The Instigator
Microsuck
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
KRFournier
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Atheism or Theism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
KRFournier
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,514 times Debate No: 21791
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (51)
Votes (6)

 

Microsuck

Pro

=====> Introduction <======

I thank KRFounier for accepting this debate.

=====> Debate Guidelines <======

Rounds:

1. Acceptance / Definitions
2. Opening Arguments Only (no rebuttals)
3. Rebuttals to Opponent's Arguments only (that is, we will rebut each other but not defend our own arguments)
4. Defend our Arguments Only (that is, no second rebuttals, just defending our arguments from the previous round's rebuttals)

For the purposes of this debate, the term "God" will be defined broadly as to include the general attributes (ie: omnipotence, omniscience) commonly associated with Judeo-Christian monotheism. This definition primarily concernsgeneral revelation, and hence forms of religion are irrelavent. We are debating a judeo-Christian type God.

"Improbable" will be defined as less than 50%.

The time limit between replies is 72 hours. If special circumstances arise, one side may ask the other to wait out his or her remaining time. If one side explicitly concedes or violates any of these terms, then all seven points will be awarded to the other. By accepting this challenge, you agree to these terms.

Good luck :-)

I have done similar debates here http://www.debate.org.........;

Both players forfeited my argumetns.


KRFournier

Con

I accept Microsuck's challenge. We have agreed to structure this debate rather rigidly in the hopes of keeping it interesting for the readers. The following format should maximize our use of character limit while guaranteeing that the readers having something new to read in every round.

Debate Format

Round 1: Acceptance, Terms, and Definitions. This is pretty standard to most debates.

Round 2: Opening Arguments Only. This was already suggested by Microsuck. I will not rebut Microsuck's arguments in Round 2, but only provide my argument in favor of theism.

Round 3: Rebuttals Only. This was my suggestion. Round 3 will be Microsuck's first opportunity to cross examine my argument. Therefore, it's only fitting that I do nothing more than cross-examine his argument. I will not respond to his Round 3 rebuttal at all in my Round 3. Obviously, neither of us will add new arguments.

Round 4: Defense of Arguments Only. In this round, neither of us will add new rebuttals or arguments. We will only response to the Round 3 rebuttals. This will naturally serve as our closing arguments as well.

Theism

The debate is Atheism vs. Theism. We are equally burdened to convince the reader that one is more rational than the other. Neither of us is burdened to prove our position with 100% certainty. If, in the final analysis, the reader finds one side more rationally defensible, then that is the side the reader should vote for.

I respectfully request that readers vote responsibly in the areas of conduct, spelling & grammar, and most reliable sources. If you find we have failed any of these areas, please let us know why so we can improve our debating technique.

I will be defending Christian Theism, since I find it to be more defensible than other forms of theism. I will therefore offer my usual definition of God as described in the Westminster Confession of Faith [1]:

There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

G
od has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.

In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Let the Philosophy Games begin, and may the odds be ever in your favor. ;)

Sources

  1. http://www.reformed.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Microsuck

Pro

Contention 1: Extraordinary claims; extraordinary evidence.

1. If a claim is extraordinary, then in the absence of extraordinarily strong evidence in its favor, the claim may be considered false.
2. The claim that a god exists is an extraordinary claim.
3. Therefore, in the absence of extraordinarily strong evidence in its favor, the claim that a god exists may be considered false.
4. There is no extraordinarily strong evidence for the claim that a god exists.
5. Therefore, the claim that a god exists may be considered false.

In order to understand this argument, we need to define an extraordinary claim. I will define an extraordinary claim as:

A claim that contradicts accepted physical laws or our common sense, everyday experiences of the world.[2]

So, the question is, ‘Is God an extraordinary claim?” I contend to you that indeed, it is. Let’s take a look at this chart that I have drawn up.

God

Man

Holy

Unholy

All-knowing

Limited knowledge

Perfect

Imperfect

Immortal

Mortal

All-loving

Evil

Invisible

Visible

Just

Unjust

As one can see from this chart, God has attributes much different than man; indeed, God is incomprehensible compared to man.[3]

Premise 3 states, “Therefore, in the absence of extraordinarily strong evidence in its favor, the claim that a god exists may be considered false.” We now need to ask ourselves two questions:

1) Why is one justified in rejecting extraordinary claims in the absence of extraordinary evidence?

2) What is the basis of extraordinary evidence?

Allow me to give you the following propositions and ask yourself “which one do you immediately reject, and why?”

1) I am a member of Facebook,

2) I won the multi-million dollar lottery, and

3) I own a transportation mechanism that transports you from point A to point B in under 1 second.

Which one do you immediately reject without further ado, and why? If you guessed point 3, you would be correct—and totally justified in rejecting proposition 3. Allow me to explain why.

According to Facebook stats, Facbeook currently have 350,000,000 members [4] hence, to claim that I am a member of Facebook is not unheard of, nor is it an extraordinary claim. Claim 2 is certainly more extraordinary than the first; however, people have won the lottery before so it is not unheard of—in order for one to accept this claim, one may need to look at just my lottery ticket, or the numbers on TV. However, claim 3 is quite different. In order to accept claim 3 with just my word, you will have to:

1) Change your current views on the technology of today,

2) Change your views on how people transport from point A to point B, and

3) Change your perspective on the person making such a ridiculous claim (and ridiculous is quite appropriate).

So, you see, extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence. So, what type of evidence is there for God? I contend that there is no evidence; it will be my partner's burden to prove so. In the words of Keith Augustine: "God, as conceived by the major religions, does not exist. I hold this neither dogmatically, nor as an article of faith. Rather, I think the existence of the Judeo-Christian/Islamic God is as improbable as the existence of Zeus and the plethora of Olympian gods. I am simply more consistent in my skepticism. I have the same amount of evidence for the existence of Yahweh, Jehovah, or Allah as I have for Zeus--none." [5]

How does this cast doubt on God's existence? Consider: God wants us to "love him maximally"; and if that were to be the case, one would need to know for a fact that God exists (or at least have extraordinary evidence to prove that He exists). One cannot "love a being maximally" that does not exist or is hidden.

Contention 2: God is incoherent

1. Anything with contradictory attributes cannot exist.
2. God has contradictory attributes.
3. Therefore, God cannot exist.[6]

When I say that a being's attributes are contradictory, I mean much more than strange or mysterious, but that they are logically incompatible. I am sorry to say, but my partner has helped me tremendously in this debate.

If God is ineffable, and incomprehensible, then this seems to contradict the other attributes; for how can the attributes of God be known if He is ineffable and incomprehensible? Consider:

1. If God cannot be known or understood, then his attributes cannot be known.
2. God cannot be known and understood.
3. Therefore, his attribues cannot be known.

According to my partner, God is most loving (agape); and also points out that he "hates all sin and by no means clear the guilty." (emphasis mine).

Agape according to Paul is "paitent, kind, doesn't envy, doesn't boast, not proud, doesn't dishonor otehrs, not self- seeking, is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrong..." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV).

According to the Greek language, the word agape is the exact word used to describe God: "God IS agape." Therefore, he CANNOT keep any record of wrong, yet he "by no means clear the guilty'?

Finally, my partner contradicts himself by saying that God is both merciful and just. Matt Slick of CARM points out:

"God is holy and righteous and if he didn't carry a punishment for sins, he would be allowing evil to exist without consequence. The result would be, essentially, to condone evil, and since God cannot do that, His justice requires that a proper punishment be incurred for each sin." [7]

Because of this fact, it is absolutely impossible for God to be both merciful and just.

To conclude: "The characteristics of God as supplied by Christian theologians are nothing more than meaningless and contradictory concepts wrapped in theological garp. [8]

Thank you, I look forward to your arguments.

Bibliography

1. This argument was formulated in the Krueger-McHugh Debate: Theism or Atheism (2003)http://www.infidels.org.........

2. The definition was also given in the debate above.

3.Indeed, this is the part where St. Alsen given his Ontological argument. See http://www.equip.org... God and an explanation of God’s incomprehensible. I will deal with the Ontological Argument in chapter 3.

4. Stats from http://www.facebook.com.........

6. http://www.infidels.org...;
7. Slick, Matt. "How Just is the God of Islam?" http://carm.org...;
8. Tobin, Paul. "The Rejection of Pascal's Wager."

KRFournier

Con

I want to remind the readers that Round 2 is to be used for opening arguments only, so I will not be providing a rebuttal to Pro's opening arguments until the next round.

Transcendental Argument for God's Existence (TAG) [1]

Imagine two scholars convening to debate the existence of air. Both sides offer profound arguments and challenging cross-examination over whether or not air is real. Such a debate would be embarrassing for the debater attempting to prove air doesn't exist since its existence is a necessary precondition for him to debate in the first place. He would be a living contradiction whose argument could only be possible if it were wrong. By showing up to the debate, he's already lost.

My opponent is like the man arguing against the existence of air. In defending atheism he has undermined his ability to rationalize his position. He has in principle already lost.

The Presuppositional Conflict of Worldviews

TAG begins by recognizing that the existence of God is not proven in the same evidential way you might prove the existence of other things. All evidential approaches start from a position of neutrality and then "follow the evidence" to its proper conclusion. The problem is that there is no neutrality. Everyone is bias. We all have presuppositions [2] about reality.

The proof of this is found in the problem of infinite regression. [3] To convince someone of a truth claim, we use other truth claims, which themselves have to be justified, and so on. As finite beings we cannot justify every proposition forever. The point at which we stop the regression is the point we commit ourselves to some kind of truth we consider to be self-evident, i.e., we presuppose its truth. The sum total of our presuppositions is called our worldview. This worldview becomes the basis by which we interpret the whole of reality.

As a result, all evidential approaches to proving or disproving God's existence end up begging the question. We unconsciously examine the evidence for or against God in light of whether or not the existence of God is plausible in the first place. The existence or non-existence of God is ultimately a presupposition. This is why both sides can look at the same facts and consider it to be evidence to separate, incompatible premises.

So when it comes to proving the existence of God, we have to take a different approach. In this debate, we have two worldviews in conflict: atheism vs. theism. TAG determines which worldview is more rational by eliminating the one that fails to meet the following criteria:

  1. The worldview accounts for the necessary preconditions of human experience.
  2. The accounts do not contradict the worldview's presuppositions.
  3. The accounts are not abandoned when the worldview is lived out.

The worldview that meets all three criteria is more rational than the one that does not. In this debate, I will focus on three elements of human experience: logic, science, and morality.

My opponent and I are both committed to the idea that logic, science, and morality are useful in determining objective truth. We take these things for granted in all our debates. But now my opponent can no longer take them for granted because I'm asking him to provide an account for logical laws, the uniformity of nature, and moral duties from within the atheistic worldview without breaking any three of the aforementioned criteria.

Laws of Logic

So what gives logic its law-like nature? First, a logical law does not need to be experienced in order to be true. We don't have to test the laws of logic in every conceivable time and place in the universe in order to accept their universality. Second, logical laws are abstract, not to be found as objects in nature. Third, logical laws aren't subject to change or revision.

Atheism cannot provide the necessary preconditions for the laws of logic, namely their universality, invariance, and immaterial nature without violating one of the criteria. To say the laws of logic are conventional, sociological, or material is to render them philosophically contingent, which is to say that the Law of Non-Contradiction, for example, could conceivably be untrue in some time, place, or world. But that is not how we treat the laws of logic. We treat them as abstract absolutes. Thus, this account violates the Criterion 3: atheists cannot live out what they claim. They will claim logic is conventional, but they will behave otherwise.

If atheists do accept that logic is abstract and absolute, then they contradict the fundamental presupposition of atheism: the cosmos is all there is, ever was, or ever will be. The cosmos is neither abstract nor absolute, so it alone cannot account for logic. Thus, we have an internal conflict within the worldview, and atheism does not meet Criterion 2.

The Christian worldview happily meets all three criteria. God is immutable, immaterial, and universal, so he accounts for the preconditions of logic without logically contradicting our presuppositions. As a result, Christians can behave like logic is abstract and absolute without abandoning our presuppositions.

Uniformity of Nature

The necessary precondition for science is the uniformity in nature. On what basis does the atheist expect the future to behave like the past? 18th century philosopher David Hume argued that using past probabilities to answer the question involves circular reasoning since it would involve using the principle of induction to prove the principle of induction. [5] When it comes to the uniformity of nature, atheism fails on Criterion 1; they simply have no account.

The Christian worldview, on the other hand, has no problem accounting for the uniformity of nature. Christianity presupposes that God created the cosmos and governs it. God is unchanging, so we can be confident that the future will behave like the past. They can do all manner of science without having to just assume science works or acting outside of their presuppositions.

Moral Absolutes

The most common objections to Christianity involve an appeal to morality: the problem of evil and suffering, the problem of eternal punishment, the problem of unbelief, and so on. All of these arguments criticize Christianity on the basis that it is an immoral philosophy.

Such arguments rely on morality being objective, but once again, atheism cannot account for abstract absolutes. Atheists will say morality is a social convention or a product of evolution, but either response is to render it arbitrary. Atheists behave as though there are real moral absolutes when they engage in these kinds of arguments, but they cannot account for them, so again, atheism fails to meet Criterion 3.

In the Christian worldview, God is good and is the standard of goodness. He is unchanging and immaterial, so we have the necessary preconditions for abstract and absolute morality. Furthermore, when we behave as though morality is objective, we are operating wholly within our presuppositions. Thus, Christianity once again meets all criteria.

Conclusion

The readers are presented with two worldviews, and only one is going to be more rational than the other. The one that is more rational, therefore, is more likely to be true. Atheism fails to meet all three criteria in the critically important areas of logic, science, and morality whereas Christian theism upholds them all. In failing to meeting the necessary preconditions for debate, my opponent is like the debater that argues against the existence of air all the while breathing it in. No matter how logical, scientific, or ethically sound the debater was, he was wrong the moment he drew his first breath to speak.

Atheism cannot be lived out, so theism is more probable than atheism.

Sources

  1. http://www.butler-harris.org...
  2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
  4. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Microsuck

Pro

I wish to thank my partner for his swift reply. In my first rebuttal, I will address some of the issues with KRF's problems for the existence of God.

Observations

1. Even if I accept the premises, the characteristics of God cannot be determined through TAG. This becomes a serious problem for my partner given the definitions that he has given for God.
2. This argument cannot determine if there is only one God.
3. This argument does not tell us who God is.

Because of the 3 issues above, we should immediately reject TAG on those basis alone. However, I wish to respond further and prove how all of the basic premises of TAG are faulty.

The Presuppositional Conflict of Worldviews

I have no qualms with what my partner has pointed out in this round. We do all have bias and we all indeed have conflicting worldviews. I concede this point.

Laws of Logic

My partner begs the question. You do not say why this makes God's existence necessary. How does God account for logic? Just because God is immutable, immaterial, and universal; so what? What's the connection?

I wish to argue that atheism accounts for the Laws of Logic the same way we would the laws of anything else; they simply exist and are necessary. What is a logical truth? Logical absolutes are true statements, but they are not the thing the statement is about. What are we to make of this? It means they are concepts, since there are no truth statements without a mind to think them. It's only the things true refer to that may not necessarily rely on a mind.

Uniformity of Nature

I believe my partner has asked a farily good question. Under what basis do we expect the future to behave like the past? It appears that my partner is correct that it is basically circular reasoning. As Richard Carrier points out:

“Of course, even following Hume and Reppert, inductive reasoning is fundamentally circular for everyone, even for God. Everyone is in the same boat, theist or atheist. All one can do is posit a hypothesis (e.g. "God exists" or "Nature is consistently uniform") to explain the evidence (consistent uniformity) and then constantly test that hypothesis (so far, it has never been falsified, and has been abundantly verified). To accept this line of reasoning, all one need do is reject the groundless and self-defeating methodological principle "Maybe, therefore probably." And the theist is in no better position than an atheist here.”(1)

Why is it that we can trust our past experiences?

This begs the question: How can we trust our past experience? Why, because we live in a self-contained universe. Nothing that can come out and muddle the action of natural law on myself or my environment. I am fairly confident in saying that the sun is going to rise tomorrow, because the law of gravity will never suspend it. (2)

Why Christianity Cannot Account for the Uniformity of Nature

Once again, we beg the question under what basis does the Theist expect the future to behave like the past? Because God says so? Well, back to the original question: Which God? Why is the Christian God the only God that can account for such uniformity? I will now like to argue that the Christian God cannot account for this uniformity. Michael Martin, the author of The Impossibility of God argues:

"...[C]hristianity presupposes that there are miracles in which natural laws are violated (these miracles incude: Jesus' resurrection, turning water into wine, and so forth). Since to make sense of science one must assume that there are no miracles, one must further assume that Christianity is false. To put this in a different way: Miracles by definition are violations of laws of nature that can only be explained by God's intervention. Yet science assumes that insofar as an event as an explanation at all, it has a scientific explanation--one that does not presuppose God.. Thus, doing, science assumes that the Christian world view is false." (3)

What I am arguing is that based upon the presumptions that my partner has layed out in this division, the Christian worldview must be false because there is no uniformity in nature. What basis does my partner have in concuding that the future will behave like the past when, in the past, certain violations of the laws that we see today occured on a regular basis? This is question begging.


Moral Absolutes

Here, my partner has intertwained the Divine Command Theory (DCT hereafter) in TAG. I wish to respond to this argument using the Euthyphor's dilemma; namely, is good and evil good and evil because God says so, or because it is already good and evil? There is a serious problem: If good and evil is good and evil simply because God says so, we beg the question under what basis does God determine the good and the evil? If it is subjective to God, then how can it be objective to us? If it is already good and evil, then there is no reason to conclude the basic premise of the DCT.

Lets further concider the premises of the DCT. How does one determine these objective moral facts? Under what basis should we choose the Bible over the Quran, Book of Mormon, or any other ancient document that claims to be of divine revelation?

Conclusion

Even if we accept the presmises of TAG, we cannot conclude which God TAG induces. Likewise, there are fallacies and unanswered questions in all of the divisions of TAG. We are confronted with two opposing worldviews, and one is mor rational than the other. Theism fails to meet the critera that my own partner has listed above. To quote my partner, "[N]o matter how logical, scientific, or ethically sound the debater was, he was wrong the moment he drew his first breath to speak."

I affirm the resolution.

References

1. Quoted in the Meatros-Brain debate here: http://www.debate.org...
2. Ibid.
3. Martin, Miachel. TANG. http://www.infidels.org...
KRFournier

Con

I want to remind the readers that Round 3 is to be used for rebuttals only, so I will not be defending my opening arguments from Pro's rebuttal until the last round.

Contention 1: Extraordinary Claims; Extraordinary Evidence

The main problem with this argument is how utterly arbitrary it ends up being. Moreover, I think my opponent doesn't understand the nature of evidence.

First, evidence is not in and of itself proof. Evidence, rather, supports a proposition. A prosecutor's proposition—that the defendant was at the scene of the crime—is given support by the evidence—that matching boot prints were discovered at the scene.

Second, something is not always exclusively evidence for exactly one proposition. For example, DNA between species has many similarities, and is considered to be evidence for speciation through natural selection. However, it could equally be considered evidence in support of the Biblical notion that creatures were created similarly, e.g., God created animals according to "kind." The evidence can support either proposition even though neither proposition can be simultaneously true.

Third, evidence comes in degrees. Strong evidence is evidence that makes the proposition far more likely than not. Weak evidence makes a proposition a little more likely, but the proposition will probably need to have more evidence to make it more acceptable. In fact, lots of weak evidence can be just as effective as a single piece of strong evidence in some cases.

Fourth, there are different kinds of evidence. There is appeal to rationality, in which the evidence could come in the form of statistics, experiments, logic, facts, analogies, etc. Then there is ethical appeal—evidence that comes from the testimony of eyewitnesses, field experts, etc. Sometimes evidence is experiential, which might involve emotions or subjective experiences. Certainly rational evidence is considered to be of higher value, but that does not mean other kinds of evidence do not have their place. Even in court, all types of evidence are usually provided in order to make a stronger case.

Given a proper understanding of the nature of evidence, it is startling to see my opponent assert that there is simply no evidence for theism whatsoever. The Bible is testimonial evidence. There is the experiential evidence of the millions of Christians around the world. There is even rational evidence in the form of a multitude of arguments: The Transcendental Argument for God's Existence, the Cosmological Argument, the Moral Argument, the Ontological Argument, and the Teleological Argument, just to name a few. Whether my opponent is convinced by the evidence is irrelevant. The point is that evidence is not the same as proof, and to insist on it is intellectually dishonest.

This should also increase our skepticism over what exactly is meant by extraordinary evidence. What makes evidence extraordinary is completely dependent upon the person evaluating it. I personally find the evidence for theism quite extraordinary. So, there you go. According to KRFournier, there is indeed extraordinary evidence for theism. If my opponent wants me to use a more objective standard, then he is tasked to explain what precisely extraordinary evidence is in the first place. Otherwise, this whole argument is wishful thinking.

Contention 2: God is Incoherent

Every example in this contention is a straw man argument. God is only incomprehensible if every attribute of God is misrepresented to such an alarming degree as to render them intrinsically meaningless from the start.

First, I reread both Round 1 and 2 and was unable to see where I or anyone I cited claimed that God was ineffable. Moreover, if God were ineffable (unable to be described), it wouldn't matter how we described him would it? Any being that is ineffable would be intrinsically impossible. My opponent has to render God unintelligible without warrant from the start in order to make his case.

Second, I defined God as most loving. To say that God must not keep records of wrong is to insist that God is only Agape and nothing else. Given Pro's equivocation here, it would be permissible to say that God is Love and Love is God, i.e., that God is the thing called love and not a person or being at all. This is as ridiculous as saying that I cannot have other attributes because I am kind. In normal, everyday language, when someone says So-and-so is X, they mean that they possess the attribute of X, not that they are X and only X. Thus, Pro's efforts in this regard reduce to absurdity.

Third, my opponent repeats the above mistake with justice and mercy. Now, I tried to view his quote from Matt Slick to verify that he was being quoted in context, but Pro's links are broken. Suffice it to say, the only way to say that mercy is wholly incompatible with justice is to define God as only one or the other. What merits such unscholarly use of language? God is, per our accepted definition, most just and merciful. The term "most" implies that He is the being with the capacity for being the best arbiter of justice due to his omniscience. It does not imply that God is so just that he cannot be anything else or even have a free will for that matter. Pro needs to do more than make a bare assertion that justice and mercy are mutually exclusive attributes.

Conclusion

Pro is tasked to provide convincing philosophical support for atheism, yet what he gives us are arbitrary standards of evidence, unscholarly claims that there is no evidence for theism (as though an absence of evidence for theism constitutes evidence for atheism in the first place), misrepresentations of Christian theology, and hyper-literal application of common terms.

Debate Round No. 3
Microsuck

Pro

Thank you for your swift reply. As I was reading my partners arguments, I do not believe he fully understands the arguments I put forth. I feel that he has made some mistakes that could cost him the debate.

-->Defense<--

I. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

This argument is an attempt to justify atheism. It shows that atheism is justified because of the lack of evidence. My partner's main problem is that it is arbitrary; moreover, he claims that I don't understand the nature of evidence.

Evidence is support of a proposition. The proposition is that "God exists." Because of the lack of support of such a proposition, we are justified in concluding that such a God does not exist When I say "there is no extraordinary evidence for God's existence", I am saying that there is not enough support for this proposition. As my partner states, "strong evidence is evidence that makes teh proposition far more likely than not." The problem is there is no such evidence for God's existence.

Finally, my partner cites teh Bible as evidence. How do we test something that is personal? As far as the TAG argument, I have showed that it is unconvincing at all. He cited different "proofs" but without even defending those arguments, hence, we should drp them.

My partner states that "according to KRForuner, there is extraordinary evidence for Theism", yet what is this "exraordinary evidence"? He hasn't stated, nor defended any.

My partner is an atheist. Let's consider the different gods that he does not believe in (remember, the definition of atheism is non-belief in God):
  1. The Muslim god, Allah;
  2. The ancient Egyptian gods: Osiris, Ra, and Isis;
  3. The Hindu god, Vishnu;
  4. The Buddhist god, Buddha; and
  5. The Greek god, Zeuse.
Why is it that my partner dismisses these gods without proper ado? Because there is no evidence for such beings to exist. That is why "I contend that you and I are both atheists; the only difference is that I dismiss one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." [1]

II. Incoherency of God


My partner accuses me of a straw-man fallacy. However, I will show that my partner's defense is inadaquet and the argument is anything but straw-man.

Let's review my partner's statement of faith from round 1:

There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

G
od has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.

As far as ineffiable, I do apologize. I simply copied and pasted from a previous debate [2] in which God was discribed as ineffiable.

Second, my partner defined God as most loving. To say that God must not keep any record of wrong is not what I say, nor is it what you say, but what St. Paul says:

"It [agape]is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." 1 Corinthians 13:5

My partner accuses me of the fallacy of equivoation here. Either my partner needs to define agape as keeping record of wrong (which contradicts 1 Corinthians), or he needs to define a just God and one who punishes his Creation as not keeping records of wrong (which is absurd because if you punish one, you need to have a proper reason; hence, keeping a record of wrong). Remember, my definition of agape comes not from me, nor my partner, but from the Bible itself. I believe we can make my argument into a syllogism:
  1. If God is agape, then he does not keep any record of wrong (1 Corinthians 13:5)
  2. God is agape (1 John 4:8)
  3. Therefore, God does not keep any record of wrong.

Please do forgive the broken link. Try this link here http://tinyurl.com... Furthermor, his defense still is inadaquet. Because God is holy, he cannot look upon sin; because he is just, he must therefore punish sin. Therefore, God cannot simply "forgive" sin. (this is why the death of Jesus is important in Christian theology). Consequently, God is incoherent.

Conclusion


I conclude that atheism is much more probable than Theism. T



References


1. Stephen Roberts quote.
2. Debate found here http://www.debate.org...


KRFournier

Con

As much as it pains me to not be able to reply to Pro's final round, we agreed that this last round would focus on defending our own arguments from the cross examinations of Round 3.

Defending TAG

Reading Pro's rebuttal to TAG shows that while he seems to understand the argument at first, his rebuttals tend to ignore the fundamental approach. TAG is not reasoning toward a worldview. TAG starts with competing worldviews and eliminates the irrational worldviews over the more rational ones. There are certainly many worldviews, but since this debate focuses on atheism vs. theism, it is enough to compare just these worldviews.

Pro' s Observations

My opponent offers three reasons why we should immediately reject TAG, all of which are completely erroneous.

First, the characteristics of God absolutely can be determined, for they are defined within the worldview in question. In fact, the presuppositions of God's attributes are an essential part of TAG when showing the Christian worldview to be more rational than say the Islamic worldview. God's attributes are presuppositions, and those presuppositions will determine whether or not the worldview can account for human experience.

Second, TAG absolutely can determine if there is only one God. The Christian worldview presupposes one God, and the Greek Mythology worldview presupposes many gods. I could easily show how the Greek Mythology worldview fails to account for moral absolutes—given the gods' capricious and varied natures—but that is not necessary in this debate. My opponent should focus on refuting theism in any form if he wants to uphold the resolution.

Third, TAG absolutely can tell us who God is, because God is a presupposition. The Christian worldview presupposes who God is, and from there, we use the 3 Criteria I set forth in Round 2 to see if those presuppositions hold up. If they do, then we do know the characteristics of God and who he is.

It's hard to believe that Pro would consider these observations to be so threatening to TAG when all three of them completely ignore the presuppositional conflict of worldviews, especially since he agreed that there is such a conflict when he directly stated, "I have no qualms with what my partner has pointed out in this round. We do all have bias and we all indeed have conflicting worldviews. I concede this point."

Laws of Logic

My opponent's first objection to this part of TAG is to say, "What's the connection?" Really? I spent four paragraphs explaining the necessary preconditions of logic and how an immutable, immaterial, and universal God meets those conditions. His response is not a rebuttal but an admission of not comprehending the argument.

He does, however, attempt to account for logical laws within the atheistic worldview by simply stating that they are necessary. That's it. So, given the two worldviews, we have the following:

KRFournier: The Christian worldview accounts for the necessary preconditions of logic by presupposing an immutable, immaterial, universal, rational mind, i.e., God.

Microsuck: The Atheist worldview accounts for the necessary preconditions of logic by presupposing the necessity of logic.

Accounting for the preconditions of logic is what I am specifically challenging here. When I say, "Account for logic," and the answer is "I don't have to because logic is necessary," is to beg the question I asked of him. Pro is effectively saying, "Trust me, logic is just reliable." In other words, Pro has no answer to my challenge. Thus, when it comes to accounting for logic, the Christian worldview provides a more reasoned explanation than Pro's bare assertion.

Uniformity of Nature

Pro borrows from Michael Martin's TANG to refute Christianity, which is unfortunate, because if he'd done his research, he would have found that Martin's main blunder—which my opponent repeats—is to imply that the necessary precondition for science is absolute uniformity of nature. Such a view on the uniformity of nature does not permit any randomness in nature whatsoever, and thereby renders many scientific endeavors, such as quantum fluctuations, unscientific. In fact, Michael Martin conceded as much when he later responded to John Frame's rebuttals to TANG by stating, "Frame has argued correctly that science does not presuppose the absolute uniformity of nature, but I do not suppose that it does." [1]

Science does require that nature is regular rather than entirely chaotic and random, and the Christian worldview accounts for this, even with the presupposition of miracles. In rebuttal of TANG, Michael Butler writes, "Under Dr. Martin's definition, all events are miraculous. The Christian view of miracles is that they are events God causes to come about in a different way from His regular pattern for directing events. Thus when humans die they usually stay dead. But in the case of Jesus, God raised Him up. In doing so God did not violate a natural law, but rather departed from His regular pattern of action." [2] In other words, my opponent's view on miracles is a straw man of the Christian worldview, for such a view describes a universe that is complete chaos.

Note how my opponent's only recourse is to misrepresent the Christian worldview, for atheism cannot account for the regularity of nature. He did quote Richard Carrier in an attempt to show that Christians suffer the same fate, but that quote completely sidesteps the argument I am making, which is comparing presuppositions. When dealing with presuppositions, circular reasoning only occurs when one refuses to account for the necessary preconditions for human experience, which Christianity does not do. The Christian worldview presupposes God is reliable enough, powerful enough, and intelligent enough to maintain regularity in the universe. The atheist's only recourse is to say, "I don't have to provide an account for the uniformity of nature. Trust me, science is just reliable." Again, Pro is relying on bare assertion to convince voters that atheism is more rational.

Moral Absolutes

Pro's approach here is the same as Michael Martin's, which is to argue a false dilemma: that either good comes from God or God comes for good. The Christian worldview adheres to a third option: God defines good by his character, and since he cannot deny himself, he cannot ever change his mind and decide that cruelty is suddenly good. With the Christian worldview properly understood, Pro's case falls flat.

So why choose the Bible over the Quran, Book of Mormon, etc.? Simply put, because the Christian worldview presupposes the truth of the Bible and the Christian worldview is superior to the Islamic or Mormon worldview. Now, that's just a bare assertion on my part, but why should I defend those worldviews when either of them would still render atheism as false? Is my opponent trying to do my work for me?

Once again, note how my opponent doesn't actually attempt to account for moral absolutes. His only recourse is to mischaracterize the Christian worldview in an attempt to show it as wrong. This hardly helps his case, as it leaves the atheist worldview twisting in the wind.

Conclusion

Recall that TAG uses three criteria to show that the Christian worldview is more rational than the atheist one. In so doing, it challenges both worldviews to account for logic, science, and morality. I showed how the Christian worldview accounts for these things and defended it from Pro's straw man attacks. I also showed how atheism cannot account for these things and we received nothing in response beyond the equivalent of someone saying, "Trust me, atheism works." When considering which debater performed more admirably in defending their position, I think it acceptable to vote for Con.

Resolved: on balance, theism is more reasonable than atheism.

Sources

  1. http://www.infidels.org...
  2. http://www.reformed.org...
Debate Round No. 4
51 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by unitedandy 2 years ago
unitedandy
KRF,

I'll have to post here, as I can't on your profile, so apologies. Just wanted to ask if you'd fancy a similar debate in a few weeks?
Posted by IFLYHIGH 2 years ago
IFLYHIGH
@KRF- If I had been allowed to vote, I was leaning toward your arguments. You had completely convinced me that extraordinary evidence is subjective to the person and you had a strong case for TAG too.

TAG
Logic- I was unsure of the better arguments
Uniformity of Nature- Win for KRF
Morals- I was unsure of the better arguments

That would have been my RFD for the first three rounds. Again, it sucks that I never got the chance to vote...
Posted by KRFournier 2 years ago
KRFournier
I think it's rather poetic that I beat him by one point in this debate given that he beat me by one point in the last one.
Posted by Microsuck 2 years ago
Microsuck
Sorry. For some reason, I keep forgetting to change the default voting period. Oops.
Posted by IFLYHIGH 2 years ago
IFLYHIGH
Micro, why why why? All I had to do was read the last round and I would have voted.
Posted by Meatros 2 years ago
Meatros
I don't have the book either and was trying to assess the validity of the quote. I think that bahnsens approach was transcendental reasoning, in which the form today at you said about disjunctive logic, but different in that it argues from necessity: http://en.wikipedia.org...

The form is basically as you suggest (which is by it fails, he cannot adequately show premise 2 for reasons already mentioned).
Posted by KRFournier 2 years ago
KRFournier
Meatros, interesting. I read through some of the comments on Amazon and it appears that the quote you cited is Bahnsen criticizing an inductive approach to presuppositional apologetics, i.e.:

1. Christianity, or Hypothesis(1) or Hypothesis(2) ... or Hypothesis(N)
2. Not Hypothesis(1) or Hypothesis(2) ... or Hypothesis(N)
3. Therefore, Christianity is true.

Supposedly, Bahnsen's approach is not inductive but disjunctive, i.e.:

1. Christianity or Not Christianity
2. Not Not Christianity
3. Therefore, Christianity is true.

I'm not going to defend the validity of these remarks. After all, these are based on comments, but I thought you'd be interested in some context.

I didn't realize how recent that book was, which explains why I hadn't encountered it before. Thanks.
Posted by KRFournier 2 years ago
KRFournier
I actually don't have that one. His books are always so expensive seeing as so many of them are out of print. I have a couple of his other books. Having read other material in which he discusses the problem of so many hypothesis, he usually says something along the lines that so long as we can eliminate the worldviews that are offered up as challenges to the Christian worldview, then we've satisfied TAG in a reasonable, though not obviously, complete manner. That's a major paraphrase on my part, though.

I do need to get a copy of that book someday. I haven't read Bahnsen in a long time.
Posted by Meatros 2 years ago
Meatros
You wouldn't happen to have that book, would you? If you do, can you please verify the quote/context?
Posted by Meatros 2 years ago
Meatros
I'm trying to verify a quote from an Amazon review - but unfortunately I do not have the book:

""[N]o human, not even a Christian apologist, has the omniscience to know all possible rival hypotheses nor the eternity needed in which to test them all. Hence only God could apply this argument with any final satisfaction, and the human apologist is driven to skepticism, agnosticism, or ignorance." (p. 265.)"

Supposedly it's in Bahnsen's book here: http://www.amazon.com...

Also, I know that the TAG attempts to argue this way, the fact is that it doesn't succeed.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 2 years ago
Maikuru
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's initial stance (i.e. theism lacks extraordinary evidence) is not only necessarily arbitrary, but also refuted given Con's examples of evidence in his favor (e.g. testimonials). Con's use of TAG stands, for the most part. I found Pro's attack on miracles as an issue for the uniformity of nature solid. However, his arguments against logic and morality are circular and vague, respectively. As Pro's case was refuted while 2/3rds of Con's case stands, arguments to Con. All else equal.
Vote Placed by Meatros 2 years ago
Meatros
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It seems to me that you two were talking past each other. MS presented an argument (flawed), where as it seems to me that KRF asserted that he had an argument. There were a number of problems with the Con's view, but the Pro did not bring them up. On balance I give Pro the more convincing arguments because I agree with the Pro that there was no 'linking' between the assertions of the Con and his overall premise.
Vote Placed by WriterDave 2 years ago
WriterDave
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Even granting TAG, Con did not establish the existence of the being described in the WCF, and he did not adequately address Pro's argument. Also, the barb at the start of Con's final statement was uncalled for.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 2 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro gave more/better arguments in favor of theism then Pro did of atheism. PM me if you want a more detailed RFD.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: comments
Vote Placed by KILLUMINATI 2 years ago
KILLUMINATI
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Like con Christian worldview is more rational than the atheist one.