Debate the topic "Does an Intelligent Designer of the universe exist?"
This is a challenge to anyone who wants to defend the proposition that an Intelligent Designer does not exist. I will defend its negation in a LOGICAL, RATIONAL manner. There will be no arguments made on the basis of faith. Considering the location of this forum, it would seem reasonable to expect the same type of argument in return. However, in my limited experience with atheists, I've yet to witness one who could actually produce this type of argument. Nonetheless, I am optimistic that I may encounter a worthy foe eventually.
So here is the game plan. I will provide multiple arguments in favor of my position. These arguments will be supported by a multitude of scientific and philosophical evidence. If you are to be successful in defending your position, you must first tear down my arguments, and then erect in their place a positive case of your own. So if you happen to be someone who suffers from intellectually laziness by thinking it is sufficient for you to just resort to unsubstantiated skepticism to defend your claim, please, abstain from engaging. You see the topic of this debate is "Does an Intelligent Designer of the universe exist?". It is not a proposition, but rather a question. So their is no place here for anyone who likes to play the "you are the one asserting the claim so you have the burden of proof-card", considering both sides will be making claims. So I welcome anyone capable of accomplishing this in a LOGICAL, RATIONAL manner.
My first argument is on the basis of the existence of the universe. It is by no means any new, groundbreaking argument that I have authored. However, I've yet to witness a cogent rebuttal of it.
The argument is as follows.
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
I have no doubt that you are familiar with the structure of an argument. So as you can see, this argument is air tight logically. That is to say that based on the 2 premises, the conclusion is logically inescapable. So to dispute the conclusion, one must argue against the truth of one or both premises, demonstrating they are less plausible than their negation. In accordance, I will attempt to demonstrate their validity with the following:
Support of premise 1
A. For something to come into being without any cause whatsoever would be to come into being from nothing. This would be worse that magic. If a magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat, at least you have a cause, even if it is the deceiving magician. But this is still better than NOTHING. I don't think anyone sincerely believes that things, like say, a horse or an Eskimo village, can just pop into being without a cause.
B. If something could come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn't come into being from nothing. Why don't bicycles and root beer POP into being? Why only universes?
C. I would assert common experience and scientific evidence confirm premise 1.
Support of premise 2
A. The universally accepted "Big Bang" model.
B. Redshift of light.
C. Abundance of certain light elements.
D. Microwave cosmic background radiation.
E. The thermodynamics of the universe.
F. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem
Clarification of the Cause
A. For think of what the universe is: ALL of space-time reality,including ALL matter and energy.
B. As the cause of space-time, matter and energy, this cause must be transcendent. Therefore, it is nonphysical, uncaused, immaterial, unimaginably powerful, and beyond space and time.
C. Furthermore, it must be a personal being. This is the only way a timeless cause can create a temporal effect. This is because if a cause is sufficient to produce its effect, then if the cause is there, the effect must be there too. To illustrate, water freezes @0C. The cause of the freezing is the temperature achieving 0C. If the temperature was always 0C, the water is eternally frozen. It would be impossible for the water to begin to freeze a finite time ago. Since the universe began to exist a finite time ago, its cause would have to be a personal being with free will, who chose to create as a free act, independent of any prior conditions.
D. To further illustrate why this cause must be a personal agent, consider causality. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes. A prime-mover is unavoidable for the chain of events to begin. So whatever this may be, it has to be an uncaused cause, which exists by a necessity of its own nature. It follows logically that this cause must contain within itself the cause for the initial event. This is only achievable for an agent that is capable of free-will. Which, by nature, constitutes personal, intelligent beings. We experience this type of causation regularly. To illustrate, imagine 100 dominoes arranged in a manner that would allow you to push the first, into the second, into the third...into the hundredth. Assume you push the first, and they all fall as planned. If we then ask what was the immediate cause of #100 falling, we would say #99 knocked it over. It would follow that the immediate cause of #99 to fall, was #98, and so on all the way to #1. Now, what was the cause of #1 to fall? We could say because you pushed it. Okay, what caused you to push it? Easy, you chose to. But what caused you to choose to? You wanted to, simple as that. You had to make a choice, push it, or don't push it. This is an antonymical pair that exhausts all possibilities. Maybe their were factors that were considered in making your decision, but ultimately, none directly caused you to act. You acted because you chose to, end of story. Every event now has sufficient cause for happening, and we need look no further.
This demonstrates the existence of a beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, changeless, immaterial, enormously powerful, Personal Creator of the universe, which I happen to call, God.
The second argument is in regards to the fine-tuning of not only the universe as a whole, but also biological organisms.
1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to physical necessity, chance, or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3. Therefore, it is due to design.
Now again, this is logically iron-clad argument. That is to say if the premises are true, the conclusion follows inescapably. So are the premises more plausible than their negation?
Before we discuss this argument, it’s important to understand that by “fine-tuning” one does not mean “designed” (otherwise the argument would be obviously circular). Rather during the last forty years or so, scientists have discovered that the existence of intelligent life depends upon a complex and delicate balance of initial conditions given in the Big Bang itself. This is known as the fine-tuning of the universe.
This fine-tuning is of two sorts. First, when the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations, you find appearing in them certain constants, like the constant that represents the force of gravity. These constants are not determined by the laws of nature. The laws of nature are consistent with a wide range of values for these constants. Second, in addition to these constants, there are certain arbitrary quantities that are put in just as initial conditions on which the laws of nature operate, for example, the amount of entropy or the balance between matter and anti-matter in the universe. Now all of these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values. Were these constants or quantities to be altered by less than a hair’s breadth, the life-permitting balance would be destroyed, and no living organisms of any kind could exist.
For example, a change in the strength of the atomic weak force by only one part in 10100 would have prevented a life-permitting universe. The cosmological constant which drives the inflation of the universe and is responsible for the recently discovered acceleration of the universe’s expansion is inexplicably fine-tuned to around one part in 10120. Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of the Big Bang’s low entropy condition existing by chance are on the order of one out of 1010(123). Penrose comments, “I cannot even recall seeing anything else in physics whose accuracy is known to approach, even remotely, a figure like one part in 1010(123). And it’s not just each constant or quantity that must be exquisitely finely-tuned; their ratios to one another must be also finely-tuned. So improbability is multiplied by improbability by improbability until our minds are reeling in incomprehensible numbers.
So when scientists say that the universe is fine-tuned for life, they don’t mean “designed”; rather they mean that small deviations from the actual values of the fundamental constants and quantities of nature would render the universe life-prohibiting or, alternatively, that the range of life-permitting values is incomprehensibly narrow in comparison with the range of assumable values. Richard Dawkins himself, citing the work of the Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees, acknowledges that the universe does exhibit this extraordinary fine-tuning. But even if we grant that SOMEHOW the universe did overcome this astronomical problem and provided these initial conditions for life to exist, how did life actually originate? Seems like the best answer an atheist can present is abiogenesis occurred, followed by Darwinian evolution. Now I hold the view that the absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence. So I don't reject this claim based solely on the FACT that neither abiogenesis nor Darwinian evolution have EVER been observed (before anyone attempts to condemn and correct me, let me make it easy for you; point me to the recorded observation of abiogenesis and then list JUST ONE observation of an organism that occupied multiple Kingdoms of biological classification.) But also that the probability of this happening unguided is unrealistic. To give just one example, Barrow and Tipler have calculated the probability of an evolutionary genome to be between (4-180)110000 and (4-360)110000. Now multiply this by the improbabilities associated with the universe's formation. So if this somehow did happen, it is rock solid proof of a miracle, and would therefore also be powerful evidence for the existence of God.
"In this book, they list ten steps in the course of human evolution, each of which is so improbable that before it would have occurred the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have burned up the earth. They estimate the probability of the evolution of the human genome by chance to be on the order of 4∧(360)^110,000, a number which is so huge that to call it astronomical would be a wild understatement. In other words, if evolution did occur, it would have been a miracle, so that evolution is actually evidence for the existence of God”-William Lane Craig