The Instigator
Seeksecularism
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Toviyah
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points

Does God Exist?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Seeksecularism
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/19/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,581 times Debate No: 59185
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (5)

 

Seeksecularism

Con

First round is for acceptance.
Second round is for opening statements
Third round for first rebuttals
Fourth round for second rebuttals and concluding remarks

Pro will support the affirmative that God does exist. God will be define as the omnipotent, omnscience, and omnibenevolent creator and sustainer of the Universe as traditionally described by three monotheisms: Christianity, Judism, and Islam.
Toviyah

Pro

Accepted, looking forward to it.
Debate Round No. 1
Seeksecularism

Con

I want to first thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I look forward to our interactions as we both enjoy thinking on this question. I will begin by presenting an evidential argument from evil formally followed by a detailed justification of the arguments premises.

Premise 1: If God exists, gratuitous suffering does not exist.
Premise 2: Gratuitous suffering does exist.
Conclusion: Therefore God does not exist.

The above argument is logically valid via Modus tollens, and the conclusion will necessarily follow if both premises are true.

Premise 1: This premise is true given the definition of God mentioned in round 1. I can explicitly demonstrate this as follows:

omnipotence: unlimited power to act
omniscience: containing all knowledge
omnibenevolence: wholly good

An omnipotent being would have the power to eliminate or prevent any gratuitous suffering, otherwise he would not have unlimited power to act.
An omniscience being would know of any gratuitous suffering, otherwise he would not contain all knowledge.
An omnibenevolent being would have the highest desire to prevent or eliminate any gratuitous suffering, otherwise he would not be wholly good.

I believe I've demonstrated that premise 1 is definitionaly true and will be uncontroversial. Should a deity lack any of the 3 properties above, then the conclusion of my argument would not follow, but that being would also not be the greatest conceivable being, not be worthy of worship, nor be God as defined in round 1 and would therefore be irrelevant to this debate.

Premise 2: This seems true as just an obvious fact about reality. Because this is an evidential argument, all that has to be shown is that this premise is more probably true then false to conclude that God probably does not exist. All that is necessary for God to not exist is one instance of gratuitous suffering as that would call into question either God's omniscience, omnipotence, or omnibenevolence. So why think it's more probably true then not?

1) Child suffering: all one needs to do is walk down the ICU of any children's hospital or cancer treatment center to see that children needlessly suffering and die agonizing deaths every day across the globe. Any trip to a 3rd world country will show children needlessly suffering by starvation, dying agonizing deaths to completely curable diseases, and dying in childbirth and infancy due to intolerable living conditions.

2) Natural disasters: Events such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and diseases are not limited to third world countries. These are natural events that would be under an omnipotent and omnibenevolent being's control. But it is not obvious why this being would inflict such seemingly needless suffering on its creations. Natural disasters actually seem arbitrary, and do not discriminate how, who, when, or where they inflict suffering.

3) Animal (non-human) suffering. For billions of years, biological organisms have been reproducing and dying due to the process of natural selection. The majority of species have gone extinct in the history of life on this planet and those that still remain still suffering immensely in nature today due to competition with one another and the struggle for survival in their natural habitats.

All three of these lines of evidence give us a powerful inductive case that gratuitous suffering is vastly more probable to exist then not. Giving us strong reason to believe that premise 2 is true and that it necessarily follows that god does not exist.
Toviyah

Pro

Thanks Con! Onto my argument.

Modal Ontological Argument

Definitions
Metaphysically Possible: Could have been true in the actual world [1]
Maximally Great Being: A being that possesses all great-making properties

The Argument


P1) It is metaphysically possible that a maximally great being exists
P2) If it is metaphysically possible that a maximally great being exists then it exists in some possible world
P3) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world then it exists in all possible worlds
P4) Therefore a maximally great being exists in the actual world

Defence of P1
Here, I use support from Maydole. It can be characterised (albeit simplified) as such:

1) If a property is a great-making property, then its negation is a lesser-making property
2) Great-making properties do not entail lesser-making properties
3) Maximal greatness is the greatest great-making property
4) Maximal greatness cannot entail non-maximal greatness

All premises can hardly be denied. Let's have a premise-by-premise walk through.

P1) is obvious - the lesser-making property of, say, weakness, is the negation of a great-making property such as strength.

P2) Is also self-evident. After all, great-making properties cannot be great-making properties and at the same time entail flaws from lesser-making properties; that in itself is a logical absurdity, for we would arrive at a scenario where an entity has both great and lesser-making properties, despite being antonymous. It would be analogous to a square circle.

P3) also must be true; it only seems logical that maximal greatness is the greatest of all great-making properties. Nothing could be greater, as it is inclusive of every possible great-making property.

P4) Must follow. If it is true that great-making properties do not entail lesser-making properties, and also that maximal greatness is a great-making property, then it must follow that maximal greatness is a metaphysically possible property, for there exists no metaphysical contradictions within the notion.
It seems that P1 must therefore be admitted.
[2]

Defence of P2
P2 doesn't need much support: it simply uses possible world semantics [3] which is pretty much uncontested by philosophers. If something is possible then it is said to exist in 'some possible world' - some logically consistent state of affairs. This is standard.

Defence of P3
The reasoning behind this lies in axiom S5 of modal logic [4], which states the if it is possible that 'A', then it is necessarily possible that 'A':
\Diamond A\to \Box\Diamond A

That is to say, if 'A' exists in whatever ontological form - possibility or necessity - in one possible world, then it exists in all possible worlds with the same ontology (either possible or necessary).
The consequences of this means that when we admit the existence of a maximally great being, which is by definition necessary being (as, to necessarily exist is greater than to contingently exist) in some metaphysically possible world, we must also admit the existence of a necessary being in all metaphysically possible worlds

Defence of P4
P4 must follow from the previous three premises. If a maximally great being exists in all possible worlds, then it must also exist in the actual world, as the actual world is a subset of 'all possible worlds'.


Attributes of the being
If we admit the existence of a maximally great being, it seems that we also have to admit the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being, for all are qualities that are greater to have than to not have. Considering the existence of this being, it only makes sense for it to be the creator and sustained of the universe, not least because they are qualities that are greater to have than to not have, but also because it only makes sense that an omnipotent being would exercise its omnipotence and have the motive to both create and sustain a contingent conjunct of entities.

Summary
I have shown that there exists a being which satisfies the definition of 'God' as per the original definition given by Con.

Sources:
[1] http://en.m.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://philpapers.org...
[3] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Seeksecularism

Con

I want to take the time to thank my opponent for taking the time to develop the modal ontological argument. For those of you not familiar with this argument, it is a very difficult argument to follow, so the fact that my opponent has taken the time to outline it in such a way is a task I have a great deal of respect for (especially since I don't think it works lol). I want to then dive right in and discuss what this argument actually accomplishes. This argument is of Alvin Plantinga's formation and is actually not set out to prove the existence of God but to demonstrate that one is rational to accept the conclusion that God exists in the actual world. Not since the days of Immanual Kant have philosophers seriously tried to argue God's existence from the definition of God since Kant famously demonstrated that existence was not a predicate. Plantinga instead formulated this argument in response to J.L. Mackie's logical problem of evil where theism was charged with being positively irrational. Plantinga then developed the Free Will Defense to solve Mackie's argument and then proceeded to present the Modal Ontological argument establishing theism as a rational position. Plantinga even says in his book:

"[The Modal Ontological Argument] cannot be said to PROVE or ESTABLISH their conclusion... it is rational to accept their central premiss, [so] they do show that it is rational to ACCEPT that conclusion." -Alvin Plantinga (pp.220-1)

So by the author's own admission this argument cannot establish the existence of God, but can only at best establish that it is rational to accept the conclusion. So the belief that God existed would be similar to believing in a unicorn vs believing in a square circle. The Modal Ontological argument just establishes the conclusion "God exists" is rational like a unicorn, but not irrational like a square circle- but it doesn't demonstrate the truth of the conclusion. The reason this argument can't prove the existence of God is because it begs the question. The only premise with any information is the first one. Every other premise is just a definition in modal logic. So the conclusion is literally the same as premise 1 just with the rules of modal logic applied to it:

P1) It is metaphysically possible that a maximally great being exists (the only premise with information)
P2) If it is metaphysically possible that a maximally great being
exists then it exists in some possible world (The definition of possibility)
P3) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world
then it exists in all possible worlds. (The definition of necessity)
P4) Therefore a maximally great being exists in the actual world. (The definition of actual world)
C) Therefore a maximally great being exists. (No new information to change premise 1)

So the modal ontological argument can only yield what the first premise enters- it's the only premise that my opponent has to defend and the only one I have to reject. But I don't have a reason to accept premise 1 because I can create the exact same argument in reverse:

P1) It is metaphysically possible that a maximally great being does not exist
P2) If it is metaphysically possible that a maximally great being does not exists then it does not exist in some possible world
P3) If a maximally great being does not exist in some possible world then it does not exist in any possible world
P4) Therefore a maximally great being does not exist in the actual world
C) Therefore a maximally great being does not exist

Don't feel bad if this feels a little weird to you, and if you feel like you've been tricked then relax because it's because you have been. This is one of those weird quirks with model logic when you define existence or non existence as part of the definition of God or a quality of maximal greatness. You can create conclusions with no rational way to decide between them, but it is worse than that. Using the modal ontological argument you substitute things for God and yield contradictory results. For example you can use the argument to yield a maximally great force and a perfectly immovable object- which is a contradiction. That's why my opponents argument is not convincing to me, nor would my counter argument be convincing to my opponent. So the modal argument isn't anything like what my opponent needs to establish the exist of God. At best this argument establishes that the concept of God is logically possible, but my argument already granted the logical possibility of God. I instead offered an evidential argument claim that if God did actually exist, then his existence would be highly improbably. So this argument doesn't establish anything relevant to our debate. I look forward to my opponents responses to my argument.
Toviyah

Pro

Thanks Con! Onto the rebuttals.

I take issue with both premises so I'll present a variety of objections to both (but with a focus on P2).

Premise 1
Con states that this premise is 'uncontroversial'. However, I would contest that it is certainly contestable - as Van Inwagen (2008) states, gratuitous evil is compatible with a tri-omni God. [1]
Suppose there exists a scenario where some great good requires some evil greater than E0 in conjunction with each other - only with the evil can the good be achieved. In such a case, the evil is gratuitous only in the sense that the suffering could have been less, provided that this conjunctive scenario were never permitted. If the good had never been actualised, then neither would the evil. However, if the scenario were to be actualised (say by God), then the evil would be justified by the good, all the while, the evil is gratuitous.
So I have given a de facto objection to P1: it is entirely possible for God and gratuitous evil to coexist.

Premise 2
It seems that the only justification that Con gives for this premise is a list of various bad things that have happened. This, however, is hardly support for the premise. In order to give a strong defence, not only must Con show that evil exists, but also that gratuitous evil exists. Otherwise, there is still the strong possibility of moral justification. This has not been given and so we must immediately question the truth value of P2, given the lack of intrinsic support given. Straight off the mark, Con has given himself a huge burden of proof that has not been fulfilled.

Evidential Arguments and Skeptical Theism
Con may respond that given these evils, we may have a prima facie view that they are gratuitous (indeed, he characterises the argument as an 'evidential argument'). But this appears to be a bad piece of inductive reasoning.
Say I am standing on top of the grand canyon. I don't see a fly down there. Would it then be reasonable for me to conclude that therefore there isn't a fly down there? Or even that there probably isn't a fly down there? Of course not. The same is with evil. Merely because we have a prima facie view that there are gratuitous evils doesn't follow even for a second that there isn't, or even that there probably isn't, a justifier for it.
As Wykstra (1984) responds in relation to the evidential argument;

"A" is justified to conclude "There is no x" from "So far as I can tell, there is no x" iff:

It is reasonable for A to believe that if there were an x, it is likely that they would perceive (or find, grasp, comprehend, conceive) it.

However it is absurd to suggest that any human could ever perceive any sort of gratuitous evil, for we are finite creatures of limited magnitude and intelligence. We can't be expected to see any sort of justifier, or lack thereof, for gratuitous evil. Indeed, this is the view taken by skeptical theists. [3]

Focused Modal-Moral Skeptical Theism
Linked to the previous point, Essentially, this raises the question of 'do we have a representative sample of all the goods and evils there are?' Obviously not: we are limited beings with limited knowledge and capacities. But it then follows that we can't make any judgements on gratuitous evil.
Take the following statements:

1.) We have no good reason for thinking that the possible goods and evils we know of are representative of the possible goods and evils there are [due to our limited capacities]
2.) We have no good reason for thinking that the entailment relations we know of, between possible goods and the permission of possible evils, are representative of the entailment relations there are between possible goods and the permission of possible evils. [follows from 1.)]
3.) We have no good reason for thinking that the total moral value or disvalue we perceive in certain complex states of affairs accurately reflects the total moral value or disvalue they really have. [follows from 2.)]

In other words, due to our limited knowledge, we can't make any sort of claim concerning entailment relations between goods and evils (the moral relationship between some good and some evil). This means that we cannot make any claim concerning the ontological status (gratuitous or not) of any particular evil we observe a posteriori, for the justifying basis for making an accurate claim is not there.

Consequently, it is simply wrong to assume that because we see various prima facie gratuitous evils, we are justified in admitting the existence of any sort of gratuitous evil. We are of a limited capacity and to make any sort of judgment is unjustified.
These two arguments give a strong de jure case against P2.

Anomalies
Start with the thought that all theories have counterexamples and anomalies that put into question its truth value. Following a Kuhnian paradigm shift, it seems that any supposed gratuitous evil should not worry the theist for it is a weak anomaly rather than a strong anomaly. As Alexander Pruss states:

"Theories that apply to many cases are likely to have both weak and strong “anomalies”. C is a strong anomaly for a theory T if independently of the evidence for T, C looks like a counterinstance to T. C is a weak anomaly for T if independently of the evidence for T, it’s not the case that C looks like an instance of T. The mere fact that a general theory has an anomaly is not in general significant evidence against the theory." [3]

In other words, when considering the existence of gratuitous evil, if it is to be considered a sound argument against the existence of God, then the amount of apparent examples of gratuitous suffering needs to exceed that of what we would expect given the existence of God. However, this is epistemically inscrutable. It cannot be proved by human capacities.
This is another de jure objection against P2.

Ethics
Finally, we should consider what ethical theory Con's argument rests on. It seems that the only means by which his argument can have any force is if it posits some sort of moral universalism or objectivism. For if morality is subjective, then one could easily reject premise 2 by stating "gratuitous evil doesn't exist, because evil doesn't exist". However, if one posits objective morality, then one must in turn posit God, for all theories of objective morality imply the falsehood of atheism. So unless Con gives a solution to this issue, then the argument is counter-intuitive, for far from explicitly rejecting God, it implicitly affirms God's existence.

Summary
We have a strong de facto case against P1 and a strong de jure case against P2. It seems therefore that we are justified in rejecting the argument given by Con. Moreover, unless Con takes an ethical theory that entails theism, his argument has no force.


Sources:
[1] Peter van Inwagen, The Problem of Evil (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] http://prosblogion.ektopos.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Seeksecularism

Con

Thanks to my opponent for a great exchange! I want to first address some misconceptions. I've never used the word "evil" anywhere in my argument, nor have I made any moral judgements. My metaethical stance is completely irrelevant to my argument. It is a critique of the internal consistency of theism using THEIR concepts and definitions. All concepts used within my argument are those of the theist. So any reference my opponent makes to "evil" or my metaethical stance is a red herring at best or a strawman at worst. My opponent even said that I must demonstrate the existence of gratuitous EVIL. I don't need to do any such thing, my burden of proof is to demonstrate gratuitous SUFFERING and whether it would be probable given a tri-omni God.

I want to next clear up the definition of "gratuitous" in defense of Premise 1:

Gratuitous: not necessary or appropriate i.e. lacking justifying reasons

My opponent's critique claims gratuitous suffering is needed to actualize some greater good, but that would make the suffering necessary or appropriate and therefore no longer gratuitous. I grant that suffering is compatible with a tri-omni God, but my claim is specifically that suffering that is not necessary or appropriate to actualize greater goods is not compatible with a tri-omni God. So my opponents de facto objection to P1 is a bait and switch by contesting that gratuitous suffering is compatible with a tri-omni God and then switching the definition of gratuitous to "the suffering could have been less." The question is: would a tri-omni God permit the suffering of his creatures with no justifying reason? If you answer No, then P1 is true. If you answer Yes, then you have an internal contradiction in the definitions of omnipotence or omnibenevolence.

So with P1 in tact it is my burden of proof to demonstrate that the existence of gratuitous suffering is more probably true then false. All that needs to exist in the actual world is one instance of gratuitous suffering throughout all of time for God to lose one of his tri-omni attributes. So take the following scenario offered by William Rowe:

"In some distant forest lightning strikes a dead tree, resulting in a forest fire. In the fire a fawn is trapped, horribly burned, and lies in terrible agony for several days before death relieves its suffering." -American Philosophical Quarterly16: 337

Notice this example appeals to my 3 evidences provided. It involves child suffering (fawn), natural suffering (forest fire), and animal suffering (the fawn again). Because it's a fawn, there is neither the possibility for free will, nor this suffering resulting from moral actions. This seeks to show that the existence of this seemingly gratuitous suffering counts against or lowers the probability of the truth of theism unless some justifying reason can be given. This becomes exponentially worse as you move through time and add the number of instances of seemingly gratuitous suffering. This leaves my opponent in one of 2 scenarios:

1) Deny that gratuitous suffering exists by giving reasons for the suffering (a theodicy)
2) Deny that gratuitous suffering exists by appealing to reasons God might have that we don't know (skeptical theism)

My opponent has chosen the skeptical theism route which is an appeal to mystery and sufficiently ad hoc. I can demonstrate this with an Anti-God hypothesis. Imagine an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly malevolent being. In other words, this being has the greatest desire to inflict suffering. Now I would argue that the existence of such a being is absurd, but how could I do that? I would present an evidential problem of love. There's too much love, friendship, laughter, and beauty experienced to reasonably conclude that such a being exists. But if the evidential problem of love is sufficient to conclude that Anti God does not exist, why wouldn't the converse work equally as well to conclude God doesn't exist? Notice that every example my opponent used to defend God can be used to defend Anti-God. Let me demonstrate this with quotes from my opponent:

"Suppose there exists a scenario where some great [suffering] requires some [love] greater than E0 in conjunction with each other - only with the [love] can the [greater suffering] be achieved."

"However it is absurd to suggest that any human could ever perceive any sort of gratuitous [love], for we are finite creatures of limited magnitude and intelligence."

Even my opponents argument for evaluating this probability judgment can be used to save Anti-God from refutation. Because my opponent has offered an untestable hypothesis (unknown justification) in order to save his position from refutation (appeal to mystery) he has rendered his position sufficiently ad hoc. Because it's ad hoc, I'm able to easily defend Anti-God in the same manner my opponent has defended God. This gives us a powerful undercutting defeater to my opponent's objection.

Note: Anti-God is not the Devil as Anti God is omnipotent. The existence of 2 omnipotent beings is a logical contradiction.

But we also have another undercutting defeater due to the implications of my opponent adopting skeptical theism. It seems that if we cannot identify reasons why God would lie to us does not allow us reasonably to conclude no such reasons exist. But then, for all we know, God"s word constitutes not a divine revelation but a divine lie. So my opponents position is at odds with any religious tradition according to which there are certain claims that we can know to be true solely in virtue of the fact that God has told us they are true. For example:

All who believe in Christ will have eternal life. -John 3:36

A Christian who expresses skepticism about our ability to discern what reasons God might have to allow some suffering, fails to be similarly skeptical about our ability to discern what reasons God might have to lie to us about John 3:36, would appear to be employing their skepticism selectively - in an inconsistent and partisan way. Once a theist employs skeptical theism in an attempt to deal with the evidential problem of suffering, it appears they cannot also rationally maintain belief in propositions that have word of God justification only. But if they drop the skeptical theism to avoid this consequence, they still face the evidential problem of suffering. And notice any appeal my opponent could make as to why God wouldn't lie can be made to argue that God wouldn't allow suffering. In other words, skeptical theism contains the seeds to its own destruction thus giving us a second powerful undercutting defeater to my opponent's objections.

This leaves us with a very powerful inductive case that it is more probable that gratuitous suffering exists then not and premise 2 is justified. Therefore it follows necessarily that God does not exist.

We've seen that the vast amounts of seemingly gratuitous suffering makes it more probable then not that God does not exist. We also have 2 undercutting defeaters for skeptical theism in the form of the Anti-God hypothesis and the implication of the possibility of God's divine lies. Now turning to my opponent's modal argument, we've established that it isn't actually even meant to demonstrate the existence of God as admitted by its creator Alvin Plantinga. At best the argument shows that God cannot exist (or not exist) contingently. Either he exists necessarily or does not exist necessarily, but that isn't even relevant to this debate. So my opponent's position in this debate at best is one of agnosticism (assuming he refutes my argument and doesn't present an argument I can't respond to). We've also seen that the argument begs the question, can yield contradictory results, and a reverse argument can be formulated that God does not exist. Therefore we have a good reason to think God does not exist, but do not have a reason to think he does. I want to thank my opponent for his time as I have thoroughly enjoyed this debate
Toviyah

Pro

Thanks Con! Onto the final round.

Ontological Argument


Does the argument 'prove' God's existence?
Con claims that the argument can't be said to prove the existence of God, as it only seeks to make belief in God reasonable. He quotes Alvin Plantinga saying this.
However, this is just a terrible objection. None of the premises are denied, Plantinga is misquoted (he has since changed his stance) and Con gives no reason whatsoever to reject the conclusion.
This is what Plantinga has since said:

"Still, it is evident, I think, that there is nothing contrary to reason or irrational in accepting this premise... And hence it accomplishes at least one of the aims of the tradition of natural theology." [1]

And consider this. If an argument shows that it is rational to accept the conclusion, then surely the argument is a successful one; after all, it shows that it is rational to conclude that God exists! What could be more successful than that? And this same principle is true of all arguments - Con's argument included (and so this objection is really an objection to his own argument as well): there is no argument that could 100% prove any proposition, and the only possible thing it could prove it that it is rational to accept its conclusion. This is what the Ontological argument does and so we can only conclude that it is a sound, valid argument if none of the premises are denied.
Especially if we give strong support of premise 1, which has been given in the form of Maydole's Modal Perfection Argument (which has yet to be refuted) then we have masses of reason to accept the conclusion, theist and atheist alike.
So in summary, this accusation:
- Applies to all arguments
- Has no binding on the truth of the ontological argument
- Gives no critique of the premises
- Is irrelevant provided we give reason to accept the premises
- Has since been withdrawn by Plantinga anyway

So it is reasonable to render this objection entirely unsuccessful.

Does the argument beg the question?
Con's second objection is that the Ontological argument begs the question. Needless to say, this is another bad objection.
If the Ontological argument were to beg the question, it would go something like this:

1) It is possible that it is necessary that God exists
2) Therefore God exists

But this clearly isn't the case.
That is to say, to accuse the Ontological Argument of begging the question is to confuse de dicto and de re modality. While begging the question would only occur in a de dicto statement - id est, P1 in the above syllogism - the Ontological argument's first premise is a de re statement. It cannot possibly beg the question as it involves the analysis of a thing, rather than a statement.
Regardless, even if the Ontological argument were to beg the question (which I'm not for a second admitting), it still wouldn't matter. For if an argument is to inform, then it can still be both valid and sound, while still question begging. And this is exactly what the Ontological does: it informs us that given the possibility of God's existence, we must admit the existence of God. An informative argument shows us that some proposition is logically equivalent to another, through deductive reasoning.
One final point to make is that while it is true that some premise is logically equivalent to the conclusion, it is not not synonymous - only after deduction and logical inference do we come to the conclusion, rather than reduction.
[2]
In summary:
- The objection confuses de dicto and de re modality
- It confuses logical equivalence with synonymity
- It doesn't make a difference anyway
So we have a strong de facto and a strong de jure case to reject Con's objection.

Reverse Argument
Finally, Con presents a reverse Ontological Argument. And while I have no problem with the atheist using a reverse argument in principle, it is vital for support to be given for the first premise, otherwise there is simply no argument. And so it is puzzling as to why Con has given no support whatsoever for that vital first premise. All he has provided then, is a possible argument, but with no support.
Indeed, in order for Con to assert that God can't exist in all possible words, then he needs to show that God is logically absurd. But this hasn't been given! We have no choice but to reject this objection, for as it stands, evidence has been given for God's possibly existing, but not for his possibly not-existing. God, therefore, exists.

Conclusion
First off, thanks Con for the debate, I've enjoyed it!
In the debate, I have given an argument, and Con has given an argument. And it seems that my argument has stood strong, while Con's argument has fallen apart through careful examination. Indeed, the response to my objections seem to fail; he denies any ethical stance, despite how if he is to argue in any way from evil, an objective moral stance must be taken. It is interesting that he claims that the argument is using merely "THEIR concepts and definitions", but this would only then make it an internal problem for the theist and thus trivially easy to refute and hardly a sound objection to God's existence.
Con states that there is a difference between 'evil' and 'suffering' and contests the meaning of 'gratuitous'. However, this is merely irrelevant semantics. The rest of the round is based upon misconceptions of the rebuttals, the ignoring of criticisms or simply unsound premises (such as the puzzling assertion that skeptical theism is ad hoc all the while misrepresenting it, and the inclusion of Christianity in the debate, with little consideration of neither revelation nor Holy Spirit epistemology). As a result, we have no choice but to conclude that Con's arguments fail, mine succeed and the resolution is affirmed.
Thanks Con
God Bless

Sources:
[1] http://mind.ucsd.edu...
[2] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...-the-question
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Sorry with only 4 hours left, I don't have time to vote, since I need to sleep. I'm still willing to give an RFD if con requests at some point, though.
Posted by Seeksecularism 2 years ago
Seeksecularism
Well I certainly thank you for your input, and I encourage everyone to vote in accordance with their own reason. I only ask because I see this debate as an invalid argument (MOA begging the question which you agreed with) vs a valid argument (evidential problem of suffering), but I somehow lost the debate in your eyes, because I didn't justify the premise I used to demonstrate that the MOA is actually invalid (that premise shouldn't need demonstration). I'm just trying to figure out the best take away for me from your criticism.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Seek secularism I agree with what you are saying, but Is m only speaking about how I judged the debate, not how sound I think the argument is. The reverse MOA is a good way of demonstrating it but I just don't think you did enough with it in the debate itself.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
"I can defend premise 1 for the reverse argument trivially easily like you said. But then I'm just inserting it into an invalid argument. What has that bought me? But by demonstrating that I can yeild contradictory results with the MOA I can then demonstrate that the argument itself does not work and THAT's what should be rejected- not just premise 1"

1. The argument is valid. As valid as 2+2=4 (unless you are contesting that the S5 axioms are bad)
2. I agree with your analysis that the argument is bad for the superficial reasons, but you had to justify those reasons. How is anybody to know that the reverse premise is anything remotely as true as the regular premise. Pro gave reasons for thinking his P1 is logically consistant, you gave zero. If you gave some it would have been obvious that the whole use of the argument is bunk. All reducios need to have justified premises too.

It's more of a presentation issue I guess... It would have been obvious if you layed it out something like this:

A: Pro's reasons for accepting his P1is sound (assumption)
1: Using A, P1* would also be true
2: If P1* is true then P1 is false
C. A entails a contradiction, therefore A is false

I don't know... Something like that maybe.
Posted by Seeksecularism 2 years ago
Seeksecularism
I also don't want you to think I'm trying to be argumentative in a comments section. I really am trying to draw constructive criticism on this subject. I know ZERO philosophers in my department who would say that a MOA in any form is valid in the same way that an evidential argument from suffering is, so this objection is very interesting to me. In case you're interested, here's a great video on why the MOA begs the question:

https://www.youtube.com...

And here's a video explaining the reverse MOA and what it accomplishes:

https://www.youtube.com...
Posted by Seeksecularism 2 years ago
Seeksecularism
My point is that the MOA doesn't actually work. I can defend premise 1 for the reverse argument trivially easily like you said. But then I'm just inserting it into an invalid argument. What has that bought me? But by demonstrating that I can yeild contradictory results with the MOA I can then demonstrate that the argument itself does not work and THAT's what should be rejected- not just premise 1. I can accept pro's premise 1 in its entirity, and the argument still wouldn't demonstrated God's actual existence. But by your critique, had I explicitly defended a premise to an invalid argument I would have won the debate..... I'm having a difficult time taking anything meaningful away from this criticism. And thanks for droping the citation vote. #respect
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Removed the source counter btw.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Yes, but the point is why accept the reverse premise as just as likely, or more likely than the regular premise? Pro gave reasons to accept the regular premise, you didn't give any reasons at all to accept the reverse premise. Even if you showed that you could rationalise the reverse using similar logic it would have been enough to undercut the argument, but it came across as a bare assertion in the debate.
Posted by Seeksecularism 2 years ago
Seeksecularism
Creating a reverse MOA is neither meant to be an argument for my position, nor is it an assertion of my position. It's an undercutting defeater (http://en.wikipedia.org...) to the use of the MOA to establish truth in the actual world. The method is what doesn't work.
Posted by Seeksecularism 2 years ago
Seeksecularism
My question to you is; why should I have to waste characters and go through those steps if the argument does not actually demonstrate that God does or does not exist? It's an unnecessary exercise. If the argument begs the question and is therefore invalid, what is gained in the argument by creating a reverse invalid argument?
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Atheist-Independent 2 years ago
Atheist-Independent
SeeksecularismToviyahTied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Hard to say. I feel that both sides made valid points, however Con gave more real life examples, and also the opinions of others to back his arguments while Pro only brought speculation. Both sides rebutted the other expertly. Pro used sources however, while Con did not.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
SeeksecularismToviyahTied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro is only one to use sources, but ontological argument, the main point of pro, is refuted by the gratuitous suffering argument
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
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Reasons for voting decision: I believe Con's Gratuitous Suffering argument trumps the Modal Ontological argument by a whisker, though Pro cited more and better sources, but no sources can make the Ontological argument appear less fallacious. The Gratuitous Suffering is too pronounced to be considered necessary for God to appear good, so that argument had massive holes in it.
Vote Placed by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
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Reasons for voting decision: Not judging sources since this is a philosophy debate. S&G and conduct equal. While Con's problem of evil argument did ultimately score him points, it only barely did so since Pro have stiff rebuttals in the form of unknown defence, with Grand Canyon analogy and skeptical theism. Con did win this argument overall though with his demonstrations if required ad hoc reasoning, appeal to simplicity and pragmatic arguments, put the evidential argument in his favor. Unfortunately for a on he clearly isn't as well versed in modal logic and didn't deal very well with the MOA, which Pro provided one of the strongest defences I have seen for. The reverse argument would have scored a on points but he didn't substantiate his reverse P1 unlike Pro, and used mostly quotes and word salads which really didn't strike the heart of the argument. It is true that the input premise is the same as he conclusion (since its the only informational premise), but pro did actually give reasons to accept it. GG Both
Vote Placed by Codedlogic 2 years ago
Codedlogic
SeeksecularismToviyahTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Great debate! I appreciate Pros defense of the Ontological argument. It's the first time I've ever seen it laid out in coherent form. Though, in the end, I found Cons rebuttal that the premises could be switched to "It is metaphysically possible that a maximally great being does not exist" completely refutes Pros exercise. In the final round Pro argues against "it is impossible for god to exist is some possible world" but this is NOT Cons rebuttal (it is possible god does not exist ≠ it is impossible god exists)" Cons rebuttal stands. Pros proposition fails. Pro argues that since gratuitous suffering exist then God cannot. Cons counter of there could be some possible "justifier" for suffering was completely unconvincing as Pro failed to show the existence or necessity of said justifier (counter claims require proof/justification as well). None the less, Con more than sufficiently rebutted Pros rebuttal with the example of the Anti-God hypothesis. Cons proposition sta