The Instigator
Confucius91
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Pat
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Convert me

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,067 times Debate No: 14161
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

Confucius91

Con

I thank my opponent in advance for this debate.

The purpose of this debate is for the Pro-side to present their case for their religion in a rational manner. I shall then proceed to provide criticism. All are welcome.
Pat

Pro

I thank my opponent for what seems like a very interesting debate. To clarify, as my opponent has not specified any real religion, I shall be defending the existence of A God. I will not assert the non-existence of more than one God, so as to satisfy both the monotheist view and the view that there is more than one God.

Everything needs a "prime mover". If I were to move a cup from one table to another, I would be its prime mover. Therefore, the Universe also needed a "prime causer" to come into existence. That prime causer was God.

There is also the teleological argument. In a basic approach, there would be 5 steps, with the 5th asserting God's existence;

1. Nature exhibits complexity, order, adaptation, purpose and/or beauty.
2. The exhibited feature(s) cannot be explained by random or accidental processes, but only as a product of mind.
3. Therefore, there exists a mind that has produced or is producing nature.
4. A mind that produces nature is a definition of "God."
5. Therefore, God exists.

Furthermore, the existence of non-physical properties, such as love and morality, are evidence of the existence of a God, as they are not an epiphenomenon.

The existence of objective morality itself suggests the existence of a superior being. This being is God.

Moreover, logic and science do not make sense without the existence of a God. If knowledge exists, then God exists. Without God, knowledge is not possible.

The argument against materialism holds:

1.For an assertion to be capable of truth or falsehood it must come from a rational source.
2.No merely physical material or combination of merely physical materials constitute a rational source.
3.Therefore, no assertion that is true or false can come from a merely physical source.
4.The assertions of human minds are capable of truth or falsehood

Conclusion: Therefore, human minds are not a merely physical source.

5. A being requires a rational process to assess the truth or falsehood of a claim.
6. Therefore, if humans are able to be convinced by argument, their reasoning processes must have a rational source.
7. Therefore, considering element two above, if humans are able to be convinced by argument, their reasoning processes must have a non-physical (as well as rational) source.
8. Rationality cannot arise out of non-rationality. That is, no arrangement of non-rational materials creates a rational thing.
9. No being that begins to exist can be rational except through reliance, ultimately, on a rational being that did not begin to exist. That is, rationality does not arise spontaneously from out of nothing but only from another rationality.
10. All humans began to exist at some point in time.
11. Therefore, if humans are able to be convinced by argument, there must be a necessary and rational being on which their rationality ultimately relies.

Conclusion: This being is God.

Note that these are all philosophical arguments. I shall discuss other types of arguments in Rounds 2-5.

I once again thank my opponent for such an interesting debate, and wish him, and the audience, a happy and prosperous New Year.

SOURCES:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Confucius91

Con

I thank my opponent for his quick answer to my challenge. This shall be a great experience for the both of us.

1) The argument of the prime mover
My opponent claims that because he is the prime mover behind the hypothetical cup, then God must be the prime mover behind the universe. This argument, however, does not tell us why the universe needs a prime mover or why God would be the most reasonable explanation. These questions need answering before the argument can be sound.

2)
My opponent tries to argue from design in nature. However, there are two problems in the argument:
1. The first premise of the argument supposes that our perception of things' beauty is objective. However, it seems clear that human perception of beauty is highly subjective (different schools of art and aesthetics). As such it makes the argument unsound as it relies on a subjective idea.
2. My opponent asserts that such features cannot be accounted by random processes, but only by mind. However, this leaves us in a false dichotomy. The options are not only mind or randomness, but also the physical constants of the universe (gravity, thermodynamics and so on). These are fixed and non-random processes.

3)
My opponent claims that morality and love are not epiphenomena. He needs to elaborate on this point as this is only an assertion so far. The same goes for the argument from objective morality and the transcendental argument from logic and science.

4)
My opponents argument against materialism is quite impressive, but it has a problem.
1. "No merely physical material or combination of merely physical materials constitute a rational source" claims my opponent. However, this begs the question in favor of Substance Dualism, which is not necessarily true. It would seem that the mind (a rational source, if you will.) is a combination of several physical materials (the brain's components).

This is evident from the fact of brain damage. When humans are exposed to trauma in the brain mass, we tend to lose properties of our mental structure such as memory, the capability to reason, motor abilities and oftentimes the ability to even remain conscious. This indicates, that our mental structure is subject to influence from physical causes, which in turn makes our mental structure dependent on physical effects[1].

Source:
[1] Churchland, Paul (1988) Matter and Consciousness, Revised Edition, Cambridge,
Pat

Pro

Pat forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Confucius91

Con

My opponent has forfeited the former round. I have no further comments before my criticisms have been answered.
Pat

Pro

Indeed I forfeited Round 2 because I realised that I would end up having one Round more than my opponent. I therefore also forfeit this Round (since my opponent chose to not post new arguments in Round 2), and urge my opponent to elaborate/post arguments for his case. I apologise if this seems unreasonable or it produces discomfort with the audience, but I believe that it's only fair that both contenders get an even number of Rounds.

P.S. I wish my opponent and the audience a very happy and prosperous New Year! :)
Debate Round No. 3
Confucius91

Con

Well, I shall then proceed to make arguments for the case of the non-existence of God. However, my opponent must also respond to my former criticisms of course.

1[5]) God cannot be verified or falsified.
A problem for the theist is that he cannot provide a testable hypothesis for God. If God does exist, how would this world be different? If God does not exist, how would this world be different? These are questions that the theist must deal with.

2[6])God versus Occam's Razor
It would seem both unpractical and unnecessary to infer the existence of God if there is nothing in the universe that necessarily requires a deity's qualities.

A happy new year to my opponent. :)
Pat

Pro

Before I begin posting new arguments, I shall respond to my opponent's criticism of my argument from Round 1.

On the prime mover theory. For something to come into existence, something needs to happen. There needs a cause, and somebody who caused it. The cup needs somebody to move it to be moved. I am its prime mover as I am the person who moved it. For the cup to become a cup, it needs to be assembled from plastic or whatever other material and formed so that it becomes a cup. Somebody needs to do this. This somebody would be the prime mover. Similarly, the Universe needed something to cause it to come into existence. This is accepted to be by the explosion of the Big Bang. For the Big Bang to occur, something must have made it to explode. Anything capable of doing such a thing would be considered to be a superior being, thus God.

Indeed there is subjective beauty. However, one would agree that we also have objective beauty and order. I seriously doubt there is somebody who believes that an albino looks the same as a normal animal. Therefore, one can assume that, apart from subjective beauty, there is also objective beauty. If there wasn't, then human beings would find it impossible to agree on anything.

His next point leaves me confused. How do gravity or thermodynamics explain objective beauty/morality/order? I have never asserted that there aren't non-random processes. I have said that there are also random processes. There are both. The features highlighted can only be obtained by random processes.

Love and morality are not physical properties of a person/animal, correct? They are sentiments that they may feel. Therefore, the Universe has properties that are non-physical. Often, love is experienced independent of the mind's wishes. Therefore, these non-physical properties cannot be explained by using the argument that these are epiphenomena in the mental world.

I shall not discuss objective morality as I have already discussed it above.

The transcendental argument is that logic and science do not exist without God. Logic and science go hand-in-hand with a belief in God. For there to be logic, there must be something that controls that logic. For me to know that jumping from an eight story building shall result in my death without studying physics or observing it happening must mean that there is something telling me it will kill me. The same would go for any other person. We shall call this a collective spirit. This collective spirit is present in every living creature. It tells us what is right and what is wrong. What we should do and what we shouldn't. This would be best explained by God. If this collective spirit did not exist, then science could not exist, as it is heavily built upon logic and reasoning. Without logic, there is no reasoning.

The argument my opponent makes about the mind having physical components is the logical (notice the irony (;) approach anybody would make. Therefore, I shall elaborate. I am sure my opponent agrees that a thought, that imagination, is not caused by the brain's physical components. The electrical impulses it produces, yes. But not thoughts and imagination. Not dreams. There is no evidence better than brain damaged people of this. These people can still imagine and make thoughts. They are also able to rationalise. Albeit not as well as you and I, but they are able to. The impulses aren't as efficient in these people because of the external, physical components of the brain. As mentioned previously, the mental world exists because of the physical world. The physical world would hold no meaning without the mental world. The two are just as important as the other.

This is also evident by how many people feel "happy" when they do a good deed. They have earned nothing materialistically, rather mentally/spiritually. The person's mind is satisfied, providing evidence of the existence of the mental world.

Now that I have answered my opponent's criticisms, I shall move on to new arguments.

To deny the existence of God, we would be denying a fact that has been around for over 50,000 years. We would need a great amount of evidence and render the idea of God utterly nonsensical for such a thing to be accepted.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam all assert that God intervened in key moments of history. The sheer number of witnesses demonstrate God's existence.

The Resurrection of Jesus is also something that demonstrates God's existence. If a being is dead, how can he return to life?

Moving on to Hinduism (this section may be larger than previous ones as I am more knowledgeable in Hinduism than other religions), we see countless amounts of evidence:

� The law of karma and karmic actions. Karma has been proven to work time and time again. How then, if we are to assume that there is no superior judgement, can this occur? How can actions provoke future results? How can an action result in a merit or demerit?

� Super sensuous, non-intelligent qualities like adrsta, an unseen force being the metaphysical link between work and its result, by themselves should not able to mediate the appropriate, justly deserved pleasure and pain. These fruits, then, must be administered through the action of a conscious agent. Such an agent can be qualified as a superior being, therefore God.

� Judgement. How can humans judge an action without knowledge of right and wrong? To have knowledge of right and wrong, we must also have something that tells us; this is right. This is wrong. As said before, this is objective morality, and therefore, God.

SOURCES:
All mentioned previously and;
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...(philosophy)
Debate Round No. 4
Confucius91

Con

I thank my opponent for an interesting debate. Now my response:

1)Cosmological argument

"Similarly, the Universe needed something to cause it to come into existence. This is accepted to be by the explosion of the Big Bang. For the Big Bang to occur, something must have made it to explode."

This is where my problem with the cosmological argument lies. Taking examples from our everyday life and applying it to the beginnings of the Universe seems unreasonable. Time did not exist prior to the Big Bang[1]. Cause and effect makes no sense without time. Therefore, the question of what/who caused the universe to exist is nonsensical.

2)Argument from objective beauty

"one would agree that we also have objective beauty and order. I seriously doubt there is somebody who believes that an albino looks the same as a normal animal."

That is not the definition of beauty[2]. That is a question of natural vs. unnatural for a given species, and that does not imply objectivity either as the idea of what is natural for species is also a human construct based on inductive reasoning.

"If there wasn't, then human beings would find it impossible to agree on anything"

Frankly, we don't agree on many things. I believe, there is nothing morally wrong with people drawing Mohammad, yet many Muslims are willing to kill people who do so. In the end, it would seem our agreements on anything is bound to culture.

3) Argument from transcendental objects

"Love and morality are not physical properties of a person/animal, correct?"

No, they are abstract concepts. Morality is a concern for what is good and evil[3], which again is rooted in our thinking, which in turn is rooted in our brain. Love is a strong positive emotion of regard and affection[4], which the materialist position can also account for.

"I shall not discuss objective morality as I have already discussed it above."

But you did not show why it is rational to believe it exists.

4) The transcendental argument about science and logic

"For there to be logic, there must be something that controls that logic."

Seems like a question-begging statement. Please show why this is so.

"For me to know that jumping from an eight story building shall result in my death without studying physics or observing it happening must mean that there is something telling me it will kill me."

The reason you know this is not instinctive. Rather it is an inductive reasoning based on the fact, that objects tend to "fall" if they are left suspended in the air without opposing force. It seems fair to assume that because inanimate objects tend to "fall", then a human being would also.

"This collective spirit is present in every living creature. It tells us what is right and what is wrong."

Then how may you explain the existence of contradicting concepts of morality and the existence of sociopaths?

5)Argument from Substance Dualism

"I am sure my opponent agrees that a thought, that imagination, is not caused by the brain's physical components. The electrical impulses it produces, yes. But not thoughts and imagination. Not dreams."

For the purposes of this debate I assume a materialist position on the Mind-Matter issue and I contend that thoughts and imagination are just our experience of the processes of the brain. This seems reasonable based on Occam's Razor, as we should not add more than needed to a theory.

"These people can still imagine and make thoughts. They are also able to rationalise."

This seems fallacious as there is more than one type of brain damage. You can lose your short-term memory capacity, but retain your capacity for rational thinking[5] for example.

Therefore, it seems reasonable to believe thoughts and imagination (like short-term memory) are contingent on our brains. If you damage the areas of the brain which conducts "thinking and imagining" then you are rendered incapable of such qualities.

"This is also evident by how many people feel "happy" when they do a good deed. They have earned nothing materialistically, rather mentally/spiritually. The person's mind is satisfied, providing evidence of the existence of the mental world."

Not necessarily as the emotion could be an "injection" of Dopamine following a deed that would increase the chances of the society surviving. This would make sense based on our instinctive herd behavior, which seems to have originated by evolutionary process[6].

6) Argument from persistent idea

"To deny the existence of God, we would be denying a fact that has been around for over 50,000 years. We would need a great amount of evidence and render the idea of God utterly nonsensical for such a thing to be accepted."

Not really. If the existence of God does not stand on any a priori or a a posteriori foundation, why should we believe it? Seems like an argument from popularity.

7)Argument from witnesses

"Judaism, Christianity and Islam all assert that God intervened in key moments of history. The sheer number of witnesses demonstrate God's existence"

Consider the critical thinking-skills of these people. They would attribute good fortune to God's blessing and the lack of same as God's punishment. Natural causes were not even thought of. That fact in itself should make these people bad witnesses. Combined with the problems of personal testimony(Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions (U.S) nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing[7]) we should remain skeptical about such testimony until we have reasons independent of personal claims to believe so.

8) Argument from the Resurrection

"The Resurrection of Jesus is also something that demonstrates God's existence. If a being is dead, how can he return to life?"

That's an assertion. Please show why this is reasonable to believe.

9)Argument from Karmic law.

"Karma has been proven to work time and time again"

And history has also proved quite the opposite. The Islamic founder Muhammad engaged himself in war crimes, child marriage, raids, wife beating, deception and numerous acts which should generate "bad Karma"[8]. Yet what happened to Muhammad? He started one of the largest empires on Earth, become the religious leader of a movement of some 1 billion today and never got punished for any of his misdeeds. How does the Karmic laws account for this?

10)Argument from Adrsta

"Super sensuous, non-intelligent qualities like adrsta, an unseen force being the metaphysical link between work and its result, by themselves should not able to mediate the appropriate, justly deserved pleasure and pain"

I'm not quite the expert on Hindu concepts, but this argument seems contingent on the validity of Karma. See above answer.

11)Argument from human moral judgement

"Judgement. How can humans judge an action without knowledge of right and wrong?"

Well, you have yet to show that our knowledge of right and wrong is anything more than a sense of herd behavior and cultural ideas.

My opponent has yet to demonstrate the objectivity of our morality and sense of beauty. His arguments have been answered and my objections from round 4 still stands.

I look forward to our concluding round.

Sources:
1. http://www.hawking.org.uk...
2. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
3. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
4. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
6. http://en.wikipedia.org...
7. http://www.innocenceproject.org...
8. http://www.thereligionofpeace.com...
Pat

Pro


I thank my opponent for this debate, and shall use this Round to post my concluding statements and final rebuttals. I shall not post new arguments as Con wouldn't have a chance to respond.

The question of what happened exists and very much makes sense. We know that whatever existed before the Universe was stable. Then, what happened for something like that to suddenly explode and form a new World/Universe?

I admit that there are people who don't agree on everything. However, the majority of Muslims didn't care about that cartoon incident. In eastern Europe (I'm forgetting exactly which country it was) only an extremist group of Islamic "freedom fighters" protested. The majority of the Islamic world didn't really care. In America, it was a group of zionist Jews, yes Jews, who gave the Muslims a bad reputation. Therefore, whilst there are always small minorities that disagree, the majority of humans do agree on most matters. That's why the UN works. It's why the EU works.

The materialist position can account for lust, not love. Love would include affection, not just regard, as my opponent stated. For there to be affection, there must also be a non-physical property involved, something non-materialistic.

Morality is rooted in our thinking (our minds), which takes place in our brain, yes. Thinking occurs seperately from the physical world. I could imagine I was talking with God whilst in the physical world I was eating a cereal bowl and watching TV. As I said, the two worlds do sometimes influence each other, but the mental and physical world can exist independently. They might depend one on the other; without the physical world there is no mental world, and without the mental world one cannot be "intelligent" (by this I mean the definition of intelligence: the capability to learn) which in turn means that progress is impossible.

Objective morality does exist. The majority of people pursue happiness, and nobody thinks this is wrong/evil. They might feel that the methods the person uses to achieve happiness are wrong/evil, but not the final motive itself. Our ambitions and dreams can be defined as a pursuit of greater happiness.

Consider this; an animal wouldn't have jumped either. Animals do have superior intellect to plants, but inferior to humans. Therefore, following this logic, they shouldn't be able to go that far in their reasoning process. However, they do. Why so?

We can explain the existence of sociopaths quite easily; the spirit tells us what is right and what is wrong, and this influences the thinking process that makes us do something. However, in sociopaths, the mind corrupts this spirit, and makes it say what it wants to say. It is no longer the spirit talking, it is the mind. Anybody can tell it, but not a sociopath. They are looking for the spirit, for their sense of morality, to say exactly that. And it does. They don't care whether it was or wasn't the mind. This explains guilt. The spirit tells us that what we did was wrong, and therefore we seek to own up to it as a way of reducing the sense of wrong.

Contradicting senses of morality also exist because, like I said, it is the mind that eventually carries out the action, the spirit merely suggests. Let's look at abortion. The spirit tells us that murdering another baby is wrong. It also tells us that a woman should have the right to choose what it wants. It tells us that the baby is free of sin. It also tells us that it might suffer if it is born. And so on. The mind might value some things more than others. This leads to the contradicting senses of morality my opponent states.

My opponent states that thoughts are just processes of the mind. I pose the question: what process accounts for thinking? And indeed this statement would mean that the mental world is a sub-world of the physical world, which we know it isn't. It is a whole seperate World, as is discussed by some branches of philosophy and, more importantly, psychology.

My response to my opponent's dopamine theory; on Christmas, millions of people around the World come together and give each other presents, be they Christian or not. They do it out of joy and goodwill. I doubt any of them think that the gifts helped the economy. Therefore, those actions did not, in fact, benefit society, but they still produced joy.

My point was that God has been established as a fact over thousands of years. Therefore, we would need a lot of evidence to deter people from God.

As for the resurrection, here is a debate I recommend my opponent and the audience read: http://www.debate.org... those who can't be bothered, I shall summarise it here. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is historically probable due to the amount of evidence and sources that state so, the number of witnesses and events (Paul and James becoming Christians, for example, the Apostles seeing Jesus), and the lack of alternatives. By the rules of historiograph; a position is demonstrated, when the reasons for accepting it significantly outweigh the reasons for not accepting it... A finding of historicity is essentially a default position, meaning that we have no other reasonable way to account for the presence of a story in the text.

Karma depends on the person's feelings as well. The prophet Muhammad also brought extreme good to the World. He preached one of the most tolerant religions of the World. He liberated millions of oppressed people. He brought smiles and hope on the faces of millions. The majority of people he conquered were oppressed people that lived better under his rule than they did before. Child marriages weren't seen as a criminal offense back at the time. In fact, the bride's parents encouraged it. Therefore, his good deeds far outweighed his bad deeds. Just bringing God's word to the people was a huge good deed. Therefore, this generated more good Karma than bad.

I thank my opponent for a great debate and wish him luck. May the best man win!

SOURCES:
All mentioned previously and;
http://en.wikipedia.org...(Ayn_Rand)

Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Pat 5 years ago
Pat
http://www.debate.org...
This is the correct link, sorry for the typo, I put for without adding a space.
Posted by Pat 5 years ago
Pat
It doesn't really matter. I'll put it up on Friday, since I'm busy today and tomorrow.
Posted by Confucius91 5 years ago
Confucius91
"I look forward to our concluding round" -Me

His concluding statement* would have been more appropriate.
Posted by Christopheratheist 5 years ago
Christopheratheist
Confucius:

In the first two rounds can I destroy christianity, to then go on and build a reasonable arguement for the truth of Atheism? .... Then again do you consider Atheism a religion?
No votes have been placed for this debate.