I am an Atheist. All that means is that I do not hold a belief in a God or God(s).
Atheism is not an assertion of anything other than that. Atheism is not a claim that God does not exist. It only alludes to the fact that I have not heard a God claim I am willing to accept. I don't believe a God doesn't exist anymore than I do IN one.
I do not hate any Gods. Remember, I don't believe in any Gods, and certainly don't project hate on anything I don't have reason to even believe exists. That would be quite absurd. Plainly put, I have a list of beliefs among which, God(s) are not listed. Fair enough?
Anybody accepting this debate will need to present good reason for me to form a belief in a God(s). The particular brand of God(s) is not important (religion). To this point, I have heard no good reason to answer the question in the OP with yes. You're job is to show that I am mistaken.
Whomever accepts this challenge will post the Argument of their choosing that they think will be most persuasive in this round upon, acceptance. I will respond to that argument at the beginning of the second round, immediately following my post, they will be able to make their rebuttal. Good luck to my opponent, I look forward to a fruitful exchange.
I welcome AdvocatiDiaboli to DDO and hope he finds it an enjoyable place to exchange ideas. I begin with the most complete description of the God I worship:
There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.
In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. 
Transcendental Argument for God's Existence (TAG)
TAG argues that God exists due to the impossibility of the contrary. Without God, it is impossible to know anything.
The Presuppositional Conflict of Worldviews
The existence of God is not proven in the same evidential way you might prove the existence of other things. All evidential approaches start from a position of neutrality and then "follow the evidence" to its proper conclusion. The problem is that there is no neutrality. We all have assumptions about reality.
The problem of infinite regression makes this apparent.  To convince someone of a truth claim, we use other truth claims, which themselves have to be justified, and so on. As finite beings we cannot justify every proposition forever. The point at which we stop the regression is the point we commit ourselves to some kind of truth we consider to be self-evident: a presupposition. The sum total of our presuppositions is called our worldview, which becomes the basis by which we interpret the whole of reality.
TAG argues that atheism is an invalid worldview by failing to satisfy the three criteria that determine if a worldview is logically coherent:
1. The worldview accounts for the necessary preconditions of human experience.
2. The accounts do not contradict the worldview's presuppositions.
3. The accounts are not abandoned when the worldview is lived out.
My opponent will attempt to refute TAG using the standard tools of debate: logic, science, and/or morality. Perhaps he will use only logic in this discourse, but whatever his methods, he can no longer take them for granted because I am now asking him to provide an account for logical laws, the uniformity of nature, and moral duties from within the atheistic worldview without breaking any three of the aforementioned criteria.
Laws of Logic
So what gives logic its law-like nature? First, a logical law does not need to be experienced in order to be true. We don't have to test the laws of logic in every conceivable time and place in the universe in order to accept their universality. Second, logical laws are abstract, not to be found as objects in nature. Third, logical laws aren't subject to change or revision.
Atheism cannot provide the necessary preconditions for the laws of logic, namely their universality, invariance, and immaterial nature without violating one of the criteria. To say the laws of logic are conventional, sociological, or material is to render them philosophically contingent, which is to say that the Law of Non-Contradiction, for example, could conceivably be untrue in some time, place, or world. But that is not how we treat the laws of logic. We treat them as abstract absolutes. Thus, this account violates Criterion 3: atheists cannot live out what they claim. They will claim logic is conventional, but they will behave otherwise.
If atheists do accept logic as abstract and absolute, then they contradict the fundamental presupposition of atheism: the cosmos is all there is, ever was, or ever will be. The cosmos is neither abstract nor absolute, so it alone cannot account for logic. Thus, we have an internal conflict within the worldview, and atheism does not meet Criterion 2.
God is immutable, immaterial, and universal, so he accounts for the preconditions of logic without contradicting Christian presuppositions. As a result, Christians can behave like logic is abstract and absolute without abandoning our presuppositions.
Uniformity of Nature
The necessary precondition for science is the uniformity in nature. On what basis does the atheist expect the future to behave like the past? 18th century philosopher David Hume argued that using past probabilities to answer the question involves circular reasoning since it would involve using the principle of induction to prove the principle of induction.  When it comes to the uniformity of nature, atheism fails on Criterion 1; they simply have no account, though that won't stop them from assuming it is uniform.
The Christian worldview, on the other hand, has no problem accounting for the uniformity of nature. Christianity presupposes that a perfectly unchanging God created and now governs the cosmos, so we can be confident that the future will behave like the past.
The most common objections to Christianity involve an appeal to morality: the problem of evil and suffering, the problem of eternal punishment, the problem of unbelief, and so on. All of these arguments criticize Christianity on the basis that it is an immoral philosophy.
Such arguments rely on morality being objective, but once again, atheism cannot account for abstract absolutes. Atheists will say morality is a social convention or a product of evolution, but either response is to render morality arbitrary. Atheists behave as though there are real moral absolutes when they engage in these kinds of arguments, but they cannot account for them, so again, atheism fails to meet Criterion 3.
In the Christian worldview, God is good and is the standard of goodness. He is unchanging and immaterial, so we have the necessary preconditions for abstract and absolute morality. Furthermore, when we behave as though morality is objective, we are operating wholly within our presuppositions. Thus, Christianity once again meets all criteria.
Atheism is not merely problematic, it is utterly incoherent. It is a non-starter when it comes to accounting for the very things it uses in its own defense. Since atheism is impossible, the only alternative is theism. I have chosen Christian theism as my worldview, but what matters is this: if atheism is false, then theism in general is true and the God's existence is affirmed.
Thanks for the warm welcome. I look forward to a productive exchange of ideas. In my challenge, I asserted that I have not heard a good reason to adopt a belief in a God. My challenge was to present one that could change my mind. My opponent has offered the below argument. Unfortunately for my opponent, this argument is not new to me, and is included my list, among others arguments, which I have already heard and reject. While I do not hold a belief in God, I do not claim it to be false. What I do reject are arguments made by men such as these. Such arguments that attempt to bridge gaps of ignorance with more ignorance and fallacious reasoning can be rejected outright. Before continuing, I would like to draw attention to a misconception you may have here. In your last argument, you have said things like “Atheism is false”. This is a nonsensical statement. This makes no more sense than saying that Bald is a hair color. I made it very clear that Atheism is just a lack of belief in a God. It has zero implications pertaining to any other claims. One can reject tales of Gods or claims of anything for that matter without adopting a belief either way. I thought I made it perfectly clear that I was challenging you to provide me with a good reason to adopt a belief in God. If you cannot, you only reinforce my belief that Atheism is a better stance pertaining to my stance towards Gods than that of Theism. I have not heard a Theist description of God that’s worth believing in to this point, I never made the claim that a God cannot exist. A complete worldview has nothing to do with why I’m an Atheist. I never claimed to have a complete worldview, you however did, but failed to support it.
Transcendental Argument for God's Existence (TAG)
I think what my opponent means to say is that TAG asserts that God exists because the proponents of it want to believe the impossibility of the contrary. TAG fails to show that without God, it is impossible to know anything.
If I can point out any flaws in the process of reason that brought my opponent to his conclusions, I can reject his conclusions for being fallaciously constructed, and therein, unreliable.
“TAG argues that atheism is an invalid worldview by failing to satisfy the three criteria that determine if a worldview is logically coherent:
- The worldview accounts for the necessary preconditions of human experience.
2. The accounts do not contradict the worldview's presuppositions.
3. The accounts are not abandoned when the worldview is lived out.”
You seem to be saying that ignorance can be overcome by simply invoking an entity. Your solution is a God-theory. The problem you are facing, is that your worldview is incomplete as mine is (Which I never said was a problem), you’re just okay with jamming God in as the absolute that requires no explanation.
Logical Absolutes are not explained by a theistic worldview
“So what gives logic its law-like nature? First, a logical law does not need to be experienced in order to be true. We don't have to test the laws of logic in every conceivable time and place in the universe in order to accept their universality. Second, logical laws are abstract, not to be found as objects in nature. Third, logical laws aren't subject to change or revision.”
“Test the laws of logic”? The laws of logic are not testable, nor are they a thing anymore than the number 3 is. You don’t test the number 3.
Logic, is the application of the Logical Laws or Absolutes. You are equivocating. Logic is conceptual by nature in the sense that it is contingent upon a thinking mind to utilize it. The absolute-true quality of something is not contingent upon anything, not even a mind. The statement- A rock is a rock- Is a true statement, and is an example of a logical absolute, or something that abides by the laws of logic. The law-part isn’t saying that any statement calling a rock a rock is true, nor is the statement itself an absolute. It’s an absolute in the sense that the substance that the statement is referring to either has the characteristics described within it, or it doesn’t. Something either is, or isn’t. That is a law and is in no part abstract or conceptual. The true-ness characteristic of the statement is not an entity that needs an explanation within a worldview. That’s quite an absurd claim. It is either true, or not, and is so, apart from any mind recognizing it as so, even a God-mind. Logic, which is the application of these absolutes to an object such as a rock, is the intellectual practice that allows me to measure the validity of anything with respect to these “Laws”. The laws themselves are not something that can be held or seen. They are not contingent upon anything, and yet everything that can be rationally understood, is subject to them as logical contingencies, even your God. If God is a mind, he can make statements using logic. His statements are contingent upon the logical laws of truth which even His very existence, Real or not, is contingent upon.
All things are contingent upon the laws of logic
If God is real, his existence is contingent upon the laws of logic
If God is contingent upon the laws of logic, then they are not a part of His nature and cannot be accounted for in a theistic world view.
“God is immutable, immaterial, and universal, so he accounts for the preconditions of logic without contradicting Christian presuppositions. As a result, Christians can behave like logic is abstract and absolute without abandoning our presuppositions.”
If God is contingent upon the laws of logic, then they are not accounted for in a theistic worldview.
Can God be both God and Not-God at the same time, in the same sense?
Can God make a weight so heavy, not even he could lift it?
Why not? The answer can be derived using logic which is conceptual. The laws upon which the characteristics of the things the questions are referring to are not conceptual. They don’t exist, but are just true, apart from anything and are independent of EVERYTHING. Even your God. They are the true-ness. Saying that these laws exist is like saying that the number 6 must exist, and therefore be accounted for in a world view! That’s quite absurd.
Logic being conceptual, is granted.
You are equivocating when you then begin to talk about the Laws of Logic being abstract or conceptual. As you have demonstrated, The Laws are not contingent upon anything, and are no more accounted for in your world view, than any other.
“Uniformity of Nature”
“The necessary precondition for science is the uniformity in nature. On what basis does the atheist expect the future to behave like the past?”
I don’t. I believe you'll need to prove this, I will not grant it at face value. It is not self-evident. Quantum Theory is a great example for why one shouldn't expect anything about nature. But rather attempt to understand it.
Since you’re begging for it, I’ll ask it.
Ahem…Why exactly are morals absolute? I don’t believe you. Keep in mind sir, the cart comes before the horse my friend. This statement, and the words that followed it in your argument, were anything but self-evident. I reject it on the basis that you have not established it as true, and must do that before using it as evidence for something else you are trying to prove.
If I can’t appeal to elves as evidence for Santa
You can’t appeal to Moral Absolutes as evidence for God.
No double standards here Sir.
“I have chosen Christian theism as my worldview, but what matters is this: if atheism is false, then theism in general is true and the God's existence is affirmed.”
Since we have established that the statement I have bolded above is nonsensical, and you have not proven anything about your ideas about God, not involving the fallacy of equivocation, we can reject the underlined part, which doesn’t in the least bit, follow from anything you’ve posted. I do appreciate your effort.
While I appreciate my opponent's wishful thinking that atheism is merely a lack of theism rather than its negation, the problem is that I argued entirely to the contrary. I argued there is no neutrality. I argued that my opponent and I both carry bias into the debate. Atheism therefore is not innocuous, particularly in light of my challenge. My opponent is free to argue that there is neutrality, but until he does so, he is only pretending to be neutral. Indeed, any attempt to presuppose that atheism is neutral is to beg the question of this debate.
Furthermore, my opponent's claim that it is meaningless to state that "atheism is false" is itself a fallacious move to render his position immune to falsification. It is a way of saying that I cannot even attempt to logically challenge his views. This is a bit disingenuous since the resolution before us was presented as a question. Are we to accept prima facie that answering in the negative is granted immunity from criticism yet answering in the affirmative is not? I hope my opponent is not as brazen as this. I may have burden of proof, but that does not mean atheism cannot be assailed as a part of my argumentation.
My opponent says TAG is included in the list of arguments he has heard and rejected. Unfortunately, his rejection of TAG appears to be based on a misunderstanding of how it works.
TAG focuses only on worldviews. It doesn't try to prove or disprove the worldviews' presuppositions. It instead examines those presuppositions for internal consistency. Any worldview that fails the criteria of rational consistency must be rejected as being false. My opponent has a worldview, even if he denies it. He has presuppositions about reality, what is possible and what is impossible, what has value and what doesn't. I don't know his personal worldview, but it doesn't matter. TAG argues that the Christian Worldview is the only correct worldview. If the Christian Worldview is the only correct worldview, then God exists.
Since TAG argues from worldviews, defeating it requires defeating its worldview-based premises. My opponent can argue that there really is neutrality and that worldviews are not ubiquitous. He could offer a competing "no-God" worldview that is internally consistent and sufficient in accounting for the preconditions of logic, science, and morality. He could simply show that the Christian worldview fails. What he did, unfortunately, was to brush worldviews aside and presume neutrality. As a result, his refutations are a straw man.
I chose a general atheist worldview, which is a naturalistic one (only matter and motion are real), as a point of comparison, showing how that worldview fails to be coherent. This was my only option having had the first word. If my opponent feels I did not represent his own worldview, he is welcome to offer it in challenge to my arguments. It certainly is not my goal to assume there are only two worldviews. It was my goal to challenge him to show me that the Christian worldview is not the only worldview that makes intelligible the preconditions of human experience.
"All things are contingent upon the laws of logic," says my opponent, which is a way of saying the laws of logic just are. This is not something he proved, it is something he presupposes. He also says that the laws of logic do not exist since they are abstract. The notion that abstract entities are not things that can exist presupposes that only material things can have that property. As you might expect, since God is also not material, such a presupposition will inevitably lead him to reject just about any evidence of God's existence. My opponent is biased towards materialism, hence he is not at all neutral. I, on the other hand, am perfectly okay with the notion that abstract entities—such as the number 3—exist. As you might expect, my presupposition lends itself towards an acceptance of evidence of God's existence, so I too am bias. We have here a presuppositional conflict between worldviews.
TAG doesn't care what my opponent or I think about the necessity or contingency of logic. Rather, it examines our presuppositions and tasks us to account for logic's law-like nature. Since TAG asks for an account for logic, my opponent begs the question of this debate by merely asserting that logic is metaphysically necessary without showing how that is possible in a worldview without God. If laws of logic are universally binding in this debate, what makes them universally binding in a reality that is only matter and motion? This question is crucial. If my opponent says he doesn't need to offer an account, then he begs the question. If he says that it is a convention, then he engages in irrationality—for who would admit that the laws of logic could be rewritten? I predict that he cannot provide an account that will be both honorable to the nature of logic and rationally consistent within his worldview.
The Christian worldview, on the other hand, does not have this conundrum. In that worldview, God is not contingent upon the laws of logic nor are the laws of logic contingent upon him. Rather, God is logical by his revealed nature. That is a presupposition. God is presupposed to be universal, invariant, and rational. The laws of logic are presupposed to be a reflection of his rational mind, thereby showing how the laws of logic can be also be universal and invariant. In the end, we both agree that logic is universally binding, but only the Christian worldview succeeds in accounting for that quality while still being internally coherent. Materialism cannot succeed in this regard, so materialism is false. (Again, I am using materialism in lieu of any other worldview my opponent might have in mind.)
My opponent's only answer here is to discredit science. Science requires uniformity of nature. To deny uniformity of nature is to make nonsensical the notions of observation, experimentation, and prediction. This is not something I have to prove, it is something science takes for granted. For science to work, I must be able to repeat things, and things can only be repeated in nature if nature is uniform in its behavior. That is precisely why TAG challenges non-theistic worldviews in this area. The worldview holder either denies the validity of science (which is nonsensical and an immediate defeater of that worldview) or they must account for the precondition of science in a way that is rational within that worldview. My opponent has sadly opted for the former.
My opponent's criticism here is a straw man. He seems to think I was proving God's existence by appealing to moral absolutes, which is not my argument at all. I argue that only the Christian Worldview can account for moral absolutes, and any worldview that attempts to deny moral absolutes will ultimately fail when put to the test. My opponent wants me to prove morality is absolute, but that's where he misunderstands the challenge. I am challenging my opponent to provide a worldview that does not fall flat on its face within its own ethical framework.
The Christian worldview presupposes moral absolutes and a morally perfect, unchanging God. I'm not trying to prove moral absolutes, I'm presupposing them and then showing how such presuppositions are rational. Any other worldview will fail when put to the morality test, but not the Christian worldview. This is, of course, an invitation to my opponent to put forth such a challenge.
My opponent seemed to think I was trying to prove God exists because laws of logic are universal, nature is uniform, and morality is absolute. That's not the argument. The argument is that we both take logic, science, and morality for granted as tools for rational discourse. We both have worldviews. TAG challenges my opponent to offer a worldview account for logic, science, and morality—three things I'm confident he's relied upon in his past investigations into God's existence.
This is not something he proved, it is something he presupposes. He also says that the laws of logic do not exist since they are abstract. The notion that abstract entities are not things that can exist presupposes that only material things can have that property."
I did not say this. I said they could not be abstract. Abstract implies the presence of a mind. Logical Absolutes are non-contingent upon a mind. Is 2 and 2 equal to 4, even if there's nobody to punch it into a calculator?
Here's an even better question...
Can God make 2+2 anything but 4? No? Why? Because God, even if he is real, is subject to these logical contingencies.
You did not address a single thing I said. You merely regurgitated the same things I shot down in your original post. You are obsessed with a world view because you really want this argument to make sense. The problem is that even if I grant that Logical Absolutes are accounted for in your world view...God's consciousness, is not.
All you've done is move the goal posts, and plug-in God, where logical absolutes used to be. Too bad we can't just grant the fore mentioned point. God is clearly subject to certain logical contingencies such as being unable to be both God and Not-God at the same time. I've laid all of this out in my last argument. All of this is really just a cute distraction to the fact that the OP challenges you to make an argument that makes ME think your belief is true.
Before this debate started, I had zero Theistic beliefs. You have not had any affect on my views. A good start would be addressing my actual words, and not your re-constructed version. You accuse me of straw-men? Hello Pot! This is Kettle....You are black!
I suggest my opponent address my actual points instead of just repeating things that have already had holes punched in them. It may be beneficial for you to spend less time telling me what you think my definition of Atheism is, and more time justifying your views of Theism. So far, you're not off to a good start.
My opponent has reminded me that he asked me to convince him of theism. Being that he is new to this website, I suppose he is not used to the custom that the debate is typically defined by the title. The question is, "Does God Exist?" Even if I ignore that, my opponent did specifically say that my "job is to show that [he is] mistaken" in his current position. So, I accepted the challenge.
I have no delusions that anyone would ever convince him to convert to the theism. Indeed, my emphasis on worldviews speaks to the fact that I fully expect his worldview to deny all forms of theism time and time again. He said I was tasked to show that he is mistaken, and the voters will decide if I succeeded, even if he is convinced I failed. He said the person "accepting this debate will need to present good reason for [him] to form a belief in God." Unfortunately for him, it's not up to him as to whether or not my reason is good.
I say this because my opponent seems to behave as though he is the default winner until such time that he personally confesses belief in God. I am afraid if he wants to gain ground with the readers, he'll have to do more than that. He'll have to explain why I am wrong. If all my defenses in the previous round are straw-men—as he alleges—then he needs to explain how so rather than just shout out some all-encompassing fallacy. Otherwise, it's just a bare assertion on his part. Ipse dixit. So sayeth AdvocatiDiaboli.
The fact is, he is just flat wrong when he says I "did not address a single thing [he] said." I addressed as much as I could in painstaking detail. He may not like it. He may think it was all rubbish, but he is just engaging in ad hominem to say I did not address anything at all. Indeed, my opponent is the one not addressing anything now. What about my challenge to the uniformity in nature? What about my challenge in morality? What about my challenge regarding neutrality? It's all just ignored because he's personally convince that he "already had holes punched in them." Well, there's not much I can do when a debater just folds his arm and says he's obviously already won.
I understand more clearly now Con's position on logic. It's not that he thinks abstract entities don't exist, but that the laws of logic are not abstract at all. Then what are they? He doesn't tell us. He just keeps asserting that the laws of logic are necessary to all things, including God. This begs the question. He asked for an argument, and I gave him one that asserts (among other things) that the laws of logic cannot be accounted for without God. He responds by saying that the laws of logic don't need accounting, as everything is contingent upon them. He's begging the very question he asked me to present to him. This is a debate, and if I am wrong, I expect an explanation as to how I am wrong so I can respond with adequate rebuttals. Just pointing at TAG and calling it names leaves me very little to go on.
Let's address Con's statement, "Can God make 2+2 anything but 4? No? Why? Because God, even if he is real, is subject to these logical contingencies."
The underlying presupposition of this statement is that everything is contingent from logic. This is a worldview presupposition, not something he just proved to us by other means. It's a blanket assumption. So be it. I'm okay with that because I've already championed the fact that we all have them. The problem is that I don't hold to the same presupposition he does. In my worldview (as I already explained and he conveniently ignored), I explained that God is logical. In my worldview, God is necessary and he is logical. Logic is not contingent upon him and he is not contingent upon logic. 2 + 2 will always equal 4 because God is logical by nature and he cannot deny his own nature. These are presuppositions. Assumptions.
Here is a picture illustrating my worldview. On the left is the concept that logic is contingent upon God. That is not my presupposition. My presupposition is on the right. Missing from this picture is Con's presupposition that God is contingent upon logic, but that's because this is a pricture from an old debate that I thought I'd shamelessly reuse here. Still, the image on the right illustrates my presupposition. My opponent is free to show how that is a logically inconsistent presupposition.
So, my opponent's claim that God cannot be accounted for in my worldview is just an altogether absurd claim. He is essentially saying the Christian worldview falls apart because it doesn't fit with his non-Christian presuppositions. Of course it doesn't. Now, if he disagrees with TAG's focus on worldviews, then he needs to argue why we shouldn't be using them, but he doesn't do that. He gave one rebuttal and now complains that I didn't accept that rebuttal at face value. It makes me wonder if he just expected me to concede everything after one attempt at refutation.
Clearly my opponent is not happy with me or my argument, but he did place the burden of proof upon me. If I have burden of proof, then I think it's only fair that he stick with the argument I presented rather than just presume that he's defeated it altogether. Maybe he feels like he hasn't made himself clear to me. I understand that. It happens a lot in debate. However, it's his task to clarify his rebuttals and point out my mistakes, not just cry foul and demand that I straighten up. I've tried to elaborate point by point in my previous rebuttal, and I sincerely tried to give his rebuttal its due. I'm not sure what more I can do.
At this point, my opponent has offered a small rebuttal in the area of logical laws, but he has not responded to my challenges in the areas of science and morality. He also has not challenged my epistemology on worldviews. On balance, it's fair to say that I have done my due diligence in defending TAG more than my opponent has succeeded in assailing it. Perhaps I'll have more to with which to work in the next round.
My opponent claims to be a champion of logic, yet the argument for which he seems to be a huge proponent of, does nothing but assault it. He continuously equivocates Logic and The Laws of Logic as if they were interchangeable.
Logic is contingent upon a human mind and is used in two ways:
Prescriptive Logic tells us how to discern truth:
It instructs us on how to process information in a way that matches reality. It prescribes principles to us that govern our reasoning so that we can drive it to more solid, better conclusions.
Descriptive Logic is the model
The way we accurately describe the behavior of our experience of reality.
My opponent is treating logic as prescriptive of the universe. That isn"t the case. The universe doesn"t need instructions, it is what it is. For him to posit that it is something else, he needs to prove it, and simply plugging in an entity as he"s attempted to do, only moves the goal-posts and begs the question.
My opponent supports an argument that suggests that these "Laws" exist as a product of God.
He thinks that in order to be able to successfully reject his personal brand of God, one must be able to account for the existence of these laws or their entire belief system must be false. This is another false dichotomy; he seems to be a big fan of this fallacy. My opponent thinks the only way to do this, is by invoking a God (preferably his version), attributing the laws to It, and then celebrating a job well-done! Hmm? Does anyone else see the obvious flaw in this logic? I"ve pointed it out before, but my opponent decided to address an argument of his own conjuring, rather than the one I presented him. So, I present this to you for your consideration.
Pro: One cannot account for the absolutes in an Atheist worldview. The Christian can, as we know such truth rests in Him.
Pro is saying that a worldview that cannot account for something is incomplete. Allow me to point out the hole he puts himself in.
Con: Since your world view is complete, and you know everything, you must be able to account for the answer to this last question: Why is God contingent upon the laws and not the other way around?
If the laws are a product of God, he cannot be subject to them. Pro makes it clear that he thinks his God to be immaterial since it is responsible for making material. Therefore, he must also exist outside these laws if God alone is the uncaused causer, the unmoved mover, the only infinite. But this doesn"t seem to be the case, does it Pro?
Can God be both God and Not-God at the same time? No, because he is contingent upon the laws, like all rationally understood concepts.
Can God make 2+2 anything but 4? No, because his abilities are contingent upon the laws, like all rationally understood concepts.
Can God make causes come after their effects? No? I think we"re starting to see a trend here.
It is clear that there is a force that is beyond the realm of the God that my opponent so carelessly assumed accounted for everything. After closer inspection we can see that all my opponent actually did, was move the goal posts. His world view is also incomplete, his argument fails. He then uses an argument from ignorance and pleas that you grant him this fallacy since an infinite regress is impossible! Clearly since an infinite regress is impossible, it must stop where he proposes!!! Ha ha ha, not quite sir. Your entire argument is fraught with fallacies.
Any rational being such as ourselves, cannot create an entity that is not bound by the same nature we are. Anything we conjure up will be subject to the same limitations our nature prescribes us to be. We are all bound by our nature, the same goes for our imaginative creations. This has been demonstrated with the creation my opponent offers.
I made no claim to have a complete world view. I do not have the audacity to make such a bold claim. I am okay with not knowing all the answers. When I look into the cosmos, I am humbled by the awesome universe that surrounds us. I said in the beginning that I do not hold a belief in a God. I do not know any to believe in. The only ones I have to choose from, are the ones offered to me by people. My opponent has offered a false dilemma when interpreting my Atheism. He claims that either I believe a God claim by some person on this earth, or, I am standing against the concept of a God all together. This is simply not true. As I said, I do not hold all the answers, I cannot make such a claim. I can, however, reject the God claims that I don"t think are reasonable. My opponent is probably an Atheist when it comes to the countless other Gods that have been offered since man-kinds first attempt to jam gaps of ignorance with false knowledge. I just go one God further. I will leave you with this:
"I am the wisest of all men, for I am aware of my own ignorance"
My opponent started this debate by asking a challenger to give him an argument for God's existence. I offered TAG, even providing a link that describes in the argument in deep detail, incase my own words didn't do it justice. Despite all this effort, the debate was unfortunately derailed.
The epistemology of worldviews
I tried to communicate clearly to the readers that TAG focuses on worldviews. That started with an argument that worldviews are inescapable. My opponent did not refute this and went so far as to say that it would be audacious to claim that his worldview was complete. It seems to me he does not understand that a worldview is not something that is complete or incomplete. A worldview is the set of one's presuppositions that are held consciously or unconsciously.
His misuse of the notion of worldview plays into his misunderstanding of TAG as a whole. He equates a worldview with "having all the answers." This leads him to mistake worldviews as being a set of conclusions rather than a set of assumptions: worldviews are starting points, not ending points. His take on worldviews then naturally leads him to believe that he is fairly neutral in his position, but as I argued previously, this is only a pretense.
This leads to the misinterpretation of TAG as an argument that puts God into the gaps, as though it is trying to invent God to explain logic, science, and morality. This misconception is even seen in the comments when love1626 states, "God exist [sic]. My faith make [sic] him exist [sic]." That's not the argument. TAG argues that everyone makes up something about reality, atheists and theists alike. This is why they have trouble debating each other: they have no common ground epistemologically. The one thing atheists and theists do both have in common are worldviews, so TAG argues using transcendental propositions (i.e., determining the necessary preconditions of things) to determine which worldview stands or falls when put to the test.
So, I put atheism to the test and showed how it failed. Then I put Christian theism to the test and showed how it didn't. Most of my opponent's rebuttals had nothing to do with worldviews, which is why they were straw man arguments, since TAG deals with worldviews and necessary preconditions. He only really dealt with the precondition of logic, which I discuss below.
Accounting for the preconditions of logic
Even in his final round, we are told what logic is but not how his or any non-theistic worldview can account for it. He has refused to account for logic on the grounds that he doesn't need to. He says I am committing the fallacy of equivocation by confusing prescriptive logic with descriptive logic, that I am "treating logic as prescriptive of the universe." He is wrong. He certainly thought I was saying that, but I wasn't.
I argued that logic is law-like, and that laws are universal, invariant, and immaterial out of transcendental necessity. I never argued that the universe is contingent upon them. He seemed to agree that logical laws were universally binding when he repeatedly stated that everything was contingent upon them.
So, we agreed that logical laws are universal. TAG challenged him to account for logic, and he never did. That is begging the question. When someone says he doesn't have to answer the challenge of a debate, then he is begging the audience to accept prima facie that he is already right. That is not debate. That is not rational. That is a stubborn refusal to enter into discourse.
Accounting for the preconditions of science and morality
TAG does not stand on logic alone, so my opponent's refusal to deal with these two other serious challenges is a red herring on his part. To my shock, he was so bold as to claim that he rejects the uniformity of nature, and I showed how such thinking is wholly irrational. With regards to morality, he turned my argument into a straw man, which I pointed out. From that point forward there was only silence on these two issues.
In Con's closing statements, he says the following:
"Any rational being such as ourselves, cannot create an entity that is not bound by the same nature we are. Anything we conjure up will be subject to the same limitations our nature prescribes us to be. We are all bound by our nature, the same goes for our imaginative creations. This has been demonstrated with the creation my opponent offers."
This really exposes my opponent's facade of neutrality. Notice how generalized this statement is and how it clearly exposes his bias. He is wholly convinced that my definition of God has to be limited by nature because of my own nature, which is the basis for his constant (and erroneous) claim that God is subject to the laws of logic. He can't see it any other way because his worldview prevents him from doing so. In this way he is a living contradiction: claiming neutrality when it is convenient then assaulting opposing arguments with wholehearted bias.
I think my opponent's disappointment lies in his wish that would argue on his turf: that is, according to his worldview. He really wanted me to accept his presuppositions about what logic and the nature of God can or cannot be. He created a debate that let him be the guy that just sits back and takes shots at the arguments rather than to take a stand for his position, so I took the challenge. I gave him my argument and at best he convinced us that he doesn't like TAG or my focus on worldviews. Unfortunately, liking something isn't an argument for it being false.
He offered initial refutation, which is what everyone expected. So, I responded with my defenses, showing how each refutation committed either the straw man fallacy or the question begging fallacy. After that, he stopped debating and just got mad that I didn't accept his first refutations as final. What kind of debate is this? Of course I didn't accept his refutations. That's my job as Pro.
I think my refutations outweigh his. In the area of logic we were given repeated assertions as to what logic is (which I never questioned) rather than how logic can be accounted for, which was TAG's challenge to him. In the area of science and morality, he just went silent. On balance, I think it is reasonable to vote Pro.