Thank you for accepting this debate. To meet his burden, my opponent must demonstrate that for one, anything supernatural exists, and for two, that there is a deity that exists that fits that category.
Historically, deities have been proposed as explanations for phenomena. Once, it was believed that Vulcan caused volcanic eruptions[1
], and that Zeus caused the rain and thunder[2
]. Today, these deities have become obsolete, as natural explanations for the above phenomena have become known[3
]. As knowledge expands, gods become obsolete and unneeded.
There are an infinite number of imaginary explanations that the mind can dream up. Therefore, one needs a method for distinguishing imagination from reality. The only reliable method for determining true explanations from false ones is investigation a posteriori. Only ever has an investigation into the natural world, with rigorous qualifiers like novel, testable predictions about future data, yielded reliable information about reality.
Any supernatural explanation of a phenomenon has no merit over an equally plausible supernatural or natural alternative. If my opponent was to claim that a supernatural deity created the universe, I could mirror that claim with equal plausibility by stating it was naturalistic pantheism, or some undiscovered law of nature that created the universe. Unless my opponent can clearly show why a supernatural explanation for anything has more merit than a natural explanation then he cannot meet his burden.
Natural explanations have been the only ones that have given any tangible, useful answers. The entire body of science is a testament to the powers of honest investigation over imaginary explanations.
In conclusion, a supernatural deity probably doesn't exist. Over time, deities have fallen away from their roles as plugs for man's ignorance. The employment of science and honest investigation have been the only means of making sense of the world, while meeting the rigorous standard of novel testable predictions about future data. A positive claim that the "supernatural exists" must be substantiated with some methodology, and evidentiary goalpost, that can separate imagination from reality. Without this, we may dismiss my opponents stance as mere conjecture in the face of overwhelming inductive evidence to the contrary.