The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
phantom
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

God exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/6/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,498 times Debate No: 24604
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (2)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

In this debate, I will be playing devil's advocate. The burden of proof is on me to show that God exists, and the burden is on my opponent to undermine/ falsify my claims.

Hopefully a theist will take me up on this challenge, but I'll welcome an atheist debater as well.

First round for acceptance,
phantom

Con

As a theist, I've played the con side of God's existence a few times in the past, but never against an atheist who was also playing devils advocate, so I'm quite eager to to do this debate. I've also interacted with rationalthinker a few times in the past and know him to be an open-minded an intelligent debater.

First round is acceptance, so I'll hand it back to pro.
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, as I know it will be an interesting and challenging exchange.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause

P2: The universe began to exist
C: The universe had a cause [1]

**Everything That Begins To Exist Has A Cause**

If anything begins to exist without a sufficient cause, there still exists what is called a necessary cause. A necessary cause is that which must exist in order for the existence in question to, well, exist also. For example, there seems to be somewhat of a general consensus in modern physics that quantum fluctuations occur without any sufficient cause at all [2]. However many physicists fail to recognize that the quantum vacuum itself is a necessary cause because without the vacuum existing, there would be no quantum fluctuations (when physicists say "uncaused", what they are really saying is, "without a sufficient cause"). Thus, it is impossible for "something"(2) to come from "something"(1) and be completely uncaused even if it appears that way, because even if there is a lack of a sufficient cause, "something" (1) would be a necessary cause because without it, "something" (2) wouldn't exist. Therefore, the only way for the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument to be false, is if something can begin to exist from absolute nothingness, because obviously if there is absolute nothingness, there would be no necessary or sufficient causes.

Now, can something begin to exist out of absolute nothingness? Well, lets assume that this is possible. If this ever happened, then this absolute nothingness must have at least contained within it, the potential for something. However, even "potential" is "something" in its own right in this particular context, and it definitely does not fall is line with absolute nothingness (absolute nothingness would lack literally everything, including qualities like "the potential for something to exist"). Thus, it is impossible for something to come from absolute nothingness.

Since the only way it would be possible for something to begin to exist completely uncaused would be if it begins to exist from absolute nothingness (if it begins to exist from anything at all besides absolute nothingness, then that would be the necessary cause), and it it impossible for something to begin to exist from absolute nothingness (even the potential for something, is still something in its own right in this context), then there is no way the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument could possibly be false.

**The Universe Began To Exist**

The Big Bang theory seems to provide compelling support to some people with regards to the universe having a beginning. However, we do not know exactly what was going on before Plank time (10-43 seconds) [3], so there were very plausible scenarios in which the universe could have not have had a beginning at one point. These theories are not plausible anymore however, this is because a paper by Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin demonstrated a definite finite past of the universe independently of any questions hanging regarding Plank time [4].

"It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning" - Alexander Vilenkin [5]

Also, there couldn't have been an infinite amount of past events anyway. A complete infinite number of things is impossible because you could always add one more, and we never would have reached this point in time if there was a finite past. Thus, the universe began to exist scientifically and philosophically.

**The Universe Has A Cause**

This conclusion follows logically from the first two premises.

KCA Extended: Argument From Mental Causation

We have established that the universe must have had a cause, but why must that cause be God? Well, that which created the material world, couldn't be material itself. There are only two things that that fit this description, abstract objects and minds. Since abstract objects have no causal powers, a mind must of caused the universe's existence.

KCA Extended: Argument From Personal Causation

If the cause of the universe was just a mechanically operating set of mindless and timeless necessary conditions existing from eternity, then the temporal effect would also exist from eternity as well (the problem is, the universe has not existed for a temporal eternity). The only way to have a timeless cause of some sorts and a temporal effect would be if the cause is a personal agent who freely chooses to create the effect in time. This is analogous to a man sitting in a chair for eternity, and deciding to get up at a random time. It seems, only a personal cause is sufficient to explain the universe.

I have demonstrated that a personal mind caused the universe to begin to exist. This is what the world means, when we speak of God. Thus, I have successfully demonstrated God's existence with this argument.

The Modal Ontological Argument

P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

P5: If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

P6: Therefore, a maximally great being exists. [6]

**Defense Of The Modal Ontological Argument**

A possible world is a state of affairs that can be imagined with no logical incoherence. For example, I own a mansion in some possible world, but a spherical rectangle exists in no possible world because it is incoherent [7]. Since there is no incoherence in the idea of a maximally great being like there is with the idea of a spherical rectangle, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.


Also, it is greater to exist in all possible worlds rather than just one. One may say greatness is subjective, but not when dealing with quantities. 6 > 5 objectively, so ontologically in this context, a being who exists in all possible worlds is greater than a being who exists in less. Thus, if a maximally great being exists in some possible world, this being exists in all possible worlds or else this being would not be maximally great.

Now, our state of affairs is the actual world. It is obviously possible, or else there would be no way for it to actualize. However, if a maximally great being exists in all possible worlds, then this would include the actual world. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.

I have shown that a maximally great being exists, this what God is conceived as. So it seems that I have demonstrated God's existence not only with the Kalam Cosmological Argument, but with the Modal Ontological Argument as well.

Conclusion

The universe had a cause of its existence, since only a personal mind could account for the existence of the universe and this is what the world means when we speak of God, then I have shown that God exists. I also demonstrated the existence of a maximally great being, and a maximally great being equating to God is self-evident. Therefore, the resolution has been affirmed unless my opponent adequately tears all my arguments down.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://atheism.about.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[5] Alexander Vilenkin: Many Worlds in One (P. 176)
[6] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...
phantom

Con

I thank pro for his case.

Kalam

The necessary and efficient causes

It is important to realize that necessary causes are not really causes in any sense along the lines of what P.1 states. Of course there are necessary causes for certain thing, but that's different to actually saying it came about by causation. For example, atomic decay is supposidly uncaused but that doesn't mean there aren't necessary causes. One necessary cause would be that the atom exists in the first place! Necessary causes are the same things as necessary conditions. Necessary conditions are completely different to actual causes. Sufficient causess are the real issue. I do not see how necessary causes are very relevant. The KCA posits a sufficient cause. My opponents statements that, "there seem to be somewhat of a general consensus in modern physics" that fluctuations contain no sufficient cause, very much only help to support my case.


Nothingness?

My opponent negates the idea of something from nothing (ex-nihilo). Therefore, that the universe did not come about from nothing according to his views. However, this does seem irregular with his other latter points. If the universe did not come about ex-nihilo then it obviously follows it came from something. Therefore matter or energy existed before the universe. This is along the same lines as saying, the universe existed prior to it's existence. Physical matter would have to have existed before the big-bang. This presents a big problem to my opponent. He's already disproven infinity, therefore how do we account for this pre-universe physical realm? By my opponents own arguments, we cannot have an infinity so the pre-universe matter had to come from somewhere. You would have to maintain ex-nihilo as that is the only way to avoid the infinite problem, otherwise you'll have an infinite regression of causes, which has already been showin implausible.

Potential nothingness

We first have to establish what nothingness actually is. Do we talk about nothingness in the matter/energy concept or more metaphysically? Well, I see no reason to state that nothingness possessing potential to be something is not actually nothing. When we talk about nothing, we're saying nothing in the physical sense. No energy or matter. Therefore nothing can have potential to be something and still be categorized as nothing. Potential is metaphysical. It does not disprove nothingness.

Falacy of composition

Even if we were to establish a causal nature of the universe, that in no way entails those laws apply to things outside of the universe. My opponent will argue that our universe operates in a cause and effect nature, but that does not establish that the whole universe had a cause simply because things inside of the universe have causes. Therefore my opponent needs to adress this unfounded jump.


Quantum events

The appearance of "virtual particles" have been observed to come into being spontaneously and stochastically in empty space, meaning there is no external cause and it is impossible to predict when it will happen. Quantum fluctuations are the "temporary appearance of energetic particles out of nothing, as allowed by the Uncertainty Principle. It is synonymous with vacuum fluctuation." Now though the source says "out of nothing", empty space is not literally nothing but the closest to nothing we can get. We have yet to observe anything coming from absolute nothing. [1]As Taner Edis says, "Quantum events have a way of just happening, without any cause, as when a radioactive atom decays at a random time. Even the quantum vacuum is not an inert void, but is boiling with quantum fluctuations. In our macroscopic world, we are used to energy conservation, but in the quantum realm this holds only on average. Energy fluctuations out of nothing create short-lived particle-antiparticle pairs, which is why the vacuum is not emptiness but a sea of transient particles. An uncaused beginning, even out of nothing, for spacetime is no great leap of the imagination. " [2]

"In classical physics (appliable to macroscopic phenomena), empty space-time is called the vacuum. The classical vacuum is utterly featureless. However, in quantum mechanics (appliable to microscopic phenomena), the vacuum is a much more complex entity. It is far from featureless and far from empty. The quantum vacuum is just one particular state of a quantum field (corresponding to some particles). It is the quantum mechanical state in which no field quanta are excited, that is, no particles are present. Hence, it is the "ground state" of the quantum field, the state of minimum energy. The picture [below] illustrates the kind of activities going on in a quantum vacuum. It shows particle pairs appear, lead a brief existence, and then annihilate one another in accordance with the Uncertainty Principle"[1]

http://www.debate.org...; onclick="document.location='/phantom/photos/album/1054/13365/'" src="../../../photos/albums/1/2/1054/26907-1054-x5v6y-a.jpg" alt="http://www.debate.org...; />


Modal Ontological Argument


What is a maximal being?

When people say "maximal being", they're either saying one in which no greater can be conceived, or one in which is greatest to the most possible extent.

The ontological has one major flaw. It assumes that existing in every possible world is a possible attribute. It assumes that greatness can entail being neccessary. Now, in truth, we might say it is greater to exist in every possible world than in one possible world, but can we logically ascribe objects the definition of being necessary? We maybe can for ideas like mathematics, but that follows different lines of reasoning. Take the syllogism bellow for example.

P.1 We can conceive of a song in which no greater can be conceived.
P.2 This song exists in either no possible world, some possible world, or every possible world.
P.3 It is greater to exist in every possible world.
P.4 Thus a maximally great song exists.

By using the logic of the ontological argument applied to other things, we can derive what would exist if the logic was correct. By doing so, we can see that it is clearly flawed. A maximally great song is an irregular thought. It shows that, we cannot give attributes to beings such as existing in every possible world simply because it is greater too.

Paradoic arguments

P.1 It is better to work in perfection than non-perfection.
P.2 A maximally great being would work in perfection.
P.3 The universe is not perfect.
P.4 Therefore, a maximally great being does not exist.

God is by definition, the creator of the universe. As shown above, God would create the universe in perfection. All I need to do is show that the universe is not perfect and I will disprove a maximally great being. I think it self-evident that the universe is not perfect. The universe is coming to an expiration date. As it continue to expand it will eventually collapse on itself, causing the end of the universe. As a maximally great being would work in perfection, the universe would not be heading for an end. [3]

P.1 It is better to be good than evil.
P.2 A maximally great being would be good.
P.3 A maximally great being would want good rather than evil.
P.4 Evil is very prevalant.
P.5 Therefore, maximally great being dos not exist.

Interesting how we can actually bring very similar logic as the problem of evil into refuting the ontological argument. What is greater, good or evil? It is not a subjective question thus there is an answer in which we can subscribe to God. I think we can prove simply that good is better than evil. Good is commonly valued by everyone, and evil is very devalued. It is greater to be valued than devalued. Therefore a maximally great being would be good as it is greater to be valued. A good being would want goodness rather than evil. Just the fact that 2,800 children die every day of malaria, makes evil a pretty much self-evident fact.
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response, and for some intriguing objections. Unfortunately, they either simply fell flat on their face, or were based off of simple misunderstandings.

Necessary Cause/ Sufficient Cause

My opponent says that a necessary cause is not the same type of cause proposed by the KCA. However, the KCA states that everything that begins to exist has a cause, thus, any type of cause would fall under this description (a necessary cause, is still "a" cause).


Now, Con claims:

"Necessary causes are the same things as necessary conditions. Necessary conditions are completely different to actual causes."

My opponent is talking about "actual" causes, like only certain subsets of causality (sufficient causes/ efficient causes ect.) can be considered "actual" causes. However, there are many different forms of causation, and there is no good reason for why they all aren't "actual" causes as well. Therefore, my argument regarding a necessary cause still falling in line with "a" cause, stands.


Absolute Nothingness

Absolute nothingness = Non-being

When a physicist talks about nothing, they may be talking about empty space or simply the absence of energy and matter. When a philosopher speaks about nothing, they mean absolute nothingness, non-being [1]. Absolute nothingness has no qualities, if it even contains within it the potential for something, then that potential existence negates the conclusion that what we are discussing is actually non-being. Now, my opponent is claiming that my argument here actually contradicts creatio ex-nihilo. This is false, because the potential wouldn't exist within absolute nothingness if creatio ex nihilo was true, it would exist within God himself. This wouldn't equate to ex-deo either, since God would not be creating from himself (this is just where the potential rests). Now, if there is no God, the potential for something must have existed within absolute nothingness, which as I already explained, is contradictory to what philosophers mean when they refer to absolute nothingness. If the universe didn't come from absolute nothingness, then whatever it came from would be a necessary cause because the universe wouldn't exist without this cause (this would include, the quantum vacuum). Thus, there is no way the first premise of the KCA could be false.


Fallacy Of Composition

The fallacy of composition arises when one tries to say that because something is true for the parts of a whole (or even every part), then it is true for the whole itself [2]. This is a strange accusation on Con's behalf, since the fallacy of composition was never once used in my argument. If the KCA was:


P1: Every part of the universe that begins to exist has a cause
P2: The universe as a whole began to exist
C: The universe had a cause

...Then I would be committing the fallacy of composition, and would deserve being called out on this fallacy. However, my argument is regarding everything (which includes the universe as a whole), not just everything within the universe, or all parts of the universe. Thus, I have not committed the fallacy of composition at all, and this is a baseless accusation.

Quantum Events

This entire argument from Con only holds weight if necessary causes are not causes (which would be a self-contradictory claim), and if absolute nothingness can still include the existence of the quantum vacuum (which would also be a self-contradictory claim). Since I already explained how these two assumptions are incoherent already, then we can dismiss this argument from Quantum Mechanics (as I already conceded that we have good reason to believe there is no sufficient cause for these fluctuations).


Argument From Mental Causation

Since my opponent did not adequately tear down the KCA, and this argument went completely untouched by Con, God's existence has been established (this would also imply a sufficient cause, as well as a necessary cause).


Argument From Personal Causation

Since my opponent did not adequately tear down the KCA, and this argument went completely untouched by Con, God's existence has been established (this would also imply a sufficient cause, as well as a necessary cause).


Modal Ontological Argument

What is a maximal being?


My opponent, unfortunately, presents an unsophisticated objection to the Modal Ontological Argument here. These "parody" type rebuttals are extremely easy to respond to. All the items these parodies are discussing, involve contingent objects being called necessary, this renders the parodies useless and incoherent. For example, songs are contingent to song writers, so the idea of a necessarily existing song is just nonsense. Also, God is by definition not contingent to anything, thus there is no contradiction in claiming that it is possible for a maximally great being to exist, and that being is God.


Paradoic arguments



"P.1 It is better to work in perfection than non-perfection.
P.2 A maximally great being would work in perfection.
P.3 The universe is not perfect.
P.4 Therefore, a maximally great being does not exist."

I would rebut this, with another syllogism:

P1: It is greater to be free than not to be free

P2: If a maximally great being exists, he could freely chose to create something less than himself

P3: If a maximally great being exists, this being is perfect

P4: If a maximally great being created something less than himself, then he necessarily created something imperfect.

My syllogism above, shows that a being could be maximally great and still create something imperfect. Thus, my opponent's conclusion that a maximally great being does not exist, fails. Con didn't show any incoherence in the idea of a maximally great being with his argument, and I showed that it is possible for a maximally great being to create something imperfect. Basically, my opponent is right that it is greater to work in perfection than not, however it is even greater to chose whether or not you want to work in perfection. His argument simply does not apply to a maximally great being, because only a being lesser in greatness has to work in perfection instead of being able to chose whether or not he works in perfection.

"P.1 It is better to be good than evil.
P.2 A maximally great being would be good.
P.3 A maximally great being would want good rather than evil.
P.4 Evil is very prevalant.
P.5 Therefore, maximally great being dos not exist."

A non-sequitur is when a conclusion does not follow from it's preceding premises [3]. My opponent's argument above, is a non-sequitur. A maximally great could want good rather than evil, with evil existing, and this wouldn't negate the existence of a maximally great being. One may adopt the attitude of "whatever God wants, God gets" attitude, but this is not so, this would come into direct conflict with our free will with regards to evil (God wills us to have free will ourselves). Therefore, this argument from Con fails to show the incoherence of a maximally great being as well as his last syllogism.

Conclusion

Con only attacked P1 of the KCA, and didn't even touch P2, or my arguments for a personal mind causing the universe to exist. Now, since every last one of Con's refutations of P1 failed, and my arguments for why the cause must be God still stood, untouched, then God's existence has still been established with the KCA.

As far as the MOA is concerned, my opponent's parodies did not succeed, he is trying to make the idea of contingent items necessarily existing coherent, and it is just not. Also, his arguments regarding a maximally great being working in perfection and not allowing evil were utter failures as well, he didn't include in some critical factors in his reasoning.

Due to the reasons above, I think it's safe to say the resolution has been affirmed, and my arguments for the existence of God remain unscathed.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.nizkor.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...(logic)
phantom

Con

phantom forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Unfortunately, my opponent has decided to forfeit his round. However, I urge voters to only hold his forfeit against him with regards to conduct. If my opponent decides to post another round, please judge the debate according to the rest of the standard criteria. If he does not post as a last round, then I urge voters to choose Pro. Thank you.
phantom

Con

I'm very sorry for ruining the potential of a good debate. I went somewhere and thought I would be back before supper, but I only got back past 8:00.

Vote pro...
Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
It's all good though, Sh*t happens.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
You do know you could have posted a last round, and saved the debate, right?
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Nope, unfortunately it did not.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
Did that picture work? It's not showing up on my pc.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Your name suits you well...
Posted by KingOfTrolls1 4 years ago
KingOfTrolls1
This is very easy to disprove. Just get into your car. Find a nice place to reach a high speed and then just let go of the wheel and God should come and save you silly
.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
@Mark9570, Who said we were debating the Christian God?
Posted by Mark9570 4 years ago
Mark9570
Con, use Romans 1:27-32, and use the argument that the "loving and omnipotent and omniscient God" of Christianity can not exist as the contents of this passage are contradictory to observed reality and if this contradiction exists then the God is not existent as the Holy Bible (his words, therefore they must be without observable fault) is not true in this case.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Two devil's advocates. This will be interesting.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
There are no requirements now, if you still would like to debate, then free free.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by ceruleanpolymer 4 years ago
ceruleanpolymer
Rational_Thinker9119phantomTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Chelicerae 4 years ago
Chelicerae
Rational_Thinker9119phantomTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited, and even said you should vote for Pro.