Does God Exist?
Debate Rounds (4)
1. The Argument from Motion
2. The Argument from Divine Governance (Teleology)
3. The Argument from Substance Dualism
Before we begin, it will be useful to define the sort of Theism I am advocating for. I am advocating for classical theism in the sense advocated by Aquinas and not the Neo-Theism or Theistic Personalism of modern philosophical theology. This entails that God is simple, pure act, and maximally great (possesses omni-properties or perfections to the highest degree to use Thomistic language), Let us jump right into the arguments so as to see whether or not they can be truly said to be valid and sound.
The Argument from Motion :
Before we begin, let us define motion. A thing can be said to be in motion iff it changes in location (local motion), quality, or quantity. I will assume an understanding of the Aristotelian notions of act and potency. 
P1. Some things are moved.
P2. If something is moved to being F, then it is potentially but not actually F.
P3. If something moves a thing to be F, then it (the mover) is in a state of actuality relevant to F.
C1. If something were to move itself to be F (e.g., be both moved and its own mover), then it would be both potentially but not actually F and also in a state of actuality relevant to F (conjunction, modus ponens, P1-3).
P4. But it is not possible for something to be both potentially but not actually F and also in a state of actuality relevant to F.
C2. It is not possible for something to move itself to be F (modus tollens, C1, P4).
P5. If it is not possible for something to move itself to be F, then if something is moved, it is moved by something else.
C3. If something is moved, it is moved by something else (modus ponens, C2, P5).
P6. If B moves A and B is moved, then B must be moved by some other thing, C. And if C is moved, then C must be moved by still some other thing, D. And so on.
P7. If the series of movers was to go on to infinity, then there would be no first mover.
P8. If there were no first mover, then there would be no motion.
C4. There is a first mover (modus tollens, P1, P7).
C5. That first mover is the thing that everyone takes to be God (definition).
The argument is rather straightforward. Some things are moved; those things cannot be their own mover (as it would be in a state of potentiality and actuality relevant to itself, which violates the law of non-contradiction) so they must be moved by something else; this generates an infinite chain of movement, which, in the final analysis, makes motion impossible; therefore, there must be an unmoved mover.
A potential objection is how do we know that this unmoved mover is a conscious agent? Why, the nontheist says, could it not be event causation? This question is a good one; however, it is misplaced. To quote from this blog post  summarizing why a being of pure act has intelligence and will:
"Pure act is absolutely simple since composite parts are in potency to the whole, and so what lacks all potency lacks any composition. This conclusion is the easier one to see because it demands only that we understand act so far as it is opposed to potency, and thus in an exterior way. The next conclusion- the one concerning freedom- demands knowing what act is in itself.
The fullest and most complete sense of act is immanence, and thus the fullest and most perfect actuality is the most complete immanent activity of intelligence and will. Pure act is therefore immediately and self-evidently personal, intelligent, and perfect with respect to what it wills. This is why Aristotle doesn"t argue to the divine attributes of blessedness or perfect intelligence: as soon as he establishes that some pure act exists he can simply set these things down as what he already meant. This is also why St. Thomas can be so confident in the first way that the first mover is "what all men call God", since a living, intelligent being with a perfectly rectified will who is responsible for the motion, activity and life of things in the universe is in fact what "all men call God". (St. Thomas goes on to prove all these attributes too, mercifully, since he realized that his readers probably had less penetration into the concept of "act" than he and Aristotle had).
Pure act thus has a perfectly rectified will, which is to say it possesses the most perfect object in the most perfect fashion, and in an immutable and necessary way. The will of what is purely actual is thus completely determined and unchangeable, considered simply of itself. But this unchanging will is simultaneously absolutely free with respect to its inferiors. Freedom always involves imperfection, even when said of God, for it concerns an object that is other than the last end of the will as perfectly possessed. It"s important to get this right: while freedom is a perfection of the will, it always involves the imperfection, namely the imperfection of an object other than the last end of the will as perfectly possessed. God"s freedom is always said with respect to creatures- for this is the only way that freedom is a perfection of the will. Freedom is indetermination, and indetermination is only of value to a will with respect to things other than an absolute end in which it rests. If you are possessing your last end, indetermination of the will would be an imperfection and defect- just as it is now with respect to the goods we attain (no one wants to possess a good in a way that can be lost)."
The Argument from Divine Governance 
P1. If something always or for the most part acts in the same way in order to bring about that which is best, then it acts for the sake of an end
P2. Beings in nature always or for the most part act in the same way in order to bring about that which is best.
C1. Beings in nature act for the sake of an end (modus ponens, P1, P2)
P3. If beings in nature act for the sake of an end, then beings in nature are directed by something that has cognition and intelligence
C2. Beings in nature are directed by something that has cognition and intelligence (modus ponens, C1, P3)
C3. We call that director of unthinking things "God"
This argument is deceptively simple. It may seem easy to defeat; however, it is stronger than it appears. It is a logically valid syllogism and it is hard to deny the regularity of natural bodies and their tending towards an end (even some atheists believe in "natural teleology").
The Arguement from Contingency
P1. The body exists (C1)
P2. The body is a contingent entity (there exists m-world [logically consistent] where body x does not exist)
P3. The body depends on another entity X for its existence
P4. There can be no infinite regress of contingent entities as none would come into existence
P5. If there is a contingent body X existing then there must a Necessary Being
P6. There is a contingent body X
C1. There is a Necessary Being
C2. This Necessary Being is who we call God
1. Just The Arguments, ed. Michael Bruce and Steven Barbone, pgs. 12,17
Now with that out of the way I just wanna say one little thing, even if a god did create the universe then chances are it isn't the christian god or Muslim god or any of those simply because there are many contradictions in all of those religions. Now I'm not gonna provide you with hundreds of sources right now but I will if you really want me too.
"Now with that out of the way I just wanna say one little thing, even if a god did create the universe then chances are it isn't the christian god or Muslim god or any of those simply because there are many contradictions in all of those religions. Now I'm not gonna provide you with hundreds of sources right now but I will if you really want me too."
May be dismissed as irrelevant to the debate topic.
My opponent did not touch on the argument from necessity or the argument from Divine Governance so those two arguments stand unopposed. If my opponent wishes to touch on them in their rebuttal then we may examine their arguments to the contrary. My opponent does, however, attempt a critique of the argument from motion. Let us examine this criticism and see if it holds up.
" well there's one gigantic flaw with that argument because by that logic something or someone had to have created that god, then someone had to create that someone to create that god, then someone had to create that someone to create that someone to create that god, and it goes on for infinity. Which well... that's a paradox, and in case you didn't know paradoxes like that as far as we know are pretty much impossible."
This is said because:
"So for your main argument is you say it's impossible for something to occur without something or someone to be the instigator, in this case i'm gonna assume you mean it's impossible for a universe to exist without a god to create it."
While I would affirm the latter, I would not affirm the former. The entire point of the argument is to argue from some things being in motion (of the three Aristotelian types) to their primary and efficient cause for motion, an unmoved mover, or God. From this we may deduce that God is pure actuality because if he were in a state of potentiality then there would be a cause for that potentiality external to the unmoved mover. This being is also divinely simple (ie., devoid of all forms of composition) because to be composed means to be in potentiality as a part is in potential to the whole. We may also deduce intelligence as the perfection of pure act is immanence and the perfection of immanence is providence (see my quote after I give the argument from motion). We may thus deduce that this unmoved mover is intelligent. We can also deduce its intelligence via an argument from the contrary. There are two generally accepted types of causation: agent and event causation. Event causation cannot be the unmoved mover because to be an event is to be in motion or to be in potentiality in respect to the cause and effect that composes the event. You then get the infinite regress of events in which no motion is possible, which is absurd. Therefore, a self-willing agent is the unmoved mover of the argument.
I now leave it up to my opponent to bring his case against my arguments.
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 4 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con ff many times, so conduct to Pro.
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