Does God exist?
I will argue for the existance of God as Pro
Definition of God: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe
4.Argument from design
I have the burden of proof
I wholly agree with the definition of God as put forward by the instigator and will gladly limit the discussion to the Points of Evidence that IgotUrOuts has put forth.
I would like to start out by pointing out that none of the evidentiary points is ipso facto proof of God's existence.
Notably the "Pascal's Wager" point is not a piece of "evidence" but rather a motive for shunning disbelief as outlined by Pascal predicated on the potential for various outcomes of belief or non-belief.
As for the "Argument from Design", this is largely unfalsifiable and arises from a view from within the system. Any system that is self-evolving and is populated by life-forms that have a limited lifespan coupled with the ability to "adapt", will result, after a sufficiently long period of time, to contain only those organisms which are capable of surviving in the given system. Thus any assessment of the "utility" of thier adaptations to the system will make the system look like it has been built "custom" for them, rather than the other way around. The puddle is not made to contain the water volume of the shape of the puddle, but rather the water fills the puddle.
"Morality" is also not evidence of God's existence as morality has no _necessary_ input from a supernatural being as described in the opening argument as being "God". Morality is not a universal law of any sort. It can easily be attributed to any "social group" and may be _sui generis_ to that group based on what they value.
The existence of the Universe is similarly not dispositive for the existence of God as described in the opening argument. It is similar to Aquinas' Cosmological Argument. If the universe exists it must have had a "first cause" presumably. Which can easily be pushed back to the same requirement for "God".
The fact that the universe exists says nothing about the existence of the predicate cause of the universe, only that the universe exists. It certainly says nothing whatsoever about the various aspects attributed to "God" in the opening argument (for instance: "perfect in goodness" is in no way derivable from the existence of the universe, nor is there anything indicating "perfect in wisdom".)
Thx to my opponent for accepting I look foward to an enlightening debate........
To our audience thank you for taking time to review this debate. I would like to ask you regardless of which side of this topic you are on to review our arguments with an open mind and vote based on the best argument.........
Does God exist?
Argument from design:
My opponent stated "Argument from design this is largely unfalsifiable..."
There is belief that intelligent design is unscientific because it is unfalsifiable or untestable and no empirical evidence can count against it. This is false. Of course theres no way to falsify a assertion that a cosmic designer exists. This much we can agree on. But contemporary design arguments focus not on such vague claims, but on detectible evidence for design in the natural world. Therefore the design arguments currently in use are falsifiable. Consider the argument that Michael Behe makes in his book Darwins Black Box(great read btw). He proposes that design is detectable in many molecular machines,including bacterial flagellum for example. Behe argues that this tiny motor needs all its parts to function it is irreducibly complex. Such systems in our experience are a hallmark of designed systems, because they require the foresight that is the exclusive to intelligent agents. Darwin's mechanism of natural selection and random variations, in contrast, requires a functional system at each transition along the way. Natural selection can select for present but not for future function. Notice that Behe's argument rests not on ignorance, but on what we know about designed systems the powers of intelligent agents, and on our growing knowledge of the cellular world and its many mechanisms. How does one test and discredit Behe's argument? Describe a realistic continuously functional Darwinian pathway from simple ancestor to present motor. Darwinists like Kenneth Miller points to the hope of future discoveries, and to the type secretory system as a machine possibly co-opted on the evolutionary path to the flagellum. The argument is riddled with problems, but it shows that Miller, at least, understands perfectly well that Behes argument is testable. Similarly there are websites filled with supposed refutations of contemporary design arguments, many written by scientists using information from the natural world to make their arguments. An argument cant be both open to falsifiability and unfalsifiable at the same time. So contemporary arguments for intelligent design in both biology and the physical sciences are not only testable theyre falsifiable. Therefore, honest commentators should stop claiming that ID is unfalsifiable. The claim itself is falsifiable, and it has been falsified. Its time to move on to other and more pertinent aspects of the debate over intelligent design because this one clearly is no longer valid.
My opponent stated "....A puddle(universe) is not made to contain the water(people)volume of the shape of the puddle, but rather the water fills the puddle." That may be true but the puddle was created/made was it not ?
Science ultimately cannot explain the universes beginnings because it cannot go that far back. Science can only explain what is here now and even that is speculative since we cannot repeat the experiment. We should start with the most basic and general explanation. All design implies a designer this is 100% true all the time. Is it not ?
I would like our audience to ask yourselves which/what is more rational in any aspect of life.
A. Every aspect of your life just exist no rhyme no reason your family your kids the air you breath the water you drink the sun on your face all just happened to be.
B. Every aspect of your life was designed to connect us to each other in a specific order that could only be explained by intelligent design.
We will touch on this a little later in this debate.
Are we inherently good or evil? Psychologists have some idea of whether or not we are inherently good or bad. Researchers presented four scenarios to 100 babies using puppets. After watching puppets act negatively or positively towards other characters the babies were shown puppets either giving or taking toys from these "good" or "bad" puppets. When prompted to choose their favorite characters babies preferred puppets that were "good" over the "bad" characters. The study shows that babies are born with morality and a strong moral sense. This also shows we are not blank slates at birth. These findings about babies moral notions tell us about adult morality. Some scholars think that the very existence of a moral sense has profound implications. In 1869, Alfred Russel Wallace, who along with Darwin discovered natural selection, wrote that certain human capacities including the higher moral faculties are richer than what you could expect from a product of biological evolution. He concluded that some sort of godly force must intervene to create these capacities.
In his book "Whats So Great About Christianity, the social and cultural critic Dinesh DSouza revived this argument. He conceded that evolution can explain our niceness in instances like kindness to kin, where the niceness has a clear genetic payoff but he drew the line at high altruism, acts of entirely disinterested kindness. For DSouza "there is no Darwinian rationale for why you would give up your seat for an old lady on a bus, an act of nice-guyness that does nothing for your genes. And what about those who donate blood to strangers or sacrifice their lives for a worthy cause? DSouza reasoned that these stirrings of conscience are best explained not by evolution or psychology but by the voice of God within our souls. This does not prove that God exist what it does prove however is that we are born with objective morality.
The first cause argument is an argument from the mere fact that a temporal universe exists to the existence of an eternal creator of it. The argument from design as shown above takes a much more detailed look at the universe in search of evidence for God’s existence. That being said we now know that the universe is expanding which points to it having a beginning. But how do we know the universe is expanding? By spotting an exploding star in a distant galaxy, or even measuring the expansion of space-time itself.
*PLEASE VIEW PHOTOS BELOW*
So we now know that:
1.Everything which has a beginning has a cause.
2.The universe has a beginning.
3.Therefore the universe has a cause.
Some atheist claim that all this analysis is tentative, because that is the nature of science. So this can’t be used to prove creation by God. Of course, atheist can’t have it both ways: saying that the Bible is wrong because science has proved it so, but if science appears consistent with the Bible, then well, science is tentative anyway.
I look forward to my opponents refutation...........
I would like to thank my interlocutor for a clear explanation of his points.
I hope I am correct in assuming that "Pascal's Wager" has now been removed as one of the "evidences" in support of Pro's argument?
As for the detailed explanations of the remaining points, they were all quite well crafted and I will attempt to give them a similarly trenchant response. However I may put them in a slightly different order.
Argument from Design and "Irreducible Complexity"
As for the initial point of "irreducible complexity" and Behe's work on this topic I must make a couple of points. Firstly: it is mischaracterization of standard evolutionary theory to think it wholly random. It is anything but pure random. Think of each successive generation as a type of "Bernoulli trial" in which an offspring can "survive" or "fail to survive" to the age of reproduction. Those factors which disallow survival to the age of reproduction will be removed rather quickly and those which are neutral or advantageous will be passed along. This is a means of "biasing" the outcome of successive "trials". Secondly: the examples proffered of the various "mechanisms" are indeed impressive but can have been built up over successive iterations from more simple features.
BUT, I must point out, that the mere existence of the appearance of a "design" is not indicative of a being "perfect in wisdom" or "perfect in goodness" as outlined in the opening of the argument. Clearly humans make "motors" and we are now on the cusp of bio-engineering at the molecular scale, so that indicates that creatures who are, by definition, "less" than God in all attributes, are able to understand and design objects.
All the "Design" arguments produce is a need for "designer" but not necessarily one that is "God". Unless we are to assume that humans are equal to God.
Argument from First Uncaused Cause
As for the existence of the Universe and it's first "cause", this is problematic because there is no reason to believe that the proximate "cause" of the Universe was anything like "God" as described in the opening point. The opening argument provided that the "Creator" carry with it the additional descriptors of "perfect" in many aspects. Moving from a mere designer to the God outlined in the opening point is an unwarranted leap.
In addition, if God pre-existed the Universe then what "space" was God in? Was this not also a part of "everything"? Since everything by its nature is, well, "everything", God as proposed must have existed within it so positing "God" as the "first uncaused cause" fails since God and the area in which He exists also must have had a "cause". Is there a greater being than "that which none greater can be conceived" (to use the standard phrasing of the Ontological Argument)? Why isn't that God the one that is "worshipped" as outlined in the original point? Unfortunately this argument leads to an infinite regress.
Argument from Morality
Any assessment of "morality" is fraught with problems. Is it universally "immoral" to kill? Or is it "immoral" for a social animal (such as a human) to kill another of its own social coterie? Clearly any social animal will develop a set of actions that is required of all members of that society in order to establish a social order. Humans gain a significant survival advantage from a stable social organization. As such the existence of "morality" is not diagnostic for a "supreme being" any more than any other "instinct" would be. Would it be "immoral" for a tiger to kill a person?
A moral system can easily exist without reference to a being "perfect in power, wisdom and goodness". The Euthyphro Dilemma exists precisely in order to point out the potential problems in relying on an external "moral authority" in this matter.
The critique against "higher altruism" seem synthetic since extrapolation from "kin" to a broader range of cohorts is not necessarily different. Most of us interact on a daily basis more with those who are not genetically linked to us than with those whom we are genetically linked to. But we are socially linked to them. And arguably "altruism" carries its own "hedonistic calculus". There is nothing magical or supernatural about a utilitarian argument for moral action. One need only be aware of the fact that others exist and have a similar mind to our own (or can be inferred). This is also in no way diagnostic of a being "perfect in power, wisdom and goodness". But rather is diagnostic of a mind that is aware of external beings.
One last point in reference to the IGotUrOut's final statement (which is included herein):
"Some atheist claim that all this analysis is tentative, because that is the nature of science. So this can’t be used to prove creation by God. Of course, atheist can’t have it both ways: saying that the Bible is wrong because science has proved it so, but if science appears consistent with the Bible, then well, science is tentative anyway."
I must respectfully point out that this is a logic error. The fact that science sometimes agrees with the Bible (say, for example, that a certain event or place is found in both archeological research and the Bible) does not mean that all things in the Bible are therefore scientifically valid.
I look forward to IGotUrOut's responses.
Michael Behe said in his book: Darwin’s Black Box "By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution."
Darwin's Black Box:
A black box is known to be mysterious. We know that a black box can perform certain functions, but we don’t know how it works and how it came to be. A computer to non engineers is a typical example. Novice computer users know that when they input some commands in the keyboard, something magical will happen to the output device (e.g.
monitor, printer). They have no idea how the RAM, the bus, and the microprocessor work together to make that happen, and how engineers design the architecture of the computer. According to Behe, at the time of Darwin, the cellular structure is a black box. Darwin was only able to make sense of biology above the level of the cell. The theory of evolution was built upon many un examined questions. Today with the advance of biochemistry, we are able to look into the black box, and hence, based on new findings, Behe questions how this complicated structure can come to be in the first place. It is important to note that Behe does not object microevolution, which is about changes of traits within
the same species over time. But Behe has problems with macroevolution, which suggests a new species could be evolved from a different species. Contrary to the title of his book Origins of Species Darwin's theory of evolution mainly dealt with microevolution rather than the origin of new species from older ones. The example of pepper moth is often cited as evidence about how species could adapt to the environment. However, this example does not show how new species are evolved. Based on the concept of irreducible complexity, Behe questions how a new species can evolve from
another by the mean of gradualism. An irreducibly complex system is composed of many well-matched parts, and each part contributes specific functions to the entire system. This system is irreducible in the sense that when one component is removed or malfunctions, the entire system collapses. And the biological structure is an irreducibly complicated system. Behe insisted that it is impossible for such a system to add components and features bit by bit. Natural selection, the engine of Darwinian evolution, only works if there is something to select something that is useful right now, rather than in the future.
A mousetrap has five parts that are necessary for the mousetrap to fully function. The absence of any one of these components will definitely disable its function. (It is important to note that while the mousetrap case is an example of "irreducible complexity," it is only a metaphor to "biological irreducible complexity.") When a theologian uses water, ice, and steam to illustrate trinity and another theologian points out that there is much dissimilarity between the two; at most they could argue whether the analogy is appropriate, but it does not add or remove any weight of evidence toward the doctrine of trinity. The dual characteristics of electrons (wave and particle) illustrates the dual personalities of Jesus which are deity and human.
In short, the debate on irreducible complexity could never be settled by biochemistry alone, and philosophy would continue to play an important role in this “proxy war” between religion and science.
First Uncaused Cause:
The definition of God: "the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe"
My opponent asked great question " if God pre-existed the Universe then what "space" was God in? Was this not also a part of "everything"?
1.Everything which has a **beginning has a cause**.
2.The universe has a beginning.
3.Therefore the universe has a cause.
The universe requires a cause because it had a beginning. God unlike the universe had no beginning so doesn’t need a cause. Einstein’s general relativity which has plenty experimental support shows that time is linked to matter and space. So time itself would have begun along with matter and space. Since God by definition(as shown above) is the creator of the whole universe, he is the creator of time. Therefore He is not limited by the time dimension He created, so has no beginning in time. Therefore He does not have a cause.
There is good evidence that the universe had a beginning. This can be shown from the "Laws of Thermodynamics" the most fundamental laws of the physical sciences.
First law: The total amount of mass-energy in the universe is constant.
Second law: The amount of energy available for work is running out, or entropy is increasing to a maximum.
OPP stated "God and the area in which He exists also must have had a "cause"."
We have established the universe had a beginning, **but the question remains does it needs a cause?**
All science and history would collapse if this law of cause and effect were denied. Also, the universe cannot be self-caused nothing can create itself, because that would mean that it existed before it came into existence, which is a logical absurdity.
1.The universe (including time) can be shown to have had a beginning.
2.It is unreasonable to believe something could begin to exist without a cause.
3.The universe therefore requires a cause.
4.God, as creator of time, is outside of time. Since therefore He has no beginning in time, He has always existed, so doesn’t need a cause.
Argument from Morality:
God is not required to explain moral systems. Yet the compassionate or just treatment of humans by their fellows who don't have to is one of the most compelling arguments ever offered for the existence of a just, compassionate God. To disagree with this, it is necessary to advance some alternative explanations.
The Euthyphro Dilemma fails because it mischaracterizes the biblical view of God. Goodness is neither above God or merely willed by him. Instead ethics are grounded in his holy character. Moral notions are not arbitrary and given to caprice. They are fixed and grounded in Gods nature hence "perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness"
No outside definition of piety is necessary because morality is known directly through the faculty of moral intuition. Gods laws express his character and if our moral intuitions are intact we immediately recognize those laws as good.
Example: How did Abraham know justice required that God not treat the evil and the righteous alike? Since none of commandments had been handed down yet.
Abraham knew goodness not by prior definition or by decree of God but through moral intuition. He didn't need God to define justice(divine command). He knew it directly. His moral knowledge was built in.
The Bible is not a science book but it is scientifically accurate. There is no scientific evidence that contradicts the Bible.
I would like to thank IGotUrOuts for his detailed rebuttal to my points.
Argument from Design
However I must strongly disagree with the argument from design as evidenced by "irreducible complexity". As an example there are many features that are current cause celebres of the "irreducible complexity" concept such as the bacterial flagellum. This has been suggested as not irreducibly complex since many of the components of the flagellum itself can be found in items that the bacteria use for other purposes. In fact if only part of the flagellum is viewed it is actually part of the "Type III Secretory System" (TTTS) which the bacteria uses to inject toxins across cell membranes (1)
Similarly the eye is another example. There are "variations" of the eye ranging from "light sensing" cells up to a focusing eye that we mammals use.
I will note that IGotUrOut's examples have often relied on human inventions such as "computers" and "mousetraps". If IGotUrOut's goal is to prove the existence of human design then this is quite well done, however this would then fall afoul of a definition of God which relies on "perfection" (as outlined in the first round).
Philosophy plays a role in "irreducible complexity" only insofar as it helps to fill in gaps in knowledge. This is the classic "God of the Gaps" argument for God who acts as a reservoir of our ignorance. Whatever it is we don't know at the time we attribute to God and as more and more is learned God becomes smaller, arguably asymptotically infinitely small.
The argument from personal incredulity is similarly insufficient to provide proof (or even significant evidence in support) of the existence of a being "perfect in wisdom and goodness".
First Uncaused Cause:
"God unlike the universe had no beginning so doesn’t need a cause. "
This is a unilaterally decreed point that God has no beginning and thus does not need a cause. This was not part of the original point and I cannot in all good conscience accede to that point. There is nothing within the definition of God that makes a need for a beginning or cause unnecessary.
Further Pro's position of God as existing before time (being the creator of time and space) appears on its face to be without any meaning. This would, at best, indicate a sense of "super-time", or time beyond time. But as it is presented it is simply "before time" which remands it to the jurisdiction of the nonsensical, unknown and unknowable.
Respectfully I must point out that there is little within these constructs but ex cathedra declarations of things that have no means of support or evidence. There is no evidence of time outside of time or universe outside of universe. There are only constructions of hypothetical propositions.
I will grant that the universe may very well have had a proximate cause, however I will note that it is technically meaningless to discuss what happened before time. And as such I must point out that there is nothing incumbent on this point that would provide any insight whatsoever about the nature of this cause.
Again if God is merely the vacuum into which we cast our questions then I am unwilling to assign the original attributes of "perfect in …wisdom, and goodness "
Argument from Morality:
"God is not required to explain moral systems. Yet the compassionate or just treatment of humans by their fellows who don't have to is one of the most compelling arguments ever offered for the existence of a just, compassionate God. To disagree with this, it is necessary to advance some alternative explanations."
An obvious alternative explanation is clearly that humans are, like many other types of animals on the earth, social animals. We derive a significant survival advantage due to our social nature and social groups. As such it is very easy to hypothesize a totally non-supernatural reason for morality. Are ants (another social creature) given the Ten Commandments in order to know how to function as a social group? Are their actions "moral"?
It is quite easy to understand morality as a necessary outcome of groups of people living together in close proximity and working toward a single goal of survival.
Pro then proceeds to critique the Euthyphro Dilemma by pointing out that it
"… mischaracterizes the biblical view of God. Goodness is neither above God or merely willed by him. Instead ethics are grounded in his holy character. Moral notions are not arbitrary and given to caprice. They are fixed and grounded in Gods nature hence "perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness"
This is not necessarily a failure of the Euthyphro dilemma, however it is a clear statement of choosing one horn of the dilemma: that whatever God prefers is ipso facto "good" because it is his nature.
This is another unilateral claim about God that is not proffered with any evidence. The resultant conclusion that "God's nature is good because God is perfect in goodness" is little more than tautological
As for IGotUrOut's point about Abraham, I have no evidence that Abraham as described in the Bible existed, as such this is an extraneous point. However I will note that moral codes have obviously existed across all human civilizations, even those not touched by the Israelite society. If the "Commandments" would be needed to outline morality then one would expect to see no evidence of morality in, for example, Hindu societies. Or perhaps a more trenchant example would be Hammurabi's Code which may predate the Ten Commandments (it is difficult to tell since there is no penecontemporaneous copies of the Ten Commandments.)
To suppose that the only moral code is contained in the Pentateuch is to ignore the many other moral codes from other societies that had no Torah.
This is not part of the debate, however I did address Pro's earlier point and the logic underlying use of the Bible as science. The idea of science contradicting the Bible is not part of this debate and as such I will not address it here. (However it would make for a great second debate!)
1. http://www.millerandlevine.com..., cf various peer reviewed references within this citation).
First let me point out that at the end of last round when I stated "The Bible is not a science book but it is scientifically accurate. There is no scientific evidence that contradicts the Bible" was in response to my opponents last point in round3 when he stated "I must respectfully point out that this is a logic error. The fact that science sometimes agrees with the Bible......."
Is there a God?
Can the question of Gods existence be answered conclusively and in a rationally sound manner? Fortunately for the person willing to invest time the resounding answer is one can logically establish Gods existence far more conclusively than is commonly understood. The more deeply one probes this question, the more clear it becomes that disbelief in God is a smoke screen fashioned from outdated science, discredited but fashionable philosophy, and disingenuous, selective reasoning.
Argument from Design:
"Prior to Einstein's publication of the General Theory of Relativity one could have thought that supernatural design was completely unnecessary because it was believed (in accordance with Newton's postulates) that the universe existed for an infinite amount of time with an infinite amount of space and an infinite amount of interacting content. Therefore, there would have been an infinite number of "tries" for randomness to produce an orderly universe to bring about virtually any degree of complexity. Big Bang cosmology reduced the total number of "tries" in the observable universe to a very finite number. This comparatively small number of "total possible mass energy interactions in the universe for all time" revealed the extreme improbability of high degrees of complexity arising out of the universe by pure chance." This becomes evident by dissecting the most recent example of an attempt to do away with the notion of a created universe. At this point, one might ask what IS known by the scientific community regarding how unintelligent natural processes could have brought about life. The answer is simple.....none zero chance. Only intelligent processes could have brought about life. God is the only intelligent creator and ruler of the universe.
I know that many of our skeptical audience readers are now shouting at the top of their lungs, "You are committing the logical fallacy of argument from ignorance just because science doesn’t currently know how unintelligent natural processes could have produced life doesn't mean that it never will. We can't just give up and say, We don’t know how life emerged so God must be responsible. You are using God-of-the-gaps reasoning...... But the view that life could not have emerged from unintelligent natural processes is not an argument from ignorance. Rather it is an argument from knowledge.
The universe is a vast and complex chain of causes. But does the universe as a whole have a cause? Is there a first cause, an uncaused cause, a transcendent cause of the whole chain of causes? If not, then there is an infinite regress of causes, with no first link in the great cosmic chain. If so, then there is an eternal, necessary, independent, self-explanatory being with nothing above it, before it, or supporting it. It would have to explain itself as well as everything else, for if it needed something else as its explanation, its reason, its cause, then it would not be the first and uncaused cause. Such a being would have to be God, of course. If we can prove there is such a first cause, we will have proved there is a God.
Why must there be a first cause? Because if there isn't, then the whole universe is unexplained, and we have violated our Principle of Sufficient Reason for everything. If there is no first cause, each particular thing in the universe is explained in the short run, or proximately, by some other thing, but nothing is explained in the long run, or ultimately, and the universe as a whole is not explained. Everyone and everything says in turn, "Don't look to me for the final explanation. I'm just an instrument. Something else caused me." If that's all there is, then we have an endless passing of the buck. God is the one who says, "The buck stops here."
If there is no first cause, then the universe is like a great chain with many links each link is held up by the link above it, but the whole chain is held up by nothing. If there is no first cause, then the universe is like a railroad train moving without an engine. Each cars motion is explained proximately by the motion of the car in front of it the caboose moves because the boxcar pulls it, the boxcar moves because the cattle car pulls it, et cetera. But there is no engine to pull the first car and the whole train. That would be impossible, of course. But that is what the universe is like if there is no first cause: impossible.
One more analogy. Suppose I tell you there is a book that explains everything you want explained. You want that book very much. You ask me whether I have it. I say no, I have to get it from my wife. Does she have it? No, she has to get it from a neighbor. Does he have it? No, he has to get it from his teacher, who has to get it etc.... ad infinitum. No one actually has the book. In that case you will never get it. However long or short the chain of book borrowers may be, you will get the book only if someone actually has it and does not have to borrow it. Well, existence is like that book. Existence is handed down the chain of causes, from cause to effect. If there is no first cause, no being who is eternal and self sufficient, no being who has existence by his own nature and does not have to borrow it from someone else, then the gift of existence can never be passed down the chain to others, and no one will ever get it. But we did get it. We exist. We got the gift of existence from our causes, down the chain, and so did every actual being in the universe, from atoms to archangels. Therefore there must be a first cause of existence, God creator and ruler of the universe.
The Euthyphro dilemma "Are moral acts willed by God because they are good, or are they good because they are willed by God?" Another way of saying it is, does God say that things are moral because they are by nature moral, or do they become moral because God declares them to be?
The Euthyphro dilemma is a false dichotomy. It proposes only two options when another is possible. The third option is that good is based on God's nature. God appeals to nothing other than his own character for the standard of what is good, and then reveals what is good to us. It is wrong to lie because God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), not because God had to discover lying was wrong or that he arbitrarily declared it to be wrong. Therefore there is no dilemma since neither position in Euthyphro's dilemma represents theology.
God's moral nature is expressed toward us in the form of divine commands which constitute our moral duties. Things are right or wrong insofar as they are commanded or forbidden by God.
I would like to address the various points that IGotUrOuts has graciously provided in the debate.
Argument from Design:
Pro has argued that an "infinitely existing universe" is showhow an outcome of Newtonian Physics. However, to my knowledge there was no concept of an "infinitely existing" universe predicated on Newton's Laws. In point of fact Newton himself was rather religious and may have actually felt that the age of the universe was significantly younger than our current estimate (1).
There is nothing that necessary in Newtonian physics that decrees the universe be infinite in age to my knowledge, but I am not a cosmologist so I would gladly entertain a reference to more fully explain this point, however in the interest of time I realize this is probably not possible at this point.
Pro then goes on to establish the following claims:
"Big Bang cosmology reduced the total number of "tries" in the observable universe to a very finite number.
…At this point, one might ask what IS known by the scientific community regarding how unintelligent natural processes could have brought about life. The answer is simple.....none zero chance. Only intelligent processes could have brought about life. God is the only intelligent creator and ruler of the universe.
There is no mathematical rigor displayed in this assessment and I reject the unilateral decree that a finite set of "trials" would have exactly a "zero" chance of resulting in a universe that we have before us today. The universe is estimated at about 14GA, I find it highly unlikely that in that time the resultant probability of any given outcome is exactly "zero". I must respectfully reject this claim and leave open the possibility of a non-zero probability of the rather "nebulous" claim around the origin of life or "complexity".
Part of what one relies on in chemistry is the stochastic nature of the chemical and physical processes, but as in so many of these processes there are biasing factors. With sufficient energy certain reactions will occur and others will not. The system is anything but "pure random". To gloss over this fact repeatedly is to miss much of what is important in the debate. These biasing results will end up with non-zero probabilities for some things to happen in preference to others.
IGotUrOuts then proceeds to argue that this is not necessarily an argument from ignorance:
"We don’t know how life emerged so God must be responsible. You are using God-of-the-gaps reasoning...... But the view that life could not have emerged from unintelligent natural processes is not an argument from ignorance. Rather it is an argument from knowledge."
This is yet another ex cathedra claim as no "knowledge" is produced as to anything about the details, but rather a unilateral decree of "zero" probability followed by an implication that this leaves only "God" as the explanation. However again Pro has failed to provide the details about this conception of God or how it maps to the original claim in Round 1.
As humans have developed their understanding of biochemistry the mysterious becomes quite clear as we see time and again. The foundations of the chemical processes that underlie life are simply chemical reactions. There is nothing "supernatural" about the glycolysis pathways, no mystery around lipid bilayers. Many of the fundamental building blocks can be synthesized through wholly non-biological processes. There is virtually nothing about life qua life that requires a designer.
So I must respectfully traverse the claim that the current Pro position with regards to "Design" is little more than an exploitation of our collective remaining ignorance of the processes. At one point people thought plagues were caused by God's displeasure at humanity, but in the fullness of time we understood the theory of germs as well as statistics.
Let us for a moment go with the ideal of a first uncaused cause. What does that say about this "Cause"? It certainly doesn't give us any indication that this cause has many of the factors set out in the original round of a being "perfect in …wisdom, and goodness". No such set of attributes is derivable from the mere existence of the universe, hence the concept of God as set forth at the beginning of this debate is not satisfied through this line of reasoning.
Pro then brings up the "Principle of Sufficient Reason" to defend the need for a first uncaused cause:
This is still "God of the Gaps" reasoning. The unknown (and possibly unknowable) origin of the universe is herein unilaterally decreed to be "God". However this is not the fullness of the definition Pro established in Round 1.
This is positing the following logic train:
This is purely argument from ignorance of the ultimate cause.
IF IGotUrOut had established God merely as being "Perfect in Power" or simply as the "first uncaused cause" perhaps this would be sufficient. However this is not the case for the current definition of God as presented in the first round.
IGotUrOuts then covers my points about the Euthyphro Dilemma thusly:
"The Euthyphro dilemma is a false dichotomy. It proposes only two options when another is possible. The third option is that good is based on God's nature."
Then Good pre-exists God and God must do what is Good since it is his "nature". And of course the question remains as to where this concept of Good comes from.
Hence this is not a "third option". It is merely conflating the horns of the dilemma, stirring the pot madly and hoping that something new will arise from the words. However the dilemma covers this quite explicitly.
Since the scope of this debate is not the details of the Euthyphro Dilemma but rather the necessity of God to explain morality, the argument Pro has provided of morality as an outcome of God's nature is begging the question. There has so far been no evidence provided that God need exist in order to explain morality as humans practice it. In almost all cases of "moral actions" there is an immediate and obvious reason that relates wholly to the secular and material world for why a given action should be pursued rather than not. As an example:
Murder of an innocent is an "immoral act". If it were predicated solely on God's "Good nature" and God's willing of this due to his "good nature" then it would be unlikely that a mundane reason could be found for staying the hand of a murderer. But this is not the case. If murder is allowed in a society without moral opprobrium then we have a society that is extremely scary and unstable. If one murders freely then one can easily (and trivially) realize that they themselves can be easily murdered. Since almost no one wants to suffer and be murdered it becomes rather important that murder be "stopped" in society. There is nothing supernatural needed to explain our aversion to murder.
But if murder of an innocent is truly an "absolute wrong" carved into the very nature of the Creator of the Universe then it must surely be morally wrong for a tiger to kill an innocent child. Yet there is no construction of morality in which this is considered an "immoral act". And in fact we as people work to avoid tigers killing us by avoiding tigers or eliminating tigers and other predators from our presence. It is a matter of "survival" and hardly anything related to a supernatural cause.
I would like to thank my OPP for participating in this debate..................that being said............
My argument based on the origin of the universe has not been refuted by my OPP. We can agree that there is a being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe which is God.
As for my argument for morality which my OPP did not refute either I will also add both Richard Dawkins and Michael Ruse reasoning on morality lead to a conclusion that God exist.
Dawkins affirm the objective moral values and duties as he condemns child abuse and some evils of religion as he "calling attention to an anomaly"(using his terms)
In the wake of the current scandal over child abuse by priests , I have had a letter from an American woman in her mid forties who was brought up Roman Catholic. She has two strong recollections from when she was seven. She was sexually abused by her parish priest in his car. And around the same time a little school friend of hers, who had tragically died, went to hell because she was a Protestant. Or so my correspondent was led to believe by the then official doctrine of her church. Her view now is that, of these two examples of Roman Catholic child abuse, the one physical and the other mental, the second was by far the worst... Religion’s Real Child Abuse, By RICHARD DAWKINS
Dawkins believes that it is objectively wrong to sexually abuse another person, which affirms objective moral values and duties do exist.
In his book "Darwinism Defended" Michael Ruse stated "man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says, 2+2=5." Which he also affirms that objective moral values and duties do exist.
What both fail to see is that, their own reasoning on morality leads logically by proof by contraposition to the conclusion, both denies, that God exist.
1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist
3. Therefore God exist
As I come to my closing statement I need to point out a few things:
In round two my opponent stated "As for the existence of the Universe and it's first "cause", this is problematic because there is no reason to believe that the proximate "cause" of the Universe was anything like "God" as described in the opening point "
God as described creator and ruler of the universe describes the cause of the universe.
OPP stated in round two "A moral system can easily exist without reference to a being perfect in power, wisdom and goodness"
I certainly agree that we can develop ethical modes of behavior without reference to God. I agree that we can recognize objective moral values without reference to God. I agree that atheists can live moral lives and don't need God for that. But what I do not see is that in the absence of God, human beings are the source or the position of objective moral value. On the atheistic view, they are simply complex, evolutionary ideas that will eventually be swallowed up by the same cosmic process that created them up in the first place. And I don't see any reason to think that this species is the source of objective moral values in the universe.
Some phenomena within nature exhibit such exquisiteness of structure, function or interconnectedness that many people have found it natural if not inescapable to see a deliberative and directive mind behind those phenomena. The mind in question, being prior to nature itself, is typically taken to be supernatural. Philosophically inclined thinkers have both historically and at present labored to shape the relevant intuition into a more formal, logically rigorous inference. The resultant theistic arguments, in their various logical forms, share a focus on plan, purpose, intention and design, and are thus classified as teleological arguments or arguments from or to design.
Gaps in scientific knowledge are the basis for belief in God. Fine tuning does not rely on divine action as an explanation, but points out the striking precision of nature’s order in line with the requirements for human life, thus establishing a connection between physics and biology. As for the moral law, its use as a pointer to God can be understood in that human behavior has evolved in a way that is consistent with the idea of a good and loving creator known as God. Belief in any moral truth rests upon Gods existence.
Finally, although these pointers to God should encourage one to consider Gods existence, they must not be placed at the foundation of faith. The belief in a creator and the experience of a relationship with God does not rest solely on scientific justification.
Once again I need to thank my OPP for his/her participation in this debate and I look forward to another.......I also need to thank our audience without their participation this would nothing more that a conversation.........so thank you as well
I, too, thank IGotUrOuts for enaging in this debate and heartily second the thanks to the people following along.
In closing I wish to note that I do not feel that the original position decreed by Pro has been sufficiently supported by the evidene proposed.
IGotUrOuts stated they would bear the burden of proof of the existence of God as defined as a being who is all of the listed features (Perfect in power, wisdom and goodness) and who is worshipped as the creator and divine ruler of the universe by using the arguments of "the universe" (which we debated as the "first uncaused cause"), Morality, Pascal's Wager and "Argument from Design".
In the first round I pointed out that "Pascal's Wager" was not normally viewed as an evidence for the existence of God and asked that it be abandoned. Since Pro never brought it up again I assume that the point was conceded.
That left me with providing rebuttals to arguments around the Universe, Morality and Design. In almost all of these cases I noted that there was no reason to infer a being who had all of the definitiona properties established in opening round by Pro. While it is self-evident that people do worship a "God" (actually many versions) this is not proof of the existence of God so it only remained for me to point out that there was no necessary relationship between the various arguments posited by IGotUrOuts and some of the definitional attributes of "God" originally proposed.
The First Uncaused Cause is little more than an infinite regress ultimately winding up in a unilateral declaration that whatever it is we don't know about the primary cause must be God. I do not grant this as I feel it requires "special pleading" for God. God's definition can then take in anything since there is no factual basis for this other than whatever the opposing side needs God to be at the time.
Morality, as I pointed out, is not necessarily in requirement of a supernatural source. Even IGotUrOuts has acquiesced that atheists can have morality. I strenuously disagree with his characterization of Dawkins points about "right and wrong" as an indication of a necessary supernatural source for that knowledge. Any parent or person who cares about the welfare of a child would have a similar feeling that a non-consensual relationship in which one party is significantly more powerful than the other (no matter what the nature of that relationship is) and which results in hurting the weaker party falls very much in the same vein as my earlier discussion of "murder" and why that can easily be explained as a general "bad" action even without reference to a supernatural source of the information.
Finally the Argument from Design as posited by IGotUrOuts often devolved down to personal incredulity that something could be like much of what we find in nature without an intelligence behind the design. Pro then proceded to discuss the examples often in terms of human inventions like a mousetrap. This gives away the anthropomorphic bias that design and intellect are apparent whenever something works well and appears to be designed. But it, by no means, would be diagnostic of a being "perfect in power, wisdom and goodness". I fail to see how something like a mousetrap would suggest this and merely being impressed by molecular features on a bacterium hardly indicates perfection in wisdom much less "goodness".
In addition as I pointed out the "irreducible complexity" argument often falls flat precisely because many of the primary examples of irreducible complexity are anything but "irreducibly complex". The flagellum was discussed but there are other examples as I alluded to (such as the eye).
In general IGotUrOuts' evidentiary points failed to provide a necessary amount of proof that these things would require a being "perfect" in many of the requisite definitional properties. Perhaps one or two properties would be available, but that would not meet the burden of proof as outlined in the opening round.
IGotUrOuts' summary paragraph in which they say: "The belief in a creator and the experience of a relationship with God does not rest solely on scientific justification" is quite accurate. The concept of God is largely one of "faith". In the words of the author of (the Epistle to the) Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen". Clearly this is the case on the pro side of the argument about the existence of God.
Thank you for your time and attention and thanks to IGotUrOuts for a very nice debate.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||1||4|
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||3|