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There is no scientific evidence for Theism.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 167 times Debate No: 87678
Debate Rounds (5)
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Suppose we grant all the arguments that the universe could not exist at all, and could not exist with order, without some creating thing behind it all.

Suppose the evidence shows that such a thing must have been responsible for the universe.

How go from there to theism?
Theism starts with claims there ARE evidence for (let us say, for the sake of argument).

Then it tacks on extra information that there is NOT evidence for.

You've proven a cause outside the universe, fine. You've proven a constant-setter, fine. You're proven an orderer of the universe, fine.
But that's ALL you've done. If you want to add anything else, you'll have to provide more evidence.
You can't say that any of these causes is a person (or do you have evidence of that?). You can't say that it's a nice cause. Or that it still exists. Or that it did what it did on purpose, rather than by accident. Or that it is aware of us, or cares about us or has cares in the first place.
You can't even say that the cause of the existence of, the constants of, and the order of the universe are the same cause.

They could be three separate causes, some outside the universe, some within. Some beings, and some not.

Maybe some cosmic, blind, idiot fish being coughs out universes at random, without caring or knowing anything about them. Then there are so many universes with different constants that one just happens to have the constants we have in our universe, so there's no need for a constant-setter. And then aliens of some kind within the universe are responsible for the order in it.

It can be kind of amusing, imagining as many possible explanations for the three things as possible.

In short, grant it all, all the arguments; the evidence never takes you to theism. Not even to deism, since deism makes the jump of assuming that the creating or ordering thing must be some person or being. What evidence leads to that conclusion?

We can thus conclude that there is no scientific evidence for theism without even having to look beyond the structure of any argument based on scientific observation.

Grant it all, and the argument still doesn't do what it's supposed to. It doesn't support the existence of a God of any kind, no deism, no theism.


Science supports the cosmological argument;
1. whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. the universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe has a cause.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause: and causality lies at the very heart of science. To deny this on "scientific" grounds, would undermine science itself, thus making any scientific case against this premise self refuting. For if universes can come from nothing, it would become inexplicable why everything doesn't come from nothing. After all there is nothing that can restrain nothing, for there is nothing there to constrain! "Nothing" is "not anything". It is not a something.

2. The universe began to exist:
1. The Big Bang
2. The 2nd law of thermodynamics: If the universe has existed forever, it would have already run out of usable energy.

Benevolence of God?
The applicability of science to the natural world is itself evidence of a benevolent God. For if our minds were merely the results of blind evolution, or the design of a malevolent God, then we really have no basis to trust them. Our minds would evolve for survival ability, not to perceive truth. In order for us to be able to actually trust our senses, we must have a basis upon why we trust them. Random evolutionary chance does not give us such a basis.

"Patricia Churchland:
Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four
F's: feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is
to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. . . . .
Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style
of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism's way of life and
enhances the organism's chances of survival [Churchland's emphasis]. Truth, whatever
that is, definitely takes the hindmost."[1]


sorry for the poor format, limited time
Debate Round No. 1


If you will assert premises 1 and 2 of the Cosmological argument, I will ask you to prove them.

1. How do you know that whatever begins to exist has a cause? I know it FEELS true, intuitively, I feel that myself. But if asked to prove it (as I'm asking you, since you've asserted it), I'm not sure how I'd go about doing so.

2. To say the universe "began to exist" because of the Big Bang seems like a possible mistake to me. That's how far back we can trace things. But maybe the Big Bang is merely the transition point between one state of the universe and another. There's a blind spot on the other side of the Big Bang.

So, it's not that we've looked behind the Big Bang and seen that the universe wasn't existing before it, we just haven't seen behind it at all. It feels like you're asserting that you DO know what was before the Big Bang (nothing), and I'm curious as to how you know that to be the case.

As for the point about how we can see that nothing never produces something, I'm pretty sure we can't say that for sure either. We don't have any "nothings" to observe. Even empty space is "something," with an interesting kind of energy and virtual particles and stuff.
So it's not like we've observed lots of "nothings" so we can be sure we know how they work, and that they never produce somethings. We've just observed lots of "somethings" turning into other "somethings." Which tells us nothing about how a theoretical "nothing" would act

As far as our observation goes, there could be "nothings" on the other side of the edge of expanding space, and those nothings could be Big-Banging universes into existence all the time.
So, in short, how do you know that IF there was nothing before the Big Bang, that this nothing would never do certain things?

Also, the 2nd law of thermodynamics is an observation of how THIS universe has worked SINCE the Big Bang. If the universe does go back forever, even before the Big Bang, then it's always possible that the universe had different laws in those states, and that the 2nd law of thermodynamics didn't apply.
I wouldn't assert that, since I don't know. But if you assert the contrary, I will ask you how you know the assertion is true.

You describe the world of a godless evolution as one where our senses and reason are not well-tuned to truth. Your quote says that "truth, whatever that is, takes the hindmost" as a priority of evolution.
I think you're right, and that's the world we live in. Reality seems weird to us, because we're not made very well to understand reality. The immensity of the universe, and quantum mechanics, defy our easy understanding for that very reason.

I could have left all of that off, and simply pointed out, as in my first round, that all of your arguments could be true, and all you would have is a cause (which could be anything, dead or alive) and something guiding evolution (a different thing, maybe aliens or unknown laws).

None of it proves theism, even if the argument succeeds


It is not enough to say that it is "possible" that there could have been something prior to the big bang. In fact given the second law of thermodynamics it would mean that you only push the issue one step back. Present the actual model which avoids the finite beginning of the universe.

The principle of uniformity(a key presupposition of science) holds that the laws of the universe were the same yesterday are the same as they are today. The burden of proof should be on the person claiming that the law of thermodynamics was not applicable prior to (this) universe.

Also, nothing is not anything. It is not some mysterious something which we cannot identify: it is simply not anything. Nothing can do nothing. That's pretty much it. It doesn't have any capability to do anything. Otherwise it would be something.

So premises 1 and 2 of the cosmological argument, as they stand are still more plausibly true than false.

The very practice of science requires our minds to be capable of understanding reality. Otherwise we are just groping in the dark. Quantum weirdness and the vastness of the universe elude our capacity to visualize, but we are still capable of calculating them both.

If God was a malevolent God or an indifferent God, our minds should not be as accurate as they are. Thus mere deism is also improbable on scientific grounds as well.
Debate Round No. 2


I fear I have been misunderstood. I don't claim to know what, if anything, was prior to the Big Bang.

When I saw that you claimed to know the answer, I wanted to ask you to explain how you knew it.
You might do so with evidence, or you might answer, in a more philosophical sense, that it was the ONLY possibility.

So, I made up an alternate possibility, which I freely admit has no evidence going for it (that I know of).
Nonetheless, since there are MULTIPLE possibilities (and we could make up as many as we wanted), if we're going to know which of the many is the true one, we'll need some evidence.

I hope that makes sense.
So, I ask you to prove your statement, something like: "The universe began to exist at the point of the Big Bang. Before the Big Bang, there was nothing."

If my wording of your claim is off, I ask you to correct it, and THEN provide evidence for it.

I hope this is all clear. I tried to make it so.

As for pushing things a step back, I'm open to the possibility that the universe had no beginning. As far as tracing causes back, you either have an infinite regress, with no "First cause," or you have it top out at some "First cause" which WOULD HAVE NO CAUSE.

So either way, it violates my intuition, and I don't know which is the case, or if the dichotomy is somehow false. If you do know, explain how, please.

Okay...The principle of uniformity. It's based on our observations. We don't actually know if it applies to things we haven't observed.

When we talk about things that we haven't observed, but are, nonetheless, SIMILAR to things we HAVE observed, we tend to assume the principle of uniformity applies, even though we don't have proof. That seems to be working well.

But if we're speculating about things which we haven't observed, and we haven't observed anything even SIMILAR to them (like other universe states), there's no reason to expect that the principle will apply.

Right. We can't just make up a rule and then MAKE the universe follow it. Either it follows it or it doesn't. And if we haven't looked at it (or some part of it) to tell, we can't know if it's following our rule or not.

As for our minds, we've apparently agreed that they don't very easily understand some truths. And I'll agree with you that we've still been able to math our way around them, anyway.

Could have been better, but as you say, also could have been worse.

So there's a broad spectrum of ability to find truth, ranging from no ability, to perfect ability, and we're somewhere in the middle.

It sounds to me like you're saying that we're closer to perfect ability than we should be by evolution alone, so there must be something more (God) at work. Is that right?

So how do you know we're "too good" for just evolution?

Are you conceding my point that even if your arguments work, they don't prove the same cause is behind everything, or prove any details about the nature of the cause? You don't seem to be addressing it...
It's my best point, too ;)


Sunfire315 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Bound_Up forfeited this round.


Sunfire315 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Bound_Up forfeited this round.


I was unable to post for the prior rounds, but I am still most definitely interested in this topic. Consider the next debate(if there is one) as a continuation of this one for the purposes of voting.
Debate Round No. 5
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