The Instigator
kenballer
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

The God Hypothesis is the best scientific explanation for existence

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/27/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,592 times Debate No: 22274
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (5)

 

kenballer

Pro

First Round is for acceptance of this 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 expect you to debate and argue under this context:

I am arguing that the God Hypothesis indeed qualifies as a scientific explanation as well as the best one for several reasons. It is a rationally conceived hypothesis, it does not violate occam's razor compared to other theories, there is enough evidence that would describe the nature of this cause from connecting the data points, and most importantly its falsifiable.

Moreover, since my approach is scientific in nature, the burden of proof is mainly on me. It needs to be five rounds for me to have enough ground to work under so I can adequately respond and address everyone of your objections

However, if five rounds is too long for you, then You need to be the instigator while I become the contender. I have the burden of proof so I need to have the last word.
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Ok. state your case.
Debate Round No. 1
kenballer

Pro

THE GOD 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, it follows that we would have never have arrived at this point.There would have to be an absolute first cause. For example, if I told someone that before I go to bed, I will flip the light switch for an infinite amount of times, would I be able to go to bed still? The answer would be NO.

However, If time is supposed to be a part of the universe, then the first cause could not possibly be the universe itself. So the question before us is " Why is there something rather than nothing?". The First cause would have to be some sort of entity that is not made up of the Universe, so I will call this cause the God Hypothesis.

FALSIFICATION

If the God hypothesis is true, it would show that the universe had an absolute beginning in the past and that it came from nothing with a cause. There is a Heinzeinberg experiment called the "Uncertainty principle", where subatomic particles come in out of existence. If CON can show through this experiment that these particles came out of nothing without a cause to produce our universe, it would falsify the God Hypothesis and violate the law of cause and effect or he can falsify everyone of my claims I will make about the alternative hypothesis that would prevent rejection of the null hypothesis.

THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE

The Space-Time Theorem of General Relativity clearly states that space, time, and matter and energy all had a concrete beginning.

Borde, Guth,Vilenken developed a theorem that proves inflationary models must contain singularities. 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. This theorem holds even when we don't have a complete quantum theory of gravity of the early universe. In addition, Even if we are just a tiny part of a so-called "multi-verse" that have different laws of nature, their theorem would STILL require an absolute beginning from this multi-verse as well.

THE INDUCTIVE METHOD

The Law of Cause and Effect states that for every effect there must be a cause for it. This means the universe coming into existence out of nothing would be the effect ,therefore, it requires a cause. 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 hypothesises about what they potentially were and how those things manifest using the inductive method of reasoning.

Inductive reasoning is a form of logic that is most characteristic of the scientific method itself, because it moves from the effects to causes which can yield the most likely conclusion for a certain body of data. This inductive method is important for physicist when observing the unobservable nature of subatomic particles or atoms, which can only be detected through indirect manners in order to learn about its nature.

OMNI-PRESENT, ETERNAL, AND IMMATERIAL

A. Now, based on the law of causality and the two theorems demonstrating a finite universe, whatever caused this beginning must have been a timeless, changeless, and an immaterial being that created the universe. It must be timeless 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 immaterial not physical. Thus, the properties of this cause would be omni-present, eternal, and immaterial.

ALL-KNOWING

B. 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.

This means that the cause for the beginning of the universe also had to have been the explanation of the finely tuned universe. Thus, it would be evidence of cosmic intelligent design as the possible explanation. Although, it would not necessarily mean this entity has unlimited knowledge, so more observations are needed.

The Principle of Universality states, that the same general scientific principles are probably true throughout the cosmos. This principle can bring us to the conclusion that by extracting from the unknown amount of intelligence in the natural sciences to the most likely degree of intelligence that is applicable throughout the cosmos.

The BGV theorem predicts a future eternal inflationary universe. This means there's potentially an infinite number of mathematical relations out there to be discovered. Each of these relations by definition represents a small amount of cosmic intelligence waiting to be understood, so it follows that the universe must necessarily possess an infinite degree of mathematical intelligence. This not only suggest that the cause is intelligent but the degree of intelligence and knowledge is unlimited. Thus, the attribute of this cause must be omniscience.

ALL-POWERFUL

C. Our universe along with the law of physics were created out of a singularity perfectly fine-tuned to support life from the very beginning. Since there is no example of an actual "nothing" which is absence of reality, this is something that would be impossible and thus outside of human experience and knowledge. However, this would not necessarily mean this entity has unlimited power. Again, more observations are needed.

The expansion rate of the universe, which is a product of fine-tuning, will continue to accelerate forever. This shows that there's potentially an infinite degree of power or rates of acceleration being exerted to expand the universe. Thus, the attribute of this cause must be omni-potent.

DISEMBODIED MIND

D. There are only three possible candidates we are aware of that could possibly fit such a description of an immaterial, omnipresent, all-knowing, all powerful, and eternal entity : either an abstract object , a human mind, or a combination of the two which would involve a disembodied mind. However, abstract objects by definition do not stand in casual relationships. For instance, the number 9 cannot do anything.

Only a human mind would stand in agent causality where a cause would be able to bring about new effects at will without any physical dimensions 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.

However, human minds are intrinsically connected to material substances that impose limited knowledge and power. Only a disembodied mind would explain why you can get a material effect with a beginning from an eternal cause with unlimited abilities since the brain has physical constraints.

Therefore, it follows logically that the cause of the universe is a personal absolute mind for it to have the intrinsic desire to create a life-permitting universe and then freely choose to act upon that desire; similar to human minds acting as agents in the physical world through our bodies.
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Refuting My Opponent

The God Hypothesis

It seems my opponent is flip flopping positions:

"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" (round 1)



"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." (round 2)

The contradiction is as clear as day. In his first round he claims that he will not be appealing to philosophy like William Lane Craig, and then starts his argument off with a philosophical argument which is commonly put forward by William Lane Craig. It's clear this is going to be a somewhat of a philosophical debate if we are going to avoid special pleading.


Lets say I grant my opponent that an infinite time in the past is absurd, there is no reason to assume the beginning of the universe had a cause (and reasons to believe it didn't). Also, it's possible that the universe itself is the uncaused cause (The Big Bang was uncaused, but also the cause of everything else which occurred after).

Falsification

My opponent claims that if the God hypothesis was true, the evidence would show that the universe began to exist from nothing with a cause. However, there is no evidence the universe came from absolutely nothing. Also, my opponent is making two baseless assumptions:

(i) Causation stretches past the limits of space-time
(ii) Causation necessarily applies at the sub-atomic level

Scientific principles of causation above the sub-atomic level only apply within space-time. Also many physicists agree that virtual particle fluctuations occur in vacuum (which without these fluctuations, would be otherwise empty space) without any initial cause, which is allowed by the Uncertainty Principle which rules out local hidden variables. So to think that causation must stretch past the limits of space-time and that is necessarily applies at the sub-atomic level is false.

The Beginning Of The Universe

My opponent mentions Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin’s Past-Finite paper to show that the universe had a for sure beginning. However even if I granted this, Alexander Vilenkin has created a model which explains how this could happen, due to something coming from that which resembles nothing, completely uncaused (which would falsify your God hypothesis).


Alexander Vilenkin’s model of cosmic origins is mathematically and scientifically plausible (a model which infers the universe arising from a timeless empty geometry), and is consistent with the paper my opponent has mentioned. This model describes the universe emerging from a quantum tunneling event (without a cause) with a finite size (a = H-1) and with a zero rate of expansion or contraction (da/dt = 0). It's plausible that the universe emerged in a symmetric vacuum state without an initial cause, which then decayed with the inflationary era beginning; and after this era ended, the universe evolved according to the standard Big Bang model.


The Inductive Method

My opponent states that for every effect there must be a cause for it, but there is no law of a kind that need apply to everything in reality. This principle is only applied within space-time, and is not even necessarily true at the sub-atomic level, so my whole opponent's case is flimsy at best. This is the equivalent to "whatever begins to exist must have a cause", but this is not a backed up proposition nor is it self-evident to relating to anything past the boundaries of the universe.


My opponent is also trying to claim that cause and effect is important to physicists which is true, that doesn't mean it applies to everything. Many physicists (and philosophers of physics) don't adhere to the idea that everything that begins, or that every effect has a cause.


"Quantum events have a way of just happening, without any cause, as when a radioactive atom decays at a random time. Even the quantum vacuum is not an inert void, but is boiling with quantum fluctuations. In our macroscopic world, we are used to energy conservation, but in the quantum realm this holds only on average." - Taner Edis. Department of Physics Truman State University Kirksville

"Uncaused, random quantum fluctuations in a flat, empty, featureless spacetime can produce local regions with positive or negative curvature" - Victor Stenger. American Particle Physicist

"Once our minds accept the mutability of matter and the new idea of the vacuum, we can speculate on the origin of the biggest thing we know—the universe. Maybe the universe itself sprang into existence out of nothingness—a gigantic vacuum fluctuation which we know today as the big bang. Remarkably, the laws of modern physics allow for this possibility" - Heinz Pagals. American Physicist, an adjunct Professor of Physics at Rockefeller University

Many physicists (even the ones you quoted) know that the laws of physics allow for the universe to spontaneously come into existence from that which is indistinguishable from nothing. This is true, there is no contradictions in Alexander Veiling model of cosmic origins for example.

So the inductive method is important, causality holds only on average at the sub-atomic level.

Omnipresent, Eternal, Immaterial.

My opponent says that whatever caused the universe (without even demonstrating a cause) must be timeless, changeless and immaterial. However, if the cause was changeless, then no change could have occurred to cause the universe, and thus no cause could have occurred. So I think there is some problems with the reasoning here that need to be addressed. He also states that the cause created time, but time is necessary for creation in the first place. Thus, the idea of the caused creation of time may be incoherent. He also says that his unsupported hypothetical cause would be space less and timeless, well, why couldn't it exist in another version of spacetime which follows different laws than the one we are familiar with? Regardless, my opponent did a poor job of even demonstrating a cause of the universe in the first place.

All Knowing

My opponent presents the fine-tuning argument, which has a first primes of:

P1: The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of sustaining life as we know it"

However, this could be turned into an argument for Atheism.

P1: The combination of physical constants which is capable of sustaining life is necessary to sustain life, because other conceivable combinations of physical constants could not sustain life.

P2: If theism is true, then the combination of physical constants which is capable of sustaining life, is completely contingent to God’s design.

P3: The combination of physical constants which is capable of sustaining life it is necessary to sustain life, and thus could not be completely contingent to God's design.

C: Theism is not true.

So my opponent's argument plants the seeds of it's own refutation.

All Powerful

Power rates that expand that universe to not equate a God that can answer prayers (my opponent is equivocating between two types of power). Even if I granted my opponent's initial premises for the sake of argument, this in no way defends an omnipotent God.


Disembodied mind

The problem for my opponent here is that "minds" are physical, and any causation that comes from a mind is reduced to causation that takes place in the brain and is ultimately biological. Natural Selection is what gave rise to intelligent biological organisms like us, so to say a "mind" could cause the physical world's existence, when a mind requires the physical to exist in the first place is a contradiction like a cause of time.

Conclusion

My opponent failed to meet his burden, and I met mine.



Debate Round No. 2
kenballer

Pro

THE GOD HYPOTHESIS

Science depends on philosophy so its impossible to not use some philosophy

THE LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT

Well first off, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of its absence", just because scientists cannot find a cause for some quantum events does not mean its evidence that some things don't have to have a cause. There are at least 10 different interpretations of quantum mechanics and some of them are fully deterministic. As physicist David Bohm, has pointed out, there are many "hidden variables" at the quantum level of reality, of which anyone could contain the sufficient reason for a certain quantum event. Victor Stenger even admits that causes for these events may someday be found in his book "God: the failed hypothesis", so any indeterminism is just ignorance in the determining conditions. Therefore, we cannot make conclusions like this with any kind of confidence especially when we don't fully understand quantum mechanics in the first place since its still in its infancy.

Besides, even if we assume this from CON, Quantum events do not take place in "absolute" nothingness. It actually takes place out of a larger quantum field ,which is a part of physical reality, that enables particles to come in and out of existence. Without this field there would be no quantum events. This is another reason why its not accurate to say that a particular quantum outcome is "uncaused". Therefore, there is no reason to think that not every cause precedes an effect.

However, If CON is going to say that nothing is not nothing anymore and refer to the quantum field as nothing��, then CON would not only be highly illogical but arbritrary in doing so. It is true that you cannot be purely philosophical when making any kind of argument in the scientific field, but it goes both ways. Without some type of reasonable standard of logic, Science becomes blind and ,in the process, unscientific.

THE CAUSE OF THE UNIVERSE

CON implies that the law of causality only operates under separate moments in time or that there are only causes that have spacial and temporal dimensions to it. On the contrary, as I pointed out in round 2, immaterial minds have causal power and I address this below, So it does not follow that the cause has to have dimensions.

However, one thing I do agree with CON on is his point about the cause and effect relations. The very act of creation does imply a direct causal relationship between the cause and the effect in which this cause did not stand before and therefore would be a change that brings God into time. What I would say is that Cause and effect could have simply been simultaneous and occurr within the same moment. The moment in which God caused the universe to come into being would also be the moment the universe came into being making the cause and effect simultaneous .

THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE

What I mean with the universe having a beginning is that 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. This singularity occurs in black holes and of course, the Big Bang Singularity which created most of the matter in the Universe. The aforementioned first law of thermodynamics does not hold inside a singularity and matter may be created or destroyed, as was demonstrated by the Big Bang:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

CON claims: "why couldn't it exist in another version of spacetime which follows different laws"

It does not matter. Again, Even if we are just a tiny part of a so-called "multi-verse" with 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. Unless CON can think up a way to avoid the theorems conclusion, my argument stands.

THE FINE-TUNING OF THE UNIVERSE

1) Well first off, The term finely tuned is just a scientific term scientist use to describe the measurement of the laws and constants and how they fall under an extraordinarily narrow range of life permitting values. 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. Also, even though this is called fine tuning, it does not mean its design. A cosmic designer would be one of the explanation of this fine-tuning that I am advocating but the terms are not synonymous.

2) I was not trying to argue that the universe is fined-tuned for just human life but according to the generic definition of life that scientists define, which is the ability of an organism to take in energy, metabolize it, and reproduce after its own kind. This is why I specifically said ANY kind of life to evolve and exist anywhere in the universe. 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 or evolve at all. So it could be life as we know it or other kinds of life we don't know of that would not be able to exist.

For example, in terms of how finely tuned these parameters would be, most of them are 1% different. However, the cosmolgical constant which refers to the expansion rate of the universe or the future eternal inflation I spoke of in round 2 is so finely tuned its tuned to 120 decimal places. If this were different, the universe would be so drastically different it would be impossible for us to evolve.

So even if we assume for the sake of argument that complex life came from non-life through random mutations and natural selection, these finely-tuned parameters would still be required for any life to exist.

3) The term "Power" does have other meanings but I don't see how I was equivocating between the meanings. He needs to explain in more detail how I was equating the two meanings and not just assert it. It could be a situation where I am using both meanings at the same time.

SUBSTANCE DUALISM

1) Mental properties like thoughts are not the same as physical properties or brain states. For instance, the brain itself is not sad or jubilant, but CON and I would be because these are mental states. These events such as thoughts, feelings of pain and sensory experiences do not contain physical qualities like mass, spatial dimensions and space location, are not composed of chemicals, and do not have electrical properties. I mentioned that there are abstract objects like numbers or the logical absolutes that exist. CON would be implying that these abstract objects are found in nature or brains as well.

In fact, Secondary properties consist of colours, tastes, sounds, smells and textures, whereas primary properties that characterise matter such as weight, shape, size, solidity, motion. The very existence of these secondary qualities favours dualism. A strictly physical and material world arguably force us to deny them including the existence of abstract objects which are not suppose to be contingent upon anything.

2) Scientists may accept biological evolution as a fact despite its mechanism(s) not being fully understood or settled upon. However, the origin of life�‚�� continues to remain a mystery. CON is prematurely concluding that the origin of life is settled science but where is the evidence for this.
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

The God Hypothesis

Any debate about God's existence is going to be philosophical, and not "scientific".

The Law of Cause and Effect

It seems my Pro is appealing to the phrase "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". However, it surely isn't evidence of presence either, (especially when dealing with something as counter intuitive as quantum mechanics). I don't really buy into that logic for the most part, because lets say I turn my pocket inside out, shake it a around a bit, pick out the lint, and turn the pocket the other direction there is a complete lack of evidence of any change or bills. This would be solid evidence of the absence of any money in my pocket.


Also, the thing with quantum events is that nothing seems to change in their environment to cause them, and they are very weird and extremely counter intuitive. Uncaused events are not something "out of the norm" once you understand this. My opponent also appeals to their being 11 different interpretations of quantum mechanics. However, the Copenhagen interpretation [1] is the most widely accepted, and is extremely indeterministic.

The "we are just ignorant of the cause of these events" arguments is simply not convincing.


Pro also begs the question regarding the universe being the totality of all anything which the laws of physics can apply to. No modern major physicist I have researched believes this, I would post more quotes from more scientists if I had more room, but since you mentioned Alexander Vilenkin, he states:

"The state of 'nothing' cannot be identified with absolute nothingness. The tunneling is described by the laws of quantum mechanics, and thus 'nothing' should be subject to these laws. The laws of physics must have existed, even though there was no universe" [2] - Alexander Vilenkin

With regards to quantum fluctuations, the common view is that the conservation of energy seems to be violated for short periods of time (which is allowed by the Uncertainty Principle) with the spontaneous creation of energy out of empty space. Quantum events requiring no "trigger" (or cause) is no leap for the imagination, which is clear. So my opponent's objections are simply unfounded.

Objective causation, and causal dependencies themselves presupposes time anyway, which undermines the God Hypothesis.


The Cause of the Universe

Since my opponent failed to show that the law of cause and effect is completely universal, and I showed that there are events which all evidence points to being uncaused, then there is no reason to accept a "cause of the universe" either considering quantum fluctuations are spontaneous creations of energy (allowed by known physics), which is pretty much what the big bang would have been like (but on a much larger scale). Also, there was no "before" The Big Bang for this cause to exist. My opponent tries to debate in favor of simultaneous causation, when all examples we have could only occur if the causal dependency exists temporally prior. It seems like a poor attempt to save the "cause of the universe".


The Beginning of the Universe

Since I have argued that there is no reason to necessitate causes with effects in counter-intuitive areas (I'm sure the beginning of the whole universe, definitely falls under this category), then even if the universe had a beginning, a cause does not logically follow. Regardless, Alexander Vilenkin's model [3] of how the universe began is plausible, and is so without appealing to a background space or time, also Steven Hawking's no boundary proposal entails a universe where time is finite but has no beginning point (like a sphere has a finite surface area and no starting point one could every measure), both are which completely consistent with the theorem mentioned by Pro.


"Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist." - Alexander Vilenkin (pg. 176 of Many Worlds In One)

The Fine-Tuning Argument

What I argued is that the Fine-tuning argument is not an argument for intelligent design, but rather an argument against intelligent design. The idea of an extreme fine-tuning beyond which the target cannot exist is indicative of a precarious natural system, not of any divine intelligent planning. I presented syllogism that my opponent failed to refute. Remember, I don't have to show how naturalism can account for this apparent "fine-tuning". All I have to do, is argue that the apparent "fine-tuning", doesn't fit with the God Hypothesis. I believe I have met my burden (I would delve into fine-tuning more, but my room is limited).

Substance Dualism


1) My opponent is claiming that the brain and mind are not the same, well, sure. The images a screen aren't the same as the projector, that doesn't mean the images are independent of what the projector does. Also gravity has no mass and doesn't have any spatial dimensions, yet it is still completely physical. Wave/particle relationships, and non-material forces produced by particles aren't material or have mass, yet they are 100% physical. (I think my opponent is confusiong materialism and physicalism).
So even if one could describe the mind as something which is immaterial (which, I'm not conceding by the way), it wouldn't follow from this that it was non-physical or supernatural.

Pro asserts that secondary properties favor dualism as well, however he hasn't shown that the mind is not a natural phenomenon, which we know it is, since it's activities are clearly caused by, and dependent on certain brain activity. Since the concept of "secondary properties" come from our brains in the first place, there is no reason to think this somehow favors such a flawed philosophical doctrine like dualism, which has utterly failed in the light of neuroscience (if we are speaking about the philosophy that mind which regarding mind activities not being dependent on particular brain activities).


My opponent also states:

"A strictly physical and material world arguably force us to deny them including the existence of abstract objects which are not suppose to be contingent upon anything."


I would argue, that they are dependent on matter. "A tennis game" is an abstract object for example but in reality, it is used to describe a particular rearrangements of matter (people moving and balls flying). Also without brains (matter), the very idea of abstract objects wouldn't even be a reailty.

2) Pro asserts this as well:

"the origin of life continues to remain a mystery. CON is prematurely concluding that the origin of life is settled science but where is the evidence for this."

I never concluded the origin of life is settled, it is far from it. We know Abiogenesis happened somehow however, even if we don't know exactly how (like if we see a vase smashed on the ground we know it was smashed, even if we don't know the exact method). Also, trying to place God as the culprit for the origin if life because science cannot fully explain it is a classical God of the Gaps fallacy.


Conclusion

Pro seems to have completely failed to meet his burden of proof, and every claim of his I didn't falsify, I at least undermined. Thus, I believe I have the upper hand in this debate.


Sources

[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
kenballer

Pro

THE GOD HYPOTHESIS

CON claims that my theory is not scientific. I beg to differ. Here is the definition of falsifiablity:

"Falsifiability or refutability of an assertion, hypothesis or theory is the logical possibility that it can be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of a physical experiment...... if it is false, then some observation or experiment will produce a reproducible result that is in conflict with it."

For example, the assertion that "all swans are white" is falsifiable, because it is logically possible that a swan can be found which is not white. Not all statements that are falsifiable in principle are falsifiable in practice.[1] For example, "it will be raining here in one million years" is theoretically falsifiable, but not practically so. http://en.wikipedia.org...

My claim that every effect requires or has a cause is falsifiable, because it is at least logically possible (if its not practically possible) that we can find an effect that does not have a cause through quantum fluctuation. By proving that not every effect requires a cause, it would eliminate scientific evidence for the need of any kind of cause at all under the rules of science. In other words, it would no longer qualify as a scientific explanation.

What about testability through repetition? The law of cause and effect is a law that has been tested countless times. The universe had a beginning, therefore, the universe has a cause. The difference is that instead of the cause being physical, the cause would not have any dimensions to it.

CON may say , Well where is the control group for these kind of cause and effect relations? The control group and variables would obviously be human minds and this particular absolute mind that manifests itself within the universe would be the independent variable.

THE LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT

Again, CON is simply appealing to ignorance here. For it assumes if we do not know "how" A caused B, that it is not reasonable to believe that B has a cause at all. Just because Scientists are presently unable to accurately and simultanouesly measure both the position and mometum of a subatomical particle does not mean there is no cause.

David Bohm has an interpretation of quantum mechanics which is fully deterministic. Bohm theories are mathematically consistent and are entirely consistent with the evidence. Now, even though the Copenhagen interpretation is the most wildly held, there is no way to empirically distinguish between the Copenhagen and Bohm interpretation: http://en.wikipedia.org...

It does not matter anyways because the quantum field ,which is a part of physical reality governed by physical laws, that enable particles to come in and out of existence is not "nothing". Con MUST address this and explain where this quantum field came from that caused these particles to fluctuate in the first place when this clearly contradicts the evidence of the universe emerging out of nothing. CON cannot address it simply by saying that the quantum field is "nothing" Nor can he just redefine the word "nothing" in order to maintain his argument.The term "nothing" is not a thing a within itself; it just means absence of something. Unless CON addresses this in the next round since he did not do so in the last round, my argument stands.

THE CAUSE OF THE UNIVERSE

It is important to differentiate between initial causation and continuing causation. For example, Immanuel Kant gave an example of a heavy ball laying on a pillow causing a depression of the pillow. Now, The ball itself was not always on the pillow, but the ball being on the pillow and would be the initial causation that is able to create the depression as a result. Every cause and effect relation obviously has this initial causation or we would not get an effect in the first place. In other words, there would not be a before in a temporal sense here, but there would be a during and after. The "during" moment would be the initial causation I am referring to here and what I explained above.

Now, in terms of the nature of this cause, it is also important to differentiate between impersonal causation and personal causation. We do have examples of causes or even things that exist without space and time, as I explained before in round 2. One part involved explaining the one difference between abstract objects like numbers and a disembodied mind regarding causality. The Second part involved explaining the one difference between the mind that would be responsible for the cosmic beginning and a human mind.

God who is supposed to be an immaterial mind would have the power to cause material effects in time at will by manifesting itself in reality in the first place; the same way human beings immaterial minds can cause material effects in time at will through the brain. However, Since the universe was created out of nothing, this mind would have to be considered a disembodied one because it cannot be within the universe or the universe itself. This would be the only difference.

THE FINE-TUNING OF THE UNIVERSE

CON apparently does accept the fine-tuning of the universe for life at least on its own merits. However, He claims that his deductive argument shows that it cannot be from design but from physical necessity. Well first off, the fine-tuning constants and values are not determined by the laws of nature. Nature's laws could hold and the constants could take any of a wide range of values. There is nothing about the laws of nature that require the constants to have the values they do. As far as the arbritrary quantities, those are completely independent of the laws of nature. They are just put in as initial conditions on which the laws of nature then operate, So nothing seems to make these quantities necessary in the values they have. Unless CON can provide evidence that the laws and constants are based on physical necessity, my argument stands.

SUBSTANCE DUALISM

Let me first explain some mind-body views in order to clarify some things.

Epiphenomenalism: This view claims that mental and physical properties are separate entities but claims that the mind has no causal power and all mental events are ultimately caused by physical events. This is essentially what CON is advocating for.

Substance dualism: my view is essentially the same as Epiphenomenalism except that the mind has causal power over the brain and vice versa. Now, Dualism does claim that when the brain dies, the mind/soul will live on. However, it does not assert that the mind is completely independent from the brain while the mind is attached to the living brain as CON suggested. That is a separate claim neither CON or I can prove or disprove. CON would have to provide an additional argument to prove that the mind cannot be independent even without the brain.

1) CON is 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.

2)Technically, our thoughts are abstract objects but I was not referring to them. I was referring to abstract objects like numbers or the logical absolutes. We can create physical manifestations of them in reality, but these kind of abstract objects themselves cannot be found under rocks or grown out of trees nor are they contingent on a human minds. Our minds simply recognize these necessary truths not create them.

I ran out of space so I will address the rest later
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

The God Hypothesis

My opponent talks about falsifiability, however God's existence itself is an unfalsifiable scientific hypothesis. Humans live within space-time, we change, and are physical so how one could possibly falsify a claim that a being exists who is spaceless, timeless, changeless and beyond the physical is "beyond" me (pun intended). However, one can falsify or undermine the claims which lead theists to their beliefs, which is what I have done, and will continue to do in this debate.


My opponent has said that cause and effect has been tested countless times, but this is not true at the sub-atomic level and it is not true for anything that "began" that didn't have time exist before it. My opponent seems to just deny or ignore these points without valid justification.

The Law of Cause and Effect

My opponent is claiming that I'm appealing to ignorance, however its ironic due to the fact that he is appealing to ignorance. I mean, just because we don't know how things can begin to exist uncaused doesn't mean they don't. The problem for my opponent, is that quantum fluctuations don't behave like something that has a cause, and they behave like spontaneous events without triggers. I doubt any physicist worth taking seriously would say:

"Even though these seem like uncaused spontaneous creations of energy which temporally violate the conservation of energy, they must be caused because intuition gained at the macroscopic level holds true at the sub-atomic level."

This physicist would get laughed out of the room.

Also, the Uncertainty Principle shows that local-hidden variables are impossible (so their goes Pro's appeal to ignorance), and there is absolutely no reason to abandon locality because that would open up more problems than it would solve. I have quoted many physicists who disagree with my opponents weak stance regarding causality. Here is another supporting quote, this one is from a very respected philosophers of physics:

"A vacuum fluctuation is an uncaused emergence of energy out of empty space that is governed by the uncertainty relation delta-Edelta-t >= h/(4*pi)" - Quentin Persifor Smith. American contemporary philosopher, scholar and professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.[1]

Now..

"
Con MUST address this and explain where this quantum field came from that caused these particles to fluctuate in the first place when this clearly contradicts the evidence of the universe emerging out of nothing" - Pro

There is no evidence the universe came from absolutely nothing. There is evidence that the universe is expanding and has a finite past though, and this is called The Big Bang theory, however there is nothing about the this theory which requires the universe to come from absolutely nothing. My opponent is simply mistaken if he is claiming that is the case.

It seems that in order to get a leg up in this debate, my opponent must falsify uncaused events because he is the one with the burden of proof and claiming the necessity of a cause. He must also refute this argument (which I have slightly refined):


P1: If x has a cause, then x is a consequence of that which occurs earlier to x

P2: There was no earlier to The Big Bang, the Planck Epoch (0 to 10−43 seconds) was the earliest
period [2]

P3:
The universe could not have been a consequence of that which occurred earlier to the universe


C:
The universe is not something which had a cause

The Cause of the Universe

"Immanuel Kant gave an example of a heavy ball laying on a pillow causing a depression of the
pillow. Now, The ball itself was not always on the pillow, but the ball being on the pillow and would
be the initial causation that is able to create the depression as a result." - Pro

As I already implied in my first round regarding simultaneous causation, it still presupposes time because
the ball must have been lowered towards the pillow temporally prior to the simultaneous causation. So
Premise 1 of my syllogism is in no way in jeopardy in light of simultaneous causation, because even the
simultaneous causation could have only occurred if it was the result of that which occurred earlier. The
theist cannot demonstrate a cause of the universe by appealing to simultaneous causation.

Pro also mentions the difference between personal causation and impersonal causation, however
personal causation as we know it boils down to scientific causation which is what we now can infer due
to the implications of neuroscience and in other fields. We have 0 examples of disembodied minds, the
argument here on my opponent's behalf is extremely weak. He also says that the mind which caused the
universe would be very different from human minds, but it hasn't even been established that a mind
caused the universe in the first place. It's based on the assumption that a mind can be independent of the
brain, and there is no evidence to show this is the case.

The Fine-Tuning of the Universe

Pro is accusing me of accepting the first premise of the Fine-Tuning Argument for Theism, however,
my argument was just to show that if we accepted that first premise, Atheism would be the better
explanation than Theism (I apologize if I wasn't clear enough).

My opponent claims however, that my argument appeals to "physical necessity" but I never said that the
constants are the way they are be cause they have to be. I said that if the first premise of the Fine-Tuning
argument is true, then these constants are the only ones that are capable of sustaining life, thus they are
necessary to sustain life, because it's not possible for other constants to sustain life. Pro is confusing two
types of necessity

(i) These constants are necessary, because no other constants "could have been"
(ii) These constants are necessary for life, because no other constants could sustain life

I'm appealing to (ii) not (i). Thus, the Fine-Tuning Argument for Atheism still stands. If these are the only
physical constants which could sustain life then God does not exist, because if God exists, any constants
could sustain life due to his omnipotence and would be completely contingent to God's design.

Substance Dualism

My opponent is claiming that correlation does not mean causation. However there are clear ways to
know that specific brain states cause certain mental states, and that there obviously is more than just a
"correlation".

Here are 5 reasons:

(1) When an individual's brain is directly stimulated and put into a certain physical state, this causes the person to have a corresponding experience.

(2) Certain injuries to the brain make it impossible for a person to have any mental states at all.

(3) Other injuries to the brain destroy various mental capacities. Which capacity is destroyed is tied directly to the particular region of the brain that was damaged.

(4) When we examine the mental capacities of animals, they become more complex as their brains become more complex.

(5) Within any given species, the development of mental capacities is correlated with the development of neurons in the brain.


My opponent's argument is as equal to an argument stating that there is just a correlation between a
projector and the images on the screen, and that this doesn't mean the projector is causing the images.
However, if we damage certain parts of the projector and the images change accordingly (and this does
not happen vice versa), then one can reasonably conclude a causal relationship. One can show this
type of relationship with the brain/ mind.

Conclusion

Pro hasn't demonstrated that every effect must have a cause, let alone the universe. Also, if we accept
the first premise of the Fine-Tuning
Argument for Theism then it can lead into a more compelling
argument for
Atheism. Lastly, the argument from physical minds is more compelling and has more
evidence to support it than any dualist theory. My opponent simply has failed to demonstrate any
credibility in the God hypothesis.

Sources

[1] http://www.infidels.org...


Debate Round No. 4
kenballer

Pro

Unfortunately, after careful examination of my hypothesis, I realize I need to modify it in order to fit the data more accurately so I will have to concede this debate. However, I am only conceding based on my own part not because CON's objection were actually valid or that I did not refute them. In fact, if the topic was on philosophy, It would have been obvious who won the debate. Nevertheless, I concede under this debate topic.
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

"However, I am only conceding based on my own part not because CON's objection were actually valid or that I did not refute them."

My objections were valid, and you didn't refute my arguments successfully regardless of your reasons for forfeiting.

"In fact, if the topic was on philosophy, It would have been obvious who won the debate."

Yes it would have been obvious who won the debate, the same person who actually won this one.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by anachronist 4 years ago
anachronist
Maybe you should switch up the arguments you're using Kenballer
Posted by HonestDiscussioner 4 years ago
HonestDiscussioner
So kenballer, it seems you realized that you're basing your argument on mostly philosophy, not science. I'll redebate you on the same topic if you want to switch it away from science.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
kenballerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded.
Vote Placed by THEBOMB 4 years ago
THEBOMB
kenballerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: nice concession...
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
kenballerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded. In any case a non-scientific explanation may be true, but it can't be scientific.
Vote Placed by TheOrator 4 years ago
TheOrator
kenballerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Argumetns due to concession, conduct due to the ungraceful way in which pro conceded
Vote Placed by tvellalott 4 years ago
tvellalott
kenballerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded.