The Instigator
KingDebater
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

God does not exist.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/22/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,100 times Debate No: 30515
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (19)
Votes (5)

 

KingDebater

Pro

I'll be arguing that God does not exist.

Definitions:
God - A maximally great being who created the universe

Structure:
Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2/3/4/5 - Arguments and Rebuttals
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

Let's do this.
Debate Round No. 1
KingDebater

Pro

Indeed, let us do this.

Argument #1: The Anti-Maximal Greatness argument
(P1) Maximal greatness is a quantity.
(P2) You can always add to a quantity;
(C) Therefore, maximal greatness cannot exist in reality, because we can always imagine something greater.

P1
'Quantity is a property that can exist as a magnitude or multitude. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less" or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value in terms of a unit of measurement' [1]
Maximal greatness is a quantity, as we can compare it in terms of more, less and equal and we can assign a numerical value to it in terms of a unit of measurement.

P2
This is true. Let's say we have a thing a value of one. I can add to that, and get something with a value of two. I can keep doing this as long as I like.

P3
This is the logical conclusion following the first and second premises. The problem with maximal greatness existing in reality is that no matter what number we assign to maximal greatness we can always imagine something greater, somce we cannot assign infinity to maximal greatness because infinity is not a number, it's just a concept.

Argument #2: The Anti-Creation argument
Is it possible to make something that doesn't exist do anything, let alone begin to exist? No, of course it's not. For God to create something, he would have to either be affecting X thing or nothing. It's impossible for God to be affecting something that does not exist, because that would imply that it existed before it began to exist. But God could not be affecting nothing, because when you affect nothing, the results are inevitably nothing. I conclude that it is not possible for an existing being to cause something to exist.

For Con to win this debate, he'll have to prove that it's possible for a being to be maximally great, and that it's possible for an existing being to cause something to exist.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

Opening Remarks

I understand Pro's last remark as an acceptance of the burden of proof. If I am in error, I ask to be corrected.

I apologize for the brevity of my arguments, as I procrastinated to excess.

Rebuttals

Contention 1. The Anti-Maximal Greatness argument

Reply to Contention 1. Premise 2 of this argument is false. You cannot add to a maximal quantity, because by very definition, a maximal quantity is the greatest quantity possible. If you can add to it, it is not a maximal quantity. Therefore, you cannot add to a maximal quantity and this premise is false.

Contention 2. The Anti-Creation argument

Reply to Contention 2. The Angelic doctor long ago debunked this exact objection in Summa Theologica, when he wrote:

'Ancient philosophers, as is said above (Question 44, Article 2), considered only the emanation of particular effects from particular causes, which necessarily presuppose something in their action; whence came their common opinion that "nothing is made from nothing." But this has no place in the first emanation from the universal principle of things.' [1]

Conclusion

I apologize to my opponent for such a poor showing.

Sources:
1. http://www.newadvent.org...
Debate Round No. 2
KingDebater

Pro

Rebuttals
The Anti-Maximal Greatness argument
Premise 2 is true. What number would we assign to maximal greatness? No matter what number you say, there is always a number that is greater, and therefore we can always imagine something greater. Infinity isn't a number.

The Anti-Creation argument
Say it in your own words.

Conclusion
- Con needs to give his own arguments. Also, burden of proof is shared.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

Opening Remarks

Burden of proof accepted.

Constructive Argument

Why not use some Ontological Argument? (I poached the syllogism from one of KeytarHero's debates [1])

P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

P1 is true if a maximally great being can possibly exist, and as there is no glaring incoherence in a maximally great being that would make it's existence impossible, one would be justified in believing that a maximally great being can possibly exist.

P2 is true if P1 is true, as if a maximally great being can possibly exist, then it obviously exists in some possible world.

It is greater to exist in every possible world than only some possible worlds, so P3 makes sense.

P4 follows from P3 in that if P3 is true, than there is no possible world in which a maximally great being does not exist. Since the actual world is clearly a possible world, if there is no possible world without a maximally great being, then a maximally great being exists in the actual world.

P5 is clearly true because something that exists in the actual world exists.

The conclusion follows, therefore a maximally great being which we can call 'God' exists.

Rebuttals

Contention 1. Premise 2 is true. What number would we assign to maximal greatness? No matter what number you say, there is always a number that is greater, and therefore we can always imagine something greater. Infinity isn't a number.

Reply to Contention 1. I don't know what number we would assign to maximal greatness, but to say that the lack of knowledge of exactly what quantity it would be somehow implies it's impossibility would be fallacious. My opponent has not addressed my argument at all, which I will now restate.

Premise 1: Maximal quantity is a quantity
Premise 2: You cannot add to a maximal quantity
Conclusion: You cannot always add to a quantity

Premise 2 is the only premise that ought to be controversial in any sense, if my opponent rejects premise one he's gone off the deep end.

Premise 2 is true by virtue of the definition of maximal quantity as I argued in the second round. The word 'maximal' means 'Of or constituting a maximum; of the greatest possible size, duration, or capacity.' [2]. If you can increase the size of the maximal quantity, it's obviously not of the greatest possible size, because if it can possibly be increased, and the increased size would be larger. This ought to be self-evident, which is possibly why my opponent seemingly evaded this entirely.

As I think the conclusion follows from the premises, my opponent's premise 2 is false and his argument is therefore unsound.

Contention 2. Say it in your own words.

Reply to Contention 2. Oh great irony. Creation from nothing does not affect anything. Affecting something would be changing it, but creation from nothing is not properly able to be considered 'change'. To change something, you modify it's properties, but something that doesn't exist has no properties to modify.

If my opponent wishes to argue that creation necessarily entails change, then I could always argue that the raw materials of the universe always existed and God created the universe by changing the raw materials.

Conclusion

I'm really taking my time posting these rounds, sorry.

Sources:
1. http://debate.org...
2. Oxford English Dictionary
Debate Round No. 3
KingDebater

Pro

I'm sorry for not being clearer on my argument before. Comparable to the concept of infinity, maximal greatness would be a quantity if it could exist in reality.

(P1) If an actual infinite could exist in reality, then infinity would be a number.
(P2) Infinity is the concept of the biggest number.
(P3) You can always add to a number;
(C) Therefore, an actual infinite cannot exist in reality and infinity is not a number, as we can always imagine something greater.

Since a maximal greatness cannot exist, the ontological argument is refuted.

As for the other argument, fair enough, but you still have to prove that maximal greatness can exist in reality.


AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

Constructive Argument

Rather than make any arguments against my consctructive case, my opponent appears to have decided to take his first contention all the way to the end of the debate. Seeing as that is the case, I cannot help but wonder why he decided burden of proof ought to be shared.

Extend my entire constructive argument.

Rebuttals

Contention 1. Comparable to the concept of infinity, maximal greatness would be a quantity if it could exist in reality.

Reply to Contention 1. Infinity is irrelevant. God is defined in the first round as a 'maximally great' being, not an infinite one. Unless my opponent wishes to argue that being maximally great entails being infinite, then this argument fails.

Other than that, my opponent appears to be reusing the premise 'You can always add to a number', which I have already debunked long ago. He has not responded to my argument as to why that premise is false, which ought to equate to a concession that his syllogism is unsound.

Contention 2. As for the other argument, fair enough, but you still have to prove that maximal greatness can exist in reality.

Reply to Contention 2. This argument has been dropped.

Conclusion

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 4
KingDebater

Pro

Con's Claim: Infinity is irrelevant. God is defined in the first round as a 'maximally great' being, not an infinite one. Unless my opponent wishes to argue that being maximally great entails being infinite, then this argument fails.

Other than that, my opponent appears to be reusing the premise 'You can always add to a number', which I have already debunked long ago. He has not responded to my argument as to why that premise is false, which ought to equate to a concession that his syllogism is unsound.

The point is that there is no biggest number. The failed logic Con is using here is the same logic used in the omnipotence paradox. Here are the rules, this thing doesn't fit, therefore the rules are wrong. How it should actually work is here are the rules, this thing doesn't fit, therefore that thing is wrong. Infinity is not a number, it is a concept of the biggest number. You can't count to infinity.

No matter how many sweets I have, it's always possible to add one more. I may not have one more, but it's always possible to have one more. The definition of a number is 'a word or symbol, or a combination of words or symbols, used in counting or in noting a total.' [1], and as you cannot count to infnity (1), infinity is not a number. Take that.

Sources
[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...

Notes
(1) The word 'counting' is used in the regular sense, meaning starting at the number '1' and the counting up (2) in positive integers.
(2) In the sense that 'going up' means going through the sequence of positive integers with each next number being greater than the last.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

Opening Remarks

I have no opening remarks to make.

Rebuttals

Contention 1. The point is that there is no biggest number.

Reply to Contention 1. As I noted in the comments, I erred in saying that Premise 3 of this new argument was equivalent to Premise 2 of the original one; they are actually marginally different.

Regardless, 'biggest numbers', 'infinity', and pretty much the entirety of this new argument Pro has conceived are completely irrelevant. As I pointed out before, the definition of 'God' is 'A maximally great being who created the universe'. Pro supplied this definition. He should have no problem with it, yet for some reason he has switched his argument to be against infinity rather than maximal greatness, or even maximal quantities.

To take my opponent's analogy with sweets, I would have the maximal quantity of sweets if I had every single sweet in existence. I could not possibly have more sweets, because there are no more sweets to have, and there would be no way for me to gain more sweets. That would not entail having infinite sweets. You can have a maximal quantity without the quantity being infinite, and seeing as there is no need to involve infinity in this debate, this contention is non-topical.

Conclusion

Extend my constructive argument, and note that Pro's second contention was dropped entirely.

I thank Pro for this debate.
Debate Round No. 5
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
The situation would be totally opposite if AlwaysMoreThanYou claimed, "God exists."
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
volmorde, Pro was the instigator and the one claiming "God does not exist." Thus, he had the burden or proof. If you believe neither side made their case, Con should be the winner.
Posted by volmorde 3 years ago
volmorde
So in essence neither side has proof, it's just 'God doesn't exist' 'Yes he does'
It should be a tie.
Posted by Pwner 3 years ago
Pwner
The modal ontological arguments don't go any where interesting, even Alvin Plantinga says they're not good arguments (though he thinks they're sound). Observe the following two arguments:

1. If God exists in some possible world, then he exists in every possible world.
2. God exists in some possible world.
3. Therefore, he exists in every possible world. [(1), (2) M.P.]

1. If God exists in some possible world, then he exists in every possible world.
2'. But, God does not exist in every possible world.
3'. Therefore, he exists in no possible world. [(1), (2') M.T.]

It just comes down to whether God's possible existence is more plausible than this possible non-existence, and this isn't determined by the coherence of either since both are coherent. It really just depends on the other arguments being advanced for and against his existence. So, these ontological arguments are entirely superfluous.
Posted by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
I agree Con managed to show a coherent version of "maximal greatness".

But Con's analogy makes the rest of the argument immediately fall apart: none of the other premises are supportable, if maximal greatness is merely "the most greatness available", because you can't establish that, for example, P2 or P3 are ACTUALLY true; you've made "maximal greatness" a simple descriptor. Heck, maybe humans are gods, then, because they are "maximally great", in that they have the maximum greatness that's available. That's not how it's meant in the traditional argument.
Posted by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
Con did give an argument that a maximally great being is possible. He said, "as there is no glaring incoherence in a maximally great being that would make it's existence impossible, one would be justified in believing that a maximally great being can possibly exist." The only argument you gave against that was your argument from infinity, which I think Con answered.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 3 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
He did. The idea that maximal greatness isn't self-contradictory (which happened to be a rebuttal to your own argument) is evidence that it's possible.
Posted by KingDebater 3 years ago
KingDebater
I feel that this debate ought to be a tie as even though Con did have some objections to my objections of maximal greatness, since I did state that the burden of proof was shared, I think that Con should've proved that maximal greatness is possible to validate his ontological argument. In the end, no argument was validated.
Posted by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
I agree with likespeace's reasoning, but lemme give a different illustration. Let's suppose that there are only a finite number of true propositions that describe reality. What would it take, in that case, for a being's knowledge to be maximal? Well, it seems to me that it would be maximal as long as it was exhaustive. That would entail the being knowing a finite number of things and its knowledge being maximally great as a result.

It wouldn't make sense to respond by saying, "Well, no matter how many things somebody knows, they could always know one more thing." After all, there may not be one more thing for the being to know. If there's only a finite number of things to know, then a being's knowledge would be maximally great if it were exhaustive, even if it were not infinite.

Of course, KingDebater could've chosen some other great-making property of God and argued that that particular property does not have a maximum value.
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
> Nothing of that maximally argument proves the myth behind there actually being one of whom created the earth.

The burden of proof in this debate was not upon Con to prove such a God exists, but rather upon Pro to prove such a God doesn't exist. "For Con to win this debate, he'll have to prove that it's possible for a being to be maximally great, and that it's possible for an existing being to cause something to exist." Pro conceded the anti-creation argument in round four.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
KingDebaterAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I agree with Nur-Ab-Sals RFD.
Vote Placed by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
KingDebaterAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It was a very close debate. "Maximal" means the most possible. Suppose a universe contained 100 candy corns and the raw resources to have a total of upto 200 candy corns. Is owning 100 candy corns maximal? Is owning 200 candy corns maximal? Is owning more possible? I'm changing my vote to Con. It doesn't seem wrong to call the God with 200 candy corns "maximally great". Certainly, this God doesn't work for Con's constructive argument. I thus believe both debater's constructive arguments are shattered, and must vote Con by default (BoP).
Vote Placed by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
KingDebaterAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I came really close to giving the win to Pro because through most of the debate, Con did not seem to understand the argument Pro was making. Pro was arguing that maximal greatness is incoherent and therefore impossible because no matter how great something is, it can always be one degree greater. Con responded by pointing out that maximal greatness entails by it's definition that it can't be greater. But Pro wasn't denying the definition; rather, he was denying that such a being could be actual. Con did finally respond to Pro's argument by pointing out that "maximal greatness" does not mean "infinite," but rather, exhaustive. Pro didn't seem to have an answer for that, so I gave the win to Con.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
KingDebaterAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Ah, the old "maximally great" shell game. If you define if only as "the maximum possible power within the universe", you can't possibly argue that it translates into all possible universes; you can only support that premise once you actually begin to define that power which, as Pro noted, becomes quickly incoherent.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 3 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
KingDebaterAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Alright, so Pro offered two arguments -- (1) one in which he argues against the concept of maximal excellence through the summatory incoherence of the term 'maximum' with respect to quantities and (2) another in which he argues against the concept of creation ex nihilo through the incoherence of altering something that does not yet exist. Con responded by arguing (1) that one cannot add to a maximum set of anything, because this would be self-contradictory, and (2) that there are no effects upon something which does not yet exist, since there are no properties to modify. Pro dropped (2) completely, and but kindly left (1) around for the debate. Con's response to (1) pretty much sealed Pro's loss since Pro resorted to attacking the concept of 'infinity', which is not intrinsic to the concept of 'maximum,' as Con pointed out. Since Pro failed to respond to Con's rebuttals adequately, I award Con the arguments point.