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God's existence - supernatural explanation superior to natural due to violations of nature

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 925 times Debate No: 56309
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God's existence - supernatural explanation superior to natural due to violation of nature

if you see a magician who waves his wand and makes cats turn into dogs, you could argue a natural explanation is possible, and perhaps even argue that it is preferable. but, the most direct observation is that violations of natural laws have occurred.

likewise, according to our observation in the early universe, things are not acting according to laws as we know them. more than just that, our observation indicates *violations* of laws as we know them. that is, something from nothing, and the thermodynamics issue.

-the law of thermodynamics. this says energy is always breaking down from higher states. this theory basically negates the idea that there is something in our physical universe that goes on and on back infinitely. there can be no infinite beginning, because there is no infinite end. we see an end point coming. that means there must be a finite beginning. that means, if you take things back further and further in time, something must have caused the highest energy level of the big bang. we could call that unknown, God. a reason why we might call it that, is because the phenomenon violates natural laws as we know it- a high energy level came from something other than a higher energy level.

-uncaused cause. we see a finite beginning with thermodynamics, and the big bang. there then apparently exists an uncaused cause. that is, every effect must have a cause, except apparently the first one. (we could speculate about God and his causes or lack thereof, but for our purposes in this reality, we have to content ourselves with what we see-and the cause of our universe apparently had no other cause before it) one might argue the universe could be its own uncaused cause. but that would assume something from nothing. something from something else makes more sense. (quantum mechanics shows something from nothing. but that is at the quantum level, where matter already exists to begin with. we have never observed matter to come from quantum happenings, let alone quantum happenings that didnt have matter already there to begin with)
should that something else be best considered natural or supernatural?
we could infer a naturalistic explanation and have it all be not supernatural, but the actual observation indicates a violation of laws. that is, it is something that doesn't exist in our universe. that is, there is nothing in nature to make note of that could cause what looks like something from nothing. sure, you could say it's merely something that doesn't exist in our universe 'as we know it', leaving open natural explanations. but the direct observation is more than just not what we know - it's violation of reality, apparently more than is possible.

with the analogy of the magician and with God, this acknowledges that there *could* be other natural explanation possibilities. but nothing has to be definitively proven for it to be a called a proof, or even proven.
theists merely are arguing the most straightforward explanation - the magician apparently caused violations of nature, so we say it apparently is supernatural. it might feel wrong making that conclusion, but if that's what it looks like, that's what it's called.


I would like to begin by clarifying that the second law of thermodynamics actually states, "Heat will not spontaneously flow from a colder body to a warmer one," (TalkOriginsApp). You talk a lot about the laws of nature being evidently broken in order for the universe to have been made, and therefore, a supernatural claim is more acceptable than a naturalistic claim.
What you sort of describes was Occam's Razor, how people will conclude more natural, sensible explanations to an unknown cause rather than a whimsical, extraordinary one. You mention laws of nature being observably broken; would you care to provide real examples?

Now, at the end of your contention you said, "Theists merely are arguing the most straightforward explanation." If by, "straightforward," you mean easiest to be accepted and understood then I think you would be right. It is very easy to say to something, "I don't know how this happened, so God did it." That does not in any way make the supernatural explanation true.
Also, theists do not state anything straightforward. Theism goes beyond observation and attempts to describe the first cause, God. Theists say, "We know; we know exactly how God created the universe," but that's not even all theists claim. Theists claim that this God answers prayer and heals illnesses and that anyone can know this being and even communicate with him/her/it.

Your argument only goes as far as deism. Deism has a very ambiguous and unknowable, unreachable deity, whereas theism has a personal and describable one. Now, you say it's better to hold belief in a supernatural explanation than in a natural one, or, none at all.

The supernatural was invented by primitive people who needed something to explain what they didn't understand. Earthquakes, for example, were God's wrath and anger. As humanity continues to grow and discover, we now know how earthquakes happen completely by naturalistic means and no supernatural needs to be involved. The same can be applied to cosmology. The origin of everything is a bit tougher to tackle, but just because we don't know does not mean we should accept supernatural, extraordinary theories, that's absurd.

As far as the uncaused first cause goes, we know how planets and stars form naturally; couldn't there be a possibility that the universe itself does the same thing? The universe goes through these cycles of formation. You say something can't come from nothing, well, what's nothing? Simply put, we don't know. We have no evidence for a supernatural today, like theists claim, so we're not going to assume there ever was one. Until we find the answers, it's better to keep searching.

By the way, if the laws of nature came about after the formation of the universe, or, first cause, then the initial cause did not break the laws of nature since they did not already exist. If there were a law maker, why would he, she, or it defy its own laws to create the universe.
Debate Round No. 1


you ask about which laws of nature are broken. i argued that thermodyamics was, and i argued something causing existence was we know, is a violation of what we see.... namely, the apparent something from nothing situation.

con talks about what various descriptors of the God model, 'straightforward' 'easier to be understood and or accepted etc'. we can call it whatever we want, the only point is that if a magician is turning dogs into cats, and we cant figure out how, perhaps he actually is turning dogs into cats. that's what it looks like. analogy again transfers to the apparent violations in the laws of nature.

con argues that people have always prescribed supernatural explanaitons to things they didnt understand. those are specific sitautions though that had natural explanations all along. as far as we can tell, existence as we know it is very much different than specific situations. we don't just have a lack of knowledge, but an apparent violation of established knowledge. given it's categorically different than most scientific issues, it would be reasonable to conclude it has a categorically different explanation.

con points out that other theories are possible. it's always been acknowledge that they are possible. but, we are just calling a spade a spade. after every known scientific attempts at understanding, at what point can we say the magician is actually using magic? it would be to deny what true and plainly evident to just live your life as if he isn't, or even to act as if you dont want to take a position on it.

the final quibble about whether the first cause is a violation of nature. perhaps it isn't a violation within nature itself, but is beyond nature itself. so it is still super, outside of, nature. supernatural. i still say it could be a violation of nature. but this is more a semantical or philosophical disagreement only., that doesn't really affect the effective substance being discussed.


You use the magician/dog analogy as if it's equivalent to the 'first cause' of the universe.
The differences are:
-We observed the magician turning cats into dogs, we did not observe the first cause.
-We can see the magician. We couldn't see the first cause even if we were there because it's, "supernatural."
-Cats turning into dogs would be a direct apparent violation of nature as we know it today; we do not know the circumstances of the universe, of nature or of the "metaphysical." We don't have all the pieces of the puzzle.

If hypothetically we did witness a magician turn cats into dogs, both of us, so we knew it wasn't a hallucination, the supernatural wouldn't be the only explanation. He could be a highly advanced extra-terrestrial or time traveler with extremely advanced technology, or has just discovered some sort of force in nature no one has today. All of these are just as whimsical and out-there, if not more, than saying it was the supernatural, and I'm not about to believe any of it.

You're saying that since we don't YET have a natural explanation, it is perfectly logical for us to just assume the supernatural did it: God did it, ID did it. I'm saying that's absurd. It's not like the magician analogy because we could simply ask him how he did it, and I suppose he'd say, "Magic!" Would you be inclined to believe that? No. I don't think so.

We do not have hardly any of the puzzle. Once we start to learn more and more about our universe, the less need there is to resort to the supernatural because it was just a made up concept all along to explain things when there was no other way to explain them. If a law of nature is violated, which you've only provided a hypothetical example with the cat/dog analogy, and using the second law of thermodynamics which I demonstrated was not violated in my previous argument, and by saying the first cause violates nature, somehow.

We have all this reason to believe that everything after the first cause is natural, then you want to look at this one thing and say, "It MUST be supernatural, because it just has to be! We have no other explanation!" You can assert all you want, and you can assume that a supernatural was at work for lack of anything else, but you need evidence.

If a shopping cart rolled down a hill, you can say, "Someone MUST have bumped it!" That COULD be, OR, it's just as likely that it rolled down because of its kinetic energy, through natural causes. Until you can show that some intelligence did actually bump the cart, which you can't, it's perfectly logical to just assume it happened naturally.

I say you can't because the supernatural is not demonstrable. It's an impossible case, you cannot prove nor disprove it. It's distant, it's invisible, intangible, it's by definition beyond our comprehension. The laws of the universe were not mathematically written before humanity. Humans observed the universe and created formulas for these laws that they created to make sense of it. It's possible that some could be wrong. There could be a slight error in them, and amendments can be made to these laws with newer discoveries if need be; that's how science works.

The first time a child sees a magic trick, they're in awe. They don't understand, and they may actually be convinced there's such a thing as magic, why? Because of their little knowledge of the world. When a person learns who to exercise skepticism, and assume the natural before the supernatural, that's when they mature.

You wouldn't have to assume something came from nothing, not at all! We don't know what nothing is, whether or not there was nothing or if it even exists! We can't really consider the supernatural because there's just no way of knowing, but it's more likely that it doesn't exist and there is a natural explanation out there yet to be discovered. It may not be in the next decade or even the next century, but that doesn't make it any more feasible to assume the unknowable and the non-observable. The supernatural was once the answer to everything. Now, it answers nothing.
Debate Round No. 2


well, as with any anaology there are limitations to them. my magician analogy is imperfect for the reasons you describe, and your anaology of previous humans believing God caused inexplicable phenomenon is imperfect for the reasons i described.

you argue that we don't have all the information about our beginning to make a conclusion. perhaps not. but i would contend we have sufficient evidence to make a conclusion. i would still say the magician anaology is better than yours, by virtue of the law of, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.
that is, if it looks like there are violations and/or things outside of nature and the natural, then it is supernatural.

that also extends to your shopping cart analogy. it is also imperfect. every cause we see on a daily basis has to have a cause as far as we can tell. but at the point of uncaused causes, even if there was a natural explanation, we are in the realm of things we are not observed on a daily basis. we are in the territory of things unique unto themselves. variolus theories can be presented, but i'm arguing that i'm going with what correlates best to our observation.

how did you demonstrate that thermodynaimcs was not violated? a high energy state came from something other than a higher energy state. that is a violation. there are various ways to describe it, such as more or less order in the system, but they all go back to the same idea.
and if there was something that caused existence, is it a violation of the observation that there was nothing that caused it. and, it is a violation of the observation that every cause has a cause before it. it would be a supernatural uncaused cause, again, cause there is a violation (or at least outside of) of nature (as it appears) in that there is nothing in nature to make note of that could have caused it.

bottom line: if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.


What you are arguing here is called the Cosmological argument, something pretty much every apologist uses. The premise is, all things that begin to exist have a cause, the universe exists, therefore the universe must have a cause. I don't disagree that the universe doesn't have a cause. We both agree that it does. The issue is whether or not that cause was natural or supernatural.

You say that it must be supernatural because it defies laws such as thermodynamics and the uncaused cause. Like I said earlier if there is a violation in nature then the laws can be amended. The problem with the first cause is it happened once, and unless we can observe other universes forming which is pretty much impossible, right now anyway, but if we could observe other universes form like we do obverse stars and galaxies and planets, it would just bring us to the question of how does it all happen? What caused the first universe?

It's a never ending cycle of questions and we may never have all the answers. I don't see how anything I described is more wacky and improbable than the, "supernatural." Now, what do you mean by the supernatural, something that exists outside of nature. Can there be such a thing? Is that even possible for something to exist outside nature? Can something exist outside of existence? No. Supernatural indeed, by its own definition it is nonexistent and pure fantasy.

You say that since laws of nature would have HAD to be broken in order for the universe to exist, or at least, start to exist, it must be something outside of nature. Is it possible for something inside nature to defy the laws of nature? In certain cases, maybe. We would be better off assuming that than something outside of nature, whatever that means. Maybe the laws of nature themselves evolved since the first cause. Just because something SEEMS to be supernatural because it can't otherwise be explained, doesn't mean it is.

I don't know if you're trying to set a foundation to establish deism or if you're just going to stick with the bland assertion of this ambiguous supernatural label. What is it that tells you that there's only one supernatural force? Perhaps many worked together in order to create the universe, but you couldn't prove that because it's all speculation, all of it. Where did this supernatural come from? If your premise is that all existing things need a cause, and if the supernatural existed then it too must have a cause.

I think I've made my point about the supernatural how by its own definition is impossible. Nothing exists outside of existence; until it can be demonstrated, (which the supernatural cannot be) that there is something beyond the material world, the world we live in and observe, assume nothing.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 7 years ago
thanks, as did i.

i think ive been getting at expressing my arguments in less jargony terms, and getting to the point. for an opposition, i couldnt have really expected much better/more, (that didn't cloud itself with a bunch of academic jargon and links etc, too)
Posted by SweeneyTodd 7 years ago
I really enjoyed the debate.
Posted by KhalifV 7 years ago
Are you arguing there is a god, because of the first cause argument and relative low entropy of the universe? or are you merely saying if a god exists, his explanation is better described by supernatural notions?
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