$10,000 if you can Disprove this Proof of God!

There's some idiot Christian, named Troy, who writes in a muddled fashion but claims to have proved God exists in four easy steps. He had offered $10,000 to the first person to show him wrong, Here. [You will have to register and do a search for the 4 step proof for God offer].

So I thought to myself, why not give it a try and see what happens. I did so and I got banned off his website! I cannot even read what he said in response to what I had written! I go to that website and all I can read is this:

You have been banned for the following reason:
Petty arguments against 4 Step Proof

Date the ban will be lifted: Never


What a liar, but then I never really expected to get the money anyway. What a joke. Below, in part, is what I wrote (picking up at step 3):

Step 3 – To the question "Why can't God have a creator?" You say, “Because, by definition that no longer makes God uncreated." By definition, God IS and is uncreated (as proven in Step 1 and Step 2). You cannot make the argument that someone or something created God since then you would no longer be speaking about God, but perhaps a god or idol or something in your imagination.

My response:
This question and your reply are a mischaracterization of your opponent’s views, and this I can show very easily. They do not intend to ask whether or not God (who by definition is the creator) has a creator. They are simply asking you to explain how it is possible for a fully complete eternally existing Triune (3 in 1?) immaterial spiritual being who has all knowledge (because he never has learned anything), all power (but who doesn’t use it like we would if we saw a child suffering horribly), and who is present everywhere at the same time (even though if God acts in this universe, time is a function of bodily placement and velocity of movement) can exist? You never answered this question, and I dare say you cannot prove it either.

So, in order to prove God exists in 4 easy steps, you show the universe must have had a beginning, and then you move on to say that since it had a beginning, God must have created it. This in no way proves God created the universe unless you can sufficiently answer the real question atheists asked in step 3.

As far as we know there isn’t a satisfactory reasonable answer to why this universe exists. And I argue that the reason is because this universe happened by the strangeness of chance. When we look back on a chance happening, a fortuitous event, a lucky guess, or a lottery winner we cannot explain it if we were to seek a cause for it. If we sought a logical explanation for it happening we would not find one, precisely because a chance event cannot be figured out hindsight. So, if I were to judge between the possibility of your God existing for all eternity with the possibility of an uncaused existence of this universe, I would choose the uncaused existence of the universe. Chance can give rise to the perception of order, like we find in our universe. We have no such conception of a fully formed completely ordered thing or being that has always existed without a cause for its existence.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Step 4 – The atheist will say "ok, so a lesser god created, so why can't he have a creator, and a creator create that creator?" This is not possible either. Why? It is because this presupposes an eternity of the past of creating gods and things and materials in causal relationships, one following after the other.

My response:
But step 4 is a further mischaracterization of step 3. There is not an eternal regress of causes for either the universe or for God.

Here then our our choices: Either the universe popped into existence out of nothing, or there is such a God that has always existed and will forever exist withut change. Both answers seem impossible based upon the assumption that logic can figure it all out. But since chance events cannot be figured out, the universe probably popped into existence out of nothing.

You argue against the universe coming into existence out of nothing, but then you posit an equally "impossible" answer, that such a God as you believe exists, without showing how such a being can exist--the real atheist question. I could equally argue that since I have no conception of an eternally existing being, because everything I know has a beginning and an end to it, that therefore your God doesn't exist. And once eliminating this "impossibility" I could go on to posit the main alternative, that the universe popped into existence out of nothing, without attempting to show how this is possible, just as you did with regard to the possibility of your God's existence.

Far from proving that your God exists, we are at an impasse between "impossibilities." Surely if you agree that we are at an impasse, you will also have to say your case is not proved. But even if this didn’t happen as I think, you are far away from having proved that the God of the Bible exists. For in addition to your definition of God spoken of earlier, you also believe that this God revealed himself to us in the Bible, that he became incarnate in Jesus, and that he atoned for our sins. No one yet has made sense of the incarnation or in how Jesus’ death atoned for our sins, and you certainly didn’t even try.

Even if your argument leads one to consider believing in God (and that’s all it can possibly do, much less prove God exists), then you also have not proven that your specific God exists instead of the Jewish God of the O.T., or the Muslim God Allah.

Nice try Troy. But your argument fails as a proof.

Do I have to win this argument with you before you write me a check? I'm waiting for your response then.

23 comments:

Bryan said...

The fact that the Creator God exists is self evident. The wager on this fact is our own eternal souls (whether we believe in such a thing or not).

Kenneth Coughlan said...

I applaud you for your logical analysis. It really is refreshing to see disucssions by people with intelligent, logical arguments, and you should be commended for that. Respectfully, though, you are confusing the issues. First, your post certainly does not disprove the existence of God, but based on your comments, I think you would agree with me there.

Second, based upon your prior religious training and your comments, you are obviously familiar with the Christian concept of an eternal, infinite God. But I think you would concede that human beings, and our ability to comprehend, are finite. That is, we are limited by our brains which have a finite capacity. It is perfectly logical, then, to conclude that it is impossible for humans to fully comprehend everything about God's nature. How can a finite mind comprehend an infinite God? Its not possible. As a result, to a certain extent Christianity will always be based on faith. Certain things about God's nature we simply have to take as true because the Bible tells us they are true. However, that does not mean that Christianity is without logical support. For example, if you can prove that the Bible is a reliable source of information, then you would be justified in relying upon what it tells us about God.

You would do this by first showing that God exists, and then demonstrating that the Bible could only have been written by that God. I am in the process of setting up a website for my ministry that will have extremely detailed articles on these subjects (unfortunately it is not set up yet), but a (VERY) brief summary would be as follows:

General Relativity shows that time, space and matter all began at the Big Bang. This means that the universe, at some point, came into existence. Can you cite me even one example in which something went from a state of non-existence to one of existence without something causing the change? Of course not. Anything that comes into existence requires a cause. Therefore the universe requires a cause. Whatever caused the universe cannot be confined to the universe (after all, in order to create the something, the cause must exist outside the thing it created). Therefore, something that has the power to create the universe must exist outside the universe. Because time, space and matter all exist within the universe (i.e., General Relativity), then whatever this entity is, it is not subject to time, space and matter. If it is not subject to time, it is eternal (literally existing before time began). While this does not prove the existence of an intelligent agent, it does prove the existence of an eternal causal entity outside our universe.

If you disagree, look at the most popular "atheistic" response, inflation theory. Inflation theory claims that a mysterious inflation field exists outside the universe (in something called "superspace") that randomly generates multiple "bubble" universes, changing the laws of physics in each until it happens to create a universe with all the necessary factors for life. Why is this significant? Because it concedes that the Big Bang requires the existence of some creative entity that exists outside the universe. The only difference is that Christianity says this is an intelligent entity (God) whereas inflation theory says it is a non-intelligent entity (the inflation field).

Inflation theory is, at present, only a theory, with no evidence to support it. For example, scientists have no idea how such an inflation field would randomly change the laws of physics from one universe to another. It is simply a hypothetical guess. If you refuse to put your faith in God because there is not enough evidence for him, you similarly cannot logically put your faith in inflation theory.

If we were to assume (despite the lack of evidence) that there was any basis for inflation theory, we would then ask whether there was any evidence that this outside causal entity was intelligent. This would help us distinguish between God (intelligent) and the inflation field (random). All of the factors that have conveniently come together for life to be created in our universe highly suggest that those factors were hand-selected in an intelligent manner.

Keep in mind that we already know that an eternal causal entity exists, so we do not need to prove its existence by the fine-tuning of the universe. We only need to determine whether it is intelligent or random. Many people tend to disregard the overwhelming odds against our existence in this universe by simply stating that the inflation field would just pump out enough universes until it got one with all the right factors. The problem with this is that it ignores our present universe. Statistically speaking, there are not enough planets in our universe to expect to find even one that sustains life (the odds of having a planet in our universe that meets all the factors for life is 1 chance in 10 to the 99th power, but there are only 10 to the 24th power planets in our universe). This means that in regard to our current universe, in which we exist, the inflation field DID NOT create a universe with all the necessray factors for us to expect to find life. It created the laws of physics, but it did not create anywhere near enough planets within our universe. Any statistician whatsoever, when faced with the odds I outlined above, would tell you that the odds of finding a habitable planet in our universe should be zero. It takes far more faith to believe that we were randomly created than that we were intelligently created.

As for proof that the God of Christianity is correct (as opposed to other religions), that is proven through the fulfilled prophecies of both the Old and New Testaments. Remember that thanks to the Big Bang, we know that God exists outside the confines of time. Therefore, to Him, the past, present, and future are all equally accessible. Also, to date, He is the only entity that we know of who exists outside the confines of time. Therefore, if the Bible provides evidence of not being subject to time (i.e., in the form of extremely accurate predictions about the future), then it is logical to conclude that it was written by the only entity we know of who is not subject to time. In the interest of space, I won't go into the plethora of specific, fulfilled prophecies, but there will be an article on my website on this issue.

I apologize for the choppiness of this post. I have tried to briefly summarize points that actually take up about 50 pages in three different articles I have written for my minsitry website. So I do not pretend to have included every nuance. However, you make the same logical mistake that I have seen made by most atheists. That is, you require 100% proof of every aspect of Christianity before you will believe. When you get behind the wheel of a car, are you 100% certain that you will not crash and die? Of course not. But you drive anyway because you believe the odds are that you will make it to your destination OK. Every day we take action based upon the odds. Christianity is no different. Logic can prove to you the foundations for Christianity. It can show you that the Bible can be trusted. From that point on, we trust what the Bible tells us on faith, but only after God has already shown us that it can be trusted.

You will never have 100% certainty of every single Biblical detail, and if you are insisting upon that standard you are being inconsistent with everything else you claim to "know" in your life. The simple truth is that Christianity is by far the most likely explanation for humanity.

Perhaps most illustrative is your statement that you would rather believe that the universe was created randomly than that it was created by God. But you also seem to concede that the odds against a random creation are overwhelming, to the degree that we would not realistically expect it to happen. If you reject creation by God because there is not enough evidence for it, how can you logically conclude that the universe was randomly created, while at the same time conceding that that random creation is just as improbable? If you can't conclude one way, then you logically shouldn't be able to conclude the other either, but you do. This tends to show that for one reason or another, you do not want to believe in God, regardless of the evidence (because you are willing to believe in atheistic creation even with a lack of evidence but not in God). Obviously, I disagree with your conclusion that there is insufficient evidence for God, but even if you were correct, you should not be able to conclude one way or the other about how the universe was created. You certainly should not be "choosing" to believe in random creation. So why are you willing to make one choice without evidence but not the other?

Thank you for the opportunity to voice these issues. The name of my Ministry is "Ten Minas Ministries", and I hope to have a website up and running within 30-60 days if you would like to read my arguments in more detail.

Genius said...

Hmm - I guess you should win the $10,000 since his argument is not really a proof.

If you are interested in the trouth you should be just as eager in looking into arguments that disprove your thesis as ones that prove it if not more so. Sadly almost no one I have ever met wants to know the truth if it involves them being wrong.

John W. Loftus said...

Bryan. Self-evident? Not to me. I would suppose something that is self-evident needs no argument.

Kenneth Coughlan. Let me know when your site is up and running. You seem reasonable, and I want to dialogue with Christians like that.

I'll try to respond to your comments as I post more blogs.

Genius, do you want to know the truth if it involves you being wrong?

Kenneth Coughlan said...

I agree with Mr. Loftus on the issue of knowing the truth. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Everyone should examine all the evidence rationally and with an open mind, wherever it may lead. I don't think anyone can accuse Mr. Loftus of not looking into the arguments against him. He clearly has done so. Obviously I disagree with his conclusions, but he's done his homework.

I often tell people that if you truly want to be sure of your position, always learn the counter-argument from people who are advocating that counter-argument. Too often, people who disagree with an argument misrepresent that argument. It's not necessarily intentional all the time, but it does happen. That's not to say you shouldn't read what a Christian has to say about atheism or vice versa. Of course you should. But always cross check their representations about the opposing viewpoint for yourself, straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Also, I respectfully ask any Christians posting on this site to remember 1 Peter 3:15, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." Let's keep the dialogue cordial.

Finally, Mr. Loftus, since I made my last post, I've read a bit more of your writings, so I've already seen how you would respond to some of what I said. For example, I read your post in which you said that you do not require 100% certainty that God does not exist. You simply believe that the weight of the evidence favors atheism.

I agree with you that you can call yourself an "atheist" even without 100% certainty if you believe that the majority of the evidence favors atheism as opposed to theism. After all, if I didn't concede that point I'd be inconsistent with my own argument that God can be proven by the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence, even though not with 100% certainty. Again, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. So you don't need to respond that way again. I get your argument there.

However, what I would like for you to respond to is that, in my experience, I believe that even though you theoretically say you do not require 100% certainty, in practice you do. For example, you seem to concede that the odds against random creation of the universe are exponentially worse than winning the lottery (based upon the example you used of backwards thinking).

Suppose, after a lottery with 6 numbers had been drawn, your friend walks up to you with a piece of paper on which he has written down all 6 numbers correctly. Then he tells you, "Gee, I should have played the lottery last night because yesterday afternoon I wrote down on this piece of paper these six numbers, and then later that evening they all hit!"

Now in your mind, what would be the MORE REASONABLE explanation for how those numbers got on that page: (1) Your friend is telling you the truth and he really just happened to write down the correct six numbers ahead of time, or (2) Your friend wrote down the numbers after he saw the lottery numbers in this morning's paper and is trying to pull one over on you?

It is certainly far MORE LIKELY that your friend got all six numbers correct because he hand-selected them from this morning's paper. Reading a newspaper and writing down the numbers requires intelligence. This is not to say that it is impossible for your friend to have guessed all the right numbers. Of course its not, because people win the lottery all the time. All I am saying is that it is far more likely that he used intelligence rather than random chance. If you concede this point, then you also must concede that it is MORE LIKELY that the universe was created by intelligence than by random chance. After all, the odds against a random creation to the universe are far worse than the odds of winning the lottery.

Hence my conclusion that most atheists, even if they say otherwise, in practice do require 100% certainty of the existence of God, because intelligence is the more likely alternative for the creation.

With that clarification, I look forward to your response.

John W. Loftus said...

Kenneth Coughlan.

What are the odds of having been dealt five cards from a shuffled deck of cards and getting a royal flush hand? Quite extraordinary, eh?

But do you also realize that if you were dealt a 5, 10, K, 8, 6, in varying suits the odds of this hand are exactly the same as the royal flush?

But what if four players around the table are all dealt royal flushes with different suits?

The odds of these four players getting four royal flushes are no different than the odds of these same four players getting any particular hands any given time.

So what is the real difference between these hands?

Kenneth Coughlan said...

Actually, I'm married to a statistician. So yes, I know exactly what you are talking about. But you are comparing apples and oranges. The question you need to ask yourself is not whether the odds are any different that you would get 10 J K Q A as opposed to 3 5 7 9 J (that would be like asking, "Which is more likely, the set-up of our particular universe or one other specific potential set-up; obviously the odds are the same). Rather, the question is "How are you more likely to draw 10 J K Q A, by randomly drawing 5 cards, or by looking through the deck and hand-selecting those particular 5 cards?" Obviously, the answer is the latter. That is the distinction between a randomly created universe and one created by intelligence.

John W. Loftus said...

Kenneth,

You said: "Rather, the question is 'How are you more likely to draw 10 J K Q A, by randomly drawing 5 cards, or by looking through the deck and hand-selecting those particular 5 cards?'"

And I could rewrite your question and ask you this: "How are you more likely to draw 5, 10, K, 8, 6, in varying suits, by randomly drawing 5 cards, or by looking through the deck and hand-selecting those particular 5 cards?"

This is the same question, isn't it? The cards are just different?

Why does this matter?

So again, I ask you, "What is the real difference between these two hands?"

Kenneth Coughlan said...

Yes, it is the same question. As I already said, statistically there is no difference. But you are still asking the wrong question. Pick whatever hand you want to represent the current state of our universe. Let's say our current universe, and all the laws therein, is represented by the hand 5 10 K 8 6. If we had been dealt a 10 J K Q A, WE COULD NOT EXIST. So the question is not "what are the odds of getting ANY hand?", which is what you are asking, but "What is the more logical explanation for how we were dealt THIS PARTICULAR hand?"; i.e., these specific cards in this specific order.

From the perspective of the universe, there is an ENORMOUS difference between 5 10 K 8 6 and 10 J K Q A. With one hand we exist, but with the other we do not.

John W. Loftus said...

As I said elsewhere, I cannot defend everything, and I'll say here, I'm not an expert on everything. Just go Here.

Kenneth Coughlan said...

Thanks for the link. I am not what you would call a proponent of the "scientific theory" of intelligent design. I only mention this to help you in your future research. "Intelligent Design" generally refers to the biological argument that the structure of the human body demands a designer (i.e., irreducible complexity, etc.). The arguments I have been making are more based on cosmology, astronomy, and astrophysics. While they technically, to a layperson, would fall under the heading "intelligent design", usually you hear them referred to as "the fine-tuning of the universe" or some other similar term. In the scholarly field, "intelligent design" usually refers to something different entirely.

Genius said...

> Genius, do you want to know the truth if it involves you being wrong?

Sure - In fact I think the best debates don't reference your own beliefs at all. Ie if you saw a flaw in your own argument or that of someone who supports you - you would "attack" it.

For the argument regarding the royal flush -> there are two solutions that spring to mind (1 & 2)

1)a) anthropromorphic principle : we see a world that allows humans (a royal flush) because if it wasn't a royal flush we wouldn't see it.

b) Furthermore we see lots of space that is not a "royal flush" (eg the moon) so it is only a small extrapolation to say maybe this lack of life exists in all directions (time/space universes etc) therefore the improbable becomes the probable by dealing so many hands.

2) It isn't really that unlikely - (even on the small scale) - things become more predictable as we understand the laws of nature better and better. What seems very unlikely at first glance (like a magician's card trick) look easy with some extra knowledge.

Once could also argue that adding a god doesnt solve the problem it just moves it to "what are the odds that a god would create a universe with a royal flush?" (actually that is a bad analogy because a royal flush would be a universe where every planet had life).

(I have a theory this sort of debate tends to revolve around some sort of "stop thinking" triggers. these define where one will find suitable answers because the questions suddenly disappear).

Albert said...

JWL said "As far as we know there isn’t a satisfactory reasonable answer to why this universe exists. And I argue that the reason is because this universe happened by the strangeness of chance."

The above statements are clearly contradictory. You can't not know why the universe existss and then in the next sentence posit that it exists because of chance. The only way chance comes into it is if you believe in multiverses, which by definition would be beyond our ability ro prove. Sloppy thinking here JWL.

John W. Loftus said...

Albert, I want to clarify.

No one can figure out why chance events led to the perception or order. No one can find a purposeful reason why clouds appear to image a bird. No one can figure out why someone won the lottery. Events like these just happen. You cannot figure them out. There is no purpose behind them.

And that's what I mean. To offer a reason for a chance event is to say why it happened, and what the event is for. If one cannot tell me why it happened apart form chance, then chance is all that's left to explain it.

And that's what I mean.

Kenneth Coughlan said...

Your argument assumes it's conclusion. You assume the appearance of order was by chance, then say that there is no point to trying to explain away that chance event.

If you KNOW something happened by chance, I would agree with you. Obviously, knowing that a chance event led to the appearance of order, there would be no point in trying to explain away that order. The problem is that you are using this argument to try to prove that the order of the universe happened by chance in the first place, and that is circular reasoning.

Albert said...

JWL said " If one cannot tell me why it happened apart form chance, then chance is all that's left to explain it."

You're assuming that the universe arose by chance. Since you're making the assertion, I'd say it's up to you prove it. With the current state of scientific knowledge it honestly can't be done.

Albert said...

Upon further reflection it appears to me that JWL uses "chance" much the same way some people use "God" in "God of the gaps" arguments. Don't know how something happened? Just invoke "God", or in JWL'S case "chance". In either of those cases the person holding on to those beliefs is living on borrowed time.

Albert said...

Although Kenneth Coughlan's cosmological arguments are interesting, in of themselves they can only get you to Deism and no further.
As far as Bible prophecies go, they are rather problematic simply because you often don't know who wrote what and when. Not to mention those like Isaiah 7:14 which are misused and misquoted.

Kenneth Coughlan said...

I agree that the cosmological arguments can only take you so far. Specifically, they can show you that the universe was caused by an eternal, intelligent agent. They do not take you all the way to Christianity. General Relativity shows that time, space and matter all started at the Big Bang. Because everything that comes into existence requires a cause, and the universe came into existence, the universe must have a cause. Remember, time was created with the universe. That means that whatever created the universe also created time, and therefore cannot be subject to it.

So this shows us that there is some causal entity that is eternal (in the sense that it literally existed before time began; and can exist in whatever reality is outside time) and can exist outside the universe. This cosmological argument alone does not, however, prove that this entity is intelligent as opposed to a random natural cause.

The "fine-tuning" evidence I have discussed, however, shows that this creative entity was more likely to be intelligent than random. Thus, we can conclude that an intelligent, eternal entity exists outside the universe and is capable of creating everything in the universe. That gets you to belief in some form of God, but it does not yet get you to Christianity.

The third part in the argument, and the one that gets you to Christianity, is based upon what we saw earlier; i.e., that this "God" created time, and is therefore not subject to it. If this "God" is not subject to the limits of time, then the past, present and future are all accessible to Him. He would therefore be capable of telling you what has happened in the past, what is happening now, and what is going to happen in the future. As far as we know, this entity is the only being for whom that is true (I don't believe in fortune tellers). That means that if the Bible shows evidence of specific and accurate predictions of the future, the most reasonable explanation is that it was inspired by this creative entity God (again, note that I speak in terms of the "most likely" explanation; nothing is provable to 100% certainty in life, but we do not demand 100% certainty of anything we claim to "know").

I won't give you an exhaustive list here, but suffice it to say that it is my contention that the Bible contains an enormous number of specific and accurate predictions of the future that have indeed come true. I'm not talking about vague representations like Nostradamus, but very specific prophecies. This establishes that the Bible was (most likely) written by God.

Who other than God Himself is best qualified to teach us about God? If God Himself wrote the Bible, this means that it is the best way to learn about Him. And that leads you to the God of Christianity.

Please understand that this is an EXTREMELY abbreviated version of the argument for the Christian God. My ministry will be putting up our own website, hopefully within the next 30-60 days, that will have detailed articles with these arguments (they take up the first three articles, about 50 pages long). The name of the ministry is "Ten Minas Ministries", and I'll try to let anyone who is interested know when it is up and running.

TroysT said...

This is Troy. I would love to respond to your commentary, but the ideas you bring up have already been made by previous posters in the forum for the 4 Step Proof for God and as you know the offer is not on any old site,
http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/perfectproof.htm

If you would like a personal response, just post it in Biblocality Forums, and I would be happy to reply as I did for others. There is not a single person banned on the forums.

If you're not interested in putting your faith on the line, is it not because it is blind faith by the flesh?

Lokiean said...

i think both parties are misrepresenting there cases. as no god nor lack of god exists. Its an ideal thats created by a world of people who do not want to ralize how insignificant yet significant they are. Heres how existance is. If you were to take a picture of the world and zoom in. Eventually you would see beaches. a grain of sand. and within the atmoic struture of that grain of sand made of atoms. Within the atoms nucleus you would find a universe as vast as this. Worlds in which you can zoom on in infinatly. In terms out universe is just within an atom that creates everyhting within another universe and so on. its enless in each direction. within a grain of sand an infinate amount of universes. and outside our universe were butted up against a infinate amoutn of iniverses. As time is relative to size an infinate amount of time has already passed within in infinate amount of infinate universes. dont think into it to far. As you might get lost. But it shows you how insignificant we really are. And we cannot begin to understand.

Lokiean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dane Eidson said...

I am reading John's previous comments from several years ago. So I know this is a late reply considering this article waqs written over 3 years ago.
The "Banning" actions are exactly what Matt Slick of CARM does. Diane Sellnar is the VP of CARM. Both Matt and Diane personally insult and attack those whose arguments they can not refute. They are not using parody but they are really personally vindictive against those who demolish them in debates. Slick's tactics are the "I will go off topic now and insult and ban you due to my failure to refute you" actions. (Sorry for the long worded desription.) John, most Christian apologists will resort to unethical and deceitiful tactics and will actually lie and purposely distort facts willfully to cover up their failures to refute an intelligent atheist's arguments.
(Excuse my typos. It's early and I'm exhausted.)