The Instigator
Christosapologia
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
DoneySump
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Does the Universe Have a Purpose

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Christosapologia
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/1/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,034 times Debate No: 17732
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

Christosapologia

Pro

Two agreed premises for the debate are as follows:

1. If the universe has no ultimate purpose then no God exists
2. If the universe does have a ultimate purpose, then a God exists

I hope we can have a rational discussion
DoneySump

Con

I accept. I will wait for my opponent to prove that the universe has ultimate purpose and god exists.
I am thankful for my opponent to offer such an interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Christosapologia

Pro

Considering the premises above, I will be giving arguments for the probable existence of God, thus if it is probable that God does exist then the universe has a ultimate purpose. The point of picking this specific topic is that my opponent must present evidence for why it is more plausible that God does not exist, so I await his evidence or reasons why God does not exist.

Argument 1:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its coming into being.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause for its coming into being.

Argument 2:
1. If something exists, there must exist what it takes for that thing to exist.
2. The universe, the actuall collection of beings in space and time exists.
3. Therefore, there must exist what it takes for the universe to exist.
4. What it takes for the universe to exist cannot exist within the universe or be bounded by space and time.
5. Therefore, what it takes for the universe to exist must transcend both space and time.

Argument 3
1. We have ideas of many things.
2. These ideas must arise either from ourselves or from things outside us.
3. One of the ideas we have is the idea of God an infinite, all-perfect being.
4. This idea could not have been caused by ourselves, because we know ourselves to be limited and imperfect, and no effect can be greater than its cause.
5. Therefore, the idea must have been caused by something outside us which has nothing less than the qualities contained in the idea of God.
6. But only God himself has those qualities.
7. Therefore God himself must be the cause of the idea we have of him.
8. Therefore God exists.

Argument 4:
1. Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.
2. But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.
3. Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.
4. This something is what people call "God" and "life with God forever."
DoneySump

Con

Counter arguments

1)

The premise of this is to prove that the universe has ultimate purpose and thusly the existence of god. In his first argument my opponent presents that the universe has come into existence and so, must have a cause for coming into existence. While the universe does indeed have a cause for coming into existence (http://en.wikipedia.org...) it did not necessarily have a purpose for coming into existence. The presumption that cause necessitates purpose is flawed. For example a rock is worn down by flowing water for years and eventually become sand. Yet the rock has no inherent purpose of being eroded and the river has no divine plan in its course. They are simply two natural forces interlocked in a cause and effect relationship. So yes, the universe has a cause for coming into existed as he purports, but no it did not have a purpose for coming into existence as the premise states.

2)

My only qualm with argument 2 is that the procession from point 3 to point for 4 is non sequitur. The universe must contain itself, and the means of its continuation must exist. Yet in no way is it implied that the means of propagating the universe must exist outside of the universe. If my opponent will elaborate on this point, rather than making a broad generalization, I believe it will do much for the debate. Until he presents adequate explanation for this rational, I believe that should be disregarded as an argument.

3)

The mistake in this logic is that people are capable of creativity and imagination. The idea of perfection is one that is as human as imperfection. Many people devote their lives to the pursuit of perfection, in art, in sports, and in technology. The very means of our sentience is the result of the ever-lasting search for biological perfection, evolution. So, to assume that humanity is alien to the concept of perfection is yet another skewed perception. When viewed in this light, the argument that god must exist because humanity cannot come up with the idea of perfection on their own, is a paper thin one at best. In fact, it makes sense that when confronted with a state they could not achieve, "perfection", they made up a being, "god", to personify the state they could not exist in. Humanity created god hold in the face of the realties of chaos and chance that we live in, as a beacon calling out to lost souls that redemption and personal perfection are possible. God is a symbol of perfection as a flag is a symbol for a country. It doesn't mean anything unless you believe in it. And as much as we may desire, just believing in something does not make it real.

4)

It is true that there are desires that we cannot satiate. It is true that there is a yearning, a desperate desire to believe in god because he offers one thing that cannot be granted by anything on earth. Escape from death, from the human condition, and absolved of our personal guilt, shame, and reservation. That is what god offers. Yet just because we desire it does not mean that it exists. We can work through guilt; abandon shame and reservation, yet nothing in this universe can allow for the escape of our simple truths. You cannot escape from death, you cannot transcend humanity, and you cannot have all of your desires filled because as humans our only natural desire is to desire more. More food, more sex, more money, more love, more life. Since "we know ourselves to be limited and imperfect" does it not make sense that we would desire for things that do not exist? Humanity is a work in progress, not a magnum opus.

Arguments

I challenge my opponent with this riddle of theodicy, regarding the perfection of god. Explain how god can be Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Benevolent while there is still suffering in the world.

If god is Omniscient and Omnipotent, then he has created a universe he doesn't care about and thus would not bother with an ultimate plan. Thus suffering.

If he is Omnipotent and Benevolent, then perhaps he created the world, but as he is not all knowing he cannot have a divine plan. Thus suffering.

Benevolent and Omniscient, then perhaps he is an observer in the universe, but cannot effect it in any way. Thus suffering.

If he has all three of these traits then it allows for the existence of a perfect god as you imply, yet to have all these traits are impossible in a world of suffering. Thus God cannot exist in a perfect form. For god to have the power to create the universe and also see through an ultimate plan he must have all three traits.

I present a second challenge. I have proposed a probable start and end of the universe (big bang and heat death). I challenge my opponent to name any possible signs of an ultimate purpose for the universe. Since the burden of proof generally lies on the side with little to no evidence I believe that this is a reasonable request.
Debate Round No. 2
Christosapologia

Pro

>>The premise of this is to prove that the universe has ultimate purpose and thus existence of god.<< (Argument 1)

No the argument is the other way round, if God exists then the universe must have a purpose.

>>While the universe does indeed have a cause for coming into existence it did not necessarily have a purpose for coming into existence.<<

Again the argument is not to prove the existence of a ultimate purpose, but the existence of God. For if we can establish that God probably does exist then it is likely the universe has a cause.

>>Yet the rock has no inherent purpose of being eroded and the river has no divine plan in its course.<<

This is a straw-man argument and also comparing apples with oranges. First the argument is not the rock or river has a ultimate plan or purpose, however it does have a purpose to some degree outside of itself.

I think my opponent misunderstood my argument, I was not arguing for the ultimate purpose of the universe from argument 1 but for the existence of God. The cause in argument 1 is what Christians call God and on the balance of probabilities and the acceptance of argument 1 by the opponent that is the universe had a cause and theists call that cause God.

>>The universe must contain itself<< (argument 2)

Not that is not correct, if we had a floor covered in red tiles, we say the floor is red, all red. If we have a universe full of dependence then we have one big "hull" of dependence and thus illogical to say it is dependant on itself.

Again my opponent has misunderstood the argument. I will add some commentary to the arguments presented. The second argument can be tied into the first argument relating to the cause of the universe. If the universe had a beginning then that means time, space and matter had a beginning as they are products of the universe. Which then would entail that the cause discussed in argument 1 is outside of time, space and matter. Something that is outside of time, space and matter must be by definition "supernatural", because it is not natural. Theists call that timeless, spaceless and matterless cause God.

>>The idea of perfection is one that is as human as imperfection.<<

But is that really enough? How can we think away limitation or imperfection unless we first recognize it as such? And how can we recognize it as such unless we already have some notion of infinite perfection? To recognize things as imperfect or finite involves the possession of a standard in thought that makes the recognition possible.
Does that seem farfetched? It does not mean that toddlers spend their time thinking about God. But it does mean that, however late in life you use the standard, however long before it comes explicitly into consciousness, still, the standard must be there in order for you to use it. But where did it come from? Not from your experience of yourself or of the world that exists outside you. For the idea of infinite perfection is already presupposed in our thinking about all these things and judging them imperfect. Therefore none of them can be the origin of the idea of God; only God himself can be that.

>> Opponent effectively saying that natural desire has no real objective<<

This is really not an objection to the argument from desire only, but to every deductive argument whatsoever, every syllogism. It is the old saw of John Stuart Mill and the nominalists against the syllogism. It presupposes empiricism that is, that the only way we can ever know anything is by sensing individual things and then generalizing, by induction. It excludes deduction because it excludes the knowledge of any universal truths (like our major premise). For nominalists do not believe in the existence of any universals except one (that all universals are only names).

This is very easy to refute. We can and do come to a knowledge of universal truths, like "all humans are mortal," not by sense experience alone (for we can never sense all humans) but through abstracting the common universal essence or nature of humanity from the few specimens we do experience by our senses. We know that all humans are mortal because humanity, as such, involves mortality, it is the nature of a human being to be mortal; mortality follows necessarily from its having an animal body. We can understand that. We have the power of understanding, or intellectual intuition, or insight, in addition to the mental powers of sensation and calculation, which are the only two the nominalist and empiricist give us. (We share sensation with animals and calculation with computers; where is the distinctively human way of knowing for the empiricist and nominalist?)

When there is no real connection between the nature of a proposition's subject and the nature of the predicate, the only way we can know the truth of that proposition is by sense experience and induction. For instance, we can know that all the books on this shelf are red only by looking at each one and counting them. But when there is a real connection between the nature of the subject and the nature of the predicate, we can know the truth of that proposition by understanding and insight—for instance, "Whatever has color must have size," or, "A Perfect Being would not be ignorant."

>>I challenge my opponent to name any possible signs of an ultimate purpose for the universe.<<

If God exists then there is an ultimate purpose to the universe, I am still waiting for my opponant to give some evidence to why God does not exist. The only evidence he has presented is in fact more evidence for the existence of God, namely the problem of evil, suffering etc.

If no perfect God exists then it is impossible for one to actually measure anything in this universe to some ultimate good. For instance how do you know a line is crooked without a ruler, likewise how do you know something is evil or wrong unless you have some ultimate standard to measure some "wrong" or "evil" by. Otherwise its merely your own arbitrary opinion what is wrong or evil and some others may call it right and good.

So I await some credible arguments that actually hold water to why God exists, if my opponent cannot then he fails the debate as on the balance of probabilities has failed to show that God does not exist and thus the universe has no purpose. Whilst I have presented several arguments to why it is more probable to believe that God does exist, leaving the premise to stand on its own, if God exists then the universe must have some cause.
DoneySump

Con

DoneySump forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Christosapologia

Pro

It seems my opponent has failed to provide any evidence that God does not exist. The original premises were that if God does exist than then the universe has a purpose. If God does not exist then it is more likely that the universe has no ultimate purpose.

For my opponent to win this debate he had to present credible arguments to why he thought God did not exist, he has failed to do so. In fact he presented more arguments for my main contention that God does exist. He argued that God did not exist because of suffering and evil in the world. This requires an objective morality or objective measurement of good for their to be evil, otherwise how would one know if something is evil if we don't have an objective standard of good.

Just to recap, I have presented several arguments regarding the existence of God in which a small attempt was made to rebut them, though not very well. My main contention was if God does exist then the universe has some sort of ultimate purpose.

I will state my arguments again:

Argument 1:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its coming into being.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause for its coming into being.

Argument 2:
1. If something exists, there must exist what it takes for that thing to exist.
2. The universe, the actuall collection of beings in space and time exists.
3. Therefore, there must exist what it takes for the universe to exist.
4. What it takes for the universe to exist cannot exist within the universe or be bounded by space and time.
5. Therefore, what it takes for the universe to exist must transcend both space and time.

Argument 3
1. We have ideas of many things.
2. These ideas must arise either from ourselves or from things outside us.
3. One of the ideas we have is the idea of God an infinite, all-perfect being.
4. This idea could not have been caused by ourselves, because we know ourselves to be limited and imperfect, and no effect can be greater than its cause.
5. Therefore, the idea must have been caused by something outside us which has nothing less than the qualities contained in the idea of God.
6. But only God himself has those qualities.
7. Therefore God himself must be the cause of the idea we have of him.
8. Therefore God exists.

Argument 4:
1. Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.
2. But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.
3. Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.
4. This something is what people call "God" and "life with God forever."

I will also reiterate my rebuttals of his refutation:

>>The premise of this is to prove that the universe has ultimate purpose and thus existence of god.<< (Argument 1)

No the argument is the other way round, if God exists then the universe must have a purpose.

>>While the universe does indeed have a cause for coming into existence it did not necessarily have a purpose for coming into existence.<<

Again the argument is not to prove the existence of a ultimate purpose, but the existence of God. For if we can establish that God probably does exist then it is likely the universe has a cause.

>>Yet the rock has no inherent purpose of being eroded and the river has no divine plan in its course.<<

This is a straw-man argument and also comparing apples with oranges. First the argument is not the rock or river has a ultimate plan or purpose, however it does have a purpose to some degree outside of itself.

I think my opponent misunderstood my argument, I was not arguing for the ultimate purpose of the universe from argument 1 but for the existence of God. The cause in argument 1 is what Christians call God and on the balance of probabilities and the acceptance of argument 1 by the opponent that is the universe had a cause and theists call that cause God.

>>The universe must contain itself<< (argument 2)

Not that is not correct, if we had a floor covered in red tiles, we say the floor is red, all red. If we have a universe full of dependence then we have one big "hull" of dependence and thus illogical to say it is dependant on itself.

Again my opponent has misunderstood the argument. I will add some commentary to the arguments presented. The second argument can be tied into the first argument relating to the cause of the universe. If the universe had a beginning then that means time, space and matter had a beginning as they are products of the universe. Which then would entail that the cause discussed in argument 1 is outside of time, space and matter. Something that is outside of time, space and matter must be by definition "supernatural", because it is not natural. Theists call that timeless, spaceless and matterless cause God.

>>The idea of perfection is one that is as human as imperfection.<<

But is that really enough? How can we think away limitation or imperfection unless we first recognize it as such? And how can we recognize it as such unless we already have some notion of infinite perfection? To recognize things as imperfect or finite involves the possession of a standard in thought that makes the recognition possible.
Does that seem farfetched? It does not mean that toddlers spend their time thinking about God. But it does mean that, however late in life you use the standard, however long before it comes explicitly into consciousness, still, the standard must be there in order for you to use it. But where did it come from? Not from your experience of yourself or of the world that exists outside you. For the idea of infinite perfection is already presupposed in our thinking about all these things and judging them imperfect. Therefore none of them can be the origin of the idea of God; only God himself can be that.

>> Opponent effectively saying that natural desire has no real objective<<

This is really not an objection to the argument from desire only, but to every deductive argument whatsoever, every syllogism. It is the old saw of John Stuart Mill and the nominalists against the syllogism. It presupposes empiricism that is, that the only way we can ever know anything is by sensing individual things and then generalizing, by induction. It excludes deduction because it excludes the knowledge of any universal truths (like our major premise). For nominalists do not believe in the existence of any universals except one (that all universals are only names).

This is very easy to refute. We can and do come to a knowledge of universal truths, like "all humans are mortal," not by sense experience alone (for we can never sense all humans) but through abstracting the common universal essence or nature of humanity from the few specimens we do experience by our senses. We know that all humans are mortal because humanity, as such, involves mortality, it is the nature of a human being to be mortal; mortality follows necessarily from its having an animal body. We can understand that. We have the power of understanding, or intellectual intuition, or insight, in addition to the mental powers of sensation and calculation, which are the only two the nominalist and empiricist give us. (We share sensation with animals and calculation with computers; where is the distinctively human way of knowing for the empiricist and nominalist?)

When there is no real connection between the nature of a proposition's subject and the nature of the predicate, the only way we can know the truth of that proposition is by sense experience and induction. For instance, we can know that all the books on this shelf are red only by looking at each one and counting them. But when there is a real connection between the nature of the subject and the nature of the predicate, we can know the truth of that proposition by understanding and insight—for instance, "Whatever has color must have size," or, "A Perfect Being would not be ignorant."
DoneySump

Con

DoneySump forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by daley 5 years ago
daley
How do you know for sure he exists? What is it exactly that proved it to you?
Posted by Christosapologia 5 years ago
Christosapologia
I know God exists based on good evidence, the same type of faith I have in a bridge that it wont fall down when I drive over it is the same type of faith I have in the existence of God, based on GOOD EVIDENCE. Do you know the difference with blind faith and just faith? The Greek has two different words for what we have one word for, distinguishing the two different types of faith.
Posted by daley 5 years ago
daley
Does Pro know for sure that God exists, or does he only believe it?
Posted by Christosapologia 5 years ago
Christosapologia
>>bat god having made us as like a piece of art or something and just left us here.. for nothin<<

Yes that could be possible but is it more likely, if a god took all this trouble in making humans etc etc that there is no real purpose? As a civil case lawyer we go on the balance of probabilities and I would say if there is a personal god, then it is more likely to think this personal god has a purpose for His creation.

You may say well how can we know there is a personal God if you are a diest? Well impersonal objects cant make things personal. We are personal beings, thus it would make a good argument to why God is personal. This is more for another debate and its 4am here...
Posted by OMGJustinBieber 5 years ago
OMGJustinBieber
It's really a God debate.
Posted by el-badgero 5 years ago
el-badgero
we're a dooms day device...
Posted by el-badgero 5 years ago
el-badgero
they seem reasonable enough. bar god having made us as like a piece of art or something and just left us here.. for nothing..
Posted by wjmelements 5 years ago
wjmelements
Those are some pretty out-there premises.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by InquireTruth 5 years ago
InquireTruth
ChristosapologiaDoneySumpTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Points for forfeit but the resolution was confusing. It seemed it would be centering around the idea that the universe had a purpose therefore God, not the other way around (per the title).