The Instigator
Ockham
Con (against)
The Contender
John1101
Pro (for)

God exists.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 810 times Debate No: 103132
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (17)
Votes (0)

 

Ockham

Con

The resolution is that God exists. Pro will be arguing that God exists, while Con will be arguing that Pro has not established that God exists.

By accepting this debate, Pro agrees that they have the burden of proof to establish that it is objectively more likely than not that God exists. The rules for assessing this are the standard rules of logic, including the rules of deductive and inductive inference. For example, a deductive argument must be deductively valid and have premises that we have sufficient reason to believe are true, and an inductive argument must establish that the conclusion is the best or only explanation for the evidence cited in the premises.

God for the purposes of this debate shall be defined, by default, as an omnipotent, omniscient, all good person. I take this definition from the first paragraph of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on "Concepts of God." [1] If Pro wants to use a definition other than this default definition, they should ask for me to approve it in the comments section before accepting the debate.

[1] https://plato.stanford.edu...
John1101

Pro

God--an omnipotent, omniscient, all good person--is real.
He is omnipotent because He controls all there is to control.
He is omniscient because He knows all that is to be known.
He is all good because He seeks to minimize the pain of existence.

I agree 100% that the default position is that X does not exist. I therefore accept the burden of proof and will lay out my reasoning below. But first, some groundwork. Please, bear with me.

The fundamental reality of life is pain. This is because no one has ever argued against their own pain. People argue against happiness, meaning, or the merit of existence itself all the time. Yet not a single person is able to argue against their own pain. One's own pain is the only thing everybody agrees on.

What does it mean to agree? Some people may argue verbally/ intellectually against the existence of pain, but they will not act out this belief. There is a difference between implicit/ instinctual knowledge and explicit/ articulated knowledge. Somebody may *think* he knows that pain isn't real, but his actions will show that he *knows* that pain is real on an implicit level. Actions speak louder than words. Our conscious thoughts can only articulate what we *think* we know. It is our subconscious which *actually* knows.

What is knowledge? As I alluded to, it's twofold:
1) Implicit/ instinctual knowledge. Our subconscious. It sits in the most ancient parts of our brain. It governs our life on the highest level of analysis (survive, reproduce, love) as well as on the very lowest (punch, laugh, type.) It contains our muscle memory and our "genetic memory" (archetypes, dreams, instincts.)
2) Explicit/ articulated knowledge. The thoughts that enter and exit our consciousness. Our faculty for reason. It sits in the youngest parts of our brain. It governs our life on the intermediate levels of analysis (figuring out how to survive, learning how to punch.) It contains our explicit memory which is an amalgamation of information we've managed to acquire.

What is information?
A piece of information is a number of random "things" which have been picked up by our sensory organs, enter into our subconscious, emerge as thoughts in our conscious and get put *in formation.*
Our faculty for seeking and searching for information has developed out of our ancestors' faculty for seeking and searching for food. In fact, when we look for and acquire information, the same parts of our brain light up as when we look for and acquire food. Information is the knowledge of food. Not only that, it is the knowledge of the concept of food. A dog knows that when A happens (A=rattling of his bowl, OR smell of food, OR he's in a pack and there's a deer etc.), there will be food. But only humans know that when A happens AND THEN B happens AND THEN C happens AND THEN ... Z happens, there will be food. Information on how herds move, or on how to plant seeds, does not lead to food right now, but it might in a few months.

Information, or: the knowledge of food now or in the future, is thus binary: There either is food (i.e. the kind and the amount that would sustain you and would thus be labeled by your brain as "food"), or there isn't. Your hunger is either quenched sufficiently, or it isn't. You either survive, or you die. 1 or 0. This is the ability, but also the limitation, of our human brain. We do not and cannot know anything beyond this concept.

So what exactly is information for? What is the conscious mind for? It's a tool like any other. A tool the subconscious uses to fulfill the purpose of life. It's the good old "Is vs. Ought"-dichotomy. Whether you think it *ought* to or not, that's what the subconscious just plainly does. Including yours. There's no escaping it.
What is the purpose of life, then? In any meaningful sense, it's to minimize pain. Pain, almost by definition, is the thing to be avoided. If there's nothing in you that wants to avoid the thing, it's not pain. If there's something in you that does want to avoid the thing, it causes pain. *It is pain.*

What is the antidote to pain?
The truth.
What is the truth?
The truth is whatever minimizes pain. We actually have no more accurate or useful definition than this. Interpersonal communication, i.e. the exchange of articulated knowledge, is not based on making objective statements. Instead, it is based on stressing pieces of information. When at least two human beings do this, and do it in a manner that's conducive to minimizing pain, the truth emerges out of their exchange.
For example, if you shout "You're fat!" at someone because they're, well, fat, you're not exactly telling the truth. The thought you put inside their conscious is not "Am obese, must take action to lose weight and reduce suffering." Instead, what you've communicated and put inside their conscious is something like "I'm ugly, I'm undesirable, I'm hopeless, this person resents me, this person is an enemy towards me, other people like him are enemies towards me, I should despair" etc. The contrast between the two is apparent. Further, it's apparent which is the truth, but also how difficult it is to communicate, or "create," truth.

The specifications of an airplane are something like truth, because they successfully carry passengers and make them suffer less compared to different specifications that don't match the physical world as well.
Telling someone they look good in a pair of jeans that they wear every day that you think is ugly is not the truth, because even though it will make them feel better for a short time, in the long run you've set them up for embarrassment and greater pain, or at the very least breed resentment from your dishonesty.
On the other hand, telling someone they look good in the wedding dress that they're wearing only that day that you think is ugly actually communicates the truth *if* you stress it in a way that doesn't dwell on the dress itself but rather communicates "you are great, you should feel great, this is a special day."

In conclusion:
By speaking the truth as much as you can, you gain as much knowledge as possible. You move towards omniscience.
Through knowledge you gain as much control over pain as possible (the only kind of control we know or want.) You move towards omnipotence.
Through omnipotence, you become as good as possible. Now this may warrant a short explanation:
He who controls his own pain controls his own malevolence. Malevolence, or evil, is a result of experiencing great pain and growing resentful about life itself. You yourself, as in your conscious self, cannot truly control your environment without controlling yourself. And you cannot control yourself without minimizing your pain. And, as a social animal, you cannot minimize your pain without minimizing the pain of others. And by definition, you cannot minimize the pain of others without becoming a better person. Therefore, control and benevolence go hand in hand.

Now, finally, how should we define this all-encompassing reality, or at least this reality that encompasses all we've ever known? We could call it a subconscious part of ourselves and be done with it. But that's not entirely accurate or true. This reality, this, let's call it "ideal mode of being," this "ideal person," is the same and constant across all human beings. And it is, by all accounts of what is knowable, unique to human beings. Therefore it has nothing to do with animals or inanimate objects.
We don't see objects, by the way. Many people think we see objects and infer tool use. It's exactly the other way around. We can only see tools and infer from them the object/ category. It has been useful, for us, to group the matter out of which we're made into atoms, subatomic particles etc. Similarly, we've grouped the interconnected structure of the parts of our brain and the parts of "external" reality that make up the "ideal person" into the category of gods or, in our more recent historical past, into the idea of a singular God. It's a sophisticated idea. It fits all the criteria:
He is all that is omnipotent, omniscient, and good, which as I've explained are only different angles from which to perceive the same ideal mode of being.
Is He a person? He is certainly conceptualized as a fully-formed, well-rounded, ideal person, not a tree, or a thought, or energy etc. Is He a *real* person? Why not just call it a hypothetical person and be done with it? Well, by definition, hypotheses are creations of our own conscious mind. What I've described, however, is an aspect of at least in part the subconscious mind; as well as something that I think everyone knows implicitly and thus doesn't need to be actually articulated to be known, whether you feel it as a pantheon of gods that toy with your emotions and govern your life (as the ancient Greeks did,) or an instinctive ideal, or goal, or whatever.
But why is "person" the definition that's the most accurate/ truthful/ useful? Because He acts like one person, not like multiple persons. And He does rule over us, we don't always get a say in the matter like we do with mere goals and self-constructed ideologies. When we act like He's real and His ideas are sound, we reduce our suffering. When we don't, we're punished with suffering.

Sure, the God I've established, while person-like, is made up of several distinct parts. I could just say "That's not God, that's (insert previous paragraphs.)" But then again, you're also made up of several distinct parts. You're a nervous system inside other body parts which consist of atoms which themselves seem perfectly distinct and unremarkable. Yet put it all together and I choose to--arbitrarily--call this vaguely defined set of atoms, this "you," a person. But even then, all of your atoms are replaced every 5 years. You're quite literally a concept. Yet I choose to call you a person because doing so minimizes pain. Because you're real.
I choose to call Him God because doing so minimizes pain. Because He's real.
Debate Round No. 1
Ockham

Con

I'm not 100% sure what my opponent is arguing, but his argument appears to include, at least, the following elements.

1. We should do whatever minimizes pain.
2. We have the concept of an "ideal person" who is omnipotent, omniscient, and all good (in a specific sense).
3. Believing that the "ideal person" is real minimizes pain.

From these premises and some others, my opponent seems to conclude that we should believe in the ideal person's actual existence. I'm not necessarily claiming that this construal includes everything my opponent has said, but I don't think he has made any arguments that would survive if 1-3 were refuted.

First of all, this clearly isn't an argument for the actual existence of an ideal person, it is an argument for believing in the existence of an ideal person. My opponent has not presented any evidence indicating that the concept we allegedly have of an ideal person corresponds to reality, however reassuring it may be to believe in it.

Having noted that, I will now address 1-3.

Premise 1 is called "negative utilitarianism" in philosophy - the view that the good action is whatever action leads to the minimization of suffering. This is subject to a very powerful objection: If we wiped out all life on earth with nuclear weapons, suffering would be minimized. However, this is clearly not the best course of action, so negative utilitarianism must be wrong.

There also appears to be an element ofpragmatism in my opponent's use of premise 1, because he says that the truth is whatever minimizes suffering. However, this theory implies that if one claim minimizes suffering in a given time and place, and a claim that contradicts it minimizes suffering at a different time and place, both mutually exclusive claims would be true. This violates the law of non-contradiction.

Truth is the correspondence of a claim to reality. When I claim that my dog is black, that claim is true because it corresponds to the fact that my dog is black, not because it "minimizes suffering" for me to believe it.

Premise 2 asserts that we have the concept of an ideal person who is omniscient, omnipotent, and all good in specific senses of those terms that my opponent has picked out having to do with minimizing pain. However, the senses of these terms that he has chosen are not what the terms mean. Omniscience and omnipotence have nothing to do with minimizing pain; they are, respectively, the property of having all knowledge and the property of being able to do anything. Further, being all good only consists in minimizing pain if we assume that negative utilitarianism is true, which it is not.

Premise 3 is asserted somewhat arbitrarily. What is the actual evidence that it minimizes pain for people to believe that there is a person who always says what minimizes pain, has as much control over pain as possible, and minimizes pain as much as they can? My opponent has not really provided any.

Regardless, it is easy to argue that there is no ideal person as my opponent conceives of it. If there is an ideal person, then there is a person with as much control over pain as possible and who always minimizes suffering as much as they can. If that's the case, there should be no pain. But there is. Therefore, there is no ideal person.
John1101

Pro

I'm arguing the point "God exists," and have taken up the definition you provided. I accept premises 1 and 3 as a fair though as you said in-exhaustive representation of those arguments. However, I do not accept premise 2 nor the two paragraphs that follow the premises as representative. They omit key constituents and are inaccurately worded, which might have led to some confusion.

First, I took care not to confuse a concept (which I initially referred to as a hypothesis) of God with the actual God Himself. I only called a human person a "concept" to allude to the mind's difficulties of conceptual clustering/ categorization. However, your argument makes premise 2 come across like you use the word "concept" in the sense of "hypothetical" instead of "that which is most real." My point is that we do not have an idea/ hypothesis/ concept of God in our minds. We have the actual God in our minds. (If this is what you meant, I apologize.)

Second, reducing God to "the ideal person" does not do the argument justice. I freely admit that I think it's difficult to sum up the idea of God in a few words, yet in my estimation I provided enough of a detailed explanation. To put it perhaps a little more straight-forward:
Our reality is but our knowledge of reality, which is subconscious knowledge + articulated knowledge. There is a set of fixed phenomena that determine the interplay of our bodies and the external world in all human beings across space and time. We carry implicit, ancestral knowledge of these phenomena in our nervous system. This knowledge is more conducive to minimizing pain than all articulated knowledge (logic and reasoning--which doesn't make these not conducive at all.) This implicit knowledge is the awareness of an omnipotent, omnipresent, all good person, and of how to treat Him. That which minimizes pain is true. Acting out God's commands minimizes pain ultimately. Therefore God's commands, including the one to believe in Him, are true. Therefore He truly exists. More on that below.
To simplify dramatically: knowledge of ideal person + truth + acted-out truth + environment = God.

Next, regardless of whether premise 1 is true, I argued that God exists whether you believe in Him or not, although everybody believes in Him subconsciously. You can only deny His existence explicitly. Calling this knowledge "reassuring" misses the mark. You're talking to the wrong guy if you think I'm advocating for the existence of an afterlife, or that God grants wishes without us putting any effort into anything. Further, life exists in an ocean of chaos. God minimizes suffering, but He cannot extinguish it. You can be the most God-fearing person and still find yourself in a concentration camp. However, by rebelling against God, you make everything that's already bad worse. That's the point.

More inaccurate wording misrepresents my argument as negative utilitarianism. There's a difference between "minimize" and "extinguish." To minimize something is to act upon it continuously. To extinguish something is to end its existence. I never said the purpose of life is to extinguish suffering. I said the purpose of life is to minimize suffering. That's why we shouldn't just all "peacefully" die by some external event beyond our knowledge. If we're dead, we can't minimize suffering. As for the nuclear holocaust example: To commit suicide/ murder, you have to first be in a position where you don't minimize suffering anymore. To be able to make the decision to wipe out all life on earth, you have to first maximize suffering for yourself, your own mind. And your own mind is the only world you know. Thus, up until after the moment of your genocidal action you first have to do the opposite of the good action. So even if genocide itself was the good action, you'll never get there by minimizing suffering. But then, destroying a person doesn't minimize suffering, it "freezes" whatever suffering they had, then extinguishes their capacity to minimize suffering further.

Please provide an example of two mutually exclusive messages that both minimize suffering. It doesn't happen.

You said, "Truth is the correspondence of a claim to reality."
This is technically wrong. In a reductionist semantic game this rule might suffice, but it contradicts Darwinism. Sorry, it just won't do.

Truth is information that minimizes suffering. No more, no less. That's what primates have evolved to do. We cannot interact with objective reality. Period. If by "correspondence," however, you mean "highest possible approximation," and by "a claim" you mean "information," and by "reality" you mean "utility," then fine. Why fog the issue with unsophisticated wording?

When you accurately claim your dog is black you indeed minimize suffering, yes. What else do you think you're doing? Pointing out the photons' inherent attribute of blackness? Talking to yourself for no reason? You're communicating your subjective perception to someone. Why? So they don't get confused. Why? So they don't make more mistakes than necessary. Why? So they don't die eventually.
Go ahead. Start claiming things are different colors than what you think they are. Unironically. Get back to me and tell me you don't contribute to suffering.

Like I said, we see only tools and infer possible objects. We cannot see objects as such.

On to the idea of God itself:
I've already explained why omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence necessarily manifest as minimizing pain. You'll have to do more than simply repeat the definitions for omniscience and omnipotence (which I stated myself almost verbatim!) if you want to sever their connection to minimizing pain. You may try again to actually refute the relevant points I made in my opening argument. Copied and pasted for your convenience:

"By speaking the truth as much as you can, you gain as much knowledge as possible. You move towards omniscience.
Through knowledge you gain as much control over pain as possible (the only kind of control we know or want.) You move towards omnipotence.
Through omnipotence, you become as good as possible. Now this may warrant a short explanation:
He who controls his own pain controls his own malevolence. Malevolence, or evil, is a result of experiencing great pain and growing resentful about life itself. You yourself, as in your conscious self, cannot truly control your environment without controlling yourself. And you cannot control yourself without minimizing your pain. And, as a social animal, you cannot minimize your pain without minimizing the pain of others. And by definition, you cannot minimize the pain of others without becoming a better person. Therefore, control and benevolence go hand in hand."

Perhaps reiterating this helps: Pain is the fundamental reality. Without pain, there is no such thing as knowledge or power/ control.

As far as evidence for usefulness goes, there are mountains of psychological research which admittedly I can't really do justice. The most glaring and obvious one, which will have to suffice for the purposes of this debate, is Western Society. Our society is by far the most meaningful one (reduces suffering the best) according to every poll, every study, the actions of millions of migrants, and the emergence of economic and scientific pain-reducing wonders. All this is founded upon Judaeo-Christian monotheism. I'm afraid if you don't at least agree with this point, this debate is going to last forever. There are people who say the Renaissance wasn't a thing, or wasn't religiously motivated. If you're one of those people, this debate is going to get very complicated. If not, let's boil it down to this:
The West has been heavily influenced by Judaeo-Christian monotheism for almost 2000 years. The rest of the world has not. Right? Okay. The West has fared far better than the rest of the world. I don't think this is up for debate. (Islam, while technically monotheistic, is a tyrannical ideology. I hope you see the difference between the Bible (an edited collection of ancient myths which sometimes manage to allude to natural/ subconscious knowledge; art) and the Quran (artificial, deliberately misleading political propaganda; not art.) If not, well ... you get the idea.)

Consider also the following religious archetypes:
- blasphemy
- hypocrisy
- the mind falling in love with its own inventions
- dishonesty
- deception
- betrayal
- lack of sacrifice
- not bearing one's burden
- self-pity
- greed
- cheating
- selfishness
God is the person who never commits these acts and simultaneously punishes them. A cursory glance at lawsuits, divorces, happiness polls, and the history of the 20th century reveals that nobody gets away with any of these acts. Whether this is part of a self-regulating social structure or an aspect of what I've described as God, it's still the case.

On your final point: Sometimes, in life, there is no pain. Even if only for a short period of time. When this happens, it's because we have minimized pain. We have spoken the truth. We have acted out our implicit knowledge of God, or the God archetype, or whatever sounds the most real to you. And He in turn has kept His promise that speaking the truth works. Again, you can phrase it differently. That doesn't make it any more useful.
Debate Round No. 2
Ockham

Con

I'm still not 100% sure what my opponent is arguing, since I've never come across a concept of God like this before. My approach will be to address specific things my opponent's argument clearly seems to depend on rather than give an integrated overall critique, at least until I am more confident that I know what is going on.

Preliminary Requests

Preliminarily, I will request that my opponent do two things in his next post:

(a) Please present your overall argument as a syllogism with numbered premises and conclusion. If your argument is inductive with multiple lines of evidence, then please provide a numbered summary of the lines of evidence you are presenting for the existence of God.

(b) Please provide a definition of God that does not rely on any unconventional definitions of terms like "omniscience," "omnipotence," "knowledge," etc. I have enough familiarity with philosophy of religion to know that these concepts are either never or almost never defined in terms of minimizing suffering, and your unusual definitions make your posts unnecessarily confusing. (A definition is a single sentence stating the essence of the term defined in terms of genus and differentia, like "man is the rational animal.")

Regarding My Opponent's Argument

My opponent asserts the following ethical claims:

1. We should do whatever minimizes pain.
2. Believing that God is real minimizes pain.

He also clearly seems to assert the following theological claims:

3. God literally exists in our minds.
4. We are all subconsciously aware of the existence of an omnipotent, omnipresent, all good person.
5. Omniscience and omnipotence are necessarily connected to minimizing pain.

In addition, he makes the following epistemological claims:

6. The truth is whatever minimizes pain the most.
7. We cannot interact with objective reality whatsoever.

To summarize, my opponent appears to be presenting a utilitarian ethics, some sort of subjectivist theology, and a subjectivist or skeptical epistemology. He is welcome to correct my understanding of his positions if I am misunderstanding him.

I'll address each of these categories in turn.

Ethics

My opponent's central position in ethics is negative utilitarianism, as I said previously. He denies this, but his position is based on minimizing suffering rather than attaining pleasure or happiness, so it must be a form of negative utilitarianism. He has not really refuted my objection to this position based on wiping out all life with nuclear weapons; all he has done is make an ad hoc distinction between minimizing and extinguishing suffering. But extinguishing suffering is minimizing it by definition - "zero" is as minimized as suffering can possibly get.

The only defense of the utility of believing in God that my opponent gives is that Western, Judeo-Christian countries are more prosperous and advanced than anywhere else in the world. But this is not due to Christianity, which existed throughout the Middle Ages without leading to any such progress. It is due to the movement away from the values of Christianity and toward a secular worldview that values empirical evidence rather than faith, and the rights of the individual rather than the divine right of kings that was taken for granted in practically all previous societies (with a handful of exceptions like ancient Athens). If anything, the Middle East is less advanced than we are precisely because they take their religious beliefs so seriously.

For example, my opponent mentions the scientific advances the West has made. How many of those advances were due to prayer instead of empirical evidence? None, of course.

Theology

My opponent's theology appears to be based largely on the claim that everyone subconsciously believes in God. Of course, he is forced to claim that this is a subconscious idea, because it is obvious that plenty of people don't consciously believe in God. However, the claim that we all accept this idea subconsciously has little plausibility and is not based on any observational evidence.

Omniscience has nothing to do with minimizing pain because almost no one in the history of philosophy has defined knowledge in terms of minimizing pain. The Medieval Scholastics viewed knowledge as the "adequatio intellectus ad rem," the adjustment of our minds to the object - and no, they didn't mean anything to do with minimizing suffering when they said "adjustment." Contemporary philosophers usually think of knowledge as some variant on justified true belief, which again is rarely or never conceived of in terms of minimizing suffering. So, my opponent's definition of omniscience simply is not what has ever been meant by the concept.

Omnipotence doesn't mean power to control suffering, it means the ability to perform miracles and so on. There is nothing in our subconscious that can do that.

Epistemology

My opponent holds that we have no cognitive access to objective reality, which he thinks is established by the theory of evolution. But how does he know that the theory of evolution is true if we have no cognitive access to objective reality? This argument's conclusion contradicts its premise ("there is no objective knowledge - except this enormous mass of scientific data over here"). Moreover, it is really just speculative evolutionary psychology at best. We don't know enough about how our ability to perceive and reason about the world evolved to make sweeping claims like this.

An example of a case where the claim that the truth is what minimizes suffering leads to a contradiction would be any case where two people are enemies. It minimizes suffering for each of them to believe that they are a good and successful person and that their enemy is an evil and unsuccessful person, because those beliefs are what they take pleasure in. My opponent's theory of truth is nothing but a recipe for self delusion on any issue you have an emotional attachment to.
John1101

Pro

(numbered syllogisms as per request, sorry about length, ran out of space)

A.1. Nobody has ever been observed to never exhibit pain.
2. Therefore, everybody exhibits pain.

B.1. To exhibit a phenomenon means to accept that that phenomenon is exhibited.
2. Everybody exhibits pain.
3. Therefore, everybody accepts that pain is exhibited.

C.1. A phenomenon that everybody accepts to be exhibited exists.
2. Everybody accepts that pain is exhibited.
3. Therefore, pain exists.

D.1. Setting aside pain, every other phenomenon that has been accepted to be exhibited has also been contested to be exhibited.
2. Therefore, pain is the only phenomenon that exists without contention.

E.1. Something that is contested is a delusion.
2. Something is either real or a delusion.
3. Therefore, only something that exists without contention is real.
(Note: But any "thing" can consist of both real parts--that are connected to pain--and delusory parts. The real parts give it utility/ truth. The more real parts, the more utility/ truth.
Truth and reality aren't quite the same. See below.)

F.1. Only something that exists without contention is real.
2. Only pain exists without contention.
3. Therefore, only pain is real.

G.1. Reality is that which is real.
2. Only pain is real.
3. Therefore, reality is pain.

H.1. Life takes place in reality.
2. Reality is pain.
3. Therefore, life is pain. ("Life is suffering.")

I.1. what feels unendurable = the thing we want to avoid
2. Neurophysiologically, pain causes all that feels unendurable.
3. Therefore, pain equals the thing we want to avoid.

J.1. Life is pain.
2. Pain equals the thing we want to avoid.
3. Therefore, life is the thing we want to avoid.

K.1. To commit suicide means to end the existence of one's life.
2. You cannot avoid something that does not exist; you cannot avoid anything if you do not exist.
3. Therefore, life cannot be avoided by committing suicide.

L.1. Life is consciousness experiencing life.
2. Consciousness is life.
3. Therefore, life is consciousness experiencing itself.

M.1. By definition, a thing cannot diverge from itself.
2. Avoidance involves a subject diverging from a separate object.
3. Therefore,
3.1 - consciousness cannot be avoided.
3.2 - consciousness cannot avoid to experience itself.
3.3 - life cannot be avoided.
3.4 - the thing we want to avoid cannot be avoided.
3.5 - what feels unendurable cannot be avoided.
3.6 - pain cannot be avoided.
3.7 - reality cannot be avoided.

N.1. By definition, something that cannot be avoided (by ending its existence or otherwise) can only be endured/ must be endured; something that cannot be endured can only be avoided.
2. Life cannot be avoided.
3. Therefore,
3.1 - life must be endured.
3.2 - pain must be endured.
3.3 - the thing we want to avoid must be endured.
3.4 - What feels unendurable must be endured.
But also:
3.5 - Life can be endured.
3.6 - Pain can be endured.
3.7 - The thing we want to avoid that cannot be avoided can instead be endured.
3.8 - What feels unendurable can be endured.

O.1. Neurophysiologically, the amount our pleasure center is stimulated is proportionate to the amount of positive emotion.
2. The more unendurable the sensation we manage to endure, the more our pleasure center is stimulated.
3. Therefore, managing to endure what feels unendurable causes the most positive emotion possible.

P.1. well-stimulated pleasure center = the thing we want to attain (want itself)
2. Mastering endurance creates a well-stimulated pleasure center.
3. Therefore, mastering endurance is the thing we want to attain.

Q.1. Being a master of endurance is always yet out of human reach (and can therefore never be attained.)
2. Mastering endurance is the thing we want to attain.
3. Therefore, the thing we want to attain is the thing that is yet out of our reach.

R.1. A goal is the thing that is yet out of our reach.
2. The thing we want to attain is the thing that is out of our reach.
3. Therefore, we want to attain a goal.

S.1. The truth explains reality.
2. Reality is pain.
3. Therefore, the truth explains pain.

T.1. Pain is what can be endured.
2. The truth explains pain.
3. Therefore, the truth explains what can be endured.

(recap: what can be endured = reality)

U.1. To explain reality is to physically and/or mentally interact with reality.
2. The truth explains what can be endured.
3. Therefore, the truth (physically and/or mentally) interacts with reality.

V.1. Things that do not explain reality do not interact with reality.
2. Only the truth explains reality.
3. Therefore, only the truth interacts with reality.

W.1. Humans and their ancestors conceived of a tool as the thing that physically and/or mentally interacts with reality.
2. Only the truth physically and/or mentally interacts with reality.
3. Therefore,
3.1 - the truth is a tool.
3.2 - everything that is a tool is the truth.

X.1. The truth is a tool.
2. Only the truth interacts with reality.
3. Therefore, only a tool interacts with reality.

Y.1. Truthful frameworks of things are part of the truth.
2. The truth interacts with reality.
3. Therefore, a truthful framework of something interacts with reality.

Z.1. A truthful framework of something interacts with reality.
2. Only a tool interacts with reality.
3. Therefore, a truthful framework of something is a tool.

AA.1. To act upon something and get feedback from it is to reveal it.
2. To interact with something is to act upon it and get feedback from it.
3. Therefore, to interact with something is to reveal it.

AB.1. A framework of something interacts with reality.
2. To interact with something is to reveal it.
3. Therefore, a framework of something reveals reality.

AC.1. A framework of something is a tool that reveals reality.
2. A tool that reveals reality is a tool that exists.
3. Therefore, a framework that reveals reality is a framework of something that exists.

AD.1. According to psychology, clinical psychoanalysis, pediatric psychology, cognitive neuroscience, sociolinguistics, semiotics, semiotic literary criticism, anthropology, archaeology, mythological phylogenetics, and computational statistics, the vast majority of all humans from all cultures have ancestrally described through their actions heroes, demigods, titans, the trickster, mother nature, father time/ father sky, the tree of life, the goddess, the devil, the serpent/ the dragon, and more, as the archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality (as a consequence of evolution through natural selection.)
2. What happens to the vast majority of all humans and cultures on earth influences all humans universally.
3. Therefore, the aforementioned archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality is universal.

AE.1. Humans have ancestrally described through their actions heroes, demigods, titans, the trickster, mother nature, father time/ father sky, the tree of life, the goddess, the devil, the serpent/ the dragon, and more, as the archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality.
2. Historically, all ancestral descriptions of heroes, the trickster, mother nature, the serpent/ the dragon etc. over time evolve into aspects of one singular deity/ god--God.
3. Therefore, humans have ancestrally described through their actions one singular deity/ god--God--as the archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality.

AF.1.1 Evolution is true/ explains what can be endured.
1.2 Evolution is nature selecting for the ability to survive.
2.1 We have a thing we want to attain/ goals.
2.2 We have ancestrally described through our actions an archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality which possesses the potential to evolve into a description for God.
2.3 We have the ability to survive.
3. Therefore, nature selects for
3.1 - the thing we want to attain/ goals.
3.2 - us to ancestrally describe through our actions an archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality which possesses the potential to evolve into a description for God.

AG.1. All of our attributes that don't only kill us have been selected for by nature.
2. Nature selects for the ability to survive.
3. Therefore, all of our attributes that don't only kill us contribute to our survival.

AH.1. Nature selects for what lets us move towards goals.
2.1 Nature has selected for the archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality.
2.2 According to clinical psychoanalysis, political science, and history, the collapse of psychological well-being, family units, communities, nation-states, and civilizations can always be traced back to the subjects in question acting out manifestations of the opposite of their archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality.
3. Therefore, the archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality lets us move towards goals.

AI.1. Humans have ancestrally described through their actions one singular deity/ god--God--as the archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality.
2. The archetypal, personhood-possessing framework for reality lets us move towards goals.
3. Therefore, God is a framework that lets us move towards goals.

AJ.1.1 By definition, a framework for reality is a framework that reveals reality.
1.2 The framework of a human being, or personhood itself, or a tree etc. is a framework that reveals reality.
2. Human beings, personhood itself, a tree etc. exist.
3. Again, therefore, a framework that reveals reality is a framework of something that exists.

AK.1. A framework that lets us move towards goals is a framework that reveals reality.
2. God is a framework that lets us move towards goals.
3. Therefore, God is a framework that reveals reality.

AL.1. A framework that reveals reality is a framework of something that exists.
2. God is a framework that reveals reality.
3. Therefore, God exists.
Debate Round No. 3
Ockham

Con

Note to my opponent: When I asked for a syllogism, I was hoping for something simple with maybe 5 steps at most that we could focus the conversation around. If you wanted to support the premises of the syllogism, you could have done that in prose instead of writing it all out deductively. But this does have the effect of clarifying your reasoning considerably, so I thank you for that.

I'll use the same numbering as my opponent. For example, A1 refers to premise 1 of syllogism A. I will just be stating my objections rather than restating his premises. You can refer back to my opponent's post if you need to remind yourself of what the original premise said.

A1. It is false that there is no one who does not feel pain. In fact, some people have a neurological disorder that makes them insensitive to pain.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

E1. If anything that is contested is a delusion, then: (a) my opponent's position is a delusion, since I contest it, and (b) pain is just as much a delusion as anything else, since there have been scientists who denied the existence of conscious experience.

F3. It is self evidently false that pain is the only thing that exists. My opponent exists, trees exist, the planet earth exists, etc. In addition, who is feeling the pain if nothing but pain exists? Pain presupposes a conscious subject, which would be something real that is different from pain.

K2. This is an equivocation. It is true that you cannot avoid life once you have already committed suicide, but that is because life has already been avoided at that point.

O2. This is a really weird claim. I have no idea what the evidence is for it.

P2. Also unsupported.

R3. I don't have an objection to this, but did you really need to "deduce" it? It is self evident that we have goals.

W2. It is false that only the truth interacts with reality. For example, my computer interacts with reality, and it is not the truth. Everything that exists interacts with reality, not just the truth.

W3.2. This is obviously false. A hammer or screwdriver is not the truth.

Z2. Things other than tools interact with reality, obviously. For example, my dog interacts with reality, and he is not a tool.

AA1. I don't know what this means or what the evidence is for it.

AD1. I'm going to need to see a source for this claim.

AD2. This is obviously false. Something can happen to most humans without happening to all humans. An example of a person who doesn't have this "archetypal, person possessing framework for reality" would be any atheist.

AE2. Source?

AF3.2. I'm going to need evidence that nature selects for belief in God. The fact that many people have a belief doesn't mean that nature selects for it, necessarily - it could just be a widespread idea for some other reason.

AG1. What is the evidence for this? We obviously resulted from evolution, but that doesn't mean all of our attributes were directly selected for - some could have resulted from others without being directly selected for.

AH2.2. I'm going to need a source for this claim as well. It is not plausible at all.

AK1. This is false, since there are countless false frameworks that allow us to set goals and move toward them. It seems like any framework would allow that, really.

Overall, there are a lot of problems with this argument.
John1101

Pro

A1 The article is only about "physical pain." There is such a thing as emotional pain. The death of your child causes (in a healthy person) the most unbearable pain, for obvious evolutionary reasons. Similarly, testicular damage causes profound pain in males. Physical pain is preferable to the death of your child (and no, I'm not going to argue this point.)
There's the issue of psychopaths, of course. Then again, there's base instincts and the feeling of having them unfulfilled, e.g. hunger, sex, social interaction. Show me an asexual psychopath who suffers from CIP, is in a vegetative state and never experiences distress of any kind, and I'll show you something that's not a human being.

E1 But as I stated in B.1 which you interestingly didn't object to, "To exhibit a phenomenon means to accept that that phenomenon is exhibited."
Again, find me the asexual CIP psychopath, much less the one who got to be a scientist, and ... you know the rest. They can deny conscious experience if they want. I didn't advocate for consciousness directly; I deduced consciousness from pain. Light the scientist's lab coat on fire. If he flinches, according to my deduction, he accepts the reality of pain.
In technical terms, my position is clearly a delusion. A single typo would render it such. Functionally, the proposition "Whose position is correct?" could be clarified as "Who's position contains less delusory parts and is thus more truthful?" I claim that mine is.

F3 And yes: You, me, and earth are all delusions. That doesn't mean they are absolute delusions. They carry some utility, but delusory parts, too. They aren't articulated clearly enough in either of our minds to constitute reality in any pain-sense. If I'm some form of Google AI you're conversing with your conception of me as a person is shattered.
What you experience approximates, but does not constitute, reality as such.
"Everything simple is false. Everything which is complex is unusable."
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...

K2 No. Assuming you mean the logic sense, an equivocation is "a fallacy caused by the double meaning of a word."
http://www.dictionary.com...
Which double meaning are you referring to? "to avoid sth."? I already provided the synonym "to diverge from sth." I'm not sure how much clearer I can make this, since this is something like the fourth attempt at explaining the difference between the present progressive tense and the present perfect tense.
>>The act of doing X IS NOT EQUAL TO the state of having done X!

O2 Really? I don't mean pain equals pleasure in the moment. The emphasis is on pain which you "manage to endure." On the one hand, there's the flush of positive emotion as a result of having something negative "gotten over with," which I hope you've experienced and I don't need a source for. What I was getting at instead is that practicing endurance leads to greater competence which leads to more pleasure--across every domain of life.

Wiese, B.S. (2007). Successful pursuit of personal goals and subjective well-being. In B.R. Little, K. Salmela-Aro, & S.D. Phillips (Eds.), Personal Project Pursuit: Goals, Action and Human Flourishing (pp. 301-328). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
https://blog.rjmetrics.com...
https://selfdeterminationtheory.org... p.234 ff.
http://psychology.wikia.com...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...(personality_trait)
https://en.wikipedia.org...(psychological)
https://en.wikipedia.org...

P2 It's just the deduction from O2.

R3 I find it utterly mind-boggling that you think goals are "self-evident" but pain isn't. I had to deduce goals because people claim they don't have them. Yet next to nobody claims they don't feel pain. It's not really part of the debate but I'd be curious to know your reasoning here.

W2 Your PC is both your concept of it as well as the thing itself that someone put together. Both have functional utility. To the extent that they do, they're part of the truth. You tell me what a PC is, and everything about your definition that's useful to me is true. You go build a PC, and everything about the process that works is done truthfully.

W3.2 I was thinking about this exact example as I tried to remember all these facts and arguments correctly. A hammer was devised over the centuries by people who spoke the truth about hammers to each other. Your concept of a hammer is truthful to the extent that you end up using it correctly. Therefore, a hammer, like any tool, is part of the truth.

Z2 Your dog is a tool to the extent that you can conceptualize him. That goes for humans as well. If you shake my hand, that hand becomes your tool for social communication. The part that can't be a tool in itself is the subject's consciousness. It all goes back to pain.

AA1 This I thought would be self-evident and I'm not sure how to explain it even more carefully. Sonar against underwater terrain? Your fingertips against the surface/ shape of an object? Your thoughts against a novel idea? I was just trying to render obvious the connection between interaction and revelation.

AD1 https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...(cosmogony)#Chaoskampf
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...(biology)
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...(goddess)
https://en.wikipedia.org...

AD2 Atheists have it, too. They act it out. They just don't articulate it. Children know how to play games before they learn how to speak. They couldn't possibly formulate the rules, and yet follow them.

AE2 Over half the world's population is covered by Christianity/ Islam. Then there's Judaism, the ancestor of the two, which of course evolved from polytheism. There are many other examples.
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
And every non-monotheistic tradition I know has at least a sovereign deity.

AF3.2 That's an argument from ignorance. If you say ideas can be widespread for thousands of years for some reason other than natural selection, you literally say human ideas are supernatural.

AG1 All of our attributes THAT DON'T ONLY KILL US. Everything else: Selected for without exception. By definition.

AH2.2 https://en.wikipedia.org...
People act against the positive archetypes, meaning they act out the negative archetypes.
Personal/ communal:
https://www.ncjrs.gov...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
Dr. Jordan Peterson, of recent anti-postmodernism fame. His lectures are based chiefly on Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, and Piaget, as far as I can tell. This is a helpful clip:
https://www.youtube.com...
Nation-states: (not just atheism, but the abandonment of archetypal tradition in general as root cause)
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
Civilizations: (the balance of order and chaos, continued renewal, and the punishment for pathological order/ chaos is laid out in all myths, including Christianity)
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
Why Islam is not an "organic" religion:
https://en.wikipedia.org...
Islam rejecting the principle of truth laid out in proper myths:
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
Cultural stagnation as a result of inbreeding, not religiosity:
https://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.nytimes.com...

AK1 I think I have sufficiently defined what a real goal is. You are severely restricted by reality in what goals you can pursue. Not any framework will do.
watch 2:20 - 6:00
https://www.youtube.com...

This was a lot of work. I appreciate your engagement.
Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ockham 11 months ago
Ockham
I enjoyed it as well, you have an interesting and unusual worldview.
Posted by John1101 11 months ago
John1101
Did not expect a response tbh. Thank you. Apology accepted. I still had a good time debating you.
Check out Jordan Peterson on Youtube if you have the time. I was a militant anti-theist atheist until I came across his videos (and I'm still "functionally" atheist btw.)
Posted by Ockham 11 months ago
Ockham
I'm sorry about the forfeit. I have had a lot of work to do around the house and for my job recently, so it was difficult to find the time and energy to respond to your post.
Posted by John1101 11 months ago
John1101
Reasons for forfeit:
5%: not being able to think of a comeback
5%: never even heard of Carl Jung
90%: tl;dr
Posted by John1101 11 months ago
John1101
@dsjpk5
"I'm not going to say who" geeee I wonder. Who could you be accusing of posting a bunch of gobbledygook on the day I posted a very long and complicated argument?? When the last thing my opponent posted was not so much an argument at all but a straight-forward demand for sources.
Thank you for not putting either of us in a position where we could possible take offense. That's the Catholic condescension I know and live for.
Posted by dsjpk5 11 months ago
dsjpk5
I'm not going to say who, but one of you have posted am argument that's a bunch of gobbledygook.
Posted by MrDelaney 11 months ago
MrDelaney
Amen.
Posted by missmedic 11 months ago
missmedic
Follower is not much on debating, but he is one a hell of a preacher. Can I get an amen.......................
Posted by canis 11 months ago
canis
When something EXISTS it makes no sense to debate it . When something does NOT EXIST there is nothing to debate.
Posted by MrDelaney 11 months ago
MrDelaney
Which one of us is wrong?
I'm not sure - because for ONE of us to be wrong we would have to be on different sides of the same topic.
But I was discussing the burden of proof in regards to logical propositions and you seem to be discussing the idea of hell. So... all bets are off.
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