Instigator / Pro
Points: 19

Atheism vs. Theism: Atheism is more probable than Theism

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After 3 votes the winner is ...
Virtuoso
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Con
Points: 9
Description
Intro
I'm going to do something different this debate and argue for the atheistic perspective. I haven't argued the atheist perspective in a while so I thought I'd give this a chance.
Definitions
Atheism: The position that God does NOT exist
Theism: The position that a god exists.
Probable: likely to be the case or to happen.
God: For the purposes of this debate, "God" will be defined as the God of classical Theism which God is characterized as the absolutely metaphysically ultimate being with the 4 O's (omnipotent etc.)
Structure
1. Opening arguments
2. Rebuttals
3. Defense
4. Close
Round 1
Published:
Thank you, Christopher, for accepting this debate.
 
C1: God is incoherent
 
P1: Anything with contradictory attributes cannot exist
P2: God has contradictory attributes
C1: Therefore, the God cannot exist.
 
In philosophy there are several types of entities: (1) actual entities that exist (such as humans, cats, apes, etc.); (2) entities that could exist but do not (such as a fire breathing dragon); and (3) impossible entities that cannot exist due to their contradictory nature (a married bachelor, for example). I contend that the Christian concept of God is utterly and hopelessly incoherent.
 
Subpoint A: All-Knowing vs. All-Powerful
 
God is said to be both all-knowing and all-powerful. This leads us to an absurd contradiction. Since God has perfect knowledge about what will happen in the future, God cannot act in anyway contrary to that perfect knowledge. If I had perfect knowledge about tomorrow, for example, then nothing I can do will change that. Thus, a being with perfect knowledge cannot act freely contradicting the idea of an all-powerful god; indeed, the idea of any being with perfect knowledge negates any possible
 
Subpoint B: The word “God” is incoherent
 
If I ask 100 people on the street to define God or ask them what God is, I will get 100 different answers. This is hugely problematic for the Theistic position. God is supposedly unknowable and indefinable, yet we define God as having properties of being all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, present everywhere, and transcendent. For something to be unknowable and indefinable, the God of classical Theism simply assumes far too much. Thus, the most rational view is theological noncognitivism.
 
C2: The Problem of Evil
 
P1: If an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient god exists, then evil does not.
P2: There is evil in the world.
C1: Therefore, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient god does not exist.
 
The Problem of Evil is one of the oldest arguments against the existence of an all-loving deity. Indeed, Epicurus noted: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
 
I’m sure would have no problem accepting premise 1. What about premise 2? Unnecessary evil undoubtedly exists through no fault of our own. For example, in WWII over 75 million people were killed in the worst genocide and bloodiest war in human history [1]. If God were, in fact, all-good, then why didn’t He step in to stop this evil? On a biological level, when DNA replicates itself, it often makes serious errors that cause suffering and serious deformities. Neurofibromatosis, for example, causes tumors to appear all over your skin [2]. If God designed this, then He did a Godawful (pun intended) job.
 
C3: Atheism better predicts our universe
 
Both Theism and Atheism makes predictions about what we should find in our universe. If Atheism were true, then we should find a naturalistic cause of the universe and life. As it turns out, we do. The Big Bang Theory and Evolution are both naturalistic causes of the universe and life respectively and are well-documented and well supported. Paul Draper put this into a nice syllogism form [3]:
 
P1: We know that E is true.
P2: Naturalism has much more predictive power with respect to E than theism does (i.e., E's truth is antecedently many times more probable given naturalism than it is given theism).
P3: Naturalism is more plausible than theism (i.e., naturalism is more probable than theism independent of all evidence).
C1: So, other evidence held equal, theism is very probably false.
 
In this case, let E = Evolution.
 
Before I present evidence for evolution, I want to first provide some definitions:
 
  • Theory: A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses. [4]
  • Species: A group of individuals that actually or potentially interbreed in nature. In this sense, a species is the biggest gene pool possible under natural conditions. [5]
  • Evolution: Genetic change over many generations ultimately result in the emergence of new in different species [6]
  • Microevolution: The change in the frequency of alleles over generations [7]
  • Macroevolution: Evolution above the species level. Macroevolution encompasses the grandest trends and transformations in evolution, such as the origin of mammals and the radiation of flowering plants. Macroevolutionary patterns are generally what we see when we look at the large-scale history of life. [8]
With those definitions in place, we can now look at the evidence for evolution. Microevolution and natural selection are facts that creationists do not deny. What about macroevolution? Here are some proofs.
 
Proof 1: Fused Chromosome #2
 
If evolution were true, humans and other great apes share a common ancestor, then either humans have a fused chromosome or chimps and other great apes had a split chromosome. We found that human chromosome no 2 is fused, just as the Theory of Evolution predicts. Daniel Fairbanks notes:
 
“The DNA sequence at that site (chromosome 2) has 158 copies of the six-base-pair repeat found in telomeres in the middle of the chromosome 2 right where we expect these repeats to be if human chromosome 2 arose when two ancestral chromosomes fused with each other head-to-head at their telomeres.” [9]
Proof 2: Speciation
 
If evolution were true, then we should observe the emergence of new species. Indeed, that is the very definition of evolution! It turns out that we have observed speciation no less than a dozen times [10]. In fact, creationist themselves admit that speciation is real. Answers in Genesis, for example, uses speciation to make all the animals fit in Noah’s Ark! [11] On a hilarious note, they try so hard to deny that it is actually evolution and they try their best to rationalize it
 
 Proof 3: Transitional Fossils
 
Creationists love to claim that there are no transitional fossils and there are still “missing links.” Wikipedia notes a list of over 100 known transitional fossils [12]. One of my favorite fossils is Tiktaalik. What makes this fossil so fascinating is that it was predicted before it was found! It was in the exact geological layer that they predicted it to be [13].
 
Another great example of transitional fossils is that of whales. The fossil record is rich with that demonstrates step by step on how whales evolved from an aquatic mammal. [14]
 
This just scratches the surface.
 
I now send the debate over to con!
 
Sources
1. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hccc-worldhistory2/chapter/casualties-of-world-war-ii/
2. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/neurofibromatosis-type-1
3. https://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_draper/serious.html
4. https://ncse.com/library-resource/definitions-fact-theory-law-scientific-work
5. https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_41
6. Fairbanks, D. Evolving: The Human Effect and Why it Matters. Page 16
7. https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evoscales_02
8. https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_48
9. Fairbanks page 137
10. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
11. https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/speciation-yes-evolution-no/
12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils
13. Neil Shubin: Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
14. https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_03
 

Published:
Thank you, Virtuoso, for allowing me to debate this topic with you. I am more of an agnostic at this time, but I do love a good theism debate!

The resolution is as follows: ”atheism is more probable than theism.” 
I am supporting, as per description, “the God of the four O’s.” 

Given these facts, I will make four observations before I begin my contentions:

  1. I needn’t show that theism is immensely probable, I must only show that the two positions could rationally be considered equal or more in probability. Keep this in mind, judges: if you are not thoroughly convinced that atheism is the only rational explanation, then by default I win the debate. 

  1. Classical theism is not mutually exclusive with evolutionary cosmological theory. Evolutionary cosmological theory and theism do not contradict one another. To say otherwise, as Virtuoso implies, is an example of false dichotomy. 

  1. Occam’s Razor states that that which has the fewest adjustable parameters (least assumptions) should be chosen. Things that can only exist with innumerable adjustable parameters cannot be labeled “probable” under Occam’s Razor.

  1. There is a saying employed by many atheists: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Objectively speaking, to posit that the universe spontaneously created itself, inflated at speeds 10^1,649 times faster than the speed of light, and then eventually resulted in every living thing on Earth originating from an organic soup in a desolate lava wasteland 4 billion years ago is an extraordinary claim. Pro must be able to give undeniable proof that this was pure naturalism, or be subject to lose this round simply because of vast improbability. On the flip side, theism posits a mechanism by which these claims are made much less extraordinary: a God controlled these events.
Contention 1: Immaterial Realities

Immaterial truths such as consciousness and morality are evidence of an immaterial creator: God. Indeed, how can immaterial truths exist apart from a metaphysically ultimate being?

A. Consciousness 

Consciousness is beyond the understanding of science. Indeed, humanity has not been able to create nor understand consciousness, whether it be because we lack the skill to create or understand the brain components necessary or because the consciousness is truly immaterial. Either way, it is a testament to a creator that such a complex phenomenon is present in us; such that each individual has their own tailored consciousness that reaches beyond the physical human condition and human comprehension. 

Indeed, there are many instances of brain damaged individuals, or individuals in comatose who have had activity within their consciousness.  

While more research is required, this is solid evidence that the consciousness just might be separated, immaterial and spiritual in nature, as opposed to being solely dependent on physical factors. 

B. Morality

All of humanity is subject to a sense of morality, or moral law. This moral law is objectively true. 

However, where does this moral law originate? The purely naturalistic individual argues that some sort of rationality dictates what is moral and what is not, to the degree of it being ingrained into society. Those that cooperate are more evolutionarily successful than those who do not, correct? This would give logical basis for morality. 

Yet, this does not make immorality illogical: aggression and immorality are evolutionarily beneficial in many ways. Aggression helps with securing resources, establishing high social status, deterring others from aggression and securing more reproductive options. 

Indeed, what makes aggressive psychopathy non-rational? Many of the most successful species on Earth are hyper-aggressive.  The wild boar, even, is an example of an aggressive animal with decent evolutionary success. Why could not humans, with their intellect, achieve the same result? Why isn’t the sole purpose of every person to fulfill all in their self-interest? 

It is not evolutionarily irrational to solely defend oneself. If every person did so, they would preserve themselves for more reproduction. On the flip side, where is the rationality in sacrificing oneself for another? Indeed, to sacrifice oneself bars that individual from reproduction. Is not reproduction the sole goal of evolution? 

This begs the final question: why would altruism be existent at all in a world devoid of objective morality? These objections can not lead to but one conclusion: in order to describe all aspects of the human condition, objective morality must exist, and therefore transcendent law.

And so, without a proper naturalistic explanation, it must be true that morality originates from a metaphysical source. Thus, if God (the metaphysical lawgiver) does not exist, then objective moral values and duties can not exist.

Since objective moral values and duties exist, the metaphysical lawgiver God must exist.

Contention 2: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Whatever exists has to have had a cause. Something does not spontaneously appear from nothing. Given this premise, and given that the universe evidently exists, the conclusion that the universe must have had a cause is the only rational one. 

The Big Bang theory is the prevailing theory among pure naturalists as they try to explain away this fundamental fallacy with their limited resources. Indeed, they posit an infinitely dense singularity once existed. Yet, they provide no origin for this singularity, neither a proper explanation of the ensuing expansion of the universe. 
Ask any scientist with merit, and they will praise the laws of physics as the constants that dictate the universe in an orderly manner.

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that matter cannot be spontaneously created nor destroyed. Proponents of a naturalist theory will thus have to propose that, in order to explain everything in the universe, there took place the biggest possible violation of the basic laws of physics 14 billion years ago.

The theist has a much easier time justifying the Big Bang Theory: a metaphysically ultimate being has no trouble providing the mechanisms to create and expand the universe through a singularity. This one logical assumption that there is a God is vastly more probable than the infinite line of illogical assumptions that one has to make to otherwise justify pure naturalist theory. 

Indeed: refer back to Occam’s Razor. Theism wins.

Contention 3: Intelligent Design and Biogenesis

Let’s talk some more probability: we know that even absolutely minuscule tweaks in the laws of nature would be devastating for life.

For example, If protons were 0.2 percent heavier, they would decay into neutrons, destabilizing atoms. What are the odds that the laws of nature would provide for us the perfect proton for life?

In “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Fred Hoyle puts it well: 

“It becomes clear, that some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be less than 1 part in 10^40000.
He goes on to say:

“The number 10^40000 was obtained from a calculation in which less than twenty amino acids were required to be in specific sequential positions for each of two thousand enzymes. If the calculation is to be criticized it should be on the grounds of being much too conservative.”

Other calculations to consider:

New Scientist, Vol. 92, No. 1280 on page 527:

"Imagine 10^50 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik's cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have a chance of arriving by random shuffling of just one of the many bio-polymers on which life depends. The notion that not only the bio-polymers but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order."

For a singular gene to arrive by chance, as Creation 1, no 1 (June 1978): 9-10, explains

“let us use as many sets as there are atoms in the universe. Let us give chance the unbelievable number of attempts of eight trillion tries per second in each set! At this speed on average it would take 10^147 years to obtain just one stable gene.”

Conclusion:

Science has no grasp on what life is, nor how to create it. To expect to have arrived to the answer on Earth by chance from a primordial soup is nonsense, even if you give trillions of “tries” in the form of billions of years. It is impossible to create life with our labs. Things we can create in labs often do not appear in nature, not the other way around. 

And so, when utilizing the rational mind and applying Occam’s Razor, it is absolute madness to believe the blind forces of nature arrived at current conclusions with probabilities of these extremities without a guiding process. 

Again: the one logical assumption that there is a God is vastly more probable than the infinite line of illogical assumptions that one has to make to otherwise justify pure naturalist theory. 

Theism posits a mechanism by which these claims are made much less extraordinary: a God controlled these events. A God created and molded life. A God created morality and consciousness. Indeed: God is more than just "probable."






Round 2
Published:
Thank you for your speedy reply. I will now rebut my opponent's case. 
 
I. Immaterial Realities
 
A. Consciousness
 
First and foremost, this argument commits the fallacy of "I don't know; therefore God." It is true that we don't know much about consciousness yet or how it works, but there is no need to jump to God. But it gets worse. Let's look at con's source. Con's source is called Bahai Teachings. As its name suggests, it is a website dedicated to the teachings of the Baha'i faith. Indeed, their "About Us" page states this [1]:
 
Welcome to BahaiTeachings.org! We helped create this platform so individuals could share their personal perspectives and insights as they strive to implement the Baha’i teachings in their everyday lives. Therefore, the opinions expressed here do not represent any official views of the Baha’i Faith and BahaiTeachings.org is not an official website of the Baha’i Faith.
Thus his source is suspect. But it gets worse, let's look at the article he cited. The very first thing that the article cites is a passage from the Baha'i holy text -- which is not science. Moreover, one of the scientists cited in the article has long been discredited. Dr. Alexander had a long history of medical malpractices and was in need to reinvent his image [2]. Professor Jerry Coyne writes this [3]:
 
In sum, the story looks like a sham, confected by a once-brilliant but now failed neurosurgeon who reclaims his time in the spotlight by pretending that he saw heaven. He may indeed have had such visions, but the story around them—about his parachute episode, the weather, his call to God, and the fact that his brain wasn’t working—are crucial to his story, and they don’t stand up to Dittrich’s examination.
Now let's look at Jill Bolte Taylor. Taylor's book makes no claims of NDEs or mind being a non-physical property. If you look at her website, you see this [4]:
 
Based upon her academic training and personal experience, Jill helps others not only rebuild their brains from trauma, but helps those of us with normal brains better understand how we can ‘tend the garden of our minds’ to maximize our quality of life. Jill pushes the envelope in our understanding about how we can consciously influence the neural circuitry underlying what we think, how we feel, and how we react to life’s circumstances. Jill teaches us through her own example how we might more readily exercise our right hemispheric circuitry with the intention of helping all human beings become more humane. “I believe the more time we spend running the deep inner peace circuitry of our right brain, then the more peace we will project into the world, and ultimately the more peace we will have on the planet.”
None of this supports Con's claim that the mind is immaterial. 
 
B. Morality
 
I will first bring up the famous dilemma: "Is morality good because it is already good, or because God says it is good." Indeed, this dilemma I believe completely refutes the moral argument. If it is already good, then no god and no holy texts are needed; if it is good because God says it is good, then God could command us to commit atrocities. Furthermore, which "God" are we talking about here? The "God" of the Bible that says stuff like this:

  • "See, the day of the Lord is coming — a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger. . . . I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty. . . . Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated." (Isaiah 13:9–16 NIV)
  • "And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat." (Leviticus 26:27–29 King James Version)
  • "O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!"(Psalm 137:8–9 NRSV)
Perhaps he's talking about the "God" of the Quran that says stuff like this:

  • Quran (2:244) - "Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things."
  • Quran (2:216) - "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not." 
  • Quran (3:151) - "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority".
Maybe religion isn't the best source for ethics. Moreover, other animals have been shown to have empathy for others and even mourn their dead. For example, an Orca whale was observed carrying her dead calf for 17 days [5]. Other animals have also been observed to do the same thing [6]. Secular ethical frameworks such as consequentialism, the Kantian Imperative, utilitarianism, etc. give far better guides than bronze aged myths. Indeed, morality is very rarely black and white; thus one single ethical foundation can’t be enough to cover every possible moral test that you will face.
 
II. KCA
 
Con's KCA goes against his position. Con says "Whatever exists has to have had a cause. Something does not spontaneously appear from nothing. Given this premise, and given that the universe evidently exists, the conclusion that the universe must have had a cause is the only rational one." If this is the case, then God also has a cause of his existence. So, what exactly caused God? If you say that God has no need for a cause, then your argument commits the fallacy of special pleading and is thus soundly refuted.
 
III. ID and Abiogenesis 
 
I already touched on this point in my third contention in the last round. In that contention, I mainly focused on the issue of biological evolution. Since my opponent brings up the physical universe, I think I’ll bring up some points I find interesting.
 
First, let’s consider the mere size of the universe. The universe is 13 billion light-years across. We have found over 100 billion galaxies [8] and over 2,000 known exoplanets [9]. One must pause to wonder why an intelligent designer would place that much effort into crafting a place for humans. Moreover, the universe is rather lethal to life. Gamma-Ray bursts, for example, release more energy in 10 seconds than what the sun will put out in its 10 billion + year lifespan [10]. These bursts are so deadly that they could cause a global extinction event and may already have done so [11]. Black holes are also abundant in the universe [12]. These objects are so massive that not even light can escape its gravitational pull. This is not the work of an intelligent designer. Indeed, Richard Carrier noted in his essay Why I am Not a Christian that the Universe is, in fact, fine-tuned for the creation of black holes! [13]. This fits perfectly in line with an atheistic worldview. He further writes:
 
Even if a God made this universe, it could not be the Christian God because no God who wanted us to know the truth would conceal it by making a universe that looked exactly like a universe with no God in it. The simple fact is that Christianity does not predict our universe, but a completely different one. Atheism, however, predicts exactly the kind of universe we find ourselves in. So the nature of the universe is another failed prediction, confirming our previous conclusion that Christianity is false.
As far as the origins of life itself, we are not quite sure. But once again, “Godditid” is a pathetic answer.
 
Conclusion
 
If we apply Occam’s razor, it is abundantly clear that an intelligent designer did not create our universe.
 
Sources 
1. https://bahaiteachings.org/about-us
2. https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/interviews/a23248/the-prophet/
3. https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/eben-alexanders-bogus-trip-to-heaven/
4. http://drjilltaylor.com/book.html
6. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/08/orca-mourning-calf-killer-whale-northwest-news/ 
7. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/do-animals-experience-grief-180970124/ 
8. https://www.space.com/25303-how-many-galaxies-are-in-the-universe.html
9. https://www.space.com/17738-exoplanets.html
10. http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/G/Gamma+Ray+Burst
 11. https://www.nature.com/news/2003/030922/full/news030922-7.html
12. https://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/abundant-black-holes.html
13. https://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/whynotchristian.html

Published:
After discussing with Virtuoso, we agreed upon waiving the next two speeches and resuming as planned. I have had to deal with huge, unanticipated schoolwork as of late and unfortunately couldn’t get a response written.

That said, I waive.
Round 3
Published:
Waive per agreement 
Published:
Thank you Virtuoso for being a good sport about my needing to waive the last round! That said, let's dive in.

An initial response to my opponent’s first two contentions (C1 + C2): 

The resolution is as follows: ”atheism is more probable than theism.”

Here is where my problem lies: I am required by the description to agree with the classical theistic God of the four O’s, yet I fail to see the relevance of this requirement in this debate. 

Belief in the existence of a divine being, the definition of theism, does not entail that one must agree to a certain set of characteristics of that deity. It is abusive in nature to require me to prove the omnibenevolence of God in order to prove his existence, correct? 

We can argue whether you think it is moral for a deity to “allow evil,” but that has no relationship with whether one created the universe. 

Now, there are three characteristics of the four O’s that are a given: 

Omnipotence is a given when you are able to spontaneously create a universe with laws of reason and physics ex nihilo, correct?

Omnipresence is given when you can observe creation as an artist does his painting, unbound by space, correct?

Omniscience is a given when your observations, direction and instruction are unbound by the flow of time (as you created time itself), correct?

However, omnibenevolence is not given and is an unfair thing to make me defend.

That said, I believe it fair and fitting for judges to drop the following two points made by my opponent:

Subpoint B: The word “God” is incoherent

My opponent’s claim in sum:

“God is unknowable and indefinable and subject to large dissention. Since people on the street do not agree on his characteristics, how is it that you can argue these characteristics of God outlined in classical theism?”

C2: The Problem of Evil

My opponent’s argument in sum:

“If an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient god exists, then evil does not. Since evil exists, the God of classical theism cannot.”

Now the biological point given is relevant, and I will respond to it, but the first premise is not. 

Looking at these two points, one must realize that whether God fits the definition of omnibenevolence is of no relevance to the debate over whether a God exists.

Now let’s move on:

Subpoint A Claim: God cannot be omniscient and omnipotent simultaneously.

False premise 1: anything with contradictory attributes cannot exist.”

In the fallacy of hasty generalization, my opponent has made the following unsubstantiated premise: “anything with contradictory attributes cannot exist.” Not so fast!

If the creator of the universe invented the laws of reason, what then is the limitation on his ability to defy them? An artist is not confined to the lines he paints in his canvas, instead he exists outside and able to exercise free will upon it: creating new lines, erasing others, or defying them completely. 

Next, the notion of omniscience and omnipotence being contradictory in the first place is reliant upon several false premises.

False premise 2:  God changes his mind.

A premise that my opponent relies on is that God should be able to change his mind. 

This is a false view of God, as we see that God is immutable and eternal. God does not change his mind simply because he does not change at all. Thus, this proposed contradiction is not based upon a valid circumstance. 

False premise 3: God’s will is a limitation.

God’s will is not inherently a limitation. Suppose, being presented with options A or B and being omniscient, God knows that A rather than B is what he wills to bring about. Does his choosing A mean he could not have chosen B? Not at all, God COULD have chosen B. He simply did not out of his perfect knowledge. 

False premise 4: God’s action in the future is reliant upon his decisions in the past.

The very nature of this argument is based upon the false premise that God's action aligning with his will is a limitation of some sort. 
In order for my opponent’s argument to be true, God must make a decision at one point in time and thus be confined to carry out that decision on a later date. Yet, there is no temporal gap between a transcendent God’s willing and his acting. Rather, God is altogether outside time. He wills and acts simultaneously. Therefore, this argument is reliant upon false premises.

Contention 2 Claim: “Bad design” undermines the notion of a God.

False Premise: Mistakes in DNA means that God is a bad designer.
  1. We must recognize how amazing the proofreading systems for DNA replication is. When taking into account the massive task of continually replicating billions of nucleotides, one becomes amazed that our complex bodies do not make more mistakes than they do, instead of dismayed at how many get past the proofreading. Enzymes make mistakes at a rate of about 1 per every 100,000 nucleotides. During proofreading, DNA polymerase enzymes recognize this and replace the incorrectly inserted nucleotide so that replication can continue. Proofreading fixes about 99% of these types of errors. (1)
  2. Secondly, we must sit and admire the system that evolution certainly could not have achieved without a God. Let me reiterate something from my constructive: 

For a singular gene to arrive by chance, as Creation 1, no 1 (June 1978): 9-10, explains: “let us use as many sets as there are atoms in the universe. Let us give chance the unbelievable number of attempts of eight trillion tries per second in each set! At this speed on average it would take 10^147 years to obtain just one stable gene.”

You can claim that DNA is designed with flaws, but without a designer, DNA would not exist for you to criticize. 

Contention 3 Claim: Atheism better predicts our universe

False Premise 1:  Cosmological theory and theism are mutually exclusive.
Evolutionary cosmological theory and theism do not contradict one another. To say otherwise, as Virtuoso implies, is an example of false dichotomy. 
 
False Premise 2: Naturalism has much more predictive power with respect to cosmological/evolutionary theory than theism does.

Is that so? I would contend that theism gives much more basis for cosmological theory than naturalism. Simplistic problems such as biogenesis, morality, consciousness, the origin of the singularity at the beginning of time, fine-tuning and more are instantaneously solved. Whereas, on the flipside, naturalists struggle to find theories that are not ridiculous “primordial organic soup” nonsense. 

Occam’s Razor is the friend of the theist, not so much the naturalist. 

False Premise 3: Naturalism is more probable than theism independent of all evidence.

Absent of all evidence, one is only faced with the glaring reality that the universe currently exists. Simple logic negates naturalism with no need of evidence:

  1. An existence without a cause is absurd. 
  2. Naturalism posits that everything appeared ex nihilo.
  3. Therefore, naturalism is inherently absurd. 
On the flip side, theism makes no such fallacy. Once again: a timeless, metaphysical being (in other words, having no beginning nor end) has no trouble providing the mechanisms to create the universe. This one logical assumption that there is a God is vastly more probable than the infinite line of illogical assumptions that one has to make to otherwise justify pure naturalist theory. 

Indeed: refer back to Occam’s Razor. Theism wins with only logic. 

To conclude, I should hope negation is only common sense for judges at this time. If not, stay tuned for my defense!

Thank you. 


Round 4
Published:
I totally forgot about this debate and thus I am waiving the last round. Please vote on teh arguments presented 
Published:
It is unfortunate that Virt forgot about this debate. I will defend as agreed originally. 

I. Immaterial Realities
 
A. Consciousness

Judges, notice how much my opponent hounds on this argument and the argument on morality. All other arguments seem to be quite neglected. Ironically, the arguments my opponent focuses most on are the ones that do not matter! The points about the formation of the universe are more important than speculation, yes?

My opponent jumps on one thing in particular:"I don't know; therefore God."

This is a pretty blatant strawman fallacy. “Goddidit” (This thing that we do not understand is evidence for God.) is NOT a fallacy when the very nature of a thing is immeasurable to science. Without being measurable by science, there is no way to explain certain phenomena WITHOUT God. In these cases, it is not “Goddidit” that is a fallacy, but instead the fallacy of indefinitely waiting for science to (never) answer your question when the answer is right in front of your nose. 

For brevity in my constructive, I did not elaborate much about how the nature of consciousness is immeasurable insofar as giving what I thought were cool examples of this concept: the hard problem of consciousness.

My opponent simply discredits my source. Fine, but that does not discredit the argument as the essential components are within the public domain of science. It does not require a source to argue this, but let me cite well-respected atheist Michael Shermer who even acknowledges this:  

“The hard problem of consciousness is represented by the qualitative experiences (qualia) of what it is like to be something. It is the first-person subjective experience of the world through the senses and brain of the organism. It is not possible to know what it is like to be a bat (in philosopher Thomas Nagel's famous thought experiment), because if you altered your brain and body from humanoid to batoid, you would just be a bat, not a human knowing what it feels like to be a bat....By definition, only I can know my first-person experience of being me, and the same is true for you, bats and bugs.”

In other words, consciousness is by nature an unknowable reality, and that makes God a whole lot more probable under Occam’s Razor. 

B. Morality

My opponent’s first argument in sum:
Is morality good because it is already good, or because God says it is good? Indeed, this dilemma I believe completely refutes the moral argument. If it is already good, then no god and no holy texts are needed; if it is good because God says it is good, then God could command us to commit atrocities.”
“This dilemma can simply be turned around on the atheist: Do you approve of an action because it is good, or is it good because you approve of it? If the latter, then your moral standard seems to be subjective and arbitrary, so you complain about God’s alleged arbitrariness. And if the former, then you are back to explaining where this objective moral standard comes from. As shown above, evolution can’t provide this, so the above Divine Nature Theory is back on the table.
Similarly for social theories of good—is something good because society makes a rule about it, or does society make a rule about it because it’s good?”
The essence of the theistic argument would be that since God is the definition of perfect goodness, all morality comes from his nature. In this way, the theist can avoid the quandary my opponent proposes, yet the atheist is soundly trapped and refuted.

Surely, my opponent can cite Bible verses out-of-context and paint an unloving God, but I do not believe that the fallible human is in any position to make judgments of God’s morality. Further, my opponent does not respond to questions I presented in my case, such as:

  1. what makes aggressive psychopathy non-rational? 
  2. Why isn’t the sole purpose of every person to fulfill all in their self-interest? 
  3. where is the rationality in sacrificing oneself for another?
  4. why would altruism exist at all in a world devoid of objective morality?
My only conclusion is that my opponent does not respond because he simply can’t. In other words: he stands soundly refuted and can not use his position to answer any of these quandaries, whereas the theist has no trouble at all.

Occam’s Razor is the friend of the theist.

II. KCA

My opponent’s quote:
“If this is the case, then God also has a cause of his existence. So, what exactly caused God? If you say that God has no need for a cause, then your argument commits the fallacy of special pleading and is thus soundly refuted.”
Tut tut tut, not so fast! There has been no “special pleading,” as the very nature of God versus the physical universe is vastly different and incomparable. The character of a “metaphysically ultimate deity” is that of an eternal, immutable, time-transcendent being. God does not require a creator. While counter-intuitive, it is more plausible than a physical universe (in which the first law of thermodynamics applies) spontaneously creating itself.

Once again, Occam’s Razor is the friend of the theist. 

III. ID and Abiogenesis

I will simply respond one quote at a time.

“One must pause to wonder why an intelligent designer would place that much effort into crafting a place for humans.”
You are implying that an omnipotent being gets tired. 

“Moreover, the universe is rather lethal to life.”
God displaying his power does not mean that he malicious in intent. While the rest of the universe may be deadly, Earth is in a safe position. Perhaps God is trying to contrast his power with his love in the way that the Earth is shielded by Jupiter from asteroids, or how the Earth is in the narrow habitable zone in the sun’s orbit. 

Further, some deadly objects do not contradict my point that, reduced to the fundamentals, the universe is simply designed for life. Here are the points my opponent has not responded to within this contention:

  1. If protons were 0.2 percent heavier, they would decay into neutrons, destabilizing atoms. 
  2. the chance of finding such an atom as Carbon through the blind forces of nature would be less than 1 part in 10^40000.
  3. 10^50 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik's cube.
  4. it would take 10^147 years to obtain just one stable gene.
Once again: my opponent does not respond because he simply can’t. In other words: he stands soundly refuted and can not use his position to answer any of these quandaries, whereas the theist has no trouble at all.

“As far as the origins of life itself, we are not quite sure. But once again, “Godditid” is a pathetic answer.”

Once again: it is statistically impossible for life to have been created at random. 
Once again: It is impossible to create life with our labs. Things we can create in labs often do not appear in nature, not the other way around. 
 
And so, when utilizing the rational mind and applying Occam’s Razor, it is absolute madness to believe the blind forces of nature arrived at current conclusions with probabilities of these extremities without a guiding process. 

Thank you Virtuoso, and to any judges who have made it this far!

Added:
--> @christopher_best
Agreed
Instigator
#86
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Yes, I think that is fair. If we were to award conduct based on rhetorical statements debate would be much more difficult.
Contender
#85
Added:
--> @christopher_best
I agree with that. The COC says
In order to award conduct points, a voter must explicitly, and in the text of their RFD, perform the following tasks:
Provide specific references to instances of poor conduct which occurred in the debate
Demonstrate how this poor conduct was either excessive, unfair, or in violation of mutually agreed upon rules of conduct pertaining to the text of the debate
Compare each debater's conduct from the debate
Misconduct is excessive when it is extremely frequent and/or when it causes the debate to become incoherent or extremely toxic. In the case of awarding conduct points solely on the basis of forfeits, there is an exception to these steps: a debater may award conduct points solely for forfeited rounds, but only if one debater forfeited half or more of their rounds or if the voter also awards argument points (or explains their decision not to award argument points in a manner which meets the argument points voting standards).
One or two examples of less-than-perfect conduct would not be sufficient for me to award a conduct point
Instigator
#84
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
In my opinion, "good conduct" should be understood to mean "non-abusive." In this case, non-abusive means no ad hominem attacks (unwarranted attacks based on personhood, not topic.)
For example, saying it is "madness" to BELIEVE IN something after giving a statistic about WHY it is madness to believe that thing while still knowing that statistic is true is understood to be rhetoric for judges, not abusive. This is because it is NOT ad hominem: it is directly related to the topic, not just personhood, and it is also warranted with evidence.
Now, saying "you are utterly mad" IS abusive, because it is ad hominem and unwarranted.
Contender
#83
Added:
--> @christopher_best
"I struggle to see any semblance of bad conduct from either side. "
I differ. I also did point it out in the comments if you think they were not bad conduct on either side. Please one at a time if you can as in give me the best example of your complaint in what I said in the comments and hopefully I will address it.
"A debate is meant to be a debate, not a hair-braiding session."
I don't get it. Maybe it is not supposed to be a friendly experience? If that is the case then there shouldn't even be a conduct point to vote on. Given there is one I will vote on it. Ask bsh1 to change it if you feel so strongly about it.
#82
Added:
--> @Ragnar
I did tally what I considered bad conduct from each side then as a whole made my decision. Was this wrong or something?
"The problem is so long as they are not calling the arguer themselves pathetic, it's not so much a conduct violation as it is just a glaring weakness in their case."
I differ on that because we don't know who someone is on the inside so what we have to go on is our interpretation of what they have said. Even if I don't take this stance it would still ad-homs since it wasn't addressing the arguments instead calling the argument something.
"One suggestion I'll make is writing RFDs in a word editor, and copy/paste segments in reverse order (the end gets posted first). It makes long RFDs much easier to read."
Okay I'll do that next time.
#81
Added:
--> @Virtuoso, @TheRealNihilist
I struggle to see any semblance of bad conduct from either side. A debate is meant to be a debate, not a hair-braiding session. I have great respect for Virtuoso, he beat me fair and square with this topic. Perhaps we could try another one sometime, Virt? I'm more of a PFD debater than a philosophical one, anyways.
Contender
#80
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
I get annoyed at certain weak bits of arguments, like calling someone else's argument pathetic... The problem is so long as they are not calling the arguer themselves pathetic, it's not so much a conduct violation as it is just a glaring weakness in their case.
One suggestion I'll make is writing RFDs in a word editor, and copy/paste segments in reverse order (the end gets posted first). It makes long RFDs much easier to read.
#79
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
How about now?
#78
Added:
If it wasn't clear Con was less conducive so Pro gets the conduct point.
#77
Added:
"And so, when utilizing the rational mind and applying Occam’s Razor, it is absolute madness to believe the blind forces of nature arrived at current conclusions with probabilities of these extremities without a guiding process."
Calling someone absolutely mad is not cordial. This could've easily been removed given your arguments don't require this.
Bad conduct 8 christopher_best
#76
Added:
"After discussing with Virtuoso, we agreed upon waiving the next two speeches and resuming as planned. I have had to deal with huge, unanticipated schoolwork as of late and unfortunately couldn’t get a response written."
Given this neither of them did anything in Con's round 2 and Pro's round 3. This is bad conduct by Con because they weren't able to schedule something and it was good conduct by Pro to simply waive the round as well. As we soon see later Con didn't do the same with Pro.
Bad conduct 2 christopher_best
"I am required by the description to agree with the classical theistic God of the four O’s, yet I fail to see the relevance of this requirement in this debate."
Con decided to bring this up 2 rounds after he accepted it by saying this "I am supporting, as per description, “the God of the four O’s.” " If it wasn't clear changing your mind on what you are going to do in a debate is bad conduct.
Bad conduct 3 christopher_best
"I totally forgot about this debate and thus I am waiving the last round. Please vote on teh arguments presented "
Virtuoso forfeited but christopher_best didn't waive as well so basically Pro accepted a waive from Con due to time constraints but Con won't do the same for Pro.
Bad conduct 2 Virtuoso
Bad conduct 4 christopher_best
"but let me cite well-respected atheist Michael Shermer who even acknowledges this: "
This is a supporting argument given in the final round. The problem is that Pro has no chance to respond to new evidence.
Bad conduct 5 christopher_best
"Let me quote Dr Jonathan D. Sarfati:"
Yet again bringing in new evidence that was not given previously. No way for Pro to argue against it.
Bad conduct 6 christopher_best
"Tut tut tut, not so fast!"
I consider this demeaning language to Pro's arguments.
Bad conduct 7 christopher_best
#75
Added:
Conduct since what I said earlier wasn't enough
"The Problem of Evil is one of the oldest arguments against the existence of an all-loving deity. Indeed, Epicurus noted: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”"
Not cordial because the point could've been made with less questions while also not simply repeating similar questions over and over again. If you expect Con to answer this it is unfair. If it wasn't supposed to be answered you admit this was persuasive rhetoric aimed to pander to the crowd instead of being informative.
Bad conduct 1 Virtuoso
"I needn’t show that theism is immensely probable, I must only show that the two positions could rationally be considered equal or more in probability. Keep this in mind, judges: if you are not thoroughly convinced that atheism is the only rational explanation, then by default I win the debate. "
Trying to change the burden of proof even though they have accepted it. A better thing would've been to ask Virtuoso to change the format so that both of you are not challenging instead debating the topic at hand before the debate started.
Bad conduct 1 christopher_best
"But once again, “Godditid” is a pathetic answer."
Wasn't needed since Pro can demonstrate it to be the case without the need of name-calling a reduction of an argument.
#74
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
I can't mod votes on my own debate so *shrug*
Instigator
#73
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
Hi there - your vote didn't get handled in time. The biggest issue I see in your vote is the conduct point:
Virtuoso made the better arguments which can be seen above.
christopher_best was less cordial.
Virtuoso gets the argument point and the conduct point from me.
The conduct point isn't sufficient. What is meant by less cordial, and more importantly, how it is excessive, frequent, or when it makes the debate tobecome incoherent or toxic.
Thus your vote would have been removed if I was modding it.
Instigator
#72
#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:
Comment #59 - #70
#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:
See comments:
https://www.debateart.com/debates/1315/comment_links/21036
Gist:
The debate ends up favoring non-existence of any creator deity, largely by cons own arguments as flipped by pro. Pro’s arguments on the other hand were in large part intentionally dropped for disproving God, so there’s not much of a contest left…
#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:
I don't buy that requiring Con to argue for god's omnibenevolence is abusive. Firstly, this is a trait commonly attributed to god, and so it is not absurd that Con would be asked to defend it. Secondly, and more importantly, Con was under no obligation to accept the debate as it stood, and the definition of god was clearly stated. Buyer's remorse is not a compelling argument. At this point, then, I can essentially conclude that Pro won the debate. Even if Con won every other argument, the problem of evil gives me a compelling reason to believe that god as defined (one which is ominbenevolent) does not exist.
That said, Con did not win every other argument. He pretty soundly loses his consciousness argument. Without a credible source to back up his claims inside the debate, his argument does in fact boil down to a god of the gaps fallacy (i.e. "Goddidit"). Con's handling of the KCA was also solid. Con's reply that it was okay to engage in special pleading with god because of god's unique properties strikes me as being special pleading itself. Instead of countering the allegations of fallacious logic, Con admits to them.
Con is winning a couple of points. On his case, his discussion of morality was mishandled by Pro. Why not simply suggest that altruism is necessary from a rational point of view? You cannot have a functioning, complex community if no one trusts anyone and if everyone is afraid of being robbed by some more aggressive adversary. I think the whole premise of Con's argument was fundamentally foolish, but he was able to dispatch with Pro's responses easily enough. Con is also winning his fine-tuning argument at the end of his case--yes there are risks to life here, as Pro notes, but overwhelmingly, just the fact that life like ours is possible here is improbable without some sort of deity. That message from Con comes across loud and clear.
I am not going to talk about the main body of Pro's case, because he failed to defend it when he forfeited. It is odd then, that despite Pro's failure to defend his case, that I am voting for him. Ultimately, I have to find abuse arguments reasonable to credit them, because they ask for the judge (me) to intervene in the round. I don't find Con's abuse arguments creditable, and so I give Pro the weight of his POE argument. Con manages to show me that a god who meets three of the four O's is probable, but not that a god who meets all four is. I grant argument points to Pro as a result. For the forfeit, I grant Con argument points.
Also, I want to add that I really dithered about this vote. Part of me feels that Pro is winning in absentia, and that doesn't sit well with me, and Con did well. But I couldn't reconcile a vote for Con with my issues on the POE. I would also encourage Con to sign-post better--his presentation style was confusing at points. And both of you--avoid block quotes! Hopefully this counts in your views as a solid vote, since I know you've had a lot of spam votes on this debate. Keep at it--it was a good debate!