Agnostic Atheism is more rational than an Agnostic Monotheist
Debate Rounds (5)
(1) Agnostic theism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who believes that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or non-existence of such is unknown or cannot be known.
(2) Agnostic theism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of at least one God, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the God or the gods he or she believes in
(3) Knowledge, according to Epistemology, is a system of justified true propositions or a system of justified true sentences. A belief acquired through rational means. According to merriam-webster.com, it is defined as:
: information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education
: awareness of something : the state of being aware of something
(4) universe = our universe and Universe = multiverse (everything)
R1: Acceptance/ quibbling over definitions only
R2: My opening arguments followed by Con's opening arguments (No rebuttals by Con)
R3: Rebuttals to opening arguments
R4: Defense of your original arguments (No new arguments may be introduced. If any new arguments are introduced in the final round, that debater shall lose conduct and source points)
To prove the irrationality of the following arguments for a personal God.
No semantics or trolling allowed.
All logical fallacies are discouraged on both sides (exceptions are made for appealing to authority fallacies).
All references and sources for information should be reliable and viewable by all readers (with the exception of Wikipedia) and provided with hyper-links.
I look forward to an exciting debate..
1)Anthropic argument, also known as the natural-law argument, syllogism:
p1. There are natural laws which govern the universe
p2. All laws have a law giver
c1. That law giver is God
P1 is false. It uses the reification fallacy and relies on the fallacy of equivocation for the meaning of law. There are two types of law which are prescriptive and descriptive. Natural laws are descriptive because they are human concepts that describe how an aspect of the universe behaves, and not the entire universe.
P2 is false. If descriptive laws are human concepts then we need not assume a law giver. However, granted the assertion, this premise open up the Euthypro Dilemma paradox. If God made these laws for his own purpose, then there is something not subject to law. If the reason was to create the best universe, then God was subject to law and uses the Homunculus fallacy. Any attempt to claim, this paradox as a bifurcation fallacy by stating the standard is internal to God and not external, results in a useless tautology, that God is law, given as the philosophical notion A=A. If we state that it is only a characteristic of God then that would simply be a case of special pleading.
Finally, c1 is an argument from ignorance and a broken compass argument by assuming this cause must be divine. If by divine one means supernatural/transcendent, then it is safe to say we have no empirical evidence. All abstract objects would fall under naturalism, which encompasses Platonism and nominalism. To get around this Con must discuss the demarcation problem and any hypothesis given must be falsifiable, parsimonious, consistent, and reproducible to be scientifically sound.
2)Cosmological/Contingency Argument Syllogism championed by William Lane Craig:
p1 Everything that began to exist has a cause of its existence.
p2 The universe began to exist.
c1 Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
P1" asserts that there are things that begin to exist. Everything that exists is the rearrangement of existing matter. If something always existed then everything that exists came from what always existed, and therefore nothing began to exist or everything is one, leading to a pantheistic view. Any argument against this will lead to an argument of creation ex nihilo, nihil fit. Though one can say it is senseless statement because nothing implies the absence of logic, I will digress. Therefore, the first premise is based on an inductive generalization and commits the fallacy of composition. If Con argues for an infinite regress, he will also have to argue for an infinite eternal future for God, especially if God can be both temporal and a-temporal simultaneously. However, simultaneous causality is another paradox but I will digress for now. Also, under the A-theory of time, if there is a finite series of future events and God became timeless again, he contradicts his own nature by being both eternal and temporal. Thus violating laws of non-contradiction.
P2 " Despite unanimous consensus between cosmologists, which is an appeal to authority, the big bang singularity shows us that T=0. Even if all we observed had a cause, there's still much we haven't observed, no "a posteriori" evidence can be presented to this statement of nature.
Seeing that it is only logical to conclude that something must have always existed, we have more reason to believe a Multiverse hypothesis is more plausible than an eternal unembodied mind preceding causality. If a cause is eternal, then the effect must also be eternal, if they are simultaneous. An eternal effect would render its cause as redundant. I am yet to see a good analogy for simultaneous causality, for even if we grant this, once can say all effects are simultaneous with the first cause. This paradox can only be rescued under a tenseless theory of time which the KCA is grounded upon. It also uses a false dichotomy by giving only two options: either the universe caused itself or a supernatural necessary being caused it. It could be an in deterministic, impersonal cause or two colliding "Branes" if M-theory is correct. Any hypocritical criticism of these alternatives would present the same dilemma for a disembodied mind. Also, Con would have to argue that nothing physical exists that is also necessary, but there is no way for him to do so. For example, if a material mind exists necessarily, then it must exist in space, which makes space necessary too. Even if I can't show that a disembodied mind is logically or metaphysically impossible, it is illogical to disprove a negative. If we grant there are disembodied minds, one must make an argument for an unembodied mind, until then it is an irrational presupposition. Antonio Damasio, one of the world"s leading researchers in neuroscience, argues not only that the mind-body is interdependent, but also that emotions are biologically necessary for making reasonable decisions: if a part of the brain needed for emotions is missing, decisions will not be reasonable. See link: http://ruccs.rutgers.edu.... A disembodied mind also commits the fallacy of ad populum, due to its familiarity. I see no reason to believe anthropological dualism is true. Also, any time dependent concept such as before would be meaningless if applies to before time began. Minds think, thinking is a temporal process, temporal event. Therefore, thinking cannot be outside time. To rescue this, Con must show logically that God becomes temporal. In my rebuttal, I will explain the paradox if con wishes to show defend that contention.
P1. Logic exists as a concept that requires a mind.
P2. Logic transcends human minds
P3. A transcendent mind must exist to hold that concept.
C1. That transcendent mind is God
This syllogism commits the following fallacies.
P1. Abstract numbers would still exist as the concept isn't dependent on a transcendent mind for the real world underpinning of the concept to remain true. Therefore, it follows that objective concepts such as numbers or logic doesn"t depend on a transcendent mind, nor does it show that logic must be held by a mind. Also, concepts can"t transcend minds if it only exists as concepts that must be held by a human mind, which is conflated in premise 1 and thus premise 2 is false.
4)Teleological Argument Syllogism:
P1. The fine tuning of the universe is either due to physical necessity, chance or design.
P2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance. Where chance relies on:
a. the existence of a specific world ensemble
b. an observer self selection effect
C1. It is due to design
P1. uses vague terminology for design and there is no evidence that the universe is fine tuned.
P2. is false. It also assumes that systems can't self-organize which is false. We have good reasons to think otherwise eg. planetary formation and ideas within the mind.
C1. There is no way to distinguish design from non-design without experience or familiarity. Also, terms like perfection, complexity and design are all relative concepts. It is an argument from ignorance as there is no justification to show the probability of constants in nature, as we don"t know the available range of constants to determine its probability. Fine-tuning refers to circumstances when the parameters of a modal must be adjusted very precisely to agree with the observations but we know these parameters. The probability of general relativity shows a probability of 1 which is close as we"ve gotten. NASA is consistent with Alan Guth"s inflationary hypothesis which leads to more than one universe. We also have another probable explanation, which is in quantum cosmology.
There is no empirical evidence to suggest abiogenesis is improbable. Also beauty is subjective and apophenia proves human's tendency to look for patterns and connections in meaningless data, just as one may believe in ghosts. There are naturalistic explanations for the multiverse and modals where the Boltzmann brain problems and random fluctuations do not dominate such as the Caroll-Chen Model. This argument is a psychological manipulation by exposing a deep cosmic mystery arousing desires for cognitive closure in turn making the subject susceptible to premises effects easily satisfied by blanketed appeals to agenticity. After indoctrination, confirmatory observation is compiled causing them to reject alternative potential falsifications via empirical or testable predictions. Finally, it appeals to human vanity, patternicity, over-sensitive agent detection and tendencies towards anthropomorphism. One can find the full debunking of this argument by the following link: https://www.youtube.com... which shows there are testable hypotheses, more rational than making a transcendent designer speculation.
Due to character restraints, I will post my arguments for Secular Morality and against the Ontological Argument for God in my next round.
Now to start off I would like to explain that there are three modes of existence. We will use the process of elimination in this debate to reach the logical conclusion that God exists. The first mode is of existence in reality, that is the existence of an Object in itself, so real. The second is the one most important for us, it is the mode of existence in cognition. This mode has two divisions an a priori existence, and an a posteriori existence. Since the first warrants naught but truth let us discuss only the second. For atheists it is the second that holds all the keys. Of the a posteriori second mode there are two divisions: a pure empirical idea which we define as such an idea that is gained due to sensations, or sense experience, or an impure empirical idea which is a false idea which is born from the faculty of Imagination, and is therefore an untrue idea. For any atheist all our ideas regarding God are related to the a posteriori impure cognitive idea. The third mode is in communication, and therefore that of proposition but we need not discuss it.
We should specify what we mean by an idea. Immanuel Kant defines an idea as: 'the species of representation which gives rise to metaphysical beliefs. Ideas are special concepts which arise out of our knowledge.' If this is yet unclear then let us mention Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy's definition: 'In philosophy, ideas are usually construed as mental representational images of some object.' It is then clear that ideas are representations of Objects. When we say an idea is true then we mean that the object that is represented exists as a real object, when we say an idea be false it means that the representation is illusory and the object is not real.
We break these ideas into simple and complex ideas. Simple ideas are those ideas which are irreducible and are therefore not distinguishable into parts using sensations. Complex ideas are those which may be distinguished into parts, through the method of sensations. So the idea of an apple is complex for an apple has a color, a taste, a scent and is therefore made of many distinguishable parts. Any idea of Imagination is a complex idea for what else is imagination but a machine which takes in many ideas, changes its form and presents a new idea. As Hume tells us Imagination cannot yield a simple idea for no matter how you twist and turn a simple idea you will get the same result.
My proof then will rely on the process of elimination keeping in our modality of existence. I will attempt to show that the idea of God could not have come as an impure a posteriori idea, nor is it an idea of sense experience, and so, seeing no other form of existence, or any other faculty of the mind, I conclude that the idea of God is not false. I will use the law of the extended middle (third law of thought) that I will show the negation to be absurd and therefore prove God's existence. By showing that the idea of God could not have existed any other way.
I should have liked to write out the argument in formal logic, but debate.org is not kind to such things and replaces everything with commas...so I will only post it in a valid premise-conclusion format:
1. The idea of God exists in cognition, independent of experience.
2. If an idea of cognition which exists independent of experience exists, it is either false or necessarily true.
3. If an idea of cognition which exists independent of experience is false then it is imaginative.
4, The idea of God cannot be imagined.
5. Ergo: the idea of God is necessarily true.
I shall now go on to defend each individual premise.
Defense of Premise 1:
> I believe this is fairly obvious, we know we have an idea of God, for how else would the word God have any meaning for us? As for this belief not to be purely empirical that we can say simply because we cannot feel God. Ex ve termini God is transcendent of time, space, and number, and since the sensation depends on these three, it follows we cannot feel God. This premise means there has been no impression of God.
> If it is said that the idea of God has been given to one by parents, family members, or books then an easy rebuttal could ask the question of where the first person came up with the idea of God. The only answer an atheist can give is that the idea of God was imagined, on this we shall give our thoughts soon.
Defense of Premise 2:
> This needs no proof other than that I quote the Third Law of Thought. The Law of the Extended Middle states that if I can disprove the negation, then the above my conclusion is correct. I should note while I express this in propositions, the argument itself is Ontological, insofar as it deals with the nature of ideas.
> In any case what third option could there be? Either an idea is true and the object it refers to is real, or the idea is false, and the object it refers to does not exist. Please do not mistake ideas for being propositions.
Defense of Premise 3:
> I say this confident that the mind has no other faculty which would yield false ideas. The ideas of sensations are true, and in any case we have currently ruled out. The faculty of reason provides but correct ideas, so the only faculty that can yield false ideas is the faculty of imagination. If my opponent knows of any other faculty, then let him so mention it.
Defense of Premise 4:
> We must remember that Imagination can only yield complex ideas, we know this for the imagination takes simple ideas from sensations and combines them. Since it is sensation that allows combination, the reversal, or distinction is also through sensation.
> My first argument is that the idea of God is a simple idea. Remember we are talking about the being of God. Can you divide the idea of God into any sensation? Can you tell me the tast of God? Or (remember we are talking only about the idea of the Being of God) the color? One cannot because the idea of God is a simple idea. And we can see ex vi termini that imagination cannot come up with simple ideas, and thereofore just as two elements however mixed together cannot create but a compound, imagination cannot create the idea of the Being of God. We have therefore proved our premise. The idea of God could not be an imagined idea.
> The other proof regarding our premise is this that the idea of God is an a priori construct. Which mean that God is above space, time and number. We attribute to God atemporality, aspaciality and hence call Him omnipotent and omniscient. All our sense ideas are a posteriori ideas. No a posteriori idea can be combined in any form to create an a priori idea. For an a posteriori idea can be combined only to form similar ideas. The idea of state, and the idea of perfection can be combined to form the idea of a perfect state. We cannot however do that with a priori ideas such as God. There is another proof of this statement. We can imagine a perfect state, but even now if we consider or try to look at the finer points in the idea of God we cannot. The idea of God is hidden and no amount of thinking upon it reveals anything such as color or taste as an idea of the perfect state would. While we can imagine the idea of a perfect state, we cannot pretend to imagine the idea of God or God in our minds, other than attributing to him an a poteriori form (Morgan Freeman). We then need to realize that we cannot think of God as an a priori substance. The simple reason is because God transcends the human faculty of reason, and can therefore not be thought off.
It is here that I now boldly claim that I have indeed shown that Ontology necessitates God's existence. Remember it is not that Ontology is unconcerned with physicality, so Physics has been called the Ontology of the Universe. So long as I do not appeal to any experience to prove God i.e. I have felt God and so God exists this proof is Ontological. I once more note that all the terms are sufficiently defined in this passage. If however one wants advanced reading, a better knowledge then I suggest reading through the first 6 pages of the Treatise, and the Introduction of the Critique. I have also linked a longer essay that I sent to Prof. Peter J. King if anyone wants extra knowledge, and a deeper explanation of the argument. The terms are there explained in a lengthier way and the modalities of existence are explained better. (https://docs.google.com.........)
Critique of Pure Reason, Transcendental Logic
A Treatise of Human Nature, Of Ideas, Their Composition, Connexion, and Abstraction
Ibidium, Section 3, Of the Ideas of the Memory and Imagination
I wrote this in a bit of a hurry, having just gotten home from school.
p1. It is possible that a maximally great being (MGB) exists
p2. If p1 is true, a MGB exist in some possible world
p3. If p2 is true, a MGB exists in all possible worlds
p4. If p3 is true, a MGB exists in the actual world.
C1. Therefore, God/MGB exists
P1 has no justification to show why a maximally great being is possible
1.It is possible that God does not exist, i.e.. there is some possible world where God does not exist.
2.God is defined as a necessary being, i.e.. exists in all possible worlds.
3.If there is one possible world where God does not exist, then there is no possible world in which God exists in all possible worlds.
4.If there is no possible world in which God exists in all possible worlds, then it is impossible that God exists.
5.It is impossible that God exists.
Ajabi argues on epistemology for innate ideas/anamnesis vs tabula rasa, as well as, for rationalism vs empiricism. Unfortunately we must argue semantics as his argument is constructed around it. Con defines an idea as that which is usually construed as mental representational images of some object. Object meaning a thing, being or concept. However, according to this definition "usually construed" means it is often interpreted as such, but not always. This is an elaborate attempt in the beginning of the debate to refute a case against innate ideas, by excluding internal experience/reflection as a category of simple ideas. See link: http://www.merriam-webster.com....  David Hume, as well as John Locke, argues very passionately against rationalism.  While rationalists believe certain ideas exist independently of experience, empiricism claims that all knowledge is derived from experience.
Empiricism (in favour of empiricism, against rationalism):
1. Empiricism is more simplistic, syntactically and parsimoniously: Using Ockham"s razor. Even Kant"in the Critique of Pure Reason"supports the maxim that "rudiments or principles must not be unnecessarily multiplied". Compared to Empiricism, Rationalism has one more entity: Innate knowledge. Iinnate knowledge is unobservable and inefficacious; that is, it does not do anything. The knowledge may sit there, never being used.
2. Colours: How would you know what the colour blue looks like if you were born blind? The only way to come to have the idea of blue is to experience it with your senses.
3. Imagination and Experience: How can we get the idea of perfect triangularity? We can extrapolate from our experience with crooked, sensible triangles and use our imagination to straighten out what is crooked and see what perfect triangularity is.
4. Rationalists have been wrong about Their "Innate Knowledge": Some medieval rationalists claimed that the notion of a vacuum was rationally absurd and hence it was impossible for one to exist. However, we have shown that it is possible. Thus, reason is not the only way to discover the truth about a matter.
5. The Advance of Science: Much of science is founded on empiricist principles, and would not have advanced without it. If we base our conclusions about the world on empiricism, we can change our theories and improve upon them and see our mistakes. A rationalist seems to have to say that we"ve discovered innate knowledge and then be embarrassed if they are wrong
6. Innate knowledge has not been proven to be universal, nor existent in children, nor the mentally challenged.
 Using Ockham"s razor, all ideas are formed from experience without necessary reference to innate principles in the mind. Complex ideas are the product of combining simple ideas together in various ways, whereas, experience (sensation and reflection) issues us with simple ideas. In sensation, the mind turns outward to the world and receives ideas through the faculties of the senses. In reflection the mind turns introspectively, receiving ideas as thinking, willing, believing.  Even abstruse ideas like space, infinity, God, and causation could be constructed using only the simple ideas received in experience, and thus complex ideas. Due to this reasoning, premise 1 is false as it is not proven that ideas can exist independent of experience. According to John Locke, simple ideas are only to be got by impressions"" For example, the problem of trying to define the meaning of the word light to a blind man. Without the sense of sight it is not possible to understand any definition put forward in the way a sighted person can. Complex ideas, on the other hand, can be defined in terms of simple ideas, provided we are equipped with all the appropriate senses (e.g. sight) for understanding the simple ideas used. For example a rainbow can be defined in terms of its shape, the colours it consists of and the order they appear in. If it is true that there is no impression of God then God is a complex idea. Hence, premise 4 is wrong. It is also intelligible to suppose that the idea of God is only known to children, idiots, etc. when they attain the age of reason. This violates laws of contradiction to say that the idea of God is known and unknown simultaneously. Any dispositional account of innate ideas, that is they are perceived once reason is employed, does not prove innateness of the ideas and does not allow for us to satisfactorily distinguish between them and those which the mind comes to discover later. So experience is required for assent to the most basic of truths. Therefore, the postulation of innate ideas is of little use as opposed to considering evident human faculties, such as the senses and reason, to explain the ideas present in us.
Con says that for the belief to not be purely empirical, we can say we cannot feel God. However we can empirically realize abstractions "A posteriori", through internal experience/reflection. Con"s idea of God is the absence of ideas we already hold. The concept of God only has meaning because we ascribe positive traits to it. Transcendence, atemporality, aspaciality are not positive traits, once Con uses them to transcend all we know in reality i.e. Time, space, etc. Hence, premise 4, is again false. A priori/ purely theoretical knowledge alone is insufficient for determining God"s consistency with reality. Even objective truths require demonstration to conclude its objectivity. Assuming reality exists, to achieve the correspondence theory of truth i.e. truth consistent with reality, we must refer to sensations and reason. Even assent to the most abstract "a priori" truths is the result of our internal and external experience combined. For example, it may be argued, that 1+1=2, is a truth discovered a priori, without the need for experience. However, I would argue that without some form of sense experience of the external world, one would not be able to conceptualize one substance from another and the fact that there is now two. We can only imagine God as an a posteriori proposition, and thus the idea of God cannot simultaneously exist in cognition and be unimaginable for eg. In children.
Consider the proposition, "If I lived for at least four days, then I lived for more than three days." This is something that one knows a priori, because it expresses a statement that one can derive by reason alone. One doesn't actually "know" what is derived by reason alone. Therefore although a posteriori knowledge may lead to an induction fallacy, the proposition shows "A priori" knowledge is a tautology.  However, while I agree that "A posteriori" synthetic statements and "A priori" analytic statements do exist, "A priori" synthetic statements have not been proven to exist, as a priori knowledge is only limited to analytic statements. Con takes the stance of Immauel Kant that knowledge of abstruse concepts such as mathematical, geometrical or arithmetical truths are known as a priori synthetic statements, rather than a posteriori synthetic statements. There has been no analogy or basis to conclude that a priori synthetic statements truly exist. Though, Kant tries to prove this in his book Critique of Pure Reason, he has been unable to effectively do so. Mathematics is derived by induction from particular instances for two reasons: first, that the validity of the inductive principle itself cannot be proved by induction; secondly, that the general propositions of mathematics, such as 'two and two always make four', can obviously be known with certainty by consideration of a single instance, and gain nothing by enumeration of other cases in which they have been found to be true.
 Book I of the Essay, Of Innate Notions by John Locke refutes the hypothesis that we are born with imprinted or innate ideas and knowledge.  Book II of the Essay, Of Ideas, John Locke explains the assertion that God is a complex idea and makes empiricism plausible.
Conclusion: We have no good reason/example to suppose a priori synthetic propositions exist. Metaphysics defined as a set of synthetic statements obtained by reason alone is sophistry. Supposing that experience does not include reflection is a classical mistake.
 Hume's Representation Argument against Rationalism
 John Locke On Ideas
 Complex Ideas of Substance
 Hume vs Kant on Knowledge
 An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Book I: Innate Notions
 An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Book II: Ideas
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession
Vote Placed by Ameliamk1 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: A good job by both contenders, and I appreciate Con's honesty and graciousness in conceding.
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