The Instigator
Ytterbium97
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
prunesquallor
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The existence of a Deity

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/4/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 447 times Debate No: 35280
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

Ytterbium97

Pro

I have placed this debate under Philosophy because I'm not strictly speaking in favor for any religion, merely the philosophical certitude of a deity. I don't want to see egos or emotions get in the way here, just a free exchange of ideas.

I myself was wrestling with some philosophical concepts not long ago, and began to ponder the laws governing the universe. Physics shows us that these laws can be written mathematically, and are rather rigorous. We are not presently aware of all these laws, but there is little doubt we will come to know more of them as time progresses. A consistency throughout these laws is just that, consistency. The laws are consistently able to be defined mathematically. The fact that these laws can be written mathematically and are thus rigidly defined seems to point to some divine authorship. Consider what comes to mind when we think of something constructed or artificial: it is something, well, rigid. It exhibits obvious patterns and is consistent in those patterns. Do these attributes not also describe physical law? If we consider the alternate, the absence of a creator deity, we are at a loss as to why such rigid natural laws are in place. If a creation is random and arbitrary, it would follow that the laws governing it would also be random and arbitrary, a sort of "anything goes" physics, where natural law is unable to be explained by mathematics, and no discernible limits or patterns exist. While my idea doesn't completely prove a divine origin, I feel it puts the odds towards the existence of a creator. After all, what is more likely: a random existence which happens to bring about laws are rigid and consistent, or a creator which "authored" the laws and made them so consistent?
prunesquallor

Con

Since this primarily looks like a debate hinged on mathematics and physics, I do not intend to be loquatious, rather will attempt to address the situation through logical premises and what consequently follows as corollaries. These arguments might not be piecemeal bulletted as premises (i.e.) I will not specifically label them as such, but I will strive to keep them as evident as humanly possible.

I take inspiration from the weak Anthropic principle, which, in its simplest form asserts- "conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist". This statement happens to be a tautology, but it helps us to understand why it is so. My opponent claims that physics has led us into identifying various laws of the universe- and truly, it has. However, one must understand that these so-called laws are merely explanations to what happens (i.e.) had the universe been different, these laws would be correspondingly different as well, therefore they are but an attempt on the part of humans to explain what happens. Mathematics can build abstract models of chaos as well, for instance, fuzzy logic is a mathematical tool for describing probabilistic boolean values. Therefore, it would be ignorant of my opponent to state that were the nature of the universe random and arbitrary no corresponding laws could be formulated. For example, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle attempts to address a similar situation- it is a mathematical model of the chaotic motion of quantum particles. The most fundamental law of physics (i.e.) The second law of thermodynamics actually states that entropy (or chaos) in the universe can only increase as time progresses. Some theories even attempt to define time in the terms of the arrow of entropy, but I'm straying off point here. The laws of physics are, in fact, quite arbitrary, for instance, the value of G (gravitational constant) is a completely arbitrary number, similarly the value of the cosmological constant, etcetera. The point is, the most deceiving property of randomness is that as long as it isn't observed through an infinite window of time, a complex enough model is capable of describing it completely.

I wait for my opponent's rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 1
Ytterbium97

Pro

Thank you prunesquallor for discussing this with me. As someone pointed out in the comments, I am new to this site, and decided to take this issue on from the start. Thank you also for maintaining a scholarly and emotionally detached tone in your rebuttal. Too often people get hot-headed over such issues. Again, much obliged.

A recurring point throughout my opponent's argument is that the laws of the universe are not (for lack of a better word) "static", i.e. had the universe formed under different conditions, the laws governing it would have been correspondingly different. This is a logical conclusion, however the point I am making is not about what is contained in the laws or the mathematics involved; rather, it is the existence of consistency in the law itself. The gravitational constant,which was mentioned by my opponent, is a great example of what I mean; Yes, the number itself is arbitrary and random, but its definition is not (i.e. the definition does NOT change); wherever an observer is in the universe, this constant remains just that, a constant. In short, I suppose we could say that my argument springs from the existence of rigid boundaries in the universe, not from what the boundaries are or what is contained in them. Even things which are apparently random in nature exist within the confines of something well defined, and thus certain mathematical statements can be made about them (like the "fuzzy logic" mentioned). We can apply limits to phenomena such as this and thus come to know the rules in place. When we apply the uncertainty principle in particle physics, it is said that we cannot know for certain the exact location of a subatomic particle. However, there are "rigid laws" in place which allow us to extrapolate statistics in regards to the location of the particle, i.e. we can find the odds of a particle being in a certain location.

The point which I was trying to make clear in the previous discourse was that a universe made in cold randomness couldn't be expected to have any of the rigorous laws we see in our universe: matter and energy would be unable to behave consistently from one point to the next (if indeed time could exist in such a universe) and thus no laws could be said to govern them.
prunesquallor

Con

[Y]es, the number itself is arbitrary and random, but its definition is not...

I believe this is a tautology. If an apple is defined as a fruit, I do not think it will be called a vegetable on Jupiter. Gravitational contant does not change because it has been observed not to change- if my opponent is insinuating a notion that in a chaotic universe, there would be no examples of an unchanging law, he is sadly misinformed. Brownian motion is a random motion of fluid particles and yet it can be defined as such. Therefore, to say that the universe is designed by the creator on account of constancy, is illogical. What if the universe were simply a void with no matter or energy? Clearly, such a universe would have been perfectly constant, would it be created by a deity as well? And if so, I do not seem to understand the point my opponent is introducing- does he mean to say that constancy implies the existence of God? If so, he would need to give a valid argument as to why he believes this.

[w]herever an observer is in the universe, this constant remains just that, a constant.

This is obviously not true, had we sampled each and every location in the universe, science would have turned into religion. Science is based on the premise that we cannot after all sample the universe as a whole and therefore we postulate from the data we have (i.e.) we apply the notions of statistics and probability, and say that "since it is true for every sample we have tested, it could be true for other untested samples as well", so no- my opponent's conclusion that the gravitational constant will remain constant- not for the sake of its definition- rather for the sake of the property it alludes to, is incorrect. You can say that it stays the same in the universe we have sampled- which is barely an equivalent mote of dust on a sea shore. Furthermore, black holes defy all the laws of physics- they can only be defined through their entropy (i.e.) chaos, they are unobservable singularities disconnected from the universe. My opponent will have to concede, then, that black holes are not made by the creator.

[m]y argument springs from the existence of rigid boundaries in the universe...

The universe is expanding, so no.

Even things which are apparently random in nature exist within the confines of something well defined, and thus certain mathematical statements can be made about them...

This is a nonsensical statement, my opponent gives no reason as to how existence within the confines of something well defined makes chaos liable to be defined.

we cannot know for certain the exact location of a subatomic particle. However, there are "rigid laws" in place which allow us to extrapolate statistics in regards to the location of the particle, i.e. we can find the odds of a particle being in a certain location.

Well, obviously, this is the point I alluded to and my opponent seems to have conceded to it. As long as randomness is observed through a fixed window of time (i.e.) as long as the statistical data isn't infinite, one or the other "mathematical models" can be defined to simulate it. A random yet non-infinite universe is capable of being (theoritically) modeled as well.

matter and energy would be unable to behave consistently from one point to the next (if indeed time could exist in such a universe) and thus no laws could be said to govern them.

This again is a whimsical statement, my opponent gives no reason as to how anyone would have been able to observe such a universe (i.e.) Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP), and since no one would be there to observe such a universe, no one would know it existed.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
Ytterbium97

Pro

Ytterbium97 forfeited this round.
prunesquallor

Con

prunesquallor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Ytterbium97

Pro

Ytterbium97 forfeited this round.
prunesquallor

Con

prunesquallor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Ytterbium97

Pro

Ytterbium97 forfeited this round.
prunesquallor

Con

prunesquallor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by prunesquallor 3 years ago
prunesquallor
My bad, Strong AP*
Posted by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
I'd take this, but I fear I'd just be noob sniping. Pro, we can see order developing from chaos quite trivially, it does NOT follow in the necessary sense that the presence of order should probably negate an origin from chaos.
Posted by Donjaundebater1212 3 years ago
Donjaundebater1212
So which side are you taking?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Ytterbium97prunesquallorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FAIL DEBATE, as both sides dropped out... (checking the voting period debates, from Least To Most votes. By giving this one, it won't be prioritized in the system anymore.)