Personal tools
 
Views

Debate: Does "God" really exist?

From Debatepedia

(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
Revision as of 18:57, 4 October 2011 (edit)
England4ever (Talk | contribs)
(Pro)
← Previous diff
Current revision (18:59, 4 October 2011) (edit)
England4ever (Talk | contribs)
(External links and resources:)
 
Line 260: Line 260:
[[Category:Philosophy]] [[Category:Philosophy]]
[[Category:Underdeveloped debates]] [[Category:Underdeveloped debates]]
 +[[Category:Christianity]]
 +[[Category:Islam]]

Current revision

[Digg]
[reddit]
[Delicious]
[Facebook]

Background and context

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]

Can God's existence be logically proven or disproven?

[Add New]

Pro

  • God is the only rational explanation of the existence of the Universe. The law of conservation of matter and energy states that the total amount of all the matter plus all the energy in the universe can never change, though matter can be changed into energy and vice versa, and that neither can be created or destroyed. However, at the Big Bang all of the energy in the universe was created, which naturally leads us to the assumption that the Big Bang must have been caused by something which was not subject to these most basic laws of physics, and is therefore almost certainly not subject to any of them- why should it comply with some but not others? If this thing was not subject to the laws of physics, then there is no reason why it should be subject to them now. Being superior to the laws of physics also suggests that this thing must be eternal and unchanging since decay and change only take place on the physical plane. Of course, the Judaeo- Christian view of God complies easily with these concepts and is therefore the most rational explanation of our existence.
  • The Big Bang must have been caused by something superior to the constrictions of space and time. This is because, as pointed out by the Con side, time began at the Big Bang, and because space in that first instant was infinitesimally small. This fits in easily with our concept of God who is eternal (outside of time) and omnipresent (unrestricted by space). So even if all the matter was within that small point already, the nature of the origin of the universe still points to a superior being.
  • There must have been a first cause. Since, by definition, this cause was the first cause, this cause cannot have been caused. Since everything that has a beginning must also have a cause, the first cause cannot have had a beginning. Since time itself had a beginning, the first cause must be outside of time. As has been said previously, whatever it was that triggered the Big Bang must have also outside of time, so the first cause may well be what triggered the Big Bang and so created the universe. Since the first cause must have been unrestricted by time or space, then it is outside of the physical plane and so is unrestricted also by the second law of thermodynamics which means that it doesn't lose energy, which brings us to the conclusion that the first cause is still around now and is just as powerful as it was when it caused everything. This conclusion also happens to be a description of God (albeit a grossly basic description, and unapplicable to any pantheist god because pantheists believe that god is one with the universe, and the universe had a beginning.)
  • There is much order in the universe. Order requires a designer.
[Add New]

Con

  • The Big Bang theory does not postulate that all matter was created at the point of the Big Bang.

It postulates that all matter was compressed into a singularity so small that general relativity breaks down[1].

The quantum of time that can exist is Planck Time[2], which represents the time required for light to travel, in a vacuum, a distance of 1 Planck length (itself derived from the universal constants of the speed of light in a vacuum, Planck's constant, and the gravitational constant). With the universe compressed to a size smaller than one Planck length, time did not exist, and therefore the notion of 'before' is meaningless[3]. Time began as an inevitable consequence of the singularity expanding until it exceeded one Planck length.

This argument is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the physics involved in the Big Bang.

Moreover, even if the above were not true, there is no reason why we should prefer the Judeo-Christian deity over a whole host of others which could be - and would be claimed as such by their adherants - exactly as equally suitable for the Prime Mover role[4].

  • RE: The Big Bang must have been caused by something superior to the constrictions of space and time.

The pro side is again demonstrating that he has incorrectly understood the physics involved. They have continued to suggest causality when it has been demonstrated no causality can be measured below Planck length. If the pro side wishes to continue to use the concept of sub-Planck causality they must define or at least hypothesize it. Secondly he has tried to smuggle the value label "superior" to this undefined sub-Planck causality without suggesting what he means by superiority nor how being a predecessor to something indicates superiority as opposed to say redundancy.

  • RE: There must have been a first cause.

As mentioned previously, unless the pro side can at least provide a falsifiable hypothesis of causality at levels below Planck length then they must stop using the sub-Planck concept. The pro side mentions causality outside time and space, however they do not express what it means to be "outside" time and space this is especially trouble as something below Planck length could potentially still exist spatially. The pro side then makes several unsupported statements and introduces several questionable concepts. It is not shown why a first cause is not restricted by space, it is not shown what is meant by physical "plane" or why this person has assumed another dimension nor how this dimension might interact with the observable 4 dimensions the known universe exists in. It is not shown how this 5th dimension is powerful, nor what is meant by power other than to invoke a first cause. Finally it is not shown how this proposed 5th dimension is unrestricted by physical laws nor what restrictions apply to that dimension (if any). As with sub Planck length the pro side must at least provide a falsifiable hypothesis of this 5th dimension or stop using the concept.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

The question of design

[Add New]

Pro

  • The fact that proteins were the object of the test and not organisms does not disqualify the test. Proteins are even simpler than organisms. If the probability of a protein randomly occurring is so low makes the probability of an organism randomly occurring even lower.
  • God created all things well, all defects have occurred since. The Con argument here attacks the straw man who believes that God created all creatures as they are now. Of course they have changed since, but the vast majority of such changes have either been neutral or harmful. This is a result of the Fall, and not God's fault. For more on this, see Debate: Evolution. As to the dismissal of the Fall as a religious claim, God himself can be called a religious claim and yet the Con side are prepared to debate his existence seriously enough. Things should not be automatically objected to because they happen to be in the Bible. The Fall argument easily explains the defects and theists should only be defeated by this argument of their opponents if they do not believe that the Fall happened. Though there may be no proof of the Fall as it is recounted in the Bible, it is clear that evil exists and moreover is deeply rooted in all humans and has been so throughout recorded human history (discluding the Bible's account of the time during which Adam and Eve were sinless- which amounts only to a very small percentage of recorded human history at any rate.) But the point is is that it's not thanks to God that defects exist in creatures today, it's thanks to us, because we chose to disobey him.


[Add New]

Con

  • RE: The probability that life could have arisen by chance is ridiculously small. The theist has provided a false dichotomy between God and chance (by which he actually means randomness). The theist has revealed a fundamental misunderstanding of abiogenesis, evolution and probability.

· The misunderstanding of abiogenesis and evolution: Unlike theists, scientists do not believe humans (or any life form for that matter) simply appeared as is implied by the referred articles. The articles cited calculate probability of the assumption of a modern protein, which is not the theory of abiogenesis. They also assume a fixed number of proteins and sequences for those proteins rather than some lesser form of life. This is the equivalent of suggesting you could crack a 6 character numeric code on the first attempt: the chance is literally 1 in a million. What scientist propose (and have tested and verified without fail) is a slow, unconscious, natural processes guide the development of life. This is more like being able to guess the first digit and then then next and so on: the chance is now 1 in 10 for each character.

· The misunderstanding of probability: The probability calculations used refer to sequential trials, rather than simultaneous trials. To take this in context the proposed number of earth like planets in our galaxy is 2 billion. Current estimates of the number of galaxies in the universe is 100 billion. Even if we slash our estimates a hundred times you still have a potential 2 quitillion (a 2 with 18 zeros) planets upon which simultaneous trials are taking place. Finally in a strict sense the probability of life appearing by a miracle is literally zero. In order for a probability to be judged it requires a sample and a population, however in the theist's case no instances of a miracle occurring have ever been observed and verified. In other words the chance that life occurred via a miracle is literally 0 out of whatever population proposed.

  • RE: proteins were the object of the test and not organisms. Yet again the theist reveals his lack of knowledge surrounding the theory of abiogenesis. The criticism was not suggesting organisms over proteins, but something more fundamental than proteins. The current propular hypotheses are either protobionts (via RNA) or nucleic acid (via volcanic chemical reactions).
  • Poor design. Various life forms on earth, including humans, have a number of poor designs[5] (for example the reproductive process or vestigial organs). Such poor design is inconsistent with the concept of an "supernatural" designer, but is consistent with the predictions of the scientific theory of evolution by means of natural selection.

There is no credible evidence to support the claim that 'The Fall' actually happened. It is a religious claim not a scientific claim, which is incompatible with the incontrovertible evidence that changes since the supposed time of the Fall (whenever this is supposed to have occured) are not only neutral or deleterious but may also be beneficial, as seen in Lenski's E coli experiments[6] and Knox et al's Molecular evolution of bacterial beta-lactam resistance[7] among many others.

That God's existence is also a religious claim does nothing to improve the evidence in support of the Fall, and it is to be noticed that God's existence - the purpose of this debate - has been objected to on scientific and philosophical grounds. It is not suggested there isn't a religious claim of God's existence; this debate exists to attempt to demonstrate whether this can be proved by more satisfactory proofs and evidence.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

The burden of proof

[Add New]

Pro

  • Con merely states the obvious in this section without doing anything to either increase or decrease the credibility of his position. And anyway, proof is not much of a burden if you're sitting on a massive heap of it.


[Add New]

Con

Any fundamental look at ontology or epistemology is made more complicated by the addition of one or more deities. Because we can have an objective axiomatic foundation for basic metaphysics without the need for a god, the burden of proof sits with the theist. A theist can therefore not presume a god with intellectual honesty.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Omnipotence paradox

[Add New]

Pro

  • It is possible for an omnipotent being to exist. The Con argument here is based on a misunderstanding of what the authors of the Bible meant when they described God as omnipotent. They meant to say "omnipotent as far as is logically possible", but of course people would have known what they meant so there was no need to elaborate like this. It would also have unnecessarily interrupted the flow of the poetic or prophetic passages in which omnipotence is generally ascribed to God in the Bible. It's like rounding statistics to make them more impressive or memorable. It's more a question of common sense than anything else.


[Add New]

Con

A person that uses the broken concept of omnipotence immediately runs into an issue. The omnipotent character lacks the power to create a task he/she cannot perform.

The Pro claim that the Bible intended its use of "omnipotence" to be interpreted as different from the actual definition of the word is backed up with no evidence and is merely special pleading.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Where did God come from?

[Add New]

Pro

  • The atheist's argument that not having a previous cause deprives God of existence holds no water. The premise of the design argument which explains the need for a creator is not that everything has a cause, but that everything that has a beginning must also have a cause. The universe cannot be the first cause because it has a beginning- the Big Bang. But since God has always existed and never had a beginning there is no need for him to have a cause. Since in order to create the universe its cause must be free from certain laws of physics, it is only logical that it may easily be free from the necessity of a beginning as well.
[Add New]

Con

That the universe had a "beginning" is a strawman position, it is possible the universe always existed and further highlights the lack of of a fundamental understanding of the physics behind the big bang theory.

This is also special pleading, criticising the universe as requiring a specific deity without apply that same criticism to the deity.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Which deity?

[Add New]

Pro

[Add New]

Con

People who believe in a specific deity are atheists for all gods apart from their specific god or gods. They do not provide any objective way of favoring one belief system over the other.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Objective evidence

[Add New]

Pro

[Add New]

Con

There is no objective evidence for any specific deity. Any ontology provided is described in wholly negative terms such "not material" or "above nature". Any positive terms attributed to a specific god are usually simply stolen from reality, and not god-like.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Problem of Evil

[Add New]

Pro

  • God is good and all powerful. The only reason that he allows the existence of evil is because he is not a control freak and as a rule lets his creation have free will. This is morally right. God will not force his creatures to obey him because it is when we choose to obey him that he is pleased. Evil is entirely the fault of created beings.
  • Con's claim that God is supposed to be a control freak is based on theological misunderstanding. God hates sin and cannot be reconciled with it, so it must always be punished. This is why hell exists. However, this does not mean he is a control freak. He does not force people to do his will because he by far prefers it if they choose to do so, and the opportunity cost of this is that they must also be able to choose not to. This is not an illusion of choice either; people still choose to commit sins, sometimes even if they know that it will incur punishment.
[Add New]

Con

If a monotheist argues that their deity is an always good or morally right and has power to stop evil, then evil should not exist. To paraphrase Epicurus: Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked.

RE: free will. The pro-side mentions that is morally right yet fails to explain why at a fundamental level free will is an ethical concern. Furthermore the pro side fails to mention how free-will is possible with an omniscient deity who knows what a persons reactions will be to events that deity is supposed to have set in place. Finally the pro side's assertion that their god is not a control freak is observably false as his particular god is Yahweh who tyrannically enforces finite transgressions of his rules with infinite punishment.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Faith: Is faith enough to make God "exist"?

[Add New]

Yes

[Add New]

No

  • Reality is independent of consciousness. The human brain constructs knowledge by analyzing sensory experiences, it does not receive knowledge directly from reality. Thus, human beings are capable of being in error-- of believing things that are not true. Thus, to believe that God exists does not imply that God actually exists.
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Bible: Does the Bible come to us directly from God?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Many things are made out of a "master" plan. We have no reason not to believe that there is no powerful being behind the existence of matter, time and space. this 'master' plan can be seen on the symmetrical things like human, animal plants and so on.
[Add New]

Con

"Many things are made out of a "master" plan" ...and history has taught us that such masterplans are often unwelcome.

This argument is fallacious, being an argument from ignorance. We have no reason not to believe lots of things, but this does not make them true.

With regard to the specific claim of symmetry being evidence of a masterplan, it should be pointed out that evolutionary theory demonstrates how such symmetry need only evolve once before it will passed on to all decendents. Work on acoelomorphs[8] suggests that Hox genes being duplicated by random mutation and thereafter being selected provide a credible mechanism for the development of symmetry with no need for an intelligent designer.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Miracles

[Add New]

Pro

  • Miracles have been observed and verified. Countless examples are available in the Bible, and if that is not enough probably even more have been observed outside the Bible. Miracles are more than just psychological phenomena. Broken bones have been mended, internal organs made whole, clinically dead individuals have been resurrected, many of whom have testified that they have seen heaven and hell. Many of these instances of healing miracles have been verified by qualified doctors. It takes more than emotional euphoria to do these things. Check out for example, the miracles that have happened under Reinhard Bonnke's ministry.
  • There are other spiritual powers out there other than God. The New Age healers which con mentioned are able to heal because of demonic power. However, this does nothing to detract from the fact that God works miracles too.
[Add New]

Con

  • RE: observed miracles.The pro side has put forward a blatantly naked assertion. The theist provides no citation for these miracles nor any objective evidence, instead using circular reasoning to support miracles with the bible. The statement that "probably even more have been observed" is certainly "not enough" to be compelling. The affirmative side then suggests that broken bones have been mended, etc but fails to mention why for example his god does not miraculously heal amputees. Anecdotal testimony of people who have been clinically dead is not compelling and in any case such testimony is mixed. The pro side offers no reason why we should take Reinhard Bonnke's testimony of miraculous healing over any New Age healer or even a homeopath.

Given the above, the pro side must: support the naked assertion that "Miracles are more than just psychological phenomena" and clearly cite the observed and verified miracles or retract his poor argument.

  • RE: There are other spiritual powers out there other than God. My argument was not that New Age healers actually heal, rather that their claims of healing were equally ridiculous as faith healing. If the pro side wishes to argue for the veracity of New age healing he should again cite objective evidence of successful healing, demonic possession and the objective mechanism by which a person could tell which god was actually doing the healing and which healing was "demonic".
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section up]

Is the existence of a God necessary?

[Add New]

Yes

  • Whether God exists or not, it is clear that mankind desperately needs him. This is because of our easily corruptible nature- which history has shown. With no leader society falls into chaos and anarchy, with weak, frequently changing leaders we fall into a process of dithering politics and slow moral decline, and with corrupt dictators we are subjected to human rights abuses and restrictions of freedom of speech etc. But God cannot be corrupted. Those who follow him will not be treated badly by him but will still be able to maintain their moral standards. God is the only hope for humanity, those who reject him reject humanity's last hope.
  • If Jesus was the son of God, as he described himself, There must have been a God. And if there has been a God, that God is in all probability still around now. There is no view of who Jesus was other than that given by the Bible that requires no major probability gymnastics.
[Add New]

No

  • The Universe Does Not Require Gods

The concept of 'god' can mean many different things - or perhaps it can mean anything, given the apparent limitless number of characteristics which various believers assign to their gods. Any time someone asks you why you don't believe in any gods, make sure you ask them what they mean by 'god' in the first place. Chances are, it's simply not something which requires belief.

See also

External links and resources:


Problem with the site? 

Tweet a bug on bugtwits
.