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Thread: Cheetah v Sigurd Fafnesbane ["Does God Exist?"]

  1. #1
    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Cheetah v Sigurd Fafnesbane ["Does God Exist?"]

    Greetings dear Backroomers,

    This is the second formal, moderated debate here in the Backroom.
    Please do not post anything here as it is reserved for input from Cheetah and Sigurd Fafnesbane only.

    Upon the toss of a coin, witnessed by Mrs. Kukri and two impartial cats, Cheetah goes first.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

  2. #2
    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheetah v Sigurd Fafnesbane ["Does God Exist?"]

    Opening Statement by Cheetah:

    It is just right after Christmas, some of us still might be counting his presents. I know many of us have children and no doubt we told our story about Santa and his reindeers delivering Christmas presents to all children all over the globe.
    Every adult would say it is impossible.
    Santa and all his reindeers would burn if they would go with the speed that necessary for such mammoth task. Not to mention that a few reindeers won’t be able to move all the presents which would fill a spaceship rather than a cart. Yet, knowing all this, we are just happy to tell the story of Santa to our children and when they ask whether Santa exist most of us would answer in all honesty: „yes he does”.

    Does he?

    Does the honest affirmative answer of a few adults and the honest belief of millions of children is a sufficient proof for the existence of Santa? We know it is not. After all we buy the presents; we sneak the presents under the tree. Besides, we know that the existence of Santa would be impossible, it would defy all the laws of physics. Before and after Christmas we never have any problems admitting it, we just playing along for a few days. After all, what is the harm in that? Sure when the children grow up they will realise that it is just a tale.

    The same parents probably tell their children about Jesus Christ and God, and when they ask whether god exist most of us would answer in all honesty: „yes he does”.

    Does he?

    Does the honest affirmative answer of a few adults and the honest belief of millions of adults is a sufficient proof for the existence of god? We know it is not. Besides, we know that it would be impossible, it would defy all the laws of physics and not just the laws of physics but everything we know about biology, computational science or societies. Yet we do have problems admitting that god does not exist and many of us would vigorously defend his existence. When will we grow up and realise that it is just a tale?

    What is the difference between Santa and god? Why does Santa exist only for a day while god can exist all year? Why is it that that adults are most willing to admit that Santa does not exist (at least to each other) yet most of them would defend the existence of god?

    Note the difference cannot be the fact that only children believe in Santa while mature, educated, clever adults believe in god. Mature, educated and clever adults once believed that the earth is flat, that dragons exist and that 2000 will be the end of human kind. None of this is true.

    Simple belief proves nothing. Though one have to note that there has to be a reason for this mass belief.

    The answer is simple: god is lot more useful than Santa. Immensely more useful. He is so useful that we are willing to put up all the physical, moral and biological impossibilities that his existence implies and most of us are happy to play along all year.


    I do not want to give a list of god’s usefulness here. It is not my task and it would fill pages. What is important to realise that god works the same way as Santa. The only difference is that he is immensely more useful, so useful that many of us are willing to sincerely believe (i.e. not just to pretend play) that he exist.

    Once we see that they work the same way it is very easy to see that god cannot exist. Just as Santa’s existence is a physical impossibility god’s existence is a physical impossibility too. Besides it is a perceptual, a biological, a computational, and a moral impossibility.

    I do not have the room for a detailed argument here I only give a short list:

    Physical impossibility I.: Where is he? In which corner of the universe is he hiding? What form he has? What particles is he made of? How is it that we have not discovered any physical trace of such an important being?

    Physical impossibility II.: how does he interact with his environment? What kind of interactions are these? Electromagnetic, gravitational, weak, strong forces? How is that we have not discovered any traces of these all important interactions?

    Perceptual impossibility: how is he supposed to be able to know about everything? How can he process all the incoming information? After all he is supposed to know about all living and non-living things. How can he solve the correspondence problem between visual, audio, tactile information? How many input channels does he have? Does he have an input channel for each object, being? That would practically require a parallel universe. If not how can he short it out? How can he cope with noise?

    Computational impossibility: how can he process all the incoming information? How large is his brain? How can he parallel process all the incoming information (assuming that he knows everything about everyone) and make judgements, act at the same time? Just processing all the information about the entire universe would require a parallel universe itself.

    Biological impossibility: how does he come to being? He must be incredibly complex. The only explanation that we know that can explain the origin of complex beings is evolution by means of natural selection. However it requires space, time, a population of beings, reproduction, heritability, variability and competition. Where is the population of gods? Is he the lone survivor? That surely means extinction for them. What did they compete for? What kind of information storage system do they have? Do they have DNA? How long is that?

    Moral impossibility: (i) where did god get his morals from? Did he just invent it out of scratch? (ii) Why did he invent several hundreds (thousands) of often competing and diametrically opposed religions? Which one is „god’s true religion”? Why did he make religions competing with each other if all? Who will decide which one if only one of them? Why did he let people slaughter each other in the name of god if all? Why does he let his own people slaughtered if only one?

    Clearly if we know anything about the universe then it is impossible for god to exist. The situation is very simple: either we know something (and I am not claiming that all our theories are correct, but at least some) and then god cannot exist; or god exists but then all we know is wrong.
    Make your choice.

    The concept of god is one of the most useful concept of human kind. That is why „he” and thus religions will be around for a long time. However, usefulness does not mean that he actually exists. The usefulness of Santa on Christmas does not mean that he exists. Just like Santa, God is a creation of the human mind and most of us are willing to play along exactly because of his usefulness. This usefulness makes us to ignore that fact that the existence of god, just like the existence of Santa is clearly impossible.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

  3. #3
    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheetah v Sigurd Fafnesbane ["Does God Exist?"]

    Opening Statement by Sigurd Fafnesbane:

    Does God exist?


    The theist argument.

    “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. This is the opening sentence of a book supposedly written by Moses 3500 years ago. Many other ancient creation texts have very similar openings. They all have in common that some deity created the heavens and then later the earth.
    They all argue a first cause of the world and its creation. The heavens and the earth came to be in various efficient causes. Taking any of these contingent entities we can start a casual regress: a chain of contingent causes that will either progress ad infinitum or have a non-contingent first cause.
    I can present this in a syllogistic form following Willian Lane Craig’s Kalam cosmological argument[1]:

    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.


    I am arguing a first cause, a non-contingent entity we call a necessary entity.
    My first premise builds on the principle of ex nihilo, nihil fit (from nothing, nothing comes). I am appealing to our sense of logic here. It is an absurdity that something might come out of nothing. This first cause caused the universe and its creation. This first cause needs to be un-caused, eternal, changeless, timeless and immaterial.

    Following my first argument we can infer the following:

    1. The First cause is either personal or mechanical.
    2. The First cause is not mechanical.
    3. Therefore, the first cause must be personal.

    The only objectable premise in the above proposition would be premise 2.
    If the First cause is eternal, something that follows the nature of a first cause, it caused a temporal event. I disregard a mechanical first event as such requires antecedent causal influences to occur. There are no preceding causes and for a first eternal immaterial cause to create a temporal event (such as the creation of a universe) the reasons for such an action must be found in itself. Another point to consider is; if the first cause only consisted of a set of necessary and sufficient conditions that existed from eternity then the effect would also have existed from eternity. If the necessary and sufficient conditions of an object x existed, then the effect x would arise immediately. There is no delay from cause to effect. Since our universe is a temporal event as presented to us by science (it has a finite age) it can not have a mechanical state of affairs that existed from eternity. The only way to have an eternal cause but a temporal effect would be if the cause is a personal agent who freely chooses to create an effect in time.

    Based on these sound arguments and the Kalam argument, I conclude that it is rational to believe that this first cause is personal and is synonym with God. Hence God exists..

    [1] The existence of God and the beginning of the universe
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

  4. #4
    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheetah v Sigurd Fafnesbane ["Does God Exist?"]

    First Rebuttal by Sigurd Fafnesbane

    The Burden of proof


    As with all assertions the burden of proof lies with the claimant. If I were to claim that my neighbour can fly by flapping his arms, then the burden of proof lies with him. As with any other unusual affirmative statements it is always the claimant who must be prepared to demonstrate the truthfulness of the claim. It would be quite easy to establish the truth about the man flapping his arms. Now if you make a claim that Santa or Unicorns does not exist, you will run into trouble. The burden of proof lies on you, but there is no way you can prove it. True, you could examine the room where you sit and conclude that there is no Santa there nor unicorns. But to prove the general nonexistence of Santa or Unicorns you would have to search the entire universe simultaneously. And then you could only say that no Santa existed at the moment you searched the universe. Maybe he was there 5 minutes before or, if you searched only our planet, he could have been on another planet during our search. There are all kinds of possibilities. You cannot prove that something does not exist.

    Why use Santa in your proposition? You can’t prove that he doesn’t exist and hence you cannot prove God’s nonexistence. You use the nonexistence of Santa to explain why God can’t exist. To use unproved statements as a part of your argument is a clear example of BEGGING THE QUESTION and is a logical fallacy.

    Simple belief proves nothing. Though one have to note that there has to be a reason for this mass belief.

    The answer is simple: god is lot more useful than Santa, immensely more useful. He is so useful that we are willing to put up all the physical, moral and biological impossibilities that his existence implies and most of us are happy to play along all year.



    You are not making an affirmative statement… this is only a retort of a proposition I have yet to make. I am almost tempted to call you on a straw man.

    I do not want to give a list of god’s usefulness here. It is not my task and it would fill pages. What is important to realise that god works the same way as Santa. The only difference is that he is immensely more useful, so useful that many of us are willing to sincerely believe (i.e. not just to pretend play) that he exist.

    Santa is like God = non sequitur and straw man.

    Once we see that they work the same way it is very easy to see that god cannot exist. Just as Santa’s existence is a physical impossibility god’s existence is a physical impossibility too. Besides it is a perceptual, a biological, a computational, and a moral impossibility.

    Again, non sequitur

    I do not have the room for a detailed argument here I only give a short list:

    Physical impossibility I.: Where is he? In which corner of the universe is he hiding? What form has He? What particles is he made of? How is it that we have not discovered any physical trace of such an important being?

    Physical impossibility II:[...]



    You say physical impossibility, but God is immaterial and not part of the physical realm. The philosophers have argued a metaphysical God for thousands of years, why argue a physical impossibility?

    Perceptual impossibility: how is he supposed to be able to know about everything? How can he process all the incoming information? [...]


    Why do you limit the functions of God to man’s limited knowledge of technology?
    Wait a couple of thousand years and this could all be implied.


    Computational impossibility: [...]


    Again… you view the world with a worm’s perspective.



    Biological impossibility: how does he come to being? He must be incredibly complex. [...]


    Again, see my answer to physical vs. metaphysical.


    Moral impossibility: (i) where did god get his morals from? Did he just invent it out of scratch? (ii) Why did he invent several hundreds (thousands) of often competing and diametrically opposed religions? Which one is „god’s true religion”? Why did he make religions competing with each other if all? Who will decide which one if only one of them? Why did he let people slaughter each other in the name of god if all? Why does he let his own people slaughtered if only one?

    We are not discussing morals in this debate. Neither are we discussing religions or their truthfulness.

    Clearly if we know anything about the universe then it is impossible for god to exist. The situation is very simple: either we know something (I am not claiming that all our theories are correct, but at least some) and then God cannot exist; or God exists but then all we know is wrong.

    This is an interesting view of reality. Do we really know anything at all? Surely we have theories on how everything works. But to acknowledge that science give absolute answers is to not understand science at all. All so called facts are preliminary, waiting for a new fact to replace the old. And science is OK with this. Science says; this is how we think it works and will be the official view until we discover that we were wrong and a new view emerges.


    The concept of God is one of the most useful concepts of human kind. That is why “He” and thus religions will be around for a long time. However, usefulness does not mean that he actually exists. The usefulness of Santa on Christmas does not mean that he exists. Just like Santa, God is a creation of the human mind and most of us are willing to play along exactly because of his usefulness. This usefulness makes us to ignore that fact that the existence of god, just like the existence of Santa is clearly impossible.

    So if I should boil down your proposition to a few grains of salt, which I think is not really a proposition it would boil down to this: Because God is useful to humans he can’t exist? And since Santa does not exist, then surely God doesn’t exist.
    I think this proposition is problematic at best.
    You should really argue an atheist’s world view. The so called humanistic world view and how God can’t be a part of it. Then we could have something to discuss
    Last edited by KukriKhan; 01-22-2008 at 13:13.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

  5. #5
    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheetah v Sigurd Fafnesbane ["Does God Exist?"]

    I send greetings again, dear readers, and sad news.

    Outside considerations have prevailed, and prevented the proper completion of this formal debate.

    Therefore, by rule of forfeiture, I must award the debate winner designation to Sigurd Fafsnesbane.

    Congratulations Sigurd, and thank you Cheetah for your effort.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

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