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Naturalism is the only acceptable ontology - Belief in god is self-defeating


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This debate is about naturalism and belief in god.
Naturalism, in its broadest definition, is an ontology which states nature is all there is: no higher powers, no super-natural, no gods, no angels, no devils. The nature is all there is: Nature is not being controlled or ruled by higher powers.

For this debate, we will dispute my version of naturalism. For me, naturalism is the position that the nature is not under control of an outside power, like god or angels. My naturalism is, nature is sovereign, nature is independant - no one controls it and it is not dependant on anyone or anything.

This debate is NOT about if god exists or not. I will argue that even if god exists, believing in god is irrational, self-refuting.


Burden of proof is completely on PRO (me). CON (my adversary) does not need to provide any argument.
So, when the juries (it is you, dear readers) give their verdict, they should keep it mind that their verdict should be based on the arguments I provided and the rebuttals CON provided.



The term “naturalism” has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article of Naturalism). For this disputation, the definition I provided above will be used:

NATURALISM: the position that the nature is not under control of an outside power, like god or angels. Nature is sovereign, nature is independant - no one controls it and it is not dependant on anyone or anything. This position is independant from the existence of god or other so-called supernatural beings like angels and devil. Even if they exist, they have no control OVER nature.
GOD: A being that is believed to be omni-potent, omnipresent, omniscient, creator and ruler of the universe.
NATURE: Entirety of the physical and material system which is also known as the universe, determined by the laws of nature through which all the events and everything in that realm is aligned into each other.
LAWS OF NATURE: actional patterns that are found in nature. E.g. law of gravity.
INDEPENDENT: Not under control of anything else, nor is subject to control of anything.
ACCEPTABLE: capable of being accepted. adequate. worth-pleasing. something satisfactory to the needs and expectations, nor exceeding the capability.
SELF-DEFEATING: contradictory in its own. acting to refute itself.

1) Burden of proof is on PRO (me) - CON does not have any burden of proof.
2) All CON has to do is to rebutt the argument(s) put forth by PRO (me)
3) CON is not allowed to raise any arguments (if they so wish, they can challenge me to debate the same topic under the conditions in which they are PRO)
4) No ad hominems.
5) No semantics or trolling


Demonstrating that naturalism is the only acceptable (or plausible) ontology necessarily means belief in god is irrational but demonstrating that belief in god is irrational or self-defeating is not sufficient to conclude that naturalism is the only plausible ontology. As a result, keep in mind that if I succeed in showing naturalism is the only plausible ontology, the second assertion of the title is also established.


Round 1
The very first thing I am going to tell you is that my purpose here first of all is to have a dialectic, Socratic and constructive disputation. 

Today, we are talking of one of the most influential and common issues: belief in god. Everyone is familiar with it, let it be a highly educated person,a professor, a watchman, a child, a teacher, a kindergarden pupil etc. On the other hand, we are going to dispute Naturalism as well, it is an ontology which states that the existence is consisted of nature: Nature is all there is and in my opinion very few people are aware of what ontology is or what Naturalism is. I have defined my version of Naturalism in the debate description. Naturalism is generally contrasted with theism, which states that there are more than nature, which also states that nature has been created by god and is being controlled by god. Thus, even though the actual opposite of Naturalism is Super-naturalism, the philosophical discussions almost always focus on two ontologies we call Naturalism and Theism. If one of them is true, the other one is necessarily wrong ( at least in the definitions we have agreed upon to debate). In some terms I use, I will attach Wikipedia as link, note that, I am not offering Wikipedia as a legitimate source - I am attaching it so that those unfamiliar can have an insight about the topic.

Without further ado, let me skip into my 1st argument.


All of us, at least those who are participating, reading and voting at this debate, trust our cognitive faculties.
Unlike famous theist philosopher Alvin Plantinga, and like theist philosophers Al-Ghazzali and Rene Descartes, I will be arguing that trusting your cognitive faculties necessitates naturalism and thus believing in god is self-refuting as thus.

What is meant by "trusting our cognitive faculties"? It means, you accept what you see as real, independant of your mind. You see a lion charging at you and you take precautions, you flee: it is to assume that the lion is real, even if you have not analyzed the situation to check whether the lion you see is a hologram or a real lion. If you fled there, then you have assumed that the lion is real, you have assumed that your cognitive faculties are working right, even if you are not aware of that process .These trusts, these assumptions are independent from us and that is how our brain works. Explaining me something is equal to assuming me as real, not your imagination and means you trust your cognitive faculties that served you to conceive me. This is the way human brains work.

So, given that we have that trust or confidance, these trust is possible only if we say that ontology is naturalistic. Why? There are multiple reasons, one of them being the laws of nature. According to naturalism, the nature is governed by the unbreakable patterns, what we call "Laws of nature". If we believe that the nature is under control of a super-natural being, which is usually believed to be god, then we can no longer trust what we see and what we hear. To begin with, if we believe god exists, we can no longer trust what we see , because the way we see is part of natural laws. We see through light, light that enters our cornea and retina[1]. But if god exists, god might just send us lights of things that do not exist, and maybe manipulating us.  Famous Muslim Philosophher ande Theologian Al Ghazzali put it in this way n the 17th discussion of his famous book "The Incoherence of the Philosophers":
This leads to the commission of repugnant contradictions. For if one denies that the effects follow necessarily from their causes and relatesthem to the will of their Creator, the will having no specific designatedcourse but [a course that] can vary and change in kind, then let each of usallow the possibility of there being in front of him ferocious beasts, ragingfires, high mountains, or enemies ready with their weapons [to kill him], but [also the possibility] that he does not see them because God does notcreate for him [vision of them]. And if someone leaves a book in thehouse, let him allow as possible its change on his returning home into abeardless slave boy—intelligent, busy with his tasks—or into an animal or if he leaves a boy in his house, let him allow the possibility of hischanging into a dog; or [again] if he leaves ashes, [let him allow] the possibility of its change into musk; and let him allow the possibility of stonechanging into gold and gold into stone. If asked about any of this, heought to say: "I do not know what is at the house at present. All I know is that I have left a book in the house, which is perhaps now a horse thathas defiled the library with its urine and its dung, and that I have leftin the house aja r of water, which may well have turned into an appletree. For God is capable of everything, and it is not necessary for thehorse to be created from the sperm nor the tree to be created from the seed—indeed, it is not necessary for either of the two to be created fromanything. Perhaps [God] has created things that did not exist previously."
Like Ghazzali, another famous theist philosopher Rene Descartes has developed an argument in which we can not trust our cognitive faculties. In his "evil demon" argument, which is now known by its modern version called "Brain in a vat", Descartes argues that our brain maybe being controlled by a demon which is manipulating us. If god exists, there is always probability and possibility of god similarly manipulating our brains.
God being omnipotent and omniscient, is always capable of making you see things that do not exist, capable of making you hear voices that do actually not exist. Thus, if you are trusting your cognitive faculties, you have to give zero chance for the existence of god - otherwise, you should not be trusting your faculties. But you DO trust your faculties, making your belief in god self-refuting. There are theological rebutalls to this, which I will deal with in the next rounds in case CON brings them up


In philosophy, Ghazzali's concept of causality (quoted above) is named "Occasionalism"[2]. A theist may say "but it is not necessary for me to choose Occasionalistic concept of causality, the universe maybe being run through physical causality or Concurrentistic causality in which I do not need to think the way Ghazzali argued". But the problem is not solved: First of all, theist will have to give us reasons to conclude that the universe is not Occasionalistic. Then, even if theist manages to persuade us to think that the universe is not occasionalistic, there still remains a problem: There is no way we can say God will not change the laws of nature.
If you believe god exists and controls the universe, then you are contradicting the way your brain works: Your brain assumes that laws of nature will not change, but if you believe god exists you will have to go against your brain and say "laws of nature may change at anytime." We build ships and sail through ocean with them. The trust we have in our ship sailing relies on the assumption/presupposition that buoyant force of water will remain same. It is a law of physics, named "Archimedes' principle." But if we believe god exists, we have to grant that the buoyant force of water may completely disappear at any moment, it may become emitting force of water, which may result in our ships sinking into ocean. This omnipotent and omniscient attributes of god makes it impossible to trust the laws of nature. If you trust the laws of nature, you should reject that god exists, even if god exists. At best, you can believe in a god that does not have control over the universe and nature, or at least not omnipotent and omniscient. But, they are not in the scope of this debate.

If god exists, the solid land we are walking on may turn into liquid-like marsh, which means we can not trust the solid soild below us but we do trust it, meaning consciously or unconsciously, we reject that nature is under-control of any power.


Alvin Plantinga argues[3] that god is necessary for science to be successful, to argue it, he states that the world must display some level of regularity and predictability. Plantinga says the following in the same section of his book:
intentional action requires the same thing: we couldn’tbuild a house if hammers unpredictably turned into eels, ornails into caterpillars; we couldn’t drive downtown ifautomobiles unexpectedly turned into tea pots orrosebushes. Intentional action requires a high degree ofstability, predictability, and regularity. 
But I oppose Plantinga on this one and state that it is against god's existence. If god exists, we must grant that there is possibility of our hammer may turn into an eel any moment if nature is being governed by super-natural powers:Super-natural power known as god can at any moment turn hammer into an eel.

If our nature is under control of god, we are no different than GTA 5: In GTA 5, you can turn car into a teapot at any moment. Like that, god can turn your car into a teapot at any moment. Ghazzali confessed it, look above excerpt.

But we reject such probabilities and possibilities as "non-sense". If tomorrow you see a teapot at your garage, would not you think someone stole it or took it for a ride? But what if others told your car turned into teapot? Would you believe it is possible? If you believe god exists, you must believe it is possible. If you do not believe that, then the belief in god is self-defeating.

[3] Plantinga, A. (2011). Where The Conflict Really Lies: Science, Naturalism and Religion. New York: Oxford University Press. 9th chapter, second subchapter.
Round 2
The adversary has forfeited. If I present more, it could have been harder for him/her to respond to 2 rounds in 1 round. Thus, I shall pass this round so that it is not made him/hee harder in case s/he decides to return and offer us rebuttals.
Round 3
S/he forfeited again, unfortunately.

Let us call this debate over - we shall consider him to have forfeited the debate as we may not have sufficient rounds to rebutt even if the adversary re-joins the debate.
Round 4
3 rounds have been forfeited by the adversary.
From now on, I ask the juries to consider this debate over.
Round 5
It is the last round and my last speech.
The adversary has not offered any disputation till now and in case s/he does so in the last round - we are no longer to dispute and point out anything. Thus, I ask the juries to dismiss everything the adversary might come up with in this last round, in case s/he does not forfeit.