The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

God exists.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 377 times Debate No: 91882
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




The resolution is that God exists. In my first post, I will discuss some issues relating to definitions and then defend the burden of proof principle.

Part 1: Definitions

The resolution has two terms, "God" and "exists."

My opponent has the privilege of defining the term "God," since he is the one defending the claim that God exists. However, my opponent must not attempt to win the debate by appealing to a radically unorthodox definition. For example, he cannot define God as love, or as the universe. If my opponent attempts this, or anything like it, he forfeits the debate.

That said, my opponent may appeal to a definition of God that is different from the definition traditional Christians use. He may argue for the existence of a deistic God that does not intervene in the universe, or a God that is omnipotent and omniscient but not all loving. My point above is only to rule out a definition that a reasonable person would view as trickery, given the resolution.

The second term in the resolution is "exists," which everyone should be able to understand. Examples of things that exist are the chair I'm sitting on, the United States, Vladimir Putin, etc. The resolution simply asserts this status for God, given some sensible definition of God.

Part 2: The Burden of Proof

I argue that this debate should be evaluated according to a principle of logic called the burden of proof principle, which asserts that every claim must be supported by adequate evidence or reasoning. Conversely, if a claim isn't supported by evidence, then we must reject it.

The burden of proof principle follows from the fact that we have limited time and energy to investigate a claim. Since our resources are limited, we need to focus our efforts on the claims that are the most important and promising. If a claim is just arbitrarily asserted without any evidence or reasoning in favor of it, the rational response to it is to ignore it, go on with our business, and continue to base our reasoning and actions on the conclusions that hold up best under rational analysis.

Examples of the burden of proof principle at work are plentiful in everyday life and in science. If a used car salesman claims that a car runs well, we don't just take his word for it, we want to take the car for a drive. If a scientist makes a scientific assertion to his colleagues, he is expected to provide reasoning and evidence in its favor. Claims that aren't supported by evidence and reasoning are disregarded.

We can also see the burden of proof principle at work in our rejection of concepts like unicorns, leprechauns, and other mythical creatures. Virtually no one believes in these entities, because there is no evidence in their favor. Believing in them would be ridiculous and harmful to our lives, and spending time trying to disprove their existence would be a waste of time and energy. We just reject the claims as if they had never been put forward.

The burden of proof principle is clearly sound, then, which means that if there is no evidence or reasoning supporting the claim that God exists, we should reject the claim. I invite my opponent to put forward evidence or reasoning in support of God's existence in his Round 1 speech.


In this post, I did two things.

1. I gave my opponent the privilege of defining the term "God," within reasonable limits.
2. I defended the burden of proof principle and explained how it applies to the issue at hand.

I look forward to my opponent's attempt to address both of these issues in his response.


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and I wish him good luck.

I shall define God here as "the intelligence behind reality," or "a mind that grounds reality."

Contention 1: The Modal Ontological Argument

Dating as far back as the Saint Anslem, as this argument has been honnored by philosphers on every side of the spectrum. I shall be definding the version of this argument that was made popular by Alvin Plantinga. His model uses the S5 model and thus is immune to the popular arguments against that philospher Kant has made and hence making Kant's argument void. I shall also argue another point made famous by William Criag: The Argument is bellow.

1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists. [1]

Here we can see that we can already see that on face value that it is possible that God exists. Due to this small plausability we can see that at any slight chance proves that there is a God in some reality and hence this reality. In order for Con to disprove God he must show that it is impossible in every possible circumstance. Now as we look at the premise 1 and 2 we can see that God can exist which leads me into my S5 argument.

S5: If possibly necessarily P, then necessarily P [2]

This would mean if a MGB is possible then it exists in at least one possible world. Under this model it would have to exist in all possible worlds qua maximally great especially since MG entails absolute exsistance. Since this world is part of a string of possible worlds then God has no choice, but to exist in this world. Under this, since God is the MGB then he is automatically the omnipotent being that my opponent is denying.

Anslem's OA

A statement is a priori = one can see that it is true using pure reason and given an understanding of the meanings of the words in it. We don’t need empirical evidence to know that it’s true. A priori statements seem to be true necessarily.

A statement is a posteriori = our evidence for its truth is empirical, or based on data that we receive via sense experience.

1. God, by definition, is the greatest possible being.
2. A being that does not exist in the real world is less great than a being that exists necessarily, or in all possible worlds.
3. Suppose that God (the greatest possible being) does not exist in the real world.
4. If the greatest possible being does not exist in the real world, then He is not as great as the possible being who is just like him but who does exist in the real world.
5. But the greatest possible being can’t be less great than some other possible being. To say that “the being than which none greater is possible is a being than which a greater is possible” is to say something that’s necessarily false, because self-contradictory.
6. The supposition in 3 is false. God does exist in the real world. And he exists not contingently, but necessarily, or in all possible worlds. It is impossible for God not to exist. [3]

Here we can see that Point 6 is completely true. If we had a maximumly great being of some sort we could see that even if we took him out of our universe that there would still be a Maximumly Great Being. Thus we can simplify to see that when combined with the S5 argument of the Ontoligcal argument that God is Possible in All worlds and because of this we can see that it's a posteriori for God to Exist and arguing otherwise is futile. Continuing we can see that even if God didn't exist, the continuation would still lead to an all powerful Being. No matter what occurs, there will always be an omnipotent God.

Contention 2: Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument (which I'll start refurring to as the KCA in order to save space) was created by William Lane Craig and is a simple theory that I have bellow.

(1) Everything that began to exist had a cause
(2) The universe began to exist
(3) The universe had a cause
(4) If the universe had a cause, that cause is God
(5) Therefore, God exists [5]

The 1st premise is true by the very laws a physics as it is a law of Conservation of Mass it shows that Matter can't be neither created nor destroyed. Meaning the Universe couldn't have been spontanously created as Big Bang opponent Flyod has stated. These things are not spontanous here. Like why doesn't the Earth suddenly expload? This is because the laws of Physics binds and restrics nothingness so we can see that for one to question the first premise would be to question regualrity.

Moving on to the second premise here which is backed both by scientce and philosophy. Craig agrues the Brode-Gruth-Velikum Theory through the use of Red shift which shows that the universe is exspanding we can actually see that the universe, even if it is part of some multi-verse, still had to be created. [6] The philosophical side of this argument is though many argue that the universe may be infinate the thing is highly unlikely for things to exsist in an infinate chain and are thus had to have a starting finite point somwhere. Even if we look at Tyson's theory on how this universe started and that it is a multiverse we can still see that the universe, this one, had a beginning.

For the 4th Premise I will argue Monistic Idealism. Since it had a cause, the cause was transcendent meaning it was timeless and spaceless. Only minds are from this sphere and if I can prove that God is a Mind/sphere then I win the debate.

Monistic idealism.

P1 Mind is mental
P2 Nothing mental can interact with what is non-mental
C1 Nothing mind interacts with is non-mental
P3 Mind interacts with reality
C2 Reality is mental

P1: Mind is mental.

P1: IF mind is matter, THEN solipsism is impossible (exists in no possible worlds).
P2: Solipsism is possible (does exist in some possible world).
C: Mind is not matter.

Metaphysical Solipsism shows that all exists within our own minds. Though we may think there is a world out there it is all actually in our minds. [7] Thus a world has to exist within our own minds and there are several reasons why this is completely true. It makes perfect sense since it isn't prima facie impossible and thus must be accepted as a solid fact, not to mention that it is perfectably reasonable and a sound argement. If we can see that the mind was matter, then it would be impossible to exist appart from matter itself. Things that are Metaphysically impossible are not even imaginable. Can you imagine a Square Hexigon? No, such a thing is perposterous. We can thus see that Metaphysical solipsism is consitstant with Metaphysically possible. Here we have to apply the Indentity of Indiscernibles.

F(FxFy) → x=y.

This is reflected by showing these things are distinguished by some differential, but in the case of, let's say clones for the sake of arguing, is just a replication of it's own molecules. This is centered on the basis that all things have an individualistic characteristic and in the case of God it is the existance of it's own mind and it's consciencousness that shows this. I shall give an example bellow.

There are 3 Sphere, Sphere A, B, and C
Each have the same qualities.
Each of these Spheres exist in world 1.
Sphere A exists in World 2, but Sphere B and C cannot due to their likeness characteristics. [8]

We can see that this is a logically coherrant case and thus is sound. We can also see that due to the theory of Truely Large Numbers that there is a great chance that this world is that of a Solipsism one as many studies have shown. (but that's for another debate)

P2: Seperate Substances cannot interact

Substance Dualism
This is best cleverly sumed up by the phrase "Mind over Matter" where they argue that there's escentially two distinct things: Mind and Matter. [9] Though the key question here is if the mind is seperate from matter than how does the mind and the brain interact? In order for the consciousness and matter to interact there would have to be some sort of interaction. (See image bellow) The trap here is that since there is a linkage here we can see that there cannot be two seperate things since they would have to be interlinked. Thus the theory here is false.

Property Dualism
So you may concede to the above dualism, but then you might say, alrighty, if that is true then the mind must be a property of the brain. Though if this was true then it would lead to epiphenomenalism and that there would be no free will since everything that we do would have been created by some reaction in the Physical aspect.

This leads to an interesting contradiction of itself. Say I weigh 180 lbs (not my actual weight, but it's an example), the property of me would be 180 lbs. Now tell me, have you ever gone outside or to the zoo and seen 180lbs? No something that weighs that, but the 180 lbs by itself? Thus we can blatently see that it is an abstract that exists only as a property. It can only exist as a property of something else.

If we remember my Solipsism argument from earlier we can see the mind can exist by itself and thus it cannot be a property like the 180 lbs as the mind isn't a property thus it wouldn't be consevable much like the 180 lbs.

P3: Mind interacts with reality.

This almost seems like it's the most obvious here I get hit in the head with a foul ball at a baseball game. Outside of the fact that I would probably have been KO'd we can see that the mind affects what I feel. I would feel a massive amount of pain and if it was great enough then I would lose consciousness and the mind would go dormant to protect itself and me as a person.

Thus the reality is mental and God has no choice but to exist.

Sources in Comments section.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for an interesting opening speech.

I will address my opponent's definition and then go through his arguments one by one.

The Definition of God

My opponent has defined God as "the intelligence behind reality" or "the mind that grounds reality." This definition does not run afoul of the stipulations I made in Round 1, so he does not forfeit the debate, and the remainder of the debate will proceed based on this definition.

However, we must still examine my opponent's definition for logical coherence, because the definition of God is a crucial component of any case for God's existence. If his definition of God is not logically coherent, then his case automatically fails. By analogy, imagine someone trying to make a case for the existence of a "blik," without defining what a blik is coherently. He might have a number of interesting arguments, but his case could never be successful.

It is ironic that my opponent's avatar is a picture of Ayn Rand, because I am an Objectivist, an adherent of Rand's philosophy, myself. Further, I think Rand made a fatal objection to his definition of God.

According to Ayn Rand, it is an axiom of metaphysics, which she called the "primacy of existence," that consciousness is dependent upon existence. This is evident from the fact that every state of consciousness refers to something that exists - all of our concepts, thoughts, and feelings refer to the external world. By definition, consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists. [1]

Due to the primacy of existence, existence could not be dependent upon a mind, since the mind would have to perceive something that existed independently of it in order to become conscious.

I will now proceed to address my opponent's arguments for the existence of God.

The Arguments for God

My opponent has put forward four main arguments for the existence of God.

1. Alvin Plantinga's modal ontological argument
2. Anselm's ontological argument
3. William Lane Craig's kalam cosmological argument
4. Monistic idealism, supplemented by a number of arguments from philosophy of mind

Let's consider these one by one.

Alvin Plantinga's MOA

In any discussion about Alvin Plantinga's modal ontological argument, it's valuable to keep in mind what Plantinga himself says about it in The Nature of Necessity:

"Our verdict on these reformulated versions of St. Anselm's argument must be as follows. They cannot, perhaps, be said to prove or establish their conclusion. But since it is rational to accept their central premiss, they do show that it is rational to accept that conclusion. And perhaps that is all that can be expected of any such argument." [2]

So even Plantinga doesn't think that this argument proves anything.

Proceeding to criticisms of the argument itself, the problem is that the premise that a maximally great being is possible is unjustified. My opponent construes the possibility here as epistemic possibility, but that's not the type of possibility the argument depends on, and is actually a serious misunderstanding of the argument.

Rather, the modal ontological argument is based on what Plantinga calls metaphysical possibility, which for him means that a maximally great being exists in some possible world. But this premise is question begging, since it asserts outright that a being that exists in every possible world exists in some possible world. This isn't really an argument, it's a roundabout way of asserting one's conclusion in the premise.

So, I invite my opponent to establish that God exists in some possible world.

An additional problem with the modal ontological argument is that it infinitely exacerbates the problem of evil.

If God is all good, all loving, and all knowing, and if he exists in some world, then there should be no gratuitous evil in that world. This is a premise that theists and atheists alike accept, although theists attempt to argue that there isn't any gratuitous evil in our world by means of theodicies or skeptical theism.

The problem of evil is infinitely exacerbated by the modal ontological argument, because the MOA asserts that if God exists, then he exists in every possible world. So, given the uncontroversial premise above, it follows that there can't be any gratuitous evil in any possible world, not even one single instance. If there is even a single possible instance of gratuitous evil, even one that doesn't actually exist, then it follows with certainty that God does not exist.

So, in addition to inviting my opponent to prove that God is metaphysically possible, I invite him to prove that it is metaphysically impossible for there to be even a single instance of gratuitous evil. If my opponent cannot accomplish both of these tasks, then Plantinga's MOA should be discarded.

I will now make an objection to Anselm's ontological argument that also applies to Plantinga's MOA with certain obvious modifications.

Anselm's Ontological Argument

The problem with Anselm's ontological argument is that the definition of God it begins with, "the greatest possible being," is unjustified, because it is not based on evidence or reasoning. Definitions are not givens that you can arbitrarily assert, you have to provide a reason why you are using a certain definition and explain what its foundation is in reality.

For example, when I define man as "the rational animal," I am basing that on an enormous body of observational evidence. That definition integrates countless observations about human beings, including their ability to speak grammatically, their ability to fly airplanes, etc. Since it is based on all of this evidence, it is a valid cognitive product and can be used to guide our reasoning effectively.

The definition of God my opponent asserts isn't based on any observations, it's just arbitrarily asserted. It is not really a cognitive product, it is just empty words or an expression of emotion. My opponent may associate it with some mental images he has, but in order to establish that it has cognitive value he needs to support it with evidence.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument
In response to this argument it is only necessary to point out that the universe could not have begun to exist, by definition. For a thing to begin to exist, there needs to be a time when it did not exist, followed by a time when it did exist. That is what it means for something to "begin to exist." However, there was no time prior to the universe, since time is defined in terms of the universe.

Therefore, by definition, the universe did not begin to exist, which means that the second premise is false and the causal principle in premise 1 does not apply.

Another dubious premise in this argument is premise 4. My opponent attempts to support this premise as follows: " Since it had a cause, the cause was transcendent meaning it was timeless and spaceless. Only minds are from this sphere and if I can prove that God is a Mind/sphere then I win the debate."

Even if the universe did begin to exist and did have a cause, which I objected to above, it is completely arbitrary to argue that the cause had to be "transcendent" or a "mind." There are only too many objections to this inference: How do we know the cause wasn't a prior state of the universe, which would be consistent with the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem my opponent mentions? Is there even a coherent definition of "transcendent?" (Almost certainly not.) How could there be a mind in the absence of a material brain, since that contradicts everything we know about minds? etc., etc.

But rather than lingering on my opponent's feeble defense of premise 4, I will move on to his argument from monistic idealism, since he puts that forward as an additional defense of that premise.

Monistic Idealism

Premise 2 of this argument asserts that "nothing mental can interact with what is non-mental." The objection to this is simple and decisive: It does, so it can. That's all I have to say to give a complete, scientific refutation of this argument.

Every field of science is based on certain fundamental observations about what is causally connected to what. The fact that we don't know how to reduce a causal connection, like the causal connection between consciousness and matter, to more fundamental causal connections doesn't make it a mystery or a reason to appeal to the supernatural. If we have observed a causal connection and established its existence rationally, then it must be accepted as scientific.

This is a conclusive refutation of my opponent's argument from monistic idealism. However, I should indicate the position in philosophy of mind that I am coming from.

I am a dualist in the sense that I regard consciousness as real and as not reducible to matter - as science currently understands matter. Consciousness may be reduced to some more sophisticated understanding of matter, once science has discovered the laws of nature that give rise to consciousness, which it has not at present. However, consciousness is a natural phenomenon and does not constitute any kind of mystery, "hard problem," or gate to mysticism.

I regard consciousness as a non-material (in the sense described) activity of the brain. I reject substance dualism, because a substance is a physical thing, and consciousness is not physical. I do not like the term "property dualist," either, because that term is associated with David Chalmers and the idea that consciousness is a "hard problem."

This is the Objectivist position on consciousness, as defended by followers of Ayn Rand like Leonard Peikoff [3] and Harry Binswanger. [4]


My opponent's definition of God is incoherent, and his arguments for God are unsound. For these reasons, we should negate the resolution.


[2] The Nature of Necessity by Alvin Plantinga, p. 221
[3] Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, by Leonard Peikoff
[4] How We Know, by Harry Binswange


I concede.
Debate Round No. 2


Okay, good debate. You made some interesting arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Ockham 4 months ago
tejretics, logic applies to everything that exists, because it is based on the law of identity.
Posted by tejretics 4 months ago
I don't see the point of debating this, because God -- as a transcendent entity -- puts into question some basic philosophical/epistemic assumptions (e.g. Occam's razor, abductive/inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning). Whatever argument is made, the assumption that said epistemology can be applied transcendent to the universe has to be justified -- because there's no reason to believe that "truth" or "logic" is an abstract concept, rather than one grounded in physical laws and constraints.
Posted by Biodome 5 months ago
Nice in-depth debate. Looking forward to how it develops.
Posted by lannan13 5 months ago
1. Oppy, Graham (8 February 1996; substantive revision 15 July 2011). "Ontological Arguments". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
2. Marenbon, M., Medieval Philosophy: An Historical and Philosophical Introduction, Routledge, 2006, p. 128.
3. Anselm, St., Anselm's Basic Writings, translated by S.W. Deane, 2nd Ed. (La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing Co., 1962
5. (
6. Craig, William Lane; Moreland, J. P. (2009). The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Oxford: John Wiley and Sons.
7. (
8. Weatherson, B., 2008, "Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Properties", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
9. (
Posted by Ockham 5 months ago
Yes and yes. Give me a second and I will expand the character limit.
Posted by lannan13 5 months ago
Can I post my sources in the comments section and can you expand the character limit to 10k? My case exceeds this limit.
Posted by Ockham 5 months ago
Yes, go ahead.
Posted by lannan13 5 months ago
Do you want me to just go ahead and post my arguments R1?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 4 months ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.