The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Bscott84
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

God Probably Exists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/21/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 592 times Debate No: 76791
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
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Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

God will be defined as the fundamental Mind that grounds everything else.... I will be arguing that God exists using some unconventional arguments, but I will not be arguing that this God is the God of any particular religion.

For Con the first round will just be for acceptance.
Bscott84

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro




Interaction Argument Against A Non-Mental Reality For God

The Conscious Mind Exists Without A Shadow Of A Doubt

The mental exists, and this is not a reasonably doubted position. It is not a reasonably doubted position because "doubt" is itself a mental state. Ergo, to "doubt" presupposes that the mental exists (this would be a self-refuting doubt to doubt that the mental exists as doubt is mental itself). However, anything one posits as non-mental can be doubted with no such trouble. Perhaps the wet and mushy brain is all an illusion (as in a perception that doesn't exactly correspond to a non-mental reality), just as the rest of the universe. However, the mind cannot be an illusion as an illusion implies a mind that is having the illusion. As Neuroscientist Sam Harris notes:

"Consciousness is the one thing in this world that cannot be an illusion. Consciousness is the fact of experience, the fact that something is happening, the fact that the lights are on in some basic sense even if we don't understand anything... So, I think consciousness cannot be an illusion." - Sam Harris [2]

Also, empirical claims of knowledge about the world fall in the category of a posteriori knowledge:

"Something that is known a posteriori is known based on logic that is derived from experience."[3]

For example, if someone experiences a "tree" and makes the inference that a tree exists based on that experience; that is a posteriori knowledge. The point being that the very idea that a physical world exists is based on our experiences. If consciousness doesn't fundamentally exist, and is just an illusion or emergent epiphenomenon then this undermines the very reason to believe in a brain and physical reality to begin with; which is conscious experience. The Father of Quantum Theory, Max Planck, drives this point home:

"I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard 'matter' as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness." - Max Planck [4]

This isn't confusing epistemology with ontology either. The mind must be ontologically fundamental in order to have experiences and epistemic knowledge. So, the mental has to exist to have knowledge, and it has to exist in order to posit anything physical like a brain or anything of the sort as we only know these things through conscious experiences. We cannot downplay consciousness or the mind using physical data, because what we call "physical data" is only realized through consciousness in the first place.

If There Exists A Non-Mental/ Physical Universe Exists, It Interacts With The Mental

I think we would all agree that if a non-mental reality exists, it interacts with the mental and vice versa. For example, the only reason we believe in the computer screen in front of us is because it is obviously interacting with our minds producing the image due to perception of such an object. Ergo, if we believe the computer screen is essentially non-mental, then we believe this non-mental reality is interacting with our minds. There would be literally 0 reason to believe in a non-mental reality in the first place if we didn't believe a non-mental reality was interacting with our minds somehow to apparently give us knowledge of such a reality. Someone could say that a non-mental reality may exist that is not a physical universe but just never interacts with us and we would never know about it... Even if this was logically possible it is a completely useless assumption. If it doesn't interact with us at all (not even indirectly) then why posit it even exists? It would just be useless fat to a model of reality that without substantiation we are rational to rule out, just as we would be rational to rule out invisible fairies in my backyard that we cannot detect in a model of reality.

The Interaction Problem

The reason interaction is even possible between two objects is because their properties cohere and "recognize" each other (excuse the anthropomorphic fallacy). If I hit ball in pool and it hits another one and causes it move the reason this interaction can even occur is because their properties cohere...They would be both be just objects made of atoms moving around in space, and because they share properties between the two objects, the interaction can occur. However, if there exists a non-mental world of particles, fields, spacetime and what not, how could it possibly interact with my the mental images, feelings, thoughts, and emotions associated with my mind which seem so distinct from the physical world (assuming it is non-mental for the sake of argument)? Something non-mental trying to interact with the mental would seem to be as futile as someone who only knows Chinese trying to understand what a person who only knows English is yelling at them; it won't work. They simply aren't "speaking the same language". This creates a huge problem for someone who claims that the non-mental can interact with the mind and vice versa.

In Conclusion

Basically, either a non-mental reality exists that interacts with our minds, a non-mental reality exists that doesn't interact with our minds, or there is no non-mental reality at all. We can rule out the idea that a non-mental reality exists that interacts with our minds due to the interaction problem I mentioned. It is possible that a non-mental reality exists that our minds never interact with, but if our minds never interact with it then there is no reason to believe it exists in the first place. This indicates that there probably is no non-mental reality. If there is no non-mental reality then that means only a mental reality exists. This means that our contingent minds aren't dependent upon some grand mindless universe, but upon a grand mind (I explain later why only one is preferred). Since this is the definition of God for the debate at hand, then this argument shows that God most likely exists.

Digital Physics Argument For God

When we introspect, we encounter integrated information and this is what are consciousness is. This is also entailed by the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness[5]. Also, the Wheeler-DeWitt equation describes all the information in the universe[6], and it is integrated as the wave-function of the universe entails that everything is entangled and quantum entanglement entails integration. We already know the universe most likely boils down to information based on Digital Physics (Which has been shown to be a better way to model reality [7]), but the fact that it is integrated entails the universe is a conscious state. Thus, it must either be a conscious mind or an aspect of a conscious mind. Either way, it becomes pretty clear that all reality that we can reasonably infer exists around us depends on a mind. Any other made up claim of a reality that we have no interaction with probably does not exist just like a fairy that we can't see probably doesn't exist. Random claims with no basis are probably not true by probability alone, as there are more things that we can make up than things that actual exist in the reality we collectively share. Therefore, I have successfully shown God to probably exist based on Digital Physics. If any elaboration is needed, I expect my opponent will let me know.

The Safe Bet Argument

This is a weaker argument, but I would say this alone suffices to establish the resolution. As I have already concluded, we cannot doubt that mind exists (or at least some form of mentality exists), as doubt itself is essentially mental. People assume that because objects that we perceive (like chairs, tables, books and what not) seem to be beyond our minds, that we can invent a whole new category of non-mental to explain it. The problem is that we don't know that anything non-mental can actually exist. Again, we know that our minds exist as we cannot rationally doubt them, but anything non-mental we can doubt without any such inconsistency as non-mentality could just be an "illusion". The Mind cannot be an illusion though, as an illusion requires a mind to have the disassociated perception in the first place. Thus, if we are going to create a model of reality sticking with what we know is going to yield more probable results than taking a gamble on a non-mental substance that might not even exist. Since we cannot doubt mental substance and mentality, but we can doubt non-mentality (non-mentality is just a theory with no basis), then reality being mental is the safe bet and most likely the case. However, if our minds aren't dependent upon a mindless physical universe, then they are dependent upon a mind. One might ask why there is only one mind? I would say because there is no reason to posit additional minds. It is just added fat to the theory, and theories that stick with what we know without multiplying entities for no reason usually end up being true. It is no different here, ergo, God probably exists.

Master Conclusion

I presented three arguments in favor of the notion that the universe and reality we experience is most likely mental and thus exists inside a mind. One can always posit the possibility of additional minds that are just as fundamental, or a non-mental reality that never interacts with the mental, but there are zero reasons to believe any of those things are true. They just entail extra fat, and theories that have extra fat trend to be wrong most of the time. So, probability is still on my side, and the resolution has been established.

Sources

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] Video Source (Sam Harris Explains Why God Exists)

[3] http://www.philosophy-index.com...

[4] http://www.endlesssearch.co.uk...

[5] http://journals.plos.org...

[6]
https://en.wikipedia.org...

[7] http://brianwhitworth.com...

Bscott84

Con

I.Nature of Argument

I will argue that there is no reason to believe that a single god exists over other explanations for the nature of reality. In so doing, I will not attempt to affirmatively prove that God does not exist, but only that the idea that there exists one god (which has the properties defined for purposes of this debate) stands on equal footing with other explanations of the universe.

II.Simplicity

Much of my opponent's argument relies on the principle that the existence of one god is the simplest explanation of the nature of reality. However, this principle of simplicity needs clarification. There are different formulations of the principle. The principle is often stated as follows: "Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity." (http://plato.stanford.edu...). In other words the principle demands that if there are competing theories that have equal explanatory value, choose the simplest theory. It is important to note that this principle was created as a maneuver in developing models that help predict or explain observed phenomenon. In this context, to use a rule that is meant to provide only a useful assumption and not a deductive proof to establish the main fact at issue (i.e. the existence of a single god) seems misplaced. However, even if this principle is applicable, (i) the competing theories have independent explanatory value (which, in the case of multiple gods, means we are not unnecessarily multiplying entities) and (ii) it is not necessarily the case that the positing the existence of a single god is the simplest theory.

III.Mental and Non-Mental Phenomenon

The debate about whether non-mental objects exist is long-standing in philosophy. I would take it as settled that we cannot doubt the existence of our own conscience. This matter is summed up by Descartes famous saying: "I think therefore I am." However, when it comes to belief in objects independent of what is mental, there is room for doubt, but this doubt does not lead to the definite conclusion that non-mental object do not exist. In examining argument that all we experience and know is nothing but a product of our own minds, Bertrand Russell noted:

"There is no logical impossibility in the supposition that the whole of life is a dream, in which we ourselves create all the objects that come before us. But although this is not logically impossible, there is no reason whatever to suppose that it is true; and it is, in fact, a less simple hypothesis, viewed as a means of accounting for the facts of our own life, than the common-sense hypothesis that there really are objects independent of us, whose action on us causes our sensations."" (Bertrand Russell: The Problems of Philosophy) (http://www.gutenberg.org...).

My opponent"s argument dismisses the possibility of non-mental objects by stating that there are problems with explaining how the mental and non-mental would interact. The fact that an explanation is needed for a phenomenon is no reason to believe that a phenomenon does not exist. The need for an explanation does not even lead to the conclusion that a phenomenon is unlikely to exist. Instead of providing a model for such interaction at this time (which could be a subject of a lengthy debate on its own), I will note that the existence of the non-mental cannot be dismissed outright on the grounds that an explanation is needed for its interaction with what is mental.

Also, I would like to note that my opponent"s argument provides an analogy that is not entirely consistent with the manner in which the mental and non-mental must interact. My opponent"s argument compares the interaction to an English speaker interacting with someone speaking Chinese. The belief in a non-mental world does not require that we interact with it perfectly. It is reasonable to believe that we interact with a non-mental world but that we do so only through our own perceptive mechanisms. In this way, it is possible that we do not actually know the non-mental world itself but only our perception of it. Accordingly, the better analogy could be that of an English speaker listening to a Chinese speaker through an electronic translator: the English speaker does not know the actual Chinese spoken, but only the interpretation brought to him by the translator. However, the possibility of this nature of perception is does not mean that the non-mental does not exist.

IV.More/Less Supernatural Minds

In light of the above, we can admit various explanations for the nature of our reality. It is as equally valid to believe in multiple gods as it is to believe in one single god. As Louise Antony, a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts noted:

"Even if I could be convinced that supernatural beings exist, there"d be a whole separate issue about how many such beings there are and what those beings are like".it"s one thing to argue that the universe must be the product of some kind of intelligent agent; it"s quite something else to argue that this designer was all-knowing and omnipotent. Why is that a better hypothesis than that the designer was pretty smart but made a few mistakes? Maybe (I"m just cribbing from Hume here) there was a committee of intelligent creators, who didn"t quite agree on everything. Maybe the creator was a student god, and only got a B- on this project"
(The New York Times: Arguments Against God by Gary Gutting). (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...).

My opponent"s argument cites the principle of avoiding multiplying entities unnecessarily as the reason for belief in one god. However, the competing theories of multiple gods have independent explanatory value so that the multiplication of entities is not unnecessary. The possibilities mentioned by Louise Antony (although maybe somewhat sarcastically) could provide independent and useful explanation for issues such as the problem of evil, an evaluation of Leibniz"s claim that this is the best of all possible worlds, and possibilities for other or alternative universes or different qualities.

My opponent"s argument also relies on digital physics to establish the existence of one god. If digital physics can be defined as the idea that the entire universe is integrated and functions as a single program, it does not simplify matters to state that there is the existence of a supreme being that thinks, has a will, and experience consciousness in the manner in which we do. The objects in the universe (including ourselves and the functioning of our brains we call consciousness) could still be the product of the interaction and evolution of unconscious material according to specific laws. To borrow explanation: "Programs are things. Computations are events. We are programs. And that is all that there is to the universe"" (http://hplusmagazine.com...).

My opponent s argument states that consciousness is integration and then goes on to state that the universe must be conscious since integration entails consciousness. However, even if it is assumed true that consciousness is an example of integration, this is no reason to make the leap to the premise if something is integrated, then it entails consciousness. This would be the case of going from one example of two (2) properties appearing together to the conclusion that the two (2) properties always occur together.

V. Conclusion

In summary, the above argument is not meant to prove affirmatively that no god exists or that there are definitely multiple gods. There are many ways in which people claim to understand or know the existence of a god, and many of such ideas move into different areas and disciplines. However, this debate is not focused on such issues (in that regard, this debate is not even about what I believe, as I have assumed the role of contender). This debate is about whether one can say that a single god probably exists based on logical principles. Accordingly, in this context, the theory of the existence of one single god stands on equal footing with other arguments for the existence of multiple gods or no god.
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro





Simplicity


In this round my opponent argues that to use a tool (Occam's Razor) that is only meant to provide a useful assumption and not a deductive proof to establish the main fact at issue seems misplaced. The ironic aspect of this form of argumentation is that it is itself is misplaced, as the resolution clearly states that God probably exists, not that God definitely exists. Therefore, a "deductive proof" is not actually required in this scenario [1]. Regardless, if simplicity cannot be a valid tool in determining what is true then there would be no reason not to believe that a invisible fairy that you can't see or feel lives on your shoulder. We don't include these things when determining the most probable model for reality because it is unnecessary and is outside the scope of what we can infer. This doesn't mean that there definitely is not such invisible fairy on my shoulder, but just that there probably is not as it is just added fat to a model without any reason for belief in its existence in the first place. The same concept applies to more than one God. Now, my opponent says that these competing theories have independent explanatory value but has not defended this notion in the slightest; I would say the exact opposite is true. Lets suppose that we need a certain amount of mental content applied in a certain way in order to explain a specific event in terms of Monistic Idealism, we have just as much reason to assume that one being can do this as many, so positing more than one mind is unnecessary and useless. We might as well say there is another gravity in another universe as well as gravity in this universe that causes my bottom to be planted on this seat. Nobody believes that, as one gravity within the universe suffices; it is the most probable conclusion (which is all this debate pertains too) regardless of any other possible situations. Also, Occam's Razor is about sticking with what we know unless an external factor calls for the alternative; which we have no reason to be the case. If you hear a door open and close, what is the most probable conclusion, that something opened the door and closed it, or that it did it by itself? We know that people can open and close doors, but we have no reason to believe a door can open and close by itself. So, the door was probably opened by someone. In the case of the mental and the non-mental, we know the mind exists (knowledge requires a mind, and so does doubt so you cannot doubt it). However, we have no reason to believe anything non-mental exists, it is just plugged in to try to explain empirical reality when explaining the empirical reality as mentally constructed works just as well, but better as it sticks with a category we cannot doubt; mentality.

Mental and Non-Mental Phenomenon

My opponent claims:

"However, when it comes to belief in objects independent of what is mental, there is room for doubt, but this doubt does not lead to the definite conclusion that non-mental object do not exist."

I never said it did. I only claimed that if we are going to conclude what probably exists, then sticking with what we know always works better. We don't know that a non-mental reality is even possible, and there is no reason to posit it as it doesn't explain anything better than a purely mental reality. The point is that we know mentality exists without a doubt, so modeling reality in terms of mentality is a safer bet.

My opponent then quotes Bertrand Russell to try to show that it is a common sense view that objects exist independent of "us". However, "us" is used to describe our finite human/ animal minds. Even if one was to grant that objects exists outside of "our" minds that wouldn't mean they existed outside of God's mind. So this intuition about objects existing outside of "us" does nothing to entail an intuition about the existence of non-mental objects.

My Opponent's Straw-Man Argument ---

A straw-man is a misrepresentation of an argument [2]. Con claims that I am arguing that because there isn't an existing explanation that we know of as to how the mental and the non-mental can interact, that this means that they most likely cannot react. This is not what I am arguing, I am arguing something much stronger; that such an interaction cannot occur because the preconditions for interaction are not met. I am not simply asking a question that there is no answer to yet and viewing that as a probabilistic argument against such a notion. The argument is simple, that coherence between properties is necessary for interaction. If their properties don't cohere, then interaction would be impossible as the properties wouldn't recognize each other. The mental has thoughts, feelings, emotions, mental imagery, perceptions, and the hypothetical non-mental world has none of these properties. Thus, their properties wouldn't cohere, and thus interaction would not occur.
---

Now, my opponent states the following:

"Also, I would like to note that my opponent's argument provides an analogy that is not entirely consistent with the manner in which the mental and non-mental must interact."

This is trivially true as no analogy is perfectly aligned. An analogy is only supposed to paint a basic picture; not be the same in every respect.

Con also states:

"It is reasonable to believe that we interact with a non-mental world but that we do so only through our own perceptive mechanisms. In this way, it is possible that we do not actually know the non-mental world itself but only our perception of it."

This is problematic for two reasons. For one, if we do not know the non-mental world itself then how can we infer that it is a non-mental world we are perceiving in the first place? The "non-mental" would just reduce to a theory that doesn't need to even be there. Secondly, in order us to perceive the non-mental, the non-mental would have to interact with the mental (self-evidently). However, the non-mental doesn't have any mental properties so the mental wouldn't even recognize the non-mental. Therefore, there is literally no reason to believe in a non-mental reality.

This was also mentioned:

"Accordingly, the better analogy could be that of an English speaker listening to a Chinese speaker through an electronic translator: the English speaker does not know the actual Chinese spoken, but only the interpretation brought to him by the translator."

But this analogy begs the question, because we know that "Chinese" corresponds to concepts that can also be expressed in terms of "English". However, the mental does not correspond to that which is non-mental as there is no bridge that connects them. The mind contains thoughts, feelings, perceptions, emotions, mental images. The non-mental world is claimed to be one of independently existing gravity, particles, atoms, and space. Trying to use the mental to recognize the non-mental would be like trying to use the ear to recognize the color red. Non-Idealists are using one reality which is distinct in its nature from anything non-mental, and trying to claim that its properties can cohere with the non-mental and interact with it. It makes no sense.

More/Less Supernatural Minds

It should be clear that without external reasons, assuming one God is the most reasonable conclusion. Now, Con gives a quote from Gary Gutting...The problem is that this only addresses the issue of the number of creators of the universe, not the number of Gods. There could have been many creators of the universe but there would still be one God which serves as the foundation for all the creators of the universe. One could claim that there could be many God's which serve as a foundation. However, I already showed why this it not rational as we could just say that many different types of gravity keep me planted to my seat. Only one type of gravity is needed.

Again, my opponent repeats:

"However, the competing theories of multiple gods have independent explanatory value so that the multiplication of entities is not unnecessary."

So, I will repeat that there is no more explanatory value in positing more God's as the amount of mentality required for a certain effect can easily be explained by one God (similar to how one form of gravity suffices to explain why objects attract). There is no need for a group of different gravities.

Digital Physics

Con says:

"If digital physics can be defined as the idea that the entire universe is integrated and functions as a single program, it does not simplify matters to state that there is the existence of a supreme being that thinks, has a will, and experience consciousness in the manner in which we do."

It is a necessary assumption, as Integrated Information is identical to consciousness (we can know this by simple introspection, or through Totoni's Integrated Information Theory of consciousness if preferred). Therefore, if the universe is an integrated informational complex, it is a conscious state. Either way, information is conceptual, not physical. Information requires the informed. Therefore, even if integrated information didn't equate to consciousness the fundamentality of the mind is still intact.

Con then claims:

"However, even if it is assumed true that consciousness is an example of integration, this is no reason to make the leap to the premise if something is integrated, then it entails consciousness."

This is a straw-man. The argument isn't that if something is integrated it entails consciousness, the argument is that if information is integrated, it is consciousness. Either way, as I said, information is conceptual [3], so if reality boils down to the information then reality is still mental.

Conclusion

None of my opponent's rebuttals hold any water. Ergo, my arguments stand.

Sources

[1] https://www.msu.edu...
[2] http://www.nizkor.org...
[3] http://dictionary.reference.com...


Bscott84

Con

I want to clarify a point about the rule against multiplying entities. Saying that entities should not be unnecessarily multiplied because X is more probable than X and Y is not involved in this debate. My opponent seems to be saying that the probability that one god exists and no other god or gods exist is more probable than that a god exists and another god or other gods exist. This argument is closer to the form: X and not Y is more probable than X and Y.

Saying just X is true is different than saying X and not Y is true. If I only say X is true then the scenarios in which I am right are X and Y, and X and not Y, and so on. However, if I say X and not Y is true the range of scenarios narrows: X and Y is out and X and Y is as likely as X and not Y.

A similar statements can be said about the mental/non mental issue. My opponent's argument seems to take the form of that consciousness exists and everything but consciousness does not exist is more probable than that consciousness and non-mental items exist. Why should we rule out that conscious may be the product of physical processes?

In the opening examples my opponent gives, I would say in such cases I rely only on basic inductive reasoning. I will define inductive reasoning as the idea that the more examples of two things occurring together in the past the more likely they will occur together in the future. In the closing door example, I have many examples of people closing doors and no examples of plain doors closing themselves. Accordingly I conclude someone most likely closed the door or the wind caught it etc. This type of reasoning does not seem to be applicable here because we are dealing with a god or gods. I do not directly have a set of examples involving a god or gods acting to use to allow me to say that when this happens it is usually one god doing it.

In addition, there is a diiference between saying something is not useful for an explanation and saying that it probably does not exist. If something truly has no additional explanatory value, then I would save mental energy and not worry about it. If X provided an explanation, I would not worry if X and Y were true or if X and not Y were true or if X and Z were true (assuming Y and Z had no other implications to worry about). However, if someone told me that the truth of X and not Y was definitely more probable than both X and Y being true, the evidence needed would be different and I would then care if Y or not Y was true. The probability of Y, not Y, and Z becomes important differently than just being useful originally.

The existence of more than one god has important implications in a wide range of debates. I will pick just one example. The arguments go as follows: if there is one god and we are living in the mind of god, then to the extent there are truths of morality and justice, they must come from this god. Why, then, do we see so much evil? If god knew there would be so much suffering, why did he create or at least create the way he did? Also, if there is no non mental stuff, why would we have experiences in which it seems so obvious the non mental suff exists? Did god intend the trick? These are often questions people use in concluding no god exists. But besides that and for the present purpose, introducing multiple gods provides distinct explanations: i) There are multiple supernatural beings with different rules for what is just, ii) One of many gods created this world, this god is capable of mistake, and did not get things quite right. iii) There is not one single god on which all truths are based, and we are not looking at one set of truths in one Mind.

Finally, Occam's Razor does not demand we just adopt the simipiliest explanation. Such a rule would lead me to believe that only my mind exists. My own mind is the only thing of which I am certain. Sure there could be other minds and non mental things, but I can explain everything without them. Everything I see, experience, and think about could exist ony in my mind like in a dream. This is simple and all that is needed is sonething that I am certain is true: my mind. But saying that all I need is my mind to explain things is different than saying other minds or other non mental things probably does not exist. Saying that one god is all that is needed to explain things is different than saying other gods probably do not exist.
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro





X And Y


My argument was X and not Y is more probable than X and Y unless we have an overriding reason to accept Y. One reason to accept Y would be because it better explains reality, or because it is necessary. However, a physical world cannot better explain reality because anything that can be deemed as "physical" could just be explained under Idealism as actually mental ontologically. For example, instead of a brain being composed of non-mental stuff and existing as a part of some grand non-mental universe, it could be composed of mental stuff and exists as part of a mental universe. So adding some extra metaphysical category of "non-mental" is useless. If the non-mental was necessary then it seems hard to imagine that we could even conceive of Solipsism. Since we can, then this shows that it most likely is not the case that a non-mental world is necessary. Perhaps it is necessary but we don't know it, if this is the case then we might as well say that the invisible fairy on my shoulder that I cannot detect has to be there but we just don't know it. Without an actual reason for why it is necessary, we are justified in assuming that it is probably not.

My opponent claims that if I say X and not Y is true the range of scenarios narrows: X and Y is out and X and Y is as likely as X and not Y. I'm not sure what this is even supposed to mean and it is unnecessarily confusing. What does he mean by "X and Y is out"? How can he conclude that X and Y are as likely as X and not Y based on the statement before it? Then my opponent claims that a similar statement can be said about the mental/non mental issue. He says that my argument seems to take the form of "consciousness exists and everything but consciousness does not exist is more probable than consciousness and non-mental items exist". Then, he asks why should we rule out that conscious may be the product of physical processes? For one, we can rule out a physical (if by physical we mean it to have essential non-mental properties) world due to the interaction problem I mentioned. Coherence between properties is necessary for interaction. Since the feeling of love, sadness, thoughts, perceptions, mental imagery, and all these other mental properties have nothing in common with mindless particles, forces, and fields then they cannot interact as they have no common properties. This is one strong reason to deny that anything non-mental interacts with our minds. However, if the world we experience is non-mental, then it would have to interact with our minds (or else we couldn't say we experience it in the first place). Ergo, the "physical" world we experience being non-mental can easily be ruled out because it is contradictory. Now, even if it couldn't be ruled out, ruling out "physical processes" is not necessary for this debate; it only has to be shown to be unlikely. The fact that it is a useless post makes it as unlikely as any other useless posit, such as the useless posit that little invisible angels live on the tips of my grass outside.

Inductive Reasoning

Con claims that examples of doors opening and closing work because we have direct examples of that. However, since we have no direct examples of a God or Gods then my comparison here is invalid. The problem is that this example was not to show that one God is more likely than many, but that a purely mental reality is more likely than one that includes the non-mental. This is because we have direct access to the mind (when we introspect and isolate thoughts) but we have no direct access to a non-mental world. If we had direct access to a non-mental world then we couldn't even ask questions like "are we in The Matrix?", or "is the 'brains in vats' theory true?", "is Solipsism true?"... This is because if we had direct access to the non-mental then we would know these scenarios cannot be true (obviously, as we would have direct access to a non-mental world and thus ruling out those scenarios). The very reason we can even contemplate Idealism is because we don't have direct access to the non-mental. Even if the non-mental world exists you would never have direct access to it. The light that bounces off of your computer monitor reaches your eyes and then sends a signal to your brain and that creates a mental image of a "computer monitor". But all you have direct access to is the mental image; not the computer monitor itself. For all you know, what you refer to as a "computer monitor", in real life, is nothing as your brain interprets it. So the argument is that we have direct access to the mind, but not the the non-mental. So, if we are going to model reality, then sticking with what we know to be true (a mental reality) will most likely be correct without a defeater (which I argued most likely doesn't exist, or, at the very least, there is no reason to believe it exists).

Con says that there is a difference between saying that X is not useful, and saying that X probably does not exist. This is correct that they are different, the point is that one entails the other. If X is a useless posit, then X probably does not exist. Why? This is because that which can be posited far outnumbers what actually is! Unless we have use for a posit then based on sheer probability it most likely isn't the case.

The Problem Of Evil

"If there is one god and we are living in the mind of god, then to the extent there are truths of morality and justice, they must come from this god. Why, then, do we see so much evil?" - Con

I never once claimed that if God exists he is all moral, or all just. For all we know God could ground truths regarding morality and justice and still be evil himself. Perhaps God is morally indifferent; who knows? Either way, the existence of evil does no harm to the generic Grand-Mind I am defending here.

Is It Obvious That Non-Mental Stuff Exists?

I don't believe that it seems obvious that non-mental stuff exists at all. This is based on a simple logical fallacy... The fallacy is assuming that because something seems to exist outside of our finite human/ animal minds, that it means it seems to exist outside of any mind. That is an unjustified jump; a non-sequitur[1]. My opponent may look at a block of cheese and say it seems clearly non-mental but whats not clear is how an object can seem "non-mental" in the first place. How does one determine what seems non-mental and what doesn't? I don't think God is trying to "trick us" as he may actually be giving us clues. For example, when we dream we experience objects (like a block of cheese), but these objects are undoubtedly mental (they exist inside your mental dream world). This could be God telling us "Hey look, you can experience objects that are completely mental!". Another clue would be hallucinations... If you had a vivid audio hallucination of someone saying "hello", and compared the experience to someone actually saying "hello" you would have no way to tell the difference. This could be God telling us "Hey, look you can experience things that are completely in your mind that you can't distinguish from a non-mental reality!". So, if God is seemingly leaving us all these potential clues about the nature of his mental reality it wouldn't seem right to say he is trying to trick us. Also, as I explained, all we have direct access to is a mental reality. So, if you try to infer that a non-mental reality exists, or even probably exists fallaciously off of that, this wouldn't be God tricking you; but you tricking yourself.

So, it cannot seem obvious that non-mental stuff exists in the slightest. This line of reasoning is based on fallacious reasoning, and is not logically justified.

One God Or Many?

I already have explained why one God is more probable than many. This is because if we invoke 2 Gods, then why not 3? If we invoke 3, why not 4? There is no limit, why not posit 1,000,000,000 Gods? It just delves into unnecessary absurdity. If we can establish that the empirical world we experience stems from a mind, then there is literally no reason to posit another mind. Again, that which we can posit far outnumbers that which is. Ergo, without justification, a random posit is most likely not the case. Now, is it possible that there are 1,000,000,000 Gods? Sure. I am not ruling this possibility out in the slightest... This is simply a probability argument; which is all that is necessary to establish the resolution.

Occam's Razor

The simplest explanation is usually correct with regards to entities... Unless we have an overriding reason to "complicate" things. You have an overriding reason to believe that you are not the only mind in existence. This is because the aspect of mind you identify yourself with correlates with a virtual avatar (or "body"). If you experience other bodies that move like you, cry like you, and laugh like you, and you have a conscious experience that is correlated with these things; then based on induction you can conclude that other bodies probably do to (after all, what makes you so special?). Similarly to how if I throw a rock at your face it causes pain, if you threw a rock at my face it would probably cause me pain too. Now, it is possible that only one mind exists, however, I believe we have reasons to believe that is probably not the case. Either way, even if only one mind existed that mind would be "God" as far as the debate outline is concerned. So, we have overriding reasons to believe that you are not the only mind, however, we have no such reasons to conclude that God is not the only God. Therefore, my opponent is comparing apples and oranges and his argument falls flat on its face.

Conclusion

Not only did my opponent not address many of my crucial arguments, the arguments he did address were done in a fashion which in no way questions my position in the slightest. The resolution has clearly been established.

Source

[1] http://www.logicallyfallacious.com...
Bscott84

Con

The rule regarding simplicity stated in this argument does not lead to any type of objective fact about what is true or what is probably true. It is a function of our current knowledge and of what we can know. At one point, it would not have been simple to explain the sun rising in terms of a solar system or sickness in terms of microscopic organisms. People with such limits on their knowledge would be wrong to say I know objectively those explanations are probably not true because they are not simple based on current knowledge.

One of my previous arguments appears to need clarification. It was based on a basic fact about probability. If more than one thing must be true for a entire statement to be true, you multiply the individual probabilities together. This is where it was important that the debate is not whether at least one god exists but whether only one god exists. The debate then involved comparing the compound probability of supenatural consciousnesses existing with the compound probability of it being true that one god exists and that other like gods do not exist. The only response to the additional gods existing is based on the rule of simplicity which, as mentioned above, is a product of limited knowledge.

In closing, I happen to believe in one God that is the basis for everything. However, saying that there is a greater than 50% chance that one god exists because it is simple based on our current knowledge, is not a sound basis for such belief.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
@RT - I used the same argument for God on this one (http://www.debate.org...)
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 1 year ago
Rational_Thinker9119
I'll still debate you on the subject, I have more time now.
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
It's not like*
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
Cool.. create this so newbies will accept it. It's like like I challenged you to a debate before this on this very topic the night before or anything...
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
Everything exist what we can think of. Nothing exist without thinking..Thinking is the simple and illusive part..
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