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Resolved: God Exists

(PRO)
WINNER!
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(CON)
0 points
adminadmin (PRO)
I thank my opponent for this challenge. I'm going to open this debate by providing my standard defense for the existence of God, and we'll take things from there.

Structural point: by the structure my opponent has imposed on the debate, con gets an additional speech. I'm going to suppose he was expecting that, as the instigator of the debate, he would normally go first, as that is the format on debate.org (while edeb8 follows RL debating more in that the affirmative alw). As such, I'd like him to clarify whether he wants an additional speech for himself, or simply wanted me to go first.

My case demonstrates, hopefully, a preponderance of evidence for the reality of God. There are four unique arguments I will now briefly outline for this view.

1) The Descartes argument. It is impossible for a being to be all-perfect, all-knowing etc and not exist. Therefore such a being must exist. The existence of God can thus be logically deduced.

2) The Lewis Argument. If there was no God to create the universe, then the universe must have been an accident. If the universe is an accident, so is our thinking. If our thinking is an accident, we have no reason to believe it. This is absurd because we have already established the universe exists but cannot establish our existence as a subset of said universe. The only other two options left are nihilism and God. The existence of God can thus be evidently deduced.

3) The Pascal Argument. Either God exists or it does not. If we believe it exists, rewards are huge or naught. If we don't believe it exists, rewards are negative or naught. Therefore it is a safer bet to believe it exists. The existence of God is thus a worthwhile belief (this argument does not set out to show that God exists, but it's an important point because even if God did exist, that doesn't mean we should acceptGod, for example if God had become irrelevant).

4) The Kant Argument. Any attempt to refute God that holds any weight relies on logic. Therefore the argument presupposes the existence of logic. Logical truths cannot be proven without reference to God. Therefore any argument against God presupposes the existence of God. The existence of God is thus a precondition for this whole discussion.

With that, I turn the debate back to con for his analysis.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-04-14 05:57:16
| Speak Round
TejreticsTejretics (CON)
  I apologize, as I was unaware of this form on Edeb8. I request Pro to discredit the structure, and Pro can have all 4 rounds to address their arguments. I simply wanted you to go first, so this was a flaw in the structure. Therefore, @admin may discredit the structure I have imposed. I thank @admin for accepting this challenge. 
R1) Descartes Argument
Everything stated in the DA so far is a bare assertion. As the BoP is on Pro, Pro must demonstrate how a being that is conceived of with these properties must exist. This "existence" defies the very definition of exist, and is rather a reference to subjective reality. As this is a bare assertion with no proof whatsoever, the DA is invalid till proof is presented. 
R2) Lewis Argument
According to the calculations of Roger Penrose, there is a higher chance that the universe exists out of necessity non-contingently, viz. while the properties of the universe are contingent, the universe itself is non-contingent (via. the Fallacy of Composition), and created via. a singularity. The basic structural flaw in this argument is that it does not argue for God, and is rather a kritik of the topic itself, thus is irrelevant to the resolution. 
R3) Pascal Argument
This argument does not argue for the existence of God, instead highlighting why it would be beneficial to believe in God, thus is irrelevant to the resolution. 
R4) Kant Argument
Logic is based on the principles that determine existence. This argument is a kritik of the very definitions and imposes the BoP on Con rather than Pro. Any argument for God also relies on logic, and, as the BoP is on Pro, it affects Pro's argument further. Therefore, this argument is void. 
Affirmative Arguments
C1) The Big Bang

The Big Bang Theory (BBT) is the prevailing cosmological model for the universe from its earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution. [1] There are multiple observational proofs that support the BBT scientifically. Notable amongst them is the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (CMB), thermal radiation left over from the Big Bang of cosmology. [2] This thermal radiation is seen as a faint background glow using a sensitive radio telescope in the space between celestial bodies. The glow is strongest in the microwave region of the radio spectrum.In the absence of Big Bang, there would be no reason to expect a uniform, long-wavelength background radiation in the universe. [3]

http://www.debate.org/photos/albums/1/3/2350/58591-2350-hfrrx-a.jpg

This is a satellite picture of CMB radiation as negative space in the universe. The CMB glow and the rest of the universe seem to be approximately homogenous and isotropic; this is a prediction of the Big Bang.

In 2014, a measure of the B-mode polarization CMB signal at 150 GHz was published in the POLARBEAR experiment. The B-mode polarization is proof of primordial gravitational waves, as predicted by Einstein in 1915. [4] These primordial gravitational waves contain thermal energy similar to the primordial energy of the baryon-plasma sea that was the universe approximately 13.5 billion years ago. [5]

“The CMB is a snapshot of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when the Universe was just 380,000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today.” [6]

http://www.mpg.de/7042592/zoom.jpg

This graph shows the temperature fluctuations of the CMB detected over different angular scales on the sky, offering further proof of the temperature detection of the CMB. That the CMB is of cosmological origins acts as a scientific consensus. [7]

Another indicator for the Big Bang is the organization of the known universe with galactic evolution.

“Galaxies are also dynamic entities, changing over time. Like with large scale structure, the broad strokes of galaxy formation follow a path of ‘hierarchical clustering’: small structures form very early on and these merge to form larger structures as time goes on. Within this larger framework, some galaxies will develop secondary features like spiral arms or bar-like structures, some of which will be transitory and some of which will persist.” [8]

The developing of secondary features is called galactic evolution. No cosmological theory except the BBT can explain galactic evolution. [9]

Stronger evidence for the Big Bang is the abundance of light elements, such as helium, in the universe.

“Like in the core of our Sun, the free protons and neutrons in the early universe underwent nuclear fusion, producing mainly helium nuclei (He-3 and He-4), with a dash of deuterium (a form of hydrogen with a proton-neutron nucleus), lithium and beryllium. Unlike those in the Sun, the reactions only lasted for a brief time thanks to the fact that the universe's temperature and density were dropping rapidly as it expanded. This means that heavier nuclei did not have a chance to form during this time. Instead, those nuclei formed later in stars. Elements with atomic numbers up to iron are formed by fusion in stellar cores, while heavier elements are produced during supernovas.” [8] He-3 and He-4 are abundant in the universe, and this is the best physical explanation. [10] Therefore, the Big Bang cosmological model is probably true.http://www.debate.org/photos/albums/1/3/2350/58591-2350-5f3qu-a.jpg

The Big Bang cosmological model does not require a finite cause of the universe. [11] This is achieved via. a gravitational singularity and quantum fluctuations.


C2) Law of Parsimony

The Law of Parsimony, a form of Occam's Razor, posits that between two explanations, the one with least assumptions is the best. 


As a naturalistic origin of the universe is a priori most likely, God most likely does not exist. 

References


Return To Top | Posted:
2015-04-14 06:46:13
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
I thank con for his opening round.

Descartes Argument
The demonstration I provided in the first round was by contradiction. It's absurd to talk about the "mightiness" of things that do not exist, or their power or potency or knowledge or anything else. These are attributes only held by things that exist. The number nine, for example, does not really exist. It is an abstract concept. It cannot do anything on its own. We know this from both our experience and through the simple question of "how?". 

The concept of God is not like that. God is all-powerful, all-perfect and all-knowing. As such, so long as God has these attributes, God exists outside of a subjective reality. Whereas the number 9, which is only subjectively real, has no power, inherently carries no knowledge etc, is subjective reality, what sets objective reality apart is precisely the things that God is a perfect form of. Rather than begging the question then as con postulated, the descartes argument proposes the alternative (non-existent, but all powerful God) is absurd.

Lewis Argument
Far from being a critique of the topic, the Lewis argument argues that the nonexistence of God is an inherently unreliable assumption, since if true, then we would have no reason to accept that conclusion (purposeless universe -> purposeless minds -> no purpose to accepting conclusions). At best it's a critique of who holds the burden, not the topic itself. As far as Roger Penrose's calculations go, con hasn't shown why any should be relevant. The argument concerns whether the universe was created with a purpose or not, as opposed to whether the properties of that universe are contingent now or then. Whether I shoot a rabbit on purpose or by accident, the rabbit is still killed - there is no need for any contingency on either a shot rabbit or a big bang.

Pascal Argument
We both agree believing in God is beneficial. I'm going to take that one step further and argue that on this basis alone, God ought to be a sure assumption, even if not formally proven. Much like, since KFC's 7 secret herbs and spices are secret, we don't know for sure whether there really are 7 of them... but it's a sure assumption since KFC tastes delicious. The fact that something is a belief that has shown itself to be beneficial tends to mean that there's some truth to it. Science itself operates on a similar principal. Science may be self-correcting, but it still sticks with believing the results of experiments that have the best outcomes. For example, when comparing two anti-wrinkle creams, scientists would choose the superior one, even if they couldn't at that time prove how it worked.

Kant Argument
The very fact that we can accept logic, however, means we have a reason to accept God. While arguments for God are also logical, they make sense in a God-framework, since their use of logic further supports their conclusion. On the contrary, if God did not exist, logical arguments both for and against God would be invalid. God thus provides the sole system that makes sense of the framework of the resolution in a logical way.

Big Bang
I concede that there probably was a big bang - I merely argue that whatever happened at the very start of our universe was caused by God. Say there was a singularity before that? Sure, that was caused by God. Say there were quantum fluctuations? God did it. God is invariably compatible with every cosmological model my opponent can name for what started the universe, since scientific inquiry is inherently limited by regression, meaning that no matter what con says happened "first", I can still say God was earlier than that and caused whatever con says happened first. I'm also equally happy to accept that the universe may not have had a finite cause, since God is also not finite - thus the only thing capable of creating something as infinite as an infinite temporal system (if that is indeed the form of reality).

Parsimony
First of all, I deny this law outright. I can think of several commonly accepted counter-examples right now.
  • The law of Hickam's dictum - the law of parsimony basically does not apply in medicine. Simple medical explanations are almost universally believed by qualified doctors not to be a holistic explanation of a patient's condition.
  • General relativity over Newton's Laws.
  • Veridical paradoxes, such as the Friendship Paradox, which are very counter-intuitive but are empirically proven accurate.
  • Everytime somebody was framed or there was a coverup in history. Every wrongful conviction ever.
  • Most of modern mathematics, which although accurate, is absurdly complicated.
  • David Blaine does not really have magical powers (apparently).
As such I do not concede a naturalistic origin of the universe is a priori most likely.

Second, even if true, "God did it" is just about a simple explanation for anything. People were once unsure what made the planets move. Rather than introduce the complexity of natural laws, they simply said "God did it". As such, what con's diagram fails to show is that naturalism has a lot more to account for than it possibly can, since the number of knowable things is theoretically infinite but knowledge is only finite. God, however, presents a convenient explanation for everything we don't know that's far simpler than a large variety of different laws and principles we have yet to discover.

The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-04-16 05:30:50
| Speak Round
TejreticsTejretics (CON)
First, Pro's primary blunder is merely in refuting my arguments while his do not prove the existence of God. I shall show how. 
Descartes Argument
All definitions are based on an assumption, i.e. IF something exists, THEN ... Therefore, God is omniscient and omnipotent if he exists; if he does not, then of course he has no properties. This argument defies the general resolution itself, as then there can be no Con position. Therefore, it is, technically, a critique of the topic. 

Lewis Argument
Via. the second law of thermodynamics, everything is random and there need not exist an underlying reason for everything. But a reasonless thing is not baseless, or it would mean a denial of reason even existing, basically dismissing this debate as "having no point". Therefore, this extreme nihilism is a critique. 

Pascal Argument
The resolution is "God Exists", and this is irrelevant. The debate is not "Should We Believe in God", the debate is "God Exists", i.e. whether or not it is better to believe in God, does God exist?

Kant Argument
This is logical nihilism, i.e. denial of the very existence of logic, and is a critique. The BoP is on Pro, hence Pro is the one making the arguments. If I refute them, I win. Any arguments for the existence of God also rely on logic, and this logic also cannot be proven. 

None of these arguments demonstrates that God exists. Pro has the full BoP and must fulfill it. 

The Big Bang
Pro asserts that quantum fluctuations were caused by God. A gravitational singularity can cause the existence of the universe, according to the BBT. Furthermore, according to the ratios of Hawking and Penrose, the universe need not have a finite cause. Via. quantum superposition, an external cause of the universe is impossible:

P1. An external cause will have an omniscient view of its nature via. its own properties.

P2. Ergo, the external cause observes all quantum superpositions.

P3. Observation collapses quantum superpositions.

P4. An all-observing (transcendental) cause would collapse all quantum superpositions.

P5. We observe that not all quantum superpositions are collapsed.

C. Therefore, an external cause cannot exist. [1]


Occam's Razor
The Law of Parsimony applies here thus:
P1. God need not exist for the universe to function. 
P2. There is no evidence or even slight hints at the existence of God. 
C. God most likely does not exist. 

P1 is defended by the Big Bang. If P2 is denied by Pro, then I request him to fulfill his BoP by proving the existence of God

Pro has still not proven God exists.

Sources



Return To Top | Posted:
2015-04-16 08:55:24
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
If I had merely refuted his arguments and failed to make a substantive case, there would be nothing in my round 1. I have made a case, con has the burden of rejoinder, and it's perfectly fine for me at this point to refute his objections. This debate comes down to whether or not con can answer all four of my reasons for God, and having done that, build up his own case.

Descartes Argument
Con says all definitions are based on the assumption of existence. This is not true. For example, take the number 7. You can define it as the whole number one less than 8, and one more than 6. Still the number 7 does not exist in any physical way. Similarly, take a shape with 3 sides, defined as a triangle. As such his counter-argument is broadly based on a false assumption.

That being said, con's argument is self-defeating. If con is saying the definition of God is predicated on his existence, and God does not exist, then logically God has no definition and my opponent has no idea what he's arguing against. This is clearly shifting the goalposts. You can't argue either for or against something unless you are able to say what that something is. Since the only model in this debate that resolves whether God exists or not is one my opponent thinks is predicated on God's existence, that leaves the assumption of God as the only useful model in this debate. He cannot defend the atheist position in his framework as he has been doing - only, at best, the agnostic one that the existence of God is uncertain.

I'm going to deny outright that this argument is in any way fatal to the Descartes argument though. Consider the notion that there is a blue balloon behind you right now. Of course, most likely, there isn't. Things can absolutely be blue and not exist, because blue is not merely a trait of physical objects, but also imagined objects. Similarly, you can imagine a balloon that does not exist. However, this cannot apply to God's definitions. You can have a very powerful imaginary figure, but not an all-powerful one, because that concept would be limited by the imagination (Descartes famously compared it to imagining a perfect triangle). That's not because the definition just imposes it, but because the alternative - all powerful and not existing - is absurd. Unlike blue and not existing, which isn't.

As to this idea that this argument leaves no con position - well, what does my opponent think a formal proof is? A formal proof attempts to show that your position must be right, meaning other positions must be wrong. There's no problem with this, in fact, con wanted me to show formal proofs for God.

Lewis Argument
First of all, con misunderstands the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the universe is becoming less ordered (more entropic), not that everything is random. Indeed, that there need not exist an underlying reason for everything is contradicted by the first law of thermodynamics, which states that every change is the result of some other force, as opposed to changes happening for no reason at all. Of course this is all Newtonian physics, something that modern physics has largely disproven, but regardless my opponent's interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics could not be more wrong.

Con then misunderstands the argument. I'm not just dismissing the debate as having no point. I'm saying that all of our thinking would have no point if the universe has no point. However, I'm then showing the contradiction of why that can't be right, which is that we have reason to trust our thinking because we have already just established that the universe exists. This logic would remain sound regardless of the nature and purpose of this "basis" for the universe. It does, however, prove a creator with a purpose. It doesn't deny reason exists, to be clear - it affirms that this would only be true without God, but then further proposes that if anything exists at all that is a self-contradiction. None of this in any way imposes on the topic, and I think my opponent just stopped following the argument at the point where it shows we have no reason to believe our thinking without God.

Pascal Argument
I thought my 7 secret herbs and spices argument was rather good. I'd like to hear a refutation to that extension specifically.

Of course we all know the resolution. I'm trying to convince you of it. Con can demand a more formal proof, and other arguments may provide that. But giving you reasons to accept the resolution is true, is also giving you reasons to accept that I made the better argument in this debate. Few debates end with one side absolutely formally coming up with a decisive answer, though debaters like to claim otherwise. It's usually, on balance, who delivered the best argument. I'm addressing the question of whether you should think God Exists head on with Pascal's Wager. It's far from irrelevant if I'm trying to convince somebody of the resolution. Unlike what my opponent would assert, a formal proof is not the only way to convince somebody.

Kant Argument
The Kant Argument does not deny logic - it argues that the existence of logic proves the existence of God. The existence of logic is thus taken as a predicate, as opposed to critiquing the topic by saying that logic does not exist. Seriously, I'm starting to think con believes that "critiques" of topics means "formal proofs," since he has dismissed ALL of my arguments as critiques except for Pascal's Wager at this point. My points take premises of the topic and take them to their logical conclusions affirming the topic. This is true regardless of who holds the BoP. It's what all apologetics has been doing for millennia, and it's fair.

I refuted the idea that arguments for God also rely on logic in the previous round. For some reason con didn't read that and just repeated his point.

Big Bang
Notice how my opponent has changed his argument subtly in this round.

I disagree that a gravitational "singularity" can cause the existence of the universe because science has moved on from the 1980s and now even Hawking has had to refine his model a bit to account for some new findings (you can check this in any prologue to a modern edition of Hawking's book "A Brief History of Time", which while I highly recommend it, does start with this slight inaccuracy right at the beginning), but it's fairly irrelevant. I have already shown that even if this is true, God can be the cause of that gravitational singularity. Con does not engage with that. Nor does he engage with the fact that if the universe does not have a finite cause, that basically proves God caused it, since God is infinite.

Quantum Superposition
This argument of con's would hold true regardless of the big bang theory, so I'll address it separately. I have two responses.

First, quantum mechanics are poorly understood at best. We have no idea WHY observation changes behavior or exactly HOW particles can "know" if they will be observed. Berkeley, for example, imagined a world where God's mind and the universe were the same thing, with physical laws (such as quantum superposition) merely being manifestations of God's will. In such a worldview, it's quite plausible internal and external actors affect particles rather differently. You can verify this with a thought experiment: imagine a quantum particle. There you go, if you just imagined that, you've proven that external observation of the concept of a quantum particle does not invoke superposition. Until we know what exactly is going on at a quantum level, this argument is fairly poor.

Second, God also by definition defies the laws of reality and physics all the time. That's what being omnipotent means. It's no trouble for God to observe a particle and not collapse a quantum superposition because he can literally do anything.

"Occam's Razor"
In the last round, I showed why the law of parsimony is incorrect. I made a big bullet list of counter-examples. Con does not engage with this material. The fact is, this supposed "law" is just a rule of thumb at best, which largely doesn't even hold true.

I deny all three of my opponent's points here:
1. God does need to exist for the universe to function. I'd like to challenge con to prove his assertion if he believes he can show otherwise. He's making a very bold claim here and not providing any kind of justification. Thus, we have no reason to accept this point is at all substantive - he says the big bang proves it, but that relies on the physical laws of nature to be calculated, for example, as a premise. You can contrast this, say, with the Kant argument I provided earlier.
2. There is evidence for God. I provided some earlier in my case. Billions of people worldwide agree that evidence for God exists. Even if all that evidence turns out to be false, that is at least a "slight hint".
3. God most likely does exist, and my case proves it.
None of these three points has anything to do with Occam's Razor once again proving how con is shifting the goalposts.

The resolution is affirmed

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-04-18 01:06:38
| Speak Round


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adminadmin
NP then :D
Posted 2015-04-14 08:12:36
TejreticsTejretics
Just discredit the structure :P
Posted 2015-04-14 07:32:31
adminadmin
Oh wait, didn't see this comment haha :D

Yeah, pro goes first. You can start "drafting" while it's my turn but you can't actually submit until I've posted my argument. If that makes any sense at all.
Posted 2015-04-14 05:59:28
TejreticsTejretics
Pro goes first, right?
Posted 2015-04-13 17:13:55
TejreticsTejretics
OK, thanks.
Posted 2015-04-11 03:57:41
adminadmin
I'll accept, just let me finish my biblical inerrancy debate first. :)
Posted 2015-04-10 21:45:19
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Rules of the debate

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*Definitions*
God - an omnipotent, omniscient, sentient being who is the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority
Exists - is actual in physical, objective reality

*Rules*
BoP is on Pro as they are making the positive claim.
*ALL* arguments in accordance with the definitions.

*Structure*
Pro can post the first argument and waives the last round.