Instigator / Pro

Does god exist?


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 1 vote and with 3 points ahead, the winner is...

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Affirmative Argument: The affirmative side will argue that there is evidence, whether philosophical, emperical, or otherwise, to support the existence of God.

Negative Argument: The negative side will argue that there is insufficient evidence to prove the existence of God and that atheism or agnosticism is a more rational stance. (They can also try to provide evidence against it if they like)

Round 1
Id like to thank Sum1hugme for this debate, now ill move into my opening argument

The fine tuning argument
Premise 1: There are finely-tuned factors in the universe
Premise 2: These finely-tuned factors are either from necessity, chance, or design (feel free to add any other possibilities)
Premise 3: Its not of chance, or necessity
conclusion: The universe was designed

Lets define what finely-tuned is; 
Premise 1 seems more plausibly true than false, to justify it i'll point out 2 examples 

1 - If the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as 1 part in 10^60, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible.
2 - Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10^40, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible.

[1] for source

2 follows logically, and the conclusion follows 3 logically, the justification for 3 is that there is no good reason to believe it was so by necessity, the cosmological constants I sourced arent determined by any laws of nature or anything of the sorts. 

As for why its not by chance, to say its by chance is a irrational position that no one could reasonable hold.

Argument from change
Premise 1: change is real
Premise 2: Change is the actualization of a potential
Premise 3: A thing cannot actualize itself
Premise 4: Actualizes that need to be themselves actualized cannot ultimately account for change
Conclusion: So, a pure actual actualizer must exist to account for change, this actualizer is god

I dont think any reasonable person would deny premise 1 or 2, take for example a coffee cup it is real that it could change, and that change is because its a possibility, for example if it was on a magical heater that made it impossible to get cold, then it could not change as that's not a possibility for it, so it seems as if 1 & 2 are more plausibly true innit of itself

Premises 3 & 4 also seems reasonable, take for example there is a giant bolder and there is a possibility that it could be on top of a MT, it wont actualize that potential itself, as its just a potential, no you must push it up there, and the reason premise 4 can be affirmed through this is what actualized you? Your parents, so there's a chain (possibly infinite chain, although id disagree with infinity) that leads us through your ancestral line, through Darwin's evolutionary tree all the way back to what caused the potential of the big bang to actualize, the reason the conclusion follows logically from premises 1-4

Argument for the resurrection of Jesus
Premise 1: There has been many theories to explain what happened after an alleged resurrection, without reference to the resurrection
Premise 2: All of these theories have failed
Premise 3: The most rational theory to accept because of this is that the resurrection actually happened
Premise 4: If a resurrection happened god is real
Conclusion: God is real

In premise 1 what I mean by many theories is for example the hallucination theory, the conspiracy theory, the swooning theory, etc, so what I want you to do is point out which theory you think happened according to the facts we know of the early spread of chrsitianity

Premise 2 will be explained in my closing argument, according to the theory you present

Premise 3 & 4 follow logically

The conclusion follows the premises.

Argument from logic
Premise 1: Laws of logic exist
Premise 2: Atheism cant account for the laws of logic
Premise 3: You must be able to account for the laws of logic to be rational
Conclusion: Atheism is not rational

Premise 1 is nearly undeniable, there cant be true contradictions for example. Premise 2 seems more plausibly true than false since the laws of logic are transcendental

Premise 3 seems logical, you need to be able to account for your views to be rational.
[1] - THE FINE-TUNING DESIGN ARGUMENT By Robin Collins From Reason for the Hope Within (1999)

  Thank you for this debate. As per the resolution and debate description, my burden is to demonstrate that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that a god exists, and that atheism or agnosticism is a more reasonable stance.

  My opponent neglected to define what he means by "god," but I presume he is content that the god we are talking about is a being, with a mind, and the qualities of omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence, commonly attributed to monotheistic gods. Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods, because the prefix "a" means, "without," or "not."(1) So, to be an atheist is to simply not be a theist. Theism is the belief that a god or gods exists. (2)

  In order to propose that a god exists, one must first demonstrate that the supernatural exists. There is no evidence to suggest the existence of anything non-natural, let alone a being with the qualities commonly attributed to gods, such as rationality or intention. My argument can be summed up by the claim: there is no true argument where the conclusion is, "therefore, god exists." I will seek to demonstrate this by refuting my opponent's arguments.

  My opponent's first argument assumes that the Universe's constants are not due to chance, but he makes no attempt to justify this claim other than stating it is "irrational". More importantly, opponent's argument rests on the false belief that improbability implies intention. Furthermore, we are subject to confirmation bias as to what exactly would constitute a universe where life could exist since we only know this one can support life due to the fact that we are here, alive, to observe it. Our sample size is still one, and my opponent flatly excludes the possibility of another arrangement of constants in any infinite number of possible life-having universes.

  The second argument could be accepted in its entirety and still not imply the existence of a god as defined above. The only thing the argument implies the existence of is an unactualized actualizer, which could be literally anything with sufficient ability. Nowhere does the argument attempt to justify the leap from this conclusion to prove the truth of theism. In addition, the argument is one based on the macro-physical cause and effect relationships we observe, but whose laws and relationships do not necessarily apply to the quantum realm, who's laws would have governed the pre-expanded universe. Fundamentally, this argument is a god of the gaps fallacy, and attempts to plug god into a gap in our understanding of what came "before" the universe's expansion, assuming the concept of "before" is even coherent.

  The third argument rests on my acceptance of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus, and outright rejects all alternative viewpoints on the event without explanation. In other words, my opponent assumes the truth of Premise 2, without justification. This could be a whole debate in itself, so I will simply take the position that there was no resurrection, and there are no reliable sources to justify the belief that a man rose from the dead.

  The fourth and final argument presented states that atheism cannot account for the laws of logic. While atheism makes no claims about the laws of logic in and of themselves, my opponent assumed that theism is the only grounding for these laws. In reality, the laws of logic are implicit in the structure of thought, language, and argumentation, and can be demonstrated to be valid without reference to the existence of a god. 

  In conclusion, there is no true argument that can conclude that god exists. All of my opponent's arguments have failed and rest on assumptions and presuppositions of the validity of theism. 

Round 2

Well the way I would define god (same way as oxford defines it) is:
a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity:
I will be proving the spirit part of the definition (not to say my understanding of a god cant take the form of a superhuman if he desired)

Well I dont think id necessarily have to prove it in that order of supernatural -> god, since the god im trying to prove is a spirit, which would follow an supernatural exists.

Well yes its an irrational belief to conclude that the soo extremely small chance of the constants being this way happened by pure chance alone.

I wouldnt say it follows from improbability alone that there is intelligence, that'd be begging the question in an sense.

We dont need an sample size of different universes to conclude this, we can use math equations to conclude how finely tunned the gravity had to be to permit stars to exist, or the cosmological constant to allow the big bang to succeed. and confirmation bias & infinite number of possible life-having universes implies there are other universes which we have no evidence for.

Well actually I think it could entail your definition of god, as well as mine.

Well lets look into what this unactualized actualizer entails ill put 2 examples:
Transcendental (supernatural)
Premise 1: whatever has an essence distinct from its existence must be caused or actualized to exist

Premise 2: but the unactualized actualizer is not actualized

Premise 3: therefore the unactualized actualizer must have an essence which just is it’s existence: what is is actuality, simply put 

Premise 4: whatever is composite in being must be actualized to exist as a composite being

Premise 5: therefore, the unactualized actualizer must have non-composite, or simple, being

Premise 6: but the sun total of physical reality or finite realities is not simple being

 premise 7: therefore, whatever is simple being cannot be identified with the totality of finite realities

Premise 8: but to not be identified with the totality of finite realities is just to be transcendent

Conclusion: therefore the unactualized actualizer is transcendent 
Premise 1: to have a power is to be able to make something happen and communicate being to another

Premise 2: but that which is subsistence existence itself can communicate any being since it just is actual being 

Premise 3:but to be able to communicate any being whatsoever is just to be omnipotent

Conclusion: therefore the actualized actualizer is omnipotent

Using quantum mechanics to try & disprove the an causal principle is just a total distortion of science, in quantum mechanics the vacuum isn't nothin in the sense of the word, its a fluctuation of flowing energy, which isn't nothing.

Well arent you commiting time of the gaps since your presuming science will find an answer given enough time? Im going based off of what we know, we shouldnt discredit the big bang because we dont know everything about it.

My argument doesn't presume the truth of the resurrection, it points out that the other theories to explain what happened surrounding the alleged resurrection cant account for what happened, whereas the resurrection does therefore is more reasonable, you reject that they cant so I challenge you to find me an explanation that could account for what happened.

I wouldn't be opposed to dropping this argument and having an whole other debate about it in general, so lets disregard it.

Im unsure if any other view can ground theism, I just know for sure atheism cant, and there is no reason for them existing without reference to god, I dont disagree that they arent the basis for thought but I just dont think atheism can account for it.
[1] - The mystery of the mind page 77 by Wilder Penfield
  Thank you for your response. 

  My opponent has defined god as, a superhuman being or spirit, but did not specify if he accepts the traits associated with common concepts of god I listed in the last round. Defining god as a spirit is vague, so I am compelled to provide a definition in lieu of my opponent's failure to provide one:

Spirit: a supernatural being or essence; the immaterial intelligent or sentient part of a person (1)

  If this definition is to be accepted, then it is immediately obvious that the god my opponent refers to is a supernatural, immaterial one. By arguing for a supernatural god, my opponent necessarily entails the burden of demonstrating the possibility of the existence of the supernatural.

  Again, my opponent does not attempt to justify his claim that chance could not have determined the constants of the Universe, save for a vague allusion to "math equations." The crux of my opponent's argument from the improbability of the constants being what they are is the leap from improbability to intentionality, which he has failed to justify. My opponent concedes that improbability does not imply intention when he says, "I wouldnt say it follows from improbability alone that there is intelligence, that'd be begging the question in an sense." and therefore concedes the argument from the universal constants.

  My opponent attempts to describe the qualities of the unactualized actualizer (UA) with two syllogisms. The first syllogism fails for many reasons and further demonstrates that my opponent must rely on assumptions to justify his case. Firstly, my opponent assumes in the first premise that the qualities of a thing, its essence, are distinct from that thing's existence; namely, that causality must apply to a thing before it exists. This assumes that causality must apply to all things, such as the UA. The second premise is built on the assumption that the UA exists, which has not been demonstrated. In premise 3, my opponent makes another unjustified assumption that the UA's essence and existence are identical, and that the UA, if existent, somehow overcomes my opponent's unjustified view on the essence-existence relationship. Fundamentally, my opponent is reasoning in a circle. My opponent is essentially arguing that the UA's essence is its existence because its the UA, because he relies on the assumption that the UA's essence is its existence. 

  The second syllogism fails as well. Premise 2 assumes the nature of the UA, that is, it's being able to communicate with any being, without providing any external justification for this claim about the UA's nature. Premise 3 redefines the common understanding of omnipotence, that is, "unlimited power and the ability to do anything" (2), and replaces the definition of omnipotence as being simply, "the ability to communicate with any being." This is a narrow redefining of a commonly understood term and narrows of omnipotence to fit into the already unjustified framework of my opponent's argument. This syllogism relies on redefining terms, and assuming, without justification, the qualities of the UA my opponent is attempting to demonstrate.

  My opponent's retort about quantum mechanics fundamentally misses the point. My argument isn't that the pre-expanded singularity was a philosophical, or absolute nothing. My argument is that the singularity would be governed my quantum-mechanical laws, where macro-physical causality does not apply. My opponent's original argument relied on the application of such irrelevant notions of causality to make more palatable the concept of a "causer" of the big bang. My argument was never that the big bang didn't happen, as my opponent appears to attempt to construe it as.

  My opponent's "time of the gaps" argument is relevant to nothing we have talked about thus far, and I'm unsure what it's even directed at. 

  Finally, my opponent states that, "I'm unsure if any other view can ground theism, I just know for sure atheism can't, and there is no reason for them existing without reference to god, I don't disagree that they aren't the basis for thought but I just don't think atheism can account for it." I believe he meant to say the laws of logic, and not theism in the first sentence, so I will be addressing it as such. Again, Atheism makes no claims about the laws of logic, and my opponent concedes that these laws are implicit in thought. This concession of a fundamental point defeats his claim that theism is necessary to ground them. Furthermore, the burden of proof is on my opponent to demonstrate that these laws can only exist if theism is true and cannot exist if theism is false. If he cannot, then this is a simple argument from ignorance. 

No space for a conclusion, over to pro.
Round 3

I dont think god would necessarily need specific traits, I just think it needs to be worshipped, the reason for this is because many religions worship a being as an god that doesnt posses supernatural powers in the sense your provided, for example the the Greek pantheon doesn't posit omnipotence, afterall the Greek god's are "defeated" by humans regularly yet I wouldnt say these arent at least concepts of god. Now the reason we specify spirit or superhuman is because under this definition people (or at least what we believe are normal day people) on earth have been worshipped like god (take for example Jesus of Nazareth) so it'd be a little "redundant" to consider claims like that god without any evidence.

I dont disagree with it, except for the last part since an human spirit really wouldnt be considered god, atleast not in this context, so just "A supernatural being or essence"

I will be pointing out an spirit, yes. Although if evidence is found for an superhuman then it may be sufficient as well.

I think the issue with your argument is that your trying to say it happened by pure chance, is that not irrational considering the infinitely small chance?

Not necessarily, I think it doesnt follow from improbability that its design, it could be by necessity as in it couldnt be any other way. Yet given there is no good reason to believe its by necessity it follows its that way by chance or by design, and saying its by chance is irrational to believe given its such a small number, and could be dismissed via Reductio ad absurdum meaning the other side would lead to an absurd claim, that a 1 in 10^60 (1 followed by 60 0's)  is happened in oppose to a (10^60 - (1/10^60)) in 10^60 which is munch more likely to have occured, nearly 100%

I fully accept that the essence is what something is, and I dont assume causality must apply to a thing before it exists, after all the UA is eternal and there wasn't a time it didn't exist (eternal is when there is no time x didn't exist), so the UA isnt exempted from causality, its just that it's eternal, therefore there wasnt a need to cause it to exist. I did also provide premises to prove a ua, so if you wish to object to a ua re-read my 1st argument in this debate. And I think something's essence & existence is identical, after all that's what essence is. You seem to agree with that sentiment since you said " Firstly, my opponent assumes in the first premise that the qualities of a thing, its essence, are distinct from that thing's existence...", and the reason the ua's existence would be in its nature is because it must be eternal by definition, if its not eternal then it'd have a cause which would make it the "actualized unactualized actualizer"

Well I think you misunderstand what I mean by "communicate" I don't mean literally talking, I mean being able to cause any being. & omnipotence is the ability to do anything, well anything according to logic. I dont think the ua has the ability to make a married bachelor so to define omnipotence: "The ability to do anything in adherence to logic", and I think if you can communicate anything then it'd lead to omnipotence as you could communicate essence as well, therefore giving yourself any essence as well. 

My objection was that in the macro realm causality does apply, there is no recorded case in the macro realm of something appearing from nothing, you may point to subatomic particles coming out of the vacuum, yet we must remember that in quantum mechanics the vacuum isnt a vacuum in the way laymen understand it, instead its a flowing field of energy therefore they didnt come from nothing.

I think it is relevant, going off of the information we have at the moment it seems as if the big bang was caused by nothing, and I think you agree something coming from nothing (philosophical nothing at least, maybe not a quantum physics "nothing") is absurd, so it implies there was a cause in a sense, in which case the cause would be beyond nature (or supernatural) since it created nature.

I did mean to say the laws of logic, my apologies. And your correct atheism makes no claims about the laws of logic, yet thats not the point. The point is that it cant justify it therefore it'd be hard to call it rational given the nature of the laws of logic. And I conceded that the laws of logic existed, no one reasonably could. I simply point out there is no reason for that to be such. Now I dont think its my burden of proof to demonstrate that these laws can only exist with theism, I can prove it can exist with theism but it'd be ur burden of proof to justify it with atheism, and to justify it through theism ill merely point out god is logos (john 1:1, the word for "word" is "logos") and god has revealed himself to us
  Thank you for your response.

  While I acknowledge that there are various concepts of gods across different belief systems, the focus of my arguments, and apparently my opponent's, are of a specific god with specific traits, such as being immaterial and supernatural. If my opponent is to commit to a definition of god, then he necessarily must commit to a set of traits for that god, as they are entailed in the definition. Thus far, the arguments presented on both sides have revolved around a concept of god, one that is immaterial and supernatural, and as my opponent claims, transcendent and omnipotent.

  My opponent, in replying to the improbability of the universal constants, has again profoundly missed the point of my argument. I have not claimed that the constants are the result of chance, my claim is that there is no justification for my opponent's leap from their improbability to the claim that they were intended. This unjustified leap is the crux of my opponent's argument on this point, and he conceded it earlier. Furthermore, my opponent is committing a false dichotomy fallacy by claiming that the only two options are either chance or design, as necessity, or even eternal constants in an eternal universe are all possibilities.

  In regard to the nature of the UA, my opponent has not escaped his circular reasoning. He continues to assume that the UA's essence is its existence based on the UA's supposed eternal nature. My opponent has failed to provide external justification to validate these assumptions, and his arguments attempting to demonstrate the existence of the UA have failed thus far.

  My opponent clarifies his meaning of the word, "communicate," but fails to elude the problems in his argument. The argument now essentially reinterprets Premise 1 in Premise 3, which introduces no new information. Furthermore, it assumes the truth of the conclusion in the premises. Finally, the way the argument is phrased with this needless and arbitrary redefinition of a critical term, renders the sentence nearly meaningless and nonsensical. 

  I feel the need to reiterate that I have at no point claimed that the Big Bang is false, my argument has been that the rules of the quantum realm would apply at the sizes of the pre-expanded universe, and that therefore, my opponent's claims about the need for cause-and-effect relationships are not clearly justified. My opponent has made no attempt in this debate to address this argument.

  My argument in regard to the laws of logic, is that they are fundamental to rational thought, without reference to theism. While theism can theoretically ground them, it is not the only possible explanation for them, and the onus is on my opponent to demonstrate that theism is the only possible grounding for the laws of logic. This is of course an impossible task, as they can be grounded in their mere necessity for thought, A Priori, without reference to theism. My opponent's attempt at a theistic justification is grounded, as so many of his arguments, in an assumption. In this case, the assumption that god has revealed himself. This is stated without justification and is nothing more than a theological belief, and not evidence for his position.

  In conclusion, my opponent continues to base his arguments on assumptions, presuppositions, misunderstandings, and fallacies. He has failed on every attempt to demonstrate the truth of his position. He apparently refuses to commit to a definition of god, his syllogisms have failed, he attacks straw men instead of my actual arguments, and relies on theological assumptions to ground the existence of laws of thought. 
Round 4
I concede this debate, I respect Sum1hugme's arguments, and if he's open perhaps we could have an debate over the resurrection.
  My opponent has conceded the debate. I appreciate the opportunity to have this discussion.