Instigator / Pro

It is likely that a God doesn't exist


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 7 votes and with 23 points ahead, the winner is...

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Last updated date
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Time for argument
One day
Max argument characters
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One week
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Multiple criterions
Voting system
Contender / Con

Burden of Proof

The BoP is shared in this debate.


"God" is defined as "being the creator of the universe and possessing the following attributes:

-Omnipotence (has the power to do anything)
-Transcendence (outside space-time)
-Omniscience (has unlimited knowledge)"

"Exist" is defined as "having objective reality, insofar as existing outwith the mind."

Format of the Debate

R1: Opening arguments
R2-3: Rebuttals and defence
R4: Rebuttals without new arguments

Round 1
Thanks for accepting. My opening argument will be short and sweet.
== Aff ==

Occam's Razor
This is a form of ontological parisomony which deems a competing theory a priori most likely if that theory has less ontological commitments than the other theory. [1] If two theories X and Y have the same ontological commitments, but X is ontologically commited to Z and Y is not, it would deem Y as more parsimonious than X.

Thus, my argument is frameworked by Theism versus Metaphysical Naturalism. Metaphysical Naturalism has two ontological commitments: the physical universe and the laws that govern the universe. Whereas, Theism has three ontological commitments: the physical universe, the laws that govern the universe and God.

Hence, the theory sans the inclusion of God is deemed a priori most likely.

Thus, the resolution is upheld as the contrapositive would dictate if the theory not including God is likely, then it would logically entail that the theory including God is unlikely.

Over to Con.


Round 2
Ah yes, Occam’s Razor.   A razor meant to shave hair, when misapplied, will cut the flesh….likewise, Occam’s Razor can be misused.  While fine and dandy, what Occam proposes  is actually a “rule of thumb” and not necessarily a rule of logic.  The physical world is myriad of complexity that cannot not be reduced to simplicity as the Razor suggests.  Occam’s Razor doesn’t necessarily mean that the simplest answer is the correct one, but rather one shouldn’t complicate a theory if a simpler one is at the ready. 
I think you are framing Occam’s Razor, with other assumptions, in order make your point.  Eh, sorry you can’t use his Razor in such a way— you gonna cut yourself lol.  Just because one develops an idea that has one assumption (commitment) that doesn’t imply that that the theory is automatically RIGHT.  In interesting thought-game would be this:  Occam’s Razor applies to this universe, does it not.  Does that mean that it would apply to a being that exists outside this universe?
Mine is equally as simple and draws upon, dare I say, our God-given ability to reason.  I’ll call on my good friend Aquinas first to help out:
1.       Everything we observe in the physical universe required something to else to bring it into existence.  There is not one thing that we have observed or know of that brought itself into existence.
2.       We can ask this question “What was required to bring X into existence?” and the answer will always be “Something other than X is required to bring X into existence.”
3.       Ultimately, when you ask this question, you get to the question of matter (“Wossamotta U”)—“What brought matter into existence?” Logic, based on what we observe thorugh science, tells us that something not made of matter (i.e. immaterial) would be necessary to bring matter into existence. 

Round 3
== Rebuttals ==

Cosmological Argument From Contingency

This argument essentially claims that the universe is as a whole contingent and the only possible explanation for its existence it that it has been created by a necessary, non-contingent entity i.e a being without a cause. However, in Con's third premise he only limits this to matter, but the universe is comprised of space-time, matter and energy so I will assume Con wishes to extend it to this.

This argument is ultimately incoherent and begs the question. This is because it is successfully refuted by the Hume-Edwards Principle and is also predicated on the fallacy of composition.

To elaborate, the Hume-Edwards Principle illustrates that if each element in a collection is given a causal explanation, then the aggregate of all the elements has likewise been explained.[1]

Pro is effectively postulating that in a collection X, which has elements p,q,r, wherein these elements are each causally contingent, there must be a non-contingent cause for p,q,r. However, via the Hume-Edwards Principle, if the cause of p,q and r itself is contingent then the necessity for a non-contingent origin is not facillitated as the origin itself is contingent.

Even if the universe has a non-contingent cause for its existence, it would be unreasonable to assume that the non-contingent cause is God. Assuming such is special pleading, thus it is required for Pro to prove that this cause is necessarily God as defined per the description.

Secondly, in a collection X, comprised of elements p,q and r, wherein each element is itself contingent, it would be committing the fallacy of composition to presume that the collection X, is also contingent, just because the elements it contains are contingent. The fallacy of composition effectively means that the whole of something doesn't necessarily have the same properties of that which comprises it [2]. Hence, it is intellectually dishonest to assume that the universe as a whole is contingent, just because everything we have observed within the universe is contingent.

== Aff ==

Occam's Razor
Here Con misrepresents my intentions with Occam's Razor. He asserts:
"Just because one develops an idea that has one assumption (commitment) that doesn’t imply that that the theory is automatically RIGHT"
I never stated that; I professed that it would be deduced to be a priori most likely viz. due to the Law of Parisomony the competing theory with less ontological commitments is deemed more likely than the other theory. This is sourced from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that I included in my references in the first round.

My adversary misunderstands the use and purpose of Occam's Razor, he states:
"The physical world is myriad of complexity that cannot not be reduced to simplicity as the Razor suggests"
This is unsourced and commits a bare assertion fallacy. Moreover, it is misleading to draw focus to the individual parts i.e the complexed, physical laws of our universe, rather than focus on the ontological nature of our universe, as that is the context of the debate at hand. I'm also surprised Con has stated this because the Razor is often used in the scientific method. It wouldn't need to be further complicated, insofar as, I'm sure Con and I can agree that we both observe the universe to exist. This is what the metaphysical naturalist and the theist have in common. However, what seperates the two, is that theism is contingent upon another ontological commitment i.e God. Therefore, via the Razor, the competing theory is more likely as it has less ontological commitments.

In the next round I commend my opponent to elaborate whilst in the context of the ontology of the universe, why the Razor doesn't apply here.

Furthermore, Con asserts:
"Occam’s Razor applies to this universe, does it not.  Does that mean that it would apply to a being that exists outside this universe?"
Occam's Razor applies to *competing hypotheses/theories*. Con implies that because God is defined as transcendent (outwith the observable universe), Occam's Razor wouldn't apply to Him. However, this can be refuted by a simple analogy. If one were to wake up on a cold winter morning to see that there stood a snowman in their front garden, the idea that the neighbour erected the snowman is more parsimonious than the idea that God erected the snowman via Occam's Razor. Hence, it can be seen that being transcendent/non-transcendent is a redherring and completely irrelevant.

Thus, the theory without God's ontological commitment is a priori most likely which means that the resolution is successfully upheld.

== Conclusion ==

Thus far, Con has forwarded the Cosmological Argument from Contingency, to which I have successfully refuted by citing the Hume-Edward principle and by depicting that the argument ultimately commits the fallacy of composition.

Moreover, I have defended my postulate that is Occam's Razor as Con misrepresented the arguments intentions, and attempted to refute the argument with bare assertions, where my argument was credibly cited in the first round -- to which Con has ignored.

Over to Con.

Round 4
I never said or postulated that the "creator" of the universe had to be "non-contingent", did i?  I never said whatever created the universe had to be a Being a without a cause.   I simply stated that the creator of the universe had to be "im-material" (not made of matter). 

The two options regarding matter are:

(a)  Matter has always existed


(b)  Matter has not always existed and and came into existence. 

Option A flies in the face of what we experience and witness everyday-- things coming in and out of existence.  That leaves Option B.

Now for Option B, what created matter?  What created matter could not be made of matter- if what created "matter" was made of "matter, this would fly in the face of what we experience and observe scientifically.