Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blog Wars! Round 4: The Closing Argument

The following is my closing argument in the four-round debate with theology student and Christian blogger, Cody Cook.  My previous arguments can be found here:

Round 1:  Opening Statement--
Round 2:  Rebuttal--
Round 3:  Cross Examination--

Let us recap what we have heard in this debate.  In the first round, I gave three reasons to believe that an atheistic worldview is more capable of answering the question “why is there something rather than nothing?” than a theistic worldview:

  1. The something that exists was clearly not designed for humans.
  2. Our scientific narrative does not involve a god.
  3. We have no reason to believe a god would exist instead of nothing. 

In the first round, Mr. Cook claimed that something, existing out of necessity, was necessary to create the universe.  This something required a will because the universe began to exist at a certain point in time. 

However, in the second round I demonstrated that the universe most definitely did not begin to exist at a certain point in time.  The Big Bang created space and, therefore, time.  If this seems confusing, just remember a little bit of physics from high school: 

Therefore, Time=Distance/Speed 

Time requires distance to exist.  Distance requires space.  No space means no time.  Without the Big Bang, we do not have space—even empty space—and therefore we do not have time.  The beginning of the universe was not an event in time; it was the beginning of time itself.  Hence, no will is necessary and physical laws without a will are capable of bringing the universe into existence. 

Mr. Cook also asserted that a god exists necessarily.  He has provided no justification for this, other than to say that the presence of a god is necessary for the existence of the universe.  This reason can be dismissed because that god would have to have existed prior to the universe and would need some other reason for its necessity, otherwise the existence of god would also be contingent upon existence of the universe. 

That which can be asserted without justification can be dismissed without justification so I could dismiss Mr. Cook’s assertion of god’s necessity out of hand, but I have provided two good reasons for my dismissal:

  1. The omnipotent nature of a god would contradict the necessity of a god.
  2. The god of the bible has traits, like human emotion and thought, which are contingent. 

It is up to you, the reader, to decide for yourself who has won this debate, but I think the answer is clear:  An atheistic worldview can provide an answer to the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?”  A theistic worldview cannot.

My opponent's closing argument can be found here:


  1. While I agree with the atheistic worldview, I feel the need to point out that it only answers physical and scientific postulates.
    Humans (the only beings concerned with 'first cause') have an intrinsic need to fill emotional and psychological voids.
    Theists will never prove their god and atheists will never disprove it. Science makes a solid case of showing him unnecessary for natural events in the universe.
    You have made a convincing case for atheism, but have failed to make a case for humanity. Cody has made an emotional plea for the existence of his god, and has also failed to make a case for humanity.
    What spoils would you give the victor?
    The benefits of atheism over theism might be a more suitable topic.
    If a theist becomes an atheist through debate, what will replace his fellowship? What will replace his congregation? What will replace his Sunday gatherings with friends? Etc...
    Do we offer any serenity or do we only offer naked truth? What is the incentive?
    Just a thought... :)

  2. Ben said, "The beginning of the universe was not an event in time; it was the beginning of time itself. Hence, no will is necessary and physical laws without a will are capable of bringing the universe into existence."

    Cody said, "Since an effect is dependent upon its cause, and in the case of the universe, the effect includes time itself, its cause must be timeless. The only candidate is God. God, unlike the universe, would not require a cause, if only because God is not held by time."

    I think it is rather humorous to note that both Ben and Cody claim that the beginning of the universe was also the beginning of time. Each use this as a point to require a God (Cody) and to not require a God (Ben).

    Ben wins! And I am unanimous in this decision.

  3. "The beginning of the universe was not an event in time; it was the beginning of time itself. Hence, no will is necessary and physical laws without a will are capable of bringing the universe into existence."

    Doesn't "beginning" suggest temporality? Are you suggesting that eternal matter existed atemporally and then suddenly began to exist in time at the Big Bang? What physical laws can bring eternal matter into tensed matter?

  4. So now we have “eternal” and “tensed” matter? What physics book did you get that from???

    I think Cody may be right – theism is better at providing an explanation because it’s better at making up stories, and has had thousands of years to do just that! It’s very easy to create an explanation based on a belief if you don’t have to worry about proving any of it. Science, on the other hand, has to be concerned with minor details like experimental evidence. No, we don’t know how the universe initially began, and we don’t know for sure what existed before it. We don’t even know what “something” and “nothing” are! We have some ideas but haven’t been able to confirm any of them. Yet. It’s amazing how much we have been able to discover in the past century. The big bang has had a lot of predictive power. Just imagine how much more we might understand 100 years from now. 500. 1000. But you’re right, “God did it” is a much simpler explanation! And you get to create God just the way you want to.

    Religion reminds me of when I played with dolls with friends as a child. I could dress them up one way and make up a story. A friend could dress them up another way and make up another story. And we were both right!

  5. As both debaters are working on their personally constructed proof exists for either of their assumptions.....let's call it a draw.....we will adjorn and resume the debate on the first day of the next millenium.

  6. Interesting debate.

    Have a good day, Boonie

  7. I love SueT's comment. Excellent!