The Rationality of Faith
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This debate will last 4 rounds, with 3 days for each debater to post for each round. There will be 10,000 characters available to each debater for each round. Voting will last for 1 month. You must have an ELO of 1,505 to accept, and I would prefer someone who has completed at least one debate on the site as an opponent. I am taking the Con position.
The most rational response to the question of god's existence is to have faith.
Rational - in accordance with reason and logic
God - an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being who is the source of all creation
Faith - belief in God
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate as posted links (not embedded)
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all undefined resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
8. The BOP is evenly shared
9. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
10. Violation or rejection of any of these rules or of any of the description's set-up (including definitions), merits a loss
R1. Pro's Case; Con's Case
R2. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R3. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R4. Pro generic Rebuttal and Summary; Con generic Rebuttal and Summary
- The world is all that is the case.
- What is the case—a fact—is the existence of states of affairs
- A logical picture of facts is a thought.
- A thought is a proposition with sense.
- A proposition is a truth-function of elementary propositions. (An elementary proposition is a truth function of itself.)
- The general form of a truth-function is [p,ξ, N (ξ)]
- What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.
- Omniscient means "possessed of universal or complete knowledge"
- Omnipresent means "present in all places at all times"
- Omnipotent means "almighty: having absolute power over all"
- Omnibenevolent means "possessing perfect or unlimited goodness."
The resolution of the debate is “The most rational response to the question of God's existence is to have faith.” In order to win this debate, I don’t have to completely prove the existence of God, but rather prove that faith in God is the most rational response. However, I will hopefully prove the existence of God in the process!
II. Pascal’s Wager
Imagine the following scenario: It is absolutely impossible to know 100% whether or not God exists. In this case, faith in God is certainly the most rational response. Should you believe in God and He does not exist, then you lose absolutely nothing; however, if you don’t believe in God and He does exist, then you have everything to lose.
III. The Cosmological Argument
P1: If the universe began to exist, then the universe has a cause
P2: The universe began to exist
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause
Before I dive in, I would like to offer a few important definitions in this argument:
- Universe: all existing matter and space considered as a
whole; the cosmos.
- Began: Past tense of begin; come into being or have its
starting point at a certain time or place.
- Exist: have objective reality or being
- Cause: a person or thing that gives rise to an action,
phenomenon, or condition.
Premise 2 is also sound. In the past, scientists believed that the universe always existed and that the universe was “static.” We now know that this is not true and that the universe had a beginning. Even more amazing is that time itself had a beginning! In his lecture, Stephen Hawking notes the following :
“All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed forever, but that it had a beginning, about 15 billion years ago. This is probably the most remarkable discovery of modern cosmology……The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down. Nevertheless, the way the universe began would have been determined by the laws of physics, if the universe satisfied the no boundary condition.
IV. Argument from Design
P1: The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
P2: It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
C1: Therefore, it is due to design.
Once again, we need to define a few terms in this argument:
- Necessity: a logically necessary being is a being whose
non-existence is a logical impossibility, and which therefore exists either
timeless or eternally in all possible worlds.
- Chance: the occurrence and development of events in the
absence of any obvious design.
- Design: purpose, planning, or intention that exists or is
thought to exist behind an action, fact, or material object.
A. The Universe
“Take, for instance, the neutron. It is 1.00137841870 times heavier than the proton, which is what allows it to decay into a proton, electron and neutrino—a process that determined the relative abundances of hydrogen and helium after the big bang and gave us a universe dominated by hydrogen. If the neutron-to-proton mass ratio were even slightly different, we would be living in a very different universe: one, perhaps, with far too much helium, in which stars would have burned out too quickly for life to evolve, or one in which protons decayed into neutrons rather than the other way around, leaving the universe without atoms. So, in fact, we wouldn’t be living here at all—we wouldn’t exist.”
B. Life Itself
Now that we have a universe, we have to have just the right ingredients for life to form. First, the planet needs to be in the “Goldilocks” zone, where it is close enough to the parent, start to hold liquid water. Next, life has to spontaneously generate from non-living organic matter. But even a single-cell organism is quite complex. Indeed, the mitochondria have its own DNA separate from the DNA in the cell.From there, it only gets worse. The haploid human genome contains approximately 3 billion base pairs of DNA packaged into 23 chromosomes.
Let’s consider one final example: The mimic octopus changes its color to disguise itself. Even more amazing is that it changes its appearance to look like the lionfish, jellyfish, sea snake, shrimp, crabs, and other animals.The amount of complexity that had to be involved in each step of the way shows that there had to be divine intervention. Since evolution and natural selection are a blind process, the mutations and genetic information that is required to engineer such complexity are amazing. Alison Abbott in Nature notes the following:
Surprisingly, the octopus genome turned out to be almost as large as a human’s and to contain a greater number of protein-coding genes — some 33,000, compared with fewer than 25,000 in Homo sapiens.
This excess results mostly from the expansion of a few specific gene families, Ragsdale says. One of the most remarkable gene groups is the protocadherins, which regulate the development of neurons and the short-range interactions between them. The octopus has 168 of these genes — more than twice as many as mammals. This resonates with the creature’s unusually large brain and the organ’s even-stranger anatomy. Of the octopus's half a billion neurons — six times the number in a mouse — two-thirds spill out from its head through its arms, without the involvement of long-range fibres such as those in vertebrate spinal cords. The independent computing power of the arms, which can execute cognitive tasks even when dismembered, have made octopuses an object of study for neurobiologists such as Hochner and for roboticists who are collaborating on the development of soft, flexible robots.
The analysis also turned up hundreds of other genes that are specific to the octopus and highly expressed in particular tissues. The suckers, for example, express a curious set of genes that are similar to those that encode receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The genes seem to enable the octopus’s remarkable ability to taste with its suckers.
"When we say that God is omniscient it means that He has perfect knowledge of all things. He does not have to learn anything and He has not forgotten anything. God does not have to reason things out, find out things, or learn them gradually. He knows everything that has happened and everything that will happen. God also knows every potential thing that might happen. God even knows those things that humankind has yet to discover. This knowledge is absolute and unacquired. The omniscience of God means that He has perfect knowledge, perfect understanding, and perfect wisdom as to how to apply the knowledge."
If an omnipotent being can do what is logically impossible, then he cannot only create situations which he cannot handle but also, since he is not bound by the limits of consistency, he can handle situations which he cannot handle"