by scientists, which have failed to show the God hyposthesis to be wrong. Where they have failed CON can succeed by trying to show how intelligence arises entirely from natural processes or the statement that "only intelligent minds design complex things" is false .

1. Theory of Everything

We have yet to create a theory that explains both Einsteins General Relativity and quantum mechanics (called the Grand Unified Theory). Once scientists discover a successful Grand Unified Theory, there is still the remote possibility that the fine-tuning constants like the Cosmological constant are a product of evolution given other laws of physics.

2. Life from Non-life

The Miller Urey-experiment attempted to prove the origin of life could have occurred on the early earth under natural conditions without intelligence [4]. However, The Urey/Miller experiments did not produce evidence for abiogenesis because, although amino acids are the building blocks of life, the key to life is information in the form of DNA and MUST exist first before evolution can even take place.

3. Mind-body Dualism

A famous scientist named Wilder Penfield conducted studies that attempted to explain the mind on the basis of brain-action "alone" [5]. However, he was unabled to find through electrical stimulation a place in the cerebral cortex responsible for decision making, intention states, self-identity overtime, and so-called free will.

However , based on recent updated studies on neuroscience, there is now the consensus believe amongst scientist that the brain is responsible for free-will and decision making because they found correlations between mental and brain events during MRI scans. The problem with this is they are confusing the concept of the correlation of two events with the concept of the identity of two events. It simply does not follow from the fact that two events are correlated that they are identical. Correlation does not prove causation. There is the fact that movements of bodily limbs like arms and legs are correlated with events in the motor cortex of the brain. No one believes, however, that movements of arms and legs are identical with their causal antecedents in the brain. Upon reflection, it is just as obvious that there is no good reason to believe that psychological events are identical with brain events simply because the two are correlated.

Besides, this could easily be interpreted the other way around where the mind is using the brain as an instrument for thought and expression which would only reinforce mind-body dualism. According to David Deustch, Explanations that are "hard to vary" are considered bad explanations and therefore bad science since they are harder to falsify[6]. This is why Penfield's experiments should be emphasized for future tests and research in order to truly demonstrate the falsifying of the theory.
EgoDuctor

Con

EgoDuctor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
kenballer

Pro

THEORY OF EVOLUTION

1. Nature's Flaws: Since only intelligent minds design complex things, we should not view mutations and natural selections as the driving force for design. Instead, intelligence should be the driving force where it would intervene periodically in the evolutionary process to cause systemic macro mutations and then allow natural selection and a random version of mutations to take its course in creating the diversity of life. Now, Even though the evidence suggested shows the evolution of carbon-based life forms was a guided process, there are many scientists that have pointed out supposed flaws within this design inference. For example, they claim that the placement of the optic nerve in the human eye is flawed because it would result in a small blind spot in our visual field. If these are truly flaws in design then this would challenge the theory that a all-powerful designer or divine intelligence was at work in biology.

However, upon further investigation, there seems to be a biological reason for this. As Michael Denton explains, "the difference in the placement of the optic nerve in the human eye in comparison with cephalopod eyes is because of the need for the greater supply of oxygen for high-acuity vision in warm-blooded animals"". According to Denton, "Rather than being a case of maladaptation, the inverted retina is probably an essential element in the overall design of the vertebrate visual system" (personal communication). In addition, natural disasters themselves are understood to be important in gathering minerals, which are essential in keeping the earth stable. Over and over again, we have found that what appeared at first to be design flaws have, with greater understanding, turned out not to be flaws at all". Thus, these supposed flaws are only flaws in our understanding and we should try to look at the organism as a whole even if it may exhibit some features that may be puzzling.

2. Who or what designed the designer?

This question is technically meaningless since my theory suggest that the cause is presumed to posses the property of eternality or "self-existence"" as the universe once has been perceived to posses. Nevertheless, I will address it in this manner. The Law of Cause and Effect, which is a scientific law I referenced, does not entail or require that every "cause"" must have an explanation for it. Instead, it states that for every "effect" there must be a cause for it. In fact, even if the scientific law did require this, the law of cause and effect does not apply outside the Universe. Thus, since there is no scientific reason that would require us to go another step further in answering what created God, we apply Occam's Razor in this situation. So the question as to what created God is purely a philosophical nature.

ANALYSIS PORTION

In conclusion, from the following inferences in nature, (DNA information, human minds, applicability of mathematics, The fine-tuning of a expanding universe) we can explain the data this way. A Divine intelligence in the form of a personal absolute mind is ultimately responsible for all the known phenomena and complexity within the universe. This means there are two fundamental kinds of substance that underlie all of reality: mental and material. The mental would not have extension in the spacial and temporal constraints with the universe but occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world while the material cannot think and depends on the mental. This would explain why " we are naturally disposed, from an early age, to see goal-directedness in everything, including the natural world. This tendency has come to be called "intuitive-theism" by developmental psychologists, since it is a tendency to see purposiveness throughout our world [1]. This naturally disposes us to believe in a purpose-giving force in the universe: gods or a God".

However, if this personal being created and sustains the universe for our existence, the question is "why". According to this being, What is the meaning and purpose of life?

This personal absolute mind must have manifested itself in reality, at the moment of the creation, with the intention of having a relationship with its human creation, which is why we can observe a habitable planet within a life-permitting universe. Drawing from experience, this would be similar to human minds creating physical effects onto our brain and manifesting in the physical world through our bodies. Then, as humans, we have the intentional state of having offspring within a suitable house and have a relationship with our offspring.

Prediction: we should expect to see such a being establish and sustain a personal relationship with its offspring as it does the universe since we are social organisms by nature. In other words, "This agency seeks to interact with human nervous systems in a such way as to orchestrate the necessary neural activity that coincides with emotional attachment to itself" according to RobDelestun, a cognitive scientist I asked about this field of science.

RELIGIOUS BELIEF

If there was no god, there would essentially be no "belief" of the divine or the belief of the monotheistic God as the theory suggest. Unlike, all the other gods (like Zues, Apollo) that have died out in dust-bins of time, the belief of the God described by the theory and the Abrahamic religions has endured throughout time within culture and society despite scientific inquiry being at a all time high.

This narrows the field of study to essentially two sorts of Gods: Judeo-Christian God and the Muslim God. When researchers studied Judeo-Christian sects who are speaking in tongues by brain scanning them, there were decreased levels of activity in the frontal lobes while there was increased activity in the emotional centers of the brain. Frontal lobes is an area in the brain that is responsible for self-control or will. This is significant because someone cannot simply say that these people are just creating these effects themselves like it was previously understood before when they studied other religious practices. [2]

As Andrew Newberg says, "These findings could be interpreted as the subject's sense of self being taken over by something else. We, scientifically, assume it's being taken over by another part of the brain. But we couldn't see, in this imaging study, where this took place."[3]

Although, Andrew Newberg study still needs larger sample size; this study essentially confirms my prediction at least for now.

ALTERNATIVE AND NULL HYPOTHESIS

Now, we are at the analysis portion where we compare the predictions from the God (alternative) hypothesis to those of the null hypothesis, to determine which one better explains the data and observations.

Well first off, Quantum fluctuations would not explain how we as humans came to be or the fine-tuning of the universe since there is no evidence that the fine-tuning laws came into being by chance.

Most importantly, Quantum events actually do not take place in "absolute" nothingness, but out of a larger quantum field , which is part of physical reality, that enables particles to come in and out of existence. Without this field there would be no quantum events [4]. This is why its not accurate to say that a particular quantum outcome is "uncaused" nor is it consistent with the data implying the beginning of reality.

In summary, since the alternative hypothesis better explains and is consistent with existing data, we can reject the null hypothesis and fully accept the alternative hypothesis.
EgoDuctor

Con

EgoDuctor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
EgoDuctor

Con

EgoDuctor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by EgoDuctor 3 years ago
EgoDuctor
Oh, I apologize for that missunderstanding. In that case I will gladly accept the debate.
Posted by kenballer 3 years ago
kenballer
Are you sure? remember theory and hypothesis are different. Theories are well substantied scientific claims while hypothesizes can be just scientific claims at best.
Posted by EgoDuctor 3 years ago
EgoDuctor
Seeing as you don't accept messages I am going to post here instead.
Why did you challenge me to this debate? I do not oppose the position that god should be treated as scientific theory. ;o
I could, of course, argue for con but it wouldn't be a honest debate.
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