Arguments and evidence for deism, theism, and miracles

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Arguments and evidence for deism, theism, and miracles

Post #1

Post by otseng »

We have agreed to debate the following:

Is there sufficient evidence to conclude the existence of a deistic God?

And if so, is there sufficient evidence to conclude a theistic worldview whereby this God intervenes in human affairs? Specifically, is there evidentiary justification for concluding that some claims of intervention are authentic whereas others aren't.

---

A thread has been created for followers of this debate to post comments:
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... hp?t=24538
Last edited by otseng on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post #191

Post by no evidence no belief »

Oliver, imagine there were two closed safes. You had no way of opening them, or by any other means investigating how much was in either safe. the amount of money inside each of the two safes is an UNKNOWN QUANTITY.

Would it be reasonable or unreasonable for you to make this statement:

"I have no way of determining what quantity of [money] there is in [Safe A], therefore I will operate under the assumption that there are ZERO DOLLARS in that safe.

Also, I have no way of determining what quantity of [money] there is in [Safe B], therefore I will operate under the assumption that there are a trillion dollars in that safe".

Wouldn't that be utterly nonsensical?

If you have no way of knowing what the quantity of money in either safe is, it already is nonsensical to conclude on the basis of your ignorance of the amount of money, that there is X amount of money in either safe. But SURELY, you are required to be consistent in your conclusion. If, for whatever reason, you conclude on the basis of your ignorance that there are zero dollars in Safe A, you must also conclude there are zero dollars in safe B. Right? Or if you conclude there are a trillion dollars in safe B, you must assume the same for Safe A.

Unless you know something about safe A or safe B, of course. But if you are equally completely ignorant of the quantity in either safe, it makes absolutely no sense to start from the exact same premise (I don't know the quantity inside these two safes) and from that premise derive a conclusion for Safe A and the exact opposite conclusion for Safe B.

Think this over, make a decision, and stick to it. When you are ignorant of any given quantity, do you thereby conclude that the quantity is zero, or that the quantity is a large number?



Now, we don't know the number of universes that exist outside our universe. The number of universes outside ours is an UNKNOWN QUANTITY.

We also don't know the number of combinations of physical constants that can give rise to a big bang. The number of combinations of physical constants is an UNKNOWN QUANTITY.

It's utterly nonsensical to say the following:

"I have no way of determining what quantity of [universes] there are [outside this universe], therefore I will operate under the assumption that there are ZERO UNIVERSES outside this universe.

Also, I have no way of determining what quantity of [physical constant combinations] there are which [can result in a universe], therefore I will operate under the assumption that there are a trillion physical constant combinations".

You have to make a decision and stick to it. When you have no idea whatsoever of a quantity, you must either assume that the quantity is ZERO, or that the quantity is a very large number.

It is fundamentally illogical when faced with two identical scenarios, to make diametrically opposite conclusion about each one. A logical argument which requires you to simultaneously conclude something and its exact opposite about similar situations, is of necessity invalid.


There are three implicit premises to your argument from fine tuning:

1) "The universe as it is, was preferable at the moment of big bang to the universe as it is not." This is a statement that is impossible to support without relying on circular logic
2) "We don't know how many universes exist outside of ours, therefore there are zero". Fundamentally illogical and unwarranted
3) "We don't know how many constant combinations other than ours can cause a universe of any kind to exist, therefore there are billions". Fundamentally illogical and unwarranted, and in direct contradiction with the axiomatic presupposition of premise 2.

Unless all three of these premises are demonstrated to be true, the argument from fine-tuning fails, and all three of these premises are demonstrably absurd and baseless. They are based on circular logic, and unwarranted assumptions that are not only unjustifiable but also in complete full on diametrical mutual contradiction.

Fine tuning fails completely, and on multiple levels, even before we get to my central counter-argument.

To recap our debate so far:
- You have alluded to an "argument from the origin of the universe" without ever actually formulating the argument
- You have made several arguments for IH but conceded (in writing) that they support your explanation no more than its exact opposite
- You have failed to make an argument from fine-tuning.
- You have made and then remade an argument from popularity whereby more people accept God than not, therefore God is real.
- You have failed to give an example of ONE detail in your hypothesis that is not matched by equivalent applicable detail in its anti-hypothesis

Are you ready to concede that, by your general principle, belief in a deist God is unwarranted, or do you have ANY solid argument you wish to present?

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Post #192

Post by no evidence no belief »

Well, you seem to have vanished. While I wait for you to come back, I'll address another thing you said.
Methodological naturalism is false. MN is the underpinning of modern science. By you agreeing that it is false, then you reject a fundamental basis of modern science.
MN, as we defined when we last discussed is the a priori refusal to even entertain the notion that something is true because it conflicts with our current understanding of reality. Obviously I disagree with that, as does every scientist in the world. The reason we don't believe in, say, talking donkeys, is not because we have an a priori rejection of it. It's because there is no good evidence for it, and overwhelming evidence against it.
- It must be timeless. This is also an assumption by modern science. By rejecting that things operate in time, there can be no scientific model.
Modern science accounts for timelessness. Have you ever heard of this guy called Albert Einstein? Singularities? Black holes? Time warping by gravitational fields? Infinite warping at points of infinite gravitational intensity? Doesn't ring a bell?
- It is outside our universe. This means that naturalism is false.
Please Oliver, if you agree to terminology, then stick by it. A model involving stuff outside the universe only falsifies naturalism, if you define what is inside the universe as natural, and what is outside of it as supernatural. We already agreed not to use this loaded and biased terminology in our discussion.

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Post #193

Post by no evidence no belief »

More on the multiple vs single universe.

Scenario 1
Imagine you are looking at a safe in your friend's home. It has been forcibly pried open and it's completely empty. You come to the conclusion that there's been a burglary and immediately call the police.

Scenario 2
Imagine you are looking at a safe in your friend's home. It is hermetically shut, and you have no way of opening it. You have no way of investigating the content. You simply don't know if there is any money in it. From your prospective, the total amount of verifiable money in the safe is ZERO. Because zero dollars can be verified to be in the safe, you conclude that zero dollars actually ARE in the safe. You therefore come to the conclusion that there's been a burglary and immediately call the police.

Do you agree that scenario 1 makes sense, but scenario 2 is fundamentally illogical?

In scenario 1 you conclude that there is actually no money in the safe (and take action accordingly) on the basis of directly observing that there is no money in the safe.

In scenario 2, you conclude that there is actually no money in the safe (and take action accordingly) on the basis of not knowing if there is money in the safe or not. It makes NO sense!

"I don't know if there is any money in the safe, therefore there is no money in the safe, therefore there was a burglary". That is ABSURD.

"I don't know if there is any universe outside of ours, therefore there is no universe outside of ours, therefore there was fine-tuning".



Let me give you another argument. You are presented with a large sealed box at a game show. The show's host tells you that inside that box there is an unknown number of marbles which could range from ZERO to a billion. He then tells you that if you correctly guess the number of marbles in the box, you get $2 million dollars, but if you get it wrong, your will have to pay him $1 million. Alternatively, you can refuse to guess how many marbles are in the box, and automatically receive $500,000.

What would you do?

If not knowing how many marbles there are, were the same as knowing there are zero, then you would say there are zero marbles, and win the $2 million prize, right?

If you would take the $500,000 then you agree that not knowing how many marbles are in the box is not the same as knowing there are zero marbles.

Look at this argument:
1) I don't know how many marbles there are inside the box
2) Therefore there are zero marbles
3) Therefore I will guess there are zero, and make $2 million. There is no risk of losing $1 million.

The argument above is logically flawed, because 2) does NOT logically follow from 1). Right?

How about this one?
1) I don't know how many universes there are outside of ours
2) Therefore there are zero universe
3) Therefore I will base my belief in God on the necessary premise that there are zero universes other than this one


It's over, buddy. The argument for God from fine tuning only works if it's true that there are no universes other than this one. Unfortunately for you, the statement "there are no universes other than this one" is definitely no more true than "there are several universes other than this one".

If a premise of a logical argument cannot be established to be more likely to be true than its antithesis, then the conclusion of the argument cannot be established to be more likely to be true than its antithesis.

According to your general principle, it's only reasonable to believe something if it can be established to be more likely to be true than alternatives (including its antithesis).

By the burden of proof established by you at the start of this debate, fine tuning fails as a logical argument for the deist God.

Fine tuning failed. All your other arguments (kalam, conformity with logic, conformity with what we know to be true, etc) you have conceded. The "argument from the universe's origin" has been referred to, but never presented.

You started this debate by saying that it's only reasonable to hold a belief if logic and evidence support it more than alternatives. You have failed to provide a single piece of logic or evidence that supports your belief more than alternatives. Therefore belief in the deistic God is not reasonable. Do you hereby agree to abandon that belief?

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Post #194

Post by otseng »

Sorry, but I've been extremely busy lately. And it's not going to get any better any time soon. So, I'll be posting my concluding thoughts for this debate.

The main topic of debate for this thread is - Is there sufficient evidence to conclude the existence of a deistic God?

I stated that I would be using an abductive approach in arguing for the existence of God (as opposed to a deductive approach). We would consider all the explanations that are presented and see what is more viable.

We only had time to discuss two issues: the origin of the universe and fine-tuning.

In regards to definitions, we never agreed to what is natural. I presented standard definitions for nature here. The largest scope that these definitions refer to is the universe. No mention is made of other universes. So, it is reasonable to hold that natural would refer only to physical things in our universe.

The only two explanations on the table to explain the origin of the universe are God and NIH.

I would not agree that NIH is really an explanation. It is only stating what the explanation is not, that is, it is not God. But, I was willing to accept this since NENB agreed to rejecting the underpinning of modern science and that the explanation must come from outside modern science.

In the concluding thoughts on the origin of the universe, we agreed to:
- Methodological naturalism is false
- The cause was outside our universe
- The cause was timeless
- The cause cannot be anything that involves time, including string theory

Modern science operates on the assumption that methodological naturalism is true. But, we both agree that it is false. Modern science has no evidence that things exist outside our universe (including other universes). But, we both agree that the cause must be outside our universe. Modern science cannot account for processes that do not involve time (though he claims that Einstein showed this, he has not pointed exactly how). And any theory like string theory which involves time must also be rejected.

I mentioned that NIH is a novel explanation and, to my knowledge, only NENB has offered this as an explanation, in the whole history of the world no less. NENB countered that this is an argumentum ad populum. This would be true if I stated that God must be true because a lot of people believe God created the universe. But, I'm not stating that. I'm not even stating that NIH is false because nobody except NENB believes in it. I'm just pointing out the fact only NENB has offered NIH as an explanation for the origin of the universe, which he has not disputed.

NENB claims that God and NIH are equivalent. To that, I would agree if he also concedes that NIH can also be classified as a supernatural miracle. Of course, he would reject labeling NIH as a supernatural miracle, so they are not actually equivalent.

God has been the standard explanation for the origin of the universe for thousands of years. Even up to now, there is not really another explanation that is viable, including NIH, if that can be considered an explanation at all.

For fine-tuning, I posted my concluding thoughts awhile ago. NENB had not offered any other explanation to God for fine-tuning until I mentioned that McCulloch offered the multiverse theory.

NENB admits that "We don't have evidence that other universes exist." Yet, he still claims that other universes can exist. If he accepts this, then I could've just said at the very beginning that there is no evidence for God, but he still exists. It's also a bit ironic that his username is "no evidence no belief". I'm not sure what that means if he himself admits that there is no evidence for other universes, but yet claims that other universes do exist.

If one can believe in something where there is no evidence for it (other universes), then I pretty much rest my case in regards to God. If this is the standard, then accepting God should be acceptable, even for an atheist that claims there is no evidence for God. But, the argument for God does not need to rest on this. I've presented arguments to show that God is a viable explanation compared to the others to address the issues of the origin of the universe and fine-tuning. It does not prove that God exist, but it is certainly reasonable to believe that a creator God exists.

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Post #195

Post by no evidence no belief »

otseng wrote: Sorry, but I've been extremely busy lately. And it's not going to get any better any time soon. So, I'll be posting my concluding thoughts for this debate.

The main topic of debate for this thread is - Is there sufficient evidence to conclude the existence of a deistic God?

I stated that I would be using an abductive approach in arguing for the existence of God (as opposed to a deductive approach). We would consider all the explanations that are presented and see what is more viable.

We only had time to discuss two issues: the origin of the universe and fine-tuning.
I'm beginning to think that the "origin of the universe" isn't an argument in and of itself. I must guess that by that term you mean the group of half dozen arguments you presented (Kalam, conformity with logic, conformity with what we know is true, etc), all of which you conceded were not valid arguments for God.

So of the two sets of arguments you allege you presented, the first is dead in the water. I don't want to hear ANYTHING anymore about the arguments from the "origin of the universe" until you point to one you've made which you didn't subsequently concede.

Fine-tuning is still ongoing. You have yet to respond to the two counterarguments I've presented (and I have two more).
In regards to definitions, we never agreed to what is natural. I presented standard definitions for nature here. The largest scope that these definitions refer to is the universe. No mention is made of other universes. So, it is reasonable to hold that natural would refer only to physical things in our universe.
The complete lack of logical rigor in your statement above ASTOUNDS me.

FACT 1: Jenny is a girl

FACT 2: Mary is a girl

Fact 3: No mention is made of Robin's gender.

Is it reasonable to hold that Robin is a boy on the basis of no mention being made of his/her gender?


FACT 1: Stuff inside the solar system is natural

FACT 2: Stuff inside our galaxy is natural

FACT 3: No mention is made of whether stuff outside the universe is natural or supernatural

Is it reasonable to hold that stuff outside the universe is supernatural on the basis of NO MENTION of that being made?


Where do you get the notion that if something is unknown or unclear, you can arbitrarily decide that it is whatever fits your fancy the most?

You do that with everything! We don't know how many universes there are? Let's say there is only one.
We don't know how many permutations of physical constants can result in a big bang? Let's say there are billions
We don't know whether stuff outside the universe is natural or supernatural? Let's say it's supernatural

The only two explanations on the table to explain the origin of the universe are God and NIH.

I would not agree that NIH is really an explanation. It is only stating what the explanation is not, that is, it is not God.
Wow. Really?

There are a bunch of details to your hypothesis, and a bunch of details to mine. You've had the opportunity to mention one detail in yours that isn't present in mine and FAILED TO DO SO. I don't want to hear anything about my explanation being less viable than yours until you present one applicable detail that appears in yours and not in mine.

Look, I've already made this analogy before, and you conveniently ignored it, of course. Please respond to this if you disagree, or automatically concede if you ignore it... again!

Assume there is a cup of coffee on a table. Your hypothesis is that it's a regular coffee, mine is that it's a black coffee.

The only difference between your hypothesis and mine is that you claim the presence of milk and sugar, and I claim the absence of milk and sugar.

The simple fact that you claim presence of x and I claim absence of x, does NOT make your hypothesis more viable than mine. Do you understand this extremely basic concept?

If both our theories involve a mug, and warm water, and coffee, but yours involves the presence of milk and sugar and mine involves the absence, my hypothesis is NOT just a meaningless contrarian refusal to say anything other than reject your theory.

If both our theories involve the universe, it's beginning, a timeless setting, but your involves the presence of an intelligent being and mine involves the absence, my hypothesis is NOT just a meaningless contrarian refusal to say anything other than reject your theory.

We both have equally viable hypotheses, by your general principle you are required to demonstrate that your hypothesis has more logic and evidence in support of it than mine, before it becomes reasonable to believe it.... and you HAVEN'T.

Every single argument you've made you either conceded, or is still ongoing and you have yet to address my counter arguments.
But, I was willing to accept this since NENB agreed to rejecting the underpinning of modern science and that the explanation must come from outside modern science.

In the concluding thoughts on the origin of the universe, we agreed to:
- Methodological naturalism is false
- The cause was outside our universe
- The cause was timeless
- The cause cannot be anything that involves time, including string theory

Modern science operates on the assumption that methodological naturalism is true. But, we both agree that it is false.
I cannot believe this. Dude, if you're going to debate yourself, please do it in the privacy of your own home. If you want to debate ME, then you HAVE TO show me the courtesy of responding to my counters to your statements, instead of ignoring them.

I already said multiple times that methodological naturalism, as it was defined in our debate, is NOT the underpinning of modern science. It's the opposite of that.

Methodological naturalism is the dogmatic, faith-based creed that we know everything and it's impossible that anything exists outside the sphere of our current knowledge.

Methodological naturalism is the stubborn and illogical refusal to consider that stuff which we didn't expect might happen.

There isn't anything in the universe that is more clearly the exact opposite of the scientific method than this.

As I said, scientists disbelieve in Mohamed's flying horse NOT out of an a priori refusal to accept the possibility. Scientists disbelieve in flying horses simply because there is overwhelming evidence that horses don't fly and no good evidence that horses fly.

Science is always revising its models as new evidence and better observations come up. We went from Aristotelian Gravity, to Newtonian Gravity to Einstenian Gravity. Each one has some degree of explanatory and predictive power, but each subsequent one is better than the previous ones. Sometime in the future we may find a new gravitational theory that is outside of science's current sphere of knowledge, and then we'll go with that.

An a priori refusal to change and to adapt to incoming new information about that which we don't yet understand is not the province of science. It's the specialty of religion.

Methodological naturalism, the a priori refusal to consider that there is something left to discover, is the exact opposite of science. I reject it, as does every scientist in the world.
Modern science has no evidence that things exist outside our universe (including other universes).
False.

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/42 ... universes/

http://www.space.com/25100-multiverse-c ... waves.html

https://www.catholic.org/news/technolog ... p?id=51025

Can anybody please give me an example of something more ironic than evidence that completely obliterates Oliver's argument coming from scientific findings accepted by the catholic church?
But, we both agree that the cause must be outside our universe.
right. As per the empirical evidence presented by modern science, and accepted by everybody including the church.
Modern science cannot account for processes that do not involve time (though he claims that Einstein showed this, he has not pointed exactly how).
Oliver. E=mc2. Please. We know that space-time is warped by gravitational fields. We know that sufficiently large gravitational fields (like black holes) can warp space-time sufficiently that time bends onto itself.

At a singularity time stops. We know this. There is conclusive evidence of this.

The same theory that measures this, is also that which causes your gps to work. STOP IT.

Just catch up on the last century of scientific progress.
And any theory like string theory which involves time must also be rejected.
Please indicate where string theory is stated to be contingent on an unwarped space-time continuum? If you discovered by yourself that relativistic einstenian time (which accounts for timelessness) is incompatible with string theory, please, please, please immediately call a press conference, once your work is peer reviewed, you will become the most famous scientist in the world. Think of how much good you could do in the name of Christ, with all the millions your fame will bring you.
I mentioned that NIH is a novel explanation and, to my knowledge, only NENB has offered this as an explanation, in the whole history of the world no less. NENB countered that this is an argumentum ad populum. This would be true if I stated that God must be true because a lot of people believe God created the universe. But, I'm not stating that. I'm not even stating that NIH is false because nobody except NENB believes in it. I'm just pointing out the fact only NENB has offered NIH as an explanation for the origin of the universe, which he has not disputed.
I HAVE disputed this. I have said that in my opinion every atheist in the world believes in some kind of mechanistic process that caused the universe to begin existing in the absence of intelligent guidance, but obviously you would only know that if you'd bother reading my posts.

In any case, I completely agree that this is completely irrelevant, so please don't bring it up anymore.
NENB claims that God and NIH are equivalent. To that, I would agree if he also concedes that NIH can also be classified as a supernatural miracle. Of course, he would reject labeling NIH as a supernatural miracle, so they are not actually equivalent.
Again, with your silly argument on semantics.

I don't care if you call the universe coming into existence by mechanistic processes not involving god a "supernatural miracle". You could call it "hallelujah-praise-Jesus-I saw-the-virgin-mary-on-burnt-toast-supernatural-miracle". I don't care. You could call it "Luca-is-totally-wrong-Oliver-wins-the-debate"". I don't care.

I was rejecting the use of those terms earlier because they would be confusing to external readers. But call them what you want, man. The fact remains that my "praise-the-lord-I-am-saved" hypothesis which does not involve a creator, is no less viable than yours. There is no more evidence for yours than there is for mine. By the general principle that started this debate, you are NOT reasonable if you believe in God.

Picking the right word to describe a concept, is only useful insofar as it points to the concept. The word doesn't change the concept. Call the hypothesis which excludes God whatever you wish, it still remains just as viable as the god hypothesis.
God has been the standard explanation for the origin of the universe for thousands of years. Even up to now, there is not really another explanation that is viable, including NIH, if that can be considered an explanation at all.
Well, it can be considered an explanation. You haven't pointed to a single applicable detail in IH that isn't also found in NIH.

Asserting that you don't like NIH doesn't really help you. You have to either demonstrate that it's not a viable hypothesis, which you havent, or demonstrate that logic and evidence support your hypothesis more than mine, which you haven't.
For fine-tuning, I posted my concluding thoughts awhile ago. NENB had not offered any other explanation to God for fine-tuning until I mentioned that McCulloch offered the multiverse theory.
Right, I didn't offer any alternate explanation, until I did. And your point is?

I have three alternate explanations. I just didn't get round to them, because I'm still waiting for you to address the issues of the implicit premises of your explanation. Your explanation requires that you assume that life was preferable to non-life at the moment of the big bang. Can you please justify this premise without using your conclusion as a premise? Or can you at least explain why you don't have to do that? Can you do anything other than completely ignore my rebuttal to your position?
NENB admits that "We don't have evidence that other universes exist." Yet, he still claims that other universes can exist. If he accepts this, then I could've just said at the very beginning that there is no evidence for God, but he still exists.
INCREDIBLE! I can't believe you just did this! Let's go through this slowly.

"I don't know if X exists or not, therefore it's possible that X exists" is a fair statement.

"I don't know if X exists or not, therefore X exists" is NOT a fair statement.

I misspoke when I said that there is no evidence that other universes exist. There is quite a lot of empirical evidence for that. But even if you reject that evidence, it remains true that saying "x can exist" and "x exists" are completely different propositions.

To say that something can exists despite the presence of sufficient evidence is reasonable.

To say that something DOES exist, despite the presence of sufficient evidence is NOT reasonable.

It's possible that other universes exist and it's possible that God exists. Please present logic and evidence in favor of your position.

It's also a bit ironic that his username is "no evidence no belief". I'm not sure what that means if he himself admits that there is no evidence for other universes, but yet claims that other universes do exist.
I do not claim that other universes exist. although there is some empirical evidence for them, I'm still not persuaded.

What I DO say, is that we don't know the total number of universes in existence other than this one. Therefore any argument for God which is CONTINGENT on knowing there are ZERO universes other than this one, remains non-viable until we've gone from NOT KNOWING if one of the argument's premises is true, to KNOWING it.
If one can believe in something where there is no evidence for it (other universes), then I pretty much rest my case in regards to God. If this is the standard, then accepting God should be acceptable, even for an atheist that claims there is no evidence for God.
You are absolutely right. If believing that other universes existed despite the lack of evidence were acceptable, then believing in Allah or Yahweh or Santa or the Deistic God despite the lack of evidence would also be acceptable.

Here's the thing:

Believing other universes exist despite the lack of evidence IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

And neither is believing in the Deist God in the lack of evidence.

I never ever ever ever said that believing in multiple universes without evidence is acceptable. I said that some empirical evidence for multiple universes does exist, but isn't sufficient for me to be persuaded.

I don't know the number of universes that currently exist, have existed or will exist. I do not know. If there was an argument that contained the premise that 18 universes existed, I couldn't make that argument, because it would be based on a premise that I cannot demonstrate to be true.

You have an argument which contains the premise that no universe exists, has existed or will ever exist other than this one (your fine-tuning argument). You CANNOT demonstrate that this premise is true, and yet you insist on making that argument. It's bunk, buddy.
But, the argument for God does not need to rest on this. I've presented arguments to show that God is a viable explanation compared to the others to address the issues of the origin of the universe and fine-tuning.
Right. Every single argument from the family of arguments called "origin of the universe" has failed. There isn't a single one you haven't conceded was no more of an argument for God than for NIH.

Fine tuning is still ongoing, and you systematically refuse to address my rebuttals, which after a while becomes patently obvious is the equivalent of conceding.

Please link an argument from the origin of the universe that you haven't conceded.

Life being preferable to non-life at the moment of the big bang is a necessary premise of fine-tuning. Please demonstrate that it's true without using your conclusion as a premise.

ZERO being the exact total number of universes that exist, have existed or will exist, is a necessary premise of fine-tuning. Please provide evidence that this is true. Please do not use the ostrich "I cannot see it therefore it doesn't exist" approach.

Millions or billions being the total number of physical constant permutations that will result in a big bang, is a necessary premise of fine-tuning. Please present evidence that this is true. Please do not use the reverse ostrich "I cannot see it, therefore there are billions of them" approach.
It does not prove that God exist, but it is certainly reasonable to believe that a creator God exists.
No buddy. By your general principle, it's only reasonable to believe in something if evidence and logic support it more than alternatives.

Every single piece of logic or evidence you've presented, you've either conceded supports your explanation no more than mine, or you've refused to address my rebuttals to.

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Post #196

Post by no evidence no belief »

Conclusion

We agreed to debate the existence of the Deist God (and also eventually the theist God).

We agreed on the general principle that it's only reasonable to believe in any given proposition, if logic and evidence support it more than competing propositions.

On that basis, Oliver proposed that the universe began to exist by virtue of a non-mechanistic event in a timeless setting, and that an intelligent entity was involved in this event.

I proposed that the universe began to exist by virtue of a mechanistic process in a timeless setting, and that intelligence was not involved.

Oliver has contested that my proposition is a valid counter to his. He claims that it is less detailed than his, but has failed to present ONE example of applicable detail in his proposition that isn't met with perfect symmetry by detail in mine. He has claimed that my proposition is not an explanation of what happened, just a statement about what DIDN'T happen. On two occasions I responded to this with the analogy of the cup of coffee that can be seen in the post directly above this, and he has not responded to that.

Because he couldn't indicate a single detail in his proposition that doesn't appear in mine as well, and because he was not able to respond to my coffee cup analogy, it is clear that Oliver concedes that my explanation is as viable as his. This state of affairs stands despite his proclamations to the contrary, unless he provides an example of a missing detail in my proposition, or addresses my cup of coffee analogy.

Therefore, it is and remains acceptable to compare the amount of logic and evidence in support of our two competing propositions.

With that in mind, under the umbrella of "arguments from the origin of the universe", Oliver presented several logical arguments in support of his proposition, but was later forced to concede that NONE of those arguments count as evidence or logic in favor of his proposition, and that indeed they support my proposition (the antithesis to his) to an equal degree.

Therefore all the arguments from the origin of the universe have been debunked, by Oliver's admission.

Subsequently Oliver went on to the argument from fine-tuning. As per the wikipedia article he linked, the argument starts from the observation that the universe is as it is and not as it isn't, as a result of the physical constants that caused it being the way they are and not the way they aren't. This simple observation about causality spurs the following question: What caused the physical constants to be the way they are?

Oliver offers one explanation: God did it.
This explanation can only be true if all three premises below are true.
1) At the moment of the big bang, the universe as it is was preferable to the universe as it isn't.
2) There is only one universe, this one
3) There is a very large number of possible permutations of physical constants which could result in a big bang and some kind of universe

I offer three explanations. Blind chance, statistical inevitability and actual inevitability.
Blind chance is contingent on this premise: At the moment of the big bang, the universe as it is, was not preferable to the universe as it isn't.
Statistical inevitability is contingent on this premise: There are, were or will be, several universes other than this one
Actual inevitability is contingent on this premise: There is only a handful of ways that it's possible for physical constants to be arranged that will result in a big bang.

So, for the fine-tuning argument for God to be established to be a reasonable explanation, all three premises have to be demonstrated to be true. For one of the three counters to fine tuning, any one of the three opposite premises have to be demonstrated to be true.

Therefore, to demonstrate that believe in the Deist God is reasonable, Oliver has to present logic and evidence in support of the facts that the universe as is was preferable to alternatives at the moment of the big bang, that no universe other than this one exists, existed or will ever exist, and that there is a large number of viable physical constant permutations.

Once he has presented the logic and evidence in support of these premises, I will present the logic and evidence in support of the opposing premises. If all three of his premises have greater logical and evidentiary support than any one of mine, it will be reasonable to believe them, and to believe in fine-tuning as a result. Otherwise it will not.

And that's how far we got in the debate. We've only scratched the surface of this topic.


A few side issues came up along the way, which I'd like to summarize here.

We discussed methodological naturalism. I expressed my opposition to an a priori disbelief in necromancy, Santa, talking donkeys and Gandalf, and explained that such an a priori dogmatic rejection is just as bad as an a priori acceptance, and that scientists disbelief in necromancy, Santa, talking donkeys and Gandalf, simply on the basis of Oliver's general principle. Namely, because logic and evidence support alternate explanations much much more. Oliver has not contested my position, indeed we had come to an agreement on this earlier in the debate. Subsequently, he forgot or ignored the fact that we had already agreed on this, and inaccurately characterized my position on methodological naturalism, and ignored my subsequent complaint. This is basically equivalent to a concession.

Also, an issue of semantics came up. I operate like this: If no indication is given of whether X or not-X is true, I come to the conclusion that we cannot establish whether X or not-X is true. It seems that Oliver operates like this: If we cannot establish whether X or not-X is true, then whichever favors his argument is true.

On that basis, Oliver stated that since in most online definitions it does not establish whether stuff outside our universe is natural or supernatural, therefore it's supernatural.

On the basis of that utterly illogical position, he therefore claimed that my explanation that the universe was caused by a mechanistic causal process which in principle is similar to that which is being reproduced at the Large Hadron Collider, is like saying that it was a "supernatural miracle". Of course, I objected to his position, not only because it was based on faulty logic but because it would be highly confusing to external readers to see the words "supernatural miracle", which are typically associated with Goblins, Fairies and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, used to describe a mechanistic process which is well within the realm of science. But beyond this marginal opposition, I don't really care what term is used to describe a concept. So, Oliver can call "the universe coming into being by a mechanistic process in the absence of God" whatever he wants. He can call it "Hurrah-for-the-Prince-of-Peace-he-died-for-our-sins". It doesn't change that logic and evidence for my proposition is no less than that for God.



We're smack in the middle of the debate. While Oliver was kind enough to unilaterally concede all arguments from the origin of the universe, he hasn't even begun to address my counters to fine tuning. In other words, after conceding every single argument for God he previously presented, Oliver (totally coincidentally) decides to post his "concluding thoughts" and walk away from the debate without responding to the counters I've raised to his latest argument. His "concluding thoughts" not only fail to address my most recent rebuttals to fine tuning, but completely contradict and ignore points I had made previously which he had already agreed to, such as the compatibility of string theory and timelessness, and my take on methodological naturalism.



Can there by any doubt that Oliver lost the debate, if he does ANYTHING other than the following:

1) Provide logic and evidence in support of the notion that the universe as it is was PREFERABLE at the moment of the big bang, to the universe as it is not
2) Provide logic and evidence in support of the notion that if we don't know the quantity of universes outside of ours, therefore the quantity is ZERO.
3) Provide logic and evidence in support of the notion that if we don't know the quantity of permutations of physical constants that can cause a big bang, therefore the number is in the billions
4) Provide ONE single applicable detail in his hypothesis on how the universe came to be, that isn't paralleled by an equivalent detail in my hypothesis
5) Counter my coffee cup analogy

OR

6) Concede fine tuning just like he conceded all origin of the universe arguments, and present some new argument.

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