The Instigator
kenballer
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Con (against)
Winning
4 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...
larztheloser
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 863 times Debate No: 22281
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
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. 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.
larztheloser

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for challenging me to this interesting topic.

If I may be so bold, allow me to define science as (from Wikipedia) "a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe." There are two key concepts here, testability and knowledge. Testability means that to be scientific, there needs to be a test for whether or not God exists that God doesn't fail. Knowledge was famously defined by Plato as "justfied true belief". It's not enough for God to be a belief - to be scientific, there needs to be a justification for why God is true. This implies that God must not only fail to fail the God-test to be scientific - God must actually pass. It is my contention that there is no convenient God-test, and even if there was, then God would probably fail it.

Now that we both know where the other debater stands, let the debate begin!
Debate Round No. 1
kenballer

Pro

THE GOD HYPOTHESIS

1. Philosophically, its one thing to concieve of an infinite set of causes, but its another thing to translate it into reality. For instance, a perfect circle is mathematically possible but actually drawing a perfect circle in general is impossible.On a quantitative level, This shows that an infinite set can only exist in the mind or in the realm of mathematics not in reality, and there cannot ,quantitatively, be an infinite regress or set of causes. There has to be an uncaused first cause.

On a qualitative level, this first cause would have to be limitless by nature and infinite for it to be absolute. However, this first cause could not be the universe itself because if there was an infinite number of past events, we would have never of gotten here. 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.

Since Time is part of the universe, then it follows that if time was infinite we would have never of gotten here in the first place. Thus, since the first cause could not be the universe, it must be some entity that is not made up of the Universe that created it and 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, the cause for the effect could still be natural or the universe is eternal. This would completely negate and falsify the God hypothesis entirely. CON can either do this or do it the hard way and falsify each of my claims I will make about the hypothesis.

THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE

3. Now, its time to discover the properties and provide evidence of this cause (i.e. God Hypothesis):

A. The Space-Time Theorem of General Relativity , which was co-authored by Hawkings and Penrose 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.

In addition, 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. 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 or we can assume and verify a cause. This means the universe coming into existence out of nothing would be the effect ,therefore, we can assume a cause.
However, it also means 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 that can possibly fit such a description of an immaterial, omnipresent, and eternal entity: either an abstract object (like a number) or a disembodied mind (or consciousness). However, abstract objects do not stand in casual relationships. For instance, the number 9 cannot do anything.

Only an unembodied mind would stand in causality since minds are metaphysical and have free will. Otherwise, it would be impossible to explain how you can get a temporal effect with a beginning from an eternal cause. If the cause is there, then the effect would have to be there once the initial conditions of the effect are given.

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

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. In addition, these perfectly calibrated laws and constants to allow the existence of intelligent life came into being right after the big bang and did not change throughout the 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 intelligent design as the possible explanation.

Moreover, 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 is semi-infinite in the future, 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 would be infinite. Thus, the attribute of this cause must be omniscience.

ALL-POWERFUL

D. Our universe was created out of nothing perfectly fine-tuned to support life from the very beginning. This is the definition of a miracle which is something that defies the laws of physics. Thus, the attribute of this cause must be omni-potent.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORTING EVIDENCE

E. Since this creator had to have been eternal and intelligent for creating an inconceivably complex universe, we have reason to believe that its the same source that created life and complex life forms as well.

Life could not and did not exist around the time the singularity expanded and "life comes from life" , according to existing data. In addition, all our empirical oberservations shows only intelligent life creating other intelligent life. There is no empirical evidence of an unguided process showing simple life forms becoming or creating complex life forms. Thus, there had to have been an eternal life force that exist outside of space and time who freely chose to infuse life, and intelligently design life forms from simple to complex on Earth.

OCCAM'S RAZOR

4. The God Hypothesis does not violate Occam's Razor, which is the simplest explanation should always be favored over the complex ones or needlessly multiplying causes is unnecessary. The reason why the God Hypothesis is the simplest explanation compared to the rest is because its a rational hypothesis that is also supported and verified by many points of data as I demonstrated earlier. It postulates only one cause, its falsifiable and you can test it along with make predictions.
larztheloser

Con

Thank you pro. That was a very long explanation of a very simple argument. Let me break it down for everybody:

A1. Nothing is infinite in reality
A2. Therefore time must have been "begun"

From this con makes a number of assertions about the thing that was the cause:

B1. Since it created a time dimension, it cannot exist in time dimension
B2. Since it created space dimensions, it cannot exist in space dimensions
B3. Since it has no dimensionality, it must be changeless
B4. It cannot be an abstraction of our reality because they never cause anything
B5. If it's not an abstraction it must be a disembodied mind
B6. Since the universe is pretty good for human survival, it must be omniscient
B7. Since all this defies the laws of physics and biology, it must be omnipotent

I will use my alternative series of identifiers to help nut out the issues where my opponent has erred. Remember, for the God Hypothesis to stand, ALL of these (A1, A2, and B1-7) have to hold true. Even if I prove one of these wrong the motion falls.

A1. Nothing is infinite in reality
Remember how I said science was testable? If my opponent's case is that nobody has ever drawn a perfect circle, that's not a test for whether a perfect circle can exist in reality. That's a lack of observational data. We are quite sure that some things are infinite, however. There is no limit to the divisibility of time or space - they are not digital dimensions, just as there is no limit to Chuck Norris' awesomeness. According the Godel's Theorem, this hypothesis (of divisibility-based infinities) cannot be proven or disproven, so my opponent is just making assertions and calling it "scientific". However, the philosopher Zeno of Elea has shown that not having infinite sets is absurd in reality, and these absurdities have never been fully resolved. For instance, to get to one place, we first need to go half way, and then half of the remaining distance, and then half of the remaining distance, ad infinitum. If there was a limit to how far an infinite set can go, we'd never arrive at our destination. With my opponent's light-switch example, I invite my opponent to try to test that scientifically by flicking a light switch on and off infinite times. If he has not done so already, then I call him unscientific. If he has, I ask that he report the results of his experiment after infinite flicks of the light switch.

A2. Therefore time must have been "begun"
Even if time were not infinite (which is an absurd unscientific assertion) then surely God cannot be infinite. My opponent's argument is that the God Hypothesis is true, and that therefore God is real, and that therefore God is a part of reality. But if God is an uncaused first cause, then that implies that it is possible for uncaused things to occur in reality. Therefore, time need not have been begun any more than God need have been begun.

B1. Since it created a time dimension, it cannot exist in time dimension
Again, this has not been scientifically validated. How would you know that you hadn't created a time dimension somewhere else in the multiverse during lunch yesterday? Unless you have travelled to every corner of the multiverse to check, and you could somehow ascertain exactly what causes a time dimension to be created, this is another wild assertion.

B2. Since it created space dimensions, it cannot exist in space dimensions
Same as B1, but for space instead of time. It's still an unscientific assertion.

B3. Since it has no dimensionality, it must be changeless
Again, show me the proof. Just because the only way we can change is by moving in dimensions, does not mean that something not bound by dimensions cannot possibly change. That's making an assumption based on something you haven't tested scientifically, which is because you can't test it since you don't have anything without dimensionality to test it on.

B4. It cannot be an abstraction of our reality because they never cause anything
If the number nine did not exist, the world would be very different. Abstractions are very powerful, so the claim that they never cause anything is quite absurd. But how is "God" not an abstraction? It is, after all, a concept we use to help us make sense of the world - just as we use numbers, letters or ideas to help us make sense of the world. God perfectly fits the idea of an abstraction just as much as it fits the idea of a disembodied mind.

B5. If it's not an abstraction it must be a disembodied mind
Again, can you prove these are the only two candidates? Can you prove that a disembodied mind is even possible? Have you ever met one and proved its existance scientifically? We know abstractions exist, but we can't prove disembodied minds, so this whole concept is unscientific. Why not a disembodied artery or mammoth hair? Can you prove that these cannot create universes, in their disembodied forms?

B6. Since the universe is pretty good for human survival, it must be omniscient
Just because you know how to make universes doesn't mean you're omniscient. Steven Hawking, whom you cited, obviously knows all this stuff about what's required for a universe to work - to even more decimal places than our universe is correct, in fact - but that does not make Steven Hawking omniscient.

B7. Since all this defies the laws of physics and biology, it must be omnipotent
Sorry, but claiming to defy the laws of science does not make you omnipotent. It makes you unscientific. Since there is no scientific basis for any of this stuff, the God hypothesis cannot be scientifically proven. If God was consistant with the laws of science, that would make him scientific, but it still wouldn't make him omnipotent. To prove omnipotence, God would need to show he can do ANYTHING, not just break particular laws of nature.

Why God would probably fail a God-test
You'll note that my opponent doesn't actually provide a proper test for God's existance - it's all a pile of untested and unscientific assertions about the nature of the universe pointing to the likelihood of the God-hypothesis under Occam's Razor (which is more like a generalisation than a way to uncover the right answer). But assume for a moment one could easily prove whether God existed or not. I believe it is much more likely that the proof would show God does not exist than that he does.

These are the essential qualities for God, according to my opponent:
1. Omnipotent
2. At least partially omnibenevolent (because he fine-tuned the universe for us and created us)
3. Omniscient
4. The Creator
5. Perfectly Free
6. Eternally existing
7. Personal ("the cause of the universe is a personal disembodied mind")

Such a God has the following contradictions, among others:
A. The problem of evil - why would an all-loving, knowing and powerful God permit suffering to go on?
B. The problem of loving too much - God is omnibenevolent, thus not perfectly free to do evil.
C. We know personal relationships must depend on some kind of similarity in sociology, but God is almost the opposite of us and all our limitations.
D. Omnipotence paradox - can God create a rock even he can't lift?
E. Why create this universe, and not one with less suffering?
F. "Eternally existing" makes no sense without time.

So it is unlikely that a God would exist given the number of logical paradoxes and impossible implications of that alternative. It's far more likely that God does not exist. Therefore, even if there was some way to determine if God was real, the outcome of that determination would almost certainly be that God is not real.

I look forward to reading my opponent's rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 2
kenballer

Pro

REBUTTALS

1. "A1. Nothing is infinite in reality"

I want the AUDIENCE along with my opponent to understand and be reminded by the title of the debate. The whole point of my presentation was to provide the best SCIENTIFIC explanation NOT philosophical one for the origins of existence. I was not using ,on its own merits, the first cause argument as an actual argument for God's existence. I was using it to establish an hypothesis that can be translated within the physical world, which is what the scientific method would require, that would eventually show that the God hypothesis is the best explanation for origins of the universe.

This is why i specifically said right from the start that "PHILOSOPHICALLY, its one thing to concieve of an infinite set of causes.." and its also why my explanation was so long. I was following and letting the evidence speak for itself and then make the conclusion from the interpretation of the evidence. This is what scientist do not philosophers.

I NEVER said that infinities don't exist. I said that an infinite quantity of something COULD NOT exist in REALITY because Every attempt to translate an infinite number of causes into the real world have produced contradictory results. I did not say they DO NOT exist as if its an brute fact that has been proven to be true for the physical and metaphysical world. There is a difference.

Now as far as the existence of infinities on a qualitative level, of course they would have to be something that exist forever in some fashion. Either the universe is eternal and infinite or the God Hypothesis. I have already demonstrated that the universe could not be infinite or eternal, but apparently I have not been as clear.

2. "A2. Therefore time must have been "begun"

What I am saying is that the cause would not necessarily be a part of reality but becomes a part of reality by freely choosing to manifest itself in reality at the moment of creation. This is whats called by philosophers as "agent causation", where a cause would be able to bring about new effects without any prior determining conditions by virtue of its agency. Again, its the best way to explain the data and understand why an eternal cause can produce a finite effect.

3."B1. Since it created a time dimension, it cannot exist in time dimension"

CON must have not fully read my response in round 2. I said even IF we are just a tiny part of a so-called "multi-verse" for the sake argument, 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. 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.

Its very simple: If u have an expansion greater than 0, the universe began. Period.

4."B3. Since it has no dimensionality, it must be changeless

What CON does not realize is that by virtue of acknowledging the existence of abstract objects which are themselves timeless and changeless entities, he ends up verifying and accepting that there are things that are dimensionless and don't change. 2+2= 4 is a abstract object that's a necessary truth that does not change and we know it does not because we use it in science. In fact, its intrinsic to science. Minds are also abstract and are known to be dimensionless according to logic and experience.

5."B4. It cannot be an abstraction of our reality because they never cause anything"

I explained this already. I did argue that GOD is a metaphysical entity along with abstract objects like numbers. The difference is that abstract objects don't stand in causal relationships by virtue of its definition. If they did stand in casuality, then they would not be considered abstract objects by definition but Disembodied minds.

6. "B5. If it's not an abstraction it must be a disembodied mind

Well first off, I NEVER said that abstract objects and a disembodied mind were the only two possible explanation. What I actually said was that they were the only two candidates that CAN possibly "fit the description" of an immaterial, changless, timeless,etc. entity. I did not make an absolute claim. I explained already that Only an unembodied mind by definition would stand in causality since minds are metaphysical and have free will.

Now, CON argues that we don't have evidence of minds operating without a brain. Well thats the point of this whole debate, its about me providing evidence of a disembodied mind.

7."B6. Since the universe is pretty good for human survival, it must be omniscient"

I think CON means to say making a supremely finely-tuned universe to allow the existence of life in general not human life or any kind of universe. I did not explain the data as evidence of omniscient but as evidence of intelligent design or intelliegence, which CON apparently accepts as true since he mentions Steven Hawkings another intelligent being.

The conclusion of omniscient came from another source of evidence by virtue of the universe being semi-infinite into the future as its been proven by the BGV theorem and separately with the first law of thermodynamics. Everyone can just read in response 2 to see it again.

8. B7." Since all this defies the laws of physics and biology, it must be omnipotent"

I apologize to the audience. I did not mean to say it defies the laws of physics in terms of actually breaking them empirically or directly. I meant to say that it created the laws of physics out of nothing (which can be viewed as defying them). This is something that would be considered impossible because there is no example of an actual "nothing" in reality and it would be something that is outside of human experience and knowledge.Therefore, It would be like creating a round square, an example of something or action that could not exist in reality thereby showing he can do anything.

9."A. The problem of evil - why would an all-loving, knowing and powerful God permit suffering to go on?"

Well first, CON would have to define what evil is to claim the existence of evil. Its something I doubt he can do based on his position. According to philosophy, God created us with the same kind of free will he has within himself. Since God would be the first cause or absolute, anything that is contrary to God's nature of perfect moral goodness would be considered evil. If people did not know what evil is, they would not know what good is in the process. Thus, God would not be able to demonstrate love fully or at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of creating us, which is to establish a personal relationship like any and every other personal agent may intrinsically want.

10. "B. The problem of loving too much - God is omnibenevolent, thus not perfectly free to do evil."

GOD can do anything within his own nature according to the rules of logic. According to law of identity, "something is what it is". God would have the attribute of all-powerful as a part of his identity by definition. If God committed an immoral act, he would not be considered a moral person in the process. Thus, I don't see how this is a logical paradox.

Unfortunately, I do not have enough room to respond to the rest of what CON said, so I will do so in the next round.
larztheloser

Con

A1. Nothing is infinite in reality
My opponent accused me of taking a philosophical approach to this question. This is false. My rebuttal, if you refer back to last round, was that the claim was unscientific because he'd never tested whether something was infinite in reality. If you look back to round one, I showed that science must be testable. I then went on to show that the reason he'd never tested it is that it can't be tested, thanks to the proof given by Godel's Theorem, so really any claim about whether infinity is possible or not is nothing but assertion. I then went even further, showing that philosophers have proven that scientific observations about the world, such as the fact movement happens, are inconsistent with the hypothesis that nothing is infinite in reality. That's not a philosophical assertion, that's a scientific fact that just happens to have been first stated by a philosopher. None of this analysis has been rebutted. I'm sorry that I have to repeat myself.

He then goes on to say that "every attempt to translate an infinite number of causes into the real world have produced contradictory results". The reason he hasn't cited any such attempts thus far is because there are none. My opponent needs to actually show us the scientific evidence behind his assertions, not just assert.

Next he claims "Either the universe is eternal and infinite or the God Hypothesis." There are three problems with this statement. First, there's no reason why a finite universe in space must have been created at a finite point in time. Second, that would be assuming all of your other points hold true also, because the God hypothesis only works if you can prove the creator of the universe must be your conception of God, with science. Even then, you'd still have to grapple with the existance of something eternal, which your own science otherwise "proves" to be impossible - God himself.

A2. Therefore time must have been "begun"
My opponent says "What I am saying is that the cause would not necessarily be a part of reality but becomes a part of reality by freely choosing to manifest itself in reality at the moment of creation." Let me get this straight - God is not real, but at the moment of creation this thing that is not real decided to become real for an instant for the purposes of creating a universe? Firstly, that's absurd. Secondly, now you're clearly violating Occam's Razor. Thirdly, most importantly, if God can create a universe in that way, why can't the number nine? Why can God randomly manifest itself and no other non-real abstract concept can? Finally, do you have any scientific proof that a non-real thing can become real? If so, I'd like to hear it. If not, stop making bizarre assertions.

B1. Since it created a time dimension, it cannot exist in time dimension
My opponent raises a fair point that the multiverse must have come into existence too (assuming the multiverse is expanding, which is a very wild assumption since we have no idea whether a multiverse even exists). The problem is that a universe is not the only place a time dimension can exist. Our ideas evolve and in that sense have a constructed dimensionality, for example. Universes are not defined by having dimensions - indeed, since we only really know one, they're hard to define at all. If you knew nothing but red balloons, how could you test whether red is only part of balloons or whether there are other items that are also red? My contention is that time, like the color red, is not limited to universes, like balloons. Since you can't disprove this or any other alternative scientifically, your claim is unscientific.

B3. Since it has no dimensionality, it must be changeless
I agree that 2+2=4. I disagree about two things. First, I disagree that it is the lack of dimensionality that makes this equation hold constant over time. Indeed the equation would make no sense if there was no matter or time, for "two" is a descriptor of quantity, nothing more. Second, while I agree that science uses such mathematics as an axiom, I disagree that it can be scientifically validated. That would be using science to validate science, which is arguing in a circle. I also disagree that minds are dimensionless. If you look at a CAT scan of a brain, you'll see that it appears. If you apply electric charges to various areas of the brain, you trigger memories and thought processes. That's not abstract, that's what science tells us. My opponent has to show his scientific evidence that minds are dimensionless. If he does not, he's making stuff up.

B4. It cannot be an abstraction of our reality because they never cause anything
First, my opponent is making up definitions. A disembodied mind is a type of abstract object because you blatently made up the concept for the purposes of this debate. There is no scientific evidence that such a thing exists. Second, I proved that nine does cause something without meeting my opponent's definition of a disembodied mind - it doesn't need to directly "cause" anything to have an impact on the world. My opponent did not rebut this point. Third, what about my point about disembodied mammoth hairs? I thought that deserved a response.

B5. If it's not an abstraction it must be a disembodied mind
My opponent begins with this wild statement: "I NEVER said that abstract objects and a disembodied mind were the only two possible explanation." In other words, he's going to be even more vague with his reasoning for the purposes of proving probably the most specific thing that does (not) exist. He goes on to repeat that "Only an unembodied mind by definition would stand in causality since minds are metaphysical and have free will", both of which I ignored because he never scientifically justified them. Does he have any proof that minds are metaphysical? Does he have any proof that minds have actual free will, beyond the illusion thereof? There are no scientific answers to these questions, mostly because metaphysics is not a science. Distracting from the resolution like that doesn't win you the point.

He finally says that the aim of the debate is to prove that disembodied minds can exist. No, it's to prove that God is likely to have created the universe. Even if God did exist, that still doesn't mean he created the universe. Moreover, I accuse him of creating a tautology. He is arguing that a disembodied mind exists, by claiming that since the universe was a product of free will (a silly assumption he makes), it must have been made by a disembodied mind. In other words, to prove a disembodied mind exists, he starts from the assumption that a disembodied mind existed to create the universe. That's arguing in a circle.

B6. Since the universe is pretty good for human survival, it must be omniscient
My opponent does not engage with my point - Steven Hawking knows just as much as God according to my opponent.

B7. Since all this defies the laws of physics and biology, it must be omnipotent
"there is no example of an actual "nothing" in reality and it would be something that is outside of human experience and knowledge" - what do you call outer space?
"It would be like creating a round square" - If you thought heavier than air flight was impossible (which a lot of experts did for a very long time), and you saw a 747 fly by, would you call the pilots omniscient Gods just because they did one thing you thought was impossible?

A. The problem of evil
My opponent raises a very good point - evil is subjective. What I consider evil is probably not what you consider evil. It follows, then, that good is also subjective, as the opposite of evil. It follows therefore that God cannot be objectively "good" as my opponent claims. Therefore he is not benevolent.

B. The problem of loving too much
This is a logical paradox because my opponent never addresses how God can have free will under the condition of omnibenevolence. If there's only one objectively "good" choice, then your will is not "free".
Debate Round No. 3
kenballer

Pro

1. A1. Nothing is infinite in reality

I understand what CON's main objection is now. Let me make clear as to what I was doing in round 2 to the audience. I was using inductive method of reasoning regarding evidence for the God Hypothesis. It is the form of logic that is most characteristic of the scientific method itself, because it moves from the particulars of individual observation to the elucidation of general physical patterns.

In other words, 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, which can only be detected through indirect manners in order to learn about its nature.

However, the example that I would like to use to compare the God hypothesis is our understanding of Gravity. Even though gravity itself is hard to define, we can't fully determine its mechanism or have any direct evidence of it, we still know it exists because this force called gravity manifests itself in reality (planetary orbits, masses falling to ground, etc) there by providing indirect evidence of its existence.

As I said before, If the cause is there, then the effect would have to be there once the initial conditions of the effect are given. Therefore, Direct empirical evidence for the cause is not required in science as CON wants you to believe because Gravity as well as many other examples, do not provide direct evidence of its existence and are still taken as brute facts .

2. F. "Eternally existing" makes no sense without time.

On the contrary, I am afraid its the other way around. Eternity does not make sense WITH time.
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. This is why if time was infinite we would have never of gotten here at this point and I gave an example of this in response 2. Therefore, there would be no such thing as Time in the first place if it was eternal. Instead, there would only be one moment of time, which is referred to as the "NOW" . This is called the B-theory of time. it implies that time is just a concept or an illusion of human conscious. CON is essentially arguing this when he says time is infinite.

There is a fundamental problem with this notion of time. Time is not just a concept as CON implies, but an actual concrete thing. According to science, We know that time is a function of space; 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.

Moreoever, My claim that time cannot be infinite is not just a philosophical assertion or a valid argument. It has been demonstrated with extreme accuracy to be true. The Space-Time Theorem of General Relativity clearly stating that space, time, and matter/energy all had a concrete beginning along with the BGV theroem . Even if CON wants to invoke the "multiverse", the BGV theorem would apply to this as well. Thus, what CON is arguing is moot in the face of evidence, especially when my approach is scientific in nature not philosophical. Now, that being said, CON is challenging a related but separate claim I made about inferring an eternal cause that is not the universe based on this, in the following argument....

3. A2. Therefore time must have been "begun"

If CON is arguing that the causal principle only operates "temporally" between "temporally" related entities, then he is assuming a big burden of proof. There's no reason why we can't have a cause exist simultaneously with the effect. 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. Thus, there's simply basis to claim that the cause has to exist prior to the effect. The cause and effect could simply be simultaneous in this situation.

Now, that being said, 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 the moment or time in which God caused the universe to come into being is the moment the universe came into being making the cause and effect simultaneous .

4. B1. Since it created a time dimension, it cannot exist in time dimension

Again, We know that time is more than just a concept but a concrete thing that is a function of space; this has been demonstrated. We also have evidence in terms of the space-time and BGV theorem that marks the beginning of time which encompasses the universe since it cannot exist without Time. This means if there were other universes or places, they could not have been operating under the same principles of nature.

Therefore, CON is just making another metaphysical claim only his is 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.

5. B4. It cannot be an abstraction of our reality because they never cause anything

CON is equating the substance or behavior that is displayed when observing brains to mental processes or states that happen in your mind like when he equates a disembodied hair with a mind. Just because you can trigger memories and thought processes within your brain does not mean other people can actually see thoughts within your mind in real time. CON cannot just make a wild assertion like this and make me prove it. The onus is on him to demonstrate this category mistake on his part not me.

6. B5. If it's not an abstraction it must be a disembodied mind

CON is attempting to make it seem like that only evidence apart from reason is valid in science when he ask me whether I have proof of minds being metaphysical. Let me make something clear to the audience. The claims that I make about metaphysical things are obviously based on reason because they can only be philosophically confirmed through reason by virtue of its definition of being metaphysical and not physical.

Moreover, It is true that you cannot be purely or primarily philosophical when making any kind of argument in the scientific field, but it goes both ways. Evidence can trump reason based facts. However, there is and has to be some type of reasonable standard of logic. Science would become blind and ,in the process, unscientific if this was not the case. Also, I NEVER said the debate was about me proving brainless minds exist but to provide evidence of them. The God hypothesis is the name I chose for the reason I explained in round 2, so its about me providing proof of a cause called God according to reason and evidence.

7. B6. Since the universe is pretty good for human survival, it must be omniscient

Again, I was claiming that the finely tuned laws were reference of intelligence ,which is not the same thing as knowledge. I made an additional argument for omniscient in round 2 that CON did not address.

I am not going to respond to CON's other objections he raised because I either addressed them already, were not consistent with the debate topic, and I just ran out of space.

By virtue of CON failing to falsify the God hypothesis from the outline I gave earlier, I urge a PRO vote
larztheloser

Con

I thank my opponent for having had this debate with me. I should note that my opponent has dropped points B2, B3, B7, A and B. He has also refused to engage with points C, D and E. That's five great arguments I made that my opponent either dropped or didn't respond to, and several of his own points he dropped (remember, all of my opponent's points need to stand for the motion to hold). I answered all of my opponent's contentions - it would have been nice of my opponent to afford my contentions the same respect - I had to work around space limitations too. Asserting they're not consistant with the topic isn't exactly fair unless you can show how they aren't, and saying you addressed them already does not mean you addressed my rebuttal, which by the way was very good.

In this round I will provide short reasons why I have won each point.

A1. Nothing is infinite in reality
The induction my opponent uses to arrive at this absurd conclusion is twice wrong. First it's wrong because the conclusion is inconsistant with scientific observations, which violates the inductive method. Second it's wrong because it implies a commonality among any given subset of reality - for instance, that a pile of apples is evidence that time is finite. That leads to the paradox of all horses being the same color (http://en.wikipedia.org...), which is a logical fallacy.

A2. Time must have been "begun"
Pro still argues that God created himself, but that nothing else can create itself, and still hasn't told us why, or provided any scientific backing to his claim. Even if it's possible for a cause and effect to be simultaneous, it still doesn't answer my argument.

B1. Since it created a time dimension, it cannot exist in time dimension
I agree that time is a concrete thing, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist conceptually. Reading back over this debate is proof of that fact. He continuously claims to have counter-evidence but doesn't show it to us. He claims that his explaination violates Occam's Razor less - the only problem is that his explaination isn't even a logically possible hypothesis, for all of the unresponded-to reasons I gave in round 2.

B4. It cannot be an abstraction of our reality because they never cause anything
Pro and I have a disagreement about how the brain works, I ask pro to prove it, and pro asserts I have the burden of proof. That's wrong. B2 was pro's point, not mine, and therefore he has the burden of proof. In addition, he brought the claim that a brain works in a given way, not me.

B5. If it's not an abstraction it must be a disembodied mind
I agree that science relies on metaphysics. I disagree that science is metaphysics, or that science can confirm metaphysics. If my opponent's claim is that science is premised on metaphysics, then using science to confirm metaphysics is really metaphysics confirming metaphysics, which is arguing in a circle. My opponent doesn't respond to that.

B6. Since the universe is pretty good for human survival, it must be omniscient
My opponent has downgraded from omniscient to intelligent. Of course the universe will look intelligent if we class ourselves as intelligent and we are a part of the universe, just as a fish will class a fishbowl as dry if he thinks he is dry. That does not mean that the universe is actually intelligently designed or that the fish is actually dry - the fact that my opponent went looking for the conclusion is confirmation bias in science, and a highly subjective idea of what "intelligent" is. Excuse the postmodernism.

F. "Eternally existing" makes no sense without time.
Pro makes this whole case (completely unrelated to my point, by the way) that time cannot be around for eternity, but eternity is a measure of time. If there was no time, there would be no eternity. If there is no eternity, God cannot be described as eternally existing. This is the contradiction I identified in round two, which hasn't been answered.

Conclusion

This debate has been a lot of fun. At the end of the day, I'm sure you'll agree (as I do) that there is some scientific evidence for God, but the question in this debate is whether God is the best explaination to fit with the data. I provided six solid reasons why God isn't even an explaination because it isn't internally consistant, and these have gone largely unanswered in the debate. In addition, I answered all nine of my opponent's points of reasoning. If points A1 or A2 don't stand, then his justification fails. If any of the B points don't stand, then God as pro has defined him is not the explaination pro advocates. My belief is that at the end of the debate, my analysis has gone much further than pro's, exposing flaws and possibilities that pro has not excluded which might present a better explaination. If at least one of pro's points fails, pro should lose the debate. If any of my points stand, pro should lose the debate. Pro had a big burden of proof to fill in this debate. Has he succeeded? That's for you to decide.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tarkovsky 4 years ago
tarkovsky
Sure sure, Pro doesn't make his case with that argument. I just thought it was interesting when I first read about the implications of the planck length, especially as I had a fascination with Zeno's paradoxes when I originally learned about those. They just seemed so irrefutably true.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
I absolutely agree. My opponent was asserting one thing, so I more or less asserted the opposite lol. The idea is that my opponent has the burden of proof, thus he has to do more than just assert. IMO (honestly) this is probably, ultimately, one of the least scientific debates I've ever had - my opponent had to find a scientific rational for God, and came up with a long list of assertions not based on science.
Posted by tarkovsky 4 years ago
tarkovsky
A scientific claim can consist either of that claim being an observational fact or belonging to a scientific theory. Gravitational lensing was predicted by The Theory of General Relativity and Einstein himself said it would probably never be observed though, today, it has been. Either way, we can borrow from the validity of Einstein's theory and from make a judgement as to whether or not there is good reason to believe such a phenomenon is possible.

Sure, it's true that saying nothing is infinite in reality is a baseless claim, but at the same time I just wanted to point out that some of your own assertions such as the unbounded divisibility of space and time are equally baseless for there is reason to believe this could be false.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
Therefore it's a bad axiom to rely on for a scientific claim.
Posted by tarkovsky 4 years ago
tarkovsky
Not yet, and also not because it's inherently impossible to prove, but because we don't have anything as of yet that can probe down to sizes that small.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
... but there remains no scientific proof.
Posted by tarkovsky 4 years ago
tarkovsky
Actually, there is serious consideration given to the idea that space and time are quantized, whose discrete units are given at the planck length.
Posted by misspelled 4 years ago
misspelled
I read the article and will do further research. I am always skeptical of one particular study so cannot draw a conclusion on only one study. I will likely agree there might not be a "particular" spot in the brain, but suggest there is a "need to believe". The study also interestingly concludes that there are both psychological and neuro-biological indicators that are species-specific to humans. * (see below)

Well that's obvious! Humans exhibit belief in a diety while other animals do not exhibit these behaviors. The study mentioned that other animals, specifically apes, have the same similar stuctures in the brain, but these structures are not used in the same way.** What does this suggest? To me, it indicates an evolutionary process. There is an ambiguity in the statements made by the author(s).

I only mention that there are things in this world that are untestable because they simply CAN'T be tested. Yet does that mean they don't exist? Some people say so.

*"Another interesting consideration relates to the evolutionary development of the brain. As the authors suggest that their findings now provide a "psychological and neuroanatomical framework for the processing of religious belief" that may be a specialised human function."

**"Kalanit Grill-Spector, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, notes that other primates share the same brain structures although it is debatable as to whether they use them in the same capacity."
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
Two answers: One: That's been disproven a few years ago (http://neurowhoa.blogspot.co.nz...)

Two: My argument is NOT that God does not exist. My argument is that God is a faith-based belief, not scientific, because science requires testability.
Posted by misspelled 4 years ago
misspelled
Two points to make here: there is part of the human brain they call the "God Spot". Supposedly, this part of the brain has to do with a "Need to Believe" and according to science itself, evolved with the human species. That's highly significant.

Two: There are some events that may happen/have happened only once, and are therefore untestable. There are some things that no test has been developed for (as yet). This does not mean those things/events do not exist, as some suggest. If you close your mind off to these things you are closing your mind to possibilities, which closes your mind to learning. A mind open to possibilities is what gave us every invention known to us.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
kenballerlarztheloserTied
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Reasons for voting decision: A non-scientific explanation can never be made as an scientific alternative. Science is confined to evidence in scientific terms.
Vote Placed by frozen_eclipse 4 years ago
frozen_eclipse
kenballerlarztheloserTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate was extremely hard to fairly vote for. I gave convincing arguments to pro because he got my attention toward the middle and end of fourth round.......also i beleive eternity can exist without time...time is a perception. If time didnt exist. then eternity would still exist. Because time is only measuring moments.Eternity is the moments were measuring. so without the mesurement system of time eternity would still exist. con got conduct because of unrefuttaion.