The Instigator
kvaughan
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
Advidoct
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points

The Problem of Evil makes it unlikely that God exsits (debate #2)

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,819 times Debate No: 685
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (17)

 

kvaughan

Pro

I just finished a debate on this topic, but I think it's an interesting topic, so I'm doing it again.

The argument is quite simple: if God is morally perfect (or at least good), he must want there to be as little suffering as possible (based on the human definition of goodness). Since he is omnipotent, he has the tools to stop the suffering and since he is omniscient, he knows where the suffering is and the best way to stop it. But, when we look out into the world we see a ton of suffering. This either means that God doesn't exist or that he doesn't have the characteristics mentioned.

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

Here's an example of the kind of suffering I'm talking about:
We as humans have physical brains which appear to be the cause of out minds. God however is a mind (he thinks for example) yet he does not have a brain to generate this mind. This indicates that non-physical minds are possible.

Now, our physical minds are a source of immense suffering. They are extremely prone to injury, small chemical or neurological fluctuations can cause immense difficulties and before the advent of modern medical technology, the large heads of children caused the death of a large percentage of women in childbirth. There is no reason for these physical minds to exist – they are needless suffering. A morally perfect God would not create physical minds.

There you go, hack away!
Advidoct

Con

You cant try to intellectually deny a being who understands all of the cosmos. Thats a billion times more than we will ever understand.

God sent us here to be tested in our faith in him. If god did away with all evil, then it would not be much of a test. We cant expect to grow spiritually if we have nothing to challenge us.

Its kind of like parenting in that sometimes, ur parents cant just tell you no. They have to let u find out why something is a bad idea the hard way. You learn from ur mistakes.

Its the same with god. he wants us to grow spiritually as much as possible. Thats why we need to suffer. Its how we learn and its how we grow.

Here's a story:

The university professor challenged his students with this question. Did God create everything that exists?
A student bravely replied yes, he did!"
"God created everything?" The professor asked.
"Yes, sir," the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are then God is evil."
The student became quiet before such an answer.

The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?" "Of course", replied the professor. The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Everybody and every object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (- 460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have too little heat.

The student continued. "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The professor responded, "Of course it does".

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor. "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. "These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love, that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

The young mans name --- Albert Einstein
Debate Round No. 1
kvaughan

Pro

You can't try and deny the existence of a being infinitely more intelligent than you – thus Zeus exists. Look, we're trying to decide if God exists or not, discussing his potential intelligence is not relevant in determining his existence. I'm inclined to think that when all is said and down, the Christian God will lie dead in the mass grave of former Gods that we call mythology. But I digress.

This idea that "God sent us here to be tested in our faith in him" so that we can grow spiritually is circular. Why doesn't God just make us (through omnipotence) grow spiritually? If the point in life is to get to heaven, why not just make us start there? Whatever the end-goal is in life, God can always just make that happen, yet he doesn't. The most plausible explanation for this is that there is no end-goal and/or no God. The parent analogy is common and commonly flawed. Parents are not omnipotent and since experience is often a better teacher than conceptual knowledge, they let us experience things for ourselves. God can create the knowledge without the experience by virtue of being omnipotent.

"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms." obituary in New York Times, 19 April 1955, quoted from James A Haught, "Breaking the Last Taboo" (1996))

"I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it." (1954, from Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University Press)

The man's name who wrote these quotes? Albert Einstein.

Point is, your Einstein story smells ever so strongly of an urban myth. Many theists like to argue that Einstein was a theist despite the fact that his beliefs are much closer to deism or Spinoza's theist than Christian theism.

I wonder though, if evil is just the absence of God, why doesn't God make himself more apparent through the universe? Is God too lazy to make sure to put himself everywhere? Your story doesn't help with the question at all. It just reforms the question and changes the definition of evil.
Advidoct

Con

Again, if god just forced us to grow spiritually, then its no test of faith. If he gives us all the knowledge we need, then its not a test of faith.

People need to stop thinking of him as the all-seeing being who can do anything he pleases, and see him more as a father-figure. You assume that just because God has the power to do whatever he wills, that he is going to choose those action, but thats not always the case. To force his will upon all would be the very Human thing to do. This whole plan that God has laid out is not about what He wants, its about what we need, and we cant just get that from him. He could just give us the knowledge that he wants us to know, but we could never recieve the wisdom he wants us to have as well, because we could never understand our knowledge through experience.

Also, we cant use Einstein as a authority on god. My decision to show you that story was not to say "Eisntein says theirs god". It was to show why accusing evil of proving the non-existence of god, was an empty argument. Whether or not he acutally said that is beyond the point. Its what we take from the story that matters.

Lastly, if you want proof of God look at yourself. You can say that you personally came from your mother and the miracle of the human body and reproduction. You can say that all of this is the brilliance of life that is described by science alone and not god. When you keep getting into science, however, you begin to watch science prove god. For example, a law of science says that matter cannot be created nor destroyed, yet all of the cosmos had to come from somewhere. The matter that constructs our universe couldnt not have just appeared. It would have to have been made by something that operates outside the bounds of science. A law of science also says that cells can only come from pre-existing cells. Somewhere along the line, there had to be a first cell, right? Otherwise you wouldn't be here. A very first cell had to come from somewhere other than another cell. Thats a fact. According to the laws of science, that is absolutely impossible though. So where does the first cell come from? Again, something that opertates outside the bounds science.
God
Debate Round No. 2
kvaughan

Pro

I like how you dropped my Zeus exists argument at the top of my last post. It was pure gold.

I feel like you don't understand my arguments against your "test of faith" defense. I assume that "testing your faith" is not good in and of itself (intrinsically good), but is instead good for something else, making it extrinsically good. My question was, and still is, why doesn't God just get us whatever the test of faith is good for directly instead of this roundabout way? You claim that if he gives us this directly, there is no test, but why is the test important? I can guess from analogy that tests allow someone to separate out the high performers from the low performers to see who passes or fails. The problem with this line of reasoning is that God can make us all pass and improve whatever skills he's testing directly. Your additional argument that we can have the knowledge but not the wisdom that comes from experience is additionally absurd. You're essentially arguing that it is beyond God's powers to create wisdom in me. So, I can do something through experience which an infinitely powerful God cannot do. Wow, I rule.

So, I need you to explain to me why this test of faith exists and why God cannot just give us whatever we gain from it directly. Until you have a really good answer to this, I cannot accept your ad hoc attempt at a theodicy.

Whether or not Einstein said your quote was clearly not beyond the point. If it was, it wouldn't have been the finishing statement and you wouldn't have included that detail. Don't run away now that it's clear that Einstein didn't say anything of the sort. Or, if he did, he said many things to contradict it.

My response to the story is still there. Untouched. I suppose you want to ignore it which is probably a good idea considering that I argued (correctly) that the story gets us nowhere and only reformulates the question.

Then, you end your post with an ad hoc argument for the existence of God that is highly irrelevant to the problem of evil. I wonder why you bring it up at all as this debate is about a specific argument against God's existence, not about the ridiculously broad topic of God's existence.

My response, however, is simple, but to keep things entertaining, I'll illustrate via analogy. I remember a story of a talk given by a scientist on astronomy. He explained that the Earth orbits the sun, which orbits the supermassive black hole at the center of the universe etc. After the talk, a woman comes up and explains that he's got it all wrong, Hindu beliefs tell her that the Earth rests on the back of a tortoise, not out in space. Now, the scientist was very clever, so he responded "what's the tortoise on?". She just smiled and said "oh, you're very clever indeed, but it's tortoises all the way down!"

My point is, this argument is no less circular than yours. If God created cells, what created God? At best, you can respond to this by just fiating that God needs no cause, but why then is it not open to me to say that cellular/universe creation needs no cause?

Also, I'm cogniscient of the fact that your argument was specific to the problem of abiogenesis. There is a famous experiment called the Miller-Urey experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org...) where two scientists simulated the early Earth's atmosphere and gave it an electric charge and managed to create many of the compounds that are needed for life, but given the short time, not life itself. Every step along the abiogenesis chain has substantial evidence supporting it. You're argument that we don't know how the first cell came into existence is just wrong. We have substantial evidence and knowledge surrounding the problem.

Additionally, there is a larger fallacy at work here which I call the God of the Gaps argument. You seem to want to imply that if science doesn't have an answer, then God did it. This is a huge logical fallacy and is no more probably than if no science then Zeus or if no science then invisible pink unicorns. You need positive proof, not just a gap in knowledge.

Look, you've failed to address some of my serious objections and have just plowed forward with random unrelated arguments or just re-explained your own arguments. You may consider directly answering my objections or I will and the voters be forced to conclude that you don't have a response. Unfortunately, if you have a response, it'll be too late for me to respond, but better late than never.
Advidoct

Con

Ok then to start I'll talk about your Zeus statement. Right now we are debating the existence of God. If we look at this from a strictly non-denominational view point, God could be anything. It could be Zeus, it could be Buddha, it could be the christian god. So for that matter, Zeus could be the very god we are talking about, and he could very well exist. You are claiming that I made a fallible point by assuming that Zeus does not exist, but this would take a denominational view point. Zeus could very will exist.

Now, Im not gunna talk about the test of faith thing anymore, because it is clearly a point that cannot be made to someone who does not believe in god. So im am gunna strike straight at the heart of your argument.

You are claiming that evil proves that God does not exist. The problem with that argument is that it assumes that evil and god cannot both exist at the same time. It assumes that God would rid the world of evil. It assumes that it understands God's thinking. It assumes everything and you cant prove anything on an assumption. To solidify your argument, you'd have to know exactly what the nature of god is; what he is thinking and you cant do that.

That was my point about higher intelligence. If god exists, then he undoubtedly understands the nature of the universe a billion times more than we do. Therefore, we cannot accurately predict his actions, because there will undoubtedly be things we wont think of that God will because he knows more.

Im gunna close with this.

You say that if evil exists, God would destroy it and so since evil DOES, in fact, exist, god does not. This cannot be a proven statement, however, because you cant truly know that God's decision would be to destroy evil. He could, for all we know, choose to sit on a cosmic rocking chair and watch Evil swallow the earth whole.
If god were to choose NOT to destroy evil, than evil and god COULD both exist, and therefore, the existence of evil COULD NOT disprove the existence of God.

You're argument simply has too many assumptions, and too much reasonable doubt to prove anything.
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Advidoct 9 years ago
Advidoct
Yeah i see your point. Sorry about that dude. It wasnt that i wast trying to do that. I just realized in the last round that id wasted my previous rounds trying to prove the existence of god which no one can do, so i changed course in the last one.
Posted by kvaughan 9 years ago
kvaughan
While I vehemently disagree that you did anything in the lat round, how is it remotely fair that you can run an entirely different argument in the final speech so that I can't respond to it?

Look, in each previous round, you'd bring up a point, I'd annihilate you on it so you'd change points or repeat yourself. This is exactly what would have happened if I had a chance to respond.

Oh well, I suppose a win is a win, eh?
Posted by revleader5 9 years ago
revleader5
Advicot had an amazing third round. Perfect argument.
Posted by Advidoct 9 years ago
Advidoct
I kicked the crap out of ur point in the last round, whether i changed my argument or not. All i needed to do was kill ur point, so i did
Posted by kvaughan 9 years ago
kvaughan
Can someone please explain to me what happened in the debate that made me lose? I feel like I kicked his butt on every single point he made excluding his abrupt change in argument for his final speech. I really feel like this is another case of people voting for the position and not the debate
Posted by griffinisright 9 years ago
griffinisright
Good debate Advidoct! I like some of the points you made... good work!
Posted by Nonce_Love 9 years ago
Nonce_Love
And then there is one of Einstein's other G-d quotes.
Something along the lines of:
"A life lived believing in G-d is more worthwhile than a life lived not believing in G-d."
That was basically his main reason for his belief in G-d.
(The '-' stands for an 'o', for those of you who ask what 'G-d' is.)
Posted by Nonce_Love 9 years ago
Nonce_Love
I would be willing to argue free will.
Of course, that is not the entirety of my argument, but it's part of it, for sure.
Posted by kvaughan 9 years ago
kvaughan
gotta love it when my opponent argues something almost entirely new in his final speech.
Posted by Judah 9 years ago
Judah
do you look in the mirror dude? a man can not create you? you can not go to a morgue and gather dead parts to put it together to make it a productive human life. your debate is pointless. if you never met your father, would you believe that he did not exist too?
17 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by vinavinx 9 years ago
vinavinx
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by revleader5 9 years ago
revleader5
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by advidiun 9 years ago
advidiun
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Devils_Advocate 9 years ago
Devils_Advocate
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by truthofcertainty 9 years ago
truthofcertainty
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by griffinisright 9 years ago
griffinisright
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by SolaGratia 9 years ago
SolaGratia
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Tavadon 9 years ago
Tavadon
kvaughanAdvidoctTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03