The Instigator
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
JustCallMeTarzan
Pro (for)
Winning
30 Points

The Following Arguments for the Existence of God are Valid - 1B

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/19/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,963 times Debate No: 6005
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (10)

 

TheSkeptic

Con

Note: the "1B" notation in the Topic title is simply for searching purposes.

[Definition - Existence]
http://dictionary.reference.com......
1. the state or fact of existing; being.

*NOTE* I am not debating whether or not a God exists in one's MIND, but rather in REALITY.

[Definition - Valid]
http://dictionary.reference.com......
1. sound; just; well-founded
2. Logic. (of an argument) so constructed that if the premises are jointly asserted, the conclusion cannot be denied without contradiction.

*NOTE* Stemming from the second definition, I don't intend for my opponent to create a syllogism. Simply put, my opponent needs to construct an argument of which I can't successfully defeat (of course, this is to the opinion of the voters).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is how the debate will play out:

Round 1: This is my Round 1 for clarifications and guidelines. For PRO, he/she will either state that his following arguments will affirm a specific god (i.e. Christian God, Muslim God, etc.) or a metaphysical supreme being. My opponent can list the attributes of the metaphysical supreme being in his Round 1 is he/she wishes. THEN, my opponent will LIST his/her ARGUMENTS with at least a brief EXPLANATION for both (I don't want just a line of titles).

Round 2 - 4: I will refute his/her arguments and it will go back and forth as such.

I hope we have a good debate!
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

I'll first go through the definitions...

I'm perfectly fine with my opponent's definition of existence and validity. However, we're actually looking for soundness as well, which employs a valid argument with true premises. Much harder to refute, as a valid argument can still have false premises and a true conclusion...

************

Since by the terms of the debate, I get to define what I mean by "god," I'll do that now. "God" is simply a force, omnipotent and omniscient, but NOT omnibenevolent. This force has causal power to interact with the physical world and is by principle, not detectable with scientific instruments in the exact same way a perfect equilateral triangle is not detectable.

************

These rounds should be fairly brief, as there is only one main point in this entire argument - that the universe is causally and temporally ordered. If the universe is causally and temporally ordered, then all events must take the form A caused B. There must be either an infinite regress or a first cause. Since an infinite regress is logically impossible - A caused B caused C caused D etc... - then there must be a first cause. This first cause is a necessary and sufficient (and exclusive) condition for all other causes and effects.

I call the first cause "god." If there are causally and temporally ordered events, "god" as defined above must exist.
Debate Round No. 1
TheSkeptic

Con

Thanks to my opponent for taking this debate, and I apologize that while it says in my opening argument we will debate normally from Rounds 2-4, we only have 3 Rounds in this debate. It seems next time I copy-paste this format, I have to remember some stuff :)

Anyway, onto the debate!

I acknowledge my opponent's attributes of "god". It is omnipotent and omniscient. However, stemming from only these two attributes my opponent gives and the single argument he gave, there are already several problems.

~Counterarguments~

1. Omnipotence paradox

If god is supposed to be all-powerful, then can he make a rock so heavy that he can't life it? If he can't, then this limits his power. If he can, then there is something he can't do, thus limiting his power. As you can see, this is similar to the liar paradox in which their is a logical self-refutation.

2. The cause of god

By my opponent's argument, which takes form of the First Cause argument, how does he account for where god comes from? If everything were to be caused then is it not so that god is caused?

3. Something can come from nothing

My opponent's argument is basically the First Cause argument. That everything in this universe has a cause, and that there must be a first cause. An omnipotent and omniscient god can be this first cause. However, in quantum mechanics there ARE things that come out of nowhere. Such a case is commonly known, and is called a virtual particle[1]. It is a particle that exists for a limited space and time, then obliterates almost immediately.

4. Possible explanations for pre- Big Bang (Multiverse hypothesis)

While many physicists emphasis that along with the Big Bang was time (therefore nothing "before" Big Bang, and thus there was no cause, a growing population of physicists are conjuring some explanations. A possible scenario is the Multiverse hypothesis, which states that several others to even an infinite amount of universes exist in what we call "reality". By different methods (which will be discusssed), physicists argue that it is possible for things before our universe's Big Bang to happen. In these other universes, they can have totally different physical laws, since one second prior the Big Bang, the laws of science were thus formed. I will list them accordingly in an ABC format.

A. Branes
In theoretical physics, primarily the growing string theory, some physicists are arguing that the Big Bang/our universe could be very well caused by collisions of Membranes[2].

B. By random quantum-gravity foam, a bubble universe can form and lead to Big Bangs. This is what is called a chaotic inflation [3].

5. Occam's razor

Occam's razor posits that the best scientific explanatino should make the fewest assumptions, and should try to base itself on existing/verified theories or hypothesis already. "God" fails Occam's razor horribly in comparison to theoretical physics.

6. A possible other god

In the very unlikely scenario that my opponent successfully refutes all of my other 5 points, his argument has still one flaw. It is his burden to show that the creation of the universe/causing the Big Bang can ONLY be done by an OMNIPOTENT god. Let's assume that the when an entity has omnipotent power, we will label it A. Now if another entity has 5% less power than entity A, we will label it entity B. I ask of my opponent, why can only entity A create the universe and not entity B? The hole in his argument is that it still can't show why a universe needing a first cause necessitates an omnipotent god only.

~Conclusion~
I gave 5 points my opponent needs to take consideration of. I apologize again for the short amount of rounds. And remember, some of my arguments are stemming from only the definitions my opponent gives, since I have nothing else to work with.

---References---
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

I'll move quickly through the refutation of my opponent's points.

1. Omnipotence Paradox.

This is a total red herring. It makes no sense for an omnipotent being to make something he couldn't move - it's logically incoherent. God could no more do that than make a square circle.

2. The Cause of God.

God needs no cause - as was stipulated in my definition of god, god just has causal power to interact with our universe. This in no way necessitates that he be an integral part of the causal structure of this universe.

3. Something Can Come From Nothing.

This is also a red herring - as I'm sure you know if you read the article you reference on virtual particles, if they can be detected, then the "consequences of its existence are prolonged to such a degree that it cannot be virtual." So in other words, if a virtual particle started a causal chain, by definition it would not be a virtual particle.

4. Possible BB Explanations.
4A - Branes.

God caused the branes to form and collide.

4B - Bubbles.

God caused chaotic inflation.

5. Occam's Razor.

Actually, Occam's Razor simply states that "plurality should not be posited without necessity." Since the First Cause is a necessary event, I see no conflict with Occam's Razor. The singular cause of God seems to be much less of a violation of Occam's Razor than the complexities and uncertainties of theoretical physics.

6. A Possible Other God(s).

An omnipotent god would be able to destroy another lesser god, which he would see as a threat to his power. Thus, it's highly improbable that gods A & B would co-exist. To address the point that god B could have started the chain... Since my opponent has accepted my definition of what constitutes "god" - I'm sure he is also aware that a non-omnipotent god cannot exist because that falls outside the definition of god. A non-omnipotent god would be like a married bachelor.

****************************

My apologies for the short response, but it's fairly late and I need food and sleep.
Debate Round No. 2
TheSkeptic

Con

~Counterarguments~

1. Omnipotence Paradox

"It makes no sense for an omnipotent being to make something he couldn't move - it's logically incoherent. God could no more do that than make a square circle."

----> It's not a matter of whether or not he wants to, but if he CAN. I do realize it's logically incoherent and that's the point, the attribute of omnipotence is in itself logically incoherent. Now to predict my opponent, if he were to say that this god is omnipotent in the bounds of logic, then sure. I will accept such an answer. HOWEVER, this will lead to one of my last points, so read on ahead.

2. The Cause of God.

My opponent once again makes more defining characteristics of god, and I will accept them. So now this god can be omnipotent in the bounds of logic, has no cause, and as stated by my opponent in an earlier round: "not detectable with scientific instruments". I ask of the voter to keep all these points in mind, as I will refer to them in my last point.

3. Something Can Come From Nothing.

Whether or not a virtual particle can cause a causal chain is different from if it can actually come into existence from nothing. This is TRULY a red herring ( a phrase my opponent seems to adore).

4A-4B. My opponent simply states that god caused branes to form and collide, and chaotic inflations. AGAIN, I want the voters to remember all these points, as I will be referring to everything in my last point.

5. Occam's Razor

Yes, my opponent is correct. Occam's Razor simply states that plurality should not be posited without necessity in that sense that EXPLANATIONS should not be posited without necessity. I will be using this principle as my core counterargument, and I will save it for the end so I will not respond to this point right here.

6. A Possible Other God(s).

"An omnipotent god would be able to destroy another lesser god, which he would see as a threat to his power."

----> So now this god my opponent argues for will destroy lesser gods? More and more defining characteristics...may the voters take note of this.

"To address the point that god B could have started the chain... Since my opponent has accepted my definition of what constitutes "god" - I'm sure he is also aware that a non-omnipotent god cannot exist because that falls outside the definition of god. A non-omnipotent god would be like a married bachelor."

----> At the core, it's semantics. I stated an ENTITY. Not necessarily a GOD, as this debate's definition lays out. Thus, my argument still stands.

*****BIG FINALE*****

OKAY! I basically accepted or "forfeited' every point (except virtual particles) that my opponent refuted. To anyone, the debate would clearly seem to be in PRO's favor, but that's because I predicted exactly what would happen :). Let me break it down for you.

Characteristics of my opponent's god:
1) Omnipotent in the bounds of logic (or not, either way doesn't matter).
2) Undetectable by science
3) Uncaused
3) Caused branes
4) Caused chaotic inflations
5) Destroys lesser gods

Now certainly, if you were to gather my opponent's argument it is an explanation of the creation of the universe. This "god" my opponent has described is certainly a correct argument, but it FAILS before Occam's Razor for the following reasons:

A. Undetectable by Science

Right off from the first Round my opponent states that he is undetectable by science. For humans, science is figuring out how the physical world (or universe) works. If this god is undetectable, then it certainly takes that element of SCIENCE away.

B. Too Many Assumptions

We assume this god caused branes to collide, or chaotic inflations. We assume he destroys any entity less powerful than it who is also capable of creating a universe. We assume it is omnipotent in the confinement of logic, OR even we assume it is omnipotent withOUT the confinement of logic. My opponent is obviously morphing this clay he calls god, to meet the conditions necessary for the universe's cause.

~Conclusion~

While my opponent's god is an explanation for the creation of this universe, it is filled with SO many assumptions that we can justify so many other things in a similar fashion. I can state thatt he Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe, and that it is confined by logic, uncaused, and made branes/chaotic inflations a mere illusion to us humans to speculate on. The Flying Spaghetti Monster DOESN'T HAVE TO BE OMNIPOTENT, BECAUSE MY OPPONENT FAILED TO SHOW WHY CREATING THE UNIVERSE IS ONLY CAPABLE BY AN OMNIPOTENT ENTITY. By the same reasons my opponent gave, this scientifically undetectable FSM could be another cause of the universe. And so can tooth fairies. And mystical aliens from Dimension 74. And flying rats from Galaxy GR43.

My opponent's argument for the existence of his posited metaphysical being relies on the question of the universe's creation. With absolutely no science behind it, nor any solid conclusion arriving from it, my opponent's argument fails at the seams. So I ask of the voter: which is more convincing when pertaining the cause of the universe? A god backed up with tons of assumptions that lack evidence? Or theoretical physics who at least have math and other forms of evidence to back it up? Occam's Razor mandates that it be theoretical physics, because not only does it's theories rely on some other hypothesis/theory (such as math), but my opponent's argument makes too many assumptions and his conclusion could validate MANY OTHER THINGS BESIDES HIS GOD.

No good explanation will give you tons and tons, and in this case an INFINITE AMOUNT OF POSSIBLE answers. If an explanation were to give you such an amount of answers, then it is useless. For all these reasons stated, VOTE CON.
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

Again, I'll move quickly through the numbered points and then address my opponent's closing argument...

1. Omnipotence Paradox.

Omnipotence does not fall outside the bounds of logic regardless of the way one speaks of it. The fact remains that logically incoherent things are impossible for even an omnipotent being. All-powerful doesn't mean you can simply do everything. There are things that cannot be done because they are simply impossible. Again - omnipotence cannot escape logic.

2. The Cause of God.

My opponent misunderstands my argument on this point. I'm not stipulating additional pieces of my definition of god, I'm stating that there is nothing in my definition that necessitates that god fit in the causal structure of our universe, and thus, nothing that necessitates it had a cause.

3. Something Can Come From Nothing.

A better way to frame my opponent's argument on this point may be "there are things that appear, and we don't know where the come from or if they have a cause." Thus, when considering virtual particles as a possible cause of the universe, regardless of the fact that if they DID cause something, they lose their distinction as virtual particles, he combines the red herring and appeal to ignorance fallacies in an incredibly weak argument against causation in general. Science can't tell what causes virtual particles to appear... but then again, science can't see god, can it?

4. Possible explanations for pre- Big Bang (Multiverse hypothesis). [A & B]

As my opponent is no doubt aware, deviation from equilibrium requires an impetus of some sort. Positing that god was the ultimate cause of the deviation from equilibrium that caused bubbles or branes to form is in no way an addition to my definition of god.

5. Occam's Razor.

I'll follow my opponent's example and tear apart his weak defense of Occam's Razor's application to the case at hand in a few paragraphs.

6. A Possible Other God(s).

My esteemed opponent seems to lack an understanding of the phrase "would be able." This does not indicate a desire or tendency of an omnipotent being to destroy lesser beings, it simply indicates the ABILITY. The argument against a non-omnipotent god IS a semantic one, yes, but then again, my opponent agreed to operate within MY definition of god, and under that definition, a non-omnipotent entity is not god, and is irrelevant to this discussion. Also, there is nothing that excludes the possibility of the omnipotent and limited entities coexisting, or bizarre situations like the omnipotent entity controlling the lesser entity.

************************************
"I basically accepted or "forfeited' every point (except virtual particles) that my opponent refuted."

>> Much thanks for the concession... the virtual particles don't matter anyway because it's completely irrelevant.

"Characteristics of my opponent's god: 1) Omnipotent in the bounds of logic (or not, either way doesn't matter). 2) Undetectable by science 3) Uncaused 3) Caused branes 4) Caused chaotic inflations 5) Destroys lesser gods"

>> Actually, we have established in my counterarguments that your first 3) is indeterminate and irrelevant and that your second 3), 4), and 5) are not what I stated and a brilliant use of the straw man fallacy. The only remaining pieces of my definition in your list are 1) Omnipotent; and 2) Undetectable by Science.

***************************

7. On the Proposed Failure of Occam's Razor (Herein, OR).

A - Undetectable by Science.

I was not aware that detectability by science was a criteria for the application of OR. In fact, there are many things that aren't detectable by science that we utilize in everyday life. Perfect polygons, pi, infinity. None of these concepts fail OR. The purpose of OR is to illustrate that, often, the simplest explanation is correct. Surely the one step from phenomenon -> god is much simpler than the complexities of theoretical physics.

B Too Many Assumptions.

Actually, most of my opponent's argument in this section has been destroyed. I'm not sure why he states that we "assume it is opnipotent in the confinement of logic" - there is no alternative to the confinement of logic. I would love to see someone, even an omnipotent deity, conceive of a square circle. My original argument does not facially fail OR, but my opponent has purported it to fail with his incorrect additions to my definition. As the reader can plainly see, there is no failure of OR on these two points.

****************************

In straying from the resolution, my opponent delivers a somewhat comical conclusion. Perhaps it WAS the Flying Spaghetti Monster that caused branes to collide. But then again, perhaps it was god that caused the branes to form in the first place. There is nothing that necessitates the universe be created by an omnipotent being, but, as you recall my opponent has already acquiesced that a non-omnipotent first cause wouldn't BE "god."

I'd like to draw attention to this quote of my opponent's: "My opponent's argument for the existence of his posited metaphysical being relies on the question of the universe's creation." Let us pretend for a moment that the Flying Spaghetti Monster did indeed create the universe. My opponent has not shown that this necessitates the non-existence of an entity that fits my original definition of god. Let us re-examine said definition:

"God" is simply a force, omnipotent and omniscient, but NOT omnibenevolent. This force has causal power to interact with the physical world and is by principle, not detectable with scientific instruments in the exact same way a perfect equilateral triangle is not detectable.

In order to fulfill the burden of proof to combat the proposition that god is the creator of the universe, my opponent has to show that there is no necessity that such a being exist, AND a necessity that the premise could not be true. My opponent has fulfilled the first part of this requirement, but then again, the first part was not in doubt.

He has utterly failed on the second part.

The possibility remains that god, as outlined by my definition, COULD have been the first cause. In order to prove invalidity in an argument, my opponent my prove that my premises were true, and the conclusion false. Since the conclusion is indeterminate, there is no way to prove the argument invalid. To prove the argument unsound, he would have simply needed to undermine one of the premises of the argument. However, since the premises were defined by me and accepted by my opponent, he has already agreed that they are assumed to be true for the purposes of debate.

I ask the reader if my opponent has satisfied the following:

1. God is defined as above in my first argument, and repeated in this round.
2. This entity could exist or not exist.
3. (as per 1) This entity could be responsible for the creation of the universe.
--------------------
:. This entity does not exist.

Clearly, my opponent has not satisfied the conditions for his conclusion. In order to win, he must disprove the second premise. The only way to disprove this premise would be to show some logical incoherence in my definition of god. Since he has not done this, the argument that this god could exist stands.

***************

My thanks to The Skeptic for a challenging debate for an atheist.
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Because it makes sense that something *could* pop into existence from nothing if there were some sort of collision between universes, or even if this omnipotent being could will it.

However, is doesn't make sense and is impossible to create a four sided no sided figure because that's a contradiction in terms. Such an object cannot be made to exist.

In any event, God cannot be omnipotent, because he cannot make it the case that I have never existed.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
And conversely, how is creating something from nothing any less of a violation of the laws of logic?
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
>That doesn't even make sense.

Neither does omnipotence. Why can an omnipotent being create something from nothing but not create a four sided no sided figure?
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Jason - you cannot bend the rules of logic. It doesn't even make sense. If you hold that even an omnipotent being could create a square circle, you are holding that this being could created a four sided no sided figure. That doesn't even make sense.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
And while God may have set the membranes in motion, pro fails to prove the necessity of God doing so. Why would a largely dead, rational universe have a living, sentient beginning?
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
How is omnipotence not outside the bounds of logic? If you don't have the power to overwhelm the laws of logic, then you're not omnipotent. Why couldn't an omnipotent being would have the power to bend 3rd dimensional space and create a square circle the way a human can twist a strip of paper and make it one-sided? (Mobius strip)
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Conduct - Tie - Both sides exhibited good debate conduct.

Spelling and Grammar - Pro - Con's debate was well written, but there were a couple of grammatical mistakes that caused me to re-read his words. For example, he failed to close a parenthesis in point 4 of round 2 that really threw me off.

Convincing Argument - Pro - Con's round 2 rebuttals are adequately defended as red herrings in my view. Con came back with a strong argument at the end of round 2 (point 7), but Pro still managed to convince me that given the definition of God, the argument was still valid. Even if the flying spaghetti monster caused the universe, then he would--by the the definitions in this debate--be "god."

Reliable sources - Tie - Con offered good resources which was tempered by Pro's using them against Con (particularly in the argument regarding virtual particles).
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
Good job Tarzan,..

I thought Pro did a great job of not allowing Con to pull him into defending himself from the clever "straw man" fallacy. Pro, I thought controlled the debate.

Con was a clever rascal though,... Great debate both sides.
Posted by yogi 8 years ago
yogi
Probably my favorite debate so far.
GREAT job by Tarzan.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Haha, uh oh. "Lift" Thus the cause of a lack of sleep :(
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