The Instigator
Maryland_Kid
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Ockham
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Anselm's Ontological Argument for God is Sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Ockham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 735 times Debate No: 91883
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (21)
Votes (3)

 

Maryland_Kid

Pro

St. Anselm, Archbishop of Cantebury discovered a way to prove God's existence through though itself. It is through the idea of a God, that is perfect, sentient, all powerful, all good, all knowing, distinct, separate, holy, uncopy-able, and not capable of being destroyed. This comes through the thought of something that nothing greater can be imagined.

The premises are:

1.It is a conceptual truth (or, so to speak, true by definition) that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible being that can be imagined).
2. God exists as an idea in the mind.
3. A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.
4. Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (that is, a greatest possible being that does exist).
5. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God (for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.)
6. Therefore, God exists.
Ockham

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this debate and I look forward to a fruitful discussion.

My opponent claims, essentially, that given the definition of God, God must exist. This gets things backwards.

All knowledge comes through experience. A definition does not come out of nowhere, it has to be based on a body of observational knowledge that we have acquired. For example, the definition "man is the rational animal" is legitimate, because it explains countless observations about human nature - the fact that we can speak grammatically, the fact that we can build airplanes, and so on.

A definition that is not based on observation, like "God is a being than which none greater can be imagined," is illegitimate. If a concept isn't based on evidence, it cannot be knowledge, it can only be empty words or an expression of emotion. My opponent may have some feelings or mental images that he associates with this definition, but that does not establish that it has cognitive value.

Since my opponent's argument is based on an illegitimate definition, his argument is unsound. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
Maryland_Kid

Pro

St. Anselm and his ontological argument is based on the rational (reasoning alone) epistemology (theory of how we know things, not empirical evidence (sensory data.) The two schools of thought in philosophy of how to gain knowledge (epistemology) is through either thought alone (rationalism) and empiricism (facts given by the senses.)

No, no argument can EMPIRICALLY know that God exists. Science in our realm of existence cannot determine if God exists, because our science is based on the natural world, not the supernatural or spiritual. Even if you are basing your beliefs on empirical evidence in nature about the design argument for God, what comes after the facts is just reasoning. It doesn't mean that you can't prove that God exists in some way empirically, but not currently in this body.

St. Anselm states that he is not powerful enough to understand God, because he is a mere mortal. Can we know everything about God through this argument? Nope, but we can, through the "greatest idea ever thought" know that there is a being that is sentient, timeless, eternal, capable of doing anything, omni-benevolent, unique and unequal to anything else, indestructible and the self existence of such a being is necessary in and of itself.

For instance, we can think of a friend that helps us out and we think is cool. That maybe a great thought, but not the greatest idea ever thought that needs to exist, according to Anselm.

Anything less than the "that which no greater thing can be thought" is not God. Even our own concept of God is not God, He or She is beyond all of us.

I would say that my opponent is arguing from ignorance, he is saying that you can't prove something right because it is not based on information coming from the senses based on the fact that there is no factual evidence for the existence of God. [1] In addition, I would say that changing the subject is a red herring, or changing the subject to win the argument. [2]

[1]https://www.logicallyfallacious.com...
[2]http://www.logicalfallacies.info...
Ockham

Con

In my previous post, I argued that Anselm's ontological argument is not sound, because it depends on an illegitimate definition of God. My reason for asserting that Anselm's definition of God was illegitimate was that it was not based on observational evidence, which is a prerequisite for a valid definition.

My opponent has made a number of points in response to this objection, which are as follows.

1. Anselm is a rationalist, not an empiricist.
2. There is no way to empirically prove that God exists in this life.
3. We can know that God exists through the "greatest idea ever thought."
4. Anything less than "that than which no greater can be thought" is not God.
5. I am arguing from ignorance when I say that there is no evidence for God.
6. I am changing the subject, a red herring fallacy.

Let's consider these points one by one.

With respect to point 1, I agree that Anselm is a rationalist, not an empiricist. But this, by itself, is not enough to save the ontological argument. There are countless schools of philosophy in the history of Western thought, so naming a school that Anselm belonged to is not a sufficient rebuttal. Maybe the whole school of rationalism is misguided.

With respect to point 2, I agree that there is no way to empirically prove that God exists, but far from saving the ontological argument, this is simply a concession of my case. My whole point in my Round 1 speech was that the definition of God cannot be supported by evidence.

Adding that this is because God is "supernatural or spiritual" does not help either, because I don't acknowledge the existence of either of those categories in the first place.

With respect to point 3, I don't agree that we can know God exists through his definition, because, as I said in Round 1, I think the definition of God is invalid.

With respect to point 4, I don't think it makes sense to say that anything less than "that than which no greater can be thought" is not God, because that definition isn't based on evidence. It is not a cognitive assertion in the first place, as I said in Round 1. It is just empty words or an expression of emotion.

With respect to point 5, I am not arguing from ignorance because the debate resolution is "Anselm's Ontological Argument for God is Sound." You are arguing that the resolution is true, i.e., that Anselm's ontological argument is sound. I am arguing that the resolution is false, i.e., that Anselm's ontological argument is not sound. To win the debate, all I have to do is point out a flaw in Anselm's ontological argument, which I did in Round 1.

With respect to point 6, I am not changing the subject or committing a red herring fallacy. I am simply making an objection to Anselm's ontological argument based on the theory of concepts that I accept. I have introduced some new issues into the debate, but this is legitimate because they are directly relevant issues.

To sum up, my opponent has not presented a cogent response to my objection to Anselm's ontological argument.
Debate Round No. 2
Maryland_Kid

Pro

I will restate myself to the fact that my definition of God is "illegitimate." I've defined God as the ultimate, perfect being, that created the universe. That being is a sentient, all-powerful, all good, and all knowing being.

I will answer the objections made with counter-objections point-by-point:

1. Rational thinking is a way of knowing things in philosophy. You can't just throw it out. A lot of concepts that we take for granted are rational thinking. Do we believe in the presence of other minds? Do we believe that when we aren't watching, objects and organisms underneath humans that science has told us aren't as intelligent as us, are not as intelligence as us and aren't acting dumb to fool us? Is it believable to say that this universe is real and/or people in the universe aren't just actors in a conspiracy? Do we trust the scientific method is yield truth to us? Was a watch or our website, DDO, made by (an) unintelligent force(s) of nature? Yes, but we can't prove it until we have evidence or a REASON to think so. The scientific method is limited by a causal relationship and what we observe empirical. All these things we take for granted, and are rational thoughts. Empiricism can only go so far.

2. So the greatest idea ever thought isn't necessary to exist? Yes, it does, because the greatest idea ever thought (everything is the best and perfect) is a sentient, all-powerful, all good, and all knowing being which is God. How can the greatest think ever thought NOT exist? It is inconceivable. God is supernatural, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. That is the Argument from Ignorance.

3. I've already addressed this.

4. Can we know everything about God, the greatest idea ever thought? We can't know EVERYTHING about the greatest idea ever thought? No, but we can say that He or She is higher sentient being than any other, all-powerful, all good, all knowing, and that idea must exist.

5. I've already addressed this.

6. Changing the subject, because the argument is not based on observable facts is avoiding the argument that "that which no greater can be conceived" is God and is not what this argument is all about. If you don't accept or understand "the greatest idea ever thought" because it is not based on empiricism, then you can't really think at all, because all you have is empiricism. Senses are just facts, and you can't draw conclusions from them, like the scientific method or any of the other examples I made. Rational ideas are also a way of knowing that something is true.
Ockham

Con

To reiterate what I said in Round 1 and Round 2, knowledge is based on observation. The definition of God that my opponent has provided is illegitimate, therefore, because he has not presented any facts that it is based upon. It is only empty words or an expression of emotion - if it is more than this, he has provided no reason to think so.

In his last post, my opponent attempted to address this by repeated his definition of God: " I've defined God as the ultimate, perfect being, that created the universe. That being is a sentient, all-powerful, all good, and all knowing being." This is only a repetition of his definition with no attempt to address the epistemological objection that I have made to it multiple times by now.

If my opponent does not refute this objection to Anselm's ontological argument, as I believe he will not, then I must be judged the winner of this debate.

My opponent made five main points in his last post, which I will now address (I have cut out the two points #3 and #5 which just say "I've already addressed this," and split his point #6 into two points for clarity):

1. "Rational thinking" is important, because it provides us with knowledge of other minds, the universe, etc., etc.
2. It is inconceivable for the greatest conceivable being not to exist.
3. We can't know everything about the greatest conceivable being, but we can know that it is sentient, all powerful, etc.
4. I'm changing the subject, because the ontological argument is not based on observation.
5. If empiricism is all we have, then we can't think at all, because we need reason in addition to observation.

Let's consider these points one by one.

In defending point 1, my opponent presents a number of examples of ideas that he claims we could only have gotten through "rational thinking," apart from observation. Let's go through these one by one.

First, my opponent argues that we couldn't know that other minds exist by means of observation. This is false, since we can know that other minds exist by an analogy to our own case. I am conscious, and I can see that my mind is the cause of my acting in certain ways. Other people also act in those ways, so they must also be conscious.

Second, my opponent argues that we can't know by observation that objects and organisms lower than humans aren't acting less intelligent than we are to fool us. But this is simply an arbitrary suggestion, not a serious challenge to empiricism. All of the evidence we have indicates that the lower organisms genuinely are not as intelligent as we are.

Third, my opponent argues that we can't know by observation that the universe is real. On the contrary, it is a self evident axiom that the universe is real, and this is contained in every observation. He also argues that the people around us may be actors in a conspiracy, which is yet another arbitrary suggestion.

Fourth, my opponent argues that we can't know by observation that the scientific method yields truth. This is false, however, since the scientific method is defensible by means of self evident philosophical principles like the law of causality. Moreover, the scientific method has had overwhelming practical success, which serves as a strong reason to think that it is a valid epistemology.

Fifth and finally, my opponent argues that we can't know by observation that a watch or this website wasn't made by an unintelligent force of nature. This is false, since watches and this website resemble other things that we know from observation were made by humans.

Having addressed my opponent's alleged counterexamples to empiricism, I will now return to the other points I numbered above.

Point 2 is clearly nothing more than a repetition of Anselm's ontological argument. The problem, as I have said repeatedly, is that the definition of God being used here is illegitimate. Reasserting that, given the definition, the nonexistence of God is inconceivable, is not a valid objection, since the definition itself is in question.

Point 3 is also essentially a repetition. My opponent claims that although we can't know everything about God, we can know that he is sentient, all powerful, and so on. But my objection asserts that we can't know anything about God through Anselm's ontological argument, and indeed that the very definition of God being used is illegitimate.

Point 4 asserts that I'm changing the subject, because the ontological argument is not based on observation. But that is my whole point - an argument that is not based on observation is invalid in light of that alone. I am not changing the subject, I am introducing a valid epistemological concern into the debate, one which my opponent has not adequately addressed.

Point 5 asserts that empiricism is inadequate, since we need reason in addition to the senses. But this is consistent with empiricism. Empiricism does not reject reason, it only says that reasoning must be based, at bottom, on sensory data. Reason is a valid tool, but it needs sensory data to work with to produce knowledge.

To sum up, my opponent still has not presented a cogent response to Anselm's ontological argument, and he has resorted to simply repeating the argument itself on multiple occasions without addressing my objection.
Debate Round No. 3
Maryland_Kid

Pro

Changing this debate to a debate about empiricism is a red herring and avoiding to say whether the "greatest thing ever concieved" is God and must in itself exist. Not all knowledge is based on observable facts.

Have you ever seen anything by your senses that didn't exist? Yes, floaters, small, distant, invisible to our eyes, and optical illusions are things that are empirical sensations given to us by our brain that we think that those things exist, but that don't. Are senses infallible and our only way of knowing things? No is the answer to both question Have you ever seen The Matrix Triology or its fictional universe? Our senses can fool us, because we might be jacked into a super computer or wi-fi that is controlling or falsifying our senses. You can't prove anything outside your own conciousness exists because in order to have a conciousness, you have to have some kind of working brain that allows you to know what is going on. The philosopher Decartes discovered "I think, therefore I am!" making his own self existence (or your own existence) a measurement of absolute certain reality.

No, saying that lower organisms or objects don't have a secret life that is intelligent like the movie and book The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy is, in fact, unprovable until we have evidence, but we assume that it is true in the lack of evidence.

As I have said before, the scientific method is helpful, but it is limited by human thinking in two areas: Casuality (two or more things that perform an action side-by-side to one another causes one before the other post hoc fallacy that one factor before it POSITIVELY caused another, like concluding that people die by priests reading their last rites, because afterward, a lot of people die. Actually, it is more likely that people close to death GO TO AFTERWARDS [1] and induction (all the variables we can observe.) [2] The narrative based on the available evidence, such as a fossil record, could be changed and subjected to the biased review of the scientist looking at all the evidence [3]. A darwinist might see a missing link, however a creationist might see a pigment in the fossil named Lucy. [4-5] All our narratives made by the biases of the people making the narrative because of how they were brought up. All of this is based on the same evidence that every person has, but has a different "narrative" that comes with it. [6] Are those people infallible? No.

What I said was that people who believe in the religion of naturalism believe that nature was not intelligently designed by a higher or any being, rejecting the Teleological argument (we see design in the universe, which calls for an intelligent designer) because nature either goes back to infinity or somewhere down the line, is the cause of itself. I do not believe it, but there are people on DDO, or high level Ph. D. scientists (who are WAY more Liberal/Progressive/Leftist and Atheistic/Secular in their beliefs that say that those things happened by the Big Bang.... or something like that. Usually this well-knowlegded person interested, or has a job in hard science can win debates or use his/her credentials to win arguments on here. My point was actually that if we didn't observe the watch or website, like DDO, being created, we can't know how it was created, but the Secular Progressive says that the universe created itself and used a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to win a debate(s).

This is rational thinking.

I don't feel like repeating myself since my opponent cannot grasp the idea of "that which no greater thing can be conceived" is God and must exist.

I'll just say that my opponent rejects the greatest possible thing thought of necessarily existing, because the argument is not based on sensory data. How could you possibly have UNDENIABLE evidence that "that which no greater thing can be convinced" doesn't exist, considering that you've thought great thoughts, such as a friend who is helpful, and that person exists (but doesn't need to exist, unlike the greatest thing ever thought,) why can't the greatest thing ever thought exist? You're arguing that we don't need rational thought, just empiricism, which is just cold hard facts that have no meaning or thought behind them at ALL.

[1]http://www.logicalfallacies.info...
[2]http://creation.com...
[3]http://creation.com...
[4]https://answersingenesis.org...
[5]https://answersingenesis.org...
[6]http://creation.com...
Ockham

Con

The existence of God is one of the most important issues in philosophy. If God exists, then there is an incomprehensible, supernatural authority that we must all submit to. If God does not exist, then we can and must live our lives by our own judgment.

In this debate, I have argued for the supremacy of reason, what my opponent calls empiricism. According to Ayn Rand, the definition of reason is "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses." [1] By definition, reason has no valid function apart from the integration of the evidence of the senses.

The fact that reason must start from evidence has implications for every area of logic, most of which I cannot discuss here. However, in the area of concept formation, it implies that we must form concepts according to the facts, and define our concepts according to the essential traits we have identified using observation.

The example I have repeatedly given of a valid definition is "man is the rational animal." The concept of man is formed according to the facts, since we can observe that there are human beings and that they are substantially different from other animals. We then study human beings in depth and conclude that the essential trait distinguishing them from other animals is reason. Thus the definition of man, by genus and differentia, as "the rational animal."

My opponent's definition of God is nothing like this. It is arbitrarily asserted with no evidential foundation, and with nothing indicating that it has any link at all back to reality. It is accepted by faith, like the Bible, like the Trinity, and like the entire religion of Christianity. One arbitrary assertion cannot prove another.

It should now be clear why empiricism is not a "red herring" in this debate. Far from being irrelevant, it is the fatal flaw in any form of the ontological argument. To say it is irrelevant is to say that a conclusive objection to an argument can be irrelevant to deciding whether the argument is sound!

Objections to Empiricism

My opponent has thrown a variety of objections at empiricism, apparently hoping that one of them will dislodge it and save Anselm's argument.

1. Floaters and optical illusions appear to our senses to exist, but they actually don't.
2. The senses are not infallible.
3. Maybe we're all plugged into the Matrix.
4. You can't prove anything exists outside your mind.
5. Maybe all of the lower organisms are just pretending not to be as intelligent as we are.

I'll answer this case point by point.

With regard to points 1 and 2, the fundamental issue to grasp here is that our senses are inanimate physical objects, acting according to the law of causality. They cannot distort the input they give us, and they do not give us explicit judgments about what we perceive, since judgments are made by the mind. Therefore, anything the senses tell us is necessarily valid. Indeed, the senses are even infallible, in the sense that they always yield exactly what physical organs like these yield under the conditions they are under.

That said, it is up to us to interpret the deliverances of the senses, and we are fallible. We can make mistakes - even, on certain occasions, about elementary perceptual facts like whether there is a lake on the horizon when we are walking through a desert. However, such mistakes are rare, and we quickly learn how to counteract them.

With regard to points 3, 4, and 5, the fundamental point to grasp is that these are all arbitrary assertions, and therefore deserve no consideration. An arbitrary assertion is one that is offered without any supporting evidence or reasoning (like my opponent's definition of God - see a pattern here?). The correct response to any arbitrary assertion is to dismiss it out of hand, without consideration.

Arbitrary assertions are not the same as assertions that are possible. "Possible" means there is some evidence in a claim's favor, not that we can't conclusively disprove it. The concept of possibility is not a blank check to mystics. It is arbitrary, not "possible," to suggest that we "might" all be plugged into the Matrix, or that there "might" not be anything outside of my mind, or that the lower organisms "might" be pretending not to be intelligent. Such claims deserve no consideration.

Science and Naturalism

My opponent claims that the scientific method is deficient, because it relies on causality and induction. He does not actually say why the concepts of causality and induction are problematic, however, so there isn't much to address here. Regardless, his argument contains a contradiction, since he used the concepts of causality and induction to arrive at the conclusion that these concepts are invalid.

My opponent also claims that the theory of evolution "could be changed and subjected to the biased review of the scientist looking at all the evidence" and cites a bunch of creationist sites to support his argument. This isn't true, nearly all scientists arrive at the conclusion that the theory of evolution is true, regardless of religious or philosophical orientation.

From the Pew Research Center:

"Nearly all scientists (97%) say humans and other living things have evolved over time – 87% say evolution is due to natural processes, such as natural selection." [2]

The debate is over as far as the mainstream scientific community is concerned. The only people who still seriously dispute the theory of evolution are religiously motivated organizations like my opponent has cited. Anyway, this isn't a debate about the theory of evolution.

My opponent also claims that "if we didn't observe the watch or website, like DDO, being created, we can't know how it was created," reasserting the teleological argument. (Wait - I thought we were debating the ontological argument? Oh well.) The problem with this argument, as I said previously, is that we have overwhelming evidence that watches and websites have been made by humans in other cases, and are only made by humans. We have no previous examples of gods creating universes.

Conclusion

In this post, I explained why Anselm's ontological argument fails (again), defended empiricism against some alleged counterexamples, and explained why the scientific method is a valid epistemology. For the reasons I have given, we should negate the resolution.

[1] http://aynrandlexicon.com...
[2] http://www.people-press.org...
Debate Round No. 4
Maryland_Kid

Pro

For all those things of our senses being "possible," that means that there is a chance that our senses might be wrong, even if there is no current evidence for them. Senses are not the final say in finding knowledge. Nothing is infallible, but Anselm's ontological argument for God is, since it is the greatest thing ever thought.

He counters by saying that it doesn't make "sense" or "the senses are even infallible." To the first point, what doesn't make sense about the greatest thing ever thought? Please explain how that doesn't lead to a perfect God. On the second thought, to say that the senses are incapable of lying to us, is factually unprovable. No one knows for sure if what their senses are telling them is true, even if everyone agrees with the person stating the fact. All things given to us by the senses and our idea of reality is completely true, which is a universal [1] positive [2] that is unprovable. "That which no greater thing can be conceived" and our own existence, is undeniable to the person reading this debate if he or she is a a being of reality, or at least to myself. Descartes, in addition to doubting the senses, he added the "dream hypothesis" where he realized that there is no way of telling whether what he believed he was dreaming or awake was really reality and which ones were dreaming and awake.

He also ignored my examples of the senses falling us by saying that they need evidence. Saying that you need evidence to disbelieve them in order to discredit them, might be true in order to positively believe in them, but not outside the realm of possibility. He can't undeniably prove that. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." My critiques of the scientific method are based in UNDENIABLE truth, which my opponent is giving to the senses and the scientific method used by humans who can make mistakes. When talking about creation versus evolution, my opponent makes an Argument from Authority ("my argument is true, because experts say so and they are perfect") [3] and Appeal to Popularity ("any view held by most people is true and without flaw") [4] to make something in science true. To prove all three points about not always going with what professionals have come to a consensus, I cite that the Catholic Church at the time of Galileo, said that the world was geocentric, which it turns out with MORE evidence to not be true. The scientific consensus and experts were going with the consensus of experts of that day and pushing back against any differing views. They were going on the facts at the time (though Galileo had facts to differ from them, that they ignored because of their world view bias) and giving their own biased review of the universe and the Bible. Those viewpoints, which stifled debate, were created by fallible human beings based on their circumstances. [5] Furthermore, ad hominem attacks on my sources will not go anywhere, since they are baseless and trying to stifle debate. [6] Such attacks are used to avoid debating my facts and rational thoughts [7] (they can be accessed by anyone.) It would be irrelevant to what I believe or how I was raised based on what is true. [8] Just facts and logical thoughts are allowed in a debate. Saying that your argument is valid based on the scientific consensus, then saying that the scientific consensus is based on the argument, which is always true, is running around in a circle, logically. All solid thinking is based on RATIONAL thinking, not facts. You can't make any sort of thought or avoid logical fallacies, based on sensory data. My point is that the beliefs held true by science, are in the control of the people making the theories and laws. Everyone is biased and the narratives outside of the sensory facts are speculation, even if it is good one. Facts don't prove everything, which leads to my next point.

There are other things that you cannot prove with UNDENIABLY with facts: the past existed and evidence was planted by someone else to fool you with the ability to not give any evidence for it. Both parts are unprovable until they can be proven in a court of law, but NOT outside the realm of possibility. That is where I am getting at. Facts don't undoubtably prove EVERYTHING.

My point with making that a watch, DDO or any other website being created that we don't know its origins, it is LOGICAL, but not undeniably unlikely, that an intelligent being made those things and not a thing made out of nature. We can't know, just like the universe, how it was created, DEFINETLY. Yet, we use RATIONAL thought(s) to make sense of sensory facts, and most of the time, they depend on each other. My argument does not rely on empirical evidence.

My opponent fails to answer the idea of the thought of God which is "that which no greater thing can be conceived" because it is not based on scientific evidence, because it is not based on sensory data and ONLY sensory data gives us facts. That is wrong. We use our rational thoughts to make sense of evidence. How can you picture the greatest thing ever thought, to not need to exist? In order to do that, you would have to know EVERYTHING and be EVERYWHERE to prove that it is not true. You would also have to see that if something great, like a friend who helps you, does exist, but doesn't need to exist, exists already. That is a great thought, but the greatest thing ever thought is greater than that and is the ultimate concept of anything possible. Surely that exists when other lesser things exist already. Belief in God is more than just faith, it is an undeniable fact, considering it is the greatest thing ever thought. He ignores this example.

To critique my own debate, I did spell "thought" in the first post wrong and my opponent used only a couples source. One of them said that you can only find things factually by your senses. I don't have to bring up what was wrong with that RATIONAL thought. He ran around in a circle trying to change the subject about "that which no greater can be conceived" is not based on empirical evidence and that is all we can go for. That's not very smart considering he has a B.A. in Philosophy and he doesn't think that we need to make ANY rational thoughts regarding evidence or otherwise. Rejecting rationality puts you in the "la-la land" of philosophy, because you can't make sense of facts without rationality. For example, you can't just look at one source of information in politics, like Fox News or MSNBC, and expect to get a balanced and objective picture of the facts. Some may be more biased than others and show only one side, but it is important to get information from more than one worldview, using your RATIONAL mind. You also have to weight their biases and REASON if what they are saying is true. [9] In fact, avoiding logical fallacies on based on RATIONAL thoughts and not empiricism alone. Again, he ignored some of my examples, which made sense, and he didn't want to bring them out. Overall, he is very respectful in his analysis and I hope to debate him again on another topic.

[1]http://www.dictionary.com...
[2]http://www.dictionary.com...
[3]https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com...
[4]https://www.logicallyfallacious.com...
[5]http://creation.com...
[6]https://answersingenesis.org...
[7]http://www.nizkor.org...
[8]http://literarydevices.net...
[9]http://thenonpolitician.homestead.com...
Ockham

Con

To conclude this debate as clearly as possible, I will remind everyone of the resolution: "Anselm's ontological argument for God is sound."

That is what we are debating. We are not debating the theory of evolution, nor are we debating the teleological argument, Galileo, or a number of other things my opponent discussed in his last speech. All we are debating is Anselm's ontological argument, as presented by my opponent in Round 1.

Throughout this debate, I have defended an objection to the first premise of my opponent's argument. That premise, again, was: "It is a conceptual truth (or, so to speak, true by definition) that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible being that can be imagined)."

My objection to this premise has been that it is not a conceptual truth that God is a being than which none greater can be conceived, because that definition is not based on any observed facts. It is not a conceptual truth, it is only an expression of emotion. The success or failure of this objection is the only thing that this debate should be judged on.

My opponent has given essentially the following responses to this objection in his last post, which are mostly repetitions of previously refuted points:

1. Our senses might be wrong, we might be dreaming all the time, you can't prove that you don't live in the Matrix, etc.
2. The scientific method is flawed.
3. Reason is necessary to make sense of evidence.

Let's consider these one by one.

Point 1 overlooks a response that I have given many times, which is that all of these are just arbitrary suggestions with no basis in fact. If someone says "there might be a group of goblins reading Hegel on Jupiter," the rational response is not to evaluate the claim, it is to dismiss it out of hand. Similarly, when someone says "you might be plugged into the Matrix," the rational response is not to consider their assertion, but to reject it without consideration. That's the rational way to treat any arbitrary claim.

Point 2 overlooks the massive consensus that exists about the fundamental principles in the hard sciences, from physics to chemistry to biology. Science has built up an impressive edifice of knowledge starting from sensory data. To be skeptical about the scientific method is absurd.

Point 3 is simply a repetition of a point I have addressed before. Empiricism doesn't deny that reason is necessary to make sense of evidence, it just says that our reasoning always has to be based on evidence at bottom.

I conclude that my opponent has never adequately addressed my objection to Anselm's ontological argument.

For these reasons, we should negate the resolution. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 5
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by skipsaweirdo 11 months ago
skipsaweirdo
Btw, it doesn't matter that the argument uses "could be thought" or "could be imagined", that's even more obvious that evidence isn't a debatable aspect.
Posted by skipsaweirdo 11 months ago
skipsaweirdo
No perception here whiteflame. Have you ever been in a debate organized and directly associated with academia? Probably not. Your just another small fish in the world of debate on a website organized and supported by people who seem to know absolutely nothing about what does or does not constitute debatable aspects of arguments based on the topic of debate and the goal of a particular argument. A simple example that maybe even you could understand is if I were to start a debate on whether the following syllogism and/or argument was "logically sound".
If John is in Paris France, then John isn't in Dallas Texas
John is in Paris France
Therefore John isnt in Dallas Texas
According to you, the argued topic of claiming the logic is sound is based on being "able to show" , but not actually produce, evidence that John is in Paris and not in Dallas, or in order for the argument to be "logically sound", it has to be possible to "obtain evidence" to prove John is either here or there. The debate isn't whether one can actually obtain evidence. That doesn't have anything to do with whether the logic is sound.
The most important word used in Anselms argument, which seems to be ignored, is the word "conceived". Look it up and tell me what it has to do with evidence. Hint, it doesn't.
As stated, logically sound debates are about whether the "logic" is sound in an argument. Since Anselms argument is an extension of reasoning via intellectual inference, there is no basis whatsoever for attempting to debate whether a claim is supportable by evidence. You would know this if you weren't another hack on a debating website whose "thoughts" and "preconceptions" of issues demand that ALL debates are evidentiary based or that evidence is always the issue. Unfortunately in reality it's not.
Posted by whiteflame 11 months ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: skipsaweirdo// Mod action: Removed<

2 points to Pro (Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Con clearly mis represents the basis of the argument and uses an issue that isn't relevant to the syllogism of Anselms. Con constantly attempts to claim that all knowledge is based on experience. Yet offers no proof of this bare assertion. This is the basis of his whole argument against anselms argument. Its simply not the issue and making it an issue means con deviates from the content of the argument to claim additional informations is needed to simply use logic, the logic of reasoning out through language what is inferred via human intelligence. Any one who would allow cons argument to be allowed in a debate that's based in actual debate parameters has never been involved in organized debates. Its obvious the moderators of this debate are amateurs that have no academic experience in organized debates. Con argument is equivalent to asking what are the mathematical chances of God existing in a debate that's pre conditions were geared toward debating finely tuned universe.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter never explains the source point allocation.
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Posted by whiteflame 11 months ago
whiteflame
That's not how moderation works. If the basis for our removal of votes was whether or not we felt that the logic of a given vote was sound in its assessment of the debate, then a) that would require us to read through every single debate on which we remove votes, since we'd have to verify every reason they give, and b) that would impose our views of what suffices as "good logic" on voters, which is a pretty subjective standard to enforce. The idea that we should somehow disqualify the debater on the basis of your perception that he's off topic would be an even more dramatic step in that direction, as it's never been done before.
Posted by skipsaweirdo 11 months ago
skipsaweirdo
If this debate were in academia than cons arguments wouldn't be allowed as they don't address the actual topic of discussion. Whether or not an argument is logically sound has absolutely nothing to do with physical evidence. The fact that any vote for con is being allowed is ridiculous. He should actually be disqualified from the debate by the moderators.
Posted by whiteflame 11 months ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: skipsaweirdo// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Pro represented the argument in question by always insisting it is based solely on intellectual inferences. Con dismissed this as viable and arte noted to show that in order to define something with our minds and intelligence we have to have access to physical evidence to support our definitions. I think pro made acceptable counters to this point because our definitions that are being used in Anselms argument is based on actual experience even though con claimed they were not. The reason I believe they were based on experience is because humans experience examples of different states of states and qualify them as being levels of existence. For example, we claim a dolphin is a greater being than a turtle because through experience dolphins interact with us in a way that demonstrates they are superior beings to turtles, who don't seem to even demonstrate an ability to show understanding.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter appears to be adding justification to an argument from Pro in order to give it more weight in the debate. While it's understandable that the voter might come to this conclusion based on their personal knowledge, the voter must focus on arguments made in the debate, and not expand on points made in order to justify a vote.
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Posted by TUF 11 months ago
TUF
You guys rock thanks for voting!
Posted by lannan13 11 months ago
lannan13
RFD Part 5: Conclusion

We can see that the syllogism has been negated as Con has negated many of the points and several of the points brought up in the debate were won by Con. With that I award the arguments points to Con.
Posted by lannan13 11 months ago
lannan13
RFD Part 4: Rounds 4 and 5.

In this part I shall finish of the remainder of the debate.

In Round 4, Pro accuses Con of trying to derail the debate by changing the focus to talk about a new idea of philosophical thought in Empiricalism. This brings up a priori, meaning that we have to assume it exists until proven otherwise. This is an attempt to shift the BOP from Pro to Con. Pro then goes on to talk about naturalism. Which is somewhat irrelevent to the debate at hand. Con continues that we need to see evidence and proof is key in this debate. Pro has yet to actually answer this, but rather try to make it appear as though Con is derailing the debate with this own argument. Con then moves on to repeat that Pro definition is incorrect. Then attacks naturalism by arguing that all scientists agree with evolution, which ironically doesn't mean that God is false. Evolution can actually work with Christianity, via declaration from the Pope a few years ago, but this wasn't brought up in the debate. Pro ends up dropping Con's critque of the definition provided by continually restating his definition without having actually been about to have refuted Con. That definition wins Con the debate. We also have to see that many of AO's points were negated and the debate has kinda decended into a tangent that Pro had gotten caught up in the side arguments about Empiricalism and how, in R5 he argued, that it defies logic and reason while Con spends most of his final round refuting this. Most of the points brought up by Con ended up going unanswered or were dropped by the end of the debate.
Posted by lannan13 11 months ago
lannan13
RFD Part 3: Round 3

Pro restates his Round 1 definition of God. He talks about how rational thinking is important and you simply cannot throw evidence and things like this out of the debate. He then moves on to show that a watch and DDO must have been made by intellegence. Though Con counters by saying that we know who made the watch and DDO since they are tangible, observable things that we, as humans, can actually understand where as God, we can't understand. Pro then gets into a semantics battle with Con by stating that God is the greatest imaginable thing out there and it's obvious that such a thing can exist simply because it's the greatest thing out there. Even if you got rid of that thing there would still be a greatest thing. Con brings up Empiricism and talks about how you don't have to know everything about a certain topic, but there has to be some basic evidence to be provided to work off of. Pro fails to do this as he continues with the same definition of God without showing otherwise in this debate and this would be how knowledge is produced. Without this evidence, Pro, he argues, escentially would lose this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 11 months ago
lannan13
Maryland_KidOckhamTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. This vote has been brought to you in part by The Voter's Union.
Vote Placed by kasmic 11 months ago
kasmic
Maryland_KidOckhamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Vote on behalf of the VU http://www.debate.org/forums/religion/topic/88230/
Vote Placed by Danielle 11 months ago
Danielle
Maryland_KidOckhamTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I posted my RFD in the forums here: http://www.debate.org/forums/philosophy/topic/88221/