The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

The existence of gods

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/8/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,800 times Debate No: 26070
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




I am arguing that there is no reason to believe that gods exist. I cannot prove that gods do not exist, but I am not convinced that they do. The default position should be that there are no gods and the burden of proof lies on the theist. This kind of process is how we treat everything else. I do not believe in Bigfoot or that pigs can fly either because I am not sufficiently convinced. How is theism different?

Can you, the challenger, either argue that 1) there is sufficient proof that God/gods exists or 2) in the absence of sufficient proof, there should be a belief in God/gods as opposed to the opposite?


I accpet.
: A supernatural being(s) who created the universe.

This is a very popular topic on DDO, I hope to provide you with convincing arguments to assert that:
a) It is likey that God exists.
b) There is sufficient evidence that God exists.
c) Even if there was no evidence we would have reason to believe in God.

I'm not sure what you want for a resolution, but looking at your opening post, I assume you don't want a burden of proof.
So I propose:
'There is evidence for a God.' Or 'God probably exists.' That will keep you happy. A resolution will make this debate easier for both of us, that way there will be less off topic arguments and material.

Now, looking at what Con said in his post I would like to make it clear that since he says this: "I am arguing that there is no reason to believe that gods exist." Then he has a BoP on him to prove that also. Con in this debate will therefore attempt to prove why there is no reason to believe the existence supernatural being and I will argue that there are reasons to believe in God(s). Since we have a shared BoP, I invite Con to present his opening arguments and start this debate.
Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate.

My argument that there is no reason to believe that gods exist speaks for itself. Do you have reasons to believe gods exist? Until you provide any, I am logical in saying that there is no reason to believe that gods exist.

God/gods either exist or they do not. I am not convinced one way or the other. I just do not know. In this case, should I not default to saying that gods do not exist? They do not exist until proved otherwise? Let me ask you. Do unicorns exist? What would your answer be? What would my answer be? I certainly would not say yes. I would most likely say no. Of course, I cannot know for sure. But the answer is no until I am convinced in the affirmative. "I don't know" is also a valid answer. But shouldn't "no" be a valid answer as well? Answering no does not preclude the existence of gods. It is a valid placeholder until gods are proved to exist.


I assume my opponent accepts my definition and resolution by saying nothing against them.

I wish to split my case into two parts, evidence for God, and evidence against the currently leading theory of evolution; biological and cosmological.
My arguments substantiating my case for a supernatural entity will address the issues:
1) God is a reasonable conclusion based on evidence compared to alternate hypotheses.
1.1) Arguments for God
1.1.1) a posteriori evidence Cosmological argument Biological argument DNA Irreducible complexity inexplicable order argument
1.1.2) a priori evidence Anslem's Ontological argument Defence of Anslem's developed Ontological argument Watchmaker argument Defence of Watchmaker argument
1.2) 'Unscientificness' of alternate hypotheses (big bang)
1.3) Lack of knowledge attainable via 5 senses allows supernatural and paints the atheist as a hypocrite
2) One or more supernatural entities better explain the first cause than other alternate hypotheses.
3) It takes less faith to believe a supernatural entity can exist than it does other alternate hypotheses.

1) Evidence against Big bang
2) Observations conflict with the evolutionary model
2.1) Fossil record
2.2) Planets in the solar system
3) Secular hypotheses contradict laws of thermodynamics and abiogenesis
3) There is no reason to believe in evolution

Before I present my case however, I would like to show how inconsistent my opponent's argument was.
"There is no reason to believe that gods exist"
As stated in his first post and again in his second, my opponent supports the assertion that since there is no reason to believe in God, God will be considered non-existent until proven elsewise. I don't mind debating for informational purposes only, but I do wish this to remain in the spirit of a debate, so I request my opponent to fulfil his BoP and argue for his contention: Prove there is no reason to believe in a God.
In my opponent’s last post, a fallacy is presented in the form of a discrepancy between his reasoning and the nature of this debate he issued himself.
Unicorns. Are they sufficient reasons to not believe in God?
No. The existence of a unicorn can be determined via the observational instruments we have at our disposal. Since we cannot find any unicorns in physical existence, we observe the null hypothesis [1] practice and establish that until proven elsewise, unicorns cannot be detected physically. Such an application cannot be attributed and imposed upon either the Big Bang or God directly. Since science is merely knowledge attained through scientific methods, measurements and observations, the Big bang and God are non-scientific. However, any evidence that can be found for them are scientific. So we can use the null hypothesis practice as proposed by my opponent in the use of determining the validity or existence of evidence in favour of either God or BB. So my opponent’s entire last post is irrelevant to this debate and cannot be used as a supporting argument to substantiate his claim that there is no reason to conclude that a supernatural entity is a logical explanation for our existence.

1) Evidence for a supernatural entity:
a posteriori evidence.
Scientists are certain that this universe had a beginning. Since this matter covers another debate entirely, refer to the embedded video so we can stay on topic so the question is how did this universe come to be? In this debate I fully expect my opponent to continue to judge possibilities via his method of reasoning. The most supported case should be given the most credit and if there is no standing theory at all, then we accept the best we have until a reasonable proposition can be made. So in this case: BB vs God. If BB fails to explain what we want, then according to my opponent’s logic, we must accept whatever is left (until a better alternative). Which is actually pretty solid reasoning.
The big bang is a vague explanation developed after someone thought they saw something that resembled the remnants of an explosion. More on that later. My main contention here is that the BB fails to explain crucial things that science will never be able to deal with.
a) What was before the BB?
b) How did the matter before the BB come into existence?
It follows that since that matter before the BB couldn't come into existence, due to the absence of space and time, then the BB:
a) Did don't happen
b) Was caused by a supernatural entity
I argue against for point a and against point b, but since its irrelevant to the debate, I will not pursue it any further. The fact of the matter is that either the BB did not happen or God exists. Double positive.
Kalam Cosmological argument [3]:

  1. 1. Everything that has a beginning has a cause
  2. 2. The universe had a beginning
  3. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

Premise 2 is easily proven, to stay on topic though, please refer to the video or source [3].

complexity evidence: DNA is so mind boggling that we still don’t understand everything about it. 3billion base pairs program a human in its entirety. These base pairs are wound in double helix formations and bunched into chromosomes. Repair mechanisms constantly scour the DNA for any flaw that needs fixing. [5] Such a tremendously incomprehendable system does not simply grow out of necessity. It requires an intelligent conscious to guide it. It’s like reproduction, organisms should have never have evolved it, there is no driving force behind it, and it’s too smart of an idea, like the organism sat down one day and consider the long term effects of any decision it chose to make and weighed the costs and benefits.
Circular evidence: By circular I do not mean circular reasoning like geochronology. DNA is made by proteins, proteins are made by DNA in return, and there is nothing to start this process except a sudden complete and functioning start. [5] So how can you explain the existence of DNA in an organism? Evolution has yet to explain.

Irreducible complexity: The standard rebuttal against the argument of irreducible complexity crumbles when shown that most complex organisms have required an intelligent conscience in order to reach its final/current state of complexity. So with that in mind, let’s consider the human eye. Evolutionists say that it started off as a single light sensitive cell. Now what’s the problem?
If a single organism started off with a single light sensitive cell, it is no better off than the rest of the competitors to survive. The amount of organisms that would have had to have developed this cell as well would defy reasonable probability and logic. As well as the problem of an evolving eye being as useless as a bee or bird with its wings still evolving, there is a lack of driving force required for that organism to be able to complete the evolution. The body doesn't want a developing eye, it wants something to use. So if we were to consider the eye, and take any single part out, it would cease to function, contrary to evolution, which says that it should have vestigial members, the eye is so complex that any simpler, and it would be useless.
Teleological argument: Everything has been made just right for life here on earth. If just one minor thing was different, we could not exist. Earth was no accident, it was designed for life. Read more here:

I will produce the second half of my case in the next round. My opponent must support his case against God.


Debate Round No. 2


The beginning of the universe is interesting. That time can begin is hard to wrap the mind around. Of course, the concept of time is something we humans have constructed and understand. I'm not sure we can really understand how our current conception of time can be applied to a hypothetical beginning of the universe. There is obviously immense uncertainty. So much uncertainty that I don't think there should be a null hypothesis regarding the beginning of the universe, if it even exists or if we could even frame it that way. I'm not an expert on physics nor theology for that matter, but I propose that there is no explanation that is strong enough to justify having it as "the best explanation." I don't think that saying a supernatural being began it all is convincing enough to warrant it being the best explanation.

Again, regarding the complexity evidence of DNA, just because something is complex does not mean that the simple "God did it" answer should hold sway. There are some things we cannot explain yet. That does not mean God did it.

Your protein and DNA argument is the same sort of deal.

I'm not sure if I'm understanding your eye argument correctly. Eyes provide an evolutionary advantage as seeing increases the chances of survival and can quicken reproduction. The mutation that led to the development of eyes proved beneficial.

Teleological argument: Can it not be that life occurred without God? There is likely life outside our planet as well given the immense size of the universe. With an unthinkable number of planets in the universe, surely some of those planets will meet the conditions for life. And our planet is one of them. This argument does not support the existence of gods.

None of my opponent's arguments are convincing enough to conclude that there is likely a God. Just because the Big Bang theory and evolution does not have all the answers does not mean God is automatically the answer to fall back on. It's a false dichotomy. So you don't think the Big Bang theory is valid. The God theory is no better. You say a supernatural entity created the universe. That is NOT the null hypothesis and that is NOT the best explanation. No explanation and uncertainty is better than an unsubstantiated explanation. I stand firm on my belief that there is no reason to believe gods exist.


1) Aposteriori evidence
1.1 Kalam Cosmological argument
1.2 DNA self-production
1.3 Irreducible Complexity
1.4 Teleological argument

Arguments for:
2) Apriori evidence
2.1 Anselm's Ontological argument
2.2 Rebuttal of standard rebuttal of ontological argument

Arguments against:
3) Aposteriori evidence
3.1 Mathematic impossibilities in the human population
3.2 Cosmological impossibilities
3.3 Biological impossibilities

1.1 Kalam Cosmological argument
My opponents premise against the Cosmological argument rests on the assumption that: 'a hypothetical beginning of the universe.' According to him, the start of the universe is hypothetical. If the start of the universe was hypothetical, then all life is hypothetical too, and nothing exists. We exist; therefore the start of the universe existed as much as we do. The base view shared in the scientific community is that the universe started. My opponent did nothing to refute this first cause argument, and thus it still stands. I would also like to point out some flawed reasoning by my opponent: 'I propose that there is no explanation that is strong enough to justify having it as "the best explanation."' It is the only explanation, and the reason why you won't find another is simply because science cannot deal with whatever cannot be observed or measure, thus no scientific theory can be asserted upon the beginning except for God.

1.2 DNA
1.2.1 Complexity
My opponents attempt to refute misses the point. I argue that complexity is a reason to believe in God, my opponent says that it doesn't prove God. This argument still stands as a reason to believe in God.
1.2.2 Self-production
DNA makes the protein that makes DNA, one cannot exist without the other and neither can work in any simpler state. There is no such thing as 'simple' DNA that makes 'simple' protein that can evolve. DNA is simply a collection of Base pairs that form an immensely complex code. Evolution cannot explain how it started. My opponent’s rebuttal is: 'Your protein and DNA argument is the same sort of deal.' So he is arguing that since nothing except God can explain it, then there is still no reason to believe God did it? Very flawed reasoning, this argument still stands.

1.3 Irreducible complexity
1.3.1 the eye.
My opponent conceded as to not comprehending my argument. The argument was that an intelligent force is required to mutate an organism into something vastly complex due to trial and error being a reason to wipe out a species. If an organism were to evolve but to do it incorrectly, as is often the case, it dies. That means that every life form on earth should be simple and not as complex, especially in light of the fact that complex organisms do not get much of an advantage in the first place. Charles Darwin said: "To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree." [1]
1.3.2 Complexity
Evolution doesn't explain many things that not even humans can understand. Until we can make sense of this biological complexity, it remains a very good reason to assume it was created.

1.4 Teleological argument
the existence of the Fermi paradox refutes all my opponents’ claims that there should be an earth suitable for life. There should be millions. But the fact that earth is the only planet with intelligent life on it is a blow to evolution. Why isn't the universe swarming with intelligent creatures? According to evolution and my opponent, there should be. This argument still stands.

2.1 Anselm's Ontological argument

based on the model of Anselm's ontological argument to prove God.

Refer to [2] if you do not understand logical symbolism.

2.2 Defence against the standard rebuttal
one of the most common attacks against this chain of logic is to create a reverse ontological argument. So instead of the chain reading God exists, substituting the premise 'it is possible that God does not exist' should in effect, cause the conclusion to read ‘God does not exist.’ But switching premise 2 with God does not necessarily exist causes a contradiction. Line 9 would become: God necessarily does not exist. So put simply, substituting for a reverse ontological argument causes premise 9 to state that a perfect being cannot possibly exist. But this falsifies a non-falsifiable definition. If a being is possible (e.g. the greatest possible being) it can’t be impossible. This Ontological argument therefore, stands in favour of God. It is more reasonable to assume his existence than his non-existence.

Gaunilo's criticism:
Gaunilo argued that this logic can be used to prove anything, like an island, of which no island can be greater, and thus, this perfect island exists in reality. There are a number of reasons why this is not the case:
1) the ontological argument can only be used to justify the existence of a greater 'thing.' Nothing specific, like an island.
There is no limit on how great an island can be, or something physical. It is like a number, there is no such thing as the greatest possible number.
3) Physical entities are subject to a different definition of perfect, and thus cannot fit the Ontological argument. A perfect God is a God that exists; a perfect island is one that has palm trees.

Conflicting evidence in evolution:
3.1 Mathematical impossibilities of human populace.
The human population doubles every 168 years approximately. [3] If the human race is 2 million years old, then the period of doubling should be 65,040 years. But wait! There is a solution. Since by this formula we appear to have a small bunch of humans in existence of their own about 5000 years ago, we can assume that there was a major catastrophe that killed everyone. I.e. a worldwide flood. This certainly points in God's favour.

3.2 Non-homogeneous universe
if the big band is true, then the universe should have evenly spaced out galaxies; this is not the case however. [4, 5] Most observable galaxies are in clumps bunched up together. How does the evolutionist explain? 'It's because of something that we can neither feel, see, smell, hear, taste nor detect using anything... dark energy.' Sounds like a religion hey? What’s wrong with God if you're going to believe in the supernatural anyways?

3.3 Mutations don't work
Experiments on fruit flies over 1500 generations to a human equivalent of 37 500 years concluded that if flies can't mutate properly, it’s likely that nothing can. The flies remained flies during the tests and only developed severe fatal flaws in their genes. [6, 7] This experiment yet against proves that the 2nd law of thermodynamics is correct when it states that entropy must increase.

I have given my opponent plenty of reason to believe that God is a safe assumption. Especially compared to the alternate hypothesis. I have included a video of an interview with famous atheist-turned-theist Anthony flew, and his reasons for believing he was wrong. My opponents reasoning has been completely refuted, none of his arguments stand, compared to all of mine, thanks for the debate, Vote Pro.!

[1] The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, J.M. Dent & Sons ltd, London, 1971, page 167.
[4] R. B. Tully, Astrophysics Journal 303:25-38 (1986).
[6] Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation (Volume 1) , Dennis R. Petersen, Christian Equippers Ministries, Calfornia, 1987, page 84. 5Hoyle on Evolution, Nature, vol. 294, 12 November 1981, p105.

Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Smithereens 5 years ago
ty for the debate.
Posted by Altilongitude 5 years ago
@Pro, I like to think I approach everything with an open mind. I'm sad to hear most people on DDO don't share that on this site.
Posted by Several_Ingredients 5 years ago
Benjamin- it's Paul.
So I'm finally on this ostensible "social network". I knew of course that you would join in on religious debates. I'd rather that we converse in private messaging. Don't send an email, just use Google Talk or DDO's service.
Posted by Smithereens 5 years ago
@Con, were you planning to do this debate with an open mind? Cuz that would be a first for DDO.
Posted by philochristos 5 years ago
You know, I agree with con that the burden of proof is on the theist to say why we should believe in gods. But pro also has a good point. Since con said he would argue that there is no reason to believe that gods exist, con has the burden of proving that there is no reason to believe that gods exist. Notice, though, that there's a difference between arguing that "No gods exist," and arguing that "There's no reason to believe that gods exist." Con doesn't have the burden of proving that no gods exist, but he DOES have the burden of proving that there's no reason to believe that gods exist.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were by far more convincing than Con's, although I'm mainly voting the way I am because I'm not sure who had burden of proof. I found Con's counters to Pro's arguments to be generally unsatisfying. Pro also had sources.