The teleological argument is evidence of a designer deity.
Debate Rounds (4)
I am taking a Naturalism viewpoint in this debate which I'll explain in round 2.
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening Arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals/ any additional arguments
Round 4: Rebuttals/concluding statements
Although this is only the acceptance round, I would like to clarify a few things:
(1) I am a creationist and will therefore be arguing for the existence of a God, a supreme creator.
(2) The resolution is worded strangely, and I would like to clarify to the best of my ability. If I am not interpreting it correctly, please correct me in round two.
To me, it seems as though the resolution says: The argument that there is a deity ("the teleological argument") is evidence of a deity ("evidence of a designer deity"). This seems a bit strange. I believe that the round will go smoother with a resolution such as: "(this house believes) there is evidence for a designer deity"
If this is incorrect, I urge my opponent to clarify the resolution in round two.
(3) When I debate, I depend heavily on definitions. So I am giving my opponent the opportunity to bring forth definitions for this round. If he does not, or if I do not agree with his definitions, I will bring up my own in my next speech.
Does my opponent agree?
I look forward to an exciting and engaging debate. Good luck.
Now that that's out of the way, onto to the argument.
"Naturalism: the belief that all phenomena are covered by laws of science and that all teleological explanations are therefore without value." Basically, Naturalism holds that the universe is a closed system in which everything in that system is natural. All knowledge of the universe falls within the pale of scientific investigation.
This renders the teleological position heavily unlikely because a creator deity cannot be scientifically tested. Although, I won't go into that at the moment as I want to allow my opponent to clarify his angle on the teleological philosophy. Once my opponent clarifies his position, we can begin refutations (the interesting part of the debate!).
"When the solution is simple, God is answering." - Albert EinstienSince this is the "opening arguments" round, I will not touch the arguments my opponent brought up. That's for the next round.
All of my arguments in favor of a designer deity boil into three key arguments: Physical Evidence, Psychological Evidence, and the Unity of a Designer Deity and Science.
ARGUMENT 1: THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
All creation points to a creator. That point is key. Whenever we see a painting, a sculpture, or even a bit of text in a book (or on a debate website...), we know that something or someone made it. The painting did not paint itself, the sculpture did not erode into that formation, and that text was not randomly generated. There was an intellegent mind behind it. A painter, sculpter, or writer who designed and created that bit of work.
All design needs a designer. And thus, we must accept that the world, the universe, and everything in it must have an intelegent mind behind it. That inteligent mind is a designer deity.
ARGUMENT 2: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EVIDENCE
This point will seem a bit strange at first. Although there haven't been any studies on this topic, in general, human beings have a desire to look for a greater intelligence than their own. Take, for example, the search for alians. Many scientists are convinced that they will find some greater intelligence in the stars. In fact, leading evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins, when asked about how humans could have come into being said: "Well, it could come about in the following way. It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it's possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer."
Humans, in their minds, want a higher inteligence. As Voltaire once said: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." (http://www.brainyquote.com...) People have an inwad desire to find a greater being. An inteligent creator somewhere out there.
I can't explain this point perfectly, so if my oponent wishes to dismiss it, he may.
ARGUMENT 3: THE UNITY OF A DESIGNER DEITY AND SCIENCE
As a creationist, I have run into many arguments against creationism. Perhaps the most common is: "Look how far science has brought us, can your religion do that?"
Against this is a very simple answer: Science and Religion are not mutually exclusive.
Acceptence of a designer deity does not constitut in any way the denial of science. All it denies is the evolutionary means of creating the world (A big bang or any other means other than a creator).
Many famous scientists have also believed in a designer deity. To name a few: Nicholas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Gregor Mendel, and Albert Einstein. All of these people understood and used science, but still believe in a designer deity.
So, in conclusion, Physical and Phychological evidence point to a designer deity, and this is a possibility scientifically. Because of this, I stand as the PRO, that The teleological argument is evidence of a designer deity.
" I came"though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents"to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve.
Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression.
Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment"an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections.
It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which was thus lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the 'merely personal,' from an existence dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings.
Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking.
The contemplation of this world beckoned as a liberation, and I soon noticed that many a man whom I had learned to esteem and to admire had found inner freedom and security in its pursuit. The mental grasp of this extra-personal world within the frame of our capabilities presented itself to my mind, half consciously, half unconsciously, as a supreme goal.
Similarly motivated men of the present and of the past, as well as the insights they had achieved, were the friends who could not be lost. The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has shown itself reliable, and I have never regretted having chosen it."
Refutation (1): Physical evidence
"All creation points to a creator." This is important and I also agree with this statement. However, the creator does not always have to be a deity or a human. Creation is a vague term that can be applied to a lot of things. The Grand Canyon was a creation of nature that took millions of years to form. Every mountain you see is created by the clashing of tectonic plates in the Earth's crust. No human or deity needed to interfere with these processes because we can definitively prove how and when these events took place. I can also use that to point to the universe as a creation by the scientific theory known as the big bang. I don't wish to debate the big bang in this though, so that's all I will say on that.
Refutation (2): Psychological evidence
Not going to spend too much time on this one. The question of extraterrestrial life is one that is answered with mathematical probability. In this vast observable universe, astronomers estimate there are about 100 billion galaxies. So, probability would dictate that the odds of some of those planets in those galaxies containing intelligent life is pretty high.
Refutation (3): Designer deity and science
Nicholas Copernicus (born 1473), Galileo Galilei (born 1564), Issac Newton (born 1643), Michael Farady (born 1791), and Gregor Mendel (born 1822). All of these men lived in times where Christianity was rampant in the areas they lived and not believing in a designer deity (more specifically, the Christian God) could mean death. In fact, most of these men were deists. Meaning they did not believe in a personal God, but lived in a time where deism was the only scientifically rational position to uphold given the lack of astrophysical evidence at the time. Personal beliefs can never be evidence towards anything, let alone a designer of the cosmos.
"Science and Religion are not mutually exclusive."
Okay, let's look at this with a little scrutiny.
Science: the systematic study of the nature and behavior of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement, and the formulation of laws to describe these facts in general terms.
Religion: a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.
Basically, Science is concerned with what is true and what is observable within the universe. Through the scientific method of purpose, research, hypothesis, experiment, analysis, and conclusion. Science is always subject to change, the "theories" are always subject to change based on evidence. Religion however, is a rigid set of truth claims that is not subject to change. If science formulates a theory (i.e. evolution), religion either has to deny the evidence or change the meaning of their scripture to fit within the parameters of the theory. Religion and Science are mutually exclusive because they're two entirely different sects of academic thought.
"I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so...The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins' comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a "lucky chance." If that"s the best argument you have, then the game is over." This quote was made by ex-evolutionist Dr. Antony Flew in 2007. (http://www.tothesource.org...) Because I agree with him, I stand as the Pro, that The teleological argument is evidence of a designer deity.
I will now go down the list as I refute the arguments bought up by my opponent.
POINT 1: EINSTEIN
I will admit that Mr. Einstein was not a creationist. However, that was not the point I was making. I was not trying to address the validity of my side by saying that Einstein agreed with me, I was simply using the text of the quote as a prelude to my arguments.
POINT 2: PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
My opponent said in his previous speech that a deity or human is not necessary in some cases to create. He said that natural processes are a creator in and of themselves.
To this I respond: Natural Processes are evidence of a creator.
This may seem like a strange point, but think of it this way. Randomness. That is what the evolution mentality is. The big bang, the formation of planets, and even the process of evolution itself is a random process. Now think about this: For years, for thousands of years, the laws of science: physics, biology, chemistry, and the like have conformed to a set of rules. Isaac Newton found out one such law as he was sitting under the apple tree. Now think of this: if the entire universe came about through random chance, why are such rules unchanging? Random creation should bring forth random laws. But there are no random laws.
My opponent talks of natural processes, but those natural processes are a result of an intelligent designer deity creating it.
POINT 3: PSYCHOLOGICAL EVIDENCE
My opponent made the point that aliens are a statistical probability. This is not the point I was trying to make. I was not talking about the probability of extraterrestrials, I was talking about how humans WANT extraterrestrials. Humans are looking for intelligent life in the stars when they should be looking for an intelligent creator.
POINT 4: DEITY AND SCIENCE
My opponent makes the case that the famous scientists such as Galileo and Newton were only "Christians" because they would be executed if they weren't. I disagree with this completely. Both Galileo and Newton wrote numerous things on God and science. If they were being forced to "believe" they wouldn't have written as much as they did on the subject.
"God is known by nature in his works, and by doctrine in his revealed word." - Galileo Galilei (http://bevets.com...)
"For while comets move in very eccentric orbs in all manner of positions, blind fate could never make all the planets move one and the same way in orbs concentric, some inconsiderable irregularities excepted which may have arisen from the mutual actions of comets and planets on one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this system wants a reformation" - Isaac Newton, 1706 Opticks (2nd Edition)
POINT 5: SCIENCE AND RELIGION
Before I get into this topic, Allow me to give the viewers a quick science lesson.
There are two kinds of science: Observational Science and Historical Science. Observational Science deals with the things we see and can recreate, such as a chemical reaction and the dissection of a frog. Historical Science, however, deals with the past. Historical Science is entirely faith-based, no matter if you are a creationist or an evolutionist. For example, suppose I told you that the Eiffel Tower was in France, it was 986 feet tall, it was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World's fair. We could use observational science to see it in France, and to measure it's height. But we must have faith that it was built by Gustave for the World's Fair. There are two types of science, and that is very important.
My opponent made the point that science and religion cannot live in harmony. He said that science is concerned with what is true and observable and is subject to change based on evidence whereas religion is rigid and will not change.
This is incorrect.
Both "Science" and "Religion" agree on one thing: Observational Science. Both the chemist and the pastor will agree that the earth revolves around the sun, atoms make up the universe, and clouds are formed by evaporation. This is observational facts. Where "Science" and "Religion" collide is at Historical Science. Whereas evolutionists believe the earth was formed millions of years ago with the big bang, creationists believe it was formed six thousand years ago with a six-day creation.
How do we know? We can't. No one was there when it was created. We have to have faith.
That's what it all comes down to: Faith. Creationists have faith in their theory. Evolutionists have faith in theirs.
So when my opponents says that science and religion cannot exist together, he is incorrect. As I said before, many intelligent men and women have devote their lives to science, and still believed in a designer deity. Saying that they are incompatible is untrue.
In conclusion, the physical and psychological evidence points to a designer deity. A designer deity is compatible with science, and that is where I stand. I stand as the Pro, that The teleological argument is evidence of a designer deity.
If you truly weren't trying to add validity to your argument by quoting Einstein, I apologize. That seemed to be the case and I needed to address it as it is commonly used as a creationist talking point
Rebuttal (2) Physical evidence:
The quote that stood out most to me in this 2nd point was: "If the entire universe came about through random chance, why are such rules unchanging?" Rules aren't unchanging, even laws aren't unchanging. That was the overarching point in my science vs religion segment. If a piece of credible evidence came into the mainstream challenging any popular scientific theory, they would be forced to analyze it with profound investigation. Also, random creation does not necessitate random laws. The laws/theories brought forth to explain these "random" creations (I use 'random' in quotations here because not all creation dictated by nature is 'random') are consolidated evidences brought upon by years of scientific research. For instance, the theory of the Big Bang is not subject to these "random laws" you speak of. Scientific theories cannot be proven outright, they can only be disproved. This means one would need to point out evidence to disprove the theory, not hypothetical circumstances in which the theory "may be" untrue. Also, my opponents assertion the "natural processes are a result of an intelligent designer deity" is simply a false attribution. This is because ANY natural process could be attributed to that ANY sort of metaphysical being. It's an unfalsifiable hypothesis.
Rebuttal (3) Psychological evidence:
I really don't want to continue with this argument as I think it's more for hypothetical conversation rather than serious topics of debate. They are a statistical probability and anything beyond that is just a fun conversation to have. Whether humans WANT extraterrestrials or not is irrelevant to the debate.
Rebuttal (4) Deity and science:
This seems like a huge straw man fallacy to me. I never said that the scientists mentioned in the previous rebuttal were "Christians." I said that they were deists and that Christianity was rampant at the time in regards to the popular consensus. It still is popular in modern culture, but in regards to the time in which theses scientists were living, you could actually be convicted of serious crimes (including death) in challenging the religious doctrines of Christianity. Galileo did this by confirming the heliocentric theory (original hypothesis of this idea was by Copernicus) of the universe. This theory states that the Earth revolves around the sun rather than the geocentric theory in which the Sun revolved around the Earth. Galileo was put on trial by the Inquisition in Rome for heresy.
Rebuttal (5) Science and religion:
The argument my opponent uses that we must have faith to believe that Gustave Eiffel built the Eiffel Tower is completely fallacious. We have historical evidence that Gustave had a company that proposed the design. You don't need science, you just need an ability to read historical documents. Gustave's company ( Eiffel et Compagnie) was the chosen winner of over 100 entries in the fair celebrating the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Actually, Gustave doesn't even deserve full credit, it was his structural engineer, Maurice Koechlin who fine-tuned the concept. I am digressing, let me fully address this "historical science/observational science" issue.
The fact is, it isn't an issue. All science is a seamless mix of things we observe directly, and things we infer using natural laws extended into the realms of the past. Historical claims can be evaluated using modern scientific experiments (i.e. the formation of mountains).
My opponents final argument is the assertion that we can't prove when the Earth was formed millions of years ago. Firstly, it was formed 4.6 billion years ago, not millions of years ago. We know this by using methods known as "radiometric" and "radiocarbon" dating. This measures the ratio between carbon-14 and carbon-12 isotopes in any once-living being. Scientists also know the half-life of the decay of certain elements like uranium-235 and can test for these elements on certain rocks. These methods have been replicated over and over again in laboratories and have been proven to accurately predict the timescale of certain geological events. See here for a simple overview of this process: http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov...
To conclude, all of arguments have been tethered to my original position, naturalism. All knowledge falls within the pale of scientific investigation. There is no need for the natural world to have a designer deity artificially inserted into it. Ultimately, my opponents argument is severely wounded by infinite regress. Naturalism explains the world in a closed system, starting from a simple process. It is self-defeating to try to explain the complexity of the universe by invoking a creator of even greater complexity.
This was a fun debate to make rebuttals against. I actually spent a good portion of my evening reading some of my own sources and my opponents. I learned some new information and it was very thought provoking. I look forward to his/her final argument.
"The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that 'a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein'" - Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle (http://izquotes.com...)
I thank my opponent for this debate. I have learned much more about my opponent's stance on the topic than I have expected. I have enjoyed it very much.
In this last speech of this debate, I would like to consolidate all arguments into three main points. By this I mean that I have not rebutted all my opponent's arguments one-for-one. I have inferred their meaning and rebutted the underlying ideas. I have phrased the points in the form of questions. It is these questions that readers should answer before casting their ballot.
QUESTION ONE: IS THE UNIVERSE RANDOM?
This is a point that has been running through this debate. I would like examine this point a bit more.
My opponent and I seem at odds as to the answer to this question. My opponent believes that things in the universe change. He said in his last speech: "Rules aren't unchanging, even laws aren't unchanging. That was the overarching point in my science vs religion segment." However, his next statement rebutts this point for me: " If a piece of credible evidence came into the mainstream challenging any popular scientific theory, they would be forced to analyze it with profound investigation." What this means is that this evidence has ALREADY BEEN THERE, and we are just now seeing it. The rule hasn't changed, our observation of it has.
As an example, the law of gravity has always been a fact, but it was only when Newton was under the apple tree that we fully realized it. The Law didn't change, we just changed our observation of it.
So we see that the universe is, indeed, NOT random. It follows a specific set of natural, chemical, and above all, logical rules. And such well-ordered rules could not have come about from a not-well-ordered creation, such as the Big Bang. Only a logical deity would create such a universe. So, this question goes to PRO, that there is evidence of a designer deity.
QUESTION TWO: CAN SCIENCE AND RELIGION COEXIST?
My opponent defined religion in round three as: "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects." However, looking at the webpage he provided, this definition is the second on the list. The first is as follows: "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs." (http://dictionary.reference.com...)
Religion is, quite simply, the beliefs concerning the creation of the universe. As a creationist, I believe that the universe was created by a designer deity. My opponent believes otherwise. However, we do not disagree on one thing: Science.
Like I said in my previous speech, there are two kinds of science. Observational science both my opponent and I agree on. We both agree that the universe is made up of atoms, that water is made of two hydrogen and one oxygen, and that the Eiffel Tower is 986 feet tall. There is no disagreement here. The only disagreement is the things we cannot observe, such as the creation of the universe.
Therefore, the answer is yes, Science and Religion CAN coexist. It has. I believe in the science that deals with the world around us. And so do many others. This is not the issue.
QUESTION THREE: CAN SCIENCE AND SCIENCE COEXIST?
This seems like a very strange point. Allow me to clarify.
There are two different connotations of science. One is an observational process, another is a belief.
Like I said before, true science has to do with the things we can see (or measure). Water, atoms, and the Eiffel Tower. This is the part that religion agrees with. But does the 'other science' agree with it.
The 'other science' is a belief, much like religion. They believe things they cannot see, such as the creation of the universe and the evolutionary process. (please note that I am not saying this is bad. As a creationist, I have a lot of belief as well. I am just making note that both sides fundamentally require faith or belief.)
So, can this 'other science' coexist with 'true science'?
Allow me to give you an example to help clarify this point: Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
Please read the following articles: http://science.nasa.gov... http://physics.about.com... http://physics.about.com...
(trust me, only the first one is long. the other two are definitions.)
Anyway, the idea of dark matter was invented to solve a problem with the Big Bang model. There is no evidence for it, but according to scientists, it must be there because the Big Bang model would fall apart without it.
Afterword, the theory(actually, its a hypothesis) of dark energy was created for the same reason. No evidence, it just has to be for the model to work.
We see here that 'other science' doesn't look for facts, they look for "evidence" which promotes their theory.
This is not the way to go for true science.
I won't answer this question. I'll leave the answer up to the readers.
In conclusion, the question here is: is there evidence of a designer deity? The answer is yes. All around us, we see logic and order, which can only come about through an intelligent creator.
In addition, true science is something both sides agree on, but at the same time, both sides rely of belief and faith.
So, with all this evidence, I stand as the Pro, that The teleological argument is evidence of a designer deity.
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