Instigator / Pro
27
1575
rating
5
debates
100.0%
won
Topic

There is no god

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
9
6
Sources points
10
10
Spelling and grammar points
5
5
Conduct points
3
4

With 5 votes and 2 points ahead, the winner is ...

vsp2019
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Religion
Time for argument
Twelve hours
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
4,000
Contender / Con
25
1574
rating
10
debates
80.0%
won
Description
~ 1,797 / 5,000

We understand how the big bang works. We know that space and time came to be at the beginning of the Universe. Therefore, If there is a god, Then that god did not create the universe because it did not have time to create the universe. We know how planets are formed from stars exploding into supernovae, We understand how light is created from the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium atoms and how these sustain life on Earth(Photosynthesis etc. . . ). Every explanation is completely natural.

There have been plenty of cases(Flat Earth, Creationism, . . . ) where a religious explanation had to be let go for a better scientific one. Yet there has not been a single event in history where we had to let go of a scientific explanation for a better religious explanation.
God has always been used to fill the knowledge gap whenever we did not know something about the universe. "What created the Earth? We don't know therefore God did it" "Oh a supernova created the planets. Well, What created the stars then. We don't know therefore god. Oh the big bang. Well what created the big bang? Dunno so it must be god". Every time a secret of the universe has been uncovered, The answer has never been "God did it" We came to be through the process of evolution, Consciousness/mind is a product of the brain, When we die, Our body decays and we cease to be. No god is required at any step.

This thus leads to two possibilities: Either there is no god or there is a god but that god is useless, It does nothing. At most it might had a part in the starting process of the universe but then did nothing since. It has been so inactive that there is no noticeable difference between that god and a god that does not exist.

So out of these possibilities, The simplest explanation is that there is no god.

Round 1
Pro
My position is this: I have looked at the evidence and have concluded that the simplest explanation is that there is no god. However, new evidence brought forward can change my mind. 


Can you please tell me which god you believe in and why? And can you also provide your best reasons for why believe in that god?
Con
Clarification of terms:
In the short description of the debate, Pro wrote “I am a strong atheist ,by that I mean, I have looked at the evidence and have concluded that the simplest explanation is that there is no god.”
On the Dawkins scale of atheistic conviction, the term strong atheists has the meaning of “I’m 100% sure that there is no God” [2]

Furthermore, by making the positive claim “There is no God”, Pro takes on a BoP to support this position, whereas Con does not have to prove that a God exists, but merely disprove all arguments that show that God does not exist. Otherwise, Pro would be committing an argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy by claiming that God does not exist because it can not be proven that he does exist [3].
 
In relation to Pro’s question in round 1, I’m an agnostic because I think a God is impossible to rule out and that I therefore can not claim to know that no God exists.
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Since my opponent has not yet made any arguments I will present an argument in favour of the existence of God and am anticipating his opening arguments for his BoP in the next round.
 
Kalam cosmological argument:
P1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause. (since “ex nihilo nihil fit” Nothing comes from nothing)
P2: The Universe began to exist. (Supported by the big bang theory and Borde, Guth & Vilenkin, 2003, who showed that an inflationary model of the universe can not be past-eternal [4])
C:  The Universe has a cause.
This cause of the universe is what we call God (from Aquinas’ Summa Theologica).
 
Sources:


 


Round 2
Pro
Firstly, I do not use the Dawkins scale. I defined how I used the term "Strong atheist". There are many flaws in the Dawkins Scale which is why I don't use it(1). I defined the label I use for myself. I would request for this definition of said label to be used in this debate. I am not interested in arguing over labels.

Secondly, it is clear to me that you have not read the longer description of the debate. On there I give my reasoning for my conclusion on why there is no god. I will concede that I may not have followed the proper debateart.com etiquette. It is my first time using this platform. Can you please look at it this time? There is not enough space for me to paste it again here but it is fully available in the long description. So please do read it properly this time.

Kalam Cosmological argument

(1)Even if I were to grant to you that the premises are sound, the conclusion only leads to an uncaused cause, not to your god.
"This cause of the universe is what we call God (from Aquinas’ Summa Theologica)."
This is a a non sequitur fallacy(your argument is invalid because the conclusion "the cause...call God" does not follow from the premises). 

(2) "The Universe began to exist. (Supported by ... past-eternal [4]) "
 
The big bang did happen but we know that no god created it, As I explained in my opening statement. I will paste it here again: "We understand how the big bang works. We know that space and time came to be at the beginning of the Universe(aka Time did not exist before the big bang). Therefore, if there is a god, then that god did not create the universe because it did not have time to create the universe. " I am paraphrasing Stephen Hawking, a famous cosmologist(an actual expert on the big bang. In fact his work on Singularity along with Sir Roger Penrose actually led to our final understanding of the big bang). (2)

(3) "Whatever begins to exist has a cause" and "The Universe has a cause"
This is the fallacy of composition(when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole. For example: "This tire is made of rubber, Therefore the vehicle to which it is a part is also made of rubber. ") Just because everything in the Universe has a cause, It does not mean that the Universe also must have a cause. TO BE CLEAR: I am not saying that there is no cause behind the Universe rather I am pointing out that you fail to make the case that the Universe does indeed have a cause. That which can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

(4) "Whatever begins to exist has a cause"
If I grant you that "whatever being to exist has a cause", then it follows that the creator of the Universe must have a cause too. So what created the creator? And what created the Creator of the creator?" The usual response would be something along the lines of:"Well God is eternal and has no beginning.Thus it has no cause"

Well, this is an extraordinary claim and the burden of proof is on you to prove that(Prove that there is a God and one that is eternal). The Kalam cannot prove that at all). Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If you can prove that, I would suggest that you write a paper and get it peer reviewed. This will bring you fame and a lot of money. It will debunk the biggest discoveries about the big bang). Good luck doing that. 



Source:
(2) Read the first chapter in Stephen Hawking's book "Brief answers to the Big Questions" I summarised the argument here but Hawking goes in a much deeper  explanation.
Additional reading on cosmology:
"A brief history of time" by Stephen Hawking
"The Greatest Story ever told so far" by Lawrence Krauss
I am not a physicist so I cannot educate you but they can


Con
While according to the DART code of conduct, everything that is placed outside the debate rounds is irrelevant to the debate, I will address your arguments nonetheless. It would be better if you placed them in the main body of the debate next time, especially when there is a very strict character limit for both debaters.

Pro started with an argument that God could not have created the universe:

“We understand how the big bang works. We know that space and time came to be at the beginning of the Universe. Therefore, If there is a god, Then that god did not create the universe because it did not have time to create the universe.”

However, this argument only argues that a God that is limited by the physical time-space laws did not create the universe, furthermore, it assumes that physical laws had any relevance at the moment the universe began to exist, which is not at all obvious since we do not know what was possible pre-Bang [1]. Furthermore, this argument does nothing whatever to disprove a God that is not bound by the physical laws but able to do everything that is logically possible (i.e. omniscient).


Pro goes on to argue (I will not cite the whole argument due to the character limit) that “No God is required at any step” because the God of the gaps argument has been used in the past and has been replaced by scientific explanations in some cases. Pro thus concludes:
“This thus leads to two possibilities: Either there is no god or there is a god but that god is useless, It does nothing.”
This argument again does not show that an omnipotent God does not exist at all, merely that some explanations have been replaced in the past. Furthermore, Pro claims that if a God existed he would be “useless” as “it does nothing”. However, if there were a creator of the universe, he would have done arguably the greatest thing ever, create the universe, quite the opposite of “nothing”. Furthermore, God is cited by many people to give them hope [2], act as the basis of their morality [3] and the majority (53%) of Americans say that religion is very important in their lives [4], which makes God seem useful, rather than useless. Additionally, God could still have guided evolution, as some believe [5] and played a part in Jesus’ resurrection, miracles, etc., the fact that some explanations have been replaced does not conclusively show that all similar explanations for other phenomena are therefore incorrect.
 

Conclusion:
Neither Pro’s first, nor his second argument show that an omnipotent creator God does not exist, as his first argument only relates to a time-bound God and assumes the state of the physical laws pre-Bang and the second argument is a non-sequitur that neither addresses the existence of a time-bound nor an eternal omnipotent creator God.

 
I will address my opponent’s criticisms of the Kalam in the next round as the character limit does not permit a rebuttal in this round.
 

Sources:




Round 3
Pro
CON argues that God is not bounded by  the physical time-space laws. This makes no sense. Whenever someone says, something is real, they have a physically measurable way of demonstrating that thing. If I say, this basketball is real. I can hold it in my hands, I can send you a photo of it etc... When it comes to more complicated matters like black holes, worm holes etc, we have mathematical equations and models that directly explain observations we make. There are physical(bounded by space and time) ways to demonstrate these things we describe as "real/exists/etc". 

However, if we go with the way CON is defining God, there is no way of measuring that. This is known as the unfalsifiability fallacy(Defining God in such a way that it is impossible to show it does not exist). (1)
This exact same argument that CON used can be used for this example:

There is a giant eternal unicorn that exists. However, it does not exist in the Universe. Just like CON's God, it exists outside the physical time-space laws. Prove that this Unicorn does not exist. It is impossible for you to do it. However, as I am the one who brought the Unicorn argument forward, the burden of proof(2) is on me to prove its existence. Similarly, if CON argues that there is a God that exists, the burden of proof is on CON to prove that there is a God that exists and that that God exists outside of space and time. I have no idea how anyone can prove that anything exists outside of space and time. Doing so, CON is sure to receive money and fame since they will then debunk the fundamental laws of physics.

When we say something exists, it is implied that we mean it exists within space and time. It makes no sense for something to exist outside of it. 
If we define God as existing outside of space and time, how can we demonstrate it? We only have tools available within space and time. We know of nothing that exists outside such parameters. If your God exists outside the laws of physics, then it is physically impossible for your god to exist. 

"This argument again does not show that an omnipotent God does not exist at all"

This is a strawman fallacy(2) as CON misrepresents my position and argues against this misrepresentation. I said that I have concluded that the simplest explanation is that there is no god but I could be proven wrong. I see no reason to believe in a god and I see reasons to believe there is no god. Therefore, I believe there is no god. It is impossible to know for a fact that there is no god for one simple reason: There are millions of definitions that people have made up for the god they believe in. For me to prove that there is no god, I will have to refute every single one of them here.


"Furthermore, God ... incorrect."  

This here is an appeal to popularity)(4). A simpler way of phrasing it would be "All these people agree with me therefore I must be right". Many people believe the Earth is flat, yet that does not make it true.  I can use that argument back on CON. You believe in a God that exists beyond space and time. however, millions of people (like many hindus and many christians/etc...) believe in a god that exists within space and time. Therefore, you must be wrong. This is why the appeal to popularity is a bad argument. The truth value of a claim is unaffected by how many people believe in it.

To conclude, CON misrepresented my position(and argued against this misrepresentation) and defined a god whose existence can neither be proven true nor false. Let us watch him now prove his unfalsifiable god. 

 
Sources:
Con
“I am not a physicist so I cannot educate you but they can”
“I would suggest that you write a paper and get it peer reviewed… Good luck doing that.”
Let’s try to keep this debate good-natured instead of making condescending comments and attacking the other person’s character.
 

Defense of Kalam: (rebuttal of Pro's defense next round due to the strict character limit and Pro's arguments being in the description rather than the debate)
 
(1)    “Even if I were to grant to you that the premises are sound, the conclusion only leads to an uncaused cause, not to your fod… This is a non-sequitur fallacy.”
This is incorrect as I clearly wrote that this uncaused cause is what we call God: "This cause of the universe is what we call God (from Aquinas’ Summa Theologica)." Pro is correct that this does not lead to the conclusion that any specific God exists, however it supports Aristotle’s Prime Mover/Aquinas’ uncaused cause. Pro’s claim that it is a non-sequitur is therefore incorrect as the uncaused cause (from the conclusion) is what is referred to as God (Aristotle’s PM/Aquinas’ uncaused cause) and is necessarily time-less and space-less as there was no space and we now know that time is inseparably linked to space [1].
 
(2)    “The big bang did happen but we know that no god created it…  if there is a god, then that god did not create the universe because it did not have time to create the universe.”
This relies on the assumption that God is bound by the physical laws again. This is an unwarranted assumption since because it is not logically impossible for a being to be independent of the physical laws, we can not conclude that such a God is impossible. To claim that “we know” is to claim that we can be sure that no God created the universe, which is not supported by Pro’s argument as it only refers to Gods that are limited by the physical laws, while ignoring the conceptions of God as an omnipotent being.
 
(3)    Fallacy of composition “Just because everything in the Universe has a cause, It does not mean that the Universe also must have a cause.”
My opponent is attacking a strawman. I have never claimed that because everything in the universe has a cause, therefore the universe has a cause. The word “fallacy” implies invalid reasoning, the Kalam is, however, valid as if the premises are true, the conclusion necessarily follows and it argues that because the universe had a beginning, it must have a cause. The argument does not claim that because everything in the universe had a cause, the universe must have a cause. If the premises are accepted, the conclusion follows, therefore the argument does not commit a fallacy of composition (or any other fallacy, since the argument is valid).
 
 
(4)    “If I grant you that "whatever being to exist has a cause", then it follows that the creator of the Universe must have a cause too… the burden of proof is on you to prove that(Prove that there is a god and one that is eternal)”
The BoP is not on me to show that a God exists since I did not make the positive assertion that he does exist. The BoP is on Pro since Pro’s position is “There is no God” and he has the obligation to prove his assertion. Pro is trying to shift the burden of proof by committing an argumentum ad ignorantiam (there is no proof for God, therefore God does not exist…). This is logically fallacious. Pro has a BoP to fulfil, whereas I as Con have not made any assertions and just have to show that it does not follow that no God exists from Pro’s arguments.
 
Furthermore, if God did not begin to exist (which is implied by “eternal”), then God would not require a cause according to the Kalam. It is an argument for Aquinas’ uncaused cause (which he wrote is what he understands to be God in the Summa Theologica), which is timeless by definition as there was no time before the universe (and with it spacetime) existed.
 
 
 
Sources:
[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacetime
 





Round 4
Pro
I am not a physicist, your contribution (that there are things that exist outside space and time), if they were true, would refute most of cosmology. If you are right, you deserve fame and money. So go write that paper and get it peer reviewed. Hopefully by next year, I'll see your name being mentioned in the news. I'll keep an eye out.

My opponent seems to master the art of commiting strawman fallacies. Right from the get go, his rebuttal of my rebuttal to the Kalam is this:

"This ... space "

Firstly, the Kalam only aims to show that there is an uncaused cause(as I said earlier). As I mentioned earlier as well, your conclusion("This cause of the universe is what we call God") does not follow from the premises. Hence you committed the Non sequitur fallacy(your argument is invalid). I wish you would be honest in representing my argument. Right now, I am only repeating myself since you refuted arguments I never made. Read the last two sentences that CON wrote. Those are obfuscating language(or a "word salad" in lay terms).

CON wrote a lot and cited famous names so we think CON is smart. However, this whole diatribe can be summarised as follows: "PRO is right that the Kalam only aims to prove an uncaused cause. However, this big guy said something about a Prime Mover(another term for uncaused cause) and that is called God. " See? According to CON, Kalam's uncaused cause = Aquinas' Prime Mover = God. I can agree that the uncaused cause and the prime mover are very similar. Kalam is an argument that stemmed from Aquinas' unmoved mover. They are different but the arguments follow the same structure.

However, how does Prime Mover/Uncaused Cause = God? CON does not make that link. An uncaused cause/unmoved mover can be energy, fairies living beyond space and time/etc... With a good imagination, countless examples can be found that could potentially be uncaused causes/prime movers. He avoided responding to my argument and repeated what we already said but he used complicated language to sound smart. 

A proper analogy to that would be a kid in high school has to write an essay of 1000 words. The kid is lazy therefore he uses a lot of words to explain little so he catches up on the word limit. 

"This relies on the ... omnipotent being."

This is getting tiring but CON does not stop misrepresenting me or simply ignoring my earlier rebuttals. I already said that it makes no sense to say that something exists outside of space and time(outside the physical laws). If something exists outside the laws of physics, then it is physically impossible for that thing to exist. 

"My opponent is attacking ... cause."
 
It seems clear that CON does not understand the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I would suggest listening to the theologian William Lane Craig on how that argument works ". You don't understand the premises of your own argument. I cannot educate you on theology. Go do your research. I don't have enough characters left to explain such entry level philosophy. It would take me 400 more characters to explain the Kalam to you. I have other arguments to respond to. 

The last two paragraphs deserve to be read multiple times. CON misused the Kalam to provide evidence for a god. I pointed out that the conclusion did not follow from the premises(Kalam only proved uncaused cause) and that CON still needed to demonstrate that their conclusion does not follow. CON clearly does not understand the burden of proof. I will try and explain that. 
The Kalam aims to provide evidence for a god. Therefore CON, you are making a case for a god. You have a burden of proof
I said "I believe there is no god" so I have a burden of proof too. Hence why I made this long paragraph at the beginning.

We BOTH have a burden of proof. 

To conclude, CON failed to refute my arguments, made many strawman fallacies and failed to understand their own arguments. 

The Universe is amazing on its own, we don't need to add fairy tales to enliven it. 





Con
“CON argues that God is not bounded by the physical time-space laws. This makes no sense.”
This argument presents the physical laws as entirely binding and necessarily correct. This is flawed for several reasons: (1) Our “physical laws” are just explanations of why the universe works as it does, therefore our explanations may be mistaken in some regards. There are however examples of physical laws being broken [1]. Therefore, presenting the discovered physical laws as entirely binding is flawed, they are descriptions of natural phenomena [2] and hence a non-physical & timeless God (which is exactly what the Kalam describes: an uncaused cause that is neither time-bound nor space-bound) can not be excluded by invoking physical laws.
“This is known as the unfalsifiability fallacy (Defining God in such a way that it is impossible to show it does not exist).”
The word “fallacy” refers to invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning [3], the source that Pro cites for this assertion does not include the word “fallacy” in reference to unfalsifiability. Furthermore, just because something can not be proven to be right or wrong, does not mean that it is definitely wrong. In the 19th century, we were unable to verify or falsify claims about the texture of the moon, nonetheless not all claims about the moon were incorrect. In the same way just because we may currently be unable to verify or falsify the existence of God (although there are several arguments such as the problem from evil which attempts to prove that no God exists; Pro has however presented no such argument), does not mean that God does not exist; that would be an argumentum ad ignorantiam.

If your God exists outside the laws of physics, then it is physically impossible for your god to exist.”
This is what all of Pro’s arguments boil down to: God is physically impossible, therefore God does not exist. This line of argument does, however, provide no reason to believe that an omnipotent being (i.e. a being that can do everything that is logically possible) does not exist. If an omnipotent being exists it would be possible for this being to break all physical laws, since it is not bound by them, only by the laws of logic.
"All these people agree with me therefore I must be right"
Pro claims that I have argued that because many people believe in God, therefore God must exist. I have done no such thing. I have responded to Pro’s claims in round 2 that if God existed he would be “useless” and “it does nothing” and showed that the mere existence of a God would be useful as his omnibenevolent nature would provide a basis for objective morality which many people base their morality on. My argument was simply that the existence of God would be useful because many people base their morality on him, I have made no assertion whatever that this shows that God exists, merely that if he exists he would be useful.
 
Closing statement:
Aside from Pro’s condescending comments, his only two arguments against the existence of God were based on the physical impossibility of God. The physical impossibility of God does however fail to prove that God does not exist since God is only bound by logical possibility, not by physical possibility. Furthermore, Pro failed to refute the conception of God as the uncaused cause (which Aristotle and Aquinas argued for, although only Aquinas referred to this as God), which is supported by the Kalam cosmological argument, which supports a time-less (as there was no time prior to the universe) and space-less (ditto) uncaused cause.Pro, therefore, failed to fulfil his BoP (since he has taken the Pro position and made the assertion "there is no god") and I have made an argument for the uncaused cause conception of God, which falsifies his position and his shifting of the BoP is unsuccessful as it would be an argumentum ad ignorantiam to argue that because there is no proof for something it does not exist (e.g. we assumed that black swans do not exist... until we discovered them in Oceania).


Sources in the comments