The Instigator
BlueGalaxy
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Davididit
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

God Is Nothing More Than An Emotional Construct

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/27/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,897 times Debate No: 17290
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
Votes (4)

 

BlueGalaxy

Pro

Any conception of a transcendental entity can be sufficiently explained through Freudian and other psychological terms. My definition of God is strictly to do with something that intervenes inside of human reality, and thus I am only speaking to transcendental entities which transpose themselves into moral substance.
Davididit

Con

I’d like to begin by saying I’m glad to be debating BlueGalaxy on this topic. I will be arguing that the formation of a belief in God has no bearing whatsoever on His existence. Secondly, I will attempt to show God’s existence by providing an argument. Thus to show God doesn’t exist pro must defeat the argument itself.

First, my opponent blatantly commits the genetic fallacy. The genetic fallacy occurs when one “attempts to discredit or support a claim or an argument because of its origin (genesis) when such an appeal to origins is irrelevant.”[1]

In this case, the origin of a belief in God has nothing to do with its validity or soundness. Even granting that Freud was correct, this would only explain away the belief in God. It’s a non sequitur to suggest that the belief in God is false.

Furthermore, the logic of Pros argument is self-refuting. Suppose person A held that God X exists. Pro would say that God X doesn't exist because it is simply an emotional construct, say of some desire to have a father figure. Now say person B held that God X didn't exist. I could use that same reasoning to say that God X *does* exist because the nonexistence of God X was just an emotional construct of person B’s desires to do away with any father figure. It cuts both ways.

In order to show God doesn’t exist, the arguments for that belief must be addressed themselves. Here I offer a reasonable argument for the existence of God that has nothing to do with any mental or emotional construct.

The Kalam Cosmological

  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
  2. The universe began to exist
  3. Therefore the universe has a cause

Premise I

The first premise is rooted in the truth that nothing could come into being uncaused from nothing. If Pro decides to challenge this premise he must first answer why doesn’t just anything pop into existence? Why specifically a universe? Why not an old woman’s toenail? Or a rubber duck? Why must “nothingness” discriminate on what can or cannot pop into existence when it clearly is not anything? This first premise is confirmed by our day-to-day experience and needs no further elaboration.

Premise II

The second premise is supported by the Big Bang model of the beginning of the universe, which claims “the universe had a definite beginning in a cataclysmic event, sometimes called the primeval fireball.” [2] Space, time, matter, and energy all had its origins in the Big Bang. Further evidence of this is the expansion of the universe, which is due to what is known as the Doppler shift.

In addition, philosophical arguments have been proposed against the idea of an infinite universe. This is concluded from the idea that an infinite number of past events cannot occur. The following scenario can illustrate this: Suppose I’m flipping a hamburger patty on a grill and I tell you I’ll give it to you when the burger is cooked after an infinite number of flips. Will you ever get the burger? The answer is clearly no. It would be clearly absurd and counterintuitive to suggest that you would get the burger.

The second law of thermodynamics lends further support to this argument. The second law deals with entropy, heat flow, and equilibrium. With regards to heat flow, heat always flows through an irreversible process from “a substance at a higher temperature to a substance at a lower temperature.” [3] An ice cube melts (loses heat energy to its surroundings) in order to reach equilibrium with its surrounding temperature. With that, the amount of entropy— the amount of disorder or useless energy— increases as the system loses energy to its surroundings. In a reversible process the total entropy remains the same. However, in an irreversible process the total entropy increases because it causes energy to be degraded or to lose energy.

The universe is the system that is growing colder and colder as its energy is being used up in an irreversible process (its heat being dispersed and lost to its surroundings). If the universe were eternal, equilibrium would have already been reached. Therefore we can conclude that the universe is finite and it had a beginning.

Lastly, the conclusion follows necessarily from its two premises, which I’ve demonstrated to be sound or at least more plausibly true than false.

So how exactly does that prove God is the cause of the universe? First we must consider what can be the cause of the universe. The cause of the universe must be uncaused—otherwise if it were caused then we must find the cause of that ad infinitum— and it must transcend space and time. As a result, the cause must be timeless and thus changeless. Furthermore, being non-physical and immaterial follows from being changeless since matter is constantly changing. William Lane Craig puts it wonderfully when he concludes, “The only entities that can possess such properties are either minds or abstract objects like numbers. But abstract objects don’t stand in causal relations. Therefore, the transcendent cause of the origin of the universe must be an unembodied mind.” [4]

Based on the conclusion, we gather that the cause of the universe is a timeless, changeless, immaterial, spaceless, uncaused, unembodied mind—which is taken to be God.

I have shown that Pros stance commits the genetic fallacy and is self-refuting. Furthermore, Pro has the job to defeat the argument I proposed for God’s existence.

Sources

[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...

[2] Cutnell, John D., and Kenneth W. Johnson. "Cosmology." Physics . 8th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009. 1003-1005. Print.

[3] Ibid., 448

[4] Craig, William Lane. “Five Arguments for God.” PDF file.

Debate Round No. 1
BlueGalaxy

Pro

This debate does not deal with any sort of thing other than belief(and then on morality). My opponent is quick to implement his own idea of what my argument was to be; this both amuses me as it leaves me in a state of confusion. Do refrain from any such diversion of topic in the future, thank you.

Now, the basis of the entire argument is discussion whereupon the prospect of either significant or tautological origins are to be revealed. Thus, the entirety of the argument exists prior to being identical to the aforesaid fallacy because we are discussing here whether the appeal to origin is in fact irrelevant or not.

I'm sorry to say, but if there is an explanation of the believe in God(as in a psycho-emotional one) it does necessarily follow that the belief in God is false. This is Occam's Razor being utilized in a very simple fashion. If we can explain it in more bare of a terminology, then any outstanding belief is superfluous and thusly it is false. To put this analogously, the belief in a given Sun God would entail that a group of people(hereinafter '�ˆ‚') would at night and before sunrise do some specific type of dance to please the Sun God in order to ensure that the sun will rise(for the practical sake of �ˆ‚). Now, if it was understood that these collections of rituals were composed solely on the grounds of first assigning the role of authority to what is unknown and mysterious and second pressing into service the anthropomorphic mode of pleasing this authority(which is an intrinsically anthropomorphic typicality per se) [which would strictly be defined around �ˆ‚'s behavior], we then would deem the Sun God in its totality an inefficient description of reality(to make an important distinction, this does not mandate that the Sun God is in any case worthless, but as its existence is only relevant wherein it approaches 0, he is therefore infinitesimal and only by a sliver of theory 'possible'. Do not misconstrue this notion, though. Just because something is possible does not by any circumstance legislate that it does in fact exist. A unicorn could possibly exist, but this possibility is not sufficient to say that it actually does).

I'm afraid there is no parity of emotionality as in what you've pointed out. This is actually the reason why (to use your notation) person B is more correct than person A. To explain why it is incorrect to appeal to parity, let me explore the difference between significant and tautological propositions. Tautological propositions, broadly speaking, are reflexive statements of identity. Significant statements, again to put it broadly, are synthetic a priori judgements, as in they are reflexive, yet they yield to some new (or 'significant') information about the object. Con is herein essentially trying to say that the relation between emotionality and the subject with respect to belief in God is tautological. He presents his case by presupposing that there is an underlying symmetry between the two descriptions. This is the fallacious part. The fact of the matter is, you can call person B's belief the doing away of a father figure, but this does not describe person B's belief as well as the inverse describes person A's. Again my opponent chooses to delve into the realm of possibility in order to support the subconsciousness of his argument without actually looking at the historical development of religion/spirituality. God, to paraphrase Freud, is a belief via the unknown. Science(connoted to be the antithesis of the Judaeo-Christian faith) is a belief via the known. Your example is homologous to this distinction, and opting for the tautological nature of both, like I said, presupposes a parity which in actuality does not exist. Illogic and logic are founded upon the aforementioned respectively, and therefore it is illogical to prescribe a 'need' and a 'doing away with' as one in the same, by being inversive, through semantics. In very simple terms, the desire to do away with something is not necessarily an emotional pursuit like how the desire to have something(or the 'longing' for something) necessarily IS an emotional pursuit. It does not cut both ways.

(i) Is ambiguous enough so to the point where it breaches into the domain of falsity(through definition). The cause can be nothing. (Read; Sartre - 'Being and Nothingness') Things spontaneously happen at literally ever interval of time that can possibly be conceived of(See; Particle Physics). Therefore (iii) does not syllogistically follow. By the way, anything did pop into existence, the universe is precisely that. That was a possibilistic proof to combat your own possibilistic 'proof'. Now, for an objective one: The universe is the result of hyper dimensional brane interaction(as per M-theory and modern day Cosmology). There is no reason that this should have been a conscious interaction. A tree is struck by lightning to create fire, there is no conscious impetus involved, only an inert one. So, yes, we do get an infinite regression of cause, but none of them need to be conscious.

Your conception of the Big Bang is outdated. It is now understood that space travels at a velocity faster than the speed of light, and thusly space in itself did not have its origins in the Big Bang(which does leave the latter 3 to being indigenous to our universe, so yes on that much).

Your espoused philosophical argument is a priori illogical seeing as how an infinity cannot be contained inside of two definite finitudes. That isn't a veritable infinity, just a vast finitism, so in theory you would eventually get the burger.

The bit about the Second Law of Thermodynamics I do concede with, however this is not detrimental to my argument seeing as how I am not denying the second premise.

The last part, where you enthrone God, is through [again] possibilistic definition, and it does not necessarily need to be that, "The transcendent cause of the origin of the universe must be an un-embodied mind". The fact of the matter is, this, even as a representation of a more subtle concept, is still nothing more than a human identifying a non-human entity through the means of familiarity(see;anthropomorphism/personification).

No sources were necessary, I do look forward to what Con has to say in response.
Davididit

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for taking the time to responding to my arguments. The resolution of the debate is "God is Nothing more than an emotional Construct". Pros job is to support the claim that God is nothing more than an emotional construct. Pro is asserting that Gods ontology is JUST a type of belief, or in his terms, just an emotional construct. However, by positing an argument that places God's ontology independent of any emotional construct, I seek to show that God is not just an emotional construct.

My opponent begins by asserting that "if there is an explanation of the believe in God(as in a psycho-emotional one) it does necessarily follow that the belief in God is false." He says this "is Occam's Razor being utilized [simply]. If we can explain it in more bare of a terminology, then any outstanding belief is superfluous and thusly it is false." Unfortunately, that won't work because it doesn't address God's ontology. All that it's doing is addressing the belief in God. As I mentioned earlier, if I can show that God is more than an emotional construct (i.e. He exists independent of that belief/construct) then God's existence is not done away with.

Presuppositions
I'd like to take the time to flesh out how our presuppositions can affect the way we approach the resolution. If an atheist says there is no evidence for God and he tries to explain God as nothing more than a psychological construct, then of course it would seem the origin of the belief explains away the entity, because he already accepts the conclusion that God doesn't exist. However, if the theist believes God exists and has arguments to prove it, in order for the atheist to conclude God doesn't exist, he must address the argument and defeat it. Otherwise his claim that God is just a human construct is just fallacious. God's existence as an emotional construct only works if one accepts that God doesn't exist. Otherwise, the genetic fallacy remains and nothing has been explained away.

The Sun god
Secondly, my opponent provides an interesting analogy regarding the formation of a belief in the Sun god. He explains how a group of people develop the belief in a sun god and how they "would at night and before sunrise do some specific type of dance to please the Sun God in order to ensure that the sun will rise." To simplify my opponent's conclusion, we have good grounds for concluding that the sun god is an "inefficient description of reality" since it is the product of people's anthropomorphism.

The fact of the matter is there is NO evidence for the Sun god. One may argue, "Well, the evidence to those people would be the fact that the sun rises." The fact is the sun doesn't rise because of the Sun god, but because the earth rotates. To be more concise, the way that belief was formed has no bearing on the existence of the Sun god. One must provide a better explanation for the rising of the sun or use some other means to argue against the existence of that god. However, according to Pro, this is what the application of Occam's razor comes down to. We must pick the simpler of the two explanations, which in his case would be God is some emotional construct rather than some "superfluous explanation" such as an eternal unembodied mind.

Furthermore, even ascribing human characteristics to God doesn't take away from his Existence. For example, in Christianity Jesus Christ is said to be sitting at the right hand of God the Father. But Christians don't take it in the literally na�ve sense. These are used metaphorically in an attempt to comprehend and refer to God. Christians understand that God is beyond human comprehension and these are used to grasp what is not entirely comprehensible. Just because a Christian attributes human Characteristics to God doesn't make Him any less real.

My opponent essentially argues in his 4th paragraph that my tautological characterization doesn't match the emotional reality of doing away with a father figure or desiring one. He claims that I've assumed a tautological similarity and that this hardly reflects the reality. However, the logic is the same regardless of the amount of emotion involved. This highlights the point I've been trying to make. It doesn't matter how much emotion or desire is involved in the act the existence of God still rests on the proof of the arguments. Even IF person A's desire to have a father figure is 100000x's greater than person B's desire not to have one, this doesn't affect whether or not the father figure/entity actually exists. I think my opponent would need to assume belief in God is equal to positing God's existence as an explanation, however as I've said earlier this only works if one already accepts God's non-existence.

Kalam: Premise 1
My opponent claims the cause of the universe "can be nothing" and that "things spontaneously happen at literally every interval of time..." Apparently I must flesh this out for Pro: nothingness is NOT ANYTHING. It has NO positive properties or causality at all; it‘s absurd to say the absence of being caused something. As I asked in my opening statement, why must "nothingness" discriminate on what can or cannot pop into existence when it clearly is not anything? Why aren't cows popping into existence out of "nothing" or non-existence? To hit the point closer to home, Helg Kragh summarizes my point about nothingness perfectly, "There are good reasons for this, including that the very notion of ‘nothingness' is foreign to science. The vacuum of the physicists is entirely different from ‘nothingness' in an absolute sense, meaning a state defined by the absence of anything at all." [1]

M-Theory
Furthermore my opponent claims he's given me an objective proof by asserting "The universe is the result of hyper dimensional brane interaction (as per M-theory and modern day Cosmology)."
Aside from the fact we have no evidence at all for M-theory or hyper-dimensional brane interaction, this does nothing to evade the absolute beginning of space and time. Yes, physicists have worked out mathematical models but they still haven't found a way to test it. Pro has offered no justification or sources for his claim that "M-theory" has solved this problem.

Big Bang Speed of space vs. light
Pro claims that my conception of the big bang is "outdated" and that "space travels at a velocity fast than the speed of light, and thusly space in itself did not have its origins in the Big Bang"
First, my opponent provides no justification for his claim that my conception is outdated. My "conception" is in line with the standard understanding of the Big Bang by physicists. The big bang refers to a singularity where space and time originates. Pro's claim is completely non sequitur. The conclusions are based on the aftermath of the Big Bang, which can be traced back to a singularity or a beginning point. These assumptions include the current laws of physics, the density of the universe, entropy, the 3 spatial dimensions of the universe, and matter. [2][3] Due to the character limit I will respond to my opponent's objection regarding the past infinite in the next round.

To quickly rebut his final point, if Pro can posit a better explanation/cause of the beginning of the universe that fits the criteria, then my argument is defeated. I agree that it does not "necessarily" need to be that, but Pro has offered no other alternative that fits the criteria for the beginning of the universe.
I've shown that God's existence is more than an emotional construct and his ontology is independent of such a construct. Furthermore, I've pointed out that Pro's objection to the kalam is absurd and that pragmatically speaking my opponent has participated in committing the genetic fallacy, whereby, the nature of a belief is assessed by of way irrelevant and extrinsic impositions; rather, than relevant and intrinsic impositions. [4]
Debate Round No. 2
BlueGalaxy

Pro

BlueGalaxy forfeited this round.
Davididit

Con

I didn’t have enough space to address one of BlueGalaxy’s points last round, but since my opponent forfeited this round, I have more than enough room to address it. My opponent responds to my burger analogy by saying, “an infinity cannot be contained inside of two definite finitudes. That isn't a veritable infinity, just a vast finitism, so in theory you would eventually get the burger.”

I’d also like to utilize the argument from the impossibility of an actual infinite as an extension to my analogy.

(1) an actual infinite cannot exist

(2) an infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite

(3) Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist


The first premise refers to the fact that an actual infinite cannot exist in the real, spatio-temporal world. [1] My analogy serves to highlight this first premise, which my opponent seeks to deny. His denial, however, makes no sense whatsoever. His first sentence makes sense and I am in agreement with him. If I understand him correctly, an infinity cannot be placed within a finitude. However the claim that I’ve postulated a “vast finitism” is a mischaracterization of my view. I am NOT postulating a vast finitude. I meant infinity to mean exactly what it is; never ending. I’m going on the assumption that it is an infinity so I can highlight the absurdity of having a real infinite in our world. So as I conculded before, I will never get my burger after an infinite amount of flips. Furthermore, the analogy highlights premise 2 as well (if it's not already obvious). Essentially, in order to get the burger you must traverse the infinite amount of flips, which would be implying what's said in premise 2 of the argument: an infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.

So how does this analogy apply to the second premise of the Kalam? Simple: If the universe was infinite, then that would mean an actual infinite would exist. However, it's been shown an actual infinite cannot exist.

All other arguments extended

Sources

[1] Copan, Paul, and William Lane Craig. Creation out of nothing: a biblical, philosophical, and scientific exploration. Leicester, England: Apollos ;, 2004. Print.

Debate Round No. 3
BlueGalaxy

Pro

BlueGalaxy forfeited this round.
Davididit

Con

All arguments extended
Debate Round No. 4
BlueGalaxy

Pro

BlueGalaxy forfeited this round.
Davididit

Con

In closing, I'd like to thank my opponent for at least giving me a partial debate. I urge voters to read and judge the debate based on the arguments given during the two rounds that my opponent and I interacted.


Essentially I've argued that God's ontology is independent of any emotional construct created, and I've demonstrated proposing an argument for God's existence that's independent of an emotional construct. I've attempted to show that Pro has participated in committing the genetic fallacy and that his objection to premise 1 of the Kalam is logically fallacious and unsubstantial. I urge everyone to vote Con.

Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
This debate is over. Davididit has won the debate.
Posted by Davididit 5 years ago
Davididit
I had to cut down A LOT. Here are my sources for ROUND 2 since I ran out of room:

[1] Kragh, Helge. "On Modern Cosmology and its Place in Science Education." Science & Education 20 (2010): 343-357. SpringerLink . Web. 30 June 2011.
[2] Bird, Paul (2011). "Determining the Big Bang State Vector" PDF File.
[3] The Universe: The Complete Season One. Dir. Tony Long. Perf. The Universe. A&E Home Video, 2007. Film.
[4] I owe this formulation to Dimmitri Christou
Posted by Davididit 5 years ago
Davididit
@BlueGalaxy

Glad we've reached an understanding. I'm looking forward to finishing this debate with you :)
Posted by BlueGalaxy 5 years ago
BlueGalaxy
Hegel's loquacity, to my best understanding of the history of the matter, was never valued. The only people that [sometimes] did not criticize it were his immediate students. The point is that he wrote a certain way, in some sort of a way with sentimental passion, and while this was an intrinsic aspect of his writing, it alone could not undermine the idea that their was an actual flow of rationality present in the infrastructure of his works.
Posted by BlueGalaxy 5 years ago
BlueGalaxy
Also, to clarify; I am by no means intending for my arguments to loquacious. The character of the concepts I'm dealing with are inherently abstract, so naturally I'd guess the language would only follow as such.
Posted by BlueGalaxy 5 years ago
BlueGalaxy
Right then, this does seem to be an issue that rests solely on me. I will try my absolute hardest in the next round to tend towards perspicuity.
Posted by Davididit 5 years ago
Davididit
@BlueGalaxy

Oh don't worry. I'm not evading the "true nature of the argument" at all. I'm merely pointing out that things could have been said more clearly, concretely, and straightforward. Then again, not everyone likes to write in a straightforward manner. I do look forward to responding.
Posted by awatkins69 5 years ago
awatkins69
Mathematical logic is far more clear than you're coming off as. No offense, but if you had modeled your arguments in a predicate logic, this would have been far easier to understand. As far as Hegel goes, I think he was writing at a particular place and time where loquacity was greatly prized. Not so in debate my friend. I suggest you write with more clarity if you hope to not lose points for writing and grammar. Best.
Posted by BlueGalaxy 5 years ago
BlueGalaxy
@ Contradiction
Mathematical logic is my original field of study(as in I was there before here(philosophy)). So I was thinking maybe that's why I'm coming off as verbose. I should have included this bit in the first comment, which come to think of it doesn't make sense without this being here. Sorry about that.

@ Davididit
I get people saying that it's verbose, but to dismiss it as grandiloquence and such what you said might just be an attempt to evade the true nature of the argument. I really am not the kind of person to come on here and waste my time attempting to delude people. Please, before you crucify it, make an effort to understand it. I'm sure you've heard of the accounts of consensus upon Hegel's alleged charlatanry. And subsequently, with close scrutiny people began to understand him. Now, don't get me wrong I am definitely not trying to compare myself to Hegel, I'm simply trying to show that people with a tendency to put things densely will often times be disregarded. Hopefully we can put this issue past us and focus on the debate at hand without any further unnecessary attitudes. ^,^

@ Dimmitri.C

I'm afraid I have not committed the Genetic Fallacy, as you will see if you read the first part of my response.
Posted by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
It will help stop you from*, my apologies.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
BlueGalaxyDavididitTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Sad debate from Pro. His attempts to write is thwarted by the unnatural cadences and verbosity of his words.
Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 5 years ago
ApostateAbe
BlueGalaxyDavididitTied
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Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by Meatros 5 years ago
Meatros
BlueGalaxyDavididitTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro FF. Con's arguments ultimately not responded to.
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
BlueGalaxyDavididitTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro built an argument upon the genetic fallacy and also forfeited from the debate. I also suggest that Blue Galaxy refrain from being overly verbose. The argument he presented was lost in language; rather, than being founded on valid content.