The Instigator
brian.bors7
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Lupricona
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

"God exists" is true

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 712 times Debate No: 99409
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
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brian.bors7

Con

Axioms within this debate:
1. "God" within this debate is defined as "Yahweh as described in the Christian bible".
2. "exists" within this debate is defined as "has an effect on reality".
3. "is true" within this debate is defined as "has more predictive merit when compared with any mutually exclusive statement" (A pragmatic theory of truth)

Opening statement:
As I am taking the position of Con/Against, there is little that I can give in the form of an opening statement as the burden of proof lies with the person making the truth claim.
Lupricona

Pro

Introduction:

Thank you, CON, for allowing me to debate you in this topic.

I will attempt to use sound arguments to justify the belief in God.


The Existence of God- A Priori Arguments

Mind Over Matter

This universe consists of matter and energy. In the theistic understanding of the universe, mind is the originator of matter, as opposed to an atheistic and evolutionary stance- matter causes mind.

Before arguing for a mind to the universe, allow me to enter a third principle to the universe- information. To prove that information is separate from matter and energy, allow me to present an analogy:

If I write a certain collection of letters, like, “elhlo,” then the reader should not be able to make an understanding of those letters. However, if I rearrange the letters to “hello,” the reader should then understand the collection of letters as a word that conveys the meaning of a form of greeting someone. As you can see, matter was the medium used to convey the information. I would form the word “hello” on a computer, on a chalkboard, or on pen and paper. The material used would be different each time, that is, the medium to convey the information would be distinct, but the information would still be the same.

When dealing with information, there are two proponents needed. First, a sender, to form the information. Secondly, the receiver must be able to obtain and understand the information. To clarify “understanding the information”, imagine a Chinese person reading the word “hello.” If that person has no understanding of the English language, then they will not be able to understand the word “hello.” So, the sender must have an intention when delivering the information- that the message will be received and be understood.

Information, not matter and energy, is the underlying principle of the universe. From genetics, to language, to the physical laws of the universe, information is the critical component.

P1: Information is the underlying principle of reality.
P2: Information requires a sender.
C: There is a sender that caused all of the information (order) in reality.


The Prime Mover

As everyone would agree, there necessarily exists the first cause of everything. What my opponent and I will disagree about is whether that first cause is God, or quantum fluctuations, or what have you.

Everything that exists (besides the prime mover) is dependent on another part of existence. For example, the organism that is a cat is dependent on cells and structures, which are in turn dependent on molecules, which in turn are dependent on atoms, which are dependent on quarks, and so on.

Cat
^
cells
^
molecules
^
atoms
^
quarks

The prime mover is not dependent on any part of reality. The prime mover exists through itself, not something that causes itself. As you can see from the text image, the prime mover would also be the simplest form/most fundamental of existence. As it is the most fundamental form of existence, it exists without boundaries.

To understand the significance of boundaries, refer again to the text image. The cat is higher up on the form of complexity. A cat cannot be both a cat and dog at the same time. It is limited to being a cat. However, cells are not limited to cats, and can be formed to exist in other animals. However, cells are limited to exist in that form. Atoms are not limited to animals- they form all parts of the universe.

As we travel farther down the simplicity of existence, the less boundaries exist, and the more forms can be created from these states of existence.

Recall the famous double split experiment, where a single photon behaved both like a particle and a wave. This is possible because boundaries decrease as we travel down the chain of existence.

So, the prime mover must be free from all boundaries. It is necessarily limitless. Also, because it is at the lowest point in the chain of existence, it can interact with all of reality. Not only does this prime mover interact with all of reality, all of reality is continuously depending on it.

The prime mover that intends to create order (information) in the universe, while also continuously upholding all of creation, can only be understood as the eternal mind that underlies all of reality. This is otherwise known as God.

(Because of space, an anticipated argument against God using the evidential problem of evil is expected, and will be dealt with in a subsequent round.)

Intenionality

Imagine that you are sitting at a table, and you notice a cup. You intend to grab the cup, so two possible scenarios ensue: 1) You pick it up and take a drink. 2) You attempt to pick up the cup and accidentally spill it over the floor.

Both scenarios, the intentional and accidental, are explained by a preceding intentional action. Intentionality can lead to either intentional or accidental effects. However, no purpose can ever derive from contingent accidental causes. This example is to show that all outcomes of life refer back to an earlier intentional action. This causal chain cannot go backwards into infinity, so there must have been a first intentional action- God intentionally creating the universe.

If God doesn't exist, and the universe came into being unintentionally, then the only contingent actions are necessarily unintentional. If my opponent concedes this, then my opponent concedes that they are just an accidental collocation of atoms, and any argument they give has no inherent meaning. Given that their argument is meaningless, I win by default. If they don't concede this, then they must concede that God exists.


The Rationality of Christianity- A Posteriori Arguments

The Historicity of Christ.

There are 12 historical facts that most secular (non-christian) critical scholars agree to. They are (1):

-Jesus died by crucifixion.
-He was buried.
-His death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope.
-The tomb was empty (the most contested).
-The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus.
-The disciples were transformed from doubters to bold proclaimers.
-The resurrection was the central message.
-They preached the message of Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem.
-The Church was born and grew.
-James was converted to the faith when he saw the resurrected Jesus (James was a family skeptic).
-Paul was converted to the faith (Paul was an outsider skeptic).


There are three possible scenarios: The early disciples all had hallucinations of Christ at different times and places and were convinced that it was real; The early disciples hid Christ's body from the tomb, spread the lie that he was resurrected, and were tortured and killed to protect that lie; or Christ was resurrected by God and this is what the apostle's saw and preached.

The apostles directly denied that what they saw were hallucinations. (2) This either leaves the apostles lying and then dying for that lie, or the resurrection actually happened. I argue that Christ was really resurrected by God, because it is not reasonable to believe that they lied. If anyone objects to this (like my opponent), then they must give a motive for why the apostles would be tortured and killed for the lie- what was their benefit? Also, examples must be given for people who died protecting something they knew to be a lie (not examples of people dying for what they believe to be true, but what they definitely knew was false). If these two problems are not refuted, one must conclude that Christ was resurrected by God.

Miracles

Craig S. Keener (3) is received his Ph.D in New Testament Studies from Duke University. He has published a book (4) on miracles. Here is a brief, few minute interview (5) and a longer lecture for viewers of this debate who are interested (6).

The author researched the credibility of miracles from various cultures all around the world. There are over one thousand accounts in his book (he was very extensive and it took him many years to accomplish).

In the book, he provides examples of everything from simple medical healings to people being raised from the dead, all by people praying in the name of Jesus.

Also, 73 percent of American physicians believe in miracles, and 55 percent claim to have witnessed treatment results they consider miraculous (7).

I would argue that since so many people around the world now have documented evidence of their testimonies, and that well trained and educated physicians can corroborate the claims, it would be irrational to dismiss miracles as impossible or false.

And, if people are praying to Jesus and are being healed in ways that define medical explanation, even to the point where they are being raised from the dead, one should find it rational to believe that there does indeed exist a God who does interact with the world, and cares enough to answer the prayers of the faithful.


References

1 http://www3.telus.net...
2 Luke Chapter 24
3 https://en.wikipedia.org...
4 https://www.amazon.com...
5 https://www.youtube.com...
6 https://www.youtube.com...
7 http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 1
brian.bors7

Con

Thank you for accepting my debate challenge Pro.

You seem to understand and accept my axioms and have come up with a civil and thorough first round, thank you for that as well.

I will attempt to refute your arguments to the best of my abilities.

My opponent wisely used a priori arguments to attempt to prove a godlike being (not necessarily the Christian god) exists before attempting to prove that that specific god is the Christian god. I could grant my opponent those arguments without directly granting the position but I also believe these arguments have flaws so I will try and refute them first.

A Priori Arguments

Mind Over Matter

My opponent stated that information requires a sender but provided no argument to support this. If my opponent adds the attribute "requires a sender" to the definition of "information" I have no problem with using that specific definition of the word "information" in this debate but than I simply would not see genetics (for example) as a form of information because it has not been proved that it has a sender. This very argument tries to prove that there is such a sender.

To summarize: Either information doesn't require a sender (refuting P2) or it does (by definition) but than information is not the underlying principle of reality (refuting P1).

The Prime Mover

While I am personally not yet convinced that there necessarily exists a first cause of everything I will grant this for the sake of brevity within this debate.

Although my opponent's explanation of boundaries and complexity is a bit simplistic (Cells within cats cannot simply "be formed to exist in other animals" for example) I agree with the general idea I think is presented, which is "simpler patterns of building blocks have less attributes and therefore less boundaries".

This idea however doesn't support the idea that the most simplistic pattern of building blocks is free from all boundaries. In fact, all boundaries of complex patterns come forth out of the boundaries of simple patterns. The movement and arrangement that cells are forced to be in because of the boundaries of cells are the direct cause of the fact that a cat is a cat and not a dog. If cells where completely limitless than the cat would be completely limitless as well. The boundaries of the cat are defined by the boundaries of the cell. The boundaries of the cell are defined by the boundaries of the atom, etc. The boundaries of everything will eventually be defined by the boundaries of the prime mover. The fact that the most simple of patterns possible is limitless is therefore unsupported.

The idea that it can interact with all of reality is equally unsupported.

But even if I would were to grant both of those statements (the prime mover has no boundaries and can interact with all of reality), the idea that such a prime mover can only be an eternal mind does not necessarily follow from those statements.

Intentionality

My opponent states that "no purpose can ever derive from contingent accidental causes.".

If we define purpose as "the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists" than indeed purpose cannot be without intent. If God doesn't exist than the human race is indeed a collocation of atoms without purpose. However individual humans do have intentions. Therefore purpose can be derived from contingent unintended causes if God doesn't exist, refuting the statement made by my opponent. Such unintended causes can eventually cause intentions, including my meaningful arguments.

A Posteriori Arguments

Even if all my opponent's A Priori arguments are successfully refuted it is still a possibility that the universe was created intentionally by a mind. So if my opponent's A Posteriori Arguments are not refuted they could still support the initial position. Therefore I should refute these arguments as well.

The Historicity of Christ.

There is much debate and disagreement amongst scholars on the details of the life and death of Jesus Christ. The statement that "most scholars agree to the 12 mentioned historical facts" is highly disputed. (1)

Furthermore if one of these facts states
"The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus."
outright than the scenario
"The early disciples hid Christ's body from the tomb, spread the lie that he was resurrected, and were tortured and killed to protect that lie"
is logically impossible because if the disciples knew it was a lie they did not believe their experiences were literal appearances of the risen Jesus. This tells me that this particular historical fact is either poorly worded within this source, or not a statement that scholars agree with as historical fact.

As a side note: I would also argue that the complexity of the topic (the historicity of Jesus) in itself is a sign that this is not a good way for a god to provide evidence for it's existence. For such evidence would in that case only be available to learned scholars or people that happen to believe the correct learned scholars.

Miracles
Craig S. Keener has published a book with many examples of miracles. Not having read the book I cannot go into detail about the credibility of such miracles. But the sheer number of these miracles is not really a factor in this debate, a credible miracle would trump any quantity of incredible miracles. So I invite my opponent to pick one or a handful of the miracles in the book to debate their credibility in detail.

In general I can state that eye-witness reports alone are one of the worst forms of evidence available for such cases. Rumours and reports of UFO's and the Loch Ness Monster would have the same credibility.

My opponent also provided a source that states that 73 percent of American physicians believe in miracles. That same source also states that 80 percent of the US population believes in miracles. To me this says physicians (those that should, if they exist, by merit of their profession come into contact with miracles more often than the general population) are actually less likely(!) to believe in miracles than the rest of America.

I do not think such arguments from authority should hold much weight in such debates but if readers of this debate are intrested in counter-arguments from authority: Most scientists have a personal disbelief in god. (2)

1. https://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://www.stephenjaygould.org...
Lupricona

Pro

Thank you, Con, for your rebuttals.

A Priori Arguments

Mind Over Matter

Con argued that I didn't supply and argument to support that information requires a sender. I feel that I did so, and will re-iterate it and attempt to explain further.

In this argument, I am attempting to show that it is not matter that is fundamental to the universe, rather, it is information that is fundamental.

I showed that information requires both a sender and a receiver by way of using the analogy of language. The sender necessarily must be a conscious agent, and the receiver can either be another conscious agent or something material. So, language constitutes the exchange of information between two agents. A computer program constitutes the exchange of information between the programmer and the computer.

My opponent might disagree that information requires a sender, and may provide DNA as an example. He may argue that DNA arose without intention, and show that information doesn't need a sender. Or, he could argue that DNA didn't arise with intention, and therefore isn't classified as information.

Recognizing that I set up my argument as a deductive argument, and that failed, I should re-establish my argument as an inductive argument:

Given that, besides what we see in nature (as nature itself is what we're evaluating whether nature's information had a sender or not), we notice that exchanges of information require a sender an a receiver. So, given that we do see information in nature, it is reasonable to assume that it is likely that a sender, namely God, ordered matter in such a way as to create this universe.

So, in order for my opponent to refute the inductive argument, he has to show why the analogy between the information in nature and the information systems humans use is different enough to not require a sender.

The Prime Mover

My opponent stated that he is not convinced that there exists a first cause of everything. Given that I am a theist, I evaluate that the alternative to a first cause is irrational. So, would like to ask my opponent how they perceive existence originated (whether that be our universe, or the multiverse, or what have you).

My argument was simplistic, and I did not mean to say that cat cells could be used to make other animal cells, rather, cells themselves can be used to make up organisms. I am happy that my opponent did concede that “simpler patterns of building blocks have less attributes and therefore less boundaries.”

He did disagree that the most simplistic pattern is free from all boundaries, which is the point of contention.

This idea is tricky to fully explain in a limited amount of space. I would like to reference the complete argument here (1). This reference is only if my opponent is interested in the logic of this argument; I do not find it fair to link to a long and thorough argument without arguing for it here. So, if my opponent, or anyone else is interested in it, please check it out, but I don't count this as part of the debate.

Okay, with that out of the way, let me try to explain this argument as simply as possible:

No, a cat cell cannot be used as a dog cell. But cells in general are a simpler form of matter than are used to create more complex forms of life. Atoms are even simpler, and are used to create even more things, namely, all of the elements of the universe. Quarks are even simpler, and so forth.

Eventually, going down this chain of more simpler forms that uphold more complex forms of reality, there must be one simplest form that upholds everything in the universe. This simplest thing must also be unconditioned, as it upholds all other things that are conditioned or contingent patterns of reality.

My opponent lastly states that “the idea that such a prime mover can only be an eternal mind does not necessarily follow from these statements.” I agree with this. This is why this argument follows the argument of information, which requires a sender. My next argument for intentional also requires that the first intentional action requires a mind. So, I was premature when concluding this argument with there being a mind- I should have left the Prime Mover argument after the information and intentionality arguments as a better form. But to concede my opponents' claim- yes, if my information and intentionality arguments fail, then the Prime Mover argument can at best only support a weak form of Deism or perhaps even Pantheism.

Intentionality

I apologize to my opponent- I'm not following the arguments you're making.

You seem to make an unfounded assumption that humans do have intentions, without proving that they actually do.

The point that I am making is that we have two look at two completely different paradigms:

Paradigm 1- The universe was created by an intentional act. Given this, intentionality is a part of the universe.

Paradigm 2- The universe came into existence without intention. All subsequent events are contingent on this unintentional action, meaning that no contingent action can have intentionality. The human race necessarily doesn't have intentions, rather, humans are biological organisms that act on impulses derived from previous unintentional conditions, the environment and genetics. Any form of human intention is necessarily an illusion. One might believe they intended to grab the cup, but in actuality, the correct description of events is that one accidental collocation of atoms interacted with another accidental collocation of atoms.

This argument does not prove that there was indeed an intentional act of creation. Rather, it shows that if one denies paradigm 1, they must concede that intentions and more specifically the arguments in this debate are all arbitrary and meaningless. Paradigm 2 might be the correct description of reality, but these assumptions are beliefs that people never act on. My opponent cannot actively live out the reality of the logic of his beliefs- he must necessarily assume that he has true intentions in his actions, and as proved, intentions require an original prime mover that purposefully created the universe.

A posteriori Arguments

The Historicity of Christ

I agree with my opponent that there is much disagreement amongst scholars on the details on the life and death of christ.

Also, I want to point out that I would never consider an argument that rests on authorities to be good arguments. The reason why I used this approach, though, was because I wanted to establish a basis of that the academic community does generally agree about. In a debate like this, space is limited, and arguing for each specific agreed upon fact could take up the entire debate. So, the facts I listed are facts that are generally agreed upon, while yes, everything else is hotly debated. If my opponent disagrees with any of the 12 facts listed, I would happily give arguments to show why they are likely. However, I would hope that my opponent can start with the consensus so that we can make reasonable conclusions about the events of the 1st century.

My opponent is correct in pointing out the contradiction between the consensus of scholars agreeing that the disciples believed Jesus had resurrected and that one scenario that people argue for is that early apostles his Christ's body. I do content that historical scholars agree that the disciples believed Jesus was resurrected, and most of the historical scholars I've read and listened to advocate some type of hallucination or mass hysteria hypothesis. One non-intellectual scenario that is advocated is that the disciples hid the body, and I use that in my argument because some people do try to argue this route.

So, if my opponent wants to argue against any of the 12 facts, I am happy to argue for any of those specific contentions. But, if my opponent is willing to concede these, I would like to get to the root of the matter. In the 1st century, a radical Jew was crucified for claiming to be the Messiah of the Jews, and this religion spread across many cultures and is now the biggest religion in the world. The initial advocates of this religion were so sincere in their beliefs that they were martyred for their faith. I believe the best explanation for these events is that Jesus was in fact resurrected. I would like to hear from my opponent what he considers a superior explanation of the events.

As for the side note, I don't see how this topic requires learned scholars. I appealed to learned scholars only as a means of limiting the length of debate, and am happy to get into the details of history. I don't think this topic is complex by any means, and I think this very simple argument is a very good reason to accept Christianity.

Miracles

I did provide links to youtube videos of the author describing some miraculous claims. I am running low on space, so I can wait until next round to describe one in the context of the debate (which I agree is fair and understandable), but if you are able, I would ask to watch one, as the short link is only a few minutes.

I agree that most miraculous and superstitious claims can be explained with naturalistic causes, but that doesn't prove that we must throw out all of eye-witness testimony. Every person relies on eye-witness testimony through the majority of all their beliefs. Think of school, books, scientists, etc. I can understand that some people are less adept at recognizing the best explanation of the events they saw, but that doesn't throw out their testimony.

As for the physician beliefs in miracles versus the american individuals- that was clever. Yes, more educated people are more skeptical than non-educated, I agree. My point, though, was that the majority of trained physicians do testify that they've witnessed miracles.

I am running out of space and am unable to finish this argument- I will provide a better refutation and examples of good miracles in the next round.

References:
1 http://magisgodwiki.org...
Debate Round No. 2
brian.bors7

Con

Thank you, Pro, for the further explanation of your arguments.

A Priori Arguments

Mind Over Matter

Pro argued that information requires a sender and gives several examples of exchanges of information that require a sender (language requires a conscious agent and a computer program requires a programmer) and uses these examples to conclude that "information systems humans use" have conscious senders. I state that this is a tautology. Humans are conscious agents; so it goes without reason that "information systems used by conscious agents require a conscious agent". There is no reason to assume from these examples that DNA arise with intention as humans didn't give rise to DNA.

My opponent argues that everything outside of nature (With other words: "build by humans" who are conscious agents) requires a sender and I should show why the analogy between information in nature and the information system humans use is different enough to not require a sender.

The difference between these two forms of information systems is that one is used by humans and the other is not. Humans are always conscious agents. If god doesn't exist nature isn't always (the exception would be animals) necessarily a conscious agent.

The Prime Mover

My opponent asks me how I perceive existence originated. I state that I don't know how existence originated or even if existence originated in the first place. I also stated before that I am not convinced existence has a prime mover but that for the sake of brevity I will(!) grant this position within this debate, since I find that likely anyway. So I ask my opponent to please proceed as if I am convinced that there exists a first cause of everything.

My opponent has trouble explaining his reasoning behind the idea "that simplistic patterns don't just have less boundaries but that the most simplistic pattern has no boundaries at all", within the limited amount of space of this debate. I respect that as I am sure the explanation is quite technical and complicated. I will certainly read the complete argument after this debate.

My opponent successfully explains how simpler forms of matter can be used to create more complex forms of matter and how simpler forms of matter can be used to create more types of matter (cells only living things... not rocks... but going simpler atoms are in both living things and in rocks). So I agree that if this pattern continues that there should be a "simplest" form of matter that is within every form of complex matter all across existence. If this is what my opponent means with "uphold" than I agree this simplest form of matter "upholds" every other form of matter and thus "upholds" the entire universe. I do not see how this simplest form would than be "unconditioned". The fact that this simplest form can be used to create every other form doesn't necessarily make it "unconditioned". This simplest form could for example still have the condition that it can only be used to create forms that have gravity relative to their mass. Another example of a condition of this simplest form is that it has a limited storage capacity for information, or that it can only travel at the speed of light.

Intentionality

No need for my opponent to apologize. After the last two rounds I judge my opponent to be intelligent. If my opponent does not follow the argument I am making I probably didn't explain it properly.

My argument is that there is a third possible Paradigm.

Paradigm 3- The universe came into existence without intention. All subsequent events are contingent on this unintentional action. The human race evolved consciousness, language use skills and cognitive reasoning unintentional. These things where used to define meaning of words. One of these words is "intention" which some humans define as "a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future.". Another of these words is "meaningful" which could mean "what is intended to be conveyed by a word, text, concept, or action". Humans are biological organisms that act on impulses derived from previous unintentional conditions, the environment and genetics. Such organisms their brains can be in states. The humans themselves call these states of their brains "mental states". One of those mental states is "a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future" which those humans defined as intent. If a humans is committed to grab a cup the correct description of events is that one accidental collocation of atoms interacted with another accidental collocation of atoms which they call intent.

If paradigm 3 is the correct description of reality than I have intentions and my arguments are not meaningless. My arguments are "accidental collocations of atoms interacting with each other in my brain that produce a concept (transferable by letters on a screen) which I have a mental state about that represents a commitment to convey". This is simply what we mean by the words "arguments have meaning".

My opponent cannot of course know for certain that my brain has "a mental state that represent a commitment to carry out actions". But I am sure he (and any reader of this debate) would be fine with a proof produced by their own brain. If you have "a mental state that represents a commitment to carry out actions" than you have intent. A brain that can produce such a mental state can be produced by evolution which is an unintentional process.

A posteriori Arguments

The Historicity of Christ

My opponent states that the 12 facts listed are generally agreed upon. I have already supplied a source that says differently. The very fact that we cannot reach consensus about the events of the 1st century is my rebuttal. We cannot know for sure what happened, even our scholars disagree. How could a laymen know which of these 12 things to belief? So we cannot use these 12 facts to base our beliefs on. My opponent invites me to state which of the 12 listed things I disagree with so he could argue in favour for that one specifically but I do not disagree with any of them. I simply state that no evidence for their truth has been presented. I respect that this debate is limited by space though and would like to to invite my opponent to give arguments to show why the claim "The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus." is likely. (even though this is the last round)

I do not know which of these 12 facts are true or false and would not base important beliefs on them. But even if all 12 are true there are still other possible scenario's (which my opponent calls the "root of the matter").

A more superior explanation of the events is: In the 1st century, a radical Jew was crucified for claiming to be the Messiah of the Jews, and this religion spread across many cultures and is now the biggest religion in the world. The initial advocates of this religion were so convinced that the message of the Messiah would bring good to the world (which was their motive) that they agreed to lie about a resurrection (and possibly hid the body). Some where tortured and killed and kept lying because they thought the message would bring good to the world. all of those that got tortured could have eventually cracked under torture and stated that the resurrection was false but these statements are lost in time or simply not believed or denied by the followers of the church. It is also a possibility that later writers made up the martyring of the disciples to add credibility to the faith.

I am sure I can come up with other explanations, but even if all such explanations are refuted simply concluding that "we cannot come up with other explanations of what happened so it must have been a miracle" is not something I would personally base any belief on.

Historicity of biblical events is an issue requiring the cross-referencing of multiple (sometimes incomplete) primary sources written in several old languages while making sure you only use sources of "high authenticity" which requires factoring in tone, author intention, the possibility of tampering, etc. I am somewhat surprised my opponent calls this a simple argument and would argue that reproducing the conclusions of learned scholars would include becoming a learned scholar yourself.

Miracles

I did watch both youtube videos and all examples mentioned could be (broadly) dismissed by stating "the eye-witnesses could have been lying or embellishing the truth to make the stories more interesting or to get more attention" but what really strikes me is the amount(!) of eye-witness accounts in his personal environment. If such amounts are consistent across Christian faiths than cases of (for example) spontaneous remissions of diseases should be statistically higher in religious countries.

Instead of anecdotal evidence in the form of eye-witnesses we should be able to see the effects of miracles in statistical analyses of certain communities. Of course it is always difficult to control for other factors (for example religious people do tend to live slightly longer which is attributed to them having, for example, stronger community bonds (1)) but I am sure that our scientists can control for such factors and would have found statistical anomalies among certain religious communities by now if miracles had real life influence.

Afterword.

I thank my opponent for the interesting structure and challenge of the arguments. I enjoyed the conversation and believe I presented rebuttals to the best of my ability. I look forward to his final defence of the position. If he wants to converse further or discuss the debate he should feel free to message me informally.

1. http://jamanetwork.com...
Lupricona

Pro

I just had finished writing my arguments, and the website crashed, and I'm having to start entirely over. I apologize, but I'm going to quickly write what I had as fast as I can, and I'm sorry if my text is rushed and incorrect at times.

Mind Over Matter


I recognize that I argued for a tautology. I shouldn't have stressed the connection between humans and possibly God. Instead, I should have argued that the information humans can create seems to be similar to the ordered information in the universe. If those are analogous, and given that computer information obviously requires intention, it seems rational to induce that DNA required intention from an agent.

The Prime Mover

What I meant by "unconditioned" is that it is the Prime Mover. So, I am conditioned by my parents, they are conditional to their parents, etc. Eventually, there would be an unconditioned first mover that everything else is conditional to. Also, as organisms are conditional to organs, to cells, to atoms, etc., eventually there must be an unconditioned prime mover that upholds all of existence.

Intentionality

I fail to see the difference between my opponent's proposed paradigm 3 and my paradigm 2. He seems to concede that, if the universe wasn't intended to exist, then human consciousness is a mere illusion. So, even though people have mental states, those mental states only give the illusion of choice.

In paradigm 1, an agent, namely God, chose to create other agents. These agents were created with purpose, and are also able to intend purposes on other things in creation.

In paradigm 2/3, the universe was created by an accident. No purpose can ever be derived, only illusory purpose. Humans have mental states where they perceive choice, but the correct description of events is that they are accidental collocations of atoms interacting with other accidental collocations of atoms.

Historicity of Christ

With due respect, my opponent provided a link to a Wikipedia article stating that scholars have disagreement over facts about Jesus. However, I provided a link that shows some facts that most scholars do concede to. These are not contradictory facts.

My opponent argued that Christianity could be historical fiction. However, why would people make up a religion of a crucified hero, and where all the original followers are persecuted and martyred? If you were going to make up a religion, why would you make up that? It's hard to preach a religion where you might be expected to be killed for what you believe in, and yet this is what was preached.

Also, there are multiple ancient records of early Christians being martyred. If you don't accept historical documents, you have to throw out all of history. This is all that we have, are historical documents, and we draw the best conclusions that we can. However, if we were to be skeptical of ever ancient document, we wouldn't be able to construct a past at all.

My opponent also argued that the resurrection of Jesus isn't a good argument. This is demonstrably false. 3 billion people in the world believe in Christianity because of the resurrection. Now, just because 3 billion people believe in this argument doesn't make it true, but it shows that this is at least a convincing argument to many people.

Miracles

I agree with my opponent that it is possible for people to have lied about the miracles. Also, there are many superstitious people in the world, willing to call simple improbable events as miracles, when naturalistic explanations are more reasonable. However, there do exists millions of miraculous testimonies in the world, and it is irrational maintain a proposition that requires millions of people to be liars.

My opponent also seems to discourage anecdotal evidence, which I argued last round that humans base the majority of all their beliefs on anecdotal evidence. He then argues that because scientists haven't empirically evaluated miracle claims, or because he hasn't seen any of them firsthand, shows that miracles shouldn't be accepted. This kind of thinking is fallacious- there are numerous phenomena in the world that hasn't been seen or scientifically examined, but that doesn't make those things automatically false.

It could be that there isn't a God who intervenes and performs miracles. But, millions of people, all across the world, are stating that they've witnessed miraculous acts, from resurrections to power over nature, all in the name of the Christian God. You could be skeptical, and claim that these millions of people are liars, but it isn't a rational position to hold.

Conclusion

I apologize for the unorganized structure and quickness of my final arguments. I would like to continue this conversation, as my opponent has shown to be very polite, intelligent, and extremely challenging in this debate.

Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Lupricona 1 year ago
Lupricona
I would imagine at this point, most theists would argue that this is where "faith" comes in. Now, I can grant that faith might be a respectable virtue, but only in the sense that a husband has faith that his wife is committed to him. Having "faith" in the sense that Christianity is just true allows for the justification that ANY faith could be true, so I find the defense unjustifiable.

Given my cultural background- modern day America- I find many of the deeds done by God in the Old Testament as unjustifiable. Now, it is possible that that my understanding of morality is incorrect, so I need to figure out a sound moral framework in which to judge the actions of the Bible before I can conclude whether God is a moral monster or not.

Now, you have shown that you are very respectable and intelligent, and I can imagine that continuing a conversation with you would help in criticizing the errors in my reasoning and help us both to discover true claims about reality. So, I want to point out that I don't want to try and convince you of any of my positions.

In the debate, you seemed to be much more interested in discussing Christianity in particular, rather than any philosophical justifications for God. I'm happy to start discussing on any of the specific points you want, or if you have new subjects you desire to talk about, that would be fine too.
Posted by Lupricona 1 year ago
Lupricona
@brian.bors7

Hey man, I'm glad you're interested in continuing the conversation. I'm fine with using e-mail to do so. I can PM you my e-mail.

Also, if you are interested in continuing the conversation, I'd like to set up a somewhat formal introduction:

This is my current state of thought in regards to religion:

I want to be the person that has as many true beliefs as possible. I also recognize that intellectual fallibility is a necessary part of the human condition, so I need to be careful when making epistemic claims.

In our debate, you saw that I used two types of arguments- a priori and a posteriori. With a priori, as long as my logic is sound, then the conclusions are necessarily true. So, those few arguments I proposed are reasons why I'm fairly certain (besides the human fallibility) that some type of God exists. With the a posteriori claims, it becomes more difficult because those beliefs are subject to both human fallibility and having to make probabilistic assumptions. So, while I may have some degree of belief that Christianity might be correct, I recognize that I can never be certain in these things. Also, even if you grant that the most probable explanation of the 1st century is a truly resurrected Christ, this doesn't mean it actually happened. A man in a poker club could win with two royal flushes in a row. It's highly probable that he is cheating, but that says nothing whether he actually is cheating or not.
Posted by brian.bors7 1 year ago
brian.bors7
Hey Lupricona,

Thanks for the final defense, I was afraid you would be a no-show there for a minute. It sucks that your original post got deleted, thanks for taking the time to write it again.

Lets wait for some votes first, but I would gladly continue to talk about some of the points that we had to leave open. You want to do that here in the comments or do you want to exchange email addresses or something?

Greetings,

Brian Bors
Posted by brian.bors7 1 year ago
brian.bors7
dsjpk5. Thank you for the advice and luck wishes!

I might try and make my definition of "exists" a bit more clear next time I use it. :)
Posted by WalkerMcPhail 1 year ago
WalkerMcPhail
Good luck Pro. God Bless.
Posted by RonPaulConservative 1 year ago
RonPaulConservative
I can't accept this as I am a deist,
Posted by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
I'm not sure the Bible claims is non fiction any more than the Harry Potter series does. But you certainly don't have to take my advice. I was just trying to help. Good luck to you!
Posted by brian.bors7 1 year ago
brian.bors7
It is very true that a fictional character has an effect on reality. But the Yawhey that is described in the bible is not fictional. The Yawhey that is described in the bible is non-fictional.

Fictional Yawhey certainly exists and indeed has a profound effect on humanity. ;)
Posted by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
Even a fictional character can have an effect on someone.
Posted by brian.bors7 1 year ago
brian.bors7
How so?
No votes have been placed for this debate.