The Instigator
Pennington
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Eitan_Zohar
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Theism is more reasonable than Atheism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Eitan_Zohar
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/1/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,118 times Debate No: 33133
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (27)
Votes (1)

 

Pennington

Pro

I thank anyone who accepts this debate. Good luck.

RESOLUTION: Theism is more reasonable than Atheism


Burden of Proof


In this debate Pro will assume the burden of showing that theism is more reasonable than atheism. Con will assume the burden of showing atheism more reasonable than theism.


Definitions


Atheism - disbelief in the existence of deity. http://www.merriam-webster.com...


Theism - belief in the existence of a deity.


http://www.merriam-webster.com...


Reasonable - being in accordance with reason; sound judgment.


http://www.merriam-webster.com...


Rules


1) No forfeited round is allowed. If any round are forfeited by either debater then that debater shall forfeit the Conduct points.


2) All sources and links shall be viewable for both debaters and readers. If either debater needs extra space for sources or links then they may post them in the comments section or an alternate source. If either debater does not follow this rule then that debater shall lose the source points.


3) No semantics or trolling allowed. If either debater chooses to act as a troll or argues with semantics then that debater shall lose conduct and argument points.


4) Any dropped points by either debater shall be viewed as a concession.


Rounds


1) Round one is for acceptance only.


2) The second round is for Pro to present his argument. Con shall also present a argument in round 2 or Con can choose to just rebuttal Pro.


3) The third round is for adding more arguments and to rebuttal previous arguments.


4) The last round is for closing rebuttals and a summation. No new arguments may be introduced. If arguments are introduced in the final round, that debater shall lose conduct and source points.


Again, I wish my opponent a good luck and await their acceptance.

Eitan_Zohar

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this debate and I wish him the best of luck as we argue. I accept his definitions and terms.
Debate Round No. 1
Pennington

Pro

Thank you Con for your acceptance.

In this debate I will offer two main contentions as to why theist are more reasonable than atheist. I will offer inside each contention sub-sets that should give a foundation for my main contentions.

C1) God necessarily exist.

C1A - Whatever begins to exist has a cause

Premise 1 seems obviously true as not to need defending. Objects don't pop into existence. They begin and end in a series of causes and effects. Every event is caused by, and determined by, some event or events that precede it in time.[1] What about our universe, did it have a cause?

Extrapolation of the Universe backwards in time using general relativity shows infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past. This singularity signals the breakdown of general relativity. This singularity is also known as the Big Bang, which can be considered the birth of our universe.[2] Therefore giving us reason to think the universe had a beginning and a cause.

One could ask why God is the exception to the rule. The reason God is the exception is because He never came into being but always was. As defined above, the substance must begin to exist. Therefore God is a necessary cause for life as we have it.

C1B - The Ontological Argument

Plantinga:

I. There is a possible world where a being has maximal greatness.

2. Necessarily, a being is maximally great only if it has maximal excellence in all possible worlds.

3. Necessarily, a being is maximally excellent in all possible worlds only if it has omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection.

4. It would be impossible for a being with maximal greatness not to exist in any possible world.

5. Therefore, a being of maximal greatness exists in all possible worlds.[3]

The Ontological argument purports to be an a priori[4] proof of God's existence. Starting with premises that do not depend on experience for justification and it proceeds by logical means to a conclusion that God exists. This view shows the atheist as not just mistaken but inconsistent in claiming to be reasonable yet denying God's probability.[5] This leads me to another argument that shows scientific reason to believe in God.

C1C - The Teleological Argument

1. Human artifacts are products of intelligent design; they have a purpose.

2. The universe resembles these human artifacts.

3. Therefore: It is probable that the universe is a product of intelligent design, and has a purpose.

4. However, the universe is vastly more complex and gigantic than a human artifact is.

5. Therefore: There is probably a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe.[6]

Teleological arguments are arguments from the order in the universe to the existence of God. The evidence for design is endless, so, I offer two examples.

a. DNA - genetic links unnaturally complex in size, function, and coded information. It is far too complex for random development.[7]

b. First Law of Thermodynamics - supports the supernatural model of origins. Energy is not created naturally and the universe is matter and energy. Therefore, the universe must have a supernatural creator. Atheistic models do not conform to the data available.

Intelligent design offers a consistent explanation for observed data from all life. This model is based off empirical testing and scientific reasoning. The atheistic model cannot offer better alternative explanations for our order and design. For us to have order in place there must be a mind to give law to that order. I submit order has a lawgiver who gives moral grounding.

C2) God is necessary for morality

I do not intend to imply that everyone who has morality needs to believe in God. What I will contend is humans have a moral truth's that comes from God. Therefore all people can have morality even if they do not believe in God. If there is no lawgiver then there is no objective moral value. This would mean there is no code of ethics that is universally valid, it simply would be about how we feel or what we decide.[8] By the atheistic view we have no order and therefore have no reason to have morality separate from other animals. This goes further into intelligent design, we cannot have higher conscious than other animals if not for a intelligent law giver.

C2A. Atheism has no basis

Atheism contends that only through social conditioning do we find acts which we find taboo and then we render them immoral. This thinking does nothing to really decide what is moral or not. By this explanation it seems morality(rights & wrongs) is just an illusion.

Atheism fails to present an adequate basis for thinking in a naturalistic outlook. It offers no value, conscious, personal or materialistic process that produces the type of moral values we place on ourselves.[9] Until my opponent addresses this point and offers a atheistic moral process, I will leave this point where it lies. If Con does claim atheism has moral basis he then will be incompatible with secularism.

C2B. Theism has a basis

As I have shown above, we have much reason to believe a maximum great being exist and with Him comes a maximum great goodness. If a maximum great being does exist then it seems reasonable to think we have maximum truth values on goodness and badness. A maximum badness would consist of values that are opposite to maximum goodness.

Unlike atheism, theism offers many reasons why we have moral truth values within us. Theism gives explanation for why we as human beings have certain moral behaviors ingrained. Things like rape and child abuse are considered immoral. From the atheistic side we are just animals and we make moral decisions as a herd. But, in the animal kingdom we see rape and parental neglect and we never think of it as immoral behavior. We have things like love and charity as human beings. If there are no moral truth values in life then things like love and charity are also just a instinct for survival.

God exist, so objective moral values & duties exist.

If a Maximally great being(ca2&3) is necessary then it follows that maximum goodness from Him exist. If a maximum goodness does exist then it logically follows that Laws were handed down by Him therefore requiring duty. Our moral experience works with our sensory experience and we perceive truths that we hold as morals. Just like our sensory abilities in the physical world we also apprehend internal moral by our natural senses. I contend God has given those moral senses to human beings with some becoming more accepting than others. There is no reason to deny that we have moral truths handed down from a higher cause.

Summation

I have shown logically that God probably exist. I have shown through scientific evidence our entire universe shows it was designed. I have implied that the designer gave internal laws that we call morals. I have shown that the morals are grounded throughout humanity. Therefore theism is grounded in rational thought from the surrounding universe. Atheism denies these claims and stays grounded in natural means which can never account for the universe, complexity, moral values and duties, and the logical argument for God.

Resources:

[1]

http://www.sfu.ca...

[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3]

http://www.lastseminary.com...

[4]

http://plato.stanford.edu...

[5]

http://www.princeton.edu...

[6]

http://www.qcc.cuny.edu...

[7]

http://www.uark.edu...

[8]

http://en.wikipedia.org...

[9]

http://www.paulcopan.com...

Eitan_Zohar

Con

Thanks my opponent for his opening argument.

Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

Pro asserts that since the universe must have had a beginning, it therefore also had to have a cause. He then posits God as this cause, and claims God doesn't need a cause himself since he is eternal. However, the reason why this infinite regress doesn't apply to God is not made clear. If God can be eternal, why not the rest of existence? The visible universe may have had an apparent beginning, but doesn't prove that nothing existed before the known universe. Why should this predecessor be assumed to be God? Pro offers no explanation.

The Ontological Argument.

Pro here claims that God must exist by definition; that God necessarily exists because he is maximally great, and existence is part of being maximally great. However, this also means that existence is a precondition of being maximally great. God can only possess his perfections if he already exists, therefore, premise 4 does not follow.

The Teleological Argument

Pro's next argument is that the universe was likely designed, and therefore likely had a designer as well. Here his reasoning is flawed as well- while the universe has the appearance of design, in reality this is an illusion. Perhaps he imagines (as an example) that God likes beautiful things, and therefore made Saturn's rings or flowers. But his own "beauty" circuitry determines what is beautiful and not beautiful to him. The human mind is built to make sense of the world through abstraction and this creates the illusion of beauty and order made specifically for us, when it is actually us who have adapted to the universe.

Contrary to my opponent's claims, evolution by natural selection isn't a random process. While the genetic mutations themselves may appear randomly, the natural selection of specific mutations is highly deterministic. If a gene aids survival in a given environment then it is selected by means of the survival and reproduction of the individuals carrying that gene, slowly altering the entire population of organisms towards certain biological adaptations. Similarly, if the trait is detrimental to survival, it will be selected out and will be carried over to the next generation fewer times.


DNA likely gradually from a simpler replicator. In fact, it is quite well established and easy to conceptually understand how it would evolve to be so complex: 1. [http://www.evolutionofdna.com...]

Pro's point about energy having to be created seems to be merely a rehashing of his "first cause" argument. He simply states that there is no explanation for why energy exists besides God. This could be applied to anything if we follow this reasoning further- why does anything exist? My response is that the question does not really need to be answered, as the same reasoning could be applied to God. Why did God exist rather than nothing? And if he could exist without cause, again, why couldn't the the rest of existence?

God is necessary for morality.

Fallacy #1: The Euthyphro Dilemma.

Pro says that God is necessary for morality to exist. He gives no definition of morality, so I will assume he means ontological basic moral facts. Immediately the reasoning fails: no reason is given as to where the objective morals actually come from. Did God give us commandments because they are right, or are they right because God commanded them? If it is the former, then morality must exist in the first place for God to know what is wrong and what is right. If it is the latter, then God's commandments are arbitrary and therefore by definition cannot be objective moral imperatives.

Fallacy #2: Appeal to consequences.

Even if we accept Pro's obviously flawed reasoning, he still does not consider the possibility that morality just might not exist. He has not shown that it necessarily exists, and thus it is possible to reasonably reject God and morality altogether.

-------------

Since I have refuted all of Pro's arguments and negated his conclusion that theism is more reasonable than atheism, I will turn the debate over to him here.

Debate Round No. 2
Pennington

Pro

Thank you Con for your argument. I will address my opponent while also reaffirming my contentions.



Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

Con asserts that I suggested infinite regress but I did not, I submit temporal regress after the Big Bang. Con ask, "why God does not experience regress?" God is infinite and outside physical time and nature. If God could diminish then He would not be infinite. Since matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed[1] then a infinite source must exist. I also contend that only physical things have temporal regress and are finite.[2] An infinite temporal regress is impossible because an actual infinite is impossible with physical things. Therefore, whatever begins to exist has a cause and go back far enough an infinite source must exist and the only explanation available is God.

The Ontological Argument.

Con confuses premises two with premise four and also preconditioning. In premise two we are given the statement that a maximally great being is only great if He has maxim excellence(omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection). Then it follows that a maximally great being would have those excellence's in all worlds. Then the fourth premise follows with that being existing in all possible worlds. So it would look like this in simple terms:

2) God would have these qualities if He is great

3) These are the qualities this great being would have

4) If this being is maximally great and have these qualities He would exist in all worlds.

Each premise follows the other naturally. God cannot have a precondition because God has always existed therefore, never having a precondition before His existence. Con has not covered this argument enough so it stands.

The Teleological Argument

Con admits, "while the universe has the appearance of design", but then tosses it aside and says, "in reality this is an illusion." Con wants us to believe the visual appearance of design is just an illusion. When humans design things are they also illusions? If our universe, planet, sun, moon, and other planets are minorly adjusted then no life would exist on earth. Our planets and solar system rotate in a pattern and is mathematically accurate to allow us to understand it. Con wants us to think it is all an illusion. I do not think it is. I will offer the premise that morals come from intelligence and intelligence needs a mind. Therefore, our universe and life appear to come from a mind. I will address this in the moral section.

Cons only contention here is that we have been around far less than the universe and our earth so we adapted to them. I think it is in all species nature to adapt so I would have to agree. That natural thing does not fight off my contention that the universe appears designed by a mind. Con offers no reason why evolution is not random and just happened. Why we have life opposed to no life. I cannot offer any reason for the Big-Bang. He simply offers adaptation which I agree with. Con has not shown why we actually adapt and what caused us to exist. If no life caused us to exist then we should be as intelligent as animals but we are not, we are much more intelligent. This leads us into morality and needing a mind.

Need for a mind

I have given the argument that there exists an uncaused, immaterial, timeless, powerful cause of the universe. I have offered the order and design in which my opponent conceded is apparent. The only thing that fits that description is an unembodied mind. So it is up to Con to show that it is incoherent. If humans are composed of mind and body, then the mind is distinct from the body. There may be minds that are never conjoined to bodies. I have given multiple premises for why the universe was created and probably is personal. I’ve now given an argument for the existence of a unembodied mind.[3]

God is necessary for morality

Con offers no rebuttal but fallacies, no atheistic moral framework, no reason why we as humans have similar moral grounding, and no reason why we can think any further than basic animals.

Moral Values & Duties

God is necessarily good and moral values can be said to exist in Him. God’s nature is the greatest of goodness; what good or bad is, is determined by His nature. God’s nature is in the form of commands which constitute our moral duties directed toward us. This is why we have similar moral directions.[4] In the absence of God it’s not evident that cruelty would be wrong or right. God's commands does not imply why there should be good reasons to love, have kindness, and patience because they ingrained in our genes. Atheism cannot offer any other explanation, why do we have these natural moral values if not for a higher mind to place them on us?

Fallacy #1: The Euthyphro Dilemma.

Many contemporary philosophers of religion suppose there are true propositions which exist as platonic dependently on God. Christian theism rejects a view as inconsistent with God's omnipotence, which requires that all that there is, is God and what he has made. From a theistic perspective the Euthyphro dilemma is false.[5]

As Rogers puts it, "Anselm, like Augustine before him and Aquinas later, rejects both horns of the Euthyphro dilemma. God neither conforms to nor invents the moral order. Rather His very nature is the standard for value."

Fallacy #2: Appeal to consequences.

"Even if we accept Pros obviously flawed reasoning, he still does not consider the possibility that morality just might not exist. He has not shown that it necessarily exists, and thus it is possible to reasonably reject God and morality altogether."

Con never offers another option but animal instincts.

Summation

I have made a Personal Creator of the universe plausible. Ockham’s Razor states when two theories are introduced the simplest answer is necessity. My opponent has not offered any answer for atheism. Atheism is not reasonable if we do not have explain for our universe, moral values and duties, and logical reason why we should deny there is appearance of design. Both of my opponents fallacies fail.

Resolution Affirmed!

SOURCES:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

[4] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Eitan_Zohar

Con

I thank my opponent.

Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

"Con ask, "why God does not experience regress?" God is infinite and outside physical time and nature. If God could diminish then He would not be infinite."


Note that Pro still does not make a real distinction between God and the rest of existence, he merely asserts that God is "infinite" with zero explanation of why nothing else could be.

"Since matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed[1] then a infinite source must exist. I also contend that only physical things have temporal regress and are finite.[2] An infinite temporal regress is impossible because an actual infinite is impossible with physical things."

"Matter and energy" should not be equivocated with existence. This reasoning cannot be applied to the universe because it consists of spacetime and does not necessarily require matter or energy to exist. And if we're simply going to ask the question of why matter and energy exist in the first place, then we are no longer talking about infinite regress or the necessity of God.

The Ontological Argument.

I am having a difficult time understanding my opponent's point. Existence is still a prcondition of omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection. If we follow Pro's line of reasoning than the "possibility" of existing isn't nearly enough- we have to establish that God must exist, not merely that he could theoretically exist. Therefore it is 2 that does not follow rather than 4.

The Teleological Argument.

"Con admits, "while the universe has the appearance of design", but then tosses it aside and says, "in reality this is an illusion." Con wants us to believe the visual appearance of design is just an illusion. When humans design things are they also illusions?"

Pro ignored and strawmanned my argument- my explanation for why the appearance of design in nature was an illusion was that our brains are designed to understand the universe under our own terms and form conceptions that could be processed. Complexity is a completely subjective thing, and the ability to discern it is largely a function of familiarity and cultural context. There is a difference between HUMAN design and the random appearance of design- human designs have easily identifiable qualities to us and were made for human purposes.

"If our universe, planet, sun, moon, and other planets are minorly adjusted then no life would exist on earth. Our planets and solar system rotate in a pattern and is mathematically accurate to allow us to understand it."


There can only be observers where there can be observers. If we lived in an environment in which we couldn't have evolved, we wouldn't exist to know it.

If Con believes that the planets revolving around the sun are evidence of design, he should perhaps learn what an orbit is: [http://en.wikipedia.org...].

In addition, the percieved stability of our solar system is simply a consequence of us not being long-lived enough to discern their instability- in fact, the orbits of the planets are chaotic rather than perfectly ordered, as my opponent imagines: [http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu...]


"Con offers no reason why evolution is not random and just happened."

Pro ignores me again- I gave an in-depth explanation last round of why natural selection was fundamentally non-random.

"He simply offers adaptation which I agree with. Con has not shown why we actually adapt and what caused us to exist."

Why we exist in the first place is very simple (at least in concept): Self-replicating molecules first came into being, and certain molecules which had traits that allowed them to outcompete others survived and replicated more, beginning the process of natural selection.

"If no life caused us to exist then we should be as intelligent as animals but we are not, we are much more intelligent."

Intelligence is in itself an adaptation.

Need for a mind.

Pro doesn't appear to offer an argument but merely reiterates his previous points.

God is necessary for morality.

"Con offers no rebuttal but fallacies, no atheistic moral framework, no reason why we as humans have similar moral grounding, and no reason why we can think any further than basic animals."


Pro entirely missed the point of my objections. We don't NEED to have morality and we don't NEED to have anything else than preconceived social instincts.

"In the absence of God it’s not evident that cruelty would be wrong or right."

Why is it wrong? It's not self-evident that it is. Of course I wouldn't do it because of my social conditioning, but why must there necessarily be an objective imperative not to?

"God's commands does not imply why there should be good reasons to love, have kindness, and patience because they ingrained in our genes."

This isn't an argument. Why can't they simply be ingrained on our genes?

Fallacy #1: The Euthyphro Dilemma.

"Anselm, like Augustine before him and Aquinas later, rejects both horns of the Euthyphro dilemma. God neither conforms to nor invents the moral order. Rather His very nature is the standard for value."

If we accept God's nature as the standard for value (and I may be confusing this but Pro made it hard to understand), that still doesn't prove that we have objective moral imperatives as a result. Pro commits the Is-ought fallacy by assuming that God's standard requires that we have an objective standard of our own to follow. Hume's Fork explains this:

"By Hume's fork, relations among ideas are strictly divided from states of actuality. Thus, among the necessary versus contingent (concerning reality), the a priori versus a posteriori (concerning knowledge), and the analytic versus synthetic (concerning statement), relations among ideas or the abstract are necessary, a priori, and analytic, whereas actualities or the concrete are contingent, a posteriori, and synthetic." -[http://en.wikipedia.org...]

Fallacy #2: Appeal to consequences.

"Con never offers another option but animal instincts."


And, for the final time, Pro hasn't shown that animal instincts aren't acceptable. It is not an established premise that morality is valid. This is a "common sense" assumption made by my opponent, which he has still thus far failed to prove.

I now conclude this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Pennington

Pro

Pennington forfeited this round.
Eitan_Zohar

Con

Sadly, my opponent has elected to forfeit and as such automatically loses the conduct point. I thank Pennington for this debate and urge the readers to vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Eitan_Zohar 4 years ago
Eitan_Zohar
VI, it isn't fair that he should lose the whole debate because he forfeited one round. It was agreed in the beginning he would only lose conduct.
Posted by Pennington 4 years ago
Pennington
Thanks and GL moving.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 4 years ago
calculatedr1sk
I'm moving this weekend, so that works out well for both of us. I'll be looking forward to it, and good luck in your debates.
Posted by Pennington 4 years ago
Pennington
Give me a few days or a week. I got some debates going on right now.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 4 years ago
calculatedr1sk
Very good then! When you're ready of course, I'd imagine that as pro you'll probably want to set up the framework, and I'll agree to it as the first round, and then we'll get to hear your opening remarks to start off the second. Good luck, Pennington. To be sure, you will make for a worthy opponent.
Posted by Pennington 4 years ago
Pennington
I can agree to that.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 4 years ago
calculatedr1sk
Ah, but therein lies one of humanity's great problems, for there is not one "God hypothesis", now is there? To our great inconvenience, there have been many, and continue to be many, conflicting hypotheses on offer. One Egyptian hypothesis attributes existence to Atum. Another to the patron god of craftsmen, Ptah. The Norse would have thought it obvious to everyone that the ancestor of all is the god Ymir, who to his misfortune was vanquished by the brothers Odin, Vili, and V". Surely I cannot be expected to argue against all of the god hypotheses which have been put forward?

But perhaps I do not have to. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that you are only interested in defending the honor of the ancient Israelite god of storms, Yaweh, who over time evolved into what people of the 21st century would call "The Lord"?

If that is indeed the case, then shall we be so bold as to proclaim: "The God hypothesis, as provided by the Bible, is the most reasonable explanation for human existence" as our resolution?
Posted by Pennington 4 years ago
Pennington
The God hypothesis is the most reasonable explanation.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 4 years ago
calculatedr1sk
I can appreciate your point. Is there an alternative resolution which you would prefer?
Posted by Pennington 4 years ago
Pennington
I am interested. Though that resolution is a heavy burden. No one must do anything.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Vulpes_Inculta 4 years ago
Vulpes_Inculta
PenningtonEitan_ZoharTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF