Does God exist?
Debate Rounds (4)
The resolution is: Resolved: God exists.
Here are the terms and conditions that we will be using. If you have any objections, I will be glad to make edits.
God: Capitalized: The supreme and ultimate reality: as:
A . The Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.
B. Christian Science: the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as Divine Spirit: Infinite Mind. (Merriam Webster)
Exists: the fact or state of living or having objective reality. (Oxford Dictionaries)
Good luck to my opponent!
ASSERTION: The effect of the universe's existence must have a suitable cause(Cosmological Arg).
The Cosmological Argument has three parts:
I. Everything that begins to exist must have a cause;
ii.If the universe began to exist, then
iii.The universe must have a cause
The first/second part: This can be easily proven by stating that the only other solution to the question of creation is to have an infinitely old universe, or you would have to deal with the question of the origin of matter. Physics governs matter, and according to Einstein"s Theory of Relativity, matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Therefore, the only other non-intelligent design solution is an infinitely old universe. See evidence. Scientists are convinced that the Big Bang Theory was what caused the universe to begin. The Big Bang Theory is a creation theory, and therefore there must have been a cause, and therefore a Creator. For, what else could possibly supernaturally cause this universe to exist?
"Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion...The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen."
"April 24, 1992. Announced on that date were the results of the so-called "big bang ripples" observations made by the cosmic background explorer (COBE) satellite of NASA. These ripples are the small variations in the temperature of the universe (about 2.7 degrees Celsius above absolute zero) far from heavenly bodies. These observations were remarkably consistent with the predictions of the Big Bang Theory."
"Frederick Burnham, a science-historian. He said, "These findings, now available, make the idea that God created the universe a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the last 100 years.""
"Hugh Ross, an astrophysicist, has written on this topic. He again brings us to the philosophical implications. Ross states in his book The Creator and the Cosmos (Third Edition, Navpress, 2001) that:
By definition, time is that dimension in which cause and effect phenomena take place. If time's beginning is concurrent with the beginning of the universe, as the space-time theorem says, then the cause of the universe must be some entity operating in a time dimension completely independent of and pre-existent to the time dimension of the cosmos. This conclusion is powerfully important to our understanding of who God is and who or what God is not. It tells us that the creator is transcendent, operating beyond the dimensional limits of the universe. It tells us that God is not the universe itself, nor is God contained within the universe."- All of this evidence was from a paper written by: Professor Henry F. (Fritz) Schaefer, one of the most distinguished physical scientists in the world. He has received four of the most prestigious science awards in the world, and has been a Nobel Prize nominee(2001).
Big Bang Theory:
If the rate of expansion had been smaller by 1/106, then the universe would have collapsed again.
If that rate had been greater by 1/1017, then stars and planets could not have formed.
Martin Ester, January 24, 2013(Professor of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia).
This first argument proves that the universe, cosmologically, must have a cause. The steady state(infinitely old) universe theory, and the self-creating theory, are irrelevant and flawed. The only other possible cause is a supernatural God.
ASSERTION: The design of the universe implies a purpose or direction behind it.(Teleological Arg)
The Teleological Argument can be broken down into five parts:
1. Human artifacts are products of intelligent design; they have a purpose.
2. The universe resembles these human artifacts.
3. Therefore: It is probable that the universe is a product of intelligent design, and has a purpose.
4. However, the universe is vastly more complex and gigantic than a human artifact is.
5. Therefore: There is probably a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe.
SUB-ARGUMENT: Argument of Improbability
It is improbable, nearly impossible, that a self-created universe could possibly arrange itself in such an orderly way. If natural selection took its due, we would have no order, for the Second Law of Thermodynamics(entropy) would be violated. Order cannot be created, other than by a supernatural Creator.
The laws of physics have fifteen constants that need to be tuned very accurately to the actually observed values to allow life in our universe. (Collins 2006)
"It would take from now until forever to get a hemoglobin molecule out of nothing": Stephen Hawking
i.)The basic premise, of all teleological arguments for the existence of God, is that the world exhibits an intelligent purpose based on experience from nature such as its order, unity, coherency, design and complexity. Hence, there must be an intelligent designer to account for the observed intelligent purpose and order that we can observe.
ii.)Paley's teleological argument is based on an analogy: Watchmaker is to watch as God is to universe. Just as a watch, with its intelligent design and complex function must have been created by an intelligent maker: a watchmaker, the universe, with all its complexity and greatness, must have been created by an intelligent and powerful creator. Therefore a watchmaker is to watch as God is to universe.
-Philosophy of Religion
Two things here: 1, the universe had a direction and purpose behind it. Therefore, there must have been a purposeful Creator behind it. 2, nothing can create order. Only a supernatural Creator could do that.
ASSERTION: The operation of the universe according to order and natural law implies a mind behind it.(Rational Arg)
Why is the universe so orderly? Why does nature run on mathematical laws? As explained earlier, it is plainly impossible to create order, the Second Law of Thermodynamics as it relates to entropy prevents this. It is physically impossible to create order. Therefore, there must have been a supernatural creator that created order in our universe.
"The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence."
"Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."
Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics
A supernatural creator is the only way order could have been created in our universe. Therefore, the universe has a need for God.
ASSERTION: Man's ideas of God (his God- consciousness, if you like) implies a God who imprinted such a consciousness.(Ontological Arg)
There are two different versions of the ontological argument:
1.It is a conceptual truth (or, so to speak, true by definition) that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible being that can be imagined).
2.God exists as an idea in the mind.
3.A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.
4.Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (that is, a greatest possible being that does exist).
5.But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God (for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.)
6.Therefore, God exists.
The second version:
1.By definition, God is a being than which none greater can be imagined.
2.A being that necessarily exists in reality is greater than a being that does not necessarily exist.
3.Thus, by definition, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not necessarily exist in reality, then we can imagine something that is greater than God.
4.But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God.
5.Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality.
6.God exists in the mind as an idea.
7.Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality.
(Stanford Philosophy Encyclopedia)
God must exist, therefore there is a God.
Man's built-in sense of right and wrong can be accounted for only by an innate awareness of a code of law - an awareness implanted by a higher being.(Moral Arg)
"C.S. Lewis"s popular explanation of the Moral Argument arrives at a Christian conclusion. He says that there must be a moral law, or moral disagreements would be senseless, moral criticisms would be meaningless, and moral obligations would be unnecessary. Since there is a Moral Law, we must posit a Moral Lawgiver who is interested in our behavior and gives us laws accordingly. Furthermore, this Lawgiver must itself be Good, or there would be no objective standard, and moral effort would be futile. Therefore, there is an absolutely good Moral Lawgiver. "
Unlike Lewis, Immanuel Kant viewed God"s existence merely as a "morally necessary presupposition" rather than a proof. His famous categorical imperative states that we desire happiness, and we are required to be moral; therefore, the uniting of happiness and duty is the highest good.
I will address the five arguments the opponent presented, in order. Since this is one of those debates where BoP is solely on Pro, I may or may not present an argument myself for the non-existence of God.
The Cosmological Argument
The issue inherent in the Cosmological Argument is best reflected in my opponent's second point, marked as (ii). It states that "if the universe began to exist, then (iii) the universe must have a cause." The issue is specifically that there a) is no evidence that the universe had a beginning and b) that it is currently impossible to find evidence showing this. Allow me to explain.
The opponent's argument largely revolves around the Big Bang, where she has made the faulty assumption that the Big Bang was the beginning of the universe. The vast majority of physicists and astronomers agree that we simply do not know what happened before the Big Bang, if anything.  Specifically, we don't know what happened after the Big Bang until about 380,000 years had passed.
This is due to a variety of reasons, most namely that the physics of an extremely hot and dense universe is a different physics than we have ever worked with. Beyond that, it is currently impossible for us to recreate the events that occurred in the Big Bang to get any clue of how it happened/what, if anything was there before.
In the lack of this evidence, it is not clear that the universe had a cause or that it had a beginning. It is just as possible that the universe somehow cycles between Big Bangs and expansions infinitely as it is that a God created it. One cannot use our ignorance of what happened before the Big Bang to prove that a God exists. This would be an argument from ignorance, a fault argument in this case.
Again, the opponent does not successfully prove that the universe began, but rather that the Big Bang happened, which I am not denying.
The Teleological Argument
This is an intelligent design argument. Since the opponent did bring up 5 points as a sort of syllogism, I'll briefly point out the flaws in the relevant points, then spend more time on her specific sub-arguments.
1. Human artifacts are products of intelligent design.
If by 'artifacts' you mean things we've actually created -- then yes. By definition, they were intelligently designed.
2. Universe resembles human artifacts.
Perhaps in some ways. The Earth resembles a basketball and rain resembles a sprinkler. It is easy as an anthropocentric race to find resemblance to ourselves in most anything. It's why we can't help but see a "man in the moon."
3. Therefore, it is probably that the universe is a product of intelligent design.
This does not follow. I believe the opponent speaks on this in a sub-argument, so I'll demonstrate why this does not follow when addressing that point.
4. The universe is more complex than a human artifact.
If the universe is more complex than any human artifact, it is difficult to imagine that it resembles human artifacts in the first place, besides the simple "shape and behavior" ways I mentioned in (2). If humans are not capable of producing the universal complexities, then the universe cannot resemble any human artifact.
5. Therefore, a power, intelligent designer created the universe.
Does not follow due to the response to (3) [below] and (4) [above].
Argument of Improbability
This argument takes two points, the first dealing with probability and the second with the law of entropy. Both are often misunderstood, leading to their use in this particular argument.
For probability, attempting to determine the probability that life arises in nearly impossible. Consider that we do not currently know whether the universe is finite or infinite. A rough estimate done by an astronomer David Kornreich says there are around 100 octillion stars in the universe.  He further says this is likely a gross underestimate. Since most stars (that we have observed) have a multitude of planets, it's reasonable to assume some 300 octillion planets exist. Each of these planets (if we assume they are fairly young), had at least 4 billion years a piece to form living matter.
This is an absolutely massive amount of time, space and opportunity for life to arise. It is easy to forget about this, since we can only see a fraction of the universe, only have information of any usefulness for 8 planets, and only have significantly studied one. I would argue that it is extremely likely that life arose in this amount of time, but the better (more scientifically honest stance), is that we simply don't know the probability and our lack of ability to see other worlds makes it impossible to determine. Again, not enough information is present to come to the conclusion that it is either probable or improbable that life can arise in the universe.
As for thermodynamics, entropy can simply be understood as the amount of thermal energy that cannot be used for work. This is the 'disorder' commonly referred to when referencing entropy. The use that definition in place of the common day use of "disorder" is not only scientifically inaccurate, but also academically dishonest. The apparent order we see in the universe has little to do with the 2nd Law. Not to mention we understand the underlying principles as to why this apparent "order" arose in the first place.
The Rational Argument
I am fortunate that this order involves the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, as I'm running out of space. To rehash this a little more, for the sake of being thorough, I'll mention another point or two.
The only evidence presented here was a quote from a (very famous) scientists who pointed out that it was amazing that the universe followed a set of rules. This is truly amazing, however it doesn't do very much in the way of proving anything.
Again, the 2nd law refers to a type of disorder that has a very specific scientific definition. It does not refer to the disorder you would find when consulting a general dictionary. The question of why the universe has mathematical laws is a philosophical question, not a scientific question (not yet, anyway.) It's entirely conceivable that we could have a universe that behaved in a totally different way, but that wouldn't stop us from finding a different set of laws to describe its behavior. (As that's all science and math really is -- ways of explaining observable behavior.) Whatever the behavior, we could find laws and build a math system to support it.
The Ontological Argument
I will briefly mention the failures of logic in each of the two versions of this argument the opponent has presented. I personally don't understand why this argument is still used, as the entire idea that you can define something into existence is ridiculous. However, I must respond.
3. This is an unsubstantiated premise. The idea of "greater" and "lesser", from an epistemological standpoint is entirely based upon the ideas of greatness of the particular person doing the imagining. One person's "greatest" version of God might be a white-hating God of wrath that currently exists, while another person's "greatest" version of God might be a one that created the universe, but then ceased to exist. Since there is no "one true" idea of what constitutes greatness, this argument falls apart due to the differences in people opinion on said idea.
4,5,6. Do not follow as (3) is demonstrated to be logically inconsistent.
2. Fails for the same reason as (3) in Version 1.
3,4,5,6. Do not follow since (3) is logically inconsistent.
Additionally, there's no reason to assume that we are even capable of imagining God or that the definition of God requires him to be great. It's entirely possible that Zeus might exist and him, still being a God, would not be considered "the greatest thing imaginable" since he has flaws.
You cannot use the definition of words to define a thing into existence.
The Moral Argument
This last one is fairly easy to rebut. Allow me to turn the opponent's argument into a syllogism, as that is easier to analyze than a paragraph.
1. Without a moral law, moral disagreements would be senseless, moral criticisms would be meaningless and moral obligations would be unnecessary.
2. Therefore, there is a moral law.
3. If there is a moral law, there must be a moral Lawgiver.
4. If there is a moral lawgiver, it must be Good, so as to be an objective standard.
5. This lawgiver is God.
Immanuel Kant was correct in realizing that this is not a proof. Just looking at it briefly, it is clear to see that a) 1 is untrue and b) 2 does not follow 1. I'll elaborate.
Without an objective moral law, there is no reason to assume that moral obligations/moral criticisms/moral disagreements/etc. would be pointless. While they may not have true objective value, they often serve as a subjective compass upon which a large portion of society can agree.
For instance, "murder is wrong" is a moral statement. Without a God, there is no way to say this is objectively true. However, society largely agrees that murder is wrong, so one can have useful critiques/obligations/etc. based upon this societal understanding. A moral law does not need to be objective to assign it meaning and for it to be useful.
And furthermore, regardless of whether these moral laws do or do not have meaning, this does not mean an objective moral law exists. Just because something isn't as we'd like it to be doesn't mean that thing is not true. It might be easier for us if we had an objective moral law, just as it might be easier for us if we didn't need to drink water to survive. However, our desires cannot change the fundamental nature of the universe. They never could and they likely never will.
(1) - http://www.universetoday.com...
(2) - http://www.space.com...
First, I would like to thank my opponent for his wonderful refutations of my arguments.
I will introduce some new arguments, and re-stand some arguments that my opponent has refuted.
Argument 6: The Design Argument
This sort of argument is of wide and perennial appeal. Almost everyone admits that reflection on the order and beauty of nature touches something very deep within us. But are the order and beauty the product of intelligent design and conscious purpose? For theists the answer is yes. Arguments for design are attempts to vindicate this answer, to show why it is the most reasonable one to give. They have been formulated in ways as richly varied as the experience in which they are rooted. The following displays the core or central insight.
1.The universe displays a staggering amount of intelligibility, both within the things we observe and in the way these things relate to others outside themselves. That is to say: the way they exist and coexist display an intricately beautiful order and regularity that can fill even the most casual observer with wonder. It is the norm in nature for many different beings to work together to produce the same valuable end"for example, the organs in the body work for our life and health.
2.Either this intelligible order is the product of chance or of intelligent design.
4.Therefore the universe is the product of intelligent design.
5.Design comes only from a mind, a designer.
6.Therefore the universe is the product of an intelligent Designer.
The first premise is certainly true- even those resistant to the argument admit it. The person who did not would have to be almost pathetically obtuse. A single protein molecule is a thing of immensely impressive order; much more so a single cell; and incredibly much more so an organ like the eye, where ordered parts of enormous and delicate complexity work together with countless others to achieve a single certain end. Even chemical elements are ordered to combine with other elements in certain ways and under certain conditions. Apparent disorder is a problem precisely because of the overwhelming pervasiveness of order and regularity. So the first premise stands.
If all this order is not in some way the product of intelligent design, then what? Obviously, it "just happened." Things just fell out that way "by chance." Alternatively, if all this order is not the product of blind, purposeless forces, then it has resulted from some kind of purpose. That purpose can only be intelligent design. So the second premise stands.
It is of course the third premise that is crucial. Ultimately, nonbelievers tell us, it is indeed by chance and not by any design that the universe of our experience exists the way it does. It just happens to have this order, and the burden of proof is on believers to demonstrate why this could not be so by chance alone.
But this seems a bit backward. It is surely up to nonbelievers to produce a credible alternative to design. And "chance" is simply not credible. For we can understand chance only against a background of order. To say that something happened "by chance" is to say that it did not turn out as we would have expected, or that it did turn out in a way we would not have expected. But expectation is impossible without order. If you take away order and speak of chance alone as a kind of ultimate source, you have taken away the only background that allows us to speak meaningfully of chance at all. Instead of thinking of chance against a background of order, we are invited to think of order-overwhelmingly intricate and ubiquitous order-against a random and purposeless background of chance. Frankly, that is incredible. Therefore it is eminently reasonable to affirm the third premise, not chance, and therefore to affirm the conclusion, that this universe is the product of intelligent design.
Argument 7: The Argument from Desire
1.Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.
2.But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.
3.Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.
4.This something is what people call "God" and "life with God forever."
The first premise implies a distinction of desires into two kinds: innate and externally conditioned, or natural and artificial. We naturally desire things like food, drink, sex, sleep, knowledge, friendship and beauty; and we naturally shun things like starvation, loneliness, ignorance and ugliness. We also desire (but not innately or naturally) things like sports cars, political office, flying through the air like Superman, the land of Oz and a Red Sox world championship.
Now there are differences between these two kinds of desires. We do not, for example, for the most part, recognize corresponding states of deprivation for the second, the artificial, desires, as we do for the first. There is no word like "Ozlessness" parallel to "sleeplessness." But more importantly, the natural desires come from within, from our nature, while the artificial ones come from without, from society, advertising or fiction. This second difference is the reason for a third difference: the natural desires are found in all of us, but the artificial ones vary from person to person.
The existence of the artificial desires does not necessarily mean that the desired objects exist. Some do; some don't. Sports cars do; Oz does not. But the existence of natural desires does, in every discoverable case, mean that the objects desired exist. No one has ever found one case of an innate desire for a nonexistent object.
The second premise requires only honest introspection. If someone denies it and says, "I am perfectly happy playing with mud pies, or sports cars, or money, or sex, or power," we can only ask, "Are you, really?" But we can only appeal, we cannot compel. And we can refer such a person to the nearly universal testimony of human history in all its great literature. Even the atheist Jean-Paul Sartre admitted that "there comes a time when one asks, even of Shakespeare, even of Beethoven, 'Is that all there is?'"
The conclusion of the argument is not that everything the Bible tells us about God and life with God is really so. What it proves is an unknown X, but an unknown whose direction, so to speak, is known. This X is more: more beauty, more desirability, more awesomeness, more joy. This X is to great beauty as, for example, great beauty is to small beauty or to a mixture of beauty and ugliness. And the same is true of other perfections.
But the "more" is infinitely more, for we are not satisfied with the finite and partial. Thus the analogy (X is to great beauty as great beauty is to small beauty) is not proportionate. Twenty is to ten as ten is to five, but infinite is not to twenty as twenty is to ten. The argument points down an infinite corridor in a definite direction. Its conclusion is not "God" as already conceived or defined, but a moving and mysterious X which pulls us to itself and pulls all our images and concepts out of themselves.
In other words, the only concept of God in this argument is the concept of that which transcends concepts, something "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived" (1 Cor. 2:9). In other words, this is the real God.
Argument 8: Pascal's Wager
Suppose my opponent still feels that all of these arguments are inconclusive. There is another, different kind of argument left. It has come to be known as Pascal's Wager. We mention it here and adapt it for our purposes, not because it is a proof for the existence of God, but because it can help us in our search for God in the absence of such proof.
As originally proposed by Pascal, the Wager assumes that logical reasoning by itself cannot decide for or against the existence of God; there seem to be good reasons on both sides. Now since reason cannot decide for sure, and since the question is of such importance that we must decide somehow, then we must "wager" if we cannot prove. And so we are asked: Where are you going to place your bet?
If you place it with God, you lose nothing, even if it turns out that God does not exist. But if you place it against God, and you are wrong and God does exist, you lose everything: God, eternity, heaven, infinite gain. "Let us assess the two cases: if you win, you win everything, if you lose, you lose nothing."
The Wager can seem offensively venal and purely selfish. But it can be reformulated to appeal to a higher moral motive: If there is a God of infinite goodness, and he justly deserves my allegiance and faith, I risk doing the greatest injustice by not acknowledging him.
All of this is from a paper written by: Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., a professor of philosophy at Boston College.
And so, I will use my remaining 500 characters to make a semblance of refutation.
1: The Cosmological Argument: My opponent stated that: "It is just as possible that the universe somehow cycles between Big Bangs and expansions infinitely as it is that a God created it. One cannot use our ignorance of what happened before the Big Bang to prove that a God exists." This appears to be a cyclic universe theory, one that I will refute. There are problems with the cyclic universe cosmology too, notably the fact that it runs counter to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In other words, just as in our universe disorder increases with time, then over an infinite number of cycles, our universe should be in a maximal state of disorder -- a featureless and lukewarm structure that certainly could not contain such highly ordered features as stars, galaxies and human beings.- David H. Bailey, Computational Research Department, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
As I already only have less than 100 characters remaining, I would like to end on that.
I have to confess, while reading through the opponent's response I was immensely impressed. The arguments were thorough and beautifully crafted. The language was elegant and it flowed from point to point effortlessly. All throughout reading, I was already putting together in my head the way to express how well you responded and how very proud I was (honestly) that a DDO member managed to create this kind of content.
And then I realized that you did not create the content at all. Rather, your three new arguments were written by somebody else -- a Dr. Peter Kreeft, a professor of philosophy at Boston College. Now, you did mention at the end of these arguments that the words were not your own, so I'm not quite sure you technically plagiarized. However, doing what you did is deeply frowned upon and will likely cost you dearly. Had you simply reworded the arguments in a substantial way, using your own language to describe the logic, this might not be an issue. However, you failed to put it in your own words.
A word of advice: Never do that again. Presenting quotes is one thing, copying some 9,000 characters of text somebody else wrote and presenting it as your own argument is not acceptable. However, I will attempt to demonstrate the flaws inherent in these three arguments. Beyond that, I will defend my point regarding the possibility of a cyclical universe.
Argument 6: The Design Argument
In many ways, this argument is very similar to the Teleological Argument presented by the opponent in his first constructive. It makes some observation, A, about the universe and claims that the existence of A demands the existence of God. This argument has many of the same flaws as the previously mentioned argument. I will hit each point in the syllogism, then summarize.
1. The universe displays...intelligibility, both within the things we observe and in the way these things relate... The way they exist and coexist display [sic] ... a beautiful order ... that can fill even the most casual observer with wonder.
As Kreeft mentions, it is in many ways difficult to run counter to this particular point. However, one cannot deny that our sense of "intelligent" and "beauty" is a very subjective sense. There is no objective definition for beauty or what qualifies some non-living object as intelligent (or the product of intelligence.)
Much of our sense of beauty can be explained from an evolutionary standpoint. A great variety of artwork has been done on the subject of fruit -- which is most always depicted as healthy, ripe and rife with colors. Rarely do we see artwork of dead fruit, as we do not find brown, molding fruit to be aesthetically pleasing. This makes sense when you realize that eating "beautiful" fruit is much healthier than eating rotting fruit.
This can be applied to many environmental notions of beauty. Generally, things we see in the environment that strike us as ugly are in some ways dangerous to us, unhealthy, or demonstrate signs of bad health. A decrepit, black forest likely got that way because of some disease that affected it, a disease we do not want to get ourselves.
It is very likely that much of our perceived beauty is actually a disease-avoidance behavior. Things that are ugly are rarely good for us, be they bad food, a diseased grassland, or an unnattractive mate.
2. Either this intelligible order is the produce of chance or intelligent design.
This is a reasonable proposition. Perhaps a better way to say it would be "this is either a product of chance or is not a product of chance." This interpretation avoids the possibility of a false dichotomy.
3. It is not chance.
Clearly, this is where I find fault in the syllogism. Kreeft's basic logic is that it should be a non-believers job to prove that there exists an alternative to design, which is indeed "chance". His next line attempts to confuse the expected connotation of "chance" with the literal definition. In reality, non-believers do not think that the universe came about "by chance", but rather that there was a very real and concrete series of events that preceded this moment and led directly to it.
We call it "chance" because we are not omniscient and do not know all of the preceding events. In the lack of this knowledge of certain variables, we often use probabiity and refer to likelihoods of events, or "chances". However, do not be confused. Scientists do not believe that chance was involved in the process of getting here, not in the literal sense, anyway.
Lastly, I'd like to de-emphasize Kreeft's over-abundant claims that there is order all around us. While it is easy to see order, when looking for it (especially if we understand the underlying scientific principles), there is no doubt that a large majority of the world and universe exists in a state of chaos -- that being defined as something which cannot be easiy predicted. When we spread seeds on a dirt lawn, the pattern the grass comes in can only be described as chaos. We do not know the exact location of the seeds landings, we don't know which seeds will grow and which will not, etc.
It is unwise to allow ourselves to become so arrogant in our knowledge of the world that we are blind to all the things in the world we simply don't know.
The rest of this argument fails due to the failure of 3.
Argument 7: Desire
This argument is fairly hokey -- much like the ontological arguments. It defines a bunch of concepts, then attempts to utilize these recently defined concepts to prove the existence of something. Again, I'll go through each key point.
1. Every natural, innate desire un us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.
This is where the first skullduggery comes into play. Kreeft defines "innate desire" as something that we natural feel the need for and "artificial desire" which comes from things we observe or imagine in the real or some imaginary world.
Based upon the opponent's examples of innate desires, it seems more appropriate to call them biological needs; as he lists food, water, sex, sleep, etc. A better terminology for "artificial desire" would simply be "non-biological needs", which is just everything not included in the subset of biological needs. This clarification is useful for future points.
2. There exists a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, and no creature can satisfy.
This cannot be concluded. The author says that "honest introspection" reveals this to be self evident, but that is not the case. While I will admit that every human I've met has always wanted something more than what they had. There are three possibilities to note: a) that they do want something bounded to time and space, but they just dont know what it is, b) that they simply cannot be satisfied, or c) that the desired thing is God, but a God they cannot comprehend (Kreeft's words, on that last one.)
Rephrasing, we see that the possibilities for desire include: something on this physical plane, something not on this physical plane, the desire cannot be achieved.
Based upon what we know about he universe, that everything we know of has been found on the physical plane, it seems unlikely that we would need a non-physical plane to explain this desire dillemma. Both a) and b) seem plausible, but c) seems to be an unnecessary addition, built in merely to form an argument for the existence of God.
It is clear, this premise simply cannot be proven. Beyond that, looking at the possibilities it's more than likely that this premise is outright false.
Knowing this, it is unnecessary to continue with the syllogism, as it cannot follow with point 2 down the drain.
There is a long argument against this (which I prefer) and a shorter argument (which still works just as well.) Due to lack of space, I'll be going with the latter.
The main issue with Pascal's Wager is that it presents a very false dichotomy. This means: it assumes that either the Christian God does exist or the Christian God does not exist. This might seem reasonable at face value until you realize the sheer number of other gods that could also potentially exist. The majority of these other faiths are mutually exclusive -- meaning you cannot be a member of two faiths and hope to "win" the wager. A table is necessary:
Believes In? -->YesNo
God in Question
\/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/
Christian GodC. HeavenC. Hell
IslamI. ParadiseI. Hell
JudaismJ. HeavenJ. Hell
ZoroastrianismZ. Paradise Chinvat Bridge
As you can see, there are a multitude of possible results from this wager and no belief gives you a partcularly great chance of being correct. There are many, many more that I did not list here, plus the literal infinity of possible Gods which we have not yet conceived. The Pascal's Wager is clearly broken, once you realize the false dichotomy.
Defense of My Own Arguments
The opponent argues that a cyclical universe cannot be possible because of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. As I mentioned we know that physics does not work properly under certain universal conditions. For instance, until about 380,000 after the Big Bang, physics was broken down in a way incomprehensible to us. Since we know that the universe can form such a state where physics doesn't work, it is not unreasonable to assume it is possible that it could again be in a similar "non-working" state. (Not working by our own understanding.) Given that I have demonstrated this is a possibility, my argument still stands -- as the entire point of the argument was that we do not know for sure if the universe is finite. Since we do not know this, the argument fails.
My opponent is young, so I urge the voters to use their best judgement regarding his semi-plagiarism. Whether you use tough love or try to judge as things stand, I leave it in your hands.
INFORMAL APOLOGY: Sorry, Cobalt. I couldn't come up with any time, and even writing this message is even a stretch. I will also not be available for a debate in the next few weeks.
The opponent has essentially forfeited due to lack of time. I have demonstrated that the opponent's arguments do not adequately prove or reasonably imply the existence of the Christian God. As such, please vote Con.
On another note, I'd like to thank my opponent for the debate. It was enjoyable and, despite the issue with Round 3, I believe you did very well. If you keep at it, you will become a fantastic debater and a much more knowledeable person.
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