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The Contender
Con (against)

There is no reason to believe in god(s)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 199 times Debate No: 93575
Debate Rounds (3)
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God claims have existed for all of recorded human history, yet no evidence has ever been presented that supports a god's existence. The various philosophical arguments are all based on bad premises. The monotheistic religions are based on translations of copies of copies of lost ancient documents that were written by men, edited by men, translated and interpreted by men. There is no reason to accept a claim that any god exists.


I would like to apologize in advance for the format. I'm using an iPod and haven't gotten used to it yet. So without further ado:

Kalam Cosmological Argument

P1) Everything that Begins to exist has a cause.
P2) The Universe began to exist.
C1) Therefore, the Universe has a cause.

P1 is rooted in the law of Cause and Effect. For every effect, there must be a cause. This is relatively uncontroversial. P2 is proven by the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem, which states that any universe which has been, on average, expanding throughout its history must have a beginning [1]. The universe is expanding [2]. Thus it began to exist. Thus there is a cause of the universe. It must be timeless and immaterial since both time and material arose with the universe [3]. It must be extremely powerful, if not omnipotent, since it caused a universe with no preexisting material. It must be intelligent since it caused such an ordered universe. It must be a free agent since there were no preexisting conditions to determine how it acted. Since it is free, it must have the capacity to be personal. A timeless, immaterial, extremely powerful (if not omnipotent), intelligent, personal, free agent that caused the universe to exist is the very definition of God.

Intelligent Design.

The universe is governed by constants such as the Gravitational Constant and many like it. The interesting thing is that if any of them varied slightly the universe would not be life-permitting. Here is the amazing part: because of the probability of these constants being different, the chance of the universe being life permitting is less than 1 in 10^10^123 [4]. To say that this due to chance is simply unreasonable. To say that this is due to necessity would mean that the universe has to be this way. The Scientific Community would disagree with this, "the universe does not have to be as it is: it could have been otherwise"[5]. The most probable explanation for the way that the universe is would be because of a Designer.

The Pool Table Argument

Crafted by Salam Morcos (his website is source 6), establishes that there is at least 1 uncaused cause.

P1) Every cause was either caused or uncaused (Null Hypothesis)
P2) There is a finite number of past causes.
3) Let n be the number of past causes and let C be the set of all causes that ever existed: c1, c2, c3 ... cn
4). Now choose any cause cx from the set of causes C.
Using Recursive process:

5) Does cause cx have at least one preceding cause causing it?
6) If the answer is no, then cx is an uncaused cause. End of proof
7) If the answer is yes, then cx has at least one preceding cause causing it
8) Let cy be any of the causes that caused cx
9) Remove cx from the set of all causes C. Now the size of C will be reduced by 1.
10) Now make cx = cy and repeat steps 5 to 10.The recursive process will loop until either: a) An uncaused cause is found in step 5, or b) After a maximum of n-1 iterations, the size of set C will become 1. At that point, there's only one cause left in the set. There are absolutely no other causes available that can cause it. Therefore, this single cause must be an uncaused cause. End of proof.

Conclusion: The logic above, if the premises are true, concludes that there must exist at least 1 uncaused cause. There's no escape.

Moral Argument

P1) Objective morality cannot exist unless God exists.
P2) Objective morality exists.
C1) Therefore, God exists.

Most atheists accept P1, including Richard Dawkins who concedes, "It is pretty hard to defend absolutist morals on grounds other than religious ones" [7]. So I will not defend this premise unless Con has objections to it. P2 is the more controversial premise. To argue that there is no such thing as objective morality is quite contradictory. This is so because moral relativists cling to the position that (1) There is no such thing as objective morality and (2) that we ought to believe that. If, though, there is no objective morality, then we have no obligation to believe that it is true. Furthermore, let"s look at the definition of moral relativism: "position that all points of view are equally valid and that all truth is relative to the individual." But if truth is relative, then the claim "truth is relative," which all relativists hold as true, would be relative. Thus, P2 stands. Since both premises stand, so too does my contention.

Irreducible Complexity

Irreducible Complexity will be defined as that which "cannot be produced directly by numerous, successive, slight modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional [10]."
My argument is as follows:

P1) If irreducibly complex biological structures exist, then Creationism is True.
P2) Irreducibly complex biological structures exist.
C1) Therefore, Creationism is True.

P1 is true by definition.

For support of P2, I shall use the bacterial flagellum motor. It has been described as: "so breathtakingly elegant and mesmerizing that the sheer engineering brilliance of the flagella motor and, indeed, the magnitude of the challenge it brings to evolution cannot be properly appreciated" [11].

Why does it pose a problem to evolution? It has been suggested that flagellum evolved from the T3SS, but this could not be the case. The T3SS only makes up of about 25% of the flagellum and fails to account for how the main function of the flagellum, the propulsion system, evolved [12].

The last example of irreducible complexity that I will provide will be the eye. The National Center for Biotechnology Information explains the process that allows us to see,

"Upon photon capture, the chromophore isomerizes to all-trans retinal, causing a conformational change in rhodopsin and activation to meta-rhodopsin II. This initiates the process of phototransduction, a cascade of biochemical events that culminate in closure of ionic channels in the cell membrane, hyperpolarization of the photoreceptor and transmission of the signal(s) to second-order neurons in the inner retina via modulation of neurotransmitter release at the synaptic terminals. All-trans retinal is then transported to the RPE for recycling and is returned to the photoreceptor in cis form, to allow production of new chromophore molecules[13].

If any of the eye"s parts were absent, this process would not be possible, rendering us blind. So it is thusly mistaken to think that they eye slowly evolved, because it would have been absolutely useless until it was complete. Again, the only plausible explanation for this is instantaneous and simultaneous creation of the eye and its parts.

[7] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (London: Bantam Press, 2006), p.232.
Debate Round No. 1


If you typed that argument on an iPad, YOU might be a god! Well done.

Arguments refuted"

P2 is an unsupported and unsupportable assertion. "Began to exist" is not defined in the context of the universe. There is no time at which the universe did not exist, so it can be argued to be infinite. "Before the universe" is a nonsensical concept, and is thus unknowable.

If we accept C1, we are left with the question: What was that cause? For an answer to be useful, it has to be explanatory. "I don"t know" is always preferable to a non-explanatory answer because it leaves open the search for truth.

You assert that the cause must be a personal, extremely powerful intelligence with agency, which can fairly be called a "being". You also assert that this being is timeless and immaterial.

Intelligence is a product of mind, and minds consist of matter. "Immaterial mind" is self contradictory. What evidence do you have that such a thing is possible?

Intelligence, agency and the ability to be personal implies consciousness, yet you assert this being is timeless. What evidence do you have that a conscious being can possibly be infinite? How do you justify excluding this being from the problem of infinite regress? Can you cite any example of a being that has no beginning?

On what basis has a natural cause been ruled out?

C1 is not explanatory because there is no demonstration that the proposed causal agent is possible. If possible, by what mechanism does the being create a universe? Given that C1 is not explanatory regarding the ability for the cause to actually exist or how it could create a universe, it is not reasonable to accept your assertion.

Intelligent Design.
You actually presented the Fine Tuning argument here, which is based on multiple false assumptions and unsupported assertions. Some constants presented in this argument are inter-dependent such that a change in one requires a change in others, which greatly reduces the probability calculation. It"s quite possible that natural laws dictate possible values, limiting or eliminating the "theoretically possible" values, which is very different from "chance".

Regardless, even if your assertions are correct, how did you determine what the "most probable explanation" is? Given that we have a set of 1 universes to examine, the current data suggests a 100% likelihood of the values being what they are. What is the probability that a timeless, immaterial intelligent being is possible, and how did you factor that into your probability equation?

The Pool Table Argument
This is a version of the problem of infinite regress, which, even if it proves an uncaused cause, says nothing about the nature of that cause. As shown above, the best answer is that the cause is unknown.

Moral Argument
P1 is meaningless without a definition of "objective morality".

P2 is simply false. Objective morality does not exist; morality is always subjective. Your definition of moral relativism, from apologist sources, changes the frame from morality to "truth". This is an invalid and intentionally deceptive move in order to reach the false conclusion that without god truth is relative.

Morality refers to what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable in human behavior. Morality is easily shown to be fluid across cultures, time, and from individual to individual. For example, I find intentionally deceptive argumentation to be unacceptable behavior, while the author of your moral relativism definition does not. For other examples, look at the morality in the bible that would be considered reprehensible today. How closely do you follow the bible"s moral teaching when you beat your slaves?

Irreducible Complexity
This argument commits the fallacies of "argument from incredulity" and the "God of the gaps." The degree to which the flagellum is "breathtaking" or "mesmerizing" is irrelevant to how it came to be (argument from incredulity). The holes in our understanding of flagellum development to not justify a leap to "god did it" (God of the gaps fallacy).

The "reducibility" of the flagellum motor has been demonstrated and explained for two decades.[1][2] The irreducible complexity of the eye has been thoroughly refuted. The development of the eye can be seen in small steps of increased functionality in both the fossil record and existing organisms. This argument stems from a Charles Darwin quote in Origin of Species that was taken out of context. The context of the quote actually explains how the eye may have evolved from simple structures.[3] Richard Dawkins provides a clear explanation of why your assertion that "if any of the eye"s parts were absent we would be blind" is clearly false. [4]

This argument comes from Intelligent Design, which is actually my favorite example of evolution. As was shown in court, ID is simply a re-write of Creation Science in a failed attempt to get biblical creationism taught in public schools.[5] Its an example of religion starting with a thesis (creationism) and seeking to develop "facts" to support the thesis, which is the antithesis of the scientific method.

If a god existed this discussion would not be possible because such an awesome force would be self evident. Yet, no evidence of a god has been demonstrated.

Philosophical arguments are not evidence. At best they are logical constructs that can indicate a likely conclusion. All philosophical arguments for god are based on fallacies, unsupported assertions and/or improperly constructed arguments.

At best, philosophy might demonstrate the existence at some point in time of a deistic god that does not posses the ability to interact with our universe. If such a god could be shown, there is no reason to believe in it since it cannot be known if it still exists. Further, there is no way to know a deistic god"s will. Such a god is irrelevant to humanity.

There are no reasons to believe in a god.



You claim that P2 is unsupported, yet I supported it with the BVG Theorem. It's your burden to argue that an infinite universe exists. Plus, Hilbert's Hotel Paradox shows that an actual infinite is contradictory. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be arguing that God couldn't have caused the universe since there wasn't a "before the universe." The problem with this is that you assume that Causality can't happen sans time, which is demonstrably false. Ex: the premises of the KCA have no physical relation to the contention. They do have a casual relationship. If the premises are true it causes a true conclusion. If they are false, the conclusion is too. If causality only applies within space and time, then this argument or any argument would never be sound.

Minds only consist of matter? The problem with this is that it assumes that minds are like humans minds and that God would have to think in a manner that requires time.

Why would I need evidence that a conscious being could be infinite? You don't point out any contradictions, so the fact that it is logically possible suffices here. I've already stated that the Hotel paradox shows that an actual infinite is contradictory. Again you don't point out any contradictions with a being that has no beginning, so the idea that it is logically possible suffices.

Natural Cause? Ruled out on the basis that there were no precedent events or natural existents on which the laws of physics could apply.

No demonstration that it is possible? I don't have to demonstrate that it is possible. I already demonstrated that it was necessary (refer to all the musts that I used).

Fine Tuning

It's your job to point out *which* assertions are false. Otherwise this objection meaningless. Where is the evidence that the constants are interdependent? Again, it is your burden to argue that natural laws dictate values, not just to say it's possible.

Where is your proof that the data suggests that there is a 100% likelihood of values being what they are? There actually is research to suggest the contrary [1]. Aren't we determining the probability of such a being?

Pool Table Argument

This indeed does give us some information about the Cause. If it's uncaused, then it must behaved in an way that is not predetermined. It couldn't have been naturally caused. It must have been a freely acting cause. It must have existed sans the universe.

I will concede the Moral Argument.

Irreducible Complexity

The quote isn't really the crux of my argument. The point was that it provides a problem for evolution. It does not commit the God of the Gaps fallacy. It would be if I was inferring design *only* because natural process couldn't explain them. However there is legitimate reason to think that Irreducibly Complex systems are evidence of an Intelligent Designer. That irreducible complexity is a feature of systems known to be designed, such as Your 1st source only makes the claim that, 'flagella vary greatly and that at least some of the components and proteins of which they are made can carry out other useful functions in the cells " show that they are not "irreducibly complex."' But that is a non sequitur. Who is to say that a God didn't create the different variations? Lastly, how does similar design prove that something evolved? How come it can't prove a common designer?

Where is the evidence that the fossil record supports this? Explain me this. The sea creatures with more "primitive eyes" have had just as long as other sea creatures' eyes to evolve. Why are they not as complex as other creatures' then. Another problem is that of the trilobite eye. It is one of the first eyes found in the fossil record, yet it is far from primitive [2].


Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by 21MolonLabe 3 months ago

Thanks for the challenging debate. I totally understand the time issue. Since there is currently a forfeit glitch on DDO, it may be awhile till this debate actually enters the voting stage. I will respond to your argument once the glitch is fixed.

*To the Voters*

I ask that Rationalista not be penalized for the forfeiture, as he did have an argument prepared but simply ran out of time before he had the chance to post it.
Posted by Rationalista 3 months ago
I couldn't get to this today and rushed together a response, but time expired before I hit the submit button. Here is what I intended to post:

P2 is an assertion that is not universally accepted, nor demonstrated to be sensible in relation to the universe.

Before is an expression of time, so the idea of "before time" is nonsensical, like a "square circle." Cause and effect implicitly refers to change, and change does not happen without time. The universe is infinite in the sense that it has existed for all of time.

Constructing a sound philosophical argument does not justify a self-contradictory nonsensical conclusion. "Infinite being" and immaterial intelligence are self contradictory for any rational usage of those words. It"s not that minds have to be "like human minds" but that thought, knowledge, action, intelligence all require time and change. These are not logically possible ideas regardless of the construct of your argument.

Evolution is possibly the most understood and documented of the scientific theories. Disproving it would do nothing to prove the god conclusion. It really bears no further discussion.

I have run out of time and will have to leave the other arguments where they stand.

There are no rational reasons to believe in a god.
Posted by 21MolonLabe 3 months ago
Sorry about the typo where I am talking about Irreducible Complexity being a known product of intelligence. There should be no "such as" there.
Posted by missmedic 3 months ago
It is customary to suppose that, if a belief is widespread, there must be something reasonable about it. I do not think this view can be held by anyone who has studied history. Practically all the beliefs of savages are absurd. In early civilizations there may be as much as one percent for which there is something to be said. In our own day (but at this point I must be careful), we all know that there are absurd beliefs in Soviet Russia. If we are Protestants, we know that there are absurd beliefs among Catholics. If we are Catholics, we know that there are absurd beliefs among Protestants. If we are Conservatives, we are amazed by the superstitions to be found in the Labour Party. If we are Socialists, we are aghast at the credulity of Conservatives. I do not know, dear reader, what your beliefs may be, but whatever they may be, you must concede that nine-tenths of the beliefs of nine-tenths of mankind are totally irrational. The beliefs in question are, of course, those which you do not hold. I cannot, therefore, think it presumptuous to doubt something which has long been held to be true, especially when this opinion has only prevailed in certain geographical regions, as is the case with all theological opinions. My conclusion is that there is no reason to believe any of the dogmas of traditional theology and, further, that there is no reason to wish that they were true. Man, in so far as he is not subject to natural forces, is free to work out his own destiny. The responsibility is his, and so is the opportunity.

--Bertrand Russell (Is There a God?, 1952)
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