Which best explains reality? Theism or atheism?
Debate Rounds (4)
David Silverman vs Frank Turek
Christopher Hitchens vs Frank Turek
1st round will be acceptance and an introduction, introducing ourselves.
2nd round will be the start of the debate with opening statements.
We will then rebuttal from there.
Now this debate topic isn't a, pro and con debate. It's more a theism and atheism debate.
Con will be atheism.
Pro will be theism.
I am a former Christian. While I am arguing that atheism best explains reality, I am actually an agnostic theist. I believe there could be a God out there, but I make no claims on a specific God. I don't believe in any religion. So I argue as though I am an atheist and argue against specific Gods. But I don't say there is no God, nor do I say there is a God.
I go with science. Facts, reason, logic, and evidence. Never have I found, or been given any evidence for theism. That being so, I side with atheism.
I hope for this to be a fun and respectable debate. I look forward for who my opponent will be and his/her introduction. :)
Now someone said that this debate should be called "theism or science instead". The reason it is theism vs atheism, is because if you lack the belief in any Gods, you'll surely go by facts, logic, reason, and evidence. Therefore, the atheist will go with science to explain everything.
I believe atheism best explains our reality for 4 reasons.
1. Theism has never been proven true, nor is their ever and evidence presented for a God or deity.
Theists will often try to use their book as evidence for their God.
Christians will use the Bible.
Muslims will use the Qur'an.
And so on and so on....
However these books are never proved reliable, they are instead proven to be unreliable. They hold hypocrisy, and lack logic and evidence.
Atheism sticks to logic. Atheists go with facts, not stories. We give evidence to back claims up.
Theism, doesn't give evidence. They say their book is right, because the book says its right, and therefore we should believe in their God.
2. Atheism gives more, and better answers, which can be back up with evidence.
When atheism makes a claim, evidence can be there to back it up.
Evolution, it's a fact. We have plenty of evidence to prove it. Fossil evidence, observation, etc.
The Big Bang. It's a scientific theory, but we have evidence to back up this theory. Such as the observation that the stars and planets are moving away, as if there were a Big Bang. Edwin Hubble found that stars are moving apart.
But when theism makes a claim, they don't back it up. Theism says its right, even when proven beyond doubt that it's wrong. Atheism will admit its wrong, so long as you have the evidence. After all, atheism likes to be proven wrong, because it means we have more to learn on whatever it is its proven wrong in.
Theism often uses the God of the Gaps argument, meaning "I don't know, therefore God did it". When science can't explain something, theism will say its the work of God. But eventually science finds a way to explain it.
Theism claims there is objective morality, but it's a fact that there is no objective morality. Nothing is factually right or wrong. Therefore there's no objective morality.
Atheism holds subjective morality. That's what we all have. Subjective morality. This means our morality is our opinion.
You think something is wrong, I may think its right,
I think something is wrong, you may thing its right.
4. We have evidence against intelligent design.
Theism will argue that DNA is evidence of intelligent design. But we know how DNA works, we know how many of the things theism will argue is intelligent design, works.
Theism will use the perfect universe argument, saying the universe seemed to be made just for us. However if that's the case, why do we have.....
Over 90% of the earths water is undrinkable
The sun will eventually die and go super nova and kill everyone
Earth is vulnerable to meteors and asteroids
Our food and air go down the same tube which is a choking hazard
Earth is mostly water, but we can't breath in it or live in it.
Does that look like intelligent design?
Atheism isn't science, but those who are atheist will go with science for answers and explanations. These reasons are why I say atheism best explains reality, over theism.
First of all, theism is not a belief in something in spite of evidence or reason. In fact, both atheism and theism rely on statements that cannot be proven true or false, and therefore require faith.
1. your statement about the books is not valid, because this is about theism, not islam or christianity. The bible at least is very different from any other books in that it is an assembly of books, not written in a majestic event like islam or Mormonism. Your interpretation of the books are very general. I again would seperate the bible, though, because the bible was assembled 300 years after the church was founded, so it is not the end all be all of christianity. And also, the theory that the bible should be taken literally is only relatively new. You're generalizing theism waaaayyyy too much. I could argue christianity, but again this is the belief in God in general.
So let's stick to theism and atheism unless we can broaden the term
2. Atheism does not give more or better answers. It can not answer life's basic questions such as "why" or "where did we come from" or "why does anything even exist". A common misconception is that religion and science cannot coexist. They can and do. Nothing you say about science can disprove the existence of a God. All science can do is learn more about where we are and what we have. It can't tell us about of original origin. And another strong misconception you have is that Edwin Hubble discovered the Big Bang. It is one of the widely misattributed things in history. The first academic to promote the idea of the expanding universe was catholic priest Georges Lemaitre (fact). Was he a priest after his discovery? Yes he was.
Could the Big Bang have been the beginning of the universe and our time here is limited by spreading apart. How does that in any way disprove God. In fact, strong atheists actually have left the Big Bang theory because it in no way disproves God and actually provides a creation point. Many atheists now claim the universe has been around forever, which not only makes no sense but is only around soley to find a new way to disprove God.
Consider this. Evolution is not actually, a fact. ADAPTATION is a fact. Darwin himself was not an atheist and doubted his own theory throughout his life. What he observed on the Galapagos was adaptation, not evolution. He just figured we must adapt further into new species. We have never actually observed a species evolve into a new species. We have only observed creating new variations of species.
3. Subjective morality is in no way good for anyone. First of all, let'sjust say there is no such thing as objective morality for example. Even if so, a country establishes a set of yes and nos a person should do. This is for the good of everyone.
Anyway, I believe morality is NOT relative, because of that previous statement. There are certain things that everyone considers good or bad. Someone may consider murder fine, but that doesn't mean he's right. There needs to be a set law that rules certain things good or bad or else chaos would ensue.
And finally, this is no way disproves a God. This could discredit christianity, but the topic is theism vs atheism and this doesn't disprove God.
4. I'll take this one at a time:
- one strand of Dna is more complex than any computer we've ever comprehended. It is extremely detailed and is an efficient way of detailing about us. But you seem to misattribute us understanding DNA to discrediting religion. Just because we know how something works means nothing.
- the perfect universe argument doesn't mean what you're assuming it means. It doesn't mean that the world was perfectly designed for us with no flaws. It actually refers to the order of the universe. The essence of the argument is that if there was no God or no order in the universe, why is it not chaotic? Why is it not just a tumulus series of explosions or such that does not allow life. The universe follows I believe approximately 122 constants, or laws, that everything follows that allows us to live peacefully. It is a fact that the universe follows laws and is clearly structured, so why?
I believe theism better explains reality because it better answers the questions that atheism literally cannot answer.
You have to ask why there is a universe. Why does anything exist? If there was no God or anything that created the universe, why is there even anything? Nothing can never create something. EVERYTHING in our universe was caused by something else, which is a massive chain reaction. That was not a disputable fact by the way. So that means everything leads back to one single thing or reaction. So, again, remember something can never come from nothing. This all means that something must have created the universe, because the universe could not have created itself.
So I theorize that it would take something that is transcendent of time and space to create time and space. Something must have been outside it, outside of our laws, to create it. Because there is no way our universe has always been here or that it came from nothing.
My favorite way to explain this is called the argument of contingency:
The premise is this-
"If something exists, there must exist what it takes for that thing to exist.
The universe"the collection of beings in space and time"exists.
Therefore, there must exist what it takes for the universe to exist.
What it takes for the universe to exist cannot exist within the universe or be bounded by space and time.
Therefore, what it takes for the universe to exist must transcend both space and time." That was the way Peter kreeft explains it
Because when I create something, I cannot exist inside that thing, I am outside and greater than it. Therefore the same applies to the universe.
Atheism is not a pure referral to science. It is the denial of the fact that the universe must have been created, and atheists are desperate to find arguments against a God. So usually when something proves or helps the God theory, atheists begin searching for a new answer that will prove God wrong.
In conclusion, I just don't see how atheism explains reality at all. I have yet to find any science that disproves God in the slightest, and must churches accept science. And our reality is that we are here in an unknown universe with no explanation. And while atheism, as you said, follows science, science cannot answer many questions and never will be able to. Theism explains many questions and more. that's why theism better explains life's simple questions
1. I was not focusing on Christianity or Islam. They were just examples. Most, if not all, religions have a book that tells the story of their god. What I was saying is that these books that say their god is the right god and that their god is the god that is real, are never proven reliable and are often being disproven. Making these books unreliable, making it lean more towards the idea that that god is not real.
2. The question "why" is being worked on everyday by scientists.
Indeed we don't know why we are here, that's what we are trying to learn.
If you're also wondering, "what purpose do we have?", "what is our meaning for being here?", that is an answer we give ourselves. You give yourself a purpose for being here and you give yourself a meaning for your life. Not a god or deity.
The question "where did we come from" is also a question being worked on everyday by scientists.
Where did our species come from? We think we evolved from apes.
Where did life come from? We don't know yet. That's abiogenesis, which we know nothing about at the moment.
Why does anything exist? You could ask the same for why does a God exist. There's no answer to that either way. Either the energy and elements have always existed or a god has always existed.
I didn't say Edwin Hubble discovered the Big Bang, I said he found that the stars were moving apart, which is evidence that supports the Big Bang. I never said he created the theory.
The Big Bang doesn't disprove that a god exists overall, it is evidence for certain gods such as the god of Islam and the god of Christianity and the Hindu gods and so on.
How and why?
Their books tell how the universe was created, such as the bible saying god created the earth and then created the sun. The Big Bang was not the creation of the earth, then the sun, then everything else. The Big Bang was the creation of many things all at once.
However the bible and Quran and such can be taken metaphorical.
The reason we have never observed a specifies evolve into a new species is because evolution is a process that takes thousands-millions of years. We have observed micro-evolution, evolution that takes place in a small period of time, but we have never been able to observe macro-evolution, changes that take place over a long period of time, because of the long time span it takes.
Also saying theism gives better answers because it tells why, and how, is a God of the Gaps argument.
Science can't explain it, therefore god did it.
Science/atheism gives the truth, facts, evidence to back it all up, and logic behind it. Which is why it gives better answers than theism.
3. There is no objective morality, because nothing is factually right or wrong.
The laws we have in our society is even debated, this is why we have controversy.
Should homosexuals be allowed to marry?
Should women have abortion rights?
Should we have the death penalty?
These have laws behind them that we have given, some states say homosexuals can get married, other states say no they can't. This is what makes them subjective. We have opinions on the matter, we don't all agree.
There may not be chaos, but there is war.
Just look at Afghanistan, and Iraq, and such, your example with murder.
ISIS believes what they're doing is morally right. They are murdering people in the name of their god because they think it's objectively moral.
But if it was objectively moral, either we would all agree that it was wrong, or we'd all agree that it was right. This is because it'd be factually right or wrong, which it isn't. It's our opinion if it's right or wrong.
Same could go with the Nazis in WW2.
4. The universe is very chaotic. Meteors, suns going super nova, black holes, etc.
There are theories that there are other universes that may not have the same laws as us. Do I agree with this theory? I don't know. But it is something that interests me, and could be a possibility.
"I believe theism better explains reality because it better answers the questions that atheism literally cannot answer.
You have to ask why there is a universe. Why does anything exist? If there was no God or anything that created the universe, why is there even anything? Nothing can never create something. EVERYTHING in our universe was caused by something else, which is a massive chain reaction. That was not a disputable fact by the way. So that means everything leads back to one single thing or reaction. So, again, remember something can never come from nothing. This all means that something must have created the universe, because the universe could not have created itself."
So to sum that up. Science can't explain how/why everything got here, therefore god did it.
That is a God if the Gaps argument as I was talking about earlier. Yes, right now science cannot explain how everything got here or why. That doesn't mean a god did it. That means we have more to learn and more to discover. Saying that it was all the work of a god is giving a cheap answer instead of finding a real explanation the can walk someone through the steps of how and why it had all happened, which is what is being worked on by scientists.
Saying a god exists outside of time, that god is not affected by logic, only supports that god is just apart of our imagination. Where time, space, logic, all do not hold.
Atheism/science gives truth, facts, with evidence and proof. It gives explanations and tells us how and why. We just haven't found all of the answers yet.
I don't know = I have more to learn/discover/think about etc.
Theism/religion gives cheap explanations, with no evidence or proof, and says that you can't disprove it therefore god exists, and that since science can't explain it, god must've done it.
I don't know = God did it
Often been disproven? As you said yourself, the bible doesnt have to be taken literally. It originally wasn't meant to. And I would say anything in the quran is disproved either, it's just stories that can't be proven or disproven. And again, these books mean nothing to the argument. I can't vouge for the Quran as much as I can the bible, but I can tell you for the bible I wouldn't consider it "unreliable" at all.
Exactly, the question is being worked on every day but it can never be solved. What will you amount to? Atheism is the belief that nothing created everything. So, don't you really have your explanation? The only other option is something created the universe. You seem to rely on science far too often, when in reality the only things science can explain are how our universe works. It cannot tell us where we came from (not apes, but really Where the universe originated), it cannot tell us why we are here, it cannot tell us why anything exists. And about purpose, that argument is nonsensical. We can have a purpose indiviudually, but what is our purpose as a species or on a greater scale.
When you list several questions and answers, they are all theories. We really can never prove we came from apes, or an ape like being. Because of how slowly the earth moves around with plates, you have to wonder how we became so different and so much smarter than apes when we existed in such a similar environment. To become this different could've taken hundreds of millions of years, and it's not as if we had no interaction with other apes during that time. To become that different and massively smarter would take total isolation or seperation. Actually, many people have been doubting evolution today, and are looking for more detailed or better explanations.
I would say one of the main reasons evolution fails is that it has trouble when it comes to the Big Bang (which by the way I meant georges Lemaitre discovered that stars were moving apart also. Again misattributed to Hubble). Back in the beginning, how did life begin? The theory is essentially that we were all the same and changed as we separated on earth. But what it fails to explain is how, when everything expanded, how life came to be. How animal cells differed from that of a rock or such. There is no reason for life to exist.
Again, evolution is not a fact, and we will never be able to observe macro. There are DNA barriers that seperate species. That's why a cat can never be a dog and vise versa. DNA is specific to the person, but also cannot go beyond that species.
The god of gap argument is not what this is. Atheism and science literally, CANNOT answer the question of how the universe came to be. Unless we find a God for some reason, the only answer those can ever provide are that nothing created the universe, and nothing exists beyond us. God of gap would be like saying "oh how did the sea go dey? It must be the gods! They're angry!"... And now we know why a river or sea could dry up. The God of Gap does not apply here at all, because the best answer a atheist can give is the one you have now, and it's just about the most unsatisfying answer ever.
Even though morality has nothing to do with purely the existence of God, I'll discuss it anyway
Ok, you're right that we all have our own opinions, but that doesn't make them right. The law of the land is final, and that becomes objective morality. If subjective morality was the law of the land, total chaos would ensue, there would be no peace, and there would be no way to convict a murderer. There must be objective morality, even if we all have our own opinions. As a christain, the explanation is because of free will, we can choose our opinions, but the individual is not the end all be all of the universe. And also, all of morality is not laid out with God. This is basic morality that everyone agrees on, such as killing an innocent person is bad. And about Isis, they don't consider the people they kill to be innocent. If we all had the same morality on every issue, what choices could we even make. How about the statement "killing a 5 year old boy for no reason is cool". That is wrong and makes no sense. It is universally wrong. So therefore some level of objective morality must exist.
About chaos. No, the universe is not actually chaotic. There are those things, but they are naturally occurring for a reason. When the Big Bang happened, why was there not total chaos? Fire, explosions, no organization should've ensued. But instead it cooled into a perfect organizational system that allows us to live fine here. Everything is bracketed by Galaxy and so on. What you explained as chaos is not chaos. Chaos is the lack of any establishment of order, and there is order and establishment in our universe. And as far as we've gone, the laws stay the same. All that theory is is assuming it'l change somewhere, that's it.
The God explanation is a much deeper and less cheap answer than "nothing". Scientists can tell us all about how the Big Bang happened and what happens after, but when someone asks him "why", he can't answer, and he never will, unless he admits to a creator.
A god outside of time and space does not support him being imaginative. It's back to the theory that for whatever is created, what created it must also exist outside that thing. So if I make a shoe, for example, I can use it all I want, but I can never exist inside that shoe. I can never live and exist inside the contents of the shoe. The same for God. Whatever created the universe must exist outside the universe in order to create it, because if the universe came from nothing it would break a simple rule that cannot be broken.
It sounds like you had a very and experience with christianity, and don't understand it. Religion does not give cheap examples. We follow science on everything it comes up with as a fact. In fact, the Catholic Church today doesn't disagree with any scientific facts at all... So to say religion offers cheap explanations is misleading. Our God view is not a cheap and quick explanation. If there was no proof for a God, no one would be a part of a theistic church. The reason academics remain is because of the arguments for a God.
The only argument I feel I really need for this in the end is why is there anything? If nothing created the universe, there would be nothing. The fact that something exists means it didn't just Pop out of nowhere. To think the universe just appered sounds a lot like an atheist saying so God just appeared? The only difference is the universe is not intelligent, and something that is intelligent must have created it in order for it to exist
They all go with the bible but believe it in different way. Some say certain things are metaphorical and others say they're literal. Are you saying you know how to interpret the bible aside from everyone else, including the professionals who have tried to understand the bible?
2. No, a huge majority of this is saying that because science can't explain something yet, the best answer is god.
That is a god of the gaps argument.
The study of life coming from non-life is abiogenesis which we are working on all the time.
Scientists are concluding that the energy and matter that started the Big Bang has always existed, but then a theist likes to come in and say "no god created the energy and matter" and go one step further, and then leaving the question "who created god".
I had also mentioned why we cannot observe macro evolution because of the timespan. Doesn't mean we can't prove it through fossil evidence.
Macro evolution does not mean, a dog becoming a cat. It doesn't mean that a chicken would make a bird, and that bird making a pig, etc.
Macro evolution is the same as micro evolution, they're not two different types of evolution.
The only difference is micro evolution is evolution in a short timespan and macro evolution is over a long timespan.
How is it that you know we cannot answer the questions? There are many times when we have proven something that people thought would be impossible to explain. There is a current theory going around about how something can come from nothing, that is currently being worked on that Richard Dawkins talked about in a Q&A but he did not go into detail.
3. You seem to be ignoring the definition of objective morality.
Objective morality is when it's factually right or wrong.
Nothing is factually right or wrong, therefore there is no objective morality.
We live in subjective morality and because of the we have war and controversy. I don't see how we would have chaos since we share opinions and agree on some and disagree on others. This is why we have controversy and war.
Also the reason I bring morality into this , is because theists get their morality from their god while atheism gets morality from no one but the individual.
Theism = objective morality
Atheism = subjective morality
4. The Big Bang created the laws which is why things formed the way they did.
Why and how did it created these laws? Why not a different set?
Simple, I don't know.
Does that mean god? No.
Does that mean god should be the next best answer? No. It means we have more to learn and discover.
No, the god explanation is just filling in the gap, god of the gaps.
Scientists can't explain it, so put god in that gap.
Instead of placing god in the gap, look for more answers, discover more, and come up with a logical explanation. So the question can be explained instead of "god did it".
I again said how a god existing outside of time and space does support him being imaginative.
Yes you could create something, as we all do. But it exists in time and space, you exist in time and space and your creation exists in time and space.
God does not exist in time nor space. He doesn't have logic. This supports him being imaginative because our imagination has no time, space, logic ,substance, etc.
Again, Richard Dawkins talked a bit about a theory of something come ing from nothing.
Did he start the theory? No.
He was mentioning a source he had that he was going to visit and learn about this theory.
Again theism goes one step further. We believe in some cases that the energy and matter has always existed, but a theist would argue that something must've created it and that would be god. So then leaving the question who/what is the designer of god, and thus making us all go in circles.
Theism doesn't accept facts because of those who take their religion literal.
Do all theists reject facts? No. But many do.
To conclude this debate, atheism is often connected with science, and science can give good detailed explanations about the questions we have.
Do we have all the answers? No. We all have more to learn.
But getting an answer saying that we have more to learn is better than saying that since we don't know and can't explain it at this time, it must be the work of a god.
Atheism better explains reality for 4 reasons.
1. Theism has no evidence and no god has been proven
2. Atheism gives better, more detailed answers than theism, and it's okay to say "I don't know"
3. Atheism explains morality. Theism believes we have objective morality but the definition of objective morality is for something to be factually right or wrong which nothing is , therefore no objective morality, it's all subjective.
4. We have evidence against intelligent design, and we are learning how things are created without intelligent design and how they work without intelligent design.
I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. This was fun.
Now for some of the sources I used throughout this debate.
1. No, by disproving his books you cannot disprove God. I would love to hear what has been "disproven" in the bible. And I consider the only way to interpret the bible to be the way the Catholic Church does it. The bible was made by Catholics, and the doctrine remains unchanged. So all other interpretations are essentially spin offs. Although, this point doesn't discredit God. Just because they don't sound sensible to you does not mean they prove that God is not real.
2. False. You need to understand science can never explain how the universe came to be. Their are only 2 possible creation scenarios
A) it was created by something
B) it was not created by anything (but yet is here)
So, being now your (apparently scientific) conclusion is that nothing created the universe, that means the only other conclusion is a scientist discovering what created the universe. Haven't you already come to your conclusion? You can't prove nothing the universe, so your argument cannot improve. I don't know how to spell out that the only way you can answer for yourself why the universe is here is accepting a God, even deism.
Okay let's back up. Scientists have not concluded, and no one has concluded after real research, that anything has existed forever. It is just such a pathetic argument. Something existing forever is impossible, and you can look up many videos or articles explaining how ridiculous it is in more depth.
Who created God? Well, as I said before, that question doesn't apply because it only applies to our universe. The laws of our universe state the anything created must have a creator. If our laws applied everywhere across every dimension, it would create a major issue as nothing would be able to exist. What this means is for our universe to exist, something outside of our universal laws, where the law of creation does not apply, must have created the universe. Or else nothing can have created it.
Do you hear your own argument? This theory is the most ridiculous thing ever. Atheist scientists are incredibly desperate to prove there isn't a God.
What does NOTHING mean? It means there is NOTHING there, as in there is zero anything. Nothing exists. It is impossible for anything to come out of nothing. Because there is NOTHING there. And also that is false. There is little people thought could never be explained. It was mostly false science theories that threw people off, and then when we realize it's false it changes our perception.
We should have specified this earlier. Half of your arguments don't discredit God at all. Maybe the christain God, but not a deists God at all. So the argument of evolution, the bible, and morality actually don't matter at all. This should be about if a God must exist or not.
3. You are actually the one ignoring what I'm saying. Objective morality doesn't mean everyone shares the same beliefs across the board. It means that everyone shares a common set of core beliefs, meaning that objective morality exists on some level. Subjective morality is on social issues, not fundamental issues. If you believe murder is right, well you're wrong. It means you're probably a psychopath. Not an individual thinker. There is a basic level of morality.
4. Why not a different set? Because this one works for our universe. It keeps us stable and in a perfect environment. And on to your God of gaps argument. First, let's review some more stuff. Science, tells HOW. It explains how reactions and chemicals work and all that. It cannot explain our purpose, why we're here, or things that are beyond us. So when science explains why the Galaxy is doing what it does, it doesn't replace "oh god did it", all it does is give an explanation.
One of the things you have mixed up this debate is the idea that science and atheism are the same. You clearly have not seen or heard the numerous scientist theists, only the famous atheists such as Richard Dawkins.
Science= explaining our world and universe. Can tell us how stuff works, and why a certain thing does what it does. But it cannot explain beyond that.
Atheism= the idea that the universe came from nothing
Theism= idea that the universe came from a God.
If you would really pay attention, youll find that in many debates, little science is used on either side. It's logic and analysis. So just assuming atheism follows science and theism follows only God is so ridiculous. As I said before, the Catholic Church doesn't disagree with any scientific teachings.
Throughout the debate, you've basically just criticized either religion or theists for not believing in any science (even though most do) or not using logic ( even though most do). You havent backed it up with anything, just generalized every theist as a wesboro baptist church goer who denies everything and only follows God. Try to stay a little more specific onto the topic, and not just claim things you can't back up. Also you need to remember this may as well be deism, where evolution and subjective morality are accepted. Most of your argument would be accepted as cool by a deist, except the no God theory.
Theism better explains reality because:
1. It follows science almost the same way atheism does
2. Theism offers at least a sensible explanation to why were here
3. Theism attempts to prove a reason for existence, while atheism attempts to not find a reason.
I would like to thank my opponent for creating this debate
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