The Instigator
ChristusExemplar
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
bladerunner060
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

General Theism Contains a True Proposition for God's Existence

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Post Voting Period
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after 6 votes the winner is...
bladerunner060
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,167 times Debate No: 31358
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (6)

 

ChristusExemplar

Pro

(1) Defining Theism

I will define traditional (or according to the resolution, 'general') theism as the following: "There exists necessarily a person without a body who necessarily is eternal, perfectly free, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, and the creator of all things" (R. Swinburne, 'The Existence of God'; p. 6).

Dr. Rick Cornish further expounds, "Theism believes that one infinite, personal God is the ultimate reality... this God created the universe, disclosed Himself to mankind, and gets involved with this world and us, unprompted by any force outside Himself. He is transcendent over the world and immanent (currently present and active) within it" (R. Cornish, '5 Minute Apologist'; cp. 2005, p. 78)

To expound further with Swinburne's claim of 'person-hood': "By person I mean an individual with basic powers (to act intentionally), purposes, and beliefs" (R. Swinburne, "Is There A God?"; cp. 2010, p. 5). According to this definition, theists mean to say that due to God's faculties of perfect and non-coercive actions, He is able to act 'intentionally' (Ibid. p. 6) with the affairs of the world. To summarize the attributes of God as such by the following definitions:

(a) Omnipotent (All-powerful)
(b) Omniscient (All-knowing)
(c) Perfectly Free
(d) Transcendent
(e) Immanent
(f) Creator
(g) Perfectly Good
(h) Omnipresent (see Swinburne, 'Is There A God', p. 11 for more on this subject)

(2) Defining Atheism

I will be defining atheism as the following: "'Atheism' means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God" (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; 2004). George Smith in his atheological volume "Atheism: The Case Against God" (1979) gives a sympathetic discussion to how to properly understand atheism. He writes:

The prefix "a" means "without," so the term "a-theism" literally means "without theism", or without belief in god or gods. Atheism, therefore, is the absence of theistic belief. One who does not believe in the existence of a god or supernatural being is properly designated as an atheist" Atheism, in its basic form, is not a belief: it is the absence of belief (p. 7, cp. 1979; Promotheus Books).

The problem with this definition (see his chapter on Atheism) is that Atheism presupposes Theism. In other words, atheism is the default position while theism attempts to challenge the status quo. However, this is most notably not the case. The status quo does not presume "an absence of belief in god(s)" while theism challenges that quo.

If we have the proposition "God does exist", we must consider whether or not it is true, and if it is true, it must also be capable of being false (Wittgenstein). Let us then examine my case for Theism.

(3) The Cosmological Argument

According to the kalam Cosmological Argument ("kalam" is the Arabic word for "speech"), the premises function as rather mathematical in scope, and also appeal to certain contemporary evidences from Big Bang Cosmology to support the conclusion of a First Cause bringing the universe into being. For the rest of this post, we will be referring to the following argument:

(1.0) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
(2.0) The Universe began to exist.
(3.0) Therefore, the Universe has a cause.

This syllogism follows the basic criteria of valid deductive logic (i.e., the terms distribute, the conclusion follows, etc.), but our question before us is whether or not the argument is sound (true). The argument establishes a few things: (i) the impossibility of an infinite regress, or the universe being actualized, (ii) the beginning of the universe a finite time ago, and (iii) personal agency bringing the universe into being.

(3.1) Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

The question was first raised by Gottfried Leibniz in his 1697 essay, "On the Ultimate Origins of Things", and as such has been a topic discussed even more prevalently in contemporary philosophical circles. However, what did Leibniz have to say about the matter?

(3.2) Leibniz's Recognition of Contingent Facts

Leibniz in the beginning of his essay recognizes that there is a "being who rules" beyond the collection of finite things, and thus not only constitutes as merely above the world or outside of it, but rather an ultimate reason for the entire contingent faculty. He states his premise as:

* (2.0) [This cause] is the only extramundane thing, i.e. the only thing that exists out of the world; and nothing in the world could be the ultimate reason for things.

To expound upon this premise, let us imagine that before us we have set of finite or contingent objects, each of which that do not seem to have the sufficient reason for why they exist in and of themselves. Rather, the sufficient reason for their existence must be outside of them.

From this point, we can keep going down the line of contingent objects for an infinite duration, and thus never reach an ultimate explanation of the entire set, or, we can come to a final and necessary sufficient reason for the entire set itself. To this Leibniz says, an ultimate explanation is grounded upon something "metaphysically necessary"; or [to be defined], a "thing"s essence to include existence".

According to Leibniz, the fact that the entire set extends to an infinite amount of contingent things accounting for one another outside of themselves is not an explanation for why the entire set itself exists. We therefore, need an ultimate explanation of the given set. This ultimate explanation, as Richard Swinburne defines, "A complete explanation of some events in which all the factors involved have no further explanation, full or partial, in terms of earlier causes constitutes what I shall call an ultimate explanation of the event. (R. Swinburne, "Is There a God?"; cp. 2010, p. 36)
bladerunner060

Con

Thank you to Pro for initiating this debate.

I would like to clarify something at the outset to avoid any potential semantical arguments about the proposition:

It is: "General Theism Contains a True Proposition for God's Existence". I am taking this to be equivalent to "General Theism is True" (with General Theism/God defined by Pro further down), as opposed to simply "General Theism Contains a True Proposition" (For example: "P1 If Grass is generally green God Exists, P2 Grass is Green, C Therefore God exists" is a ridiculous argument, but it's second premise is, in fact, true). I think the former is the grammatically correct reading of the motion, bu t
i wanted to be clear. I'm optimistic gamesmanship wasn't Pro's intention, and that this clarification was unnecessary, but thought it best to include it.

On to Pro's R1:

1

I accept Pro's 1 as the definition of theism he will be defending (it is not necessarily so that a theist defend all that Pro postulated, however, Pro has specified HIS theism, and I shall assume that is the theism he will be defending).

2

For Pro's 2, he makes some comments about atheism. He defines it, then notes that he feels there is a problem with it, in that he feels that "atheism" cannot be the default position because "atheism" presupposes theism. This is true, of course, only definitionally; without there BEING a theism, there would be no need for the term "a-thesim". We could just as easily define the terms as "Realism" (the acknoledgement of no evidence for god) and "A-realism" (the rejection of logic in order to presuppose a divine being), and then try to refute god by claiming that the god claim presupposes the lack of evidence of his existence. It's a semantical game.

Pro does not give his expectation of the explicit definition of atheism, he gives a definition that he immediately finds fault with. Of course, this is irrelevant to the motion.

Pro has the full BoP here, clearly, as the one making an affirmative claim. He asserts that "General Theism Contains a True Proposition for God's Existence". Thus, if he fails in his BoP, the motion does not stand. This, of course, is the right way of things: the theist makes a claim, and the atheist need only refute it. The atheist need not prove that a god is impossible (although, depending on the god claim, he may be able to), but rather, that the claims that god exists have failed their BoP.

For clarity's sake: There is "Hard" atheism, which asserts that God does NOT exist (an actual claim), and "Soft" atheism, which simply does not accept the claim of the existence of God as true. "Soft" atheism simply lacks the belief in god, and makes no affirmative claim. It is open to being convinced, if a convincing argument surfaces, but in the absence of such evidence, it rejects the claim being presented to it. "Soft" atheism is sometimes called "agnosticism", but there are problems with this usage of "agnosticism", as agnosticism is, in general, a claim about knowledge (do we KNOW there is or is not a god), not a claim, per se, about belief. As long as we all understand what's meant by the respective terms, however, I see no problem with thinking of either form as "correct". Again, though, these definitional games are largely irrelevant at present. The burden is not on my to prove a case, but only to show that Pro has not made his.

3

Which brings us to the arguments presented by Pro.

The Cosmological Argument (CA)

A1 The CA, as presented by Pro, does not establish his case even if accepted at face value. There is nothing in the CA that establishes, for example, that the cause has personal agency. Nor does it establish that the "cause" is Omnipresent, or Omnibenevolent (Perfectly Good, to use Pro's terminology).

A2 The CA cannot be accepted at face value. There is an unstated part of P1 that is missing: Everything that begins to exist in this universe has a cause. Even that's not entirely certain: virtual particles [1] are things which have no cause, and which "come from nothing".

A3 The concept of "begin" requires time, and our understanding of time breaks down at the big bang. In a very real sense, it can be said that the universe has existed "for all time", that "all" of time being about 15 billion years. Was there another universe or another time on the other side of that? We have no way, at present, of determining that.[2]

A4 Con's 3i is untrue; he says that the argument established "the imposssibility of an infinite regress". It does not. It simply says that if there ISN'T an infinite regress, and is instead a beginning, there must be a cause for that beginning.

3.1 Is not an argument for a deity. It appears to be a lead-in to 3.2.

3.2 The argument here is another "first cause" argument that does nothing to establish any more of Pro's premise. A cause does not necessitate a personal being. The arguments against an infinite regression seem little more than a Dressed-up Zeno's paradox.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.hawking.org.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
ChristusExemplar

Pro

I would like to thank the negative (Con) for responding to the resolution and his willingness to debate.

(1) Defining Theism

I took my position as "general theism", meaning that by definition any person who holds such a position holds to the omniattributes including personal agency. I am not advocating pantheism (could also be called naturalistic theism), Panentheism, or what have you. I do not take this to be "my" theism as by definition it is a position held by all [Orthodox] Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. I understand that there are differences about theism in regards to Open Theism, Process Theology, and etc., but those points are irrelevant for the resolution before us.

(2) Defining Atheism

In regards to how the negative has defined his position of atheism, I indeed was afraid what he expresses to be "a semantical game." My reason for defining atheism as I did and the fault I find with particular claims such as the following:

(a) Atheism is a 'denial' of a claim, not a claim in and of itself.
(b) Atheism is absence of belief.

Are due to the atheist's misunderstanding of his own position. Atheism as I have defined it is the "negation of theism; the denial of the existence of God." As such, my opponent takes a negative position to the proposition "God does exist." Proper debate etiquette and even logical discourse requires us to examine the proposition as whether or not true. However, a Wittgensteinian principle would show us that for a proposition to be true, it must also be capable of being false. Therefore, I am leaving open for my opponent the possibility that theism could be falsified (whether be via reductio ad absurdum arguments, the problem of evil, or what have you).

If my opponent takes a negative position to the resolution before us, and even more so offers reasons why (I am sure we are not here to listen to mere opinions), then my opponent moves from opinion to supported belief (which can be questioned or challenged). My opponent cannot say that the resolution is false in spite of my arguments, but rather must offer reasons as to why the resolution before him is false on its grounds. As such, my opponent had made the following statement:

"The burden is not on my to prove a case, but only to show that Pro has not made his." My opponent is highly mistaken on this issue. Even if he were to ever so swiftly show my case to be false, and that none of my arguments stand, he still does not show the proposition before us to itself be false. IF he falsified my case, then at best we are all left as agnostics on this issue, not atheists. In conclusion, I do not accept my opponents definitions of atheism or the BoP he think he does not have.

(3) The Cosmological Argument

My opponent suggests that "there is nothing in the CA that establishes, for example, that the cause has personal agency." However, I will draw my example from Philosopher Brian Leftow who comments on the issue of a personal agent "acting" outside of time and influencing time:

"Well, obviously, a lot of personal predicates won"t apply. He can"t forget. You can only forget what"s in your past. He can"t cease to do something. You can only cease to do something that"s over in your past. But there are other personal predicates that don"t seem to make an essential reference to time " things like knowing, which can just be a dispositional state without a temporal reference. And, I would argue, intending as well. Having an intention can be a dispositional state such that if certain things were to occur you would do something. So I"m inclined to think that there are reasons to think that God is outside time. (A. Flew; cp. 2009, p. 152)"

My position is most clarified by Thomas Tracy who also writes:

""human person as an agent organism, a body capable of intentional action. But though all embodied agents (such as human persons) must be psycho-physical unites (and not minds plus bodies), all agents do not have to be embodied" God is an agent" whose every activity is intentional action. To speak of God as a personal being is to talk of him as an agent of intentional actions."

The distinguishing factor to notice is God's intentionality - this is what establishes God the personal agency my argument suggests (i.e. that He willed the universe into being, intentionally).

(3.2) Something Cannot Come From Nothing

My opponent commits what is known as the "straw man fallacy". By this, he misunderstands what I mean by premise (1.0) - "Everything that begins to exist has a cause". As such, quantum indeterminacy does not particularly constitute as a counter-factual to this premise. As the argument goes, quantum physics shows at the subatomic level so-called "virtual particles" coming into being out of nothing tunneling at very high speeds through a vacuum. In a similar [macroscopic] way, particular cosmogonic models have been shown to purport the universe coming into being out of nothing via quantum vacuum (or other means).

First, this objection misunderstands what we mean by the first premise. Quantum physics does not demonstrate "something coming from nothing" rather than a mere issue of quantum indeterminacy. To quote James D. Sinclair, ""Even on the indeterministic interpretation, particles do not come into being out of nothing. They arise as spontaneous fluctuations of the energy contained in the subatomic vacuum, which causes an indeterministic cause of their origination" (J. Sinclair, "The Kalam Cosmological Argument", cp. 2009, p. 183). My opponent is simply confused on this issue.

(3.3) I am not sure what my opponent is particularly trying to suggest in this critique. This ultimately seems to say that we can't know whether or not the universe had a beginning, because the verb "begin" denotes a moment in time, and time seems to break down at the Big Bang (more particularly before 10^-43). As such, we can't really say anything on the issue.

Einstein in his 1919 paper, "Do Gravitational Field Play An Essential Part in the Structure of the Elementary Particles of Matter?", writes in section III "On the Cosmological Question", "The last result already permits the surmise that with our new formulation the universe may be regarded as spatially finite, without any necessity for an additional hypothesis" (S. Hawking, "On the Shoulders of Giants"; cp. 2002, p. 1262).

As such, I am proporting the view that space and time are finite phenomenon"s that began with the cataclysmic event known as the "Big Bang". According to the standard model, space and time have an "initial point" definitively coming into being a finite time ago. Evidences of such (i.e. big bang governed by GR) come from the following:

(a) Hawking and Penrose"s proof of the homogeneity/isotropic assumption as irrelevant (1970).
(b) Penzias and Wilson"s discovery of cosmic background radiation (2.6-7 Kelvin?).
(c) COBE Satellite detection of cosmic background radiation in the microwave spectrum.

I think there are good evidences to believe in the beginning of the universe, and logically I feel that this can be demonstrated. This brings me to (3.4)

(3.4) The Impossibility of an Infinite Regress

I feel as though I have already established this case in my first affirmative. I had wrote initially: "let us imagine that before us we have set of finite or contingent objects, each of which that do not seem to have the sufficient reason for why they exist in and of themselves. Rather, the sufficient reason for their existence must be outside of them.

From this point, we can keep going down the line of contingent objects for an infinite duration, and thus never reach an ultimate explanation of the entire set, or, we can come to a final and necessary sufficient reason for the entire set itself. To this Leibniz says, an ultimate explanation is grounded upon something "metaphysically necessary"; or [to be defined], a "thing"s essence to include existence".

Due to lack of characters I now leave the rebuttal to my opponent.
bladerunner060

Con

Thank you to Pro for his response.

(1)
I think we're in agreement, and can move past including (1) moving forward.

(2)
Pro gives a definition of atheism which I reject. However, whether we disagree on terminology here is irrelevant. Pro's motion is: "General Theism Contains a True Proposition for God's Existence."

The burden is on him to show that.

That is why he carries the full BoP, and I would like to point out to Pro that, even if we use his version of "agnostic", that position still does not affirm his resolution, and thus, if we windup with agnosticism, his argument fails, as it is a concrete positive claim.

He is correct, to a certain extent, that simply demolishing his arguments does not, necessarily, prove that there is no god, or that "god exists" is a false claim. However, if he cannot prove his claim is true, the "default" position is that it is unsupported, and fails.

If Pro had wished to create a debate wherein there was a shared BoP, he was free to do so. He could have sadi as much in R1. He did not. He cannot assert a shared BoP now. He must defend his proposition, and if he cannot provide an argument for why his proposition is true, his proposition fails. That is his job in this debate.

If I were to have created a debate, the premise of which was "God does not exist", then the burden would be on me. I did not. Instead, Pro posted ad ebate, wherein he claimed to be able to establish that "General Theism Contains a True Proposition for God's Existence". I welcome him to do so.

Finally, I'd like remind Pro and the readers of "Russel's Teapot":

"I ought to call myself an agnostic; but, for all practical purposes, I am an atheist. I do not think the existence of the Christian God any more probable than the existence of the Gods of Olympus or Valhalla. To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely."[1]

And, indeed, until given good cause to think that the theistic God proposed by Pro exists, it is no different than the china teapot.

(3)
(Note: I adjusted the numbering a bit here...Pro had 3, followed by 3.2. It bugs me, so I have now created 3, under which is 3.1. This is not a dig on Pro, just an explanation for why I felt the need to renumber a bit)

(3.1)
The Leftow comments are simple assertions about the nature of God's agency assuming the proposition of personal agency is already accepted. They do nothing to give cause to think that the Cause IS a personal agent. The Cosmological Argument, as presented, does not give cause to establish ANY personal agency, or to have "intentional actions".

The CA, as presented, does not state agency, only cause.

To analogize: Stars are formed within nebulas. That is the "cause" of the star. But nebulas do not have an intention. [2]

If Con would like to expand his Cosmological Argument to include propositions establishing agency to the Cause, that's fine; but as of now, there is nothing there for me to rebut about the "Cause" of the CA having agency.

(3.2)
Pro here complains of a "straw man". However, he himself misunderstands his own premise. Quantum fluctuations have no cause, which puts the lie to "everything that begins to exist has a cause."

Even Pro concedes that "particular cosmogonic models have been shown to purport the universe coming into being out of nothing via quantum vacuum (or other means)."

He claims that "Quantum physics does not demonstrate "something coming from nothing" rather than a mere issue of quantum indeterminacy. To quote James D. Sinclair, ""Even on the indeterministic interpretation, particles do not come into being out of nothing. They arise as spontaneous fluctuations of the energy contained in the subatomic vacuum, which causes an indeterministic cause of their origination" [emphasis mine]

Causes an indeterministic cause? His source is asserting that no cause is a cause, therefore there is a cause.

Indeterminism is, by definition, the lack of a cause. Pro negates his own point while attempting to claim it doesn't.

(3.3)
My argument was that the unvierse has existed for all time, all of the time that we have. Anything "before" that point is beyond our present comprehension. Pro doesn't seem to contest this, except to say that he's asserting something before that.

(3.4)
Con seems to be appealing to a "common sense" argument here, that there cannot be an infinite regress.

I agree that the two options seem to be, as far as we can determine, either an infinite regress, or a finite beginning. But knowing that there are two options does not mean that therefore there is a finite beginning. We know that our universe, and its time, originated approximately 15 billion years ago. What existed "before" then, or how time functioned "before" then, is not something we presently have any grounds to make assertions about.

One can argue that an infinite regress is illogical, but it's no more illogical than something having agency yet being "outside time", or even something "outside the universe". There can be no change without time, and certainly the change from "no universe" to "universe" is a change, and we cannot comprehend anything which is "outside the universe".


(4)
I conclude by noting that, at absolute most, thus far Pro has given a case for a "First Cause". He has given no reason to believe any of the necessary facets of "God" that he posited in R1. If he fails to establish them, then the motion must fail.

I feel that I have adequately rebutted his "first cause" arguments, however, if he does not spend some time on estbalishing the other qualities he proposed in R1, the motion must fail for lack of argument from Pro. I wish him the best of luck, and hope that he makes a case for the aspects he has asserted next round.

With that, I turn it over to him.

Sources:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://science.howstuffworks.com...
Debate Round No. 2
ChristusExemplar

Pro

I would like to thank the negative for his response.


(1) As our definition of theism has been established, we will no longer address this issue for the remainder of the debate.


(2) Atheism of the negative

The negative asserts that "whether we disagree on terminology here is irrelevant." However, this is not the case by any means, since the imperative matter of exposing the negative's obligation to a BoP is required for the resolution before us. As such, he states that I am correct in stipulating that merely rebutting my arguments is not sufficient. He writes, "He is correct, to a certain extent, that simply demolishing his arguments does not, necessarily, prove that there is no god, or that "god exists" is a false claim. However, if he cannot prove his claim is true, the "default" position is that it is unsupported, and fails."

My opponent seems to be suggesting rules that I am unaware of. Etiquette of debate seems to be that one side [affirmative] offers his case in a first affirmative (as I have done) and is met with a follow up case; the first negative who establishes his own arguments and offers a rebuttal to the first affirmative's case. However, my opponent has only done the latter, and not the former, and therefore we have no reason (on a negative perspective) to believe that the given resolution is false.

If he is in fact an atheist (and such seems to be the case), then he would take the proposition "God does exist" to be a false proposition. According to the Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology (The Origins of American English Words) on the origins of the word 'atheism', it writes: "(n.) 1587, borrowed from Middle French atheisme, from Greek atheos denying the gods (a- without + theos a god + Middle French -isme -ism) - atheist n. 1571, borrowed from Middle French atheiste, from Greek atheos + Middle French -iste -ist. (cp. 1995, p. 44)

I think it is safe to say from the atheistic position that an atheist asserts (just like Eric Maisel did in his book, "The Atheists Way"): "There are no gods (including God)." (cp. 2009, p. 1) My opponent falsely assumes that he has no burden of proof on his position and as such I consider him confused on the issue of the proper definition of atheism; more over that he has not substantiated his own position against the resolution but only [wrongly] attacked my case. Therefore, there exists no case against the resolution before us.

(*) My opponent had posted a quick excerpt from Bertrand Russell regarding his famous "Celestial Teapot" analogy. To make a passing comment, this "celestial teapot" analogy is a false analogy. In other words, it does not do justice to my position of theism by representing it. The supposed inability to disprove the gods of Olympus accusation in comparison to the inability to disprove the Christian god I take to be a rather idiotic accusation, because this suggests that the proposition regarding God's existence is not falsifiable, and clearly this is false (see my 1st rebuttal). The God I am advocating by definition is an immaterial, omnipotent, and eternal being, which is not found within the natural faculties of the universe (indeed, we are not suggesting that God is some kind of natural phenomena).

If there were a teapot flying in an elliptical orbit around the the pull between Earth and Mars, we most assuredly would have noticed. Therefore, my opponents analogy is false and irrelevant.


(3) The Cosmological Argument

(Regarding Agency) - I had stated the issue in my argument which establishes God as eternal (since, the universe being finite, requires an uncaused cause outside the faculties of space-time to bring these entities into being), all powerful (this cause through his power brought the universe into being out of nothing by the faculties of his own power and will), and immaterial (he created space, he therefore cannot be contained by space). If this Cause is a First Cause, and brought the universe into being a finite time ago, then it follows that this Cause has personal agency to his willing of the universe to come into being. Timothy McDermot writes, "The existence of the cause expresses itself in activity, but that activity is the coming to existence of the effect. Causality, then, should not be given its modern reading as involving a sequence of two changes: it is one change in the effect as seen from the cause." (quoted from Winfried Corduan, "The Cosmological Argument"; cp. 2007, p. 212). Material or Impersonal causes do not will things into existence.


(3.2) Something Cannot Come From Nothing

My opponent again here does not understand my position let alone what he is arguing. Quantum Fluctuations are not objects that come into being out of nothing, the discussion originally brought up was virtual particles through a subatomic vacuum. As such, this does not demonstrate "out of nothing". If it is out of nothing, then I would like to see what my opponent means by "nothing" - which as such, I take to mean the containment of negative attributes (e.g. void of space, matter, energy, etc.). Indeterminism does not mean "lack of cause", but rather expresses a matter of uncertainty, or even freedom from the bondage of certainty, to make a point. The Con misunderstands "something cannot come from nothing"; even in the Quantum Physics instance.


(3.3) "Before" Time

I am suggesting that the universe can be seen as a sequential matter of cause and event (hierarchal in the Thomistic sense) - for example, E1 + E2 + E3 + E4 ... and ad infinitum. I am suggesting that the universe is not a brute fact that contains the explanation of its existence within itself. That would constitute the universe to be a logically necessary being (indeed it is not, the universe is only contingently so). As such, the universe requires an explanation of its exstence outside of itself. I had argued for this in my first and second affrimative. I lay the burden on my opponent to show how this is not so.


(3.4) The Matter of Infinite Regress

I had never suggested in my initial argument that (1) there are two opitions: (2) finite beginning or infinite regress; (3) therefore, finite beginning. I had offered reasons as to why an infinite regress is logically impossible. However, my opponent suggests that "it's no more illogical than something having agency yet being 'outside time', or even something 'outside the universe'". I had established this case in my (3.1), my opponent confuses the proper definition of causality.


(4) Concluding Thoughts

My opponent has not only not given us reasons as to why the resolution is false, but also has confused the position of his opponent. The matters supposedly "rebutted" by my opponent do not constitute an adequate case against the existence of God, let alone the arguments I have offered. I urge my opponent to offer some arguments on behalf of the resolution, or as such we leave the only arguments to choose from from my case - which I find have been susbtantially logically and deductively so.

With that said, I now turn the rebuttal over to my opponent.
bladerunner060

Con

Thank you to Pro.

(2)
The question here is: Does Pro have warrant for his claim?

Pro claims he was "unaware" of this, a claim I find dubious considering the positions he has put forward; I find it hard to believe someone knows those arguments but doesn't know the very basics of asserting a philosophical claim.

"When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. "If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed". This burden does not necessarily require a mathematical or strictly logical proof, although many strong arguments do rise to this level (such as in logical syllogisms). Rather, the evidential standard required for a given claim is determined by convention or community standards, with regard to the context of the claim in question."

My opponent has made a claim. It is his burden to show his warrant for that claim.

As regards to us seeing being certain to see the teapot, if we didn't see the Russian Asteroid until it hit us, the idea that we WOULD see a celestial teapot for certain is laughable.[2]

To quote Russell's original formulation (emphasis mine):

"Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense."[3]

(3)
Pro attempts to claim that he has established agency within the CA. He has not.

To repeat Pro's argument:
"(1.0) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
(2.0) The Universe began to exist.
(3.0) Therefore, the Universe has a cause."

Beyond the fact that Pro still has not established that the universe "began to exist" (we know that the universe in its current incarnation began to exist about 15 billion years ago. But that says nothing about what was before; Pro presumes it was a nothing, but it could have been another universe, there could be eternal cycling (although at present that is not the cosmological model that seems most likely due to the accelerating expansion of the universe). It could be the nature of true nothingness to spawn universes.

But even if accepted as a valid and sound argument, there is nothing in there which justifies agency. The "Cause" need not have a will. Pro would like to establish that "through his power he brought the universe into being out of nothing by the faculties of his own power and will", but the CA give no grounds whatsoever to assert that. Pro makes no arguments in favor, rather, he quotes philosophers who have already accepted personal agency. He has no warrant for the claim.

"If this Cause is a First Cause, and brought the universe into being a finite time ago, then it follows that this Cause has personal agency to his willing of the universe to come into being." Pro says. It does not. Where did we get to "willing of the universe into being" from simple "cause"? We didn't, as noted by my unrebutted point about nebulae. (Note: I typed nebulas out before, rather than the proper "nebulae". I apologize)

Pro notes that "...Impersonal causes do not will things into existence", and he is quite right. But the CA does not establish that anything was WILLED into existence, only that it was caused.

(3.2)
My opponent questions what I mean by "Nothing". This amuses me, as my opponent fails to realize that the "something cannot come from nothing" argument is one of induction. We assert that something cannot come from nothing because we "know" it doesn't. Even though we have literally no experience with a space which is "void of space, matter, energy, etc.". Such a state has never been duplicated, for all we know if we ever did duplicate it, a space with no space, no matter, no energy, it would immediately spawn a universe. How would it do this? Presumably through a similar mechanism as God's, only without him. After all, God is said to have created something out of pure nothingness; if Pro doesn't know how that was done, how does he know it's possible?

Pro claims "Indeterminism does not mean "lack of cause", but rather expresses a matter of uncertainty, or even freedom from the bondage of certainty, to make a point."

And yet, "Indeterminism is the concept that events (certain events, or events of certain types) are not caused, or not caused deterministically (cf. causality) by prior events."[4] Pro is the one who doesn't understand the terms he's using here. When an event is indeterminite, there is no cause for it. When that event is something's existence, it follows that there is no cause for it.

Pro does not rebut the argument that his own quote invalidated his argument, except when he misunderstands the term "indeterminism".

(3.3)

"I am suggesting that the universe is not a brute fact that contains the explanation of its existence within itself. That would constitute the universe to be a logically necessary being (indeed it is not, the universe is only contingently so)."

Why? Pro has given no ARGUMENT for the universe's existence to be contingent rather than necessary. It certainly contains contingent things. But is it contingent itself?

"As such, the universe requires an explanation of its existence outside of itself. I had argued for this in my first and second affirmative. I lay the burden on my opponent to show how this is not so."

No. Bare assertion does not a case make. To simply say "Well, I suggest X based on nothing. Disprove it!" is ridiculous. Pro laid out no case for this beyond assertion, and as such, it can be dismissed out of hand.

(3.4)

Perhaps Leibnitz made an actual case, but certainly Pro did not in his assertions or his quote, which simply said "According to Leibniz, the fact that the entire set extends to an infinite amount of contingent things accounting for one another outside of themselves is not an explanation for why the entire set itself exists."

Pro claims "my opponent suggests that "it's no more illogical than something having agency yet being 'outside time', or even something 'outside the universe'". I had established this case in my (3.1), my opponent confuses the proper definition of causality." Agency requires will and the ability to execute it. Executing will requires change. Change requires time. So to have something which has agency yet is 'outside time' is a contradiction. And anything 'outside the universe' is, as I noted, outside of our comprehension.

(4)

Unfortunately, my opponent has rested his entire case on the Cosmological Argument towards a First Cause.

He has, however, given no warrant to believe any of the attributes that he posited in R1:

"(a) Omnipotent (All-powerful)
(b) Omniscient (All-knowing)
(c) Perfectly Free
(d) Transcendent
(e) Immanent
(f) Creator
(g) Perfectly Good
(h) Omnipresent"

To give just one example: There is nothing in the CA which requires "perfectly good".

In short, my opponent has completely failed to show warrant for his position, and as such I urge a vote for Con, even from theists, for Pro has not done well for your position. While I thank Pro for this lively debate, I hope in the future he either simplifies his claim, or makes arguments which actually support the totality of it.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://io9.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by bladerunner060 4 years ago
bladerunner060
Apeirn and KR, where was the burden noted in R1 as shared?

Apeiron, Pro gave no coherent justification for agency,mand as noted never even bothered establishing a case for omnibenevolence, a REQUIREMENT TO AKE HIS CASE.

Further, KR, your vote is an obvious bomb. Even granting your sources and argument RFD, you gave no reason for S&G or conduct.
Posted by STA_Cadet 4 years ago
STA_Cadet
I am very much looking forward to someone accepting your proposed challenge. I agree with your side on the topic and am eager to analyze an opponent's thoughts.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Grantmac18 4 years ago
Grantmac18
ChristusExemplarbladerunner060Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Counteract KRFournier's votebomb; Pro did not mention, in any manner, a shared BOP in R1. As he has taken the position of Pro and is attempting to challenge the status quo BOP rested on Pro, not Con. Pro failed to uphold this burden and wasted time and characters, arguing over guidelines set forth in the DDO tutorial ? something all new members should read.
Vote Placed by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
ChristusExemplarbladerunner060Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The proper definition of "atheism" was irrelevant to the resolution of this debate, so a lot of time was wasted arguing over it. Whether Con is an atheist or not is also irrelevant. Pro had the burden of proving general theism. Con only had to undermine Pro's argument. Con did not have the burden of proving that God does not exist. Pro defined "theism" in his opening by various characteristics, but he did not make arguments for all of these characteristics, so he did not carry his burden of proof. So I gave arguments to Con.
Vote Placed by Apeiron 4 years ago
Apeiron
ChristusExemplarbladerunner060Tied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Sources to Pro for using more sophisticated papers and authors whereas Con mostly used popular level sources, yet he cited in a easier to view format allowing other voters who merely skim debates a quick glance for justifying their flimsy votes. Poor form. Conduct to Pro since Con failed to adequately justify his shifting the BoP, the resolution clearly explicates that Con should have shown that theism contains only false propositions for God's existence. This was a large BoP on his part, and so he shouldn't have accepted this debate with such obvious naivete. Convincing arguments to Pro since first he only needed to show that theism contains at least one true proposition for God's existence, I count at least three so far, that a caused universe more plausibly implies a timeless and spaceless and extremely powerful being who must will creation into being from a timeless state.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 4 years ago
KRFournier
ChristusExemplarbladerunner060Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro established that the burden was shared in R1 and Con accepted. His shifting of burden loses him conduct. Con had several spelling and grammar mistakes as well. Argument goes to Pro because he logically deduced the personal first cause and Con merely asserted (repeatedly) that he could not make the leap, even though Pro twice defended it (and the defense was never rebutted, only denied.) Con's sources were by no means the more reliable and I'm amazed that voters so shamelessly praised him. All but three of his sources are wikipedia links that just define terms, and even then they are repeated in multiple rounds. Pro on the other hand sourced many different established scholars.
Vote Placed by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
ChristusExemplarbladerunner060Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Con because Pro tried to shift the burden of proof after the debate began. Persuasion to Con because Pro made claims without justifying them, never meeting his burden of proof, never giving Con something to argue against.
Vote Placed by likespeace 4 years ago
likespeace
ChristusExemplarbladerunner060Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: ChristusExemplar, you put some thought into your case, and surely you will do well in future debates here. Arguments: Even if we agree that ChristusExemplar made an effective KCA argument, he failed to show that the KCA implied all the other attributes that his definition of God required. Sources: Bladerunner obviously used far more sources, and they were relevant and insightful, for example the one about the Russian asteroid.