Does the Christian God exist?
I, personally, have zero knowledge of any Gods, so it would be impossible of me to say for certain whether or not one exists. I don"t know what a God looks like, nor do I have any way of knowing what a God does not look like. I am merely limited to the God theories that are presented to me by people, and it is those that can be determined as believable or not. That being said, because it is the human claims of the Christian God, and not an actual God that are being presented to me, I will have to wait for a human to step up, and offer the version they hold to be true. I"m willing to bet that my challenger will not be able to establish the Christian God as true. I wait on baited breath to hear the version they offer up for consideration! Go ahead"present your God, and establish that it exists.
It is my hope that my opponent recognizes the rules of argument. Please refrain from begging the question or circular logic in the form of Biblical evidence. We are not arguing whether or not something is written in The Bible, we are arguing whether or not your interpretation the God you've discovered in there actually exists. Therefore, It can't be used as evidence.
Please refrain from shifting the burden of proof. You are claiming a God exists, and it will be your claims that we will assess. I have made no claims, as I have not heard what you have to say. I cannot make any decision on whether or not its believable. I will not ask you to disprove all the other thousands of Gods available to choose from before acknowledging your lack of belief in them, please grant me the same courtesy.
Before I begin I think we need to set something straight: I will not be arguing for the truth of Christianity. Let me describe the difference.
Everyone has to start without any belief in God or religion. Then, we learn certain things from living in the world. Some people from their reason to the existence of a supreme being. This is called "God." This is belief in God and this is what I will be arguing for.
However, Christianity is different. Some people claim to have received revelations from God. This can be in personal conversations, through an angel, etc. Islam for example is said to be revelation of God in the Koran. Jews believe God gradually revealed Himself to the people through Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, etc. Christians have the specific belief that God revealed Himself through His son Jesus Christ. Christ's teachings make up the body of Christianity. Therefore, belief in Christianity is separate from belief in God because belief in Christianity is the specific belief in things that God has revealed. It presupposes God's existence. Hence St. Thomas Aquinas called belief in God a "preamble to the faith."
I am not going to argue that God has revealed Himself in the Christian religion. I will argue that God exists. The kind of being I will describe certainly FITS the Christian description although it does not ENTAIL that Christianity is true. Now I will begin with a few arguments.
These are not all possible arguments for God. if con feels as though my arguments are too broad and need to be narrowed down for the debate, I will do that and either provide different arguments or clarify the ones below. I will offer 3. They will start from the effect and proceed to a cause without a priori understanding of that cause. This last statement is crucial because both pro and con should begin this kind of debate withholding belief in God. I also want to clarify something about this kind of argument:
We are not arguing from the unknown to the known but from the known to the unknown. This means that I am not postulating the possible existence of a being with certain attributes, calling it God, and testing to see if it exists. This is a faulty way to reason in this set of circumstances. It assumes prior knowledge of God or it takes some being and proposes it to explain something in the world --like a scientific hypothesis. Belief in God is not like that. We must begin with what we know about the world and move from there to what we do not know. Hence I will start off with simple truths of experience and reason from there as to what kind of cause these entail.
My first argument proceeds from the contingency of things and attempts to demonstrate a necessary being. My argument does not say that a necessary being is the best hypothesis but a necessary conclusion. What qualities this necessary being must possess is something I will argue for later if necessary (pardon the pun).
The second argument proceeds from fine tuning to arguing for the only reasonable explanation of that fine tuning. It differs from the first in the type of being that is demonstrated and also it differs because in the second I am proposing the best (and I argue the only rational) explanation for the facts.
The third argument proceeds from the immateriality of the mind and moves to a cause of this.
In each argument I want to make something clear before it comes up: "God" is just a word. I cannot prove that any of the arguments prove "God" ...because "G-O-D" is just a sequence of letters. What I can do is explain what kind of being each argument demonstrates exists. As I said earlier, I am moving from effect to cause. In terms of this debate, neither of us have prior knowledge of what the cause is or might be like. For this reason, it is no real objection to say "you didn't prove that your god as this or that trait!" because for all I know, it does not! We have to look to what is proven and see what implications that has afterwards.
I. Argument from Contingency
Definitions: A contingent thing is something that depends on something else for its existence. A necessary thing is that which exists by the necessity of its own nature.
P1) If all that exists in the world is contingent things, there is no ultimate explanation
P2) There must be an ultimate explanation for existence
C1) It is impossible that everything be contingent therefore we must admit a necessary being.
Proof of 1- A contingent thing points to something else for its existence as a cause or explanation. This is because the nature of the thing in question does not tell us that it exists. A contingent thing therefore is the kind of thing that might exist but might not. Therefore, the explanation for its existence cannot be in itself (i.e. cannot reside in the nature of the thing) but must be in something else that gave it existence. I can further defend this premise if you wish, but for now all I will say is this: If the sum of existing things is contingent, the sum of existing things must point outside itself for an explanation of its existence but there would be nothing outside of the sum of existing things. Therefore, there would be no explanation if we postulate everything exists contingently.
Proof of 2: This is a simple intuitive claim that we should accept if we want to be reasonable. Also, it can be defended using a number of metaphysical ideas. For the sake of time I will just say that if there is no ultimate explanation, it is in principle at least highly unlikely anything exists.
Here is an analogy to sum up the argument: A cart is being pulled in a train. The movement of this cart is contingent if it depends on something else for its movement. The cart depends on something else for its movement if the type of cart it is cannot explain why it is moving (i.e. it has no engine of its own). If all carts were like this, we could have no explanation of the train moving because there would be no engine. yet we need an explanation because if there is no explanation, there is no movement at all (we need an engine). Hence a car must exist that includes an engine and explains the movement of the train. this is an analogy its not meant to be perfect just to show what I mean.
The conclusion of this argument is a being that exists by the necessity of its nature meaning its essence and existence are somehow one.
Argument II - Fine tuning of the universe
1 There exists anthropic coincidences that are necessary for human life
2 These may either be explained by chance or by design
3 Since there are so many it is near impossible they exist by chance
C They exist by design
We conclude therefore: There is at least 1 entity that has designed the universe with human beings as at least part of the goal. This entity(s) must exist outside of the known universe and have the power to design the laws of the universe. The God of the J-C tradition is a reasonable conclusion (although not definite) because this God is described as a personal being that creates with humans in mind.
P1 is accepted by almost all physicists. P3 is the main premise. I will leave this for a later time because I am running out of characters. I will handle objections round 2.
Further reading from a physicist: http://www.firstthings.com...
Argument III- The soul
1 Humans are at least part immaterial
2 Matter cannot produce the immaterial
C There exists an immaterial entity that gives an immaterial component to humans
Here is the defense of P1 using qualia:
Imagine you are locked in a room from birth that is black and white. You have never seen the color red. Yet you are a color scientist who sets out to understand red. You study from books and measurements all that can be known about light and visual perception. after all this you know all you can know about the physical qualities of red. you step out of the room once this is complete and see red for the first time. Do you learn something new? Yes because you learn the experience of red. Yet you knew all physical traits of red, so there must be a non-physical part of the subjective experience of red.
P2- an effect must exist in some way in the cause. It would be illogical that a material process or material entity could cause an immaterial entity of some sort.
The conclusion is an immaterial being that gives some sort of immaterial component to the human being. This entails a being with the following attributes:
3) Intelligence and Will
4) Interest in humans
5) can effect the universe
These are the foundations or outlines of my arguments. Certainly I have not proven everything. I have not taken on every objection. If you need clarification on anything, I am happy to give it. If you think my arguments fail, please explain which premises are problematic and I will respond. If you think that my arguments don't show enough...patience
First of all, let me just thank my opponent for accepting this challenge. I look forward to a productive exchange of thoughts.
I said in my opening argument, that I cannot disprove "God". I do not have any knowledge of the word being anything more than a concept, conjured by man to satisfy gaps of ignorance. My opponent eludes to this. My opponent will try to convince you that he resolve this by deductive reasoning. He thinks that if we start with what we know, and work our way back, then we can find ourselves rationally standing in front of a sign that has the word "God" clearly written on it, and a detailed list of the properties that must be assigned to it. There is, of course, a problem here. Some of you may have already spotted it, however, I will address it soon enough, as well as the other arguments my opponent has offered.
His first argument is this:
I. Argument from Contingency
P1) If all that exists in the world is contingent things, there is no ultimate explanation
My opponent is overlooking alternatives here. An infinite regress certainly seems to be difficult to wrap our minds around. However, if my opponent is a supporter of God, and infinite state is not something he's at all unwilling to accept as true. Therefore an infinite regress, is not something he's in a position to dispute. His entire argument ultimately rests upon an infinite being. If it can be true for his God, then why not the universe? Who's to say that's not exactly what's going on?
He wants to believe in a God, so he wants you to accept the following, which can be derived from the argument he's provided above:
Either all things are contingent, or there is an explanation.
All things being contingent seems to be an explanation right there! It just isn't the one my opponent wants to hear. Because, if this is true, what is his God contingent upon? Hmm...? I suspect we'll be covering this in the near future.
Let me offer another epistemological position you may adopt:
I don't know.
Considering that the word God seems to be carelessly inserted wherever the statement "I don't know" would normally be used, and the lack of evidence defining a specific God to fit the bill, "I don't know" seems like a perfectly acceptable position to hold here. Consider this:
Things that do not exist, have no verifiable properties, no comparable results, and zero reproducible evidence.
A God has no verifiable properties, no comparable results, and zero reproducible evidence.
A God does not exist.
My opponent did not provide a reason to believe that the conclusion above is not true.
Lastly, my opponent commits the analogy fallacy with his comparison of Carts and Motion. A cart doesn't need an engine to move. It could be going down a hill, and even if it weren't. Not to mention, whether or not it appears to be moving to an observer on earth, both the observer and the cart are, in fact, moving quite fast. It exists in time, it is on earth, and is traveling through time whether my opponent recognizes it or not. This analogy is not at all comparable with the origins of the universe, in fact, it doesn't even explain movement properly.
Next argument provided by my opponent:
Argument II - Fine tuning of the universe
This argument might as well read like this:
Life exists in the universe.
It seems highly unlikely to me and my understanding of time.
I can't fathom how it could have occurred by chance.
So I'm willing to invoke an agent, and to it, I am willing to attribute this awesome feat!
This is called an argument from ignorance. I don't know what else it could be, so it must be God. I don't think I need to spend much more time pointing to the laziness of this pathetic argument.
My opponent has not ruled out chance, and simply saying that it seems really unlikely, doesn't at all do the job. Chance is still a viable option, and one I'm willing to believe is more likely. Especially since I don't know of any Gods, so I can't say what they'd be capable of. My opponent has not offered any evidence to change my opinion, so I will go with what makes more sense. Chance. Even if it is highly improbable, it has more probability than a conjured concept, which has NONE.
The final, and possibly the worst argument thus far:
Argument III- The soul
My opponent begs the question by even suggesting that the immaterial exists at all, and the weak analogy he provides is nothing more than conjecture.
The electricity that flows through the neurotransmitters in your material brain, it too, is matter. The concept of immaterial anything, is nothing more than conjecture. My opponent presupposes the existence of the immaterial mind, and is wrong to do so.
There is not evidence for anything immaterial. That would need to be proven before it could be used as evidence for my opponents claims. The existence of a immaterial mind has the same amount of evidence as a soul. ZERO. This entire argument is non sequitur.
I don't know where you were going with that analogy, but it missed it's mark completely, if there ever was one to hit!
The perception of Red, is completely subjective. However, it's existence, can be confirmed by a third party. The "properties" of red as you put it, are nothing more than the subjective perception of the physical being that sees it. So, what research was your scientist doing exactly?
Knowing all the parts of the brain, and how it functions is not all science is limited to. You seem to be suggesting that the thoughts that occur within it are somehow unknowable or are a separate bit of knowledge that can't be known by anyone else. I submit to you...modern science: http://youtu.be...
So there you go. Your whole argument crumbled.
My opponent has not provided any reason to believe that his version of what a God would be, exists anywhere but in his imagination. Until he does, it is more reasonable to lean away from his position, and say that his God probably does not exist.
Contingent- A thing that depends on something else for its existence. This means in scholastic terminology that its essence is distinct from its existence. An essence is WHAT something is, existence is THAT it is. Something that has an essence distinct from its act of existence cannot explain (cause) itself. The reason is that the essence is only possible. Something that is possible cannot cause or explain anything because possibilities do not exist. Hence to say that something is self caused is to say that WHAT something is explains THAT it is...but this cannot be the case in a contingent thing because by DEFINITION a contingent thing has an essence DISTINCT from its existence, so we cannot get from a WHAT to a THAT. I can write a book describing the birth and life of Joe Blow the Alien. This book describes a distant galaxy and a man on it and his life. It is logically coherent. The WHAT of the story cannot tell us IF that story describes reality or not. This is because the story is contingent or dependent on something else.
A necessary being is one that exists by the necessity of its own nature. This means that the WHAT and the THAT are one and the same. It does not mean it causes itself to exist, but that it EXPLAINS its own existence because of what it is. It would be absurd to say it does not exist because this would be a contradiction in terms.
Now the argument:
1) If all that exists in the world is contingent, there would be no ultimate explanation
Proof- Contingent things have essences distinct from existence. This means they point outside themselves to some entity for existence to explain how the essence was joined to the act of existence. The book example above cannot explain itself, it must point beyond itself for an explanation of WHY it describes reality. This is how contingent things are. Since the act of existence is separate from its essence, it necessarily points beyond itself for existence. If all things that existed were contingent, we would have a bunch of essence distinct from the acts of existence. But where would the act of existence come from? It could not be found in the sum of existing things because these are contingent and BY DEFINITION point outside of themselves for existence. But to point outside of the sum of existing things is to point to nothing. Nothing is no ultimate explanation because nothing is well, not anything at all! Hence there is no ultimate explanation. By ultimate explanation here I mean something that can explain existence itself.
2) There must be an ultimate explanation
Proof- Reason attests to this fact. Is Atheism reasonable? Besides, there must be because the act of existence cannot come from nowhere. I cannot go into the deep metaphysics involved. But the more plausible and common sense thing to do is accept premise 2. I will offer a SKETCH of why:
If there is no ultimate explanation, nothing could exist at all in principle. If the totality of things does not possess for itself the act of existence, then it must point outside of itself in order to receive the act of existence. YET the totality of existing things possess all things! How can it point outside of itself! It cannot, therefore if the totality of existing things points outside of itself for existence, and there is no existence outside of the totality of things, then it follows that there really is no totality of things. In other words, a totality of things that must point outside of itself to receive the act of existence is manifestly absurd! Since by definition contingent things point outside of themselves for existence, it follows that a totality of existing things being contingent is absurd. The only way in principle to have existence is to have an ultimate explanation. In other words, by metaphysical necessity we need something that can exist by its own nature. In this way it explains the following:
1) Its own existence, (2) the existence of contingent things and (3) Leaves no loose ends. Any loose end we have is an absurdity because it arbitrarily assigns something an act of existence which is impossible. This was a brief summary.
Con argues for an infinite regress. I do not see how this is relevant at all. Did I mention an infinite regress? Did I deny one could occur? If we assume that there are infinitely many contingent things, my argument still stands. That is because whether there is one contingent thing or infinite, the contingent things CANNOT be explained without reference to something necessary. Re-read my argument. Replace it with "infinite" contingent things. Does that take away its force?
There is no "I don't know here" I have hopefully demonstrated that I do in fact know that a necessary being MUST exist.
Further, my train analogy was just an analogy to demonstrate contingent vs. necessary and ultimate explanations. I said that above. Taking it literally is a red herring. As an explanatory analogy it was not meant to prove anything. Further, NOTHING I HAVE SAID THIS FAR HAS TO DO WITH THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE. My arguments stand in an eternal universe because they have to do with contingent and necessary NOT beginning and eternal.
II. Teleological argument
Con uses a straw-man. He implicitly denies premise 1 by saying that "it seems unlikely to me!" This is not the case. If he read my link above (and I will post more below) it has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME. It has everything to do with scientific anthropic coincidences. These are coincidences in the values of certain constants in physics (e.g. mass of the proton) that if they were different, they could not have allowed life to exist (or even matter to exist). Since there are so many, it is highly improbable that they exist coincidentally. Hence the rational answer is that they don't and instead they exist by design. My link explains that. Further, con misses the point. You cannot simply posit chance because you do not know of a God. If the probability of the anthropic coincidences occurring by chance is 1/1000000 (just a random number) wouldn't it be more likely and more reasonable to posit a different explanation. Namely, not by chance, but by design? Its not an argument from "I don't know" its an argument from "Since the chances are so low, the RATIONAL conclusion is design" Its like if someone won the lottery 5 straight times. Even if we know of no possible explanation or HOW this person did it, the RATIONAL explanation would be THAT he did in fact cheat. This is not an argument from ignorance, but the most rational assumption given what we DO know.
It seems as though con did not look at the article I provided explaining this in detail. The article is from a physicist.
I do not beg the question. From what you said it seems like you do not know what begging the question is. Begging the question is a form of circular reasoning. Here is what begging the question actually is: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Anyway, I do not just assert that humans are part immaterial. You just assert all that exists is matter and energy. YOu provide no explanation of why. Your video is actually irrelevant.
Secondly, you misunderstand neuroscience. Its not electricity flowing through neurotransmitters. Its action potentials flowing through neurons which sometimes causes the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You also misunderstand "presuppose." Presuppose means that I assume the immaterial mind W/O giving an explanation. But in fact, I used qualia as the explanation! Hence I do not presuppose, but demonstrate!
Next, qualia is not an analogy but a demonstration. I am not saying that red is immaterial. Actually, you prove my argument! The existence of red can be confirmed by a third party! Even a color blind person! This is because we can quantitatively describe color! But the *knowledge* of red that we have when we *see* it goes beyond the physical because studying the physical alone can be done by someone who is color blind! But if they study red, they still never have *complete knowledge* of red! Ergo....
Pro pretends to reason backwards from what he knows. Pro dubiously claims that he is not starting at God, but being deductively lead to an agent that fits the bill, and it just so happens to be God! I am not fooled, and neither should you be. Look:
“Con starts by saying that there is no sign that says "God." The problem is that I cannot, and no one can, prove that "God" exists in the sense that the letters G-O-D are fittingly assigned to said being. I am arguing for the existence of certain beings using 3 arguments.”-Pro
I present this objection to the justification offered by Pro for his dishonest conjuring. If the regress that we follow using Pro’s deductive reasoning leads us to darkness, and not a sign pointing a God, and Pro admits this, then it is nothing more than creative liberty to assert a God. Pro has not offered justification for us accepting the God of his Gaps.
Pro did not address the following argument I presented to him in the previous round, I will assume he just read over it…
P1) Things that do not exist, have no verifiable properties, no comparable results, and zero reproducible evidence.
P2) A God has no verifiable properties, no comparable results, and zero reproducible evidence.
C) A God does not exist.
At face value, this premise seems fine. Except, in a moment, Pro is going to pull a bait-and-switch. This entire premise revolves around what Pro thinks is an acceptable “ultimate explanation”.
The ultimate explanation that Pro desires could very well be something that is beyond the scope of Pro’s comprehension.
Examine the conclusion offered here in Pro’s first “proof”. I will underline the part that is prudent to my objection…
“But to point outside of the sum of existing things is to point to nothing. Nothing is no ultimate explanation because nothing is well, not anything at all! Hence there is no ultimate explanation. By ultimate explanation here I mean something that can explain existence itself.”
Pro is saying that if one does not believe in a God, they are reduced to the following conclusion: If “The sum of existing things”(The Known Universe) is contingent, it must be contingent upon nothing, because our known universe, is all that has ever existed. Therefore, the only thing remaining for The Universe to be contingent upon is nothing.
I ask Pro one question in response to this: How do you know?
How many universes are there?
What are the laws of the universes outside of our own? Are they different? Same?
How do you know that “The sum of all things” is even an intellectually coherent statement?
Keep these things in mind when looking at Pro’s second premise…
I will grant this premise as well. However, Pro must acknowledge that this “ultimate explanation” may be outside his scope of comprehension.
Let’s look at the Proof offered by pro, and see if there’s anything that points to God being this explanation…
In an argument about whether or not the God Pro claims to exist actually exists, Pro asks “Is Atheism reasonable?”. Is it reasonable not to believe in a God? Given that Pro has failed to establish his, it is most certainly reasonable not to believe him. Pro seems to be misinformed when he thinks Atheism is the belief that the universe came from nowhere. That’s quite absurd. Atheists can believe the universe came from any number of occurrences, but most of them (myself included) tend to be honest and say-I don’t know. Atheism pertains to belief in Gods. Agnosticism denotes a position concerning knowledge. I am agnostic with regards to the origin of the universe and the existence of Gods, I am an Atheist with regards to my belief in such God’s, I have none. I clearly outlined this in the opening argument, but it was bound to be distorted sooner or later. Now that the Red Herring has been removed from our path, where were we? Ah, yes! There is still no evidence here for the existence of God. Next!
“ I will offer a SKETCH of why”
Here we go again!...
Pro is equivocating The Universe (as we know it), with the totality of all possible existence (which we cannot know). Look at the following argument from ignorance pertaining to this point:
“It cannot, therefore if the totality of existing things points outside of itself for existence, and there is no existence outside of the totality of things, then it follows that there really is no totality of things. In other words, a totality of things that must point outside of itself to receive the act of existence is manifestly absurd!”-Pro
Because you don’t know and because you don’t understand, are not reasons to accept the claim made by you to resolve it. Provide evidence or desist. This is the most arrogant line in the entire thing. I couldn’t have painted a better picture myself:
“There is no “I don't know here" I have hopefully demonstrated that I do in fact know that a necessary being MUST exist.”
No…You haven’t. Not even close.
Well, no. At least, not exactly.
Pro’s original post in round one was this:
“Argument II - Fine tuning of the universe
My response in this in Round two was this:
“This argument might as well read like this:
1) Life exists in the universe.
2) It seems highly unlikely to me and my understanding of time.
3) I can't fathom how it could have occurred by chance.
4) So I'm willing to invoke an agent, and to it, I am willing to attribute this awesome feat!
That brings us to Pro’s most current version:
“Con uses a straw-man. He implicitly denies premise 1 by saying that ‘it seems unlikely to me’ ”
What I did was rephrase your argument. This is called Reductio Ad Absurdum. The logic and substance were the same, I just reworded it. If it sounded absurd, you can take full credit for that. The words “It seems unlikely to me” were used to illustrate your line of reasoning. I doubt very seriously that anyone in the audience had as much trouble following along, but just for clarification purposes.
III. Immateriality(Con’s 3rd argument, unchanged)
Immateriality has not been proved. If it were proved, it could be used to support the existence of a soul, which if proved, could be used to support your claims of a God. Your reference to that which is immaterial remains unproven and unexplained.
“I used qualia as the explanation! Hence I do not presuppose, but demonstrate”-Pro
Pro’s “qualia” was a failed analogy that only demonstrated that he doesn’t have a single good argument for the existence of God. It did nothing to prove the existence of immaterial. Hence, any use of it to support an immaterial God is begging the question. QED.
Has Pro shown that the universe must be contingent upon his God? No. Only that there’s an answer somewhere, nothing points to it being his God.
Has Pro shown that a God must have necessarily created the universe? No. Only that the universe coming together is an amazingly complex and rare event. Nothing Pro has said makes us think that this isn’t exactly the universe we could expect if it were in fact formed by chance.
Has Pro shown that immateriality exists? No. Only that people can in fact, verify that you see a color, which in turn can be seen by an unbiased third party. Pro hasn’t really done anything with this argument, I’m not even sure he knows what he’s even getting at any more than we do.
Pro’s entire argument remains crippled by some major objections that Pro has failed to reconcile. Pro has not offered any reason to accept that his God is anything more than a wedge offered to fill the gaps made by the absence of knowledge.
So its my job to prove the beings, con's job to refute. Now listen, if con doesn't want to call my beings "god" that's up to him. But the point is WHAT YOU CALL IT doesn't change the force of my argument.
I did not respond to that argument con gave against God. The reason is that if I reason to the existence of a certain being then there is the evidence right there. We need not experimentally measure the existence of my being, we can deduce its existence from what we know. We have no experimental evidence of what goes on in a black hole. Some scientists attempt to deduce that knowledge however from what we do know.
Now, on to my arguments. For the sake of the rest of my arguments I will not be referring to the beings I prove by the name "God" as this seems to create a lot of confusion for con. I will simply be describing them according to what the argument leads a rational person to believe in.
I. Contingency: By ultimate explanation here, I did not mean a descriptive one necessarily. As I have explained before, I mean something to join the act of existence to the essence of a contingent thing. As I explained, contingent things have existence and essence that are separate. The necessary thing (if one exists) has an existence that is one with its essence. This is deep scholastic terminology that I cannot go through in 9000 characters. So I will provide a link: http://www.fordham.edu...
When I speak of an ultimate explanation, I am talking about something that closes all questions and leaves no new ones open. This would be some sort of being that we do not have to ask "where did it receive its act of existence?" and one that would explain the existence of contingent things. I argue that this ultimate explanation cannot be in principle a contingent thing. The reason is that contingent things are by definition those things that point outside of themselves for their existence. Therefore, it raises a new question, namely, "Where did said being receive its act of existence?" Hence the only tenable ultimate explanation is a being that exists by the necessity of its own nature, or one that IS the act of existence itself. I agree that the necessary being is beyond the scope of my comprehension. That is irrelevant however.
Con asks me the question how do I know. I respond: I know because IF all that exists is contingent things, we are left with the question: "What made the essence of contingent things (which has the potential to exist) receive the act of existence?" This question cannot be answered by pointing to a contingent entity because THE ESSENCE of a contingent entity cannot explain the act of existence. The reason is that an essence cannot DO ANYTHING prior to its existence. Possible existence has no power, as any reasonable person should conclude. Therefore it naturally follows, that the answer to my question above "what made...etc." must lie in a necessary being or in nothing at all. If it lies in nothing at all, there is no ultimate explanation. But no ultimate explanation is an affront to reason. Also, it is an affront to the metaphysics as I have explained. Therefore, the only conclusion is that a necessary being exists.
There is one main fallacy that I would ask everyone to notice. Con calls the sum of existing things the known universe. THIS IS NOT MY ARGUMENT. The known universe is included in the sum of existing things. But if there are existing things outside of this universe, wouldn't it follow that these things to are part of the sum of existing things? I do not know how many universes there are, but it has no bearing on my argument, because if those universes exist, they are part of the sum of existing things! Clearly, con has attacked a straw man.
Further, for the sake of argument, let's posit an infinitely large multiverse. If the multiverse exists contingently (essence distinct from existence) then it must point outside of itself for something to join the essence to existence because given sound metaphysics, we know that potential existence cannot be the cause of itself as it is only potential and potency has no power. Therefore, if the multiverse is contingent, it must point outside of itself for an explanation I.e. something to confer an act of existence. Yet this thing itself would be in need of an explanation unless it was a necessary being. Hence we must posit a necessary being. Con might respond "what if the multiverse was necessary?" but given sound metaphysics this wouldn't make sense. I hope to explain this in the next round if I have character space.
The sum of existing things is a coherent statement. It just means all that exists. If I need to explain that, then 9000 words is not enough!!
Argument 1 therefore stands.
Con, you seem to misunderstand what is meant by a Reductio argument. A reduction argument does not mean rewriting an argument so that it sounds absurd. That is actually a straw man argument and it is a fallacy. A Reductio argument is where you follow the argument to its conclusion and show that the conclusion is absurd. Or you could use the premise of the argument in another argument and show that the premise itself leads to absurdities. This is not what you did. I think you like throwing out big philosophical terms without really understanding them.
My reasoning again has nothing to do with "it seems unlikely to me." I provided 2 links about anthropic coincidences. One was by a physicist, the other by a philosopher. Maybe it is modern science you have the problem with. As I have explained, there are different constants in the laws of physics that exist that MUST exist for life. This is not my opinion but physical necessity. I personally actually do not know what would make life more or less likely. I am going by what science tells us. Science tells us that these anthropic coincidences exist. These are AGAIN not my opinion, but part of the laws of physics. If you read my article, or even glanced at it, you would understand.
Hopefully the audience does not fall for con's tactic. Notice he equates "It seems unlikely to me" with "There exist anthropic coincidences necessary for human life" The second time in his rebuttal where he equates one of my premises with something less rigorous. Does con rely on straw men to make his points.
One last comment, EVEN IF YOU THINK THAT THE TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT DOES NOT PROVE A DESIGNER, you should be honest enough to recognize the existence of "fine-tuning." You seem to say that this is only in my head. However, the physicists who study this stuff would disagree. Now, some of them are atheists and do not agree with my argument, BUT still they do not deny the anthropic coincidences. Argument 2 remains untouched.
Con, once again, you fail to see that the "qualia" argument was not an analogy but an argument. Second, you misunderstand begging the question. Begging the question does not mean "raises the question." begging the question means assuming the conclusion in the premise. I do not do this. I do however, raise the question "how do we know the immaterial exists in the human?" But I do not leave this question unanswered. I use the qualia argument (and I linked to a philosophy encyclopedia to explain it in depth) to affirm my premise.
Moreover, con has not rebutted the qualia argument, only denied it. Restated:
1) Assume you are a scientist who is locked in a color-less room since birth. You study colors and vision
2) You learn all that you can know physically about red (wavelength, how the retina detects it, etc.)
3) You step out of the room and see red, you learn something new, namely, what red "looks like"
Conclusion- Since by 2 you learned all physical knowledge about red, yet you learn something new in 3, it follows that there must be something non-physical about the *knowledge* of red. Hence some knowledge is immaterial.
Which premise is false?
Con uses straw men, misunderstands science/phil. He does not see the evidence. ergo...