The Instigator
kenballer
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
anachronist
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

The God Hypothesis is the best scientific explanation for the origins of existence

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
anachronist
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/4/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,167 times Debate No: 22273
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)

 

kenballer

Pro

First Round is for acceptance of this only

Understand that my approach is suppose to be scienctific or of a scientist not a philosopher like William Lane Craig and other debaters attempt to do. So its a little bit different with only one exception, I won't be using scientific terms. 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, there is enough evidence that would describe the nature of this cause from connecting the data points, and most importantly its falsifiable.

Lastly, the burden of proof is mainly on me since I am doing a scientific approach for the most part so it needs to be five rounds for me to have enough ground to work under. However, you will naturally have to provide an alternative explanation to rival against the God Hypothesis or else my explanation would have to stand by default. That's how it works.

Also, to the audience, I have gotten some complaints before about not using scientific terms. I don't want to do that here because most people reading this debate may not understand it and I don't know the range of scientific terms I should or would use to qualify it.

Lastly, if five rounds is too long for you, then I will change it. However, if this is the case, You need to be the instigator while I become the contender. Since I have the burden of proof, I need to have the last word.
anachronist

Con

I accept your terms, and agree to use only arguments based in science excluding philosophy. I look forward to a reasonable debate with another human being, and although our own arguing will probably not convert anyone, it's all in good fun.
Debate Round No. 1
kenballer

Pro

THE GOD HYPOTHESIS

1. Philosophically,there cannot be an infinite amount of time because Time is by definition is 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.

Furthermore, if time was eternal in the past, it follows that we would have never have gotten here at this point. 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. Thus, there would have to be an absolute first cause.

However, If time is supposed to be a part of the universe, then the first cause could not possibly be the universe itself, so it must be some entity that is not made up of the Universe that is the First cause. I will call this first cause the God Hypothesis.

FALSIFICATION

2. We can make testable predictions for this hypothesis. 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. CON can falsify this by showing that the universe had no cause at all or requires one. This would completely negate the God hypothesis entirely or CON can do it the hard way and falsify everyone of my claims I will make about this hypothesis.

THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE

3. Now, its time to provide evidence for this hypothesis:

The Space-Time Theorem of General Relativity clearly states that space, time, and matter and energy all had a concrete beginning. This theorem has been shown to be 8 decimals accurate along with general relativity created by Einstein to be 5 decimals accurate.

Borde, Guth,Vilenken developed a theorem which proves that ANY universe which 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", their theorem would STILL require an absolute beginning from this multi-verse as well.

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, we can assume and verify a cause.

THE INDUCTIVE METHOD

Now, the space-time boundary prevents us from observing this entity directly to discover the properties of this cause. However, There are all kinds of things that we can't see or identify but yet we see there effects which led us to potential 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.

DISEMBODIED MIND

B. There are only two possible candidates we are aware of that can possibly fit such a description of an immaterial, omnipresent, and eternal entity: either an abstract object or a disembodied mind. However, abstract objects by definition do not stand in casual relationships. For instance, the number 9 cannot do anything.

Only an unembodied mind would stand in agent causality, as philosophers call it, where a cause would be able to bring about new effects at will without any prior determining conditions by virtue of its agency; this unembodied mind would manifest itself within the universe just like human minds act as agents in the physical world through our bodies. This would explain why you can get a temporal effect with a beginning from an eternal cause.

Therefore, it follows logically that the cause of the universe is a personal disembodied mind for it to have the intrinsic desire to create a universe that allows the existence of intelligent life and then freely choose to act upon that desire.

ALL-KNOWING

C. 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 our life-permitting universe. Moreover, these perfectly calibrated laws and constants to allow the existence of intelligent life 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, but we have other reasons to believe it does.

For example, 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.

Since the universe will expand forever as proven by the BGV theorem, 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

D. Our universe along with the law of physics was created out of absolutely nothing perfectly fine-tuned to support life from the very beginning. This is something that would be impossible since there is no example of an actual "nothing" or absence of reality and thus it would be something that is outside of human experience and knowledge. However, this would not necessarily mean this entity has unlimited power, but we have other observations to believe it does.

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.

OCCAM'S RAZOR

4. Occam's Razor is a principle urging one to select among competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest assumptions and thereby offers the simplest explanation of the effect. In other words, one should not multiply causes beyond necessity. The God Hypothesis is a rational hypothesis that has been demonstrated to be true and verified by many points of data, Its falsifiable and it postulates only one cause. Therefore, the God Hypothesis is the simplest explanation compared to the rest.
anachronist

Con

Well, so much for no philosophy. However, philosophy is a kind of science, so whatever.

Firstly, you appear to understand that space and time are intrinsically linked to eachother. The start of the universe was the beginning therefore of not only space but also time. The law of cause and effect only applies to our current universe because of time, which although not properly understood or defined, is roughly a series of consecutive events. Now if the beginning of the universe was also the beginning of time, then there was probably no time before the universe, and since the law of cause and effect only applies when time exists, the law of cause and effect wouldn't have applied before the universe. Therefore, the beginning of the universe did not neccesarily have to have a cause.
Now, I'd just like to clarify something here, no-one has found whether the universe will continue expanding forever. Another theory that may explain the start of the universe is the cyclic universe theory, in which the universe goes through endless big bangs and big crunches that continue eternally (http://en.wikipedia.org...).

An obvious point to make, but you can't evoke the law of cause and effect without adressing what caused god. In fact, the words of Carl Sagan are very appropriate here:
"In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from. And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and decide that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question? Or, if we say that God has always existed, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?"

Oh no, you've gone and said it: "[the universe is] perfectly fine tuned to support life". No. No it is not. Of the vast, immesurably large observable universe, there is but one tiny dot on which terrestrial life can survive. And even on Earth, our home planet that we evolved on, only a tiny percentage of it is habitable to us (). The universe is not finely tuned to us, we are tuned (not so finely) to the universe. I think it is very arrogant to assume that if there is an almighty creator, he would have designed the universe specifically for us, or indeed even care about us at all. Do you know how insignificant we would be to an omniscient being? I mean, we aren't that much smarter than monkeys, and to an omniscient being, there would be an insignificant difference between our intelligence and the intelligence of a plankton. I am willing to accept the possibility that the universe may have been created by a god/gods, but saying they designed the universe just for us is like saying the creators of the internet designed it just so i could write the word "sentence" at the end of this sentence.


Finally, Occam's Razor. The simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Now, you think that god is a simple explanation, because to your mind, the explanation consists of "god did it". But you really have to get into all the implications of that to discover how complicated that explanation actually is. Firstly, it makes the assumption that the universe had a beginning. It also makes the assumption that it is possible to be concious and think without a physical mechanism for doing so, or that it is possible to be "omnipresent". How can one be omnipresent if the space is being taken up by something? You could only be omnipresent if you were the only entity in a perfect vacuum. And saying that god is "immaterial" is basically saying he isn't there. I'm not saying it's impossible, just unlikely, and assumtion-making. You would also have to assume that it is possible to be omniscient, and that any "life" can exist without a universe to "be" in.
Instead, I think we should go along with the current general consensus amongst scientists at the moment: "We don't know". We currently have no method of finding out what happened before the big bang, or if indeed anything happened before the big bang. It is not customary in science to propose hypothesis that are not testable in any way, and your "god hypothesis" is not testable by any scientific measures. Therefore, I believe this constitutes a null hypothesis and is merely speculation, rather than admitting we have no idea.











Debate Round No. 2
kenballer

Pro

THE CAUSE OF THE UNIVERSE

CON makes a fair point here. Before I respond to this, Let me make something clear here. I was not implying or trying to argue that GOD is chronologically prior to the universe but argue that he is Causality prior to the Universe. You see There are two theories of time: The A-theory of time and the B-theory of time.

The A-theory of time is the logical and concrete time where there's a series of "moments".The nature of a moment is "a beginning of the future and an end of the past." We as limited human beings can only understand this theory of time because we exist in it. I have already explained logically and concretely why this theory of time is what the universe itself operates under not apart from it.

The B-theory of time (or meta-time as some would call it) is the definition of eternity where it implies that time is just a concept or an illusion of human conscious. There is no such thing as past or future. There would only be one moment of time, which is referred to as the "NOW" or present. This theory of time is what I argued God to operate under since the universe cannot and does not operate under it. For GOD being within eternity or B-theory of time, there is no series of thoughts in time but only one eternal thought of everything like a snapshot from a camera.

Now, my response to CON's claim. CON is assuming a big burden of proof to suggest that the law of causality only operates under separate moments in time. Cause and effect could have simply been simultaneous and occurr within the same moment. For example, Immanuel Kant gave an example of a heavy ball laying on a pillow causing a depression of the pillow. Now, the ball and the pillow could have existed from eternity past so that the ball was always on the pillow, but clearly the depression of the pillow was caused by the ball. It would not be the roundness of the ball that would cause the depression.

Nevertheless, one thing I do agree with is that 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 argue is that the moment in which God caused the universe to come into being is also the moment the universe came into being making the cause and effect simultaneous .

THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE

CON is wrong here. The BGV theorem does prove a forever expanding universe called Future-eternal inflation and this theorem would apply to all models because it carries only one assumption: If the expansion rate of any universe is greater than 0, the universe began. Period: http://arxiv.org...

Now, CON mentions the cyclic universe theory to argue why you can escape BGV theorem by positing a contraction prior to the expansion. However Vilenkin says that any contraction phase is unstable and would introduce additional singularities that would hamper any later expansion phase. Apart from this, the scientific research has shown that the universe is not dense enough for gravity to pull itself back up together. Also, even if it could be proven that several big bangs have occurred, the second law of thermodynamics would still require that there was a first big bang and therefore a last big bang.

This theorem happens to be accepted amongst the world's leading physicists. Here is a quote by one of the creators of this theorem about their conclusion:

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

THE LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT

I beg to differ. The Law of Cause and Effect does not require that every cause must have an explanation or cause. Instead, it states that for every effect there must be a cause for it. For example, We know that gravity accounts for planetary orbits, why masses fall to the ground on earth, etc... But, we cannot explain clearly what and why gravity "is" or where it "comes from" along with determine its mechanism. We just have to take it as a brute fact. Therefore, the God hypothesis would be a brute fact and the explanation for the universe to come out of nothing.

However, let's accept for the sake of argument that CON's arbitrary rule that the explanation of the effect also required an explanation. If the best explanation of the effect always required an explanation in science, we would be left with an infinite regress. In other words, if this was a real scientific requirement, We would not get the explanation of anything and it would essentially destroy science.

Now, I would accept that causality is a metaphysical requirement called the principle of sufficient reason. Under these philosophical rules, God would indeed require an explanation. However, the topic of this debate is science not philosophy. Therefore, I am not required to provide an explanation any more than I would with Gravity.

THE FINELY-TUNED UNIVERSE

Let me clarify something that CON distorted and misrepresented. 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.

What CON does not seem to realize is that these finely-tuned laws do not only apply on a local level (like our galaxy or solar system) but on a cosmic level as well. These cosmic conditions must be present for ANY kind of life to evolve and exist anywhere in the universe. This is because 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. 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-tune parameters would be required for any life to exist.

OCCAM'S RAZOR

CON is ,again, revising the meaning of a scientific principle. Occam's razor does not require an explanation to be simple at least on its own merits since it would end up being somewhat subjective. Instead, it says when comparing an explanation to OTHER explanations that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Unless CON can provide a simpler explanation, my argument stands.

Nevertheless, I have already provided indirect evidence for the supposed assumptions using the inductive method. Direct empirical evidence is not required in science. Thus, since there is evidence for these assumptions, it cannot be considered complex in the first place. CON cannot just dismiss my evidence without a valid argument as to why we should dismiss it. If CON wants to take the agnostic position, then he needs to at least explain why I don't know either or we can't know by falsifying my conclusions without appealing to authority or proof by assertion. Otherwise, I will assume he conceded the debate.
anachronist

Con

Allow me the luxury of repeating myself, but we don't know what time is, how it works or how it is structured yet. I think it is premature to start basing conclusions based on indirect evidence based on something we don't understand.

The "ball on a pillow" analogy was very good and thought provoking, however, like all analogies, it breaks down under scrutiny. In order for this "simultaneous cause and effect", both the pillow and the ball would have to have always existed. However, you postulate that the universe had a beginning. This would mean that the ball moved to create the depression in the pillow, implying chronological cause and effect. Maybe, there is a series of pillows, each resting on the one behind in a circle, so that every pillow causes a depression in the next one (my new "eternal multi-cushion theory"). Or maybe not.

The BVG theorem

The BGV theorem does not prove the universe had a beginning. It proves that expansion had a beginning. The universe could have existed in a steady state before expanding. But yes, you are right, the expansion is future eternal. (This leaves some difficult questions though, like what will happen when the universe becomes too large, will things become pixellated? There was an interesting article about this in New Scientist a while back).

Once again, you mention a physical law, which as far as we know, only applies to our universe, not neccesarily the next one or the "inbetween". And if you want to get down to physical laws, what about Conservation of Energy and Conservation of Mass? God would of had to break both those laws in order to create all the matter and energy in the universe. Of course I'm not postulating that if there is a god, it is governed by any physical laws, I'm just pointing out that physical laws in this universe don't apply to a "before" or an "inbetween" or a different universe. If they did, that would blow the whole "fine tuned universe" thing out of the water, as all places would have the same laws, thereby making comparison impossible.

And I disagree with your statement that I use an "arbitrary rule". Why is it arbitrary? Am I not allowed to ask the very valid question of "where did god come from?". How come God can be eternal but the universe can't?
And yes, it is a requirement, that's why we've worked all the way up from "is the world flat?" through "where did we come from?" and now we're at the final hurdle: "where did the universe come from?" which we are discussing now.

How do you know the universe is finely tuned? What have you got to compare it to? You can't make a comparison if you are only comparing one thing, that's like inventing the sploon and saying "wow, that's a really a very finely tuned sploon". There are no other sploons to compare it to, so you cannot know if it is a finely tuned sploon, or a normally tuned one, or a badly tuned one. For your assertion to be true, there would have to be multiple universes, with universes that are perhaps better tuned, and universes that are badly tuned, in order to make the statement "the universe is finely tuned".

I didn't revise any principles, in fact, you just repeated what I said: "the simplest explanation is usually the correct one". But yes, you are right in saying that I don't have an explanation. Not a complete one anyway, but neither do you, although I'll get back to that in a minute. Science doesn't have an explanation either, but no, that does not mean yours is valid. We wouldn't have gotten very far in science if we just said "oooh, here's something we don't know"
"oh, we'll just take the first plausible suggestion that comes our way". Back to your explanation. How did God create everything? If you want me to argue against a hypothesis, at least explain it first.

I don't think you have provided sufficient evidence, indirect or otherwise, other than:
  • The universe may have had a beginning
  • If it did, we don't know how it happened
  • If things were different, things would be different
  • Science has no explanation for the beginning of the universe

I'm sorry, but I think I'll stick with the default setting as regards to science on an unsolved matter: I don't know yet. Although I'm still a gnostic atheist, you have moved me more towards agnosticism with regards to deism. I guess I'm a gnostic atheist agnostic adeist.

Debate Round No. 3
kenballer

Pro

Time is not just a concept we don't understand as CON implies, but an actual concrete thing that can articulated scientifically. According to science, We know that time is a forth dimension and is a function of space woven together called space time; this has been demonstrated. The GPS unit in your car has been programmed to take into account the fact that time is passing more quickly for satellites in Earth orbit than it is for your car here on Earth. We even know what Time is logically or conceptually

Thus, My claim that time cannot be infinite is not just a valid philosophical argument. It has been demonstrated with extreme accuracy to be true. The Space-Time Theorem of General Relativity clearly states that space, time, and matter and energy all had a concrete beginning.

THE CAUSE OF THE UNIVERSE

Well first off, CON overstated my ball/pillow reference. It was not an actual analogy but was supposed to be an example of why causation does not have to occur between separate moments or events in time. CON forgot to address the other part of the argument in round 2 about the nature of this cause that was related and connected to the claim that cause and effect could be simultaneous.

He made a false analogy between a concrete objects causing effects in time and an immaterial causal agent. I specifically said that God who is supposed to be an immaterial mind would have the power to cause material effects in time at will the same way human beings immaterial minds can cause material effects in time at will through the brain. They call this "substance dualism" where there are two fundamental kinds of substance: mental and material. The mental would not have extension in space but occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world, the material cannot think.

We know that this independent realm exist with the existence of abstract objects like numbers or the logical absolutes which can be demonstrated to exist by creating physical manifestations of them. These abstract objects cannot be found under rocks or grown out of trees because they are mental properties not physical properties.

My argument I made in round 2 had two parts to it. One part involved explaining the one difference between abstract objects 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. 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. So this cause would not feel physical pain. This would be the only the difference.

Furthermore, CON asks for explanatory power. Its simple. Human minds manifest and interact with the brain by stimulating parts of the brain through the force and virtue of its agency or causal power. I argue that the same can be said with the disembodied mind and the universe. A perfect example (but not analogy) would be Gravity.

"Gravitation, or gravity, is a natural phenomenon by which physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their masses. Gravitation is most familiar as the agent that gives weight to objects with mass and causes them to fall to the ground when dropped. Gravitation causes dispersed matter to coalesce, and coalesced matter to remain intact, thus accounting for the existence of the Earth, the Sun, and most of the macroscopic objects in the universe.

Gravitation is responsible for keeping the Earth and the other planets in their orbits around the Sun; for keeping the Moon in its orbit around the Earth; for the formation of tides; for natural convection, by which fluid flow occurs under the influence of a density gradient and gravity; for heating the interiors of forming stars and planets to very high temperatures; and for various other phenomena observed on Earth."

http://en.wikipedia.org...

THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE

Again, CON is wrong about depositing a past eternal universe just like he was wrong about the universe being future eternal. Let me clarify what I said before. 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

The BGV theorem as well as other singularity theorems they authored (like the one I cited the last round) were meant to prove that inflationary models must have a singularity. So technically if you isolate the BGV theorem from all the other theorems before it they made ( which are supposed to be an accumulation and related), then what CON said about the universe not having a beginning may have had some truth. However, this is not case here. I encourage everyone to watch this video that summarizes the BGV theorem in its full context:

There are many other reasons why the steady state theory has been disproven from the big theory like the cosmic microwave background radiation and the space time theroem as well as General relativity.

Last but not least, there no evidence of other universes. Most importantly, even if we are just a tiny part of a so-called "multi-verse" as CON mentions, the BGV theorem applies to the so-called multiverse and would STILL require an absolute beginning from this multi-verse as well. Therefore, Since there has to be an absolute beginning in some way shape or form, CON can deposit as many universes or versions of the multi-verse as he wants. It still would not weed out the God hypothesis as the actual explanation for these universes AND for the fine-tuning of our universe. Moreover, The BGV theorem is accepted amongst the world's leading physicists as implying a cosmic beginning.

THE LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT

Again, The Law of Cause and Effect does not require that every cause must have an explanation or cause. Instead, it states that for every effect there must be a cause for it. So What I meant by about CON's requirement being arbitrary was that his requirement for an explanation of GOD was not what the law of cause and effect required and states. In fact, its not a scientific law or rule at all. CON asking me to explain where the cause came from is a purely philosophical question.

If the topic was on philosophy, CON would stand corrected since causality is also a metaphysical requirement called the principle of sufficient reason that can be used in science. Under these philosophical rules, God would indeed require an explanation. However, the topic of this debate is science not philosophy. Therefore, I am not required to provide an explanation any more than I would with Gravity.

THE FINELY-TUNED UNIVERSE

"How do you know the universe is finely tuned?"

The term finely tuned is just a scientific term scientist use to describe the measurement of the laws and constants. We know that present day particle physics have a whole lot of adjusted parameters like the mass of certain particles along with the strength of certain forces. 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. Lastly, The size and expansion is a product of fine-tuning called the cosmological constant.

OCCAM'S RAZOR

"Science doesn't have an explanation either"

On the contrary, I am providing a scientific explanation. All CON has to do to falsify it is prove that things can come out of nothing without a cause or show that human minds don't exist. If CON wants to take the agnostic position and say " I don't know", then thats fine. However, he needs to demonstrate how and why I don't know either if he expects to win this debate as well as provide some sort of other explanation.
anachronist

Con

I don't think this debate needs another round, we are pretty much just going around in circles here.

If there is any unified theory of time, I would love to see it, however human beings in all their primitive cognitive abilities cannot comprehend what time is because we lack function to do so.

"My claim that time cannot be infinite is not just a valid philosophical argument. It has been demonstrated with extreme accuracy to be true."

But you said that the universe is expanding infinitely, meaning time must be infinite, and you also must assume that god is infinite if causal relationships are valid beyond the constraints of our universe, (which, as I demonstrated, is probably false, but that's not the point).

The theory of general relativity, like the BGV theorem, states only that the universe must have at one point been a singularity. After that point, it breaks down. This is University of Chicago physicist Robert M. Wald talking about the theory of general relativity in 1977 (I am aware that progress has been made since then, but the point still stands true.):

"Do we expect the theory of general relativity to break down in the extreme conditions near a space time singularity? The answer is yes. We know that on a microscopic scale, nature is governed by the laws of quantum theory. However, the principles of quantum mechanics are not incorporated into general relativity. Hence, we do not believe that general relativity can be a true, final theory of nature. Classical mechanics (that is, Newton's laws of motion) provides us with an accurate description of the motion of macroscopic bodies, but it breaks down when we attempt to apply it on atomic distance scales. In a similar manner, we believe that general relativity provides an accurate description of our universe under all but the most extreme circumstances. However, near the big bang singularity when the scale factor a goes to zero and the density and curvature become infinite, we expect general relativity to break down. What is the new, fundamental theory of nature which incorporates the principles of both general relativity and quantum theory? What does this theory say about spacetime singularities? Even the most optimistic theorist can only hope for the beginning of an answer to these questions within the foreseeable future."

So, you cannot use BVG theorem or general relativity to prove that the universe had a beginning. And even if you could, that does not mean there is no other natural explanation.

" CON forgot to address the other part of the argument in round 2 about the nature of this cause that was related and connected to the claim that cause and effect could be simultaneous."

Yes I did, and I pointed out that the example is invalid in respect to your postulation that the universe had a beginning, as it implies the ball and pillow have always existed, but you say the universe had a beginning. Which is it?

"God who is supposed to be an immaterial mind"

How can a mind be immaterial? We know that the mind is a product of biological processes involving chemical reactions and electrical activity. If a mind was "immaterial" it would not be a mind. It seems to me you are just trying to make out that your god is completely undetectable by science so he can't be disproven. If it was possible to have any sort of consciousness without some form of brain, It would be completely beyond comprehension to us humans who occupy the material world.

"Furthermore, CON asks for explanatory power. Its simple. Human minds manifest and interact with the brain by stimulating parts of the brain through the force and virtue of its agency or causal power. I argue that the same can be said with the disembodied mind and the universe."

Well, I'm open to the idea that I am a neuron in an immensely complicated brain of a superior being, but I prefer to assume that this reality is the true reality, whatever that means.

I already addressed the whole BVG thing earlier.

"Last but not least, there no evidence of other universes."

What, you mean like there is no evidence for god?

" the BGV theorem applies to the so-called multiverse"

Why? They are different universes and so probably wont have the same physical laws.

"Again, The Law of Cause and Effect does not require that every cause must have an explanation or cause. Instead, it states that for every effect there must be a cause for it. So What I meant by about CON's requirement being arbitrary was that his requirement for an explanation of GOD was not what the law of cause and effect required and states. In fact, its not a scientific law or rule at all. CON asking me to explain where the cause came from is a purely philosophical question."

God is an effect, and therefore must have a cause, if, as you insist, the law of cause and effect applies outside the universe as we know it.

THE FINELY TUNED UNIVERSE

Really, this one has been debunked so many times I'm sad to see such an articulate person using such a weak and outdated argument.

"I am providing a scientific explanation"

No, no you are not, you are twisting scientific and philosophical principles to support a conclusion you have already made. You haven't provided a proper hypothesis, or a test to verify it. There is a reason that there is no scientific theory involving god. There is no point making untestable hypothesis about things we don't yet understand, in the context of physical laws we can't even begin to comprehend.

"All CON has to do to falsify it is prove that things can come out of nothing without a cause or show that human minds don't exist."

No, no I don't. And anyway, it is you who believes something can come out of nothing, lets not get mixed up here. And I have no proof your mind exists, I only know that mine does in some way, be it only in a computer program of the dream of an alien being.

Yes, as I have already mentioned, I go with the current scientific answer of "I don't know". I am not sure what exactly you believe, but you only argue for a deistic god, not a theistic one. I remain in my scientific, philosophical naturalism approach to everything. All I expect from this debate is to show that making guesses about things we can't know or understand is pointless.


Debate Round No. 4
kenballer

Pro

THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE

"The theory of general relativity, like the BGV theorem, states only that the universe must have at one point been a singularity. "

Well first off, CON is confusing the the theory of general relativity (Einstein created) which does NOT include quantum gravity with the Space-Time Theorem of General Relativity ( Hawking and Penrose) which does include quantum gravity. According to the Hartle-Hawking's model, The Space-time theorem still shows a beginning from a single point it just would not be a singularity of infinite density .

Second, the BVG theorem does not assume Einsteins equations. Thus, their conclusion still holds even when we don't have a complete quantum theory of gravity of the early universe according to the BVG theorem.

"Why? They are different universes and so probably wont have the same physical 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.

However, Even if for the sake argument CON could create a way to avoid theorem without being logically incoherent, these universes (as CON even alluded to) cannot and would not be operating under the same principles of nature. This means CON would end up just making another metaphysical claim only his would be done to an infinite degree. By invoking an infinite number of universes with different laws of nature just to explain our universe, it would not only be unfalsifiable but violate Occam's razor to the highest degree. This is not the case with God Hypothesis making it the best explanation.

THE CAUSE OF THE UNIVERSE

CON has decided to claim things I did not say in this section. I never said that the universe is expanding infinitely but said that the universe will expand eternally into the FUTURE. Also, my claim that casual relationships are valid beyond the constraints of our universe was made in part of another claim involving the causal power of human's dimensionless mind. I admit that cause/effect occuring within the same moment claim would only be valid unless substance dualism is true which I do show below.

God who is supposed to be an immaterial mind would have the power to cause material effects simultaneously in time at will the same way human beings immaterial minds can cause material effects in time at will through the brain.
CON's point's out that we don't have any examples of disembodied minds making it incomprehensible. However, what CON does not realize is that the totality of my evidence is me providing newly found knowledge of a disembodied mind which would make it comprehensible. The other part of CON's objection was to presuppose that the mind and brain are identical. Since my argument that cause and effect can be simultaneous based on the assumption that human minds are immaterial, this objection of his is important to respond to more meticulously:

SUBSTANCE DUALISM

First, "The argument that we do not understand how a soul interacts with a physical body, appears to be based on an appeal to our ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam). For it assumes if we do not know "how" A causes B, especially if the two consist of different properties, that it is not reasonable to believe the two can interact. Yet, as Craig and Moreland point out, a tack can be moved by a magnetic field, and gravity acts on a planet millions of miles away.26 Gravitational forces and magnetic fields appear to have very different properties to the solid and spatially located entities they affect, and although we may not understand "how" such interaction takes place, it nonetheless does—just as we are alert to causation between the mind and body. "

Second, What neuroscience has done is provide us with a more detailed picture of how the human mind is influenced by certain events in the brain. It has not changed the general nature of that picture. The fact that much of what happens in our minds is influenced by what happens in our bodies was something known by the first self-conscious human beings.

However, not everything that goes on in our minds is causally determined by what goes on in our bodies. Sometimes what goes on in our bodies is a result of what goes on in our minds. For example, the movements of my fingers as I type this response is ultimately produced my mental events or Con choosing to accept my debate topic led to an intention to type up a response. Here we have mental-to-physical causation. What explains both this choice of mine and the physical events in my body that are ultimately produced by this choice? The explanation is the purpose that I provide an answer to your question. A purposeful explanation is a teleological explanation.

When CON points out that chemical reactions causes people to choose. 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, so this is a logical fallacy on CON's part.

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.

Just because chemical reactions influences choices does not mean they also produce choices. There is a difference. "It has been observed that when a part of one's brain is touched with an electrode, it may cause a mental experience such as a memory to occur. Some might classify this as evidence that mental states are reducible to physical states, yet this only demonstrates that the mind is causally connected to the brain and not that they are identical. Therefore, the distinctiveness of mental and physical properties and states argues favourably of substance dualism."

"Secondary qualities are said to consist of properties like colours, tastes, sounds, smells and textures, whereas primary qualities are properties that characterise matter such as weight, shape, size, solidity, motion. The fact that secondary qualities exist favours dualism. A strictly physical and material world arguably force us to deny them":

http://scott.brisbane.id.au...

THE FINELY TUNED UNIVERSE

CON did not make any further objections to this argument. This means my argument stands as true

In conclusion, I offered CON a chance to provide another explanation when he himself said that " it does not mean there is no other explanation", but yet he provided no such thing. Therefore, I urge a PRO vote.
anachronist

Con

Sorry, my bad with the general relativity thing.

"If the expansion rate of any universe is greater than 0, the universe began."

You have completely ignored the point I made in a previous round, the BVG theorem proves that expansion had a beginning, not the universe.

" it would not only be unfalsifiable but violate Occam's razor to the highest degree."

Did you forget which side you are arguing? How can anyone falsify something that doesn't exist within observable reality, and can't be measured, quantified or understood? How could I possibly disprove a transcendent deist god? And violates occam's razor? How many assumtions does your model make? A theistic god, to some extent can be shown to be false (suffering, prayer doesn't work etc etc), but a deistic god? There's no way to prove it wrong.

"I never said that the universe is expanding infinitely but said that the universe will expand eternally into the FUTURE."

If something is expanding eternally, then it is expanding infinitely. If I count unceasingly eternally into the future, what number will I get to? I won't, I will be counting infinitely (unless infinity doesn't exist).



DUALISM

Come on, you said you'd argue from a scientific standpoint. But, if you want to ignore science and throw around fanciful notions like "souls" then please don't claim you are being "scientific". Lets get this straight:

There is no evidence at all for "souls", at least not of the airy fairy spiritual kind.

Right, you make the point that, not all correlation is causation. Rightly said, and that is why scientists conduct hundreds of experiments to make sure their results are reliable, accurate, precise and reproducable.

We know for instance that, when we think about certain things, certain areas of our brain increase in activity. We also know that by reversal, stimulating certain areas of the brain cause certain thoughts to occur. We also know that emotions are chemical reactions in the brain, for example, increasing the level of dopamine in one's brain will make them feel happy and relaxed, and a lack of serotonin causes depression.
Another strong case against dualism is that, when our brains are changed, our minds change too. That is what happens when you get brain damage through head trauma, your brain can no longer function meaning that your mental proccesses are impaired.
Let us also consider epilepsy, a condition whereby certain stimulus to the brain causes adverse reaction in the sufferer. (See this article about split brain on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org...)

So changing the brain affects a person's entire personality, thoughts and perception. So where does the soul fit in? To read a more eloquently written account of why dualism is false, check this out: http://www.alternet.org...

Your "but correlation isn't causation" proves to be just clutching at straws. You'll cling to science when you think it supports your beliefs, like the space-time theorem or the BVG theorem, but you are happy to ignore over 50 years of extensive research in neurobiology and psychology that doesn't support your belief.

FINELY TUNED UNIVERSE

Really, I provided no objections? I strongly urge you to rewatch those two videos I attatched that refute the entire "finely tuned universe" thing.



"In conclusion, I offered CON a chance to provide another explanation when he himself said that " it does not mean there is no other explanation", but yet he provided no such thing. Therefore, I urge a PRO vote."

Oh and there's me thinking that you have the burden of proof!







Don't get me wrong, I'd love it if the universe was created by a bunch of (awesome) gods who designed us all for a purpose and gifted us with a soul which is a portal to the spirit world. I wish I lived in middle earth. Unfourtunately, It seems that everything probably has a natural explanation, and we have no more direction in life than a rolling stone.

That said, it doesn't make life not worth living if there is no purpose, it's still fun! There's drugs and music and sex and books and science and Lord Of The Rings movies, and ultimately, our purpose is to make everybodies short time on Earth as good as possible.

Thank you for a thought provoking debate.




Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Mrparkers 4 years ago
Mrparkers
Pro gave himself an extremely difficult burden of proof by saying that he had to demonstrate that the God hypothesis was the best SCIENTIFIC explanation for the origin of the universe. The keyword there is science, because Pro used very little science at all. In order for a scientific hypothesis to be considered valid, it needs to follow the scientific method and have measurable and empirical evidence supporting it. Con talked about this in round 4.

Con turned Occam's razor against Pro by saying that Pro's explanation for the universe was actually more complicated, and later on pointed out that Occam's razor would cut out all parts of Pro's hypothesis that can't be observed (basically all of it), so that point flows throw for Con's side.

Pro claimed "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", but didn't actually bridge that gap, and he basically assumed that was true for the entirety of the debate.

All in all, I gave Con arguments because Pro failed to meet the abnormally large burden of proof he set for himself (if Pro had removed the word "scientific" from the resolution, he would have won), I gave sources to Con because he had better sources in support of his arguments, but I gave conduct to Pro because he was a lot more formal with his arguments than Con was.

Good debate, I'd love to debate this same topic with Pro and take the Con side.
Posted by stubs 4 years ago
stubs
Occams razor was defended poorly by Con. No explanation is not simpler than the God explanation.
Posted by elvroin_vonn_trazem 4 years ago
elvroin_vonn_trazem
In the comments it should be acceptable to post something more philosophical than scientific.

So, the most fundamental philosophical Question is, "Why is there *something* and not *nothing*?"

Note that even God qualifies as "something".

There appears to be a good answer to that Question. "Imagine that there is indeed Nothing. What is there to *prevent* Something from beginning to exist? *Nothing*!"

In the realm of Quantum Mechanics it has been discovered that the physical universe has a sort of "underlayer" which is sometimes called "the quantum foam". Particles of matter and energy are constantly popping into temporary existence out of Nothing, and then vanishing again.

It is just about *exactly* matching the Answer to that philosophical Question....
Posted by Meatros 4 years ago
Meatros
Why was I challenged to this?
Posted by brian_eggleston 4 years ago
brian_eggleston
Can we have fewer rounds?
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 4 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Sorry, I don't have enough time for a 5 round debate. Maybe some other time.
Posted by Lordknukle 4 years ago
Lordknukle
Do you know how much sh!t I give about religion and the like?

Zero.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
kenballeranachronistTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I'd put more depth into this, but I'd just reiterate what parkers said. ken said he wouldn't use philosophical arguments, specifically excluding W.L.Craig, but every argument he used was used by W.L.Craig, and as a philosophical argument no less. There was too little science to class PRO as making a scientific explanation, therefore CON has succeeded in the debate.
Vote Placed by Mrparkers 4 years ago
Mrparkers
kenballeranachronistTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments