The Instigator
DanielCoimbra
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
Ayyuba
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

There Are No Reasonable Arguments for a God

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
DanielCoimbra
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/2/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 766 times Debate No: 41574
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

DanielCoimbra

Pro

The aim of my opponent in this debate should be to attempt to prove me wrong by showing a reasonable argument in favor of the existence of a god, and I will reply accordingly. I am eager to find a good argument, and I have tried to formulate my own, so I am reasonably open-minded about this issue.

A god would be roughly defined as the creator of the universe. He does not need to be necessarily omnipotent, perfect, or benevolent, but my opponent can argue for that or similar concepts that resemble my definition.

I have extensively thought about all the arguments that have been proposed to prove the existence of a god, at least the ones I was able to find. So far, I have found all of them utterly unconvincing and logically fallacious. The ontological argument is circular, the cosmological argument is special pleading for god, and the fine-tuning argument is also special pleading for god. Those were the three chief contenders for a proof of god. Other arguments, ranging from religious experience to alleged miracles, are so naive that I don't even pay attention to them anymore.

Can anyone solidly argue in favor of any of these arguments? I will provide my detailed objections to them further on. My opponent's Round 1 post should be a presentation and an argument for god.
Ayyuba

Con

I will do my best. I will argue mainly for the monotheistic God. While I am a sort of Christian and read the Bible, my main reason is not that source. 1. I believe that the universe has a source. All of these awesome complex life forms cannot logically happen by accident. That is like saying a car built itsself. 2. My statement is in the form of a question: If the big bang happened, who or what made it happen? I await your response.
Debate Round No. 1
DanielCoimbra

Pro

Your arguments are versions of the (1) Teleological argument (the universe is complex and fine-tuned for life, so it must have been designed), and the (2) Cosmological argument (what caused the universe to begin to exist?). I will list my objections to those two.
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(1) Evolution, Abiogenesis, and Chance
First of all, I would like to state that the complex life forms existent in our planet have not gotten here by pure chance/mere accident. There was a whole process of natural evolution that spanned across 4 billion years, that took place on Earth, which is not random at all: it is guided by the mechanism of natural selection, something that happens because there is fierce competition for food and shelter in the wild, so only a small percentage of animals actually leave descendants to carry on their genes: those who are the best adapted to the environment. So evolution, which is the most well-established scientific theory ever, explains how all complex life form originated from extremely simple self-replicating cells a few billion years ago. There is no need to summon god to explain that. A car, or a watch, needs an intelligent designer and a builder because its constituent parts do not naturally form bonds or replicate themselves, like some organic compounds can do (which are the constituents of life). All there needs to be for complex life forms to originate are (a) enough time, (b) a suitable planet, and (c) extremely simple self-replicating cells (which are then subjected to natural selection).
Requirement (a) is a given (our Universe is 13.78 billion years old, so there is plenty of time). The fact that we have over 10^24 stars just in the visible universe - most of those with accompanying planets - already makes it so suitable planets are going to appear by the billions, even if they are statistically rare, so (b) is accounted for. The origin of (c) is still somewhat of a mystery, though we have very plausible models of how it could have formed: the field of study dedicated to this matter is called abiogenesis.
So we can easily conclude that the formation of galaxies, stars, planets, life, and complex life forms can all arise naturally, without the need for divine intervetion. However, one might argue for is that the properties of the universe are such that it is possible for life to arise: why are the constants of the universe the way they are? They could be different, and there would be no life. This - the fine-tuning argument - would suggest an intelligent creator that set just the right parameters for our universe so there could be life. But this is merely special pleading for god, and I will tell you why I say this in the next section.
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(2) God, Special Pleading, and Turtles All the Way Down
You ask me: what caused the Big Bang? What created the universe? It seems to be quite obvious that the universe could not have created itself, so it must have an external creator. I have two problems with this notion.
One is a scientific problem: we don't know whether the universe has had a beginning or not. The Big Bang theory merely explains the development of the universe, up to a Planck Time after the start of its inflationary period. It is very much possible for the universe to have existed previously (what they call the age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang). We do not know for a fact if there ever was a beginning to our universe. Another point is that modern cosmology suggest the existence of an eternal multiverse, where our universe - and many others - simply appear into existence in it. There is no reason to suppose an eternal divine creator if we can suppose an eternal material reality.
The second is a logical problem: god himself would also need a creator, for he is also extremely fine-tuned - he could have been different and not have all the wonderful powers he has. Using your own words, such a being could not have logically happened by accident - so the designer needs a creator. If you keep going, you will see that the creator needs yet another designer, and this designer needs another creator, and it keeps going on endlessly. "It's turtles all the way down!" - you cannot put a stop to this infinite regress by arbitrarily creating a stopping point at god. You could just do the same with the universe, or a multiverse: why god can simply 'eternally exist/create itself/be fine-tuned without design', but not the universe? This, my friend, is special pleading.
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(3) Wrapping Up
The origin of everything is a big mystery. You want to summon god to solve this mystery, but there is a price: you create the mystery of god's own existence. You are explaining the unexplained (the universe) by something which is also unexplained (god), which amounts to no explanation at all! The God Hypothesis is an unnecessary and unwarranted assumption, for it does not solve any of the fundamental questions we were trying to solve by conjuring its existence in the first place.
Ayyuba

Con

Ayyuba forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
DanielCoimbra

Pro

I will give my opponent another chance to reply. I do not think we will make full use of the five rounds, so it is ok to waste one. :)
Ayyuba

Con

Ayyuba forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
DanielCoimbra

Pro

I am still open for an argument countering my refutation of the Teleological argument and the Cosmological argument. We still have enough rounds left to discuss other kinds of argument that the Contender may want to put forward.
Ayyuba

Con

Ayyuba forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
DanielCoimbra

Pro

Last chance for a rebuttal. Something tells me the Contender is unable to do so, and the sad thing is: she will remain a Christian, despite her utter incapability of justifying her belief.
Ayyuba

Con

Ayyuba forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DanielCoimbra 3 years ago
DanielCoimbra
Why, TGOF?
Posted by TheGhostOfFreedom 3 years ago
TheGhostOfFreedom
That last comment "sad thing is"

Was pretty deplorable.
Posted by DanielCoimbra 3 years ago
DanielCoimbra
P.S. JonathanDJ should read Hoyle's book, The Intelligent Universe, to see his junkyard tornado statement.
Posted by DanielCoimbra 3 years ago
DanielCoimbra
Hoyle not only misunderstood evolution, as he also misunderstood abiogenesis (which, frankly, had no well-established models back then). Either he does, or every single modern evolutionary biologist does: which one you find more plausible?

You are using the same argument as the Contender did: fine-tuning in our planet. I would like to remind you that the visible universe - which is at least 20x smaller than the actual universe - has over a septillion planets. Any environmental conditions you think are fine-tuned for life can be extremely easily explained by using these figures and the anthropic principle. Not a challenge at all. I would also like to add that we have been hit by massive meteors at least twice before: when a gigantic body hit us in the early ages of the Earth, giving birth to the Moon, and when that gigantic meteor (probably) feel in the Yucat"n Peninsula at Mexico, ultimately causing the extinction of dinosaurs.

It does not matter if genetic mutations and environmental conditions are random. The point is crystal clear: evolution is not random as creationists and Hoyle make it out to be. It is not the case that random molecules are just smashing against each other and happened to form a complex structure, like the eye.

Fred Hoyle was the one who estimated that there was a 1 in 10^40000 chance for complex life forms to arise, which is totally not the case. Modern biologists and astronomers estimate that life should be all over the visible universe. Hoyle was wrong to an extremely extreme degree (I need to emphasize how utterly wrong he was). He is so wrong, that scientists and thinkers all over the world now describe his statement of the Junkyard Tornado as "Hoyle's Fallacy". I did not make that up on a whim, you are just ignorant of its origins and widespread use.

Well, that was easy. Thanks for the comment, though.
Posted by JonathanDJ 3 years ago
JonathanDJ
I find it perplexing that the Instigator would imply that Nobel Laureate Physicist Sir Fred Hoyle had a "Deeply flawed" understanding of evolution. Second, here is some more randomness for you: if there was more radioactivity in the environment and it was to speed up the rate of copying errors in genetic processes. If a massive asteroid hit us or the moon it would have disastrous consequences. There are so many variables that we use the word "Random" as a place holder. None the less it is described as being random. I don't know where instigator got his numbers of life's independent emergence through abiogenesis but they are utterly absurd. Finally, I don't know where you got this "Hoyle's fallacy" crap, but it's childish BS and I'd drop it if I were Instigator.
Posted by Ayyuba 3 years ago
Ayyuba
I was feeling sick. Rematch?
Posted by DanielCoimbra 3 years ago
DanielCoimbra
Gods all the way down is not a satisfactory answer either.
Posted by TheGhostOfFreedom 3 years ago
TheGhostOfFreedom
Turtles all the way down or big bangs all the way down.

A turtle is still a turtle by any other name.
Posted by DanielCoimbra 3 years ago
DanielCoimbra
JonathanDJ, your objection to my post comes from an innacurate understanding of the objection Creationists make to evolution. They usually commit something that is called the Hoyle's Fallacy, which asserts that as likely for a Boeing 747 to form in a junkyard tornado as for complex like forms to arise from random natural processes (by Hoyle's calculations, 1 in 10^40000). This is completely false, and has its roots in a deeply flawed understanding of evolution processes.

It may be argued that the formation of the extremely simple cells that self-replicate (abiogenesis) is a rare event. This is a non-issue, since the universe has so many planets, and our models do not suggest something that is so rare that 10^24 planets would not take care of.

Now, regarding evolution, it is not a random process. While the genetic mutations and environment settings involved in it may have a high degree of randomness and contingency, the natural selection process is not random at all: the one that successfully reproduces keeps their genes on the gene pool. It's not a junkyard tornado, but a highly coordinated process by natural mechanisms. What life form you get is completely contingent, but - unless the environment is utterly inhospitable - you will mostly always get some more complex life forms with enough time. Different species will also find similar solutions to similar problems, too - you can see this by the fact that the eye evolved independently at least a dozen times.

If you got thousands of copies of planets that are healthy for life and let life evolve in them for a few billion years, you will always get complex life forms. Sometimes you will even get intelligence. Even if what structures get a chance to be formed is a random, what structures succeed in survival/reproduction is not random at all.
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
I would like to point out that, under the terms of the resolution, Con does not have to prove God to win. She simply has to show that a logically consistent argument for his existence exists.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by KingDebater 3 years ago
KingDebater
DanielCoimbraAyyubaTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit, but I doubt Con could've won if she didn't forfeit anyway.