Instigator
Points: 12

Resolved: It is probable that God exists

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After 3 votes the winner is ...
Lunatic
Debate details
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Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two months
Point system
Four points
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Rated
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Contender
Points: 21
Description
Resolved: It is probable that God exists.
Rounds:
1. Opening arguments only
2. Rebuttals only
3. Defense
4. Closing argument
For the purposes of this debate, the term "God" will be defined broadly as to include the general attributes (ie: omnipotence, omniscience) commonly associated with Judeo-Christian monotheism. That is to say, I am not referring to any specific deity. Hence doctrines such as the incarnation and Trinity are irrelvant to this debate. "Probable" will be defined as being more likely than not.
The time limit between replies is 72 hours. If special circumstances arise, one side may ask the other to wait out his or her remaining time. If one side explicitly concedes or violates any of these terms, then all seven points will be awarded to the other. By accepting this challenge, you agree to these terms.
The burden of proof is shared. It is incumbent on me to show that God's existence is probable, and it is incumbent on my opponent to show that God's existence is not probable. It is thus not enough to simply refute my arguments. My opponent must also erect his own case against the probability of God's existence.
Round 1
Published:
Thank you, lunatic, for accepting this debate. I am looking forward to my first debate in several years.

1) Kalaam Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause;
2. The universe began to exist;
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

The first premise is fairly self explanatory. Anything that begins to exist must have a cause. Something cannot come from nothing. This cause must exist independently and outside of that which began to exist.

The second premise is also fairly self evident. The universe is not eternal. As Stephen Hawking notes:

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.

A big bang/big crunch hypothesis that Hawking argues for in his lecture cannot stand up to scrutiny. Dr. David Abel writes:

"Appeals to multiple or 'parallel' cosmoses or to an infinite number of cosmic 'Big Bang/Crunch' oscillations as essential elements of proposed mechanisms are not acceptable in submissions due to a lack of empirical correlation and testability. Such beliefs are without hard physical evidence and must therefore be considered unfalsifiable, currently outside the methodology of scientific investigation to confirm or disprove, and therefore more mathematically theoretical and metaphysical than scientific in nature. Recent cosmological evidence also suggests insufficient mass for gravity to reverse continuing cosmic expansion. The best cosmological evidence thus far suggests the cosmos is finite rather than infinite in age.

2) Argument from Design

1. We see that natural bodies work toward some goal, and do not do so by chance
2. Most natural things lack knowledge.
3. But as an arrow reaches its target because it is directed by an archer, what lacks intelligence achieves goals by being directed by something intelligence.
3. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

debate.org user Contradiction argued this premise fairly well:

To say that natural entities tend toward ends is to say that they behave with a goal, purpose, or function in mind. It is to say, for example, that the heart tends toward the purpose of pumping blood or that the eye has the function of seeing. That natural entities of all sorts behave in this way is undeniable. Indeed, it is presupposed by discipline of medicine, which seeks to restore bodily functions to the way they ought to be. It accounts for why certain effects are regularly brought about by their causes . A match tends to cause fire -- and not rainbows -- when lighted because that is its function. A plant matures according to its kind because that it is directed toward that sort of development. Teleology is also present in the inorganic realm, such as in the water and rock cycles. If causes weren't directed toward their effects, then there is no reason why causes can't literally produce any effect.

Now to speak of causes as being directed toward certain purposes or functions is to admit to a type of intentionality. Intentionality is of course the mark of the mental, and there thus must be a mind who imparts teleology to the natural order. Just as how a match derives its function from the intentions of its creator, so do natural entities derive their characteristic behaviors from a grand creator. Similarly, to say that a heart ought to pump blood or that a human ought to think rationally is to admit to the existence of normativity, which also indicates the presence of an agent.
The universe appears to be ordered and designed. The complexity of life itself requires a creator and requires moving parts that simply cannot put itself together. Dr. Abel notes:

For even the first simplest cell to come to life spontaneously would have required incredible organization.  A cell is not just a blob of protoplasm. Hundreds of integrated circuits, biochemical pathways, feedback cycles, and cooperative orchestration would have been required for the simplest life to generate spontaneously.

Organization, integrated circuits, and highly conceptual coordinated functions don’t just “self-organize” by chance and/or necessity (law). 18-20   Mass and energy cannot generate formalisms like mathematics, logic theory, value, esthetics, ethics, design, and engineering.  Organization is a formalism, the same as mathematics, logic theory, and language. Formalisms are nonphysical, abstract and conceptual.

Conclusion

Why is there something rather than nothing and why is there life rather than non life? For atheism to be even remotely probable it must show a way for something to come out of nothing, and then have this something organize itself into complex structures and eventually create complex life. I personally see this notion as highly improbable. But why think these are caused by God? From these arguments we learn that this cause must be eternal, uncaused, and have intellect. This is what we call God.
Published:
Thanks, to Virtuoso for instigating this debate.
Since many of my own arguments directly relate to my opponents case, I shall intertwine them.

Rebuttals/Arguments


The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Theists commonly refer to the KCA when arguing for the existence of a deity. It is a a pretty big philosophical claim, and there is a lot to debate about the premises it raises. A whole debate can easily center around debunking this argument, however since the resolution is broader than this argument itself, I'll try to summarize the rebuttals into a few key points.The KCA is self- refuting, The first cause, and the KCA being an argument from ignorance.If we are to grant that everything has a cause, and still make a case for a God to have created everything, the cosmological argument than has to explain how the deity exists; which is why the KCA uses strict verbiage in it's premises. The first premise, if accepted "Whatever begins to exist has a cause", frames the argument specifically to cater towards a pre-conceived agenda for theism. We can specifically the word "Begins" to see this, suggesting that a God already existed. Obviously the question then is, if nothing was needed to cause a God, how does God surpass the 'irrefutable' logic of causation in the following premises? What is the first actually is the first cause? A proper agnostic-atheistic answer would be that the first cause was created by natural scientific causes that we as humans (simple animals) cannot grasp or understand at our current stage of scientific research.

For Fundamentalists and Apologists to say this is a God, simply due to a lack of understanding seems then, rather fallacious thinking, as we are attributing unknown wonder to that a being with wondrous power, that translates so much into other aspect of human lifestyle, like religious theism. What we are wrongly assuming, is that whatever this mystical non-understood potentially scientific or natural process is, people who advocate for the KCA's accuracy assume that since we cannot quantify it currently in our realm of understanding, that it is an all powerful deity who controls every aspect of material existence. Not only is this an argument from ignorance, isn't this also a false dichotomy to assume that everything was created from nothing, or a God? Why can't there be a plethora of other unknown options attributed to the amazing phenomena of life?My best answer to explain this jump in conclusion, is we are forming opinions based on historical mythology and social constructs already in place from media outlets and learned behaviors.

For example, while alien conspiracies tend to be wide and varying, those who claim to have seen aliens or who have abduction stories conveniently and commonly claim to see aliens that fit the same description that the Aliens depicted in the 1947 depiction of the Roswell incident where aliens were described as being grey, with big eyes, big heads, and lanky skinny bodies.

The popularization of the idea of the Grey alien is commonly associated with the Barney and Betty Hill abduction claim, which purportedly took place in New Hampshire in 1961, although skeptics see precursors in science fiction and earlier paranormal claims; Grey aliens are also famed from earlier depictions of the 1947 Roswell UFO incident. (1)

As the years passed and the ideas of Alien existence entered the minds of fiction writers in books, movies, and Television, many claims were made about alien sightings all conveniently following the same description. The same way many religious individuals claim to have religious experiences based on the historical fictions told by the bible, people will also commonly claim to have mystical experiences based on their churches teachings. Theism is a very popular cultural belief and is easily accepted by a large portion of the world given that only about 14 percent of the worlds population identify as Secular, agnostic or atheist. (2)

All this is to say that intellects in order to rationalize the irrational, created the KSA argument which chooses one popular mythology to justify something we cannot currently explain as being a God, based on what conveniently fits into a pre-existing confirmation bias of the existence of a God.The next part of my opponents arguments refers to Dr. Abel's skepticism of Hawkins theory of the Big Bang theory. While a debate on the validity of the BBT could certainly again be made on its own accord, this point doesn't do a lot for my opponents case. While is it debatable that there is absolute no physical proof for the Big Bang Theories existence, it is at the end of the day just a theory. It is a theory that is best supported about the Universe's existence, but not one that we can adequately rely on to answer most human questions about existence.

My problem with my opponents argument is that simply disproving one theory, doesn't confirm the validity of the opposing theory. The KSA for example, is a theory. As pointed out above, a theory that lacks much substance and is formed based on a forced dichotomy of religious history, which seems far less supported than the evidence for the Big Bang Theory. My opponent says that Hawkins theory "doesn't stand to the scrutiny" of Abel's complaints, but really all Abel is saying is that there isn't hard proof to say that the BBT is the definite theory of the universe's existence. The claim Abel is making out of Hawkins position that the BBT is the end all be all solution for the universe, isn't a claim that Hawkins or most Atheists would say they stand by, even if it is the best supported scientific theorem for the universe.

Argument from Design.

The entire point of the 4 premises here, seem to elaborate the magnificence of the human body, and the specific use and utility in which we humans are able to use this in life. The metaphor with the archer and the arrow is interesting, as it precludes the utility of the human body seeks the ultimate utility of the creator. What the premises here lack, is elaboration on what the archer's target is. The quoted argument by Contra basically can be summarized to say that the specific effect of every cause is designed, but this in and of itself lacks plausible premise. This whole argument seems to boil down to lack of human understanding which my opponent's solution is intelligent design. Just because we don't why we naturally exist, doesn't mean that an equally un-provable creator is the answer.

This all goes back to the argument from ignorance. My opponent's famous statement here in conclusion of this argument is "The complexity of life itself requires a creator and requires moving parts that simply cannot put itself together."My question is why? Why does the miracle of life justify a creator? Why can't the bodies of humans and animals who extremely differing functions pertaining to their own separate survival functionalities? Evolution seems to answer a lot of the questions about design, as species tend to gain and lose abilities over time as needed. Humans and the development of technology no longer require us to swing from trees, as our relative Ape ancestors once needed. Just as cave dwelling species evolve without eyes, as they no longer need them, or house mice develop resistances to poison's (3).

All of natures evolutionary process don't need to be explained by a Diety, or powerful being. In fact they don't need to be explained at all! Accepting that we currently don't fully understand something through is a better alternative than jumping to a conclusion about about meta-physical entities, especially when these conclusions have such drastic changes to the way people act daily when practicing religions. In fact these practices can arguably be harmful in many, many cases. Obvious historical discretion against large numbers of people resulting in killing, to even less harmful (depending on region) modern discrimination based on theism and religious practices.

My argument is more than talking about the harm of religion, because that isn't what this debate is about. It's essentially that my opponent's explanation for the unknown is essentially un-substantiated guesswork, but when people go too far with this type of belief, it commonly creates harmful ideologues, where is seems like accepting the lack of an answer is the most intelligent recourse, and nets less harm.In

Conclusion

My arguments also were attributed in my rebuttals, but in case they were lost in translation I'll summarize my points clearly.The major points I would like to stress are as follows:

1. There is no reasonable quantifiable, or measurable way to prove the existence of a Deity or God.

2. Arguments from ignorance are fallible; We cannot claim and create and entity to justify lack of knowledge about nature.

3. There is so compelling reasonable way to prove the existence of a Deity or God.

4. Current theories of God's are largely based on hysterical mythologies, and social culture and are passed down generations into forced dichotomies. I am excited for the progression of this debate, and eagerly look forward to my opponents response.

 Sources:

Round 2
Published:
Due to real life shit I’m forced to forfeit this round. I ask my opponent to please wait a few days to start the next round 
Published:
As per my opponents requests, two days have passed. Best of luck to my opponent in the next round!
Round 3
Published:
Due to real life crap, I"m just gonna concede the debate to con. Lunatic, you're a great opponent and I hope to debate this with you again in the future. 
Published:
Thanks to my opponent for the compliment, I look forward to debating again sometime in the future.
Round 4
Published:
Congrats on your win. Sorry I couldn’t complete this 
Published:
No worries mate, good luck!
Added:
The bible contradicts it's self a lot.
#13
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
==================================================================
>Reported vote: Ramshutu // Moderator action: NOT removed<
3 points to Con (arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded.
[*Reason for non-removal*] Conceded debates are not moderated unless the voter awards points to the side that concedes. Since this voter awards points to the side that did not concede, awarding arguments points is acceptable.
==================================================================
#12
Added:
--> @bsh1
I asked for my vote to get deleted when vote moderation was announced, as it was a counter-vote...
Would appreciate if you could delete it.
#11
Added:
--> @bsh1
Not just acceptable, perfectly acceptable. :)
#10
Added:
--> @Tejretics
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: Tejretics // Mod action: Not Removed
>Points Awarded: 3 points to Con for arguments
>Reason for Decision: Counter JCEurovision96's argument point; not bothering to counter conduct and spelling/grammar, since Pro concedes anyway.
>Reason for Mod Action: Counter votebombs are typically not permitted. However, in the case of a conceded debate, per the site voting policy, "conceded debates and are not moderated unless a voter votes for the side that concedes." Therefore, this vote is acceptable, because it does not vote for the conceding side (Pro).
************************************************************************
#9
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: RationalMadman // Mod action: Not Removed
>Points Awarded: 3 points to Con for arguments
>Reason for Decision: Pro gives up willingly.
>Reason for Mod Action: Awarding argument points on the basis of a concession is perfectly acceptable.
************************************************************************
#8
Added:
--> @blamonkey
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: blamonkey // Mod action: Not Removed
>Points Awarded: 3 points to Con for arguments
>Reason for Decision: Virtuoso conceded the debate
>Reason for Mod Action: Awarding argument points on the basis of a concession is perfectly acceptable.
************************************************************************
#7
Added:
--> @Tejretics
No it hasn’t. I can leave your vote up because I forfeited and you voted against me. No reason to remove it.
Instigator
#6
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Has a system of vote reports been set up yet?
Also, please remove my vote, as it was a counter.
#5
Added:
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: JCEuroVision96 // Mod action: Removed<
3 points awarded. Reasons for voting decision: Pro made very clear views on the existence of God, while Con dodges his attack.
[*Reason for removal*] JCEuroVision96 voted for the forfeiting side.
************************************************************************
Instigator
#4
Added:
--> @DebateArt.com, @JCEurovision96
Did you even read the debate? I conceded as I didn’t have time. @Admin please remove JC’s vote.
Instigator
#3
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
What about the Muslim one?
#2
Added:
God is real but it's not the J-C one.
#1
#3
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Pro conceded.
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Pro gives up willingly.
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Virtuoso conceded the debate.