The Instigator
Toviyah
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Envisage
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Does God exist?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+12
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Envisage
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/22/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,424 times Debate No: 56998
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (196)
Votes (5)

 

Toviyah

Pro

Thanks Envisage for accepting this debate.
First round for acceptance
I'm pro, Envisage will be Con.
BOP is on me.
'God' is the Deistic concept of God. (Creator, transcendent, powerful)
Enjoy!
Envisage

Con

I accept this debate.

I would like to thank Toviyah for accepting my debate challenge, and best of luck to him in due course!
Debate Round No. 1
Toviyah

Pro

Thanks Envisage, onto the arguments!
I'll present two arguments for this debate.

Epistemological Argument

1) If it is impossible to know that 'X', then 'X' is necessarily false
2) 'X' is the proposition that 'God does not exist'
3) It is impossible to know that God does not exist
C1) The proposition that 'God does not exist' is necessarily false
4) If 'X' is necessarily false, then the negation of 'X' must entail
5) The negation of the proposition 'God does not exist' is that God exists
C2) Therefore, God exists

It seems that only the first and third premises need defending.

Defense of P1
The first premise certainly seems plausible. For if we consider the following; if any subject knows 'X', they thereby know the nature of 'X' and thusly, must have epistemic knowledge concerning the existence of 'X'. It must follow then that 'X' is true. How else is 'X' to be known? This seems cogent: but it results in admitting that knowledge of any proposition 'p' entails that it exists. Considering that in all possible worlds, all truths are knowable (all truths are possibly knowable), It then follows from that, if in any possible world, any subject does not know that proposition 'p' is true, then 'p' cannot be true. If 'p' is not knowable, then 'p' is not true.

The premise is also true in accordance to certain logical truths present in the Knowability Thesis, namely, that if p is possibly knowable, then p.
pLKp
However, it then follows from this, that if p is not possibly knowable, then not p:
~LKp →~p
And so P1 as a purely logical, a priori premise stands; if it is not possible to know that 'X', then 'X' is false.

Defense of P3
Similarly, it would be hard to deny this premise. Because whatever arguments there are against God's existence, or whatever claims to knowledge there are concerning atheism, there is still a (however small) possibility that God does indeed exist. Indeed, the notion that 'God does not exist' is epistemically inscrutable for any possible subject in any possible world. It is beyond the scrutiny of any possible cognition. Indeed, this is a common stance among many atheists themselves. [1] And so, it must follow, given P1, that the proposition that 'God does not exist' must be false. Its negation must in turn be true, and God must exist.

Cosmological Argument

First, a definition:
'Conjunctive Contingent Fact' ('CCF'): the totality of contingent propositions that would be true of any possible world, were it actualized [2]

1) There is a possible world in which there exists an explanation of its CCF
2) Such an explanation must be a necessary being
3) By virtue of S5, if there possibly exists a necessary being, then there necessarily exists a necessary being
4) Therefore, there exists a necessary being in the actual world

Defense of P1
This is essentially a 'weak' version of Leibniz's principle of sufficient reason (PSF). [3] It states that in some metaphysically possible state of affairs, there exists a conjunctive contingent fact - a collective of contingent entities. Let's call this 'p'. This could hardly be denied - it is obvious that there exists some state of affairs where there exists such a collective order of contingent entities. After all, contingent facts by definition are those which could have been true.
But it then follows that if it is contingent, then it must have an explanation that is external to itself, as by definition it cannot be self-existing. Let's call this explanation 'q'. P1 then stands; in any world 'p', there must be 'q'; in any CCF, there must be some sort of external explanation.

Defense of P2
Here I argue that if there is an explanation of the possible CCF, then it must be a necessary being. First, let's establish two kinds of beings. There are either contingent beings, whose explanation is found externally to itself, or there are necessary beings, who are self-existent. Either one or the other must be the cause of the CCF - there is no other option. First, let's consider the former - a contingent explanation. It seems obvious that the explanation cannot be a contingent being, as if it is contingent, then it must, by definition, be a part of the CCF, which includes all contingent entities in conjunctive unison. It is nonsensical for the external explanation of the CCF to be internal.to the CCF. Therefore, through deductive reasoning, the explanation 'q' of metaphysically possible world 'p' must be necessary. Note, that I am not yet appealing to the actual world - we are remaining strictly in possibility.

Defense of P3
So what have we established thus far? Well, that in some metaphysically possible world 'p', there exists some possible necessary being 'q'. But we must now consider axiom S5 of modal logic, which states the if it is possible that 'A', then it is necessarily possible that 'A':
\Diamond A\to \Box\Diamond A. [4]
In other words, if 'A' exists in whatever form (possibility or necessity) in one possible world, then it exists in all possible worlds with the same ontology (either possible or necessary). When we consider this logical truth, it becomes clear, that when we admit the existence of a necessary being in some metaphysically possible world, we must also admit the existence of a necessary being in all possible worlds and therefore the actual world, following S5.

Defense of P4
P4 must follow from the previous three premises. We come to the conclusion of a necessarily existent being that is the explanation of all contingent entities in the actual world - id est, 'God'.

[5]

Thanks everyone, back to Con!

Sources:
[1] http://articles.exchristian.net...
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] ibid
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[5] https://bearspace.baylor.edu...
Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

We have already shared pleasantries, so let's jump straight into rebuttals!

I. Epistemological Argument

I must admit I have never seen any argument like this one before, so Pro really has caught me off-guard with this one. However for several reasons this argument doesn't seem very convincing.

To demonstrate why, we can run this argument in reverse by swapping P3 'it is impossible to know God does not exist' with 'it is impossible to know God does exist.

1) If it is impossible to know that 'X', then 'X' is necessarily false
2) 'X' is the proposition that 'God does not exist'
3b) It is impossible to know that God does exist
C1) The proposition that 'God does exist' is necessarily false
4) If 'X' is necessarily false, then the negation of 'X' must entail
5) The negation of the proposition 'God does exist' is that God not exist
C2) Therefore, God does exist

Therefore we have two diametrically opposed conclusions from two different premises 'It is impossible to know God does not exist' and 'It is impossible to know God does exist'. Now I am going to defend Premise 3b in EXACTLY the same way Pro has defended premise 3.

Defense of P3B
'Similarly, it would be hard to deny this premise. Because whatever arguments there are for God's existence, or whatever claims to knowledge there are concerning THEISM, there is still a (however small) possibility that God does indeed NOT exist. Indeed, the notion that 'God does exist' is epistemically inscrutable for any possible subject in any possible world. It is beyond the scrutiny of any possible cognition.'

I haven't done this for satirical purposes, because by turning the argument around the problems become very apparent. Pro has equivocated the 'certainty' know knowing something with 'knowing something' at all. The pragmatics regarding how you can CLAIM to know something has nothing to say on whether or not you can know it.

Remember the philosophical definition of knowledge:
"Justified True Belief"

Therefore it simply doesn't follow that God's non existence, or existence even is unknowable, at best you can only say that our justified claims to knowledge might be epistemically false (epistle is possibility - 'for all I know it might be false/true').

Furthermore Pro's assertion that it is impossible to know that God exists is false even if you accept this equivocation. This is because God has two exclusive attributes which cannot be true if something else possesses them. Recall the definition of God:

'God' is the Deistic concept of God. (Creator, transcendent, powerful)

Now, in order for Pro's original epistemological argument to work over the reverse argument, he must either assert that premise 3b in the reverse argument 'It is impossible to know that God does exist' is false, or one of the other premises (which are share in his argument) is unsound. Therefore in doing so he logically must also assert 'It is possible to know that God does exist' by law of the excluded middle, lest he otherwise undermine his own argument.

However, if it is possible to know such a being exists, then it seems very reasonable to think that it is possible to know of contradictory beings to exist. If it is possible to know that contradictory beings to God exist, then it is perfectly possible to know that God does not exist, which completely negates Pro's P3.

Therefore we can make the following potential positive arguments:

P1) If God exists then a non-mental creator does not exist
P2) A non-mental creator exists
C) God does not exist

Or..

P1) If God exists then an omnipotent non-creator does not exist
P2) an omnipotent non-creator exists
C) God does not exist

Note that these are not intended to be serious arguments against the existence of God, they are instead intended to be arguments that demonstrate that knowledge of God's non-existance is POSSIBLE, which completely negates premise 3 of Con's argument.

In fact premise 3 seems impossible to prove, in a world where all epistemically truths are knowable, then it logically follows that knowledge of God's non existence is possible, this argument simply fails to prove anything.

Furthermore I can also bolster the case for premise 3b, since we are confined within the limits of this finite universe, it seems prima facie implausible that we could ever epistemically know of a being that by definition transcends the limits and laws by which we operate within. By analogy, it is impossible for a speed-o-meter to determine the temperature of something, as temperature is a property that is outside of what a speed-o-meter measures, similarly God is outside of what we can judge.

It follows that there is just a good, if not stronger case for the negation of the argument. And at worst simply demonstrates this to be a bad argument, especially given pragmatically it shows anything that cannot be disproven to be necessarily true (an immaterial Russel's teapot?),

III. Cosmological Argument

This argument has also completely caught me off guard. *Grumble*

Pro's two key premises are

P1) There is a possible world in which there exists an explanation of its CCF
P2) Such an explanation must be a necessary being

Both of these premises, but especially P2 are vulnerable.

Rebuttal of P1
This premise is nowhere near as innocent as Pro let's on. By definition, any explanation of something that contains each and every contingent (possible) explanation will be a necessary explanation. Therefore right off the bat, Pro asserts that there is possible world with a necessary explanation.

When this step back is taken, then it becomes a rather silly proposition to assert, much like asserting it's possible that Goldberg's conjecture is true, which if you follow the axioms of S5, leads to the conclusion that it is necessarily true, which is a rather silly way of solving a theorem.

Therefore, we have serious reason to be suspicious of a premise which by definition asserts something to be possibly necessary. It is not clear that such a premise CAN be logically sound, much like Goldberg's conjecture.

The weak principle of sufficient reason very conceivably holds true for individual contingent facts of a possible world (the weak weak principle of sufficient reason), but expanding this to the whole of contingent facts (including potential contingent explanations of those facts) appears to break down, or become a case of just defining itself to be true.

The reason for this is because the proposition of a conjunct of all contingent facts is likely not a well defined one. [1] Indeed the proposition that q possibly explains p is one that cannot be accepted as it is an epistemic proposition, much like the truth of Goldbach's theorem is an epistemic proposition. We know that if possibly true, then it necessarily follows it is necessarily true, and also if not possibly true necessarily follows it's necessarily not true. But we are in no position to choose between these two epistemic possibilities.

Rebuttal of P2

This is by far the biggest howler of the argument. First and foremost, and by far most importantly is the insertion of 'necessary *being*'. Agreed by definition God is a being, a personal one, but Pro does absolutely nothing to establish that this explanation must be a being. At best Pro can only claim that the explanation must be a necessary *substance*, which could be literally anything! Such as a quantum fluctuation in some eternal second dimension of time. Pro's argument falls right here first and foremost.

IV. Conclusion

Pro's arguments have failed for two straightforward reasons. The premises behind the Epistemological argument are unsound, and the cosmological argument doesn't even argue for God.

Therefore the resolution remains unaffirmed

V. References
1. http://journals.cambridge.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Toviyah

Pro

Thanks Envisage!
Onto the rebuttals.

Epistemological Argument

Reverse Argument
Firstly, Con tries to formulate a reverse argument, replacing 'God does not exist' with 'God does exist'. However, I don't think that this works. This is because there plausibly exists some logically possible world in which both God and an afterlife exists.* In which case, any subject entering such an afterlife would encounter God and thus, know that he exists. So too would God know that he himself exists - so there would be at least two possible subjects that have epistemic knowledge of God, rendering P3B of Con's argument false.
*It should of course, be noted, that this response is not merely reducing the argument to an ontological argument nor begging the question; S5 is not used in any of the premises, and I argue from possibility and not actuality. The necessity of God is also not required for the argument to be valid.
[1]

Epistemology and Knowledge
It should be noted, in relation to Con's objection that the argument equivocates between certain knowledge and claims of knowledge, that I think that there does exist a correlation between claims of existence and actual, true existence. Because unless we are to become radical skeptics, which not many would want to become, then we must indeed form a correlation between our experience of 'X' and the positive truth value of 'X'. Unless we are to abandon epistemology as a science, we have to reject Con's notion that 'knowledge' is merely equivalent to 'for all I know it might be false/true' - this seems like a dangerous step to take.
Moreover, it should be remembered that this is a modal argument. I see no reason to think that there doesn't exist some possible world, in which the subjects' cognition functions in such an advanced and accurate way, that experience of 'X' really does imply 'X'. In such a case, actual truths are actually known, and where there are no 'claims which could be epistemically true or false', but only true knowledge gained through a posteriori experience.

Arguments and Contradictions
Here Con gives some arguments that posit God as contradictory, to show that God's non-existence is possible, thereby rendering P3 false. However, I just don't see this to be true. Each premise is either necessarily true, or necessarily false, in all possible worlds. There is no 'possibility', nor can there even be epistemic knowledge of the premises, for, as I stated in the first round, any possible subject in any possible world cannot know such metaphysical propositions with any sort of certainty.
Note, that this is different to my claim that God is possibly knowable through the afterlife; for this is purely a posteriori reasoning that relies on the epistemic knowledge required in P1; but the arguments that Con listed - and indeed any sort of argument from contradiction (the only sort that can falsify some truth in all possible worlds) are always derived from a priori premises, which as I mentioned in my first round, are never certainly known in any possible world. I think that this exposes the underlying premise in the argument: knowledge concerning God's existence can possibly be a posteriori. However, the same cannot be said of God's non-existence.

Restating the Argument
As a minor point, Con states that: 'a world where all epistemically truths are knowable, then it logically follows that knowledge of God's non existence is possible'. However, this is merely restating the argument; the debate is exactly concerned with, considering that all truths are possibly knowable, whether 'God does not exist' is one of these possibly knowable truths.

Cosmological Argument

Goldbach's Conjecture
Firstly, Con objects to the logic involved in the argument, stating that S5 leads to absurd consequences, by citing Goldbach's Conjecture. However, this appears to be faulty for two reasons:
i) It seems to conflate epistemic and metaphysical possibility: while Goldbach's theorem is epistemically possible (we can conceive of Goldbach's conjecture being true), we cannot test an infinite set of numbers to see if it is indeed even metaphysically coherent in some possible world. However, P1 is a metaphysical premise. You cannot use a reductio ad absurdum argument that uses epistemic possibility, when metaphysical possibility is being used.

ii) We cannot say anything, metaphysically, about an unsolved theorem; we do not know anything about it, and thusly cannot make metaphysical, analytic existential statements about it. We have to know everything about the theorem, which we do not, if we are to state that it is true in some possible world.

There is, therefore, no issue with the use of S5.

CCFs and PSR
Con objects by arguing that when we expand the weak PSR to a conjunct of contingent facts, it breaks down. However, it simply do not see this to be true. It appears that there should be no difference between numbers of contingent facts: however big the conjunct, it seems that provided each CCF is wholly contingent, it must need an external explanation. I don't see why such a notion breaks down at larger levels.
Regardless, there is still no force in this objection even if we accept it, for all the defender of the argument must do is to posit a metaphysically possible world where there only exists a single contingent entity in the CCF. In which case, expanding the number of Contingent entities makes no difference to the argument, for a single contingent fact still requires an explanation which must still require a necessary being, and the rest of the argument follows from that. Con even concedes this, stating that 'The weak principle of sufficient reason very conceivably holds true for individual contingent facts of a possible world'.
[2]

It is also worth noting that nothing in my second argument is epistemically orientated; it is strictly concerned with metaphysical propositions. And so when Con notes that 'q possibly explains p is one that cannot be accepted as it is an epistemic proposition', this is not true; rather, it is a metaphysical proposition, which can be accepted or rejected.

Necessary Substances
Finally, Con states that we could come to the same conclusion of a necessary substance as opposed to a necessary being. Again, I don't see this to be the case. Firstly, It seems that any entity that is transcendent, creator and powerful enough to be the cause of all contingent entities fits into the definition of 'God' given at the beginning of the debate. Whether we call this being 'God' or 'substance' is simply irrelevant semantics. Nonetheless, I would still maintain that in order to create all contingent facts, such an entity must be, in any possible world, both:
1) Intelligent
2) Conscious
Because a non-intelligent, non-conscious, necessary 'substance' just exists... it cannot cause itself to create anything, nor can it act in any proper sense to create the CCF. Agent causation is impossible. it cannot also know what contingent entities to create. In other words, It simply doesn't have the explanatory power that a necessary, conscious and intelligent being has.
Secondly, it should be noted that the argument is a modal one. Even if it were possible that there exists a necessary substance, it is also cogent to hold that in some other possible world, there exists a necessary being. In which case, my argument still follows and a necessary being exists. The worst case scenario is that we admit the existence of both a necessary being and a necessary substance, existing together. This is not in any way troublesome for the theist; indeed, the notion that there exists both a necessary being and also some sort of necessary substance sounds familiar to a certain Christian doctrine. The 'Trinity', I believe it's called :) (Father and Holy Spirit respectively)

Conclusion
In conclusion, it doesn't appear that Con's objections have much force. Each can be easily avoided by the defender of the arguments. Consequently, both arguments stand and the resolution upheld.

Sources
[1] http://www.gjerutten.nl...
[2] https://bearspace.baylor.edu...
Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

I. Preface

Thanks to Pro, I have finally seen the complete futility of virtually any modal argument for any necessary truth claim. A sad day for me...

II. Epistemological Argument

Reverse Argument:
Pro affirms exactly my point, in order for his argument to work, he must assert it is *possible* to know of God's existence, indeed see his justification:

"This is because there plausibly exists some logically possible world in which both God and an afterlife exists...In which case, any subject entering such an afterlife would encounter God and thus, know that he exists. So too would God know that he himself exists."

This is an exceptionally controversial statement, given that even the concept of omnipotence is logically controversial, the paradox of the stone for example is one of many arguments that highlight this.[1] The fact that a *being* is a necessary one is also controversial claim, and in fact could we even conceive of a God? Sure we can describe it, and project some anthropomorphic character to God, but I would argue that conceiving of what it really means to be omnipotent and conscious and necessary is one that simply isn't possible.

Even if one met a true omnipotent God, having knowledge of his existence is another matter, as there would be no way to determine his omnipotent quality except by 'his say-so', meeting something is inadequate to satisfy this premise.

Therefore we have excellent reason to accept the reverse premise. Remember we have two diametrically opposed premises:

It is impossible to know God doesn't exist
It is impossible to know God does exist

If Pro's argument is sound in the other premises and structure, then these statements CANNOT both be true. I have given excellent epistemic reasons to accept #2 over #1, now let's review Pro's rebuttal to #2.

Necessity:
This is true, that it is not required for the argument to work, my rebuttals also work without including the necessary trait, but this trait is required for his second argument to work, hence the reverse Epistemological argument is used as a counter-rebuttal to that specific argument.

It is possible to know God does not exist:

The direct attack on P3, that it is possible to know that God does not exist has really been 'beaten around' the bush by Con. I have given two straightforward syllogisms that would conclusively disprove God's existence if the premises could be known:

P2) A non-mental creator exists

P2) an omnipotent non-creator exists

Please remember that Pro asserts that "It is possible to know God exists", as defined according to round 1. Therefore he asserts it is possible to know these attributes of God. Therefore it seems an extremely far stretch of the imagination that these contradictory falsifying entities are unknowable.

Pro accepts that he is equivocating between certainty of knowledge and having a correct claim to knowledge, and has had only appealed to undesirable consequences as a result of rejecting Pro's equivocation, ergo his objection is weak.

Pro's complaint regarding my contradictory arguments simply do not fly, since me demonstrating the possibility of something contradictory to a necessary truth, means that necessary truth must be false. It's basic modal logic.

N~G = ~PG
(N=Necessary, P=Possibly)

Translation- "God's non-existence is necessarily unknowable is equivalent to God's non-existance is not possibly unknowable"

Therefore, my demonstrating the possibility of God's unknowability clearly refutes the claim that God's non-existence is necessarily unknowable, and I have given excellent reasons to accept why this is possibly the case.

III. Cosmological Argument

Axiom S5:
Please note I have absolutely no problem with the S5 modal logic system, I only brought up the Goldbach's conjecture to highlight the danger of conflating epistemic possibility with metaphysical possibility. This is because much of the same reasoning provided by Pro to justify the metaphysical possibility of P1 being true can also be applied to the metaphysical possibility of the Goldbach's conjecture being true. Clearly this is a demonstrably bad way of finding this necessary truth.

Similarly, there is no reason to assume that there is a metaphysically possible world where all the CCF's have an explanation, and to assume as much without good reason would be akin to doing the dirty thing with the Goldbach's Conjecture as already mentioned. Just because it's conceivable and looks nice on paper doesn't make it a metaphysical possibility. I can readily conceive of a world where the Goldbach's conjecture is false, and I can also readily conceive of a world where it is true. It simply isn't adequate to rely on intuitions to make such a statement of possibility.

P1:
I maintain my objection to premise 1, which makes it's metaphysical possibility highly controversial simply by it's own description, since by it's definition a CCF would encapsule any possible contingent explanation, which would repeat ad infinitum. Therefore to postulate this as something which could be explained is a epistemic possibility rather than a metaphysical possibility, since it's not clear such a world is logically consistent. By analogy one could say there is a conjunct of all known prime numbers, and as such there must be a non-number which can be multiplied by all these prime numbers that would be larger than any prime within the set.[2]

However this is part of a well-known proof in mathematics to demonstrate there is no 'largest prime', and as such the statement that there must be a multiple outside of the set of primes is flatly false. It is very conceivable that a similar principle applies when trying to pustulate a possible explanation for a CCF, which contains any contingent description and explanation of itself, an infinite loop. Indeed this controversy had been subject to lengthy reducios.[3]

Moreover this explanation of infinite contingent explanations assumes that the weak-PSR would hold for every single one of these facts in this metaphysically possible world (which effectively states the strong PSR is true in some possible world), however the strong-PSR itself it highly controversial in philosophical circles, too, and effectively Pro's argument both states the strong PSR must be true for his CCF explanation to exist.[4]

P2:

Pro agrees that his argument doesn't directly argue for God, and instead the (false) equivocation is assumed, and not argued. Which is a problem that almost all cosmological arguments hold, like the KCA, they just don't argue for God.

"Firstly, It seems that any entity that is transcendent, creator and powerful enough to be the cause of all contingent entities fits into the definition of 'God' given at the beginning of the debate."

This is flatly false, since there is no reason to assume any attributes of a necessary explanation other than it is an explanation.

Pro asserts that such an explanation requires the explanation be:

1) Intelligent
2) Conscious

And his reasoning:

"Because a non-intelligent, non-conscious, necessary 'substance' just exists... it cannot cause itself to create anything, nor can it act in any proper sense to create the CCF."

This is a bald assertion, for we have plenty of evidence within our own universe that substances are causally able c.f. The quantum vacuum, which according to inflation theory is capable of producing something as interesting as our own universe. Random, yes, but it doesn't just 'exist', as pro asserts. Pro needs to demonstrate that such an explanation is false, a tall order.

Please note that we are dealing with a necessary explanation, and not a possible explanation. Therefore it's attributes must be necessary in all possible worlds. Pro has given absolutely no reason to accept why such an explanation must NECESSARILY be conscious, and in fact Pro has gone back to asserting that it's possible it is conscious, therefore a conscious explanation exists.

This is pretty much the assertion the modal ontological argument makes, for which I am obliged to make the counter assertion:

"It is possible that a conscious necessary explanation doesn't exist"

...which yields the diametrically opposite conclusion, made worse by the fact that such a being is not readily logically contradictory, and very conceivable.

Please note that if Pro wants to make these arguments then I am inclined to make the following counter-arguments, which are in the following form:

1. It is possible that p.
2. Necessarily, if it is possible that God exists, then it is necessary that God exists.
3. Necessarily, if God exists, then it is not the case that p.
C. Therefore, it is not possible that God exists. (from A, B, & C)

Pro affirms P2 & P3 in his cosmological argument, so I just need to substitute p, for a contradictory premise, such as:

a. All minds are physically realised.
b. There are no minds

Both of these falsify Pro's assertion that there must be a necessary conscious explanation, as it is metaphysically possible, and very conceivable that a world exists with just physical minds, or no minds whatsoever. I cite Sean Carroll's putative universes[5] with just a single eternal partial within them as an example of b, and our existing world for a. Indeed we should accept these both as metaphysical possibilities, which refutes Pro's arguments for a conscious necessary explanation, and God altogether.

We can also plug in:

c. An omnipotent non-creator being exists

Which also falsify's Pro's creator God, since there cannot be two necessary omnipotent beings, since it would entail that one omnipotent being could control the other, which is absurd.

IV. Conclusion:
I stand by my R2 conclusion, Pro's arguments are thoroughly unsound and flat out false. Back to Pro!

V. References
1. http://tinyurl.com...
2. http://tinyurl.com...
3. http://tinyurl.com...
4. http://tinyurl.com...
5. http://youtu.be...
Debate Round No. 3
Toviyah

Pro

Thanks Con, onto the final round!

Epistemological Argument
Reverse Argument
Con claims that the notion that God exists in some possible world is controversial because the notions of both omnipotence and necessity are in themselves controversial. However, the argument doesn't require God to be either omnipotence nor necessity! Indeed, as per the original definition, all that's required is the deistic concept of God - divine, omnipotent and creator. Neither omnipotence nor necessity is required. All talk of this by Con is therefore a mere futile gesture on his part. Especially given the original definition, my argument becomes much easier to admit.
Con concedes this, noting that necessity is not required in my argument, and that it is more of an objection to the Cosmological argument. However, it is puzzling therefore, why an epistemological premise is being used against a metaphysical argument.
Arguments
Next, we come to the arguments for God possibly not existing. The problem here is that while they are metaphysical, a priori claims, if they are to be a successful counter-argument, they must be epistemological, a priori/ a posteriori claims. Considering that the entire argument rests upon possibly epistemologically knowable, there must be a possible world in which it is possible that something be known. Knowledge about such premises cannot be attained through any possible cognition, as they are metaphysical a priori premises. Therefore, the point stands: it is impossible to know that God does not exist, for it is impossible for any cognition to have knowledge of such premises. Whatever sort of certainty any subject can have, there is still a chance that they are wrong, particularly about the concept of God.
Equivocation
Con claims that my rebuttal is 'weak' because it only 'appeals to undesirable consequences'. But by his own logic, Con must then admit that his own objections are weak - for his reverse arguments do exactly that - they use my logic in the same way, in order to produce undesirable consequences! Therefore, by Con's own premise, his main objections fail and the resolution is upheld.
Metaphysical vs Epistemological reasoning.
Here, Con claims that the epistemological reasoning present in Goldbach's conjecture is the same reasoning as I used in my metaphysical claims. However, needless to say, there is a clear difference and I feel that I upheld my burden.
While an epistemological claim requires for something to be conceived of, a metaphysical claim must could have been true, and have additional reasons to think so.
It then becomes clear that the CCF is indeed at least metaphysically possible, for we have direct experience of both:
1) A conjunct of contingent facts
2) Contingent facts having an explanation.
Therefore, the first premise is metaphysically justified and Con's objections have no force.
P1
Con states that there are issues concerning the infinitude of the argument. However, firstly, I see no reason as to why there should be an infinite number of infinite entities in a conjunct - it seems that there simply aren't an infinite number of contingent entities nor, in turn, an infinite number of explanations of those contingent fact. Surely, by their very nature, they are finite in possibility.
Equally, it also seems that the same should apply to the explanation - there is only a finite number of descriptions of the explanation, which cannot simply exist in an infinite number of forms.
But again, in the way that I formed the argument, we can minimise the number of contingent facts to a finite number in a possible world, or even simply posit an explanation that has no other qualities, except for necessity and the caused of the conjunct. It appears that this largely avoids Con's criticism.
PSR
While it may certainly be claimed that the weak PSR entails the strong PSR, this is hardly an objection in itself. Because if the weak PSR is sound, and also that there is a logical and deductive connection between the weak PSR and the strong PSR, then it must follow via basic midis ponens that the strong PSR is sound. An independent reason must be given if the weak PSR is to be contested, other than merely 'I don't like the outcome'.
[1]
P2
I still maintain that the cause must be what we consider God, or at the very least, the deistic concept of God. If the explanation is both a necessary entity and an explanation, then immediately we must posit a necessary being that is the cause/creator of all contingent facts.
Though I still stand by the rest of my argument of the explanation being both conscious and intelligent, I see it to be largely irrelevant to the debate, as per the original definition of 'God', which does not include these characteristics. You can call the explanation a 'being', a 'substance' or a 'quantum vacuum', whatever you want - it is simply irrelevant semantics.
As for the charge that these characteristics are only possible and not necessary, I would disagree - I would argue that any entity that is the explanation of a CCF must, necessarily, have these characteristics if it is to be an 'explanation' in any meaningful way.
Reverse argument #2
In an attempt to further his case, Con resorts to a another reverse argument. Needless to say, I see it to be false. This is for 2 main reasons:
1) None are metaphysical possibilities. Indeed, no support has been given for the metaphysical possibility of these claims.
2) All are possibly possible, not possibly necessary. This is the main issue. Essentially, all of these 'plugs' are merely possibly possible notions. They are not in any sense possibly necessary, like the concept of a necessary truth would be. As a result, if they conflict with a necessary notion, then they are rendered impossible. We may conceive of a perfectly possible notion. However v if, upon further reflection, this possible notion conflicts with a necessary truth - day, 2+2=4, then there is no choice but to render the supposedly possible notion impossible.
In other words, unless my argument is refuted, then there is reason to reject P1. Given the truth value of the conclusion - namely, that a necessarily existent being that has all these qualities of 'God' exists - then P1 is necessarily false.
Nothing is achieved through this argument and it is simply useless unless my actual argument is refuted.
Conclusion
First off, thanks to envisage for a great debate! I hope it has been as stimulating for you as it has been for me.
That being said, I have presented 2 arguments in this debate, both of which have been objected to by Con and of which, have been successfully responded to by myself. As a result, the arguments stand the resolution is upheld.
Sources:
Envisage

Con

I. Preface

I thank Pro for an excellent debate, and wish Pro best of luck in his future debates, definitely one of the best theist debates on DDO!

Recall the definition of God that Pro needs to demonstrate to win:
"God' is the Deistic concept of God. (Creator, transcendent, powerful)"

He needs to demonstrate those three attributes along with God being conscious/intelligent, lest we just have some necessary substance, immaterial 'stuff' which also fits the bill. Remember Occum's razor is against Pro in this debate, he is making the extra assumptions for God to exist.

II. Epistemological Argument

Controversial Attributes:
Right, so Pro concedes that God he argues for is not omnipotent, this will be important for a later rebuttal. Remember if he reverts back to his being omnipotent later, then my objection regarding the controversial notions of omnipotence will stand.

Moreover what does it mean to be both transcendent and powerful? These two attributes taken together make for a good qualifier for omnipotence, and as such my objections for omnipotence should stands for this specific argument.

Is it epistemologically possible to know that God exists in the sense that Pro is using 'know'? Is it possible to 'know' if something is transcendent? This is not something that is prima facie plausible, and Pro's earlier suggestion simply does not accomplish this. We have the problem of 1. whether or not it's possible for those attributes to be knowable even if they did exist, and 2. That whose attributes are even metaphysically possible attributes to knowation of definition of 'know'
Please note I provided the definition of to 'know', which is 'Justified true belief', certainty has absolutely nothing to do with one's ability to 'know' something, it only addresses the certainty of a specific knowledge claim. Moreover Pro has not properly defined his use of 'know', as such it is impossible to know with any certainty what Pro's argument fully entails. Given Pro's example of meeting God in the afterlife as an example of 'knowing God', it seems to confirm my use of 'know'.

If Pro did have a different definition of 'know' then he should have provided it in the debate especially after I contested it.

Now Pro throws up a surprising defence against my argument contesting knowing God doesn't exist:

"Knowledge about such premises cannot be attained through any possible cognition, as they are metaphysical a priori premises."

A few issues:
1. Pro needed to support this assertion
2. If they are metaphysical a priori premises, THEN how can it be possible to know God exists?? He shoots himself in the foot here!
3. Pro also seems to draw back to a possible world semantics argument, where it is possible to know a priori God exists, even if that is true, then his objections regarding God being 'necessary' are complete nonsense, as God must be a necessary being for that defence to have any relevant in the actual world.

Possibility/Necessity:
Pro pretty much drops my points regarding possibility of knowing contradictory propositions, which falsifies the key premise, as such this argument is done. Moreover my contradictory premise "A non-mental creator exists" does appear to one that is possibly knowable (in the sense Pro seems to be alluding to) a priori. It seems possible that creation ex nihilo could be seen to be mathematically sound, and hence necessary, using nothing but a priori knowledge in some possible world.

III. Cosmological Argument:
Necessary Being/God:
Pro still has yet to address how the argument argues for something that is intelligent, as all it argues for so far is a necessary 'explanation' This runs into exactly the same issues the other cosmological arguments have, in that there doesn't appear to be any way for Pro to link the necessary explanation to a necessary being. I cited examples from physics, such as the quantum vacuum which appear to be excellent examples of causal immaterial 'stuff' which flat out falsifies Pro's claim that immaterial non-intelligent explanations are acausal.

"I see it to be largely irrelevant to the debate, ... You can call the explanation ... whatever you want ... irrelevant semantics"

Sorry Pro, but any God automatically entails consciousness, or intelligence, and this is an attribute that is central to each and every argument for God. Indeed Pro's arguments for this has been exceptionally weak, and his best argument for such is a withdrawal to a MOA-type assertion that it's possible for it to be intelligent/conscious, which leaves itself open to the diametric assertion that it's possible for there not to be an intelligent/conscious explanation, falsifying a intelligent/conscious explanation.

Pro had to demonstrate that this explanation must be God, and as it stands it does not differentiate between a theistic/deistic explanation, or an atheistic explanation, which is what this whole debate is about!

CCF is poorly defined set:
There is no reason as I mentioned to accept that a CCF is metaphysically possible to have an explanation, especially since a CCF is not a logically well-defined set, much like the numerical examples given with primes etc. Sure we can talk about all the prime number, or all the integers, and do maths based on all of them, but to group them all into a single set is to have an undefined start and finish point.

Similarly we can talk about all contingent facts, but to have a set of them entails an infinite number of facts, and as such it is not logically sound to state that such a set could have a singular non-contingent explanation. It's that fact that such a explanation must be necessary that makes such a statement even more unsound.

In summary we have:
A poorly defined set
A necessary proposal

Moreover, so assert that the weak-PSR must hold for ALL contingent facts in such a possible world I have concluded is logically equivalent to asserting the strong-PSR is valid for that possible world, which is a highly controversial premise. Note that asserting the strong PSR is valid in some world, which necessitates a necessary being is close to logically concluding the strong PSR is necessarily true in all worlds, an even more controversial premise! On this ground alone it is enough to rule the first premise unsound.

To summarise this rebuttal:

P1) If the weak PSR is true for the CCF in a possible world, then the strong PSR is true in that possible world
P2) In a possible world, the weak PSR is true for the CCF
C) The strong PSR is true in that possible world
P3) The strong PSR is false in any possible world
C2) The weak PSR cannot be true for the CCF in many possible world

I have provided evidence that P3 is controversial/false, which at worse rules Pro's use of it to justify the explanation of a CCF unsound, and reduces it to just another argument from contingency.

By analogy, it might be sound to multiply by a finite set of integers and yield a usable answer, but to take a set of integers which by definition includes all possible integers, is going to lead to a useless, infinite answer, which is what happens to the weak-PSR when expanded to everything in a world.

Please note that an infinite number of entities is because for any total set of contingent facts, we can postulate a possible contingent explanation, which becomes an additional contingent fact, followed by a possible explanation of that larger set, etc, etc.

Note that these explanations don't need to be real, as their possibilities are themselves contingent facts. The possibility of me growing a moustache next week is itself a contingent fact, even though it may not materialise.

Anti-God arguments:
I presented a number of premises with essentially the same level of justification/support that Pro gave for his premise, that there exists a possible world where the CCF that has an explanation. There is nothing logically contradictory with the premises, nor are they inconceivable, in fact they are very conceivable scenarios which falsify God if we were accept the type of reasoning Pro has given so far in this debate.

Pro's objections:-

"None are metaphysical possibilities. Indeed, no support has been given for the metaphysical possibility of these claims."

I gave my support, which as mentioned is of identical caliber to Pro's cosmological justification, and in fact all make fewer assumptions. All possibilities are very conceivable, and not logically inconsistent. Hence, why should we accept Pro's premise over these ones?

"All are possibly possible, not possibly necessary. "

So what? Note that 'possibly possible' in Pro's rebuttal means 'epistemically possibly metaphysically possible', which is basically just Pro restating his first objection, that they are not metaphysically possible. Since 'metaphysically possibly possible' is a redundant statement in axiom s4 and s5 systems that pro uses. Saying something is possibly possibly..... ad infinitum... Possible is logically equivalent to saying it's possible. Ergo his objection is just plain bad.

Remember the arguments all logically valid, if such possibilities are true then the attributes of God they contradict cannot be necessarily, which logically falsifies hod.

"They are not in any sense possibly necessary..."

Nor do they have to be. I will fill these arguments out in modal form to remove any doubt (N= Necessary, G= God, P= Possibly, X = Negating proposition):

P1. If G then NG
P2. If NG then N~X
P3. ~N~X
C1. ~NG
C2. N~G (from C1 & P1)

Note that ~N~X is logically equivalent to PX.

"However if, upon further reflection, this possible notion conflicts with a necessary truth - day, 2+2=4, then there is no choice but to render the supposedly possible notion impossible."

The whole point is to demonstrate that the necessary 'truth' is not a truth! ... If it's possible that 2+2=5 then clearly the necessary truth claim that 2+2=4 is false!

IV. Closing
I once again thank Pro for an excellent debate, best of luck, the resolution is negated!
Debate Round No. 4
196 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
I read the first couple rounds and found pro's arguments extremely unconvincing. It was too boring for me to read the rest to vote on though

c'mon there are better arguments for God's existence
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Ok.
Posted by Toviyah 2 years ago
Toviyah
Sure that's fine by me. Is it alright if we give it a week or so?
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Personally I am undecided either way on the PSR, I just grant it's unsoundness for the claims it's usually extended to in cosmological arguments.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Sure, can do the PSR. Or maybe the Leibniz/KCA and have the title 'The Universe has an External Cause'? So what we don't waste time on the semantics of God. Such a. Debate would then focus heavily on the PSR/Causation principles.
Posted by Toviyah 2 years ago
Toviyah
Haha yeah sorry :p It wasn't explicit but it was implicit in the first round. I used a lot of possible world semantics, for example.

Do you want to debate the PSR at some point? Or even a re-run of the epistemological argument. Maybe not now 'cos we've done a lot lately lol
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
But yah the first premise is the first place to go....

Bah.... I am annoyed....

I still don't know how God can be an a priori knowledge, especially when the example you gave of meeting God in heaven would clearly be an example of a posteriori knowledge....
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
But yah the first premise is the first place to go....

Bah.... I am annoyed....

I still don't know how God can be an a priori knowledge, especially when the example you gave of meeting God in heaven would clearly be an example of a posteriori knowledge....
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
I am not satisfied... I realise that I lost the epistemological argument, although I 0ut that down to misunderstanding the use of modal epistemic logic.

I wish you made it's use more explicit... I would have went and learned the system then... :-/

In modal epistemic logic it deals with certainty of knowledge....

Given this though it seems that God is possibly knowable to not exist by demonstrating a priori that the universe would create itself without a God... Like a pseudo CTMU...
Posted by Toviyah 2 years ago
Toviyah
Congrats Envisage! Was close in the end.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
ToviyahEnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: a hard debate to read/judge, but I analyzed carefully in the comments
Vote Placed by thenewkidd 2 years ago
thenewkidd
ToviyahEnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Though I think this debate is fruitless. I found pros arguments logical. But in reality neither side can prove or disprove the existence of God. It is just not something that has any evidence for or against the idea that God exists.
Vote Placed by Samreay 2 years ago
Samreay
ToviyahEnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: An interesting debate for both sides. Tied on all but arguments. The epistemological argument was new to me as well, and I feel Con presented a strong refutation to through uncontentious premise inversion. Reading the cosmological argument presented by pro drew immediate parallels to Plantinga's modal ontological argument, and I found myself agreeing with con with regards to the contention of the PSR. Far moreso than this, I find this argument weak to the debate as Pro never provided adequate justification for why any necessary fact that explains the contingent facts is a 'being' of some sort. For what I believe could have been improved: layout. God it was difficult to read. Also, I think it would have been more interesting if the debate focused on one argument alone, so that it could be more indepth, but thats just personal preference from me. All in all, good debate, but given the strong rebuttals I feel Pro has not satisfied his BoP.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 2 years ago
Smithereens
ToviyahEnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The Epistemological argument recieved a valid criticism from Con, followed by an attack that missed it. To reverse the premises to create an opposing argument that follows from the same logical functions in the syllogisms would have undermined the argument, had Pro not demonstrated that such a formulation was logically incoherent as it did not follow that it was impossible to know that God does exist. God is at least metaphysically possible as he demonstrated, which infers that there exists such a world X, in which G is true. By principle of modus ponens, the affirmation of the metaphysical possibility of the existence of G necessitates that the proposition <>G is true. The negation thereof is therefore false. Con failed to follow the reasoning or refute it. Philosophically, Con's rebuttal displayed an inferior understanding of logical operatives and propositional calculus that Pro used to create his case. Because of this, Pro wins the debate.
Vote Placed by medv4380 2 years ago
medv4380
ToviyahEnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con used a very basic Proof by Contradiction to prove that Pro's logic is invalid. It was a bit too wordy for my taste, but Con got the point accost. Pro could have won had better logic been used, and a clear definition of God given. The definition was lacking, and the logic flawed.