The Instigator
hendrix
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

supernatural cause

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision - Required
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/7/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,781 times Debate No: 15841
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (4)

 

hendrix

Pro

My position is, there must be something beyond nature, to explain nature. i assume you are a naturalist and you believe there is nothing beyond.
RoyLatham

Con

Thank you for the challenge. It is the first time I've debated this topic.

First of all, I am definitely not a naturist. Oh, wait, you said naturalist. In that case we can debate.

The Resolution

I assume the resolution is "There must be something beyond nature."

Naturalism means "the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world" and "the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world." http://en.wikipedia.org... I am not certain whether there is or is not something beyond nature, but I negate the resolution's claim that there must be something beyond nature.

"Science limits its explanations for phenomena to natural explanations, a process known as methodological naturalism, and cannot consider supernatural explanations, as they cannot be investigated empirically. To explain something using natural causes and excluding supernatural causes is to naturalize it. To explain something as resulting from supernatural causes is to supernaturalize it." http://en.wikipedia.org...

1. Unexplained things need not be explained


Thus, what makes a claim a supernatural one is that it cannot be tested. At any time, science has a certain set of knowledge that explains some things and does not explain other things. There are millions of scientists currently working to explain things now unexplained, so there are plenty of things in the unexplained category. Every one of the unexplained things could be given a supernatural explanation. For example, if we ask, "Why is there global warming?" a supernatural explanation is, "God wills it." Natural explanations include CO2 or sunspot cycles, or a combination of many natural causes.

There are millions of natural events that we accept as being unexplained, and we further accept that scientists ought to try to explain them within the bounds of nature. There is no necessity to depart from that model to explain any particular unexplained thing. We are better off leaving unexplained things unexplained until they are explained. If some things can never be explained, so be it.

2. Supernatural explanations are really not explanations


For any unexplained event, there are infinite number of supernatural explanations. For example, consider "Why did the Big Bang occur?" Supernatural explanations include "God willed it." Another supernatural explanation is "Haruhi Suzumiya, a school girl in an alternate universe, was bored and willed it to make something interesting happen." Or maybe it was Haruhi's brother Fred who did it. There is no way to tell. If any supernatural explanation could be empirically tested, then it wouldn't be a supernatural explanation. Because supernatural explanations cannot be empirically tested we cannot tell which supernatural explanation is correct, and hence they really explain nothing.

3. Natural explanations are always possible, even if unknown

One current theory is that the Big Bang occurred as a consequence of the laws of nature in which Big Bang events recur periodically. The theory is that long after a Big Bang, the matter and energy in the universe become completely diffuse. At that point another Big Bang occurs. The claim is that the theory is testable because gravity waves from the previous Big Bang should be detectable. No, I don't understand the theory, but I accept the word of scientists who say it is possible.

Physicist Stephen Hawking describes the plan of his recent book:

"In The Grand Design we explain why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence, or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. We question the conventional concept of reality, posing instead a "model-dependent" theory of reality. We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse--the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. And we assess M-Theory, an explanation of the laws governing the multiverse, and the only viable candidate for a complete "theory of everything." http://www.amazon.com...

That something can appear out of nothing is at thing point well established in science as quantum fluctuation. "Quantum fluctuation is the temporary appearance of energetic particles out of nothing, as allowed by the Uncertainty Principle." http://universe-review.ca... This "makes no sense" in terms of our everyday experience, but it doesn't have to make sense in that way. All it must do is agree with the data that verifies the theory.

The laws of nature need not be readily understandable to be true. If the equations are verified, that suffices.

Summary

None of what I have argued precludes the possibility of the supernatural. I am arguing only that there is no need for supernatural explanations, because we may always leave unexplained things unexplained. Do so admit the possibility of natural explanations. There is nothing established to be beyond the bounds of natural explanation.

The resolution is negated.

Debate Round No. 1
hendrix

Pro

First of all, thanks for excepting the challenge, I am new to this site and wanted to get started in some kind of debate about the supernatural. If I am correct I think you stated there are no supernatural explanations needed to explain the Universe. There has been plenty of theory's trying to explain the origin of our Universe over the years, as science advanced the "Big Bang" theory become the most plausible theory. There is no way anybody can demonstrate this happened, why do you personally think its plausible?? because any things possible??. The "Big Bang" is a great claim, and great claims require great evidence.
RoyLatham

Con

I think Pro would have been better off posting queries in a forum thread. However, we are now into this.

Pro has given no arguments or evidence in support of his claim that there must be something beyond nature. I have made three contentions: (1) Unexplained things need not be explained; (2) supernatural explanations are really not explanations; and (3) natural explanations are always possible, even if unknown. Pro has not addressed, let alone attempted to refute, any of my contentions. Therefore at this point Pro has made no case and my case stands unchallenged.

Pro asks why I think the Big Bang Theory is plausible, and asserts "There is no way anyone can demonstrate this happened." Perhaps, not "demonstrate" in the sense of causing a similar event, but there is good evidence that it did happen.

"The earliest and most direct kinds of observational evidence are the Hubble-type expansion seen in the redshifts of galaxies, the detailed measurements of the cosmic microwave background, the abundance of light elements (see Big Bang nucleosynthesis), and today also the large scale distribution and apparent evolution of galaxies[46] which are predicted to occur due to gravitational growth of structure in the standard theory. These are sometimes called "the four pillars of the Big Bang theory" http://en.wikipedia.org...

The reference provides a full explanation.

Before all the evidence was collected supporting the Big Bang Theory, a majority of scientists favored the Steady State Theory. Now the Big Bang Theory is, as far as I know, universally accepted. It;s all about the evidence.

Scientists acknowledge the Big Bang Theory does not explain everything, see my third contention in Round 1. Even though everything is not explained, it is reasonable to believe that natural explanations can be found. I cited Hawking as an authoritative opinion. If it turns out that natural explanations cannot be found, we are better off leaving things unexplained that assuming supernatural causes.

I suggest Pro give reasons for his beliefs, and that he go through my points on-by-one and either agree or disagree with each. If he disagrees, he should say why.

Debate Round No. 2
hendrix

Pro

hendrix forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

If Pro has no further questions or arguments he should say "pass" so the debate can be concluded.

Debate Round No. 3
hendrix

Pro

hendrix forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

I encourage Pro to try another debate, picking a subject he knows well and giving the reasons why he believes what he does.

In this debate Pro never gave reasons for his beliefs, did not rebut my arguments, and forfeited the last two rounds.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Crede 5 years ago
Crede
hendrixRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: I think RoyLatham summed it up by saying he should have just posted in the forums. Live and learn I guess.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
hendrixRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: hendrix failed to address RoyLatham's contentions (1) Unexplained things need not be explained; (2) supernatural explanations are really not explanations; and (3) natural explanations are always possible, even if unknown.") Pro never addressed any of this and merely, on a tangetial basis, inquired to why Roy believed in the accuracy of the BBT, which Roy explained, quite eloquently... No contest...Roy wins...
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
hendrixRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had a question not an argument and then newb-forfeit.
Vote Placed by Brenavia 6 years ago
Brenavia
hendrixRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: If there was a definition for a one-sided victory, this would be it. Not only did Con completly demolish Pro, but Pro did not even have the courtesy of allowing himself to finish the debate. I wish I could give Con more points. Though I have to take into considerration that this was his one of his first debates, hendrix, even I dont like to debate these kinda things.