The Instigator
Grapes42
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
Wylted
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Aquinas' first way succeeds as a proof for the existence of God

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Wylted
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/25/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 754 times Debate No: 44586
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

Grapes42

Pro

Before debating this argument some background information must be established.

Keep in mind that the argument and information given have nothing directly to do with the Big Bang and the beginning of the universe, that is a different argument altogether. Rather this argument deals with a current cause of the universe.

To be actual is for something to be in its present state (eg. a frozen ice cube)
To be potential is a possible state for a thing, that is not yet actual for that thing (eg. a frozen ice cube can potentially melt)
For something to go from a potential state to an actual state is to actualize (eg. an ice cube that goes from frozen to melted)

So again, for example for an ice cube to go from frozen to melted or an arm to go from hanging to raised, would be examples of things in potential states becoming actual (or actualized).

Naturally both of these things rely upon something else to actualize them. The cube can't melt itself and the arm can't raise itself. This is because something can't produce a contrary for itself, rather something else which can produce the contrary must produce it for the thing. So, something cannot actualize itself. (Premise 1)

For something to be causally dependent is for it to rely upon something else. For example a sack is dependent upon a rope to pull it. But the rope is also dependent upon something else because something has to pull the rope as well. For it makes no sense to say that a rope could pull a sack if only it was an infinitely long rope. So, this sort of 'infinite causal dependency' is impossible. (Premise 2)

With this background information in mind. Here is the argument in logical form.

1. Something cannot actualize itself.
2. An infinite causal dependency is impossible.
C: The continual actualization of things must ultimately depend on a source which has no room for potential, and so is fully actual.

Considering that potential being does not formally exist until actualized, the fully actual source must conceive of what 'the things in potential states' will be actualized as.

Furthermore, this fully actual source is the source of existence and so cannot be a divided thing (ie. there can only be one source of existence), and so the source must be singular.

Also, since the source does not have room for potential, it does not change and therefore does not diminish.

So in conclusion if the argument is successful it proves the existence of a singular, changeless, undiminishing, personal source of all being. This source can only be God as understood in a monotheistic framework.

So, if one wants to show that the argument is false, then they must explain why the premises of the argument should be doubted or demontrate that the fully actual source should not necessarily be viewed as God as understood by a monotheistic framework.
Wylted

Con

I'll start off by saying, thank you pro for having this debate and allowing me to participate.

I want to start off by addressing what the definition of a monotheistic God is based on the context my opponent put it in. I do have to make a few assumptions of the definitions, because my opponent did not make them, but I will try to be reasonable with the definitions.

The reason I am taking proper care to make sure the definitions are clear is because I could be making arguments against myself should my opponent offer a definition outside of how they would normally be applied, since the meaning of the word God can be so varied.

God: (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

The key words in that definition is supreme being. Which would imply an intelligent creator God, and not just some natural force without intelligence which happened to create our universe without any rhyme, reason or motive.

A house divided

Let me proceed to attack my opponents arguments with his own words.

" The continual actualization of things must ultimately depend on a source which has no room for potential, and so is fully actual"

But such a source is not possible based on my opponents own arguments. How did this source get actualized

"1. Something cannot actualize itself."

And

"2. An infinite causal dependency is impossible."

My opponent states those 2 rules as fact, then proceeds to break his own rules by bringing in a self actualized being who is infinite.

Assumptions

Here is a list of assumptions my opponent makes without explanation.

1. " The continual actualization of things must ultimately depend on a source which has no room for potential, and so is fully actual"

Assumption a- The continual actualization of things must ultimately depend on a (single) source.

Assumption b- The source has no room for potential.

Why can't the source be only partially actualized?

2. " Considering that potential being does not formally exist until actualized, the fully actual source must conceive of what 'the things in potential states' will be actualized as"

Before pointing out the assumptions in this statement I want to point out, that this argument is conveniently applied to the universe but once again conveniently doesn't apply to the God for some unexplained reason.

Assumption a- Potential being does not formally exist until actualized.

this assumption is that things don't exist until fully actualized. I would like to point out to my opponent by his logic the universe doesn't exist because it isn't yet fully actualized.

Assumption b- the fully actual source

The assumption here is a fully actual source, pro provides no evidence of a fully actual source.

Assumption c- must conceive of what 'the things in potential states' will be actualized as.

Why must it be able to conceive of the actualized state to set things in motion? Why must it have the ability to conceive at all? These obvious questions have not been answered.

3. " Furthermore, this fully actual source is the source of existence and so cannot be a divided thing (ie. there can only be one source of existence), and so the source must be singular.

This whole statement is an assumption

Assumption a- A fully actual source exists

Assumption b- This fully actual source is the source of existence.

Assumption c- This source can't be divided.

Assumption d- There can only be one source of existence.

Assumption e- that source must be singular

4. " Also, since the source does not have room for potential, it does not change and therefore does not diminish."

Assumption a- The source has no room for potential.

Assumption b-- The source does not change.

Assumption c- The source does not diminish.

Pro is just using ridiculous assumptions to make his arguments. He is hoping all his leaps of logic will just be overlooked.

What Must be Proven

" So, if one wants to show that the argument is false, then they must explain why the premises of the argument should be doubted or demonstrate that the fully actual source should not neccesarily be viewed as God as understood by a monotheistic framework."

The premises are faulty because the premises even if correct does not justify the conclusion., and actually disprove the conclusion they are meant to justify.

Premise 1. Something cannot actualize itself.
Premise 2. An infinite causal dependency is impossible.

Conclusion- a self actualized being with infinite causal dependency created the universe.

If the premises are correct then it is impossible for that conclusion to be drawn from them.

Both these premises are assumptions based on personal experience. We don't know that something can't actualize itself or that infinite causal dependency is impossible. It's possible time is circular. It's possible that the universe continually destroys itself and then is reborn.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://www.sciencedaily.com...

There is no reason to believe in a fully actualized source. If a fully actualized source created the universe then he wouldn't be fully actualized because the process of creating implies that the source is still in the process of actualizing.
Debate Round No. 1
Grapes42

Pro

I thank Con for his rebuttal.

It seems that the word "actualize" along with my follow up statements left a level of ambiguity that I think has taken the discussion in the wrong direction.

So, I think it is in order that I re-write the argument in hopefully clearer terms and then we take it from there.

1. Something changed is changed by something else.
2. There can only be a finite number of changers in a dependent causal series.
C: Change is ultimately produced by a changeless cause that chooses to produce the change for the subsequent changing things. This cause is God.

Now P1 is correct because again, something cannot give itself a contrary (ie. an ice cube can't melt itself, it must be melted by a heat source)

P2 is correct because again, something like a sack cannot be pulled by an infinitely long rope. Rather, the sack must be pulled by a finite length rope that is connected to something else that is not itself being pulled.

So, the conclusion naturally follows. If change occurs, then the things changed must be changed by something else and so on until eventually the change is ultimately caused by something that is not changed itself, but rather produces the change that the rest of the changing things rely upon.

Again, this argument is not about extenging cause and effect back to the beginning of the universe and then arguing about what caused the first moment of time. Rather the argument is about what continually produces change in the here and now. For the argument is proposing that reality would not change at all if there were not a first changer producing the change for the rest of reality at each given moment.

I want to clarify this because Con made the remark of "It's possible time is circular. It's possible that the universe continually destroys itself and then is reborn."

Now, Con should explain why P1 or P2 should be doubted or Con should explain why the conclusion can be accepted without supposing that God is the source of change.

Hopefully I have made things clearer and have not frustrated communication too much by re-casting the language.

Thank you
Wylted

Con

There is no need for a long rebuttal here. Since pro has failed to get to the core of my arguments and address my rebuttals and instead insists on repeating his arguments then I will just keep this short and sweet and hopefully it forces him to see what I'm getting at.

1.My opponent is arguing that if a and b are correct then c must also be correct.

2. My opponent has failed to show how either a or b are correct.

3. My opponent has failed to show how, if a and b are correct then c must also be correct.

4. I have thrown in an alternative hypotheses for why a and b can appear true while also supporting an alternative hypotheses ( here after referred to as D ).

5. If a and b can equal d then that proves that a and b don't necessarily equal c.

6. Pro's argument is if a and b appear true then c must be true.Not only has he failed to show that, but I went above and beyond to show an alternate hypotheses to prove that a and b doesn't necessarily equal c.

In order for pro to win this debate he should show how a plus b must equal C. I hope that pro actually responds to and addresses my rebuttals this time.
Debate Round No. 2
Grapes42

Pro

Con did not repeat their alternative proposal.

I am going to presume that Con's proposal is "We don't know that something can't actualize itself or that infinite causal dependency is impossible. It's possible time is circular. It's possible that the universe continually destroys itself and then is reborn."

Except I explained why it is illogical for something to actualize (change) it's own potential. I also explained why an infinite dependency should be viewed as impossible (ie. the sack and rope analogy).

Con's proposal that the universe continually destroys itself and is reborn (presumably an infinite number of times) is not possible if one accepts the premises of the first way.

It's not possible because in order for the universe to change at all, its parts need to be changed. Since an infinite dependency is impossible (remember the sack and rope analogy), ultimately the parts of the universe must be changed by something that does not need to be changed.

Again, though it is mistaken to imagine the causality being described here as one extending backwards in time. I already said at the beginning of the debate that this argument is not about what caused the beginning of time. Rather, it is about what continually moves reality to change.

Now, Con may object that the universe can change its own parts, but then Con would just be identifying the universe as the changeless source of change and therefore be accepting the argument I proposed. We could then debate about whether or not it the changeless source of change is a personal being or not.

So, Con either needs to accept that we both agree that there must be a changeless source for all change or they need to explain why the premises of the argument I gave should be doubted.

Thanks
Wylted

Con

"Con's proposal that the universe continually destroys itself and is reborn (presumably an infinite number of times) is not possible if one accepts the premises of the first way."

I clearly don't accept the premises. I was explaining how the premises could appear accurate while being inaccurate. Pro hasn't showed how his premises are correct. Using simple analogies isn't enough. I can come up with analogies to make many things appear real that are totally false.

Also if one accepts the premises of the first way they still have no reason to accept the conclusion. You need to offer a lot more evidence to prove your premises. You need to show how your premises lead to your conclusion. You've failed to do either.

At this point it's almost pointless to debate you. I don't think this pattern of you repeating your premises and conclusion each round and then me showing you that you have failed to prove your premises and have failed to show how your premises necessarily lead to your conclusion is going to end. In your final round I suggest you either actually take the time to prove your premises and show how those premises make your conclusion true or just do the honorable thing and concede.

"Now, Con may object that the universe can change its own parts, but then Con would just be identifying the universe as the changeless source of change and therefore be accepting the argument I proposed. We could then debate about whether or not it the changeless source of change is a personal being or not."

That's ridiculous. How can a changeless cause of change, change its self?

Clearly if its changing it's self then it's changing. Why should I even have to point out the absurdity of your statements and contradictory nature of your claims?

"So, Con either needs to accept that we both agree that there must be a changeless source for all change or they need to explain why the premises of the argument I gave should be doubted."

The premises of you gave should be doubted because they weren't supported with evidence. They were supported with weak analogies.

Even if your premises were correct, why in the hell would there need to be a changeless source of change? Why couldn't be a changing source of change? Even if it is a changeless source of change why should we assume that the changeless source of change is a personal God.?

You've failed to prove your premises true and you failed to prove your conclusion should be drawn from those premises. You can attempt to switch the burden of proof all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that you have the BOP. It doesn't change the fact you've failed to meet it and that you will continue to fail.

Go ahead and do what everyone knows your going to do in the final round.

1. Repeat your original arguments.

2. Pretend weak analogies prove your premises.

3. Pretend as if the only reasonable conclusion to those premises is a personal God without explaining why.

4. Then finally pretend as if I have a burden of proving that your conclusion doesn't follow from your premises, and that I have the burden of showing your premises are wrong.
Debate Round No. 3
Grapes42

Pro

Con is apparently upset because I take the premises of the argument to be undeniable.

They have yet to explain why either of the premises should be doubted though. They act as if I have yet to prove the premises to be true, except in my mind I gave sufficient enough (at least for discussion, which is what I was intending) reason to think that the premises are true.

What else do they want? If they think that something does not need something else to change it, in order for it to change then they should explain why that should be doubted. I gave the reasoning of P1: "Now P1 is correct because again, something cannot give itself a contrary (ie. an ice cube can't melt itself, it must be melted by a heat source)"

Now Con may think that something can give itself a contrary, but they never explained why it is reasonable to suppose for instance that an ice cube can melt itself. Again, one can't simply say"No you have to prove it", when I did prove it! It is logically absurd for an ice cube to melt itself. All that Con needed to do was explain why it's not absurd or why it's not absurd in all situations. Con said that both premises wrre supported with weak analogies, except here I didn't give an analogy, I gave an example and explained it.

The same thing with P2, I had said: "P2 is correct because again, something like a sack cannot be pulled by an infinitely long rope. Rather, the sack must be pulled by a finite length rope that is connected to something else that is not itself being pulled."

Now Con may think that this is a weak analogy. Except, again all that Con needs to do is explain why the analogy does not sufficiently demonstrate why an infinite dependency is impossible.

I will further explain the premises.

P1 is true because something can't produce for itself what it doesn't already have (eg. black can't make itself white).

P2 is true because if something receives an effect, the effect can't be received from an infinite line of causes because the effect of the causes would never be able to return to the finally effected source. I use analogies for this because it is easy to see why an infinite dependency is absurd. Imagine a bomb exploding on the ground after it shot up an infinite number of feet into the air. Obviously the bomb would never be able to return to the ground because an infinite cannot be completed, which is exactly what the bomb would have to do in order to return to the surface of the earth. Likewise an infinitely long rope can't pull something because there couldn't be a transfer of energy through the rope to the sack, as nothing could be waiting at the other end to pull the rope, since the rope is infinite feet.

As far as the conclusion, I had tried to explain that too, but Con wrote it off in their first rebuttal.

I'll try again to explain why the changeless source should be thought of as a personal God.

The unchanging source "chooses" to produce change, so naturally the unchanging source is a personal source.

Con stated "That's ridiculous. How can a changeless cause of change, change its self?

Clearly if its changing it's self then it's changing. Why should I even have to point out the absurdity of your statements and contradictory nature of your claims?"

Except I never said that the source changes itself. I said that it produces change. Now, Con may think that is strange, and I will grant that it's not something that we can conceive of properly, but that does not make it impossible. In fact if the premises are accepted then the conclusion follows.
Wylted

Con

Pro's arguments are entirely logical fallacies.

Logical fallacy #1- Argumentum ad nauseam

Pro believes repeating his same refuted arguments over and over gives them credibility.

http://rationalwiki.org...

Logical fallacy #2- shifting the burden of proof.

http://www.rationalresponders.com...

"They have yet to explain why either of the premises should be doubted though. "

Not my job pro needs to show why the premises are true.

" If they think that something does not need something else to change it, in order for it to change then they should explain why that should be doubted."

Again pro asks me to prove a negative.

"Now Con may think that this is a weak analogy. Except, again all that Con needs to do is explain why the analogy does not sufficiently demonstrate why an infinite dependency is impossible."

No pro needs to show why the analogy sufficiently demonstrates his point.

Logical fallacy #3- Weak analogy

http://www.logicalfallacies.info...

My opponent makes weak analogies and is sticking to his guns that the analogies prove his premises.

"an ice cube can't melt itself, it must be melted by a heat source"

"something like a sack cannot be pulled by an infinitely long rope. Rather, the sack must be pulled by a finite length rope that is connected to something else that is not itself being pulled."

"Imagine a bomb exploding on the ground after it shot up an infinite number of feet into the air. Obviously the bomb would never be able to return to the ground because an infinite cannot be completed, which is exactly what the bomb would have to do in order to return to the surface of the earth."

"black can't make itself white"

Logical fallacy #4- straw-man fallacy

" Now Con may think that something can give itself a contrary, but they never explained why it is reasonable to suppose for instance that an ice cube can melt itself"

" it! It is logically absurd for an ice cube to melt itself"

Logical fallacy #5- non sequitur fallacy

Barker, Stephen F. (2003) [1965]. "Chapter 6: Fallacies". The Elements of Logic (Sixth ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. pp. 160"169. ISBN 0-07-283235-5.

The conclusion does not follow from the premises.

Logical fallacy #6- false dichotomy

Pro claims if his premises are correct there are only 2 reasonable conclusions. Either an unmoved mover that can be considered god created the universe or an unmoved mover that can't be considered god created the universe. The truth is there is an infinite number of other possibilities.

Just about every sentence pro has written contains numerous logical fallacies all of which I've pointed out in previous rounds but named in this one. I wish I could sit here and name all his logical fallacies but I only have so much space to write. So I'll move on to addressing pro's new argument.

"As far as the conclusion, I had tried to explain that too, but Con wrote it off in their first rebuttal.

I'll try again to explain why the changeless source should be thought of as a personal God.

The unchanging source "chooses" to produce change, so naturally the unchanging source is a personal source."

Here pro acts as if I gave his argument any credibility by implying that I agreed a changeless source created the universe. Pro argues that his theoretical unchanging source should be considered a personal god because it chooses to produce change. He never explains how he came to the conclusion that the source of creation chose to create. My best guess is that it's just wild speculation.

Pro has given no valid reasons to take his conclusions serious.

Vote con
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jay-D 3 years ago
Jay-D
Grapes42WyltedTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Sources go to Con, since Pro never really used any. I award conduct to Pro, since Con seemed slightly disrespectful towards the end. However, Con's "disrespectful" statements were parts of some compelling arguments regarding the logical fallacies made by Pro. Therefore, I award arguments to Con.