Apr 30, 2013

My First Debate Speech Script


I wrote this when I was more of an evidentialist ...
The question of whether or not God exists is extremely important.  It has more ramifications that flow from the answer than any other question.  This is a large question and I will not be able to go into much details as I would like; for example, I will not be able to talk much about the internal witness of conscience or the way the Holy Spirit communicates with a person's heart.  Not that I think my opponent would find those argument compelling, naturally, but they are still very important.
I want to immediately speak of the fact of dependency.  Everything that exists that we know of began to exist at a certain time.  Since there was a time when that thing was not, this means its existence is not actually necessary because things existed already before that thing.  For example, I didn't have to exist, the Universe could function naturally without me.  In fact, my coming into existence was dependent upon my mom and dad and likewise they with their parents and all the way back.  So, if everything is dependent upon its existence on something that came before it, how did anything get here at all?  Somewhere the mere fact of existence demands an utterly independent being, whose existence is not contingent upon anything else.  We call this being God. 
Another way to think of this is that nothing is actually a pure "being".  Technically, we are humans becoming, not human beings.  What this means is we are never the same – everything about us is always changing in every way.  Another way to phrase this fact is that we exist but our essence is not existence.  Somewhere along the line, we need a being who is not becoming but rather pure being.  This being's essence would have to be existence itself – hence, the Covenant name for the God of the Bible – "I AM".
The upshot of this argument is that it is impossible to have an infinite series of contingent beings.  The mere fact of finite beings demands that there be an Ultimate Infinite Being.  Many atheists have not dealt with this type of sublime argumentation before and may find it confusing at first. But I assure you that it gets at the root problem – that of the essence of existence.
Now let us move to cause and effect.  Everything that begins to exist must have a cause.  But we can not have a never-ending series of causes.  Looking backwards, this would be a non-stop series of regressions.  This can't work because you can't add anything to infinity.  For example, what is one plus infinity?  It's still infinity!  So for the effect of existence, there must be a first cause – but this first cause must be an uncaused first cause and we call this cause God. 
Well, ok, but how do we know He's a personal being?  Because he created personal beings with personality!  How do we know He is immaterial and non-physical?  Because He created everything before there was anything physical so He must be outside of that realm.  Besides, for Him to be infinite, He can not be physical because physical dimensions are by their very definition limiting.  He can't be stuck in time, as it were, because He existed before there was time so He is therefore outside of time.  Same thing with natural laws; He existed before them so He is not limited by them.  Now we see we can not only know that God is but even some of what He is like.  This is called general revelation.  We must look to special revelation for the rest of our information. If we had time, we could see how Jesus Christ is the Source for special revelation and that is why He is called the Logos in Greek.  
We must move quickly, though, to one more witness – the witness of creation.  The biggest indicators that behind the Creation lie an Intelligent Designer are the facts of specified complexity and irreducible complexity. 
      Specified complexity does not just mean things in our world are so complex we can't figure them out so we just say GOD DID IT but rather specified complexity alludes to the fact that we see things working in concert with each other in Creation – whole biological systems utterly interdependent upon each other in a mass of highly intricate symbiotic relationships.  The operation of these systems, especially the information contained within them, gives evidence to a Supremely rational and logical Being who has designed things with other things in mind.  Pure chance and coincidence can not account for highly tailored mechanisms that work specifically in conjunction within the framework of a labyrinth of life.  It just takes too much faith in luck to believe that!
            On irreducible complexity, a term coined by biochemicist Michael Behe, my time is winding down so I am going to quickly mention that there are living things that can not be explained by any step-by-step gradual process but rather all the components must be working properly at the outset for them to work at all.  This is evidence for information content, and information must come from a mind.  In other words, who wrote the instruction manual for life?  Who drew up the blueprint plans for protein and electron transport, blood clotting, closed circular DNA, telomeres, photosynthesis, and bacterial flagellum?  And these are all just things that take place at the molecular level of biology! 
            It looks like a have a little more time here, so I am going to briefly mention the fine-tuning aspect to the Universe.  To explain the precise level at which our universe operates, scientists refer to what hey call "cosmic constants".  Examples include: the rate of expansion of the universe, the value of the weak and strong nuclear forces, the balance of matter and antimatter, which is estimated to be fine-tuned down to 1 part in 10 billion! Picture a series of knobs that have to be turned just right to create the parameters within which life can exist.  Outside of those knobs being exact, no life can exist.  A space shuttle is the perfect analogy.  To account for this fine-tuning, scientists realize there is something they call the "anthropic principle".  Cambridge physicist Paul Davies explains this in "God and the New Physics": "It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe … has been rather carefully though out". I agree with Dr. Davies here and I look forward to hearing my opponent's reasons he feels differently. 

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