The Instigator
StephenWicker
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Magicr
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

The Evidence Favors Theism Over Atheism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Magicr
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/16/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,269 times Debate No: 30334
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)

 

StephenWicker

Pro

I am arguing the Pro position.

R1: Pre-debate remarks, acceptance/check-in from opponent.

R2: Opening Statements

R3: 1st Rebuttals

R4: 2nd Rebuttals/Conclusion
Magicr

Con

I accept. In this debate it will be up to my opponent to demonstrate that the evidence favors theism over atheism.

Some definiitions I'd like to propose for this debate:

Theism- a belief in a deity or deities.
Atheism- a lack of belief in a deity or deities.

And some brief rules:

1. Abusive or abusivelly semantic arguments should not be counted.
2. No new arguments in the final round.
3. Drops shall count as concessions.

Thank you.


Debate Round No. 1
StephenWicker

Pro


Didn’t have space to site many sources. Apologies.

My opponents definition of “atheism”: While I accept his definition for purposes of the debate, I still hope he will attempt to offer arguments for atheism.


MY ARGUMENTS:

I: Origin of the Universe #1 (KCA)

1: Whatever begins to exist has an efficient cause

A: Out of nothing, nothing comes.

+For something to come into being, it must first have the potential to do so. Since nothingness lacks even potentiality (It has 0 properties), something cannot come from nothing.

B: If this were not the case, we should see examples of it in nature.

2: The universe began to exist

A: Infinite regress of past events is logically impossible.

B: BBT points to a finite beginning of the Universe.

C: Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem proves that a Universe in an average state of expansion must have had a finite beginning.

3: Therefore, the universe has an efficient cause

4: A cause of the universe would be immensely powerful, timeless, causeless, immaterial, and personal.

A: To cause the Universe requires immense causal power.

B: Time came into existence w/ the Universe; therefore its cause would transcend time.

C: Same logic as above for space and matter.

D: There are only natural and personal causes. A cause of the Universe could not be natural b/c:

+Natural cause presupposes the laws of nature, which did not exist before the origin of the Universe.

+A timeless, yet natural cause could not bring about a temporal effect. For the effect would be a necessary result of the cause and could not have had a finite beginning.

Therefore, God exists.

II: Origin of the Universe #2

1: The Universe exists.

2: Out of nothing, nothing comes.

3: Therefore, something must have always existed.

4: This something is either the Universe, or something transcendent of it.

5: The Universe began to exist.

6: Therefore, there is an eternal “something” which exists beyond the Universe.

7: Whether this “something” is one entity, or multiple entities, because it is the only thing apart from the Universe, it can be inferred that it is responsible for the Universe’s existence.

8: Therefore, the Universe has an efficient cause.

9: Any cause of the Universe would be immensely powerful, timeless (Already seen in 6), immaterial, and personal.
Therefore, God exists.

III: Time and Contingency

1: The Universe is not necessarily existent.

2: Therefore, if no force existed outside of the Universe, it would not exist, for:

A: If the Universe began to exist (without an outside force) then there was a time in which there wasnothing at all. But out of nothing, nothing comes.
B: And if the Universe never began to exist, then it has existed eternally. But if it has existed eternally, thenat some point in the infinite past it would have realized its potential for non-being.

Therefore, there exists an outside force that either caused the universe to begin, or keeps it from actualizing its potential for non-being over an infinite span of time.

IV: Fine-Tuning

1: The existence of intelligent life in the universe depends upon a highly complex, delicate, and improbable balance of initial conditions, simply given in the origin of the universe itself.

A: Strong nuclear force is exactly the right strength, gravitational force is exactly strong enough, protonsand neutrons have exactly the right size ratio to one another, etc.

2: The explanation of this fine-tuning for intelligent life is one of three things: Physical necessity, chance, or design.

3: Physical necessity is not a possible option.

A: Initial constants not dependent on physical law.

4: Chance is not a logical option

A: While still a possible option, it is very unlikely.

+“within the wide range of universes permitted by the actual laws of physics, scarcely any are life-permitting, and those that are require incredible fine-tuning of the physical constants and quantities. In fact, Donald Page of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study has calculated the odds against the formation of our universe as 1 out of 10 billion124” (WL Craig “In Defense of Rational Theism” p. 143)

Therefore, the most logical explanation is design

V: Evolution

1: Macro-evolution has produced a wide variety of extremely complex biological life on this planet.

A: Most scientific evidence seems to suggest this.

2: This process could only have occurred due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.

3: Physical necessity is not a logical option

A: Nature was in no way obligated to produce the complexity of life we now see. It could’ve produced nolife, or less complex life.

4: Chance is not a logical option.

A: Abiogenesis (required for naturalistic evolution) from the “primordial soup” described in NDT wouldhave been impossible. The life-building components could not have combined if there was oxygen in theatmosphere. If there was no oxygen in the atmosphere, what life did form would have been killed by UVrays.

B: Even if abiogenesis had been possible, it would’ve been fantastically unlikely. All the life-buildingmolecules would have had to arrange in just the right order. The least complex cell we observe todaycontains 400 of these molecules. Even if the first single-cell was less complex, say, 100 molecules, thechances of the right arrangement occurring would be about 1 in in 100 million-billion-billion-billion-billion-billion.

C: “Barrow and Tipler in their book “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle” lay out 10 steps in the courseof human evolution, each of which is so improbable that before it would’ve occurred the sun would’veceased to be a main sequence star and incinerated the earth.” (WL Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens) (Icouldn’t find an actual excerpt from Barrow and Tipler’s work)

Therefore, the best explanation is design

VI: Logic

1. There are laws of logic which govern rational thought. (Law of identity, non-contradiction, etc.)

2. Such laws are not physical, nor dependent on time. Rather, they are immaterial & conceptual.

3. These laws are universal, and not contingent upon human minds.

4. Therefore, they have their basis in a reality independent from the material universe and human minds.

Therefore, there exists an immaterial, non-human mind, which serves as the foundation for logical law.

VII: Axiological Argument

1: Without god, objective moral values could not exist.

A: If moral values were objective, they would be universal and not dependent on whether anyone agreeswith them in order to be valid. They would then transcend humanity and require an ontological foundationin a non-human mind.

B: On atheism, moral values are the result of natural selection; right and wrong are what NS makes usTHINK they are.

2: Objective moral values do exist.

A: We have a priori knowledge of moral truths.

+Ex: Raping women for fun is morally wrong OBJECTIVELY.

B: Moral Dilemmas: Two or more objective values in conflict.

+Ex: One knows it’s wrong to kill, but must kill a man to stop him from raping his wife. (Savinghis wife is a good moral act) Thus moral hierarchies are established.

C: People who deny objective morality appeal to it daily. (Complaining about wrongs done to them,referring to “good” and “evil” etc.

Therefore, God exists.

VIII: Abstract Entities

1: Abstract entities, such as numbers, exist.

2: Abstract entities are not physical, but conceptual

3: Abstract entities are not contingent on human minds.

Therefore, there exists an immaterial, non-human mind which is the basis for abstract entities.

IX: Ontological Argument

1: God is defined as a maximally great being.

2: A maximally great being exists in some possible world.

A: This is true unless the concept of a maximally great being can be proved logically incoherent.

3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in all possible worlds; lest it would not be maximally great.

4: If a maximally great being exists in all possible worlds, then it exists in the actual world.

Therefore, God exists.

Magicr

Con

I’d like to thank my opponent for this debate.

I: KCA

1: Whatever begins to exist has an efficient cause.

A: Out of nothing, nothing comes.

This really has little to do with the proving the truth of the premise.

B: If this were not the case, we should see examples of it in nature.

The thing is, we do see examples of the premise not being true in nature. A prime example of things coming into existence uncaused are virtual particles, which pop into and out of existence for a extremely short periods of time. [1][2].

Additionally, there is no reason to believe that something can come uncaused from a state such as one lacking in matter and energy, as such a state has never been observed.

My opponent really has offered no evidence or reasoning at all to back up this premise.

2: The Universe began to exist.

Let us define what we mean be “began to exist.” I propose that the following definition: Something, x, begins to exist if there is a time at which x exists, preceded by a time at which x did not exist. So if I am talking about a pancake that I am making for breakfast beginning to exist, we can clearly see that there was a time at which the pancake did not exist, followed by a time at which the pancake did exist. The pancake began to exist.

But, things become trickier with the Universe. This is because there was no time at which the Universe did not exist because time did not exist before the Universe. Therefore, we must conclude that the Universe did not begin to exist.

Just because there is a finite amount of time, does not mean that the Universe began to exist.

3: Therefore, the Universe had an efficient cause.

Because I reject the premises I reject the conclusion.

4: The nature of the cause.

While I reject that there must have been a cause, I will still address Pro’s arguments here.

I concede that this cause would have immense causal power and that it would have to exist outside of time, however I reject that it must exist outside of space and matter and that it must be personal.

C: Pro offers no reason to believe that there could not exist matter outside of time that caused the Universe.

D: Pro offers no reason to believe that there could not exist laws governing whatever could exist outside of the Universe that could have caused it, and I don’t really see why a non personal cause could not bring about a temporal effect. I hope Pro will clarify this.

So: Pro has not demonstrated that the Universe needed a cause and that the cause must be God.

II: Origin of the Universe #2

This is basically a rehashing of the KCA. I reject that the Universe began to exist, that if there were something transcendent beyond the Universe that it would have had to have the properties Pro attributes to it.

III: Time and Contingency

Pro has not demonstrated that the Universe is not necessarily existent.

IV: Fine-Tuning

1: The existence of intelligent life in the Universe depends upon a highly complex, delicate, and improbable balance of initial conditions, simply given in the origin of the Universe itself.

This premise presumes that the conditions of the Universe exist with the future existence of intelligent life in mind. On the contrary, life exists in the way it does because of the way the conditions are. Therefore, we cannot really determine whether these conditions are improbable or not.

4: Chance is not a logical option.

I am not satisfied with this probability calculation. I would like to ask my opponent for more specificity regarding the odds he mentions. Against what alternatives was this probability calculated? Also, what weights did the various options receive?

Additionally, I would like to point out that science does not attribute the existence of intelligent life solely to chance: Natural selection does not just function from chance.

I would also like to point out that due to the vast scope of the Universe, it would seem likely that life would arise some place.

V: Evolution

I’d like to see Pro’s source that says abiogenesis would have been impossible.

Pro’s argument here regarding abiogenesis is basically an argument from incredulity and from ignorance. It is important to point out that abiogenesis is not part of the Darwinian Theory of Evolution, so the heading is a misnomer.

I’m going to say it again: Evolution does not rely on chance in the way my opponent makes it seem.

I’d also like more information on how Page calculated these odds. Was it taken into account that vast numbers of trials would have been occurring simultaneously?

Additionally, there are several hypothesizes regarding abiogenesis today, with varying degrees of support [3], as well as the Miller-Urey experiment which produced some evidence supporting abiogenesis [4].

VI: Logic

Pro’s final conclusion does not follow from his premises. While I agree that the laws of the Universe are not dependent on human minds, he has not justified his conclusion that there must be a non-human mind which is the foundation for these. There is no reason to believe that a transcendental mind is necessary for these concepts to remain true.

VII: The Moral Argument

1: Without God, objective moral values could not exist.

Things that are independent of human minds do not necessarily need a transcendent non-human mind. With atheism, objective moral values can be determined by looking at amounts of suffering caused by various courses of action.

2: Objective moral values do exist.

Pro’s arguments here are worse than W. L. Craig’s to prove this premise, and his arguments is pretty bad. It basically boils down to this: We feel that there are objective moral values, therefore, objective moral values exist.

I don’t have to point out how ridiculous this argument is.

VIII: Abstract Entities

The final conclusion does not follow the premises.

IX: Ontological Argument

The concept of a maximally great being is a paradox, therefore I reject that it is possible to exist: A maximally great being cannot be greater than itself meaning that there is a limitation as to how great this being can be, therefore a maximally great being cannot exist.

I also present this Gasking’s Proof as a counter argument to the Ontological Argument:

  1. The creation of the universe is the greatest achievement imaginable.
  2. The merit of an achievement consists of its intrinsic greatness and the ability of its creator.
  3. The greater the handicap to the creator, the greater the achievement.
  4. The greatest handicap to a creator would be non-existence
  5. Therefore if we suppose that the universe is the creation of an existing creator, we can conceive a greater being — namely, one who created everything while not existing.
  6. Therefore, a maximally great creator does not exist. [5].

My argument: The Problem of Evil

  1. If God exists, then God is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect.
  2. If God is omnipotent, then God has the power to eliminate all evil.
  3. If God is omniscient, then God knows when evil exists.
  4. If God is morally perfect, then God has the desire to eliminate all evil.
  5. Evil exists.
  6. If evil exists and God exists, then either God doesn't have the power to eliminate all evil, or doesn't know when evil exists, or doesn't have the desire to eliminate all evil.
  7. Therefore, God doesn't exist. [6].

Conclusion

Pro has not sufficiently shown that the evidence favors theism over atheism.

Sources:

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

[2]- http://www.scientificamerican.com...

[3]- http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4]- http://en.wikipedia.org...

[5]- http://en.wikipedia.org...

[6]- http://plato.stanford.edu...


Debate Round No. 2
StephenWicker

Pro

StephenWicker forfeited this round.
Magicr

Con

My opponent's account appears to be no longer active, so arguments extended I suppose.
Debate Round No. 3
StephenWicker

Pro

StephenWicker forfeited this round.
Magicr

Con

Vote Con
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
@narmak, thats an awesome statement, however redundant, is there anything that is proof god exist?

If there was, the guys that appreciate proof the most, scientists, would love to see any proof god exists :)

Today, millions still claim that those who question lifes origins are headed towards eternal torment because in order to possess moral excellence you cannot question whether god breathed in adams nostrils, and thats final, believe it or else youre gonna get a spanking and you wont get a scooby snack.

Nice try, first humans originated in Africa, were all Africans, some of us just more than others. Science teaches our kids inequality is immoral, lame and ignorant even on a genetic level :)
Posted by narmak 4 years ago
narmak
The KCA Is not proof god exist it has already been debunked
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
Just because someone is good at proliferating tripe and misunderstandings thru creationist illogical thinking, proves nothing other than logic, reason, and evidence are Not necessary in a delusional mind when it comes to answers concerning the universe and life .

I didnt read your debate con, because no matter how you slice it, he cant make it to each house in one night using flying reindeer, oh wait, I got my fairy tales mixed up, your not advocating santa, youre advocating the belief tht there is a being that keeps track of who is naughty or nice, without a sleigh :)

Bringing up abiogenisis and micro and macro arguments against the validity of evolution proves nothing. Sega Genesis has as much to do with evolution as abiogenisis, and Micro Machines have as much to do with evolutions validity as the delsuional misunderstandings of micro and macro affect evolutions validity :)

Science is Not a belief system. Science demands evidence, beliefs only demand faith :)

I can get a good look at a T-Bone by sticking my head up a bulls a-s-s, but Id rather take the butchers word for it--Tommy Boy

I can get a good look at evolution by sticking my head in a microscope, but I'd rather take the Nobel Prize winning brilliant minded scientists word for it--Captain Obvious

Either that or the 95-99% of scientists who support evolution are the devil or involved in a huge conspiracy. The 1-5%, depending on the source, believe the earth was created by a divine sex monitor with a perpensity to support human slavery :)

There's a reason the words genius, and brilliant minded dont get thrown around in regards to a high level priest, pastor or other religious leader, however, genius and brilliant minded in regards to a high level scientist go together quite well :)
Posted by giraffelover 4 years ago
giraffelover
louis "out to pastuere" and any other outdated clown brings nothing to the table.

You mean aside from Pasteurization, the process by which we clean our milk TODAY?
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
CS Lewis is a clown, him and his boy Francis Collins like to do an old trick that starts with "I used to be an atheist but...., then they go into their jesus stories.

They are lying clowns, you dont go from not believing in leprechauns to believing in them anymore than you go from Not believing in 3 day resurrections, to worshiping a divine being that is concerned with homosexual actions

Isaac "christian superhero" had no clue what DNA was, let alone DNA replication and the entire 6 billion nucleotide human genome mapped within the last 10 yrs.

louis "out to pastuere" and any other outdated clown brings nothing to the table.

who cares what old outdated opinions are, science is NOT about opinions and beliefs.

Science is a tool, like a calculator or computer is a tool.

Tools produce results, they dont issue opinions.

The scientific method, if you understand it, will corrode away religious beliefs, Unless the human is extremely poisoned and brainwashed, they will still claim theism :0
Posted by giraffelover 4 years ago
giraffelover
They, as you, may believe whatever they want. However, that does NOT mean that people who disagree with them are idiots. Some examples are:
Isaac Newton
Josh McDowell
Ravi Zacharias
C.S. Lewis
and Louis Pastuere
Not to mention Noah Webster.
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
WARNING: If you are a human who is suffering from the delusional effects of religious poison to the point of making you believe in human sacrifice and 3 day resurrections, this movie may shake you up a bit

'The Unbelievers' follows renowned scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss
across the globe as they speak publicly about the importance of science and reason
in the modern world - encouraging others to cast off antiquated religious and politically
motivated approaches toward important current issues.

The film includes interviews with celebrities and other influential people
who support the work of these controversial speakers, including:

Ricky Gervais
Woody Allen
Cameron Diaz
Stephen Hawking
Sarah Silverman
Bill Pullman
Werner Herzog
Bill Maher
Stephen Colbert
Tim Minchin
Eddie Izzard
Ian McEwan
Adam Savage
Ayaan Hirsi-Ali
Penn Jillette
Sam Harris
Dan Dennett
James Randi
Cormac McCarthy
Paul Provenza
James Morrison
Michael Shermer
David Silverman
...and more.

unbelieversmovie.com
Posted by qopel 4 years ago
qopel
A singularity is not a "nothing".
Posted by giraffelover 4 years ago
giraffelover
My prejudice is for Pro. However, I do so because I believe the Bible, and therefore, I'm biased.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Jarhyn 4 years ago
Jarhyn
StephenWickerMagicrTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Magic8000 4 years ago
Magic8000
StephenWickerMagicrTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Almost a full FF. Pro had no sources and poor arguments.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 4 years ago
bladerunner060
StephenWickerMagicrTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.