The God Debate

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

 
I simply don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. This statement might come as a shock to many of you out there because it appears to be a contradiction. While some faith is required for my conclusions, it’s often forgotten that faith is also required of a worldview such as atheism. As limited human beings, we simply don’t possess the type of knowledge that provides us with absolute proof or disproof of God’s existence. Outside the knowledge of our own existence, we deal in the realm of probability. However, I will soon demonstrate that there is strong evidence supporting the existence of a theistic God.

Just because I am a Christian does not mean I have to turn my brain off. While religion is about faith to a certain degree, it is also about facts. Facts are central to all religions, because all religious worldviews- including atheism- make truth claims, and many of these claims can be evaluated through historical and scientific investigation. But can the truth ever really be known? I believe that it can and that it matches with the claims of the Bible. However, in this debate, my main purpose will not be to prove Christianity, but the existence of a generic theistic God.

To begin with, I will demonstrate the absolute nature of truth. It is the solid base on which much of my argument rests. Many today claim that truth is relative and cannot be known. However, this argument is self defeating. Before, I explain why, however, check out some characteristics of truth:

- Truth is not invented, but discovered
- Truth is transcultural
- Truth is unchanging even though our beliefs about the truth may change
- Beliefs cannot change a fact
- Truth is not affected by the attitude of the one professing it
- All truths are absolute truths

If someone makes the claim that “All truth is relative,” then is that a relative truth? If someone says, “There are no absolutes,” how can they be absolutely sure that this is true? Claims that discredit absolutism in favor of relativism contradict themselves because they are in fact stated as absolutes and thus imply the existence of objective truth. Additionally, it is impossible to be a skeptic about everything because that would mean that you would have to doubt skepticism itself; but the more you doubt skepticism the more sure you would have to become. In short, there is absolute truth, it can be known, and the opposite of true is false.

So how do we discover what the truth is? Well that is what the purpose of this debate is. Here is a brief outline of some of things that I hope to argue in order to demonstrate the existence of God:

Scientific Evidence

The Cosmological Argument: More and more evidence points to the Big Bang theory as correct. Everything that has a start has a cause and nothing can come from nothing. This is the Law of Causality. If the Big Bang Theory is true, a force outside of space, time, and matter had to have caused it.Anthropic Argument: The design of the universe is so precise and intricate that the more scientists’ discover, the more slim the probability of random existence becomes. Since the universe came into being with the Big Bang, it had one start. Additionally, since it is infinite there can be no parallel universes. The chance that a universe such as ours would randomly come into being on the first try is astronomical. The more reasonable conclusion is the existence of a designer.

Teological Argument: Evolution and the origin of life theory that many scientists espouse today are not true- They are just bad science! I have divided my justifications for this claim into two categories:

Origin of Life- Darwinists have never observed or gathered any evidence suggesting the spontaneous formation of life from non living matter. They take it on faith. This is too bad since their belief that simple life forms spontaneously arose from lifeless matter has much evidence against, but not in favor of it. To begin with, there is no such thing as “simple life.” Even the earliest organisms would have had the equivalent of 100,000 encyclopedias of information stored in them! Even if they had billions of years to develop, it still would not be enough time for all this information to come together so precisely. The Principle of Uniformity suggests that such complexity of life could not have evolved without guidance. For example, if you put a watch in a bag, smash it with a hammer, and then shake the bag up, will the watch gradually come together again? No. Even if you shake the bag for millions and billions of years? The answer is still no. However, that is essentially what Darwinists believe (except that even the most simple life form is more complex than a watch).

Evolution: When Darwin developed his theory of natural selection, the cell was still an impenetrable mystery. But today, scientists have peered into the cell and discovered something incredible: The cell is irreducibly complex! If just one of its parts was taken away (even one gene) it would fail to function. So how did the cell evolve? The only answer is that it didn’t. Some Darwinists try to claim that there was a “scaffolding system” allowing evolution to take place, but then the question of who put the scaffolding there (since Darwinists claim that evolution is all by chance) must inevitably be asked. Additionally, the fossil record does not support the idea of evolution at all. In fact, it acts as evidence against it. In light of all this, intelligent design (which is scientific and not necessarily religiously motivated) becomes an intelligent alternative.

Moral/ Philosophical Evidence

What is the difference between Mother Theresa and Hitler? To most people this question is outlandish and the answer is simple: Mother Theresa helped people and Hitler killed people. One was good, the other bad. Such distinctions are important because they imply and absolute Moral Law. The Moral Law is highly relevant to this debate. To demonstrate why, I have laid out the following syllogism:

Every law has a law giver.
There is a Moral Law.
Therefore, there is a Moral Law giver (i.e. God)

If there is an absolute standard of morality engrained in all people’s hearts, it suggests the existence of God. However, many claim that like truth, morality is all relative. If this is the case, then there really is no difference between Hitler and Mother Theresa, just varying perspectives. However, if no true standard of morality existed then there would be no basis for argument against or for different standards of behavior. There wouldn’t even be a debate right now. Dissent over morality actually suggests that there is a set standard, because without an absolute to compare to, people have no basis for deciding right and wrong.

So if morality is objective, how can it be determined? Perhaps ironically, even those who claim to believe in relative morality are usually not happy when someone else treats them unjustly, although it may be in accordance with that particular person’s standard of morality. Thus it is not our stated beliefs or actions that help us determine the nature of right or wrong, but our reactions. Humans have an innate sense of right and wrong that is part of their very nature. In other words, there is a Moral Law and it points to a Law Giver.

Inherent and identical morality across all mankind cannot be explained with evolution, much to the chagrin of Darwinists. Some claim that morality developed because it was a social mechanism that allowed humans to work and survive together. In essence, they call morality an instinct. However, this cannot be true because if morality is an instinct, it is in direct opposition with other instincts. For example, if someone sees a person being mugged the moral thing to do is to help them. The animal reaction is to run away and remain safe. If morality were an instinct it wouldn’t contradict but compliment other instincts. Additionally, there is a third force at work that allows humans to decide which option to follow. This third force cannot be accounted for by Darwinists. Evolution also cannot account for self destructive behaviors such as suicide, smoking, drinking, and cutting. The more rational conclusion therefore, is that there is a Moral Law Giver.

In conclusion, so much evidence points to the existence of a theistic God that, ironically, atheism becomes the worldview based on blind faith and theism the logically based one. Both cannot be true because truth is objective and the opposite of true is false. There are many reasons that people deny the existence of God. One is intellectual. However, I have just addressed this objection and rendered it null. I will expand on this more as the debate continues. What I have jotted out above is very general and limited in comparison to all the information that is actually available. Another reason that people deny the existence of God is because of emotional obstacles. It is not easy for scientists to accept that they have spent hundreds of years climbing to the highest peak of knowledge only to reach the top and find some theologians who have been sitting there since the beginning of time. The hypocrisy of religion is also an emotional obstacle, as is religious exclusivism. The final obstacle that people have for believing in God is volitional. If there is a God, then there is most likely a set standard of behavior that people must follow. If this is true, their freedom of choice is limited. In this debate I hope to logically explain the existence of God, although emotional and volitional obstacles are likely to impede the process. Those aside, no individual can objectively examine the evidence and still deny the logical presence of God.

Comments:
This is the begining of the essence of debate. The primary goal of any debate is education. Which means gaing knowledge from both sides of the debate. This opening Argument has provided the essence and structure of any great debate. She has provided a significant amount of evidence an factual infomation to back up the exsitence of god.
 
I will post a rebuttal probably on Sunday.
 
Pavielle: “Origin of Life- Darwinists have never observed or gathered any evidence suggesting the spontaneous formation of life from non living matter.”

So, if someone has not observed something, or has no evidence to support it, we should suppose it is not true? There goes your god-belief.

Pavielle: “They take it on faith.”

How do you know this? Are you saying there is no basis for deducing, even as a possibility, the hypothesis that life ultimately originated from something non-living? Or, can life only be explained in terms of something that is already alive (or believed to be alive)? How is appealing to something that is already alive going to provide an explanation for how life arose in the first place? Is your god supposed to be alive? Well, if so, then pointing to your god to explain life is insufficient, for you’re simply pointing to what you’ve been called to explain. So by positing a god to explain life, you end up right where you started: with something you need to explain. To say that your god needs no explanation only concedes the debate to the "Darwinist": he doesn't "need" to explain anything either. (After all, what's going to happen if he doesn't provide an explanation?)

Pavielle: “This is too bad since their belief that simple life forms spontaneously arose from lifeless matter has much evidence against, but not in favor of it.”

For one, it must be kept in mind that evolution and abiogenesis are two different things. Attacks on abiogenesis do not also serve as attacks on evolution, for it could be that life has always existed but has also always been evolving. But more to the point, do you suppose that those who are willing to at least admit that abiogenesis did take place would agree with your supposition that they have no evidence to support this view? I doubt it.

Pavielle: “To begin with, there is no such thing as simple life’.”

What would be considered an example of “simple life,” and how is it to be determined that such a thing did not exist in the prehistoric ages past at the dawn of life forms on earth?

Pavielle: ”Even the earliest organisms would have had the equivalent of 100,000 encyclopedias of information stored in them!”

And non-organic molecules don’t?

Pavielle: “Even if they had billions of years to develop, it still would not be enough time for all this information to come together so precisely.”

How do you know? The more you go on, the more it seems you’re arguing a case from incredulity. E.g., “it’s too outlandish to believe, therefore it cannot be true!” And yet just above you wrote that “beliefs cannot change a fact” and that “truth is not affected by the attitude of the one professing it.” So, it may be the case that you find abiogenesis simply too difficult to believe, and yet it could still be true nonetheless. After all, truth is absolute, right? If abiogenesis happened, it happened whether you and I believe it or not.

Pavielle: “The Principle of Uniformity suggests that such complexity of life could not have evolved without guidance.”

It does? How is this substantiated? More specifically, what exactly do you think the principle of uniformity affirms (as opposed to merely “suggests”)?

Pavielle: “For example, if you put a watch in a bag, smash it with a hammer, and then shake the bag up, will the watch gradually come together again? No. Even if you shake the bag for millions and billions of years? The answer is still no. However, that is essentially what Darwinists believe (except that even the most simple life form is more complex than a watch).”

This begs the question by assuming that life is comparable to something artificial, which is essentially what needs to be proven. If life is not natural, then we would not expect it to arise from natural processes. But on what basis would we conclude that life is not natural? Blank out. On the other hand, if life is natural, then there’s no reason to suppose that it cannot arise from natural processes. At any rate, Pavielle has not provided a reason to suppose it could not.

If you like, I can dismantle the rest of Paveille's opening statement.

Regards,
Dawson
 
Dawson-

It is great to see people adding imput to this debate. Yo umake some very good points. However, let me explain myself:

Fist off, this is an overwiew of what I hope to debate. It does not contain all the facts or info avaliable. My point (Ian and I agreed on this) was to create opening statements without any specified format. Just an overwiew. The meat of thie debate is yet to come. Definitely join in then. However, let me address some of you criticsm of my argument:

Origon of Life- That it sright. Darwinists take the origon of life theory on faith. I was not condemning faith by any means. I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of most atheists. They take certain things on faith, but then mock those who have faith in God. Deduction must be used of course. As for explenations, I believe that is what I am trying to do right now. Both theists and atheists should be able to logically explain their stance.

Of course evolution and boigenesis are very different things. I thought I made that clear. However, the mathematical probablility of biogenesis is astronomically low. And there is little evidence that supports it. You say there is some, but did not actually mention any. Until you bring it in, there is no evidence to support biogeneis in this debte.

Simple life? A single cell is considered the simplest lifeform by all scientists. Virus particularly. Simple life exists today and it cannot be made any simpler. Biochemists have proved this. It couldn't exist now, and it couldn't have existed a long time ago. It woulnd't have functioned and therefore would not have evolved. Hard knocks for evolution. And you make a good point in my favor by saying that even non-organic molecules aren't simple. That decreases the chances that they would develop naturally.

Incredulity? You think my argument is based on that? Incedulity is an emotion. My argument is based on mathematical probabilities. And since the attittude of the person does not affect the truth (As you so aprtly reeaffirmed) then your attitude does not affect such probabilities.

Okay: You want an exact definiton of the Principle of Uniformity. Here it is.

The principle of uniformity or the "The Principle of Uniformity of Nature" postulates that the laws of nature discovered on Earth apply throughout the universe.

A stronger Uniformity principle is that the laws of event causation have remained constant throughout time (uniformitarianism) as well as applying everywhere in the 'modern' universe. For instance, the idea in Physics that there has been no change in the fine-structure constant since the Big Bang.

There is also another definition that the Principle of Uniformity states that nothing that is now impossible in principle was ever the case in the past.

There it is. The Principle of Uniformity affirms that natural laws are uniform throughout the universe. In my argument, I am reffering to the laws of probability, which make it highly unlikely that the universe could have spontaneoulsy come into being. My watch example is not about comparing natural life to that which is artifical. You misenterpereted. It was a simple demonstration in probability. In fact, becuase the universe is more complex than any watch, the probability of the universe simpley coming into being without guidance is actually less. If you would like, I can use a different analogy, but the effect will be the same:

All the parts of a cell are floating in infinity. What are the chances that they will come together perfectly? Astronomical. Even after millions and millions of years? Still astronomical.

This is a kind exapmle, since I am even giving the cell (A natrual thing) time. Time wouldn't have existed prior to the Universe becuase time, space, and matter must coexist. Also, the cell (Analogous to the Universe) already has all its parts. The Universe would have come from nothing. FInally, the universe is more complex than a cell.

As for life being natural of unnatural, that cannot be assumed or determined directly. It must be deduced through evidence. I was not assuming anything. Just demonstrating the low probability of the universe coming into being spontaneously.

I would enjoy it if you would attempt to tear apart the rest of my arguemnt. Particularly about the Big Bang Theory. By trying to tear apart my arguments against evolution and biogensis, you merely rebuttled my intimations at the nature of God. The Big Bang Theory is the clicker. It is ulimately what decides if there is a God or not. Scientifically at least. All you have proved in your arguemnts is that you disagree with me that God created life. You did not disprove His existence or His involvement in the Big Bang. In fact, unless you can come up with some specific evidence in favor of biogenesis and evolution (I plan to add more against it as the debate goes on), you have failed to disprove any of my points. Most of them you merely conveniently misinterperted to suggest that I was operating on and emotional level and therefore my argument was flawed. As I have clarified, I am operating on natural and mathematical laws to determine probability.
 
Oh yeah... You can't say that life always existed unless the Universe was infinite. But since you did not dispute the Big Bang Theory, we must assume that the Universe is finite. Thus, since life was developed after the Universe, the existence of life must also be finete. In other words, life can not have always existed and evolved.
 
Gees, one last thing. If we are not to determine the origon of life by basing are deductions are life that currently exists, then we would be floating in the dark and using only blind faith. In that case, someone who said that all life arose from a pot of noodle soup would be just as locigally valid as the scientist or creationist. If we can't deduce the origon or development of life by looking at living things today, then evolutionists are way off base becuase that is exactly what they do.

And, of course if bio-genisis is true then it will always be true, regardless of what I think. But it is a double edged sword. If God exists, He will always exist, regardless of what you may or may not believe Dawson.

Sorry, I keep noticing little inconsistencies in the rebuttal and have to keep going back to adress them.
 
Hello again, Pavielle. I appreciate the time you took to interact with my comment. These issues are very interesting to me, and I've given them a lot of thought over the years. It's clear that we have different perspectives on these matters. I'm hoping you can benefit from the discoveries I have made and the verdicts I have established on the topic of theism.

I have composed a reply to your response here:

Responding to Pavielle.

Regards,
Dawson
 
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Is someone going to nail the godboy on the fact that he basically sunk his whole ship by stating that truth is not invented ?
 
Umm... Francois I'm a girl. Thought I would clarify. Of course the truth is not invented. We are simply trying to discover what the truth is through logical means. I didn't make unbakced claims. Besides this is just the beginning... an overview if you will.
 
Keep up the great debate Pavielle! As Thomas Paine once said "You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it." Best wishes!

David
 
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