The Instigator
KeytarHero
Pro (for)
Tied
18 Points
The Contender
Mestari
Con (against)
Tied
18 Points

The Teleological Argument is a sound argument for the existence of God.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/14/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,858 times Debate No: 22835
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (9)

 

KeytarHero

Pro

I wish to challenge Mestari to a debate on the Teleological Argument. As two Theists, the purpose of this debate is not to show whether or not the existence of God is probably, but simply to show whether or not the Teleological Argument (i.e. the argument from design) is a sound argument for God's existence.

The form of the argument I will be defending is as follows:

1) The universe resulted either from design or from chance.
2) It is highly improbable that it resulted from chance.
3) Hence, it is highly probable that the universe was designed. [1]

Round one for acceptance.
Round two for opening arguments/rebuttals.
Round three for rebuttals.
Round four for rebuttals/closing statements.

I look forward to the debate.

[1] Geisler, Norman L., The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, p. 718.
Mestari

Con

I accept. I look forward to an interesting debate. I would like to inform readers that my acceptance of the con position is not an endorsement for atheism. I myself am a believer in the God of the Holy Trinity as described by Christian theology and a profound advocate of Christian apologetics. The Bible claims that, "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" (Proverbs 27:17 KJV). As such, I find it important that we test our beliefs by exploring the opposition, for how can we truly claim our faith to be reasonable if we are unable to understand the objections to it and thereby properly defend it? In the same vein I ask the voters to be unbiased in adjudicating this debate. A vote for myself is not an endorsement for atheism just as a vote for KeytarHero is not an endorsement of theism. Rather, a vote for either of us is an indication of the superiority of our respective arguments. With that said I will begin my case in the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
KeytarHero

Pro

I thank Con for his willingness to debate this with me, and appreciate his disclaimer as well. I share in his sentiment that it's important to flesh out our arguments and see if they need to be tweaked or abandoned altogether.

As previously stated, the Teleological Argument I will be defending is as follows:

P1 -- The universe resulted either from design or chance.
P2 -- It is highly improbable that it resulted from chance.
C -- Hence, it is highly probable that the universe was designed.

Premise 1 -- The universe resulted either from design or chance.

This is self-explanatory and at present I see no need to justify it. If Con takes issue with it, I will address his concerns in the next round.

Premise 2 -- It is highly improbable that it resulted from chance.

Chance is a non-intelligent force. We see design in the universe all around us. There are many things which had to have occurred just perfectly in order for life to exist on this world. For example, if water had not been present, if our atmosphere produced methane instead of oxygen, if plant life was not here, and a host of other things. One cannot expect to get order from non-intelligence. One would expect to get chaos. The only plausible explanation for our existence is that the universe had a designer, God.

The high improbability of a chance happening is due to the fact that there is not an eternity of in which to realize the ordered arrangement in which things now find themselves, as some would speculate (such as David Hume). There are only so many billions of geological years for things to take their present arrangement. S.C. Hackett has said, "I conclude that the notion of chance simply does not provide any rationally plausible explanation of the significant order in the universe, and that therefore the principle of purposively directed activity provides an overwhelmingly more reasonable explanation." [1]

In fact, an arch-defender of Evolution, Julian Huxley, has estimated that at the known rate of helpful mutations over the known time scale, the odds against evolution happening by pure chance are 1 followed by 3 million zeros (fifteen hundred pages of zeros) to one. [2]

The odds of the universe coming into existence and producing just the right combination of elements for human life, and then that human life evolving from more primitive forms of life is so immense, that to seriously believe in it requires much more faith than any miraculous account from the Bible.

Seeing that the universe was designed is not so hard to believe. After all someone who is ignorant of art, after seeing the Mona Lisa, would still conclude that there was a painter. And someone who is ignorant of architecture, upon viewing the Eiffel Tower, would know there was a builder. If a painting requires a painter, and a building a builder, how much more would a complex and huge universe require a designer?

William Paley has postulated a case in which we can clearly conclude there is a designer. Paraphrasing, he says in crossing a heath suppose you trip over a stone. You might question how the stone got there, but as far as you know nothing to the contrary, it could have been there forever. However, suppose you find a watch on the ground. You might question how the watch got there, you wouldn't think of the same reason as before, that the watch might have always been there. Why is it admissible in the first case but not the second? For this reason alone: when you inspect the watch, you perceive -- what you could not discover in the stone -- is that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose. [3]

Paley shows the contrivances in nature are more incredible than those in a watch. He is careful to root his argument in observation.

The reasoning is as follows: A watch shows that it was put together for an intelligent purpose (to keep time). It has a spring to give it motion. A series of wheels transmits this motion, made of brass so that they do not rust. The spring is made of resilient steel. The front cover is glass so that one can see through it. All this is evidence of intelligent design.

Theologian Norman Geisler adds, "But the world shows a much greater evidence of design than a watch. It has an endless variety of means adapted to ends. The human eye alone would suffice to demonstrate intelligent design in nature." [4]

By observing the universe around us, it seems much more plausible that the universe was designed and didn't arise by chance.

Conclusion -- Hence, it is highly probable that the universe was designed.

I believe the conclusion is supported well by the premises. I look forward to Con's rebuttal.

[1] Hackett, S.C., The Reconstruction of the Christian Revelation Claim, p. 106.
[2] Huxley, Julian, Evolution in Action, p. 46.
[3] Paley, William, A View of the Evidences of Christianity, p. 3.
[4] Geisler, Norman L., The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, p. 574.
Mestari

Con

My opponent agreed to a draw.
Debate Round No. 2
KeytarHero

Pro

Indeed. We will end this debate in a draw and begin a new debate.
Debate Round No. 3
KeytarHero

Pro

Still a draw.
Mestari

Con

I actually vote that we both get a win...
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by humphreysjim 4 years ago
humphreysjim
Quantum theory has no concept of "limitless", or all-powerful, neither do we.

You're suggesting that a Universe free of "limits" is the simplest thing possible, I think that's nonsense, I think to be limitless one has to be all-powerful, and to be all-powerful one must be infinitely "talented" - eg, have the ability and knowledge to do an infinite number of things. If you remove all limits, without being all-powerful you simply have nothingness without potential, to be truly limitless you must still have the powers to perform whatever task it is you want to perform. What you are suggesting is a God that exists in a limitless realm, rather than an all-powerful being which would be anything but simple.

Also, if we have things we know exist (limited beings, and forces, etc), and a thing we do not know exists (limitless beings, Gods etc), by default the former is more likely to be responsible for whatever it is we're trying to figure out, all else being equal, due to simple parsimony (Occam's Razor).

By your logic, if simplest means most powerful, then having no brain at all would make one infinitely intelligent.
Posted by humphreysjim 4 years ago
humphreysjim
Quantum theory has no concept of "limitless", or all-powerful, neither do we.

You're suggesting that a Universe free of "limits" is the simplest thing possible, I think that's nonsense, I think to be limitless one has to be all-powerful, and to be all-powerful one must be infinitely "talented" - eg, have the ability and knowledge to do an infinite number of things. If you remove all limits, without being all-powerful you simply have nothingness without potential, to be truly limitless you must still have the powers to perform whatever task it is you want to perform. What you are suggesting is a God that exists in a limitless realm, rather than an all-powerful being which would be anything but simple.

Also, if we have things we know exist (limited beings, and forces, etc), and a thing we do not know exists (limitless beings, Gods etc), by default the former is more likely to be responsible for whatever it is we're trying to figure out, all else being equal, due to simple parsimony (Occam's Razor).

By your logic, if simplest means most powerful, then having no brain at all would make one infinitely intelligent.
Posted by Mestari 4 years ago
Mestari
Tell that to quantum theorists. To postulate a limitless being one only postulates the being. The quality of having no limits does not have to be complex, you only make it complex in your mind because you fail to realize that it is really quite simple. To postulate a limited being one must postulate both the being and a limit. Multiple components necessarily makes the existence of a limited being a more complex occurrence.

Moreover, just because we know limited beings exist does not make them more likely to exist. You could argue that one limitless being exists and an infinite number of limited beings exist, and that does nothing to speak of the probability of one existing over the other. The argument for a limitless being necessarily implies that it created the limited beings and therefore the plausibility of their existence rests upon its existence. Before you pull the common trick of saying I only prove the existence of a limitless being by begging the question, this postulation does not prove the existence of a limitless being, it disregards the failure of your logic. Those are two very different things.
Posted by humphreysjim 4 years ago
humphreysjim
That has to be the most convoluted logic I have ever seen.

For a limited being, there are limited methods of action. For a limitless being, there are limitless, or infinite methods of action. Therefore, the limitless being is necessarily more complex to be able to perform more actions. Therefore, the limitless being is less likely to exist.

Further, we know limited beings exist, we see them every day, we have no evidence that sucha thing as a limitless being exists, or is even possible in theory.
Posted by humphreysjim 4 years ago
humphreysjim
That has to be the most convoluted logic I have ever seen.

For a limited being, there are limited methods of action. For a limitless being, there are limitless, or infinite methods of action. Therefore, the limitless being is necessarily more complex to be able to perform more actions. Therefore, the limitless being is less likely to exist.

Further, we know limited beings exist, we see them every day, we have no evidence that sucha thing as a limitless being exists, or is even possible in theory.
Posted by Mestari 4 years ago
Mestari
For a limitless being to exist there must be one thing, a being. For a limited being to exist there must be two things, a being and a limit on that being's power. This is why infinity is such a common reference variable in science and mathematics.
Posted by humphreysjim 4 years ago
humphreysjim
"Furthermore, it is more probably that a limitless being exists than a limited being"

Umm....no, how do you work that one out???
Posted by Mestari 4 years ago
Mestari
Humphrey that makes no sense. First of all, if you claim that A or B caused C and nothing other than A or B, then P(A) + P(B) = 100% chance of causing C. So if P(A) = 1 then P(B) must be 99. Furthermore, it is more probably that a limitless being exists than a limited being. This is true in science as well. That's why they use infinity as a reference point in many equations.
Posted by humphreysjim 4 years ago
humphreysjim
"The problem is not 3 from 2, because if 1 is accepted then chance + design = 100% probability. That means 100% - chance = design and if chance = .00000000001 design is almost certain."

You can only work out probability of either possibility if you know the odds for both.

You cannot determine the odds for God just by calculating the odds for No-God. This is exactly what creationists try to do by simply arguing against evolution. Proving evolution unlikely does not prove creation likely.

What if we switch the argument around and say:

2) God is unlikely
3) Therefore, no-God is likely

God would have to be unlikely by default due to God being an all-powerful supernatural being who defies every law of physics known to man.

Both creation via God, and creation via chance are extremely improbable, but the probability can only be worked out if you compare just how improbable both possibilities are. If somehow we proved God impossible, it would still be improbable that a Universe could spring into existence and evolve into something housing sentient life, to the tune of billions and billions to one, at the same time, we would know for certain it happened.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Okay. I'll challenge you.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Vote count 1
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I am a stegosaurus!
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: You both lose in my eyes. The glass is half empty. And Cracked.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: VOTEBOMB
Vote Placed by mecap 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Tie my shoe!
Vote Placed by Freeman 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Yeah.... We're all winners!!! :)
Vote Placed by Zaradi 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: You're both losers in my eyes :) Kidding. Kidding.
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: u r both winers (:
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: You're both winners in my eyes :)