God can't be proved by this universe
Debate Rounds (3)
I would like to thank my opponent for posing this very interesting debate.
My Opponent's Argument
My opponent's argument is essentially a refutation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA). However, my opponent has made several mistakes in his presentation of this argument.
The argument flows thusly:
1) Everything that began to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause
4) If the universe has a cause, then that cause is God
5) Therefore God exists [A]
My opponent fails to include the fact that only things that began to exist have a cause, which allows for things that did not begin to exist to be free of cause. This is important as all mainline monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) all adhere to an eternal God who exists outside of the space time continum and has no beginning or end.
My opponent then argues that "intelligence, as proved by everyday experiences and all human observations and everything ever existed, is nurtured through constant practice of imitation of something already existed." My opponent is essentially arguing against a priori knowledge and is arguing for the so-called Tabula Rasa (blank slate) philosophical school of epistemology proposed by Aristotle, but made famous during the elightenment era, particularly by John Locke. [B]
A Priori Knowledge
There are competing epistemological theories that hold to an a priori [C] model of knowledge. In this model, proposed initially by Plato (or possibly Socrates), theorizes that some ideas and concepts are innate to human beings, and do not need to be learned. Plato demonstrates this type of knowledge in the work known as the Meno. [D] In this work, Plato uses the example of a slave boy who has never been taught mathematics. Plato draws a square on the ground and asks the slave boy how he would make a square that is twice as big. At first the slave draws three squares that share three sides of the original square. However, he quickly recognizes that this is actually 4x as large as the original square. After some time, the boy intuits that if he cuts each of the four squares in half via a bisecting line, that the result is now four triangles that form a square, that is exactly 2x larger than the original. This was done without any knowledge of mathematics, or without having seen this action peformed before.
Furthermore, my opponent is contradicted by basic biological science. In the simple fact is that animals and humans engage in all sorts of activities that are not learned. These actions are called instincts. In fact, expiriments have been conducted with birds that show that when raised in isolation from other birds and when released after the age which its siblings were flying, it was able to fly perfectly. It did not have to learn to fly, it was an innate knowledge that simply needed proper physical development to exercise. [D] For example, an infant will fear a snarling dog without having been taught to and without having seen it modeled. However, present an infant with the same dog that approaches quietly and they likely will not fear this animal. This is a discernment that the infant makes, and unless my opponent can show that this is not some level of intelligence his argument fails.
My opponent must prove that tabula rasa is the correct epistemological approach in order for this argument to function. At this point, he has not done so.
Begging the Question
My opponent has also committed the fallacy of begging the quesiton, or circular reasoning. Beyond assuming a tabula rasa, my opponent also assumes several other unproven assertions. He assumes that God is intelligent. Now, I am not arguing that God is not intelligent in the way that we define it. Once again in all major monotheistic religions, God is assumed to be omniscient which means that he posesses all knowledge. This means that even if prior knowledge of something was required in order to create, he always had that knowledge.
Unless my opponent can prove that A) Humans are bound by a tabula rasa epistemology, B) that God shares that same epistemological limitation, and C) that God's omniscience cannot include theoretical knowledge of this universe or how to create it, my opponent's argument does not hold water.
I would like to thank my opponent for his contribution, and thank the reader for their participation in this debate.
[D] Campbell and Reece, Biology 6th ed. - Quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org...
Also, the biology and examples my opponents introduced are at best pseudosciences. To say that animals have instincts without a cause is false because they have genes that contain previous knowledge. Moreover, even inanimate objects follow causes since everything obeys to gravity, and stars rotate without an intelligent cause. My opponent has substituted some physics laws with claims of previous knowledge. If my opponent can't disproof that things here all have causes, he can't disproof that God didn't have a cause, assuming he is the creator of this universe.
Thank you to my opponent for this contribution.
My opponent has not provided any structure, so please forgive me for the relative lack of organization in mine. It is hard to follow his argument, as it seems to be more of a stream of conciousness than an actual argument.
However, it appears that my opponent has two distinct lines of arguments, and some rebuttals to what I have said.
Argument 1) God must have a cause
My opponent argues that God must have a cause, because if he causes something he is governed by the laws of cause and effect. However, the laws of cause and effect only hold any sort of sway in temporal environment. Cause and Effect implies temporal sequencing, so if God is omnitemporal, as the monotheistic religions posit, then he is able to cause without being caused. There can be no effect that causes God, as God exists at all times (and before time) and therefore cannot have a preceeding effect. However, since God exists at all times (and before time), but can interact with time, he is able to cause things.
Argument 2) God exists beyond what our knowledge can comprehend
While many Christians posit this, it is not a necessary aspect of the definition of God. In fact, many Catholic theologians, as well as liberal protestants, posit that God is aprehendable via nature. This is called Natrual Theology, and the concept is that God has imprinted enough information into nature in order for us to know him (primarily drawn from Romans 1). This school of thought would absolutely argue that God is knowable by the laws of physics and nature.
My opponent has attempted to rebut my explanation of innate vs empirical knowledge by arguing that animals have instincts because the genes contain previous knowledge. However, if we observe what my opponent has said about intelligence in the first section, he argues that intelligence is "nurtured through constant practice of imitation of something that already existed." We can see from the example of birds who know how to fly without ever seeing another animal fly, that this is not the case. Although not as high of an intelligence as humans, birds make decisions, learn, and remember things. We see in these cases, that the birds in question exercise their intelligence in flight without ever having seen flight. This, by the very definition of the word, is innate knowledge. Now, whether that innate knowledge exists because of "genetic knowledge" or not does not make it any less innate.
Thank you, I look forward to the final round.
If, according to him, animals didn't acquire their innate abilities through their genetic information, you're arguing they somehow just knew these abilities. First explain how.
Second, I want to clarify that intelligence through nurture doesn't have to be within one generation. According to theory of evolution, it took many generations of animals to change their genetic makeup in order to adapt to new settings.
Third, the argument my opponent posted is universal. If God doesn't need a cause, neither does the universe. Why can't the universe just be the creator itself? His justification that God is timelss but universe isn't isn't true because we don't know whether universe will ultimately end.
Fourth, after all, God can't be proved by this universe because we haven't seen any evidence of him in our everyday life. If God were so perfect, you would expect his words, the bible, contain a valid justification of the end of this universe. From all scientific knowledge, it is highly improbable that angels will someday pop up, and we all get judged by God.
Observing my opponent's vain attempt to refute my arguments, I urge my fellow debaters vote for my argument.
I would like to thank my opponent for his participation in this debate and appreciate his candor (minus the unnecessary posturing.)
My opponent has set up a strawman argument in an attempt to overcome my arguments. I never argued that animals obtain instinctive (innate) abilities through genetic information. What I argued is that animals obtain instinctive (innate) abilities without observation. They then exercise these abilities using a form of intelligence. This disproves my opponent's foundational claim that all intelligence is learned through observation. My opponent's primary argument takes form in the following syllogism.
A) All intelligence is obtained through observation
B) There was no intelligence prior to the creation of the universe
C) Therefore no intelligence could be obtained prior to the creation of the universe
My demonstration of intelligence not learned through observation disproves A and therefore disproves C.
My opponent then states "intelligence through nurture doesn't have to be within one generation." This is irrelevant since it does not matter how the intelligence is obtained, if it is not obtained through observation my opponent's argument falls.
The Uncaused Cause
My opponent misses an important aspect of my argument. It is clear that he has read the words, but it is equally clear that he has not understood them.
God doesn't "need" a cause, because he is timeless. Cause and Effect is inseparably rooted in the Time/Space continuum. Since God (as posited by all monotheistic religions) is timeless, he is not bound by Caues and Effect. My opponent then writes "His justification that God is timeless but universe isn't isn't true because we don't know whether universe will ultimately end." However, this reveals that he does not understand what the word "timeless" means. it appears that he thinks this means "unending" however, just because something is unending does not mean it is timeless. Since the universe had a beginning, and in fact is inseparable from Time (time is a fundamental "material" in the universe according to Hawkings and Einstein). Since it is fundamentally time-full rather than time-less, it cannot escape the laws of cause and effect.
Evidence for God
My opponent introduces a new argument into the debate. I shall not respond to it fully, rather I shall show why it is an irrelevant argument. My opponent's argument seeks to undermine the specifics of the Bible, rather than undermine God himself. Even if my opponent's argument succeeded, it still does not prove the resolution as God could exist regardless of the truth or untruth of the Christian Bible. Furthermore, his argument rests on probabilities of how the world will or will not end. Regardless of how probable or improbable it is, it is not impossible. In fact, if my opponent WERE to be correct about his overall argument he cannot know if Angels will "pop up" as this would be something that cannot be proved through knowledge of this universe which is the only type of knowledge my opponent asserts as valid. His argument is inherently self defeating... if it is right it is wrong, and if it is wrong, it is wrong.
Ultimately, my opponent has continually asserted points based on faulty assumptions, unfounded propositions, and circular reasoning. I have dismantled each of his points through common sense logic, and my refutations have not been seriously challenged. I therefore urge you to vote Con, as my opponent has not proved the resolution true beyond reasonable doubt, and therefore has not fulfilled his burden of proof.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: While there are some major flaws to the KCA, Pro's arguments did not accurately address them and many of his attacks did not hold to even simple refutations.
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