The Instigator
ChristusExemplar
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
ArcTImes
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

God Does Exist

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
ArcTImes
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/6/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 492 times Debate No: 54169
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

ChristusExemplar

Pro

Qualifications for Debate:

For this debate I am presenting the proposition "God Does Exist" as one suggesting that it is rational to believe that a Supreme Being (understood as God) exists. I will not be furthering the thesis that this being can be known ipso facto by some epistemological precondition(s) (such as God's existence being self-evident, known by immediate sense-experience, or etc.), but rather that given the reasons/evidences available to us, we are reasonable to suppose that such a being exists.

An opponent of this debate is more than welcome to take the position that belief in God is (a) erroneous, (b) false, (c) irrational, or whatever else have you. While I wish for this debate to maintain a particular conversation, I still want the opponent to know that he is free by virtue of his philosophical capacities to argue which ever hard or soft thesis he would like. He is by no means bounded by very extensive and/or superficial qualifications on this subject. With these things considered, I wish to move to the definition of God I will be referring to throughout this debate.


(1.0) Definition of God

I understand God as classical theism, or, as Thomistic Theism [1] traditionally conceives of Him. Particularly, that God's attributes include (but are not limited to) (1) pure actuality, (2) immutability, (3) impassibility, (4) timelessness, (5) simplicity, (6) necessity, (7) omniscience, (8) omnipotence.

To provide a brief explanation of (1), I mean to suggest that "God must possess no potentiality; God must be pure actuality. While God can act, He cannot be acted upon. God must therefore be an exception to the doctrine that everything is composed of form and matter. Because potentiality cannot belong to God, God can possess no matter; He must be pure form" [2]. As Norman Geisler further explains:
  • God. . . is an infinite kind of being. All creatures are finite kinds of beings. God is Pure Actuality (Act); all creatures are composed of actuality (act) and potentiality (potency). Hence, finite things differ from God in that they have a limiting potentiality; God does not. Finite things can differ from each other in terms of whether their potentiality is completely actualized (as in angels) or whatever is progressively actualized (as in humankind). [3]

Moreover, immutability refers to God's inability to change while impassibility refers to the impossibility of God's being acted upon; for instance, God cannot be "moved" in an emotional sense: "God cannot be hurt, grieved, saddened and so on" [4].

By timelessness I mean in the Augustinian/Thomistic sense that God exists outside of time; without temporal location or duration. All of time exists in one eternal "present," there is no future or past for God. Also, immutability necessarily implies eternity, since anything that is temporal has successive states one after another. However, God does not have changing successive states, so he is therefore timeless [5].

Moreover, by simplicity I mean to say that God has no parts; i.e., he is not complex and comprised of multiple parts. As Norman Geisler explains: "
An absolutely simple being cannot be more than one since to be more than one there must be parts. A simple being has no parts. An absolutely simple being is not divisible." [6]

By necessity I do not mean in the logically necessary sense. Rather, I mean that God exists by the necessity of his own nature; he cannot come into existence or go out of existence. Moreover, it is not an accident that God has the attributes that he does, they are all apart of the divine nature [7].

Lastly, for the sake of trying to leave space open for my first affirmative case, I will not be defining omniscience or omnipotence in any extensive matter since I believe they are easily understood as simply God being all-knowing and all-powerful. If my opponent has a problem with either of these attributes I would be more than happy to address them in later rounds.


(2.0) A Few Further Qualifications

I am coming into this subject with a few assumptions in mind. For one, reason can be an aid in this conversation but it is by no means coercive. Faith and reason are related, but reason cannot coerce faith - if it were, then that would refrain faith from being a free act of the will. The point here is to show that faith and reason are not diametrically opposed: "Faith differs from science in that its object is unseen. Faith also differs from doubt, suspicion, and opinion in that there is evidence to support it" [8].

Furthermore, we should not forget that reason requires we see "our subjective, psychological, human processes of reasoning as participation in and reflection of an objective rational order. . . " [9]. The significance of this point is to show that we have an existential commitment to truth and not merely a calculable or quantifiable relationship to philosophical or scientific conclusions. We are human subjects with a psychological make up that peers deep into the questions of existence, it would be a mistake to lose sight of our humanity even when discussing matters such as this.


(3.0) Arguments for God's Existence

I believe that the case for God's existence gains a more and more powerful impetus when we take all the arguments and establish a cumulative proof. As C. Stephen Evans has written, "[T]he case for religious faith will not be based on a single argument functioning as a proof, but upon the total evidence available from every region of human experience" [10]. With this considered, I would like to present several arguments for God's existence.


(3.1) The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

Whatever exists has an explanation of its existence. In other words, nothing exists without a reason accounting for that things existence. However, there are two kinds of existence that we have to be clear about: (1) necessary existence and (2) contingentexistence. If something necessarily exists, then the explanation of its existence is within itself, not outside of itself.

Philosophers have argued that numbers, properties, and even the laws of logic are all necessarily existent – in the sense that none of these
came into existence by someother thing, but rather that they exist by the necessity of their own nature.

However, if something is contingently existent, then the reason for its existence is external to it – you and me are contingent, and so is the computer that you are using. The shortcut understanding is this: contingent things have the possibility of existing or not existing,necessary things either must or must not exist. With that understood, the argument is as follows:

  1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence.
  2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
  3. The universe exists.
  4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence.
  5. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God.

Given our terms above, let us restate (1): “Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.” Why doesn’t God have an explanation of his existence, if he exists? or, who created God? God is a necessarily existent being; he requires no external cause to bring about His existence. God just is – and he cannot not be.


(3.3) The Argument from Design

We notice that certain things according to our experience have been designed – or, displays a mark of intelligibility. For instance, the house requires a builder, the watch requires a watchmaker, and so on. However, what about the universe?

We notice that houses and even watches have properties such as “the adjustment of parts into a whole” and “curious adapting of means to ends.” It is the case that the universe has these properties as well. If the universe does have these properties, then we can say that it is probable that the universe was produced by design. We can put the argument like this:

  1. The universe displays design within the created order.
  2. Either this intelligible order is the product of chance or of intelligent design.
  3. Not chance.
  4. Therefore, the universe is the product of intelligent design.
  5. Design only comes from a mind, a designer.
  6. Therefore, the universe is the product of an intelligent designer.


(3.4) Swinburne and Personal/Scientific Explanations

Philosopher Richard Swinburne suggests that we view the theistic arguments as explanations of phenomena. Two kinds of explanations are as follows: (1) scientific and (2) personal. The former type of explanation pertains to the causes and effects surrounding initial conditions and the laws of nature. To use his words, scientific explanations (or inanimate explanations) are "initial conditions plus law of nature causing event" [11].

A personal explanation by contrast is where the phenomena is explained by a rational agent's intentional action. According to Swinburne,

  • [W]hen the theist argues from phenomena such as the existence of the world or some feature of the world to the existence of God, he is arguing. . . to an explanation of the phenomena in terms of the intentional action of a person [that is, God]. . . A theistic explanation is a personal explanation. It explains phenomena in terms of the action of a person. [12].

____________________

Notes
:

  • [1] Ronald Nash, The Concept of God: An Explanation of Contemporary Difficulties with the Attributes of God (Zondervan: 1983) see ch. 3.
  • [2] Ibid., p. 20.
  • [3] Norman Geisler, Thomas Aquinas: An Evangelical Appraisal (Wipf and Stock Publishers: 2003), p. 96.
  • [4] Ibid., p. 21.
  • [5] See Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, 1a. 9, 1.
  • [6] Geisler (2003), p. 106.
  • [7] See Ronald Nash (1983), p. 22.
  • [8] Geisler (2003), p. 62.
  • [9] Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Catholic Apologetics (Ignatius Press: 2009), p. 17.
  • [10] Quoted from Ronald Nash, Life's Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy (Zondervan: 1999), p. 291.
  • [11] Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God (Oxford University Press: 2009), p. 22.
  • [12] Quoted from Nash (1999), p. 295.

ArcTImes

Con


I accept this challenge.
I will be arguing that the resolution "God does exist" doesn't have enough evidence or that the logic behind it is unsound. Therefore the burden of proof is on Pro's side.


This is fine with Pro's rules:
"he(Con) is free by virtue of his philosophical capacities to argue which ever hard or soft thesis he would like."

Rebuttal:

1.The Lebnizian Cosmological Argument

"Philosophers have argued that numbers, properties, and even the laws of logic are all necessarily existent"

Let me disagree here. Why should we consider numbers necessarily existent? Or why should we consider that numbers exist in the first place?
Some philosophers have argued that numbers are necessarily existent, Platonists. But can Pro really say that numbers, properties and even the laws of logic are necessarily existent?

Not really. Do numbers are an invention or a discovery? They are an invention. Mathematics and numbers are just systems, set of rules created by humans and they cannot exists without humans. The same happens with the laws of logic. Those systems are models from reality, but they don't exist, and definitely they are not necessarily existent.

Now I will be analyzing every premise of the argument:

P1: Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.

I would argue that this statement is actually controversial. It is controversial that everything has an explanation or needs an explanation. But still, I don't need to deny this because the arguments have other problems. Problems that I already showed and problems that I will show.

P2: If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.

This implies that the universe is contingent, but why would the universe be contingent and not necessarily existent?
One reason could be that there are parts of the universe that are contingent, but this commits the fallacy of composition. Simply because parts have certain property doesn't mean that the whole has the same property.

"God just is"

The universe just is. [2]

Now, this also imply that God is necessarily existent. And I know one of the properties in the definition is "necessity", but you also add this:

"By necessity I do not mean in the logically necessary sense. Rather, I mean that God exists by the necessity of his own nature; he cannot come into existence or go out of existence. "

What Pro is talking about is called "Factual necessity". You definition implies that God is the necessary being, but we can not say this is real unless God has logical necessity and factual necessity. And God doesn't have logical necessity, therefore it is contingent (if real). [3]

P3: The universe exists.

I'm going to agree on this one. [1]

The next 2 points are conclusions based on the first 3 premises. The first 3 premises have to be true so the conclusions are true.

2. The argument from Design.

"We notice that houses and even watches have properties such as “the adjustment of parts into a whole” and “curious adapting of means to ends.” It is the case that the universe has these properties as well."

This is a non sequitur. First Pro assumes that you can conclude that p is a design if p has this properties, but this is fallacious, then Pro also assumes that p has this properties.

But how can we know something is designed then? From experience. Yes, we compare what we already know is designed to the things we don't know they are designed, and then we compare them with nature, with things that are not designed.

This is important because we would not be able to know if something is designed or not if everything was designed. And this is where e argument fails because the argument requires everything to be designed, and that's fallacious. We would not have point of comparison. We would not have reasons to argue about design if everything was designed.

P1: The universe displays design within the created order.

This is false for the reasons already stated.

P2: Either this intelligible order is the product of chance or of intelligent design.

This is also false. Or at least you could say that it's not completely true.
There are examples of nature that are not by pure chance but are not designed either. For example, natural selection. Natural selection doesn't act by chance, but "selects" individuals based on their survival. This is

P3: Not chance.

This doesn't have any proof, but I will agree because the first 2 premises are fundamental to the argument and they are both false.

The rest are conclusions based on the premises. All premises need to be true so the conclusions are true.
At least 2 of the premises are false, therefore the conclusions can't be considered true.

3. Swinburne and Personal/Scientific Explanations:

This is not actually an argument for the existence of god, but it's inside the "Argument for the existence of God" section of Pro.
And now that I notice, this section doesn't have a (3.2). I don't think there is something to rebut here.

Off-topic:

This is something that should not be considered in the votes or in the analysis of the debate.
Pro, I read your blog. It is really interesting. But I have a petition. Can you please use a darker color for the quotes (lol). I admit that I don't have a good sight, but it my help more than one person (me).

Thanks for the debate.

Sources:

1. http://doestheuniverseexist.com...
2. A critical exposition of the philosophy of Leibniz. https://archive.org...
3. Immanuel Kant. Lectures on Philosophical Theology.
Debate Round No. 1
ChristusExemplar

Pro

ChristusExemplar forfeited this round.
ArcTImes

Con

I extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
ChristusExemplar

Pro

ChristusExemplar forfeited this round.
ArcTImes

Con

Sadly, my opponent forfeited again.
I extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
ChristusExemplar

Pro

ChristusExemplar forfeited this round.
ArcTImes

Con

I extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
lol , I wanted to say "Online" instead of "only" in my last comment.
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
Dude, why are you forfeiting? You were only a couple of days ago.
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
Correction: Are numbers an Invention or a discovery?

Sorry for that mistake. I can't believe I did not see it before.
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
dayum, the letters on my "argument" are so tiny. I think i will steal your font and size Pro lol.
Yours is easier to read.Or maybe it's me, I don't have good sight.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
ChristusExemplarArcTImesTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: How unfortunate that Pro decided to waste Con's time. Conduct for the forfeits. As Pro abandoned the debate and left all of Con's rebuttals standing, arguments to Con. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.