The Instigator
SarcasticMethod
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
1Credo
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

A god exists, as defined by PRO; Take 2

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
1Credo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/21/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 808 times Debate No: 67416
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (12)
Votes (1)

 

SarcasticMethod

Con

I initiated an identical debate to this a while back, and wanted to start it again with someone else, so here is (quoted, verbatim) my beginning post of said debate.

"In this debate, PRO will attempt to prove the existence of a god, as defined by them. I expect clear, rational arguments and unambiguous definitions. Round 1 will be used for the definition of the word 'god', and of other definitions that may be useful. Round 2 will be for setting one's preliminary stance. Round 3, 4 and 5 will be used for rebuttal of one another's points. Correct English is preferable, but mistakes should not be grammar nazi'd.

To make this ABSOLUTELY CLEAR; I am an agnostic atheist. I know that many apologists like to ask their opponents about whether they are agnostic or atheist, which I consider to be something of a silly question. I am atheist because I do not believe in a god, and I am agnostic because I am not 100% certain of my stance. However, I can state, within reasonable doubt, that a god does not exist, which is why I am an agnostic atheist. I hope this is clear to you.

Empirical evidence and logical reasoning are the two tools that will be used in this debate. When using evidence, please provide sources, lest the claim is absolutely trivial. When using logical reasoning, please describe your deduction clearly."

Cheers!
1Credo

Pro

1. Acceptance

I accept. I'd like to thank my opponent for creating this debate. I look forward to a good discussion.

2. Burden of Proof

As it is quite clear that the existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved, the task of my opponent and myself through the course of this debate will be to present evidence and arguments to support our positions. Thus, the burden of proof will be shared. The winner of this debate shall be selected based on which side brings forward the most convincing arguments.

I will present arguments in favor of my position in round 2.

3. Definition of God

As requested by my opponent, I will provide a definition of God for the purposes of this debate:

God: A maximally great being
Debate Round No. 1
SarcasticMethod

Con

1. Thank you. I look forward as well.
2. No. As the PRO side, you carry the burden of proof because it is your claim being debated. If you admit that you are unable to prove God, what use does this debate serve?
3. Your definition of god is vague. Could you please give a more specific definition of God (biblically literal, deistic, etc.) so that I can understand this better?

Okay, now onto my opening statement.

The existence of a deity is a hypothesis often put forward by countless individuals and groups for millennia. However, lacking any proof behind it (beyond old books, anecdotal evidence and various forms of philosophical snake-oilery), this hypothesis has nothing to stand on. As you yourself said,
"...the existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved.."
which is a valid point. Depending on which version of God you stand by, it may be the case that such a God can actually be disproved; the classic case of an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God can be counter-acted with the problem of evil, and so forth.

Lacking the burden of proof, I have nothing more to say.
1Credo

Pro

1. Burden of Proof

As I am defending the statement "God exists" and my opponent is defending the negation of that statement "God does not exist" it is only fair that the burden of proof is shared. "God does not exist" is just as much a knowledge claim as "God exists" is, and as such the two claims require equal justification. If my opponent is not up to the challenge of carrying a portion of the burden of proof, then he should hold to a more modest view (i.e. "I don't know whether God exists or not") rather than his stated view "I can state, within reasonable doubt, that a god does not exist" (see Con's opening argument for the source of this quote).

My opponent asserts that I must prove that God exists in order to win the debate. I think it is common knowledge that God debates are judged based on convincing arguments rather than proof. Moreover, if my opponent wants to ask such proof of me, then it is only fair that I set the same standard for him. My opponent must then prove that God does not exist in order to win this debate.

This, I think, is completely unreasonable. It is obvious that neither of us will succeed in proving that God exists or does not exist. I will present arguments to think that God exists, and I expect my opponent to provide comparable arguments in favor of his position. It should be recognized that whatever standard my opponent wishes to put in front of me will also be placed in front of him.

2. Definition

With respect, I'll have to decline my opponent's request to provide a different definition for God. The resolution of the debate (as well as my opponent's opening argument) states no limitations on how I am able to define God. As such, I will stick with the definition I provided in the opening round.

God: A maximally great being.

3. Rebuttal

My rebuttal will be very brief as my opponent failed to present a single argument in favor of his position. His entire opening statement consisted of unwarranted assertions. To name a few:

"This hypothesis (God exists) has nothing to stand on"

Unwarranted assertion. I'll present some arguments below in favor of this hypothesis that my opponent will have the chance to dissect in the next round.

"It may be the case that such a God can actually be disproved"

Again, unwarranted assertion. Is this really the case? Why should we think so? Do you have any evidence that goes to disprove God?

"God can be counter-acted with the problem of evil, and so forth"

Care to explain this "problem of evil"? I'm not sure why evil is any sort of problem with regard to God's existence. Unwarranted assertion.

4. Arguments

I will begin by providing three arguments in support of the position that there is a God. I will gladly provide more arguments if necessary, but due to space constrictions I will have to start with these three. Each deductive argument consists of a set of premises followed by a necessary conclusion. In order to take issue with the conclusion, my opponent must pick at least one premise to take issue with and refute. If my opponent fails to refute at least one premise in each of the three arguments that I present, then it seems to me that we are left with good reason to think that there is a God.

i. God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe.
P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Defense of P1: I will not spend much time on premise one, as it is fairly self-explanatory and relatively uncontroversial. Simply put, something cannot come from nothing. This is supported by reason as well as by experience. No one has ever witnessed a material object (say, a tree) pop out of nothing in front of their eyes. The idea itself is absurd, as everything within the natural world has a cause for its existence.
Defense of P2: There is both philosophical and empirical evidence that verify premise two. In order for this premise to be false, one must assert that the universe is eternal. This suggestion contradicts both science and reason. Let us start with the philosophical evidence for premise two. Reason alone can show us that the idea of an eternal past (with an infinite number of past events) is impossible. The absurdity of infinity is shown in this example:
I begin with an infinite amount of coins. I subtract an infinite amount of coins from my original count. How many coins do I have left? (Answer = an infinite amount of coins)
I begin with an infinite amount of coins. I subtract three coins from my original count. How many coins do I have left? (Answer = an infinite amount of coins)
In both cases, I subtracted the same exact number of coins from my original count, yet I arrived at contradicting answers. This, along with several other examples (i.e. Hilbert's Hotel) go to show that infinity does not exist in reality.
Now, let us take a look at the empirical evidence supporting this premise. Aside from the obvious Big-Bang model of cosmology, which estimates that the universe came into being from nothing about 13.8 billion years ago, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem shows that any universe which is on average in a state of expansion (as our universe is) cannot be eternal.

ii. God is the best explanation for objective moral values and duties.
P1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C1: Therefore, God exists.

Defense of P1: Here again, premise one is relatively uncontroversial. If there is no God, then we have no standard from which to deem particular moral acts "good" or "evil". In order for objective moral values and duties to exist, there must exist a perfect standard: God.
Defense of P2: Each of us have a sense of morality which tells us that certain actions are objectively "good" or objectively "evil". For example, I can clearly recognize that altruism (self-sacrifice in order to further the well-being of others) is objectively good. I can also clearly recognize that raping and torturing a child is objectively evil. I have no more reason to doubt the reliability of these moral senses than I do to doubt the reliability of my physical senses. In other words, for any argument given in an attempt to show that our moral senses are not valid (and objective morality is therefore not valid), I can construct a parallel argument to show that our physical senses are not valid (and the physical world we experience through these senses is therefore not valid). In order for one to disagree with premise two, one must believe that an action like rape is just as "good" as an action like generosity, and that no objective distinction can be made between the nature of "goodness" of the two acts.

iii. The very possibility of God implies His actuality.
P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists, in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C1: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

Defense of P1: In order to refute this premise, one would have to show that the idea of God is incoherent, such that the concept of God is as absurd as the concept of a square circle.
Defense of P2-P6: I have combined the defense of premises two-six because these premises are necessarily true so long as premise one holds true. If a maximally great being is even possible, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world (this does not imply a parallel universe idea, but by possible world I mean to say a way that the world could have been). But if this maximally great being exists in some possible world, then by its very nature it must exist in every possible world (otherwise it would not be "maximally great"). And if this maximally great being exists in every possible world, it follows that it exists in the actual world.

5. Summary

I have provided three arguments in support of the position that there is a God. My opponent has failed to provide a single argument in favor of his position that there is no God. Until my opponent is able to knock down each of my arguments, and in their place present sound arguments of his own, it seems to me we can reasonably conclude that God exists.

6. Sources
http://now.tufts.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
SarcasticMethod

Con

1. You are misrepresenting my position; propping up your strawman, if you will. The claim being debated is that "God exists"; you are to provide arguments for your claim and I am to shoot down said arguments. I am not making a claim, and hence I assert once more that the burden falls on you. I do not want the entire debate to be filled with arguments about this, and I do sincerely hope that you understand that I am not making a claim. http://wiki.ironchariots.org...

"I think it is common knowledge that God debates are judged based on convincing arguments rather than proof."
I think I see your point here; when you said that God could not be proven, you meant that he could not be physically demonstrated, and that by "convincing arguments" you mean "logical proofs". I think that is a fair point.

2. Nonetheless, your description of god is unclear and confusing to me. Because you seem to be stubbornly sticking to that definition, I will allow you to continue under the assumption that your god is omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

3. My assertion that the hypothesis has nothing to stand on is based upon the multiple (often fallacious) arguments I have heard countless times from countless apologists. My position may change if you provide me with sufficient persuasion.
My point that "such a God" may be disproved was specifically referring to a logically impossible god. Not all god hypotheses are logically impossible.
The problem of evil is a classic argument against the existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent god. It is as follows:

P1: There is evil in the world.
P2: An omnibenevolent god would want to stop that evil.
P3: An omnipotent god would be able to stop that evil.
P4: If a god that was both omnipotent and omnibenevolent existed, there would not be evil in the world.
C: There is no omnipotent and omnibenevolent god.

4. We begin with the classical cosmological argument. http://wiki.ironchariots.org...
Some points to address:
God is not necessarily the best explanation for the origin of the universe. What if it was Satan?
The universe may not have begun to exist. Our knowledge of the beginning of the universe is limited. It may have been the case (though we do not know) that the universe had existed as a minuscule point of space for an infinite amount of time before it expanded.

Next argument: the moral argument http://wiki.ironchariots.org... .
Let's address the premises of this argument:
God is not necessarily the best explanation for objective morality. As like last time, you make this unfounded assumption.
P1: It is possible that objective morality might exist in a world with no god. It may have come about as a fundamental law of the universe, just like the Newtonian laws of classical physics. "F=ma, therefore, thou shalt not murder".
P2: Yes, each of us has a sense of morality. I will not be one to deny this. However, why make such assumptions about where it might come from? An explanation of the morality we have could be grounded in something else; evolution.
Consider the ape-like ancestor of man of millions of years in the past. If this animal were to murder his brethren, rape the females, and vandalise property, he would be ruining the primitive social structure of these ape-men which, in many ways, his life depended on. The less moral ape-men would hence live shorter lives, have less children and pass on less genes until that immoral trait was weeded out of the populace. The more moral, more altruistic members of a tribe or clan would be respected, even revered by his fellows. He would live longer, have more children, and pass on his genes more. Hence the trait of morality can be explained through evolution.

Now to an argument that I seem to lack a name for. This is good; I always enjoy a new challenge.
First of all:
"The very possibility...implies his actuality." Unproven assertion. Please clarify.
P1: Another unproven assertion.
P2: Yes, but only if P1 is true.
P3: Unproven assertion.
P4: Again, the validity of this premise depends on another, unproven premise!
P5: Tautology. You didn't need to say that.
"But if this maximally great being exists in some possible world, then by its very nature it must exist in every possible world (otherwise it would not be "maximally great")." How so? Once again, an unproven assertion.

Summary: I have put down all three of the arguments that my opponent has provided, the last of which is laden with unproven assertions. Once again, I repeat that the burden of proof rests on the claim-maker, and hence I do not require to provide any arguments for God's non existence. All I can say is that we lack any empirical evidence for God, and all logical proofs that I have heard have all been debunked countless times.

Thank you.
1Credo

Pro

Thanks, Con.

1. Burden of Proof

My opponent claims that I have misrepresented his position. I do not think this is the case, as I used a direct quote from my opponent's opening argument in order to show his position. To reiterate my opponent's words on his very own position:

"However, I can state, within reasonable doubt, that a God does not exist"

This seems to me to be a pretty clear assertion that has not been justified. As it is my opponent's position that God does not exist (claim) and it is my position that God does exist (claim), we are both equally responsible for providing evidence and argument in order to support our respective claims. Thus far, I have provided three sound arguments in favor of my position, while my opponent has failed to bring forward a single argument in support of his own position. Thus, I think it is reasonable to conclude that I have fulfilled my share of the burden of proof at this point of the debate while my opponent has not fulfilled his own share.

2. Definition

I am sorry if the definition I have provided is a confusing one; I did not intend it to be. If it provides more clarification, I'm happy to point out that "a maximally great being" entails maximal power (omnipotence), maximal knowledge (omniscience), and maximal goodness (omnibenevolence).

3. Rebuttal

Recall that in the last round, I responded to three assertions made by my opponent. These assertions included:

(1) "This hypothesis (God exists) has nothing to stand on"
(2) "It may be the case that such a God can actually be disproved"
(3) "God can be counter-acted with the problem of evil, and so forth"

With regard to assertion (1), I pointed out that no justification was provided to think that it is true. My opponent responded by stating that this view was a result of previously encountered theistic arguments that were unconvincing. He went on to acknowledge that his position "may change" if provided with "sufficient persuasion". I commend this honest approach taken by my opponent and I hope to be able to provide him with sufficient persuasion.

With regard to assertion (2), I pointed out that again no justification was provided to think that it is true. I went on to request evidence from my opponent that might disprove God. My opponent responded by conceding that assertion (2) was aimed only towards "a logically impossible God" and that "not all God hypotheses are logically impossible". Again, I commend my opponent's willingness to make an honest attempt at conceiving a logically possible "God hypothesis".

With regard to assertion (3), I pointed out that I saw no "problem of evil" with regard to God's existence. I requested that my opponent explain why evil might be a problem. My opponent responded by presenting a deductive argument in attempt to show the problem of evil. I will now explain why I think this argument fails.

P1: There is evil in the world.
P2: An omnibenevolent god would want to stop that evil.
P3: An omnipotent god would be able to stop that evil.
P4: If a god that was both omnipotent and omnibenevolent existed, there would not be evil in the world.
C: There is no omnipotent and omnibenevolent god.

I agree with P1 (though I'm not sure how anything can really be "evil" on an atheistic worldview, but perhaps that's a debate for another time).
I agree with P2.
I take issue with P3. What reason is there for thinking that God could both (1) create creatures endowed with freedom of the will and (2) force these creatures to not commit evil acts? Surely (1) and (2) as described are contradictory, and as such, impossible. If this is true, then there is no issue with an omnipotent God not being able to stop evil, as it isn't logically possible that this omnipotent God could stop evil. We must recognize that omnipotence does not include the power to do the logically impossible. For example, God cannot create a square circle, or a married bachelor. In the very same way, it seems to me that God cannot (1) creatures endowed with freedom of the will and (2) force these creatures to not commit evil acts.
P4 fails for the same reasons as P3.
Thus, the conclusion "there is no omnipotent and omnibenevolent God" does not follow.

I have demonstrated that the problem of evil is not really a problem at all with regard to God's existence. If my opponent wishes to continue with this argument, he must show that there is a logical contradiction between (1) the existence of an omnipotent and omnibelevolent God and (2) the existence of evil. In other words, he must show that (1) and (2) are contradictory in the same way that a square circle or a married bachelor are contradictory.

4. Arguments

I provided three arguments to support my position that God exists. I'll now address my opponent's response to these arguments.

P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

In response to this argument, my opponent asks a question: "What if it was Satan" who created the universe? From the argument I provided, we can deduce certain properties of the "cause" of the universe. For example, this cause must be all-powerful, eternal, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and so on. Each of these are characteristics of a maximally great being. It is greater to be all-powerful than less-powerful, greater to be eternal than finite, greater to be timeless/spaceless than be constrained by time/space, etc. Satan does not fit this description as he is clearly (assuming we are taking the Biblical view of Satan) not all-powerful.

My opponent then argues that the universe "may not have begun to exist" and that the universe could have existed "for an infinite amount of time". These statements are just trivially false. According to the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem, our universe must have had a beginning (as it is on average in a state of constant expansion). Furthermore, actual infinities do not exist in reality (as shown by the coin example I gave, Hilbert's Hotel, etc.)

http://sites.middlebury.edu...
http://now.tufts.edu...

So, it seems to me that my opponent's two objections have no grounding and as such do no damage to the first argument in favor of God's existence. I would add that in order to accept the premises, one need not be 100% certain of their truth. The condition that must be met is that the premises given are more likely true than their negations. In other words, to say that P2 is sound is not to say that the universe must have had a beginning (though this could be plausibly argued). It merely says that it is more likely that the universe had a beginning than not. I find this very difficult to disagree with, especially given the evidence provided through the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem, the impossibility of an actual infinity, etc. I invite my opponent to consider these things.

P1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C1: Therefore, God exists.

In response to this argument, my opponent agrees that P2 is true, taking issue with P1 instead. He argues that "objective morality might exist in a world with no God". I see no reason to think that this is the case. If there is no God, then why should anything be truly "good" or "evil"? On what basis are acts like rape, torture, and murder any more "evil" than they are "good" in the absence of God? These are questions my opponent must answer if he wishes to affirm the objectivity of morality while denying the existence of God.

My opponent argues that the foundation of morality could be found in evolution. As an evolutionary biology major, I think it is blatantly obvious that this is not the case. My opponent argues that acts like rape would decrease the fitness of an organism and as such would not be passed on to future generations. There are two issues with this, the first being that rape occurs all the time in the animal kingdom (so it's incredibly strange that this action should be "evil" for humans yet perfectly acceptable for our primate relatives). Secondly, and more importantly, if my opponent were correct it would mean that if we were to rewind time so that human evolution occurred in a different way, it's entirely possible that rape would be advantageous. Would this make rape "good"?

The problem with inferring evolution as the basis of morality is that there is a clear distinction between "good/evil" and "advantageous/disadvantageous". The former refers to morality, while the latter refers to fitness. An act might be "good" yet decrease fitness (i.e. self-sacrifice) while another act might be "evil" yet increase fitness (i.e. adultery). But how can this be, if evolution is the basis for objectively "good" and "evil" moral acts? Clearly evolution is not concerned with whether an action is "good" or "evil". In this regard, evolution is completely indifferent; evolution is only concerned with the passing on of genes, whether this occurs by "good" or "evil" means is irrelevant. As such, evolution fails as an explanation for objective morality.

P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists, in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C1: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

In my last argument, each P2-P6 follow necessarily from P1. In other words, if P1 is true, then the conclusion follows inescapably. So, in order to deny the conclusion of the argument, my opponent must assert that it is not possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.

5. Summary

Arguments in favor of God: 3
Arguments against God: 0
Debate Round No. 3
SarcasticMethod

Con

1. Burden Of Proof
I see that you have recognized this statement of mine into a declaration of my claim. I acknowledge that it might be taken as a statement of a claim, and for good reason. What I meant by this was that it is a reasonable claim to make in the absence of evidence for the alternative. I apologize for the misleading wording, and repeat once more that in this debate I intend to deny your claim rather than push my own.

2. Definition
Thank you. I find this description of God easier to understand. You may remember my previous points:
1. That I may indeed be able to disprove the existence of a logically impossible God
2. That my argument from the problem of evil can disprove a God with these attributes (this will be addressed later in my rebuttal to your rebuttal of my argument)

3. Rebuttal
The problem of evil:
You agree with P1 and P2, so I will skip ahead to P3.
P3: I think that your God would hypothetically be doing something very strange here. He creates a set of creatures (humans) that he cares about, loves and does not want harm to come to them. He then knowingly gives them a free will and allows them the freedom to do what they decide is best for them. Why would he do this? He knows (remember his omniscience) that his creations have the freedom to love and care, but also to kill, rape and enslave. He knows - knows better than anyone! - that allowing his creations free will would cause what one might call "evil" - the suffering and death of humans time and time again, including genocidal acts such as the Holocaust and the Armenian and Rwandan genocides; terrible bloody wars of epic proportions such as the great wars of the 20th century in Europe and the proxy wars of the Cold War such as the ones in Korea and Vietnam; crushing poverty in countless nations; terrible diseases such as the Bubonic Plague, the influenza outbreaks in 1919 and 2008, the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, and the recent Ebola crisis; what "omni-benevolent" God would allow his creations free will with the knowledge that these catastrophes would occur? It must be that, by creating humans with free will, with full foreknowledge of the consequences, is tantamount to causing those atrocities, personally!

4. Arguments
Cosmological argument: When I said that it may have been Satan, I was only providing an example. The point of my rebuttal was that I wanted to explain that assuming that it must have been your idea of God, and your idea alone, that was the only possible explanation for the origin of the universe. The cause of the universe is unknown to even the most brilliant theoreticians, and it's safe to admit one's lack of knowledge of these things, rather than automatically attributing the cause to God.

As for your point on the BGV Theorem, I find it mildly suspicious that the top results on a Google search were creationist websites. *ahem* But besides that, and I quote from the 2003 on the theorem directly:

"What can lie beyond the boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event."

Far from saying "Yeah, the universe had a beginning so it must have had a creator", the paper provides an example of an event that might have arose purely physically to cause the universe.

Onto the argument from morality: I acknowledge that evolution may not be the sole origin of morality. However I have no doubt that it played a part. Other parts of morality may be purely societal; imagine the religious clergyman that might tell the populace that God says it's good to follow rules A, B and C because he wants to exert control over the people. Some rules may be advantageous directly to the clergyman (do not question the word of the church leaders, donate 10% of your income to the church, etc.) while some may be enforcing earlier, more subtle evolutionary moralities (the rule against adultery might have arisen because having a male and female in close monogamous relationship increased the chances of child survival).

Now to the argument of the maximally great being:
My main issue is with P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
How do you back this up? I am genuinely confused by this. Why must it be the case that existence follows directly from possibility? You fail to provide proof for this assertion. The argument can be condensed like so: "If God can exist, God must exist." This is not a logical following of premise-to-conclusion, but a preposterous assertion.

5. A new argument against God
Now that you have properly defined what you mean by God, I have some arguments that can show the logical impossibility of such a God. We begin by restating an argument that I have already brought up and defended earlier in this round:

P1: There is evil in the world.
P2: An omnibenevolent god would want to stop that evil.
P3: An omnipotent god would be able to stop that evil.
P4: If a god that was both omnipotent and omnibenevolent existed, there would not be evil in the world.
C: There is no omnipotent and omnibenevolent god.

I place this here only for completeness. I also have another argument to make: Drange's argument from non-belief (http://wiki.ironchariots.org...)

P1: God is omnipotent.
P2: God wants people to believe in him. (I acknowledge that you may not agree with this, but I;m putting it up in the case that you do.)
P3: If God is omnipotent and wants people to believe in him, everyone would believe in him.
P4: Atheists exist.
C: God does not exist.

And another argument, which I recently have discovered and find very interesting: http://wiki.ironchariots.org...

P1: God is perfect (let's call it "maximally great", for your sake)
P2: God created the universe.
P3: If God created the universe, he must have needed or wanted to.
P4: A maximally great being has no needs or wants.
P5: A maximally great being could have not created the universe.
C: God does not exist.

6. Summary
I continue to hold down your arguments for God. Now that you have properly defined what you mean by God, I can safely say that it is not only unproven, but logically impossible. I rest my case.
Arguments for God remaining: 0
Arguments against (a particular kind of) God: 3
1Credo

Pro

Thanks, Con.

1. Burden of Proof


I thank my opponent for acknowledging that his statement was a bit misleading and I accept his apology. That being said, I do think it's unfair to switch the burden of proof in the fourth round of the debate. But I suppose that will be for the voters to decide.

2. Arguments Against God

My opponent has asserted that the "problem of evil" shows a logical contradiction between the existence of God and the existence of evil. His argument is as follows:

P1: There is evil in the world.
P2: An omnibenevolent god would want to stop that evil.
P3: An omnipotent god would be able to stop that evil.
P4: If a god that was both omnipotent and omnibenevolent existed, there would not be evil in the world.
C: There is no omnipotent and omnibenevolent god.

As I previously stated, it is P3 (and P4 as follows) that I take issue with. In my last argument, I showed that it is contradictory for God to (1) create creatures endowed with freedom of the will and (2) force these creatures to not commit evil acts. If it's true, as I think it is, that (1) and (2) are contradictory, then it follows that there is no logical contradiction between the existence of God, on one hand, and the existence of evil on the other.

How does my opponent respond to this? He seems to agree with me that it would not be possible for God to have (1) created creatures endowed with freedom of the will and at the same time (2) force these creatures to not commit evil acts. So, what is the problem? My opponent claims that because God knew that his created creatures (humans) would commit both good and evil acts, He should not have given humans free will. This is a very strange line of reasoning. Let's consider (A) to be the actual world (with the existence of both free will and good/evil) and (B) to be a different possible world (in this world, there is no free will, and hence no good/evil.) My opponent seems to be arguing that (B) is a better world than (A) and that God ought to have created (B) instead. But what reason is there to think that? Why should we think that (B) is better than (A)? It seems to me that this is pure speculation. The assertion that (B) is better than (A) is unwarranted. In order to show that there is a logical contradiction between God and evil, my opponent would need provide justification for thinking that (B) is better than (A). I just don't think this is possible, as any such argument would purely speculative.

My opponent has presented two new arguments, which I will now address:

P1: God is omnipotent.
P2: God wants people to believe in him. (I acknowledge that you may not agree with this, but I;m putting it up in the case that you do.)
P3: If God is omnipotent and wants people to believe in him, everyone would believe in him.
P4: Atheists exist.
C: God does not exist.

My opponent has not provided justification for any of the premises of his argument. As such, I am able to dismiss the argument completely. As there is only one more round, however, I will point out the premise I believe to be false so that my opponent has a chance to address it before the debate ends. It seems to me that P1, P2, and P4 are all fine, but P3 is false for the same reason that the problem of evil fails. There is no reason to think that "If God is omnipotent and wants people to believe in Him, everyone would believe in Him". My opponent previously agreed with me that it is not possible for God to (1) create creatures with free will and (2) force these creatures not to commit evil acts. In the same way, it seems to me that it is not possible for God to (1) create creatures with free will and (2) force these creatures to believe in Him.

P1: God is perfect (let's call it "maximally great", for your sake)
P2: God created the universe.
P3: If God created the universe, he must have needed or wanted to.
P4: A maximally great being has no needs or wants.
P5: A maximally great being could have not created the universe.
C: God does not exist.

Again, no justification is provided for the premises. As such, there is no reason to accept the argument as sound. Again, I'll point out the premise that I take issue with so that my opponent has a chance to respond in the final round. P4 is trivially false. What reason is there to think that a maximally great being has no wants? Is it not obvious that a being, if it is truly maximally great, would want love, justice, goodness, etc.?

3. Arguments for God

Recall that I provided three arguments in favor of God's existence at the beginning of the debate. I'll now proceed to address my opponent's responses to these three arguments:

P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

My opponent seems to concede that the conclusion of this argument is true, but argues that the "cause" of the universe does not need to be God. As I stated in the last round, this "cause" must be all-powerful, eternal, timeless, spaceless, and immaterial. Is there anything that fits this criteria aside from a maximally great being? It seems to me that we can work by the process of elimination here: What sorts of things are immaterial, timeless, and spaceless? Candidates (aside from a maximally great being) might include numbers, propositions, shapes, moral laws, etc. (if my opponent has any other suggestions I'll gladly consider them). But it seems to me that none of these candidates, with the exception of a maximally great being, fit the bill. None of these candidates stand in causal relations; the number 3 can't "cause" anything. Furthermore, these candidates are not all-powerful; a triangle is clearly limited in power. So, it seems to me that as my opponent has conceded the conclusion of the argument to be true, the only rational "cause" that follows is an all-powerful, eternal, timeless, spaceless, and immaterial God.

P1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C1: Therefore, God exists.

In my opponent's initial rebuttal to this argument, he proposed that evolution was the source of objective morality. He has now conceded this argument: "I acknowledge that evolution may not be the sole origin of morality." Even if my opponent asserts that evolution played some minor role in morality, he must account for the basis (or origin) of morality. My opponent wants to believe that objective morality exists but that God does not exists, but he cannot have his cake and eat it too. My opponent must either abandon his belief in objective morality or else acknowledge the existence of God as the foundation of morality.

P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists, in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C1: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.


My opponent takes issue with P3 here, which is surprising as it is widely acknowledged that if P1 of this argument is true, then the conclusion necessarily follows. In any case, I will address the concern with P3. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, which my opponent seems to acknowledge it is, then it follows that there is a possible world in which God exists. But recall that for a being to be maximally great, that being must by definition hold maximal greatness in all aspects. So, the being must be all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing, and among other aspects this being must also be necessary. If we think of necessary entities (entities which can't not exist, i.e. the proposition that 2+2=4), contingent beings (beings which can exist but don't have to exist, i.e. humans), and incoherent entities (entities which can't exist, i.e. square circles) it is clear that being necessary is greater than being contingent or incoherent. Therefore, a maximally great being, if it is truly maximal, must hold the property of necessity. If a maximally great being is even possible (i.e. it exists in some possible world) then it follows logically that this being must exist in every world (otherwise the being wouldn't be necessary and therefore wouldn't be a maximally great being). So, in order to reject the conclusion of this argument, one would have to assert that it is not possible for a maximally great being (God) to exist, an assertion which no atheist has ever been able to justify.

4. Summary

My opponent provided three arguments against God, each of which I have refuted through showing at least one premise to be false. Moreover, my opponent has failed to provide justification for a single premise in any of his arguments. As such, even if my responses are completely false, there is no reason to accept the conclusions of his arguments as true (they remain unwarranted).

On the other hand, I have provided three sound arguments in favor of God. My opponent has thus far failed to knock down any of these arguments. As such, we can reasonably conclude that it is more likely that theism is true than that atheism is true.
Debate Round No. 4
SarcasticMethod

Con

1. Burden of Proof
"I do think it's unfair to switch..." I understand that point, but the BoP was not switched. We had not yet agreed upon it until now. Nonetheless, thank you.

2. Arguments against God
You want me to provide justification for why Scenario B is superior to Scenario A. I do think that I have provided, at the very least, a rough outline of reasons to withhold free will from humans, the main ones involving the terrible harm caused by humans to one another. If God so very much wanted to have humans to care for, his decision to give them the freedom to murder each other (and rarely, if ever, intervene) was almost certainly a terrible and malconceived plan. It is true that the idea of humans having free will may sound like a good idea, and indeed it would be, if only we all agreed not to cause each other suffering, which we evidently have not.

Now to address P3 of my second argument. For the same reason "free will" cannot put down the problem of evil, free will also cannot explain God's hiding from us. If God were to - not force us! - only show himself to us so that we could see his existence, free will would remain unviolated, while everyone would believe in God. Again, why would God have chosen to give us free will if he intended to have us believe in him? This is a pretty poor choice, especially for a maximally great being who is supposedly omniscient.

Now to my last argument. "What reason is there to think a maximally great being has no wants?" you say. I would like you to imagine God, existing alone in the nothingness before the universe. As a perfect being, what would he need? A perfect being is incapable of boredom. A perfect being is incapable of requiring something, because this would imply that the being would be less than perfect without that which he required, which is a contradiction. A perfect being would not need or want justice or love, because a perfect being would be content without anything to supplement his perfection.

3. Arguments for God
Over and over, you repeat the "necessary qualities" of the cause for a universe. Why must a universe-cause be all-powerful, and not simply "powerful enough to cause a universe"? I understand why a cause might be timeless, spaceless and immaterial, but the prerequisite of "eternal" is silly, as time doesn't exist before time began. Scientists are still arguing over possible phenomena (remember quantum nucleation?) that could exist before the universe and hence cause it. Asserting certain attributes of a universe-cause without backing shows that you are not making the conclusion fit the facts, but rather making the facts fit the conclusion!

As for my proposal for evolutionary and societal origins of morality, I want to point out that, while I have attempted to explain and outline my reasons for thinking this, you have essentially stated: "I don't know where morality comes from, but your explanation isn't perfect. Therefore, I think I'll attribute morality to...God!" with no reason behind it. The hypothesis I put forward is described further in, for example, this paper: http://www.imprint.co.uk... . For lack of any actual argument on your part, but only assertion, I say that the issue of morality without God is solved!

Now to the final argument, which I now recognize as a variation on the classical Ontological Argument by Augustine of Hippo. I have two points to make.

Point one: You have not demonstrated how necessity is superior to contingency and incoherency. This is an unproven assertion.
Point two: I first argued against this before we had agreed on our definition of "maximally great". Now I realize that, with my understanding, I can in fact argue against P1! All three of my arguments against God set out to show that a maximally great being is logically impossible. Saying that "...no atheist has ever been able to justify [that a maximally great being is impossible]" is untrue, as many arguments for the logical impossibility of a maximally great God exist.

Summary: I have taken down your arguments while supporting my own. Your burden has not been fulfilled. Every argument you have made is an old, overused argument for which rebuttals exist in multitudes. Your rebuttals to my arguments defeat themselves by demonstrating the inherent problems with a perfect god who creates free-willed creatures. In conclusion, as this is the final round, I urge voters to vote Con.

Thank you for a fun, interesting debate. I learned a lot.
1Credo

Pro

Thanks, Con.

1. Arguments Against God

Before I begin with summarizing the conclusions (or lack thereof) of my opponent's arguments, I'd like to note that my opponent failed to provide justification for a single premise in each of his arguments. Thus, even if it were the case that I had no response to these arguments, they would still be unsound and ought not be considered.

My opponent's first argument (the problem of evil) fails as he has not succeeded in showing a world in which there is no free will (and as a result no good/evil) is greater than a world where there is free will (and as a result good/evil). Furthermore, my opponent has failed to show a logical contradiction between (1) the existence of God and (2) the existence of evil. As such, his first argument fails.

My opponent's second argument (the argument from non-belief) also fails as he has not succeeded in showing that there is a logical contradiction between (1) God wanting people to believe in Him and (2) the fact that not everyone believes in God. As such, his second argument fails.

My opponent's third argument fails as he has not succeeded in showing that a maximally great being cannot have "wants". As such, his third argument fails.

In my opponent's response to my refutation of the third argument, he argued that a maximally great being cannot "want" anything. It seems to me that a being which wants justice, love, and all other good things is greater than a being who does not want these things. Perhaps my opponent disagrees. At any rate, this is pure speculation. As the burden of proof is on my opponent to justify his own argument, he would need to show that it is logically impossible for a maximally great being to have "wants". He has failed to accomplish this feat, so this argument remains unsound.

2. Arguments For God

Let's now take a look at the conclusions of the three arguments I presented:

P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

My opponent has conceded that this argument is sound, as the conclusion follows logically from the two premises. He has instead taken issue with what sort of entity the "cause" of the universe might be. To address this, I described certain necessary qualities that a cause of the universe must have: all-powerful (or extremely-powerful, as my opponent would seem to prefer), timeless, spaceless, immaterial, eternal, etc.) In response, my opponent states "I understand why a cause might be timeless, spacelesss, and immaterial, but the prerequisite of "eternal" is silly, as time doesn't exist before time began." So, my opponent agrees that the cause of the universe must be extremely-powerful, timeless, spaceless and immaterial, but has a bit of trouble with the concept of an eternal cause. This difficulty arises from a misunderstood concept of eternal. There are two ways to understand eternity, one would be to exist from the beginning of time forward, the second would be to transcend time altogether (to exist outside of time). The latter is what is attributed to the "cause" of the universe.

In the last round, I provided several potential candidates for what this "cause" might be: God, a number, a proposition, a shape, or a moral law. I invited my opponent to bring forward any candidates he saw fit, and it seems that he has been unable to suggest any such candidates for the "cause" of the universe. We are then left with the candidates I have presented, of which a God is the only candidate which might serve in causal relations (the number 3 can't "cause" anything) as well as the only all-powerful (or at least extremely-powerful) candidate (a triangle has little or no power).

Thus, the first argument (which has been conceded to by my opponent) remains sound.

P1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C1: Therefore, God exists.

My opponent conceded that P2 of this argument is sound, and as a result of that concession has had difficulty postulating a foundation of objective morality in the absence of God. My opponent attempted to argue that evolution might be the basis of objective morality, to which I have adequately responded (see past rounds). My opponent has apparently dropped this argument (he makes no further mention of it this round).

Thus, the first argument remains sound, as my opponent has conceded P2 and failed to demonstrate that P1 is false.

P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists, in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C1: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

My opponent makes two final notes on this argument: (1) "You have not demonstrated how necessity is superior to contingency and incoherency" and (2)
"Now I realize that, with my understanding, I can in fact argue against P1! All three of my arguments against God set out to show that a maximally great being is logically impossible."

The first point seems strange to me. I think existing in every world (necessary) being better than existing in only some worlds (contingent) or no worlds (incoherent) is fairly self-explanatory and uncontroversial, especially when considering which quality a maximally great being might have. As for my opponent's second point, he seems to be claiming that he has shown God to be logically impossible. This is an extremely bold claim (not to mention an unwarranted one). If my opponent is correct, then he is the first person in human history to have disproved the existence of God. So, if his claim is justified, I expect to receive a great deal of money when this debate is published as a bestselling book (only joking). On a more serious note, I don't think my opponent has been able to present any sound arguments against the existence of God, so it seems to me that it's perfectly reasonable to conclude that my opponent has not disproved the existence of God.

As my opponent has failed to demonstrate that the concept of a maximally great being is incoherent, my third argument remains sound.

3. Conclusion

My opponent and I have each presented three arguments throughout the course of this debate. I have succeeded in knocking down each of my opponent's arguments, while each of my three arguments remain standing. Thus, it seems to me that we can reasonably conclude that God exists.

I'd like to thank my opponent for creating and participating in this debate. I enjoyed the discussion and wish him the best of luck in future debates.

4. Sources
http://sites.middlebury.edu...
http://now.tufts.edu...
Debate Round No. 5
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Vajrasattva-LeRoy 2 years ago
Vajrasattva-LeRoy
Like they say, if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
If you want to Debate, & there's a Comments section, & you get valid questions, you shouldn't tell us people who actually know what we're writing about to shut up & go away, & refuse to answer our questions, etc.
Goodbye, yourself!
Go away.
Posted by SarcasticMethod 2 years ago
SarcasticMethod
You know, the comments are being filled by both of you and I don't see what kind of contribution you could possibly be making to the debate right now. If you want to discuss this topic, go onto the forums or start your own debate. Thank you, and goodbye.
Posted by Vajrasattva-LeRoy 2 years ago
Vajrasattva-LeRoy
@SarcasticMethod:
Thank you.
Now go back & actually read & try to understand what I wrote.
What, pray tell, IS your "clear definition of God" ?

@imaca:
The person who called himself "Yahweh" wasn't fabricated.
He didn't live in the clouds.
He walked around & talked with Adam & Eve & Moses, among others.
He was apparently seen by Adam & Eve & Moses, among others.
The Bible isn't a book of fairytale, nonsense, folk tales, imagination, comfort blankets, at all.
The fact that people are creative & have free will proves that we aren't creations.
What IS the biggest question of all?
I'll answer it for you.
Posted by imaca 2 years ago
imaca
Just my own personal opinion that's all it may well be irrelevant I honestly don't know but what I do absolutely know for certain is that a debate about wether or not "god" actually exists is in my opinion completely and utterly pointless because all the evidence that supports it is catalogued in a book of fairytale and nonsense nothing more than a series of folktales derived from an exceptionally vivid imagination.
But the way I personally see it is that all that exists has a creator everything has it's beginnings everything evolves from an initial idea nothing just happens.
Men create with purpose and yet have no inclination of there own god's and religions exist for that reason alone nothing more than distraction and a comfort blanket for those that require reason and for some it would seem it's the only answer available to what is without a doubt the biggest question of all.
Posted by SarcasticMethod 2 years ago
SarcasticMethod
Although I fully agree, your comment is irrelevant.
Posted by imaca 2 years ago
imaca
i was christened in a Roman Catholic Church by my parents but then enrolled into a Protestant primary school not long after basically because it was closer to home.
I attended assembly each morning and sung the hymns I was taught with unquestionable belief and it felt good it gave me structure and foundation to build upon it installed important rights and wrongs and constructed a moral code of conduct that is still within me to this day 35yrs later .
My very honest opinion is this humanity is and has been the dominant species on earth for a very very long time now regardless of continents colours or religious beliefs we continue to evolve not because we are superior or more deserving but because we've simply out bread overpopulated and stomped all over the food chain.
Technology has achieved light speed in recent years and continues to move at break neck speed because mankind is dominant and the only thing that stands between progress and destruction is the absolutely ridiculous belief in a nonsense fabricated bearded bloke that supposedly resides in the clouds and made it all possible.
We are what we personally choose to be and that's all nothing more in my personal opinion
Posted by SarcasticMethod 2 years ago
SarcasticMethod
Now that I have a clear definition of God in my hands, I can provide some logical arguments. This is getting better by the second!
Posted by SarcasticMethod 2 years ago
SarcasticMethod
That comment almost made some vestige of "sense".
Posted by Vajrasattva-LeRoy 2 years ago
Vajrasattva-LeRoy
Since God is always beyond any definition, & can't be found, & being definable &
findable is necessary to prove something' s existence, it's Impossible to prove that God exists.
It is, however easy to prove that God cannot not exist.
If God didn't exist, nothing & nobody else would either.

Since Con has stated in the first round that Pro must prove the existence of God,
& Pro has stated in the first round that God's existence cannot be proved,
Pro has admitted defeat, & this Debate has ended.

There is no way of finding a "maximally great being" .
Each person in the world might have his own "maximally great being" .
Christ pointed out that his kingdom is not of this world.
If someone tells you "Lo- it is here! " or "Lo-it is there! "
be not deceived.
"Evil" doesn't exist.
L. Ron Hubbard promoted the idea of the Gradient Scale some time ago.
Some things are MORE good & some things are LESS Good.

Albert Einstein stated that the universe is Finite but Unbounded.
It has no beginning & no ending & can have no cause.
Scientists consider that neither matter nor energy can either be created nor destroyed.
The universe couldn't have "popped out of nothing" -
it had no beginning , it'll have no ending, & it had no cause.
It's not eternal, or infinite, at all, but never-ending, unbounded, non-finite.
The idea that if God doesn't exist, morals & ethics wouldn't either doesn't make sense.
Altruism, self -sacrifice is Suicide.
Suicide is considered Bad not good, at all.
Your personal beliefs can't be used to prove God's existence.
Quantum Physicians believe that the Omniverse exists, including all possible probabilities
Posted by gomergcc 2 years ago
gomergcc
Dang Pro good argument so far. How con and step up the argument. Both of you debating like that would be the best debate I have seen on here so far.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
SarcasticMethod1CredoTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Over and over, Con continued to concede the soundness of Pro's arguments. Also, more and more, Con keeps changing his arguments as Pro rebutted them more and more. Cons arguments about evil also were illogical. I agree that Pro had the bop, but I am convinced he carried it.