Instigator / Pro
1500
rating
0
debates
0.0%
won
Topic

Does God exist?

Status
Debating

Waiting for the contender's third argument.

The round will be automatically forfeited in:

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DD
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00
HH
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MM
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SS
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Religion
Time for argument
Two days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Required rating
1500
Contender / Con
1776
rating
404
debates
67.45%
won
Description
~ 163 / 5,000

In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. This debate will question whether such a being exists.

Round 1
Pro
I would like to thank my opponent for agreeing to debate such a complex topic. In my opening, I will focus on two arguments for a higher being.

1. Kalam cosmological argument

The Kalam cosmological argument focuses on causation and requires only the belief that the universe didn't magically pop into existence from nothing. In logical terms, the argument is stated as follows [1]:

  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 nearly indisputable by any understanding of modern physics. We do not worry, for example, that some wild beast will suddenly appear and tear us limb from limb. The idea that every event has a cause is an essential premise of solving crimes, in which detectives often narrow down the possible causes of someone's death.

One common counterargument, based on a fundamental misunderstanding of quantum physics, is that some small particles indeed pop into existence from nothing. Quantum fluctuations do indeed exist, but they are hardly uncaused. Rather, particles that seem to "appear" and "disappear" emerge from the quantum vacuum. The quantum vacuum state can hardly be called "nothing." It is simply the quantum state with the lowest possible energy [2].

As Columbia University Philosophy Professor and theoretical physicist David Albert writes [3].

[V]acuum state—no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems—are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff . . . the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those [quantum] fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings — if you look at them aright — amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.
Furthermore, these "poppings" are predictable. Formulas can be used [4] to predict the number of fluctuations, and if they were simply "uncaused" they would not abide by simple formulas. Furthermore, this property only applies to certain types of particles and energy. Molecules cannot pop in and out of existence. None of this is consistent with the idea that something can exist uncaused, but it is consistent with the quantum vacuum acting as a catalyst for some events but not others.

That the universe began to exist is also the inevitable conclusion of many years of scientific research. The Big Bang theory holds that the universe, including time and space, began to exist 13.8 billion years ago [5]. Although the Big Bang remains the prevailing theory regarding the origin of the universe, some physicists dispute this narrative of events and argue that the universe has existed forever.

But scientific analysis shows that the universe almost certainly had a beginning [6]. Edwin Hubble found, for example, that the further an object is from the earth, the faster it is moving away from the earth. This discovery indicates that the universe is expanding from a single point. Furthermore, we can observe background radiation, or leftover heat radiation, from the Big Bang. Cosmologists have discovered "background radiation" consistent with an expansion of the universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

According to the University of Western Australia:

The cosmic microwave background radiation(CMBR) that Penzias and Wilson observed isleftover heat radiation from the Big Bang. Today, CMBR is very cold due to expansion and cooling of theUniverse. It’s only 2.725 Kelvin (-270.4 °C), which is only 2.725 °C above absolute zero.Cosmic microwave background radiation fills the entire Universe and can be detected day and night in every partof the sky
Therefore, it seems almost indisputable that something caused the universe. And we can conclude several things about this cause. For one, it must be an uncaused being of unimaginable power to have created the universe. This being must transcend space and time, as it created both. It must be immaterial and not physical. And finally, this being must to some extent be capable of free will. For a being outside of time to cause an event that occurred a finite time ago, it must be capable of deciding to create the universe at a certain point in time.

As philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig argues [7]:

The only way for the cause to be timeless and for the effect to begin a finite time ago is for the cause to be a personal agent who freely chooses to create a new effect without any prior determining conditions. For example, a man sitting from eternity could freely will to stand up and thus you would have a new effect arise from an eternal cause
These criteria establish that the universe's creator meets the common definition of God. God must exist, therefore, as evidenced by the creation of the universe.

2. Argument from design

It has also been determined, from a wide range of scientific evidence, that the universe is fine-tuned for life [8] [9]. The strength of gravity, for example, must fit into an extremely small, unlikely range of values in order for stars to form. The existence of carbon atoms and the stability of DNA are similarly based on extremely improbable values for universal constants.

As Steven Weinberg, a Nobel Laureate in Physics, writes:

how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.
Some skeptics, even one linked in the sources above, argue that the possibility of a multiverse answers this question. The idea is that our universe is one of many in which physical constants just happen to meet the criteria necessary for life.

However, Roger Penrose, a mathematician, has calculated that if a multiverse did exist, it would be extremely more likely that our solar system would be formed by a random collision of particles than that a finely tuned universe would exist. If we were part of a multiverse, therefore, it stands to reason that we wouldn't be observing any solar systems beyond our own.

In The Road to Reality, Penrose states [10]:
Life on Earth certainly does not directly need themicrowave background radiation. In fact, we do not even need Darwinianevolution! It would have been far ‘cheaper’ in terms of ‘probabilities’ tohave produced sentient life from the random coming together of gas andradiation. (One can estimate that the entire solar system, including itsliving inhabitants, could be created from the random collision of particlesand radiation with a probability of one part in 10^(10^60) (or probably a gooddeal less than 10^(10^60)). The figure 10^(10^60) is utter ‘chicken feed’ by comparisonwith the 10^(10^123) needed for the Big Bang of the observable universe. Wedo not need a Big Bang to be in its observed uniform configuration.
The only explanation for such an unlikely event is intelligent design. Again, we are left with a being of unimaginable power that exists outside the universe. This being must also be capable of free will, in order to design the universe with intelligent life in mind.
Con
I wish to create 2 traps simple traps, let's not waste your time or mine.

The traps are BoP pincers, you run from one and end up trapped by the other.

I ask that Pro concede Round 2 and the debate to save us all time and effort. 

Anti-Kalam Trap


Pincer 1: If Pro justifies the universe and our reality as having a beginning rather than having always existed, Pro ought to equally consider the same physicists backing the big bang theory and secular/agnostic takes on the origins of physical spacetime and matter.

Pincer 2: If Pro drops Pincer 1 by conceding that the universe and reality may actually have always existed, Pro's Kalam argument is then applicable to God, generating a paradoxical infinite regression in necessitating a creator.



Quantum Randomness vs Patterns trap.

Pincer 1: If the idea behind Pro's logic is that the randomness is an illusion and in fact it runs on complex algorithms, what is the purpose of the quantum particles in the first place popping in and out of existence if there is a God designing us? I am asking Pro to realise that in a truly structured, intelligently designed reality, there exists absolutely zero conceivable purpose to have particles coming in and out of existence, since the organiser and creator need only make and transform the end product, not fluctuate the core level.

Pincer 2: The proposed God itself is not random, in fact everything about the allegedly existent God appears to imply that if consistency and severely consistent patterns in our reality necessitate a God, Pro's own God requires a God to have created him/her/them/it.


Please note Pro is yet to define God in a falsifiable manner, this means I cannot prove it wrong as it is not defined how we would prove its existence true and correct.
Round 2
Pro
Thanks to my opponent for his response.

God was defined in the description of this debate as "the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith". An object of faith is something that people have a religious devotion to, but this is not an objective property of a being. If a supreme being and creator does exist, it's clear that they are the object of many people's faith, so the third criterion is fulfilled de-facto from the first two.

I suggest that we define a supreme being and creator as a being capable of controlling the universe. Surely a being capable of creating the universe is capable of controlling it, and it is this being that I argued for in my opening.

Now I will focus on the two objections to my argument. The Anti-Kalam trap forces me to choose between the universe having always existed or having a beginning. In my opening, I showed that the universe does have a beginning, which nullifies Pincer 2.

Pincer 1 is effectively an appeal to authority. My opponent argues that some scientists accept a beginning to the universe but don't accept the existence of a creator, suggesting that one conclusion does not necessarily lead to the other. If we're going to appeal to authority, we could just as easily say that some philosophers believe that one conclusion does lead to the other: namely, those who accept Kalam.

Whether a beginning to the universe proves a creator is the subject of debate: specifically, the debate we're having. Many scientists who believe in a beginning to the universe but not a creator have not studied the Kalam. Regardless of what these scientists believe, my opening has shown how a beginning to the universe does prove a creator. If my opponent wishes to argue against this premise using arguments from the physicists they are appealing to, they are welcome to do so.

My opponent's second pincer trap deals with quantum randomness.

Pincer 1 asks why God would cause quantum fluctuations. This is more of a question than an objection. While I can only speculate as to the motives of a supreme being, I would like to point out that everything is made of atoms, which rely on electrons. Perhaps quantum fluctuations are a necessary property of electrons. Light is divided into small packets called "photons" [1], and these photons may be necessary to construct matter. It stands to reason that a being capable of creating the universe and with an interest in human life would be a creative being capable of knitting together each detail of the universe. Quantum fluctuations, rather than being an objection to a creator, rather serve to show the creativity and attention to detail such a creator would have.

Pincer 2 asks whether or not God is random. I personally believe that God is capable of free will, but my personal beliefs are not the subject of this debate. As I read it a second time, I'm not sure whether it objects to the Kalam or the argument from design. The Kalam argues that everything with a beginning has a cause, and so far I have argued for a God that exists outside of time. The argument from design states that very specific values are required for constants such that life can exist. These constants have not been shown to require specific values for God to exist.

My opponent states:
everything about the allegedly existent God appears to imply that if consistency and severely consistent patterns in our reality necessitate a God, Pro's own God requires a God to have created him/her/them/it.
"Severely consistent patterns" is a vague term, and I'm not entirely sure what my opponent is referring to, but I will attempt to clarify my position. The gravitational constant must be a very specific value to allow that the universe exist. This specific value is not required for God to exist. Therefore, my argument as stated in the introduction does not necessitate that God was himself designed by a higher being.

Con
I reject Pro's definition scope wholesale.

The resolution said God as a proper noun, meaning a specific individual of a specific religion.


God has to be defined as one religion's God so that I can critique further and so that Pro can prove it exists.


If Pro solely means a creator, no other aspects attached this is not God, that is just a being that shares the creative ability with God.

Absolutely nothing necessitates a creator in our reality that cannot be applied to God itself.

If God is the original, supreme creator, it cannot be viable to say it was created itself in an infinite regression.

We have no reasons to believe God exists that do not themselves undermine God's supreme viability.
Round 3
Pro
The resolution said God as a proper noun, meaning a specific individual of a specific religion.
The description states, "In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. This debate will question whether such a being exists." Con has accepted this definition by participating in the debate.

Muslims believe in God. Jews believe in God. Deists believe in God. The resolution does not specify any particular religion; it only asks whether God exists. J.J. Thomson, Ernest Rutherford, and Neils Bohr each believe in atoms even though they held different views regarding them [1].

Con states:
God has to be defined as one religion's God so that I can critique further and so that Pro can prove it exists.
This is false. Deists believe in God but don't adhere to any particular religion [2].

CON lists three additional objections. I will deal with each of them.

(1) If Pro solely means a creator, no other aspects attached this is not God, that is just a being that shares the creative ability with God.

Any being capable of creating and controlling the universe meets this debate's definition of God. God is defined by his creative abilities, so a being that shares creative abilities with God would meet this debate's definition of one.

(2) Absolutely nothing necessitates a creator in our reality that cannot be applied to God itself.

Except for the argument from design and Kalam. God doesn't have a beginning, so he doesn't need a cause. He also doesn't rely on extremely unlikely values of universal constants.

(3) If God is the original, supreme creator, it cannot be viable to say it was created itself in an infinite regression.

I never suggested that God was created in infinite regression.

CON appears to have dropped both pincer arguments for the time being. There have also been no further attempts to dismantle the Kalam or argument from design.
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Round 4
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