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Does God Exist?

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TheCookingCardsmanTheCookingCardsman (PRO)
I thank rudra_pandya for accepting this debate. In this opening round, I will lay out an opening argument on why I believe that it is more plausible than not that God exists. For clarification on the rules of this debate (burden of proof, clarification of position, etc.), I would kindly ask the judges to look at the rules page. Without further ado, let's begin!
==============================================================================================================================One and Sole Contention: The Kalam Cosmological Argument
This is a deductive argument formulated by Dr. William Lane Craig that goes as follows:

Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause
Premise 2: The universe began to exist
Conclusion: Therefore the universe has a cause

Now, as you can see, the conclusion itself doesn't say that God exists, but that will be explained later. For now, I will try and prove that this argument, is in-fact valid and sound.

Sub-Point A: Defense of Premise 1
There are a few reasons for supporting premise 1:

(1). Something cannot come from nothing. Nothing is defined as "not anything" [1]. Denying this premise means my opponent believes that some things do in fact come into being from nothing. He has to believe that the entire universe just appeared for no reason whatsoever. But could anyone sincerely believe that something like a car, for example, could just come into being without a cause? If not, then there is no reason to believe that the universe would do so either.

(2). If something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn't come into being from nothing. Do keyboards, chairs, and donkeys just come into being from nothing? No? Then why is it that the universe can? Nothingness has no properties, so nothingness can't favor anything. Nor does nothingness have any constraints, for there is nothing to be constrained!
Therefore, we can be reasonably convinced that premise 1 is true. Or at the very least, that it is more plausible than not.

Sub-Point B: Defense of Premise 2
There are several reasons for supporting premise 2. These can be broken down into philosophical and scientific arguments:

(1). Philosophical Argument(s)The philosopher Ghazali argued that an infinite number of things cannot exist [2]. To be more specific, he recognized that a potentially infinite number of things could exist, but that an actually infinite number of things could not exist.

To clarify, a potentially infinite means that infinity is just a limit which is never reached [3]. For example, you can divide any finite distance in half, and then into fourths, and then into eighths, sixteenths, and so on to infinity. The number of division is potentially infinite (in the sense that it could go on forever), but you wouldn't ever arrive at the "infinitieth" division. You would never have an actually infinite number of parts or divisions.

An actual infinite, Ghazali argues, cannot exist because various absurdities would arise [2]. If we are to avoid these absurdities, then we can't accept the idea that an actual infinite exists. This means that the number of past events cannot be actually infinite. Which in turn means that the universe cannot be without beginning.

A good illustration of showing the absurdities that would arise from an actual infinite is "Hilbert's Hotel", which is an illustration used by German mathematician David Hilbert. Gregor Gamow, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, describes the Hilbert Hotel Paradox in his book One Two Three...Infinity as follows [4]:

"Let us imagine a hotel with a finite number of rooms, and assume that all the rooms are occupied. A new guest arrives and asks for a room.

'Sorry,' says the proprietor, 'but all the rooms are occupied.'

Now let us imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, and all the rooms are occupied. To this hotel, too, comes a new guest and asks for a room.

'But of course!' exclaims the proprietor, and he moves the person previously occupying room N1 into room N2, the person from room N2 into room N3, the person from room N3 into room N4, and so on…. And the new customer receives room N1, which became free as the result of these transpositions.

Let us imagine now a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, all taken up, and an infinite number of new guests who come in and ask for rooms.

'Certainly, gentlemen,' says the proprietor, 'just wait a minute.'

He moves the occupant of N1 into N2, the occupant of N2 into N4, and occupant of N3 into N6, and so on, and so on…Now all odd-numbered rooms became free and the infinite of new guests can easily be accommodated in them."

Hilbert's Hotel clearly showcases how an actual infinite number of things is absurd. Therefore, we can conclude that the universe had a beginning and can summarize Ghazali's argument as follows:

Premise 1: An actual infinite cannot exist
Premise 2: An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite
Conclusion: Therefore an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist

Ghazali actually formulated another argument (independent from the first argument) for the beginning of the universe [2]. He states that there is no series which can be formed by adding one member to another that can actually be infinite.

This is pretty easy to understand. No matter how high you try to count, there is always an infinite amount of numbers left to count. Therefore, if you can't count up to infinity, then how could you form a series that is infinite?

Let's consider a simple example. If I wanted to shoot the person in front of me, but I had to ask the person behind me for permission. And that person had to ask the person behind him. And that person had to ask the person behind him, so on and so forth, could I ever shoot the person in front of me? Well, of course not! Because if there was an infinite line of people, then I would never actually end up shooting anybody.
But unlike the example (where I couldn't shoot anyone), the universe does in fact exist! Which means that an infinite past is in fact impossible, so the universe must have had a finite beginning. 

This can be summarized in syllogism form as follows:

Premise 1: A collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite
Premise 2: The temporal series of events is a collection formed by successive addition
Conclusion: Therefore, the temporal series of events cannot be an actual infinite

(2). Scientific Argument
There is a vast amount of scientific evidence which also confirms that the universe had a beginning. I will present two pieces of evidence:

1. Alexander, Guth, Vilenkin Theorem
Briefly summarized by Vilenkin, the theorem states:

"Loosely speaking, our theorem states that if the universe is, on average, expanding, then its history cannot be indefinitely continued into the past. More precisely, if the average expansion rate is positive along a given world line, or geodesic, then this geodesic must terminate after a finite amount of time. Different geodesics, different times. The important point is that the past history of the universe cannot be complete" [5]

He continues to state that this theorem is very general, making no specific assumptions about gravity or matter, "The BGV theorem is sweeping in its generality. It makes no assumptions about gravity or matter. Gravity may be attractive or repulsive, light rays may converge or diverge, and even general relativity may decline into desuetude: the theorem would still hold" [5]

Furthermore, he writes: "The answer to the question, 'Did the universe have a beginning?' is, 'It probably did.' We have no viable models of an eternal universe. The BGV theorem gives us reason to believe that such models simply cannot be constructed." [5]

We can conclude that the chances of the universe not having a beginning are extremely low, and that it is certainly more plausible that the universe did in fact have a beginning.

2. Second Law of Thermodynamics
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the state of entropy of the entire universe, as an isolated system will always increase over time [6]. The Second Law also states that the changes in the entropy in the universe can never be negative [6]. This combined with the First Law of Thermodynamics (The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can be converted from one form to another with the interaction of heat, work and internal energy, but it cannot be created nor destroyed, under any circumstances [7]) shows that the universe has only been using energy for a finite amount of time.

For example, suppose your car is running and using up all available fuel (second law), and no new fuel is put into the fuel tank (first law), it would be safe to say that your car has not been running for an infinite amount of time. If the universe had been around eternally, then it would have run out of usable energy. There is no way that a universe can run for an infinite amount of time on a finite amount of energy.
Therefore, we can conclude that the universe must have been finite.

Sub-Point C: The Nature Of The Cause
So, now that we have confirmed our conclusion that the universe has a cause, we must wonder what the most plausible explanation for this cause is. We have 4 options, each of which I will go through and come to the most plausible conclusion.

Option 1: The Cause Was Nothing
As stated before, nothing is defined as "not anything" [1]. Imagine if all matter and energy were to vanquish, that would be nothing. It would be the absence of anything. Nothing is completely absent of causal conditions, as it isn't anything in the first place! How exactly, then, could the universe come into being from nothing?

A common objection to this is the quantum vacuum, where particles come into existence from 'nothing'. However, the quantum vacuum is in fact something. As the laws of physics are still valid, and it is a state of fleeting energy. Therefore, it is not nothing, rather it is something physical.

Therefore, we can conclude that this option cannot be correct. At the very least, we can conclude that it is HIGHLY unlikely.

Option 2: The Cause Of The Universe Is Itself
This, I feel, is even more absurd than option 1. In order for the universe to create itself, it must have been in existence in the first place, which is obviously not possible. 

To illustrate the absurdity of this point, consider the following question. Was it possible for your mother to give birth to herself? To answer yes would mean that she would have to be born before she was born. When something comes into being it means it once did not exist, and therefore had no power to do anything. To claim that something created itself would be impossible, as it did not have any power before it was created in order to create itself.

Therefore, we can see that this option is also incorrect.

Option 3: The Cause of the Universe Was By Something Else That Was Created
Let's assume that we agree with this option. But by agreeing, one would raise another valid question: "what created that thing?". And this would go on forever. I've already given philosophical arguments on why this would never work. Just to remind you, here is another illustration:

Imagine if a stock trader was not able to buy or sell stocks before asking permission from the investor. But the investor said he needed to ask permission from someone else. And that person needed to ask another person for permission, so on and so forth. If this was the case, the stock trader would never be able to buy or sell anything at all.

However, the universe does exist, so it cannot in-fact be an infinite past. Therefore, the cause cannot be a created creator. 

Option 4: The Cause Of The Universe Was Something Uncreated
The final option we are left with is an uncaused cause. Essentially, it comes down to two ideas. Either the universe always existed eternally (which was actually believed unanimously by the scientific community until just around 85 years ago or so) or an uncaused creator created the universe. Since the universe definitely did begin to exist, there must have been an uncaused cause.

The most plausible out of all 4 explanations is that there is an uncaused creator of the universe.
==============================================================================================================================SOURCES:[1] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/nothing
[2] https://www.ghazali.org/works/taf-eng.pdf
[3] http://sites.middlebury.edu/fyse1229pisapati/mathematical-work/potential-infinite-v-actual-infinite
[4]Gamow, George.One, Two, Three-- Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science. New York: Dover Publications, 1988. Print.
[5] http://inference-review.com/article/the-beginning-of-the-universe
[7] https://chem.libretexts.org/Core/Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry/Thermodynamics/Laws_of_Thermodynamics/First_Law_of_Thermodynamics

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2017-07-04 05:08:54
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Just clarification, in the first line of the argument, I meant to write "One and Sole Contention". Sorry, must have accidently deleted the one
Posted 2017-07-04 05:10:49
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BURDEN OF PROOF: The burden of proof in this debate will be shared. It is Pro's burden of proof that it is more plausible than not that God Exists. It is Con's position to prove that it is more plausible than not that God doesn't exist. CLARIFICATION ON POSITION: It is also important to note that I'm not arguing for a specific God per say (e.g. Christianity, Islam, etc.), but rather, for a creator of the universe. NO TROLLING: Pretty obvious, but just wanted to put it out there. QUESTIONS?: Feel free to comment if you have any questions!