An Omnipotent, Omnibenevolent God Cannot Exist
1st: Acceptance only.
2nd: Opening arguments only.
3rd: Both rebuttals and new arguments.
4th: Rebuttals only.
5th: Summaries only.
Omnipotent: having unlimited power
Omnibenevolent: being all-good and incapable of evil
Cannot: impossible to
Exist: to be real
Good: that which is morally right
I accept. Please post your argument.
I thank my opponent for this debate.
2P1. The Logical Problem of Evil
The Logical Problem of Evil attempts to draw a contradiction between the existence of an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity and the existence of evil, such that only one or the other can exist in a given reality.
P1. From definition, an omnipotent entity can perform any action.
P2. From definition, an omnibenevolent entity would remove as much evil as possible.
P3. From P1-2, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity would remove all evil.
P4. From P1-3, if an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity exists, then evil does not.
A1. Assume temporarily that an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity exists.
P5. From P1-4 and A1, evil does not exist.
P6. From observation, evil exists.
C: P6 and P5 form a contradiction; A1 is false, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity does not exist.
Clearly we can see that the existence of evil disproves the existence of an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity, and I have fulfilled the entirety of my burden of proof.
2P2. Burden of Proof
My opponent has the Burden of Proof to prove that an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity exists, because not believing so is the default position in the lack of evidence, because it is the least complex worldview.
Let"s look at this through Occam"s Razor.
Definition of Occam"s Razor: "[A]mong competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. " [M]ore complicated solutions may " prove correct, but"in the absence of [evidence]"the fewer assumptions that are made, the better. The " principle " shifts the burden of proof in a discussion. The razor states that one should proceed to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for greater explanatory power," Wikipedia .
In a worldview where an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity does not exist, fewer assumptions are made than in any worldview where one does. For example, contrast a Pro universe and a Con universe.
Pro: "The universe exists."
Con: "The universe exists, and an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity exists."
In both worlds, both people assume that the universe exists. However, only in the Con universe do we, additionally, assume that an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity exists.
However, without proof, you should not accept the Con worldview, because it makes unproven assumptions. A similar scenario is given below:
Aunicornism: "The universe exists."
Unicornism: "The universe exists, and unicorns exist."
Clearly one would not accept that the default position is that unicorns exist, and that one must disprove the existence of unicorns in order to not believe in them. This is because we use Occam's Razor in our lives to choose the most simple explanation for events, rather than inventing crazy theories to describe everyday events. The same holds true for religion and philosophy.
Thus, the Pro makes fewer assumptions, and must be assumed true unless a theory with more explanatory power is proven correct. Thus, the Burden of Proof of my opponent is to prove that an omnipotent, omnibenevolent entity exists, which would prove that the Pro position does not have enough explanatory power and must be rejected for a more powerful explanatory theory.
Burden of Proof
My opponent has mistakenly asserted that I must prove an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God exists. This is not the case. As Con, I must negate “cannot exist,” which means I must merely prove that such a being might exist or could exist. The logical negation of “cannot exist” is not “exists.” Conversely, my opponent must prove the nonexistence of such being in all possible worlds, with no contingencies, without any doubt. More on this below in the “Occam’s Razor” discussion.
Observational and Metaphysical Knowledge
All knowledge is observational, derived from our rational interactions with nature. We look for parallels, patterns, and make expectations given what we already know about the world. Nature becomes our guiding hand to logic, and its laws, form the basis for our ability to reason and project. Aristotle’s law of non-contradiction, for example, ~ (A&~A), underscores our ability to identify and categorize objects and different states of being. According to our observations, it’s natural to expect that the universe has a beginning because that idea reflects the cycles we have seen for all recorded history - like the cycle of life and death. This does not mean it is reasonable to believe the universe has a beginning.
The primary problem with religious principles, ideals, and moralities is that they rely upon metaphysical knowledge (etymologically, beyond the physical), meaning that they use knowledge about and from our world to try and understand a realm of existence beyond that world. We have no good reason to believe that the laws of logic or commonsense apply to a metaphysical realm -- or, for that matter, to believe that metaphysical knowledge is even possible. Religions, thus, rely upon divine revelation (and faith in the texts that deliver that revelation) in order to obtain what believers understand to be metaphysical knowledge.
Answering the Problem of Evil
Pro’s proof is void, because it tries the juxtapose “evil” as an epistemic concept with the metaphysical. The resolution does not require me to define omnibenevolent, and I do not intend to do so. But, Pro erroneously attempts to define “evil” and “omnibenevolent” on observational terms without assuming any greater considerations an omnipotent entity might have.
P2. From definition, an omnibenevolent entity would remove as much evil as possible.
The Christian doctrine of salvation, for example, asserts that all worldly actions and activities remain subordinate to the Greater Good, the redemption of souls. Death, disease, moral degradation - suffering might superficially belie a good God but actually remains ultimately irrelevant in the grander scheme of eternity. We don’t know what a good or evil God would do because this outpaces the scope of our parochial viewpoint. We can’t even define “good” and “evil” in absolutist terms because these are ultimately metaphysical concepts. Given this, we cannot say that the problem of evil disproves the existence of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent God.
The strength of Occam’s Razor has been historically overstated because it relies on too many cultural contingencies and assumes the primacy of Western epistemologies without considering any other methodologies to obtain knowledge. But more importantly, Occam’s Razor is only applicable to observational contexts, when explanations are within the scope of our analytical tools and vocabularies. How can you predict that an event or being is more or less probable if everything about that being or event lies outside of your predictive scope? The answer is, of course, that you can’t, which is why there is no legitimate default metaphysical position on the probability of God. Agnosticism should be the default position, which holds exactly what I need it to -- that, an omnibenevolent, omnipotent might or could exist. If Pro cannot definitively prove the non-existence of such a being, then Con should win the debate.
FuzzyCatPotato forfeited this round.
I again thank my opponent for this debate.
Metaphysics: "[P]hilosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space" and "[A]bstract theory ... with no basis in reality."
Extend all of my previous definitions as correct, because my opponent did not offer any alternative definitions.
2C1: "All knowledge is observational[.] .... We have no ... reason to believe ... the laws of logic ... apply to a metaphysical realm ... or ... metaphysical knowledge is ... possible. .... Pro ... attempts to define “evil” and “omnibenevolent” on observational terms without [considering] any greater considerations an omnipotent entity might have. .... The ... doctrine of salvation, for example, asserts ... all worldly actions ... remain subordinate to ... the redemption of souls. .... We don’t know what a good or evil God would do because this outpaces ... our parochial viewpoint. We can’t even define “good” and “evil” ... because these are metaphysical concepts."
1. Clearly the Problem of Evil is within the scope of observational knowledge, as we observe both the existence of evil and the lack of a metaphysical being's removal of said evil. Regardless of what metaphysical characteristics a metaphysical being has, it clearly has not removed evil. And seeing as we are defining omnipotent and omnibenevolent using observational terms (ie, the scope and nature of how a god would interact with the universe), we can observe whether or not these such an interaction is actually present in our world. Again, it clearly has not interacted in an omnipotent and omnibenevolent way, and, as such, the Problem of Evil applies and disproves an omnipotent, omnibenevolent god.
2. We have two scenarios for the doctrine of salvation. The first in which an omnipotent being has fully unlimited power, not constrained by logic. In this world, an omnipotent being could simultaneously remove evil and achieve ALL other requirements, regardless of their contradictory nature, because it can do literally anything. As such, the Problem of Evil applies. The second in which an omnipotent being has unlimited power, but is constrained by logic. In this world, an omnipotent being would not have to wait to save people's souls, when it could simply force their souls to be saved. Unless my opponent has additional constrains on how souls can be saved, the Problem of Evil applies.
3. I would ask my opponent to provide a definition of good/evil that would be consistent with an omnipotent, omnibenevolent god's interactions with the universe that also makes a statement about what the universe ought to be. Moreover, if we are working within our observational framework, it is possible to see that certain consequences (such as the death of or reduction of quality of life of a person) are inherently bad, because they reduce our ability to resolve problems like this and determine what good and evil truly are.
2C2: "My opponent ... asserted ... I must prove an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God exists."
My apologies, I meant "can exist", as you pointed out.
2C3A: "Occam’s Razor has been historically overstated[,] ... relies on ... cultural contingencies[,] and assumes ... primacy of Western epistemologies without considering ... other [ways] to obtain knowledge."
1st. Please provide a citation for Occam's Razor being "historically overstated" and a reason that this is important.
2nd. "Cultural contingencies" would mean "a future event ... that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty"  "of or relating to the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a society" . I do not know what you mean by this, please explain.
3rd. Please prove that Occam's Razor "assumes ... primacy of Western epistemologies" and a reason that this is important.
4th. Please provide examples of "other [ways] to obtain knowledge" and reasons that they are valid methods.
2C3B: "Occam’s Razor is only applicable ... when explanations are within the scope of our analytical tools[.] How can you predict that an event ... is more or less probable if ... that ... event lies outside of your predictive scope? ... [Y]ou can’t, which is why there is no ... default metaphysical position on ... God. Agnosticism should be the default position ... that, an omnibenevolent, omnipotent [entity] ... could exist. If Pro cannot ... prove the non-existence of such a being ... Con should win the debate."
1st. My opponent states both that "there is no ... default metaphysical position on ... God" and that "[a]gnosticism should be the default position." I'm certain that this is just a typo.
2nd. If we truly cannot know anything about a metaphysical being or the metaphysical portions of a being, then we would assume that the being or the portions of a being do not exist. Occam's Razor doesn't apply to "events", but to explanations. And if an explanation includes a metaphysical being (without evidence) then it is inherently more complex than one which does not include a metaphysical being (without evidence). The reason why Occam's Razor is so useful is partially because it avoids problems that occur when people invoke needlessly complex explanations, including those beyond what our current predictive scope, such as hard-core pseudoscience or the supernatural or the metaphysical to explain events. If you can't back X up, X falls, regardless of X possibly being true when expand our predictive scope. As such, Occam's Razor still applies.
Flipz forfeited this round.
In return for my opponent's pass in Round 3, I will be passing Round 5.
Please do not hold my opponents forfeit against him. (And hopefully you won't hold mine against me.)
My opponent may respond if he wishes.
Flipz forfeited this round.
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