Instigator / Pro

No Gods Exist


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

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After 3 votes and with 9 points ahead, the winner is...

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Round 1
So my argument is a simple process of elimination.  

1.  Metaphysical.

Metaphysical, in essence, means beyond physical or that which cannot be reached by the physical.  In order for anything to fall into this category, it would have to be undetectable in our reality.  It then logically follows that such things also cannot affect our world.  That means from a human perspective, something metaphysical is functionally identical as not existing.  Human knowledge is for human use.  Our knowledge is not meant to quantify the metaphysical.  Our world is separate from the metaphysical.  

2.  Omni Gods. 

These are the easiest class of Gods to eliminate.  This type of god can actually be disproven mathematically.  One way that mathematicians use in set theory to figure out if a number relates to reality is to test it using practical math.  Numbers like infinity and certain uses of zero can't apply to reality, so this tells us that such states of affairs are impossible. It is important to note here that math is not the same as other fields.  Math is the only field where detailed and all encompassing proofs are necessary to prove anything.  Math findings never change once proved, because the methodology always leads back to the same answers.  When we measure the properties of an omni god.  We find many contradictions logically, but more damning than that, we find contradictions mathematically.  Infinities cannot exist within reality and all of an Omni Gods are infinite, so there is no way for them to present in reality.  Furthermore, Some versions of Omni gods, like the Abrahamic God for example, has Omni qualities that contradict each other.  This has been demonstrated in one of the earlier versions of the problem of evil.  

"Is God Able to prevent suffering, but unaware?  Then he is not all knowing.  Is he aware of suffering but unable to prevent it?  Then he is not all powerful.  Is he both aware and able to prevent suffering, but unwilling?  Then he is not all loving."

There are infinitely more arguments along these lines that point out the many paradoxes of the Omni Gods.  It becomes painfully clear at this point, that a new standard for gods must be put in place. 

3.  Maximally Powerful Gods. 

These are also sometimes considered omni gods.  But functionally, they're different.  This would be a god that can work fully within the scope of physics and would still have the power to create the universe and agency to boot.  Not a bad start.  This god probably steps of most, if not all logical contradictions.  Unfortunately, this god does not pass the test of identification.  The best and possibly only way to really prove the existence of something is to present it via direct observation.  God has not been able to pass this test and this is the biggest and possibly only real hurdle for the God claims.  If God could be identified as easily as a rock or a tree.  We'd be having a much different debate than we are now. The problem with a maximally powerful god is that there should be evidence of it.  As I cited in my metaphysical description, in order for something to create us, it can't be metaphysical.  Even if this God was not easily visible, there necessarily would be some way to find it.  This god would not be able to exceed the speed of light and therefore, would not be able to escape the observable universe.  This is because such a god would have to hold enough matter and/or energy to create the universe and still be maximally powerful.  So near light speed travel would be this god's personal limits.  Science has given us an unprecedented view of the observable universe and yet there is no God to be found.  This pushes us further into the funnel of truth. 

4. Minimally powerful Gods.

This God would be an irreducibly complex agent that had just enough power to create the universe.  After that, such a being either died on the spot or lived a mortal life and became stardust.  This type of God is actually more plausible, but lack of evidence still leaves us wanting.  If such a being existed, it would have a unique composition and extremely rare particles that we've probably never seen before.  Such particles should have been observed near the big bang, but they're not.  Furthermore, there is no way to know that the big bang was the first cosmic event.  For all we know, this could be the 1 billionth big bang.  If this god did exist.  It would be an absentee God and probably the same as not existing at all for us. 

5. Deist Gods. 

The first deadbeat dad.  This one just made us and headed for the hills.  This god would have to metaphysical and therefore is a contradiction that cannot occur in reality since a metaphysical being cannot create us.  One could argue that this god shift from physical to metaphysical, but there is not evidence to support such a claim and it would still be functionally identical to nonexistence. 

6. Mortal Gods.

I'm going to assume that we both agree this one is silly.  If not, then I will draw up an argument if you insist. 

7.  God by definition. 

This one could be technically correct, although it would be a vacuous attempt at finding god.  The strategy here would be to basically wait for the secret of life to be discovered and name that god.  I prefer this over most other options.  Although, if anybody was to try and draw tenants from this belief, I would find those tenants to be dubious since they're getting their life tips from inanimate objects. 

8.  Gods that didn't create the universe. 

To me this would just be an organism.  I don't think there is a reason to go here unless you want to.  

So there it is.  I have used categorical process of elimination to show the impossibility of any God existing.  Please critique the premises that you disagree with and then we will debate the soundness of them as well as any premises you bring up afterwards.  

Your floor. 

I want to thank my opponent for this debate. Let us begin.

C1: The Ontological Argument

1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

There are a few key terms to understand:

1. Impossible entities that cannot exist in any possible world because they are logically contradictory. For example, an invisible pink unicorn is an impossible entity because it contradicts the nature of pink and invisible

2. Contingent entities are entities that exist in some possible worlds, but not others. Humans, animals, and plants fall into this category because they exist here on Earth, but their existence is not necessarily on other worlds. 

3. Necessary entities exist by the virtue of its own nature. The laws of mathematics, the laws of morality, and the laws of logic are such types of laws. These entities/laws exist independently of the universe. If the universe did not exist, 2+2 will always be 4 and the law of noncontradiction will always stand. 

4. Possible world: A logically possible world that could exist

5. An impossible world: A world that is impossible

6. The actual world: The world we live in

This is pretty straightforward. 

C2. The Kalaam Cosmological Argument 

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the Universe has a cause

Premise 1 is obviously true. if something began to exist, it must have a cause. Furthermore, if something began to exist then it is a contingent being that exists in some possible worlds but not another. The universe, therefore, does not exist due to its very nature. Therefore something that preceded the universe must exist that caused it into existence. 

The key question to atheists: why is there something rather than nothing and why is there life rather than nonlife? Atheists simply cannot give a good answer to this challenge. 

Premise 2 is also obviously true. Every scientist recognizes that the universe began to exist roughly 13 billion years ago. Before that, the universe simply did not exist. 


Both these arguments prove that the existence of God is necessary and that God exists.

Over to pro! 
Round 2
I've dealt with C2 in multiple debates, But I've never seen anyone use C1 directly by name like that.  Interesting move.  

C1: The Ontological Argument

1.  I accept premise one solely on the terms that it is probabilistic and therefore is not necessarily sound.  However, this would be considered a weak inductive argument as opposed to a strong one (weak and strong are formal terms for inductions, I'm not using these words as subjective assessments) because it is not derived from a uniform precedent "i.e., all known swans are white"  Yours is more like "a swan could be orange".  Furthermore, the fact that it is one being as opposed to an undefined number of beings actually weakens it further.  I know this might seem counterintuitive at first.  But functionally speaking, add a quantity is another logical pieces which stretches the argument further from Occam's Razer. With all of the said, the premise is valid and plausible.  Which is only to say that it is used in a proper structure and is supported by a weak inductive argument.  

You immediately lost me at Premise two because your argument did not logically follow.  You went immediately from a possible being to a definite being without any connected premise to justify it.  Premise 2 should have read: 

2. You said:  "If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then it is possible that a maximally great being exists in some possible world."

This changes the argument completely.  Because ultimately, when you start out with an epistemic claim (possible) and use it as justification to turn itself into a metaphysical claim (Does exist) it will always be a non sequitur. The only ways to turn this premise into a metaphysical claim are to show the impossibility to the contrary.  That is to say that you have to rule out literally every scenario.  This is the nature of a metaphysical claim. The other way to prove it would be by identity.(demonstrating the maximally powerful being via observation.)  To the best of my knowledge, these would be the only two ways in this case, since the impossibility to the contrary includes things like necessary beings, or any scenario where your base premise is metaphysical. I am willing to consider a revision of the premise or any argument that proves logical entailment between "possible" and "definite". 

3.  You said: "If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world."

So the problem noted earlier from premise 2 ripples out to all of your subsequent premises.  I would make the same type of adjustment I made for the previous one by adding the word possible back onto the claim to keep connectivity.  This ripple effect only applies if you cannot show the connectivity of Premise 2.  

The other problem with this is also similar to Premise 2.  There is a lack of logical connectivity between "some"(epistemic) possible worlds and "all"(metaphysical) possible worlds. You cannot simply change or add one word in this case like before, because here doing so would make the claim a repetition of itself.  It then logically follows that the structure is not valid and you must change one of the terms, or use an and statement to add another contingency in order to gain logical connectivity.  I'm honestly not sure what premise would need to be added because the argument is already very watered down in terms of logical qualifiers so I'll just let you respond to this before I dig into this wound any further.

As for 4 5 and 6.  

Premise 5 is an unnecessary premise that creates logical equivalency between two words but is both valid and sound if adjusted for the ripple effect of Premise 2 or if premise 2 is justified. 

Premise 4 and 6 logically follow assuming that either they're adjusted for the ripple effect from Premise 2 or Premise 2 is justified. 

In summation, the argument has a few problems, but not so many that it needs to be chucked out.  I await your prescription for my critiques. 

On your terminology. 

1. is fine I think. 

2. is confusing for no reason and I'm even sure it's accurate because it's that confusing.  A contingency is something that relies on something else to achieve itself.  The something could be an object, an action, or just a given state of affairs. I find this less confusing than existing in some possible worlds, but not others.  Those things may, indeed be contingencies.  But not every contingency will be that thing, so I think the term is dubious. 

3.A necessary entity would be an entity that must exist because it is the only way to achieve the predetermined state of affairs.  Math and the like are not necessary, nor are they entities, so I don't know why you put those in their.  Abstracts don't exist. Even the root of the words reveals this.  Ab = from, stract = draw off, which is an old world way saying "remove" or "withdraw". The term represents our cognition of that which we have experienced and that which we have imagined from our experience.  Numbers and the like are simply descriptions of what we experience.  2 + 2 = 4  Because we defined the concept of quantities, assigned them arbitrary place holders (numbers) and assigned them operations. (arithmetic).  Everything that we discovered after is only true because of the arbitrary rules we put in place.  There used to be a 12 point decimal system which didn't support any of the math we use today. Math is perfect because we made it perfect.  Squares and triangles add up to certain angles because we arbitrarily made the rules for an angle and then made observations based on the rules. I wanted to make this clear because one of the underlying themes in these types of debates are confusions of the term existence and abstract.  

4.  I'm fine with this definition.  But functionally speaking, when you say "possible", what' you're really saying is "hypothetical"  There is technically, only one possible world and that's the world we live in.  Possible means that it can be done.  Since this world is the only one that can be, it logically follows that this is the only possible world.  If you're saying possible in the sense of there is good reason to believe that it could happen, that would be a plausible world.  I hope I've cleared up the difference in these terms and you can clarify however you see fit in your next argument. 

5.  This is a repetition of itself and therefore true, it wasn't defined.  But I can just understand this by using the negation of whatever you deem as possible.

6.  Same as my definition of possible world, so we're on the same page here. 

C2. The Kalaam Cosmological Argument 

Two major problems here caused by multiple other problems.  

First, the structure is valid, start on a positive note.

The premises are unsound because they claim that things "began to exist" which is not a justified statement.  There has never been a case of anything beginning to exist.  What we see are things forming out of particles that have always existed as far as we know.  There has never been one single cause of anything popping in or out of existence. This is the key problem. 

The second problem is that this argument does not relate to god.  Now I've had this exact same conversation before with other theists, so I'll speed to the good part.  You didn't complete all the premises which ultimately lead to an "uncaused caused".  In my experience.  The easiest way to fix this is to replace all cases of cause and came into existence with the word formed, or at least concede that's what you're really arguing for, because if you go the popped into existence route, that kills your argument on the spot.  Once we make this revision, we neatly end up at the premise "therefore, there must be something that wasn't formed from something else".  The nice part about this is it actually favors atheism.  When the Kalam is not tainted with confusing language, it ultimately convicts particles as being the "uncaused cause".  Now you could go from there and argue that God is a better explanation than particles and I'm happy to go that route. I'm interested to hear what you think about this part in general. 

In response to your question, my answer is simple.  Matter is never created or destroy.  Everything has always existed.  I can't say that metaphysically, but I can make a strong inductive argument because I have 100% precedent which trumps your weak probabilistic argument from earlier  The Kalam.  Is, in fact, a strong probabilistic argument.  However, the conclusion does not lead to god and once you add god you're back to a weak probabilistic argument again.  and no it's not a 2v1 stack up.  A proof is either a proof or it's not.  To quote some person who's name I never learned. "beware a believer carrying 5 logical proofs, if he had even 1, he wouldn't need the other 4".  I say this because you have 3 arguments.  Kalaam, Onto, and Christian God (assuming) and have them all separated.  So you're the believer carrying 3 proofs when you should only need 1.  

In your next argument, I will be looking for you to address the structures and soundness issues that I pointed out or to take a different route entirely and abandon them.  I don't care how you argue as long as you're honest about it.

I've had the floor quite long enough.

Woo me. This could be the day I get converted.  
Thank you, Pro! The way I like to approach these types of debates is to present my opening case in round 1, refute my opponent's round 1 in round 2, defend my arguments in round 3, and present a closing and summary in round 4; this way we can both have an even number of rounds for rebuttals and defense. Let's look at pro's opening case to see if any of his arguments are successful. 

I agree with my opponent's 1 and 4-8. It is no 2 and 3 that I have issues with and the type of God I am defending. 

2. Omni Gods

I'm honestly not sure what my opponent means by the mathematical argument. Regardless his argument here ends up backfiring big time. Going back to my KCA (which I will fully defend in the next round), I argue that the universe is not infinitely old and had finite in nature. If the universe, and the particles, were infinite in age, we would have reached the "death heat of the universe" which will happen when we run out of entropy. So what could have been the cause of the universe? The cause must have existed prior to the universe. There is a hypothesis called the cyclic model, that argues the universe goes from big-bang to big-crunch [2], but this leaves us with an infinite regress which is problematic. 

Let's look at the next argument

"Is God Able to prevent suffering, but unaware?  Then he is not all-knowing.  Is he aware of suffering but unable to prevent it?  Then he is not all-powerful.  Is he both aware and able to prevent suffering, but unwilling?  Then he is not all loving."

Rather than being an argument against God, it is actually an argument for God! How does one define evil and how does one objectively measure it? Indeed there must be an absolute being that we call God that is the source of our morality. Matt Slick notes 5 issues with this line of reasoning [5]:

  1. Evil is not defined. Therefore, the assessment of the statements cannot be validated.
  2. If evil were defined, what would justify the definition as being the right one?
  3. Epicurus presupposes a moral absolute that if God can prevent evil, then he should. But how is such a moral absolute justified as being true?
  4. The problem of how much evil (all, most, some) ought to be prevented is not addressed.
  5. The problem of preventing evil thoughts and intentions with its implication of denying free will is also not addressed.
Finally for free will to exist, there must be evil. According to Maimonides in his  Guide to the Perplexed, there are three types of evil and suffering:

(1) The evil we do to ourselves - This is the most common form. Indeed a smoker shouldn't be surprised when he ends up with lung cancer and a drunk driver shouldn't be surprised when he gets into a terrible accident. The vast majority of evil in the world is self-inflicted.

(2) The evil we do to others - This is pretty obvious. Because we have free will, we have the ability to harm ourselves and others

(3) Natural evils such as earthquakes and hurricanes. 

Let's move on....

3. Maximally Powerful Gods

Has God passed the "test" that my opponent implies? There are major issues with this. First what type of direct observation does Pro actually want? The simple fact that complex life exists and that a complex universe exists is evidence enough that such a God exists. 

Back to you Pro! 

Round 3
I'm cool with that.  Sometimes for efficiency sake, I do a joint opening rebuttal in my first statement, it depends on how robust my opponent's argument was. 

I will now address your critiques. 

2.Omni Gods.

A. Math

So by mathematical, I simply meant that the defeater stemmed from math. Just a semantic I guess, but I like to be thorough because I believe the devil (figurative)
is in the details. 

Specifically, my points was that the "Omni" quality of a god is impossible.  For a God to have such a quality, it would have to conform to reality.  The word Omni really sums it up.  Omni means all.  I doesn't mean all and then some. 

My real point here is that an omni god and a maximally powerful god are one and the same.  The point is meant address people who say that god can change the laws of physics or exist outside of time and space.  Such claims are category errors and use abstracts as if they were physical objects and therefore such sentences are incoherent. 

In order for god to perform any action, there would be some motion involved.  That means god would have to have a position and would have to change positions. 

So in order for god to take any action at all, would be for god to exist in time and space.  To not exist in time would be for god to exist as a single elementary particle without any relative particle to compare it to.  This would be god existing outside of time but not space.

For god to exist outside of time and space would be for god to not exist at all. 

You could say that god could "blink" in and out of time and space, but this begs the question. 

How does god do this while he is not existing? 

You could say god's in a metaphysical realm, but now you're stuck trying to prove god AND a metaphysical realm.  That would make things heavier for you. 

B. Problem of evil

Well the problem that I posed was specifically talking about suffering rather than evil.  I think it would be safe to assume that a loving god would not want us to suffer don't you agree?  If so that this would prove that god would not have more than one omni quality and could not be omnipotent because that would automatically give god the other omni qualities.  With omnipotence off the table, God gets pushed down to being a very unlikely being. 

But I kind of see what you're getting at here.  You're saying how can we say that god should prevent suffering if we don't have god to define evil?  The short answer is that it's an internal critique so it's allowed to assume the rules of god because it's inside your worldview at the time.

The long answer is that even externally, morality is just what humans define it to be.  It's just a word and all words were invented by humans to place an identity on something we perceived.  So what happens is that evolution has programmed us to be a group species and we feel bad when we see certain behaviors.  Like if you seen somebody being brutally attack on the street.  You're going to get a feeling in your body right?  You might get angry or panicked and you'll have a feeling that this isn't fair and something should be done right?  That feeling is essentially the root of morality.  People had that feeling and then placed an identity on it. 

So when we say the problem of evil, we do actually have a definition.  Matt slick is smart but he also admits that he starts with the god assumption and then proves everything post hoc.  So he is specifically looking for any way to make the pieces fit.  In this case.  He is trying to reject the problem indirectly but falsely claim their is no definition of evil because atheists are not allowed to use the biblical evil nor are they allowed to define it themselves because its belongs to "god".  This is essentially just a way to ignore the problem.  

As for how much evil should be prevented.  I would counter that by asking: Why any evil at all? If god is truly all powerful, then why would he allow people to suffer when he could have made a perfect world?  You could say that maybe god made the best world possible.  Well if that's the case then he's not omnipotent, because an all powerful being can make perfect things.  

As for free will.  If god is all knowing, then he can predict the future.  If he can predict the future, then he can create the world and people in such a way where they never use their free will to do something evil. He doesn't have to take away or change their free will.  He could just make the world so that nobody ever has to do anything bad.  He could make the sex drive perfect so that child molesters and rapists don't happen.  He can put infinite food on earth and more space so people don't fight over territory, He could change our hormones so we don't rage at people like animals.  etc. etc. 

3.  Maximally Powerful God. 

Well I want I identity evidence honestly.  If god exist in this case, he has to be in the universe.  Every single thing ever proved was proven by identity.  Why does god get a special pass?  Even for past events we identity them by finding them in the ground and measuring what layer they were on.  All identity proofs. 

Okay so lets say you want to prove that you existed to me.  Would you reveal yourself? would you send me a picture of yourself, or would you send me a picture of something you drew and say "look I must have drawn this so I exist".  I'm guessing you would do the first one right?  That's basically what you're doing when you say that we can prove god by looking at his "creations"  It's circular logic. In order to prove god this way, you have to assume that he already created things.  All evidence points to an eternal universe because there has never been one case of something turning into nothing or visa versa. 

Now to address your sources

Heat death.

This is my counter source.  

Max Planck wrote that the phrase "entropy of the universe" has no meaning because it admits of no accurate definition.[23][24] More recently, Grandy writes: "It is rather presumptuous to speak of the entropy of a universe about which we still understand so little, and we wonder how one might define thermodynamic entropy for a universe and its major constituents that have never been in equilibrium in their entire existence."[25] According to Tisza: "If an isolated system is not in equilibrium, we cannot associate an entropy with it."[26] Buchdahl writes of "the entirely unjustifiable assumption that the universe can be treated as a closed thermodynamic system".[27] According to Gallavotti: "... there is no universally accepted notion of entropy for systems out of equilibrium, even when in a stationary state."[28] Discussing the question of entropy for non-equilibrium states in general, Lieb and Yngvason express their opinion as follows: "Despite the fact that most physicists believe in such a nonequilibrium entropy, it has so far proved impossible to define it in a clearly satisfactory way."[29] In Landsberg's opinion: "The third misconception is that thermodynamics, and in particular, the concept of entropy, can without further enquiry be applied to the whole universe. ... These questions have a certain fascination, but the answers are speculations, and lie beyond the scope of this book."[30]
A recent analysis of entropy states, "The entropy of a general gravitational field is still not known", and, "gravitational entropy is difficult to quantify". The analysis considers several possible assumptions that would be needed for estimates and suggests that the observable universe has more entropy than previously thought. This is because the analysis concludes that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor.[31] Lee Smolin goes further: "It has long been known that gravity is important for keeping the universe out of thermal equilibrium. Gravitationally bound systems have negative specific heat—that is, the velocities of their components increase when energy is removed. ... Such a system does not evolve toward a homogeneous equilibrium state. Instead it becomes increasingly structured and heterogeneous as it fragments into subsystems."[32]

Written above are the critiques of heat death.  It is not a proven theory and it has to assume that we live in a closed system, which we have no way of knowing.  Evidence shows that it is more likely that we live in an open system.  So there is no reason to believe that a cyclic universe can't happen.  In fact, I think the cyclic universe model is the best one we have for the origin of the universe. 

Your second source is just data on the cyclic universe and it's robust, no problems here. 

Your third source was the matt slick problem that you presented which I already addressed earlier. 

I would like to thank my opponent for arguing in good faith and only rejecting the premises that he actually had a problem with instead of just throwing the whole thing out.  Hopefully I've covered your critiques and you can let me know at your rejoinder. 

Your floor. 
Round 4
Since I have already done a Rejoinder of my opponents critiques and I have no rejoinder from my opponent to rebut at the moment.  There is nothing for me to address in this round and I will respectfully pass. 
Given that it wouldn’t be fair to post arguments in the final round, I will waive. I would like the voters to give feedback on the arguments that have been provided in the debate.