The Instigator
dylancatlow
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Sargon
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

God exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Sargon
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/11/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,494 times Debate No: 58841
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (128)
Votes (4)

 

dylancatlow

Pro

Definitions

God: An entity that is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent and the cause of the universe.

Universe: all and only that which exists (in this case, synonymous with reality).

Cause: Something that brings about an effect or result

First round is for acceptance only.
Sargon

Con

Ave

I accept this debate. I look forward to an interesting and challenging dialogue with Dylan (if I may call him Dylan). While we certainly seem to disagree
on a multitude of issues, I believe that this debate should engage us in a collective search for the truth, and I hope that we come closer to this truth at the end of the debate.

Vale
Debate Round No. 1
dylancatlow

Pro

Introduction

In order to prove God’s existence, I will show that reality is a self-referential system and why this implies it possesses attributes which correspond to the definition of God. That is, I will attempt to prove that reality = God. I will also present and defend an argument closely related to the Ontological Argument. And last, I will resolve some paradoxes associated with the God concept. Accomplishing this will require a rather deep investigation into the fundamental nature of existence, so some of it may get a bit technical. I will try to explain my arguments in the simplest and most direct terms possible, but readers of the debate should expect to think in ways they are probably not used to.

One of the main problems facing the God concept is the seemingly unanswerable question: why should a God exist? That is, on what basis is God’s existence implied or logically supported? Answers to this question have typically come in the following form: the universe needs a cause/explanation, and God is the only thing capable of providing it. However, this merely begs the question. What allows God to be uncaused but not the universe? What is the fundamental difference between the two permitting this interpretation? Rather than defending this view, I will attack it, maintaining that God and the universe are the same, and that God - reality - is self-caused rather than uncaused.

Creation Ex Nihilo

If you really start out with nothing, then there is no preexisting information. There is nothing to limit the nature of nothingness, as constraint does not yet exist. In other words, nothingness cannot stay nothingness, as there is nothing to enforce requirements of any kind. This implies that “nothingness” is not actually nothingness - as that would require constraint - but unbound potential or unlimited freedom. One may be tempted to object to the very notion of nothingness, and claim that nothingness is an inherently contradictory concept beyond discussion. But this is a bit hard to figure, for if nothingness is well enough defined to be contradicted by considering it, it is well enough defined to consider it in the first place. Moreover, contradictions only have to be avoided within the context of existence. Non-existence lacks intrinsic definition, and is therefore a suitable (and in fact, necessary) place to dump the contradictions which existence avoids and which is tautologically defined on the exclusion of. This is what gives logic its discernibility and meaning.

Since we were never really dealing with nothingness to begin with, but with UBT (unbound telesis or “pre-information”), a realm of pure freedom characterized by a total lack of any real constraint, possibilities with the intrinsic capacity to define and maintain their own existences can actualize themselves. The possibility of God simply self-actualizes from this sea of ontological potential. All lesser possibilities are precluded, for God supersedes them by definition, either containing them or excluding them from reality (himself). Now let us consider what attributes such an entity must logically possess.

God’s attributes


Reality contains all and only that which is real. Reality is thus self-contained, as anything real enough to affect reality is already real and thus inside reality. This means that any cause of reality must be real, implying that reality is either self-caused or uncaused.

A cause is an explanation, and an explanation is identification of structure - what is. For example, the cause of a car crash amounts to an explanation of what happened (e.g. the driver was tired, going too fast, etc), and the explanation amounts to an identification of the structure of the system - reality - in which the event took place. Since reality contains all and only that which is real, it must have structure, for if it didn’t, then entities outside reality could be incorporated in real structures and processes; but in that case they would be real, and thus inside reality. This contradiction implies that reality is ultimately closed with respect to all real relations and operations, including the definition operation as applied to reality itself. Indeed, without structure - that is, without definition - reality could not maintain an identity (could not distinguish itself from unreality i.e. that which it is not) and would disintegrate due to internal inconsistencies. Since reality does indeed exist, it must have structure. Since reality itself is real, it too must have an explanation. That is, since reality’s structure is real, its structure implicates itself, implying that reality causes itself to exist. In other words, reality comprises a “closed descriptive manifold” from which no essential predicate is omitted, and which thus contains no critical gap that leaves any essential aspect of structure unexplained. Any such gap would imply non-closure. But this explanation is incomplete unless reality can also answer the question of why it causes itself to exist i.e. what causes reality to cause itself? Reality is thus self-justifying as well as self-determinative. Essentially, existence is everywhere the choice to exist. Objective morality is therefore “what reality thinks is right” insofar as real and objective are synonymous. It takes very little effort to see that what God does is what God thinks is right (since he is self-determinative), and therefore his actions coincide with - that is, define - objective morality. Now, if reality were reducible to it parts, this would make God - Who coincides with the universe itself - a pluralistic entity with no internal cohesion. But since the mutual consistency of parts requires a single self-configuring imperative, one moral standard is implied. Essentially, God is the principle of consistency, the principle of cohesion, which holds us all together.

So far, we have established God as omnipotent (because coherently self-determinative), omnibenevolent (because self-justifying) omnipresent (because synonymous with reality) and monotheistic (because self-consistent). But what about omniscience? It comes down to this: since reality is both a mental construct (isomorphic to its description) and the objective content of such a construct, and since reality is all and only that which real, it must process its own information coherently...in a way that involves no contradictions. Thus, God embodies the answers to all questions that have a basis in reality. Since reality has nothing but itself with which to do this, it cannot rely on blunt mechanisms. It must intrinsically define itself to be infinitely intelligent in order to self-actualize. Reality is a mind, and “God” is simply the answer to the question “whose mind”?


Ontological Argument


Denying that something exists isn't something which can be taken for granted. When you deny that something exists, you are implicitly claiming that there exists constraint external to the thing in question - since it doesn't exist - which prevents it from existing. However, God's definition doesn't allow for such an interpretation. That is, when you deny the existence of "God", you aren't denying the existence of God, but something that is bound by something external to it (which doesn't fit the definition of God). This implies that God’s existence is self-evident, and therefore logically necessary. While it may be tempting to use this argument to prove the existence of other things, it only works for God, since it essentially establishes whatever you prove the existence of
as God. That is, whatever you prove must exist, and is therefore entirely self-determinative since its existence is contigent upon nothing but itself.


The Problem of Evil


Meaning: How do we reconcile the fact that evil exists with the idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful, and maximally good being?

I would like to start out by saying this point is not necessary for meeting my BoP. Although it would be nice to think humans are implicated in God’s moral standard, it isn’t required.

Obviously, the highest level of change is that characterizing the creation of reality. Prior to the moment of creation, the universe was not there; afterwards, the universe was there. This represents a sizable change indeed! Unfortunately, it also constitutes a sizable paradox. If the creation of reality was a real event, and if this event occurred in cosmic time, then cosmic time itself is real. But then cosmic time is an aspect of reality and can only have been created with reality. This implies that cosmic time, and in fact reality, must have created themselves! In other words, the creation event is distributed over time. In this sense, God is timeless.

What does this mean for humans? Basically, it means we are caught in the moment of creation. Since God is self-contained, he must self-select from an internally generated set of possibilities, providing himself with a "self-simulative scratchpad" on which to compare the aggregate utility of multiple self-configurations for self-optimization purposes. That is, we are living in a self-simulation within the mind of God. Since reality necessarily operates with inherent freedom, and since humans are themselves parts of reality, God can endow his sentient agents with a certain amount of freedom to effect states from a localized vantage i.e. from within time. God can then exclude possibilities which do not meet his selection-selection criterion, ensuring that they “never existed” except as possibilities.


I'm out of characters, so I will address the omnipotence paradox next round.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Sargon

Con

Pre-ontology

“To be, or not to be--that is the question.”


Philosophers are eager to present their arguments that a certain thing exists or that a proposition is true, such as the theistic philosophers who argue that the proposition “God is real” is true. However, this is ‘jumping the gun’ methodologically. By arguing for the existence of god, Dylan is turning his philosophy straight into issues of ontology without working out the issues surrounding pre-ontology. As the philosopher Martin Heidegger famously asks in Being and Time, “Do we in our time have an answer to the question of what we really mean by the word ‘being’? Not at all.”[1] In other words, philosophy has not answered the question of the meaning of being, or the difference between entity and non-entity. Human beings have an average, everyday approximation of what it means to be, considering that we are always thinking of our future possibilities in terms of the meaning of being (we think about beings in the future, so clearly we must have some prior concept of being), yet the meaning of being is still elusive, and escapes exact conceptual explication (i.e. we cannot explain what it means). If the meaning of being has not been established, then how can a statement about the existence of an entity be meaningful? What does it mean to say that an entity is, if we do not know what “is” means, or what the difference between entity and non-entity is? Because these issues in pre-ontology have not been worked out, we are necessarily on a weak foundation when we jump from pre-ontology to ontology.


Plagiarism

Furthermore, one should not jump from pre-ontology to ontology by plagiarizing somebody else’s jump from pre-ontology to ontology. As an ethical debater, I am obligated to point that Dylan plagiarizes portions of his opening statement from Christopher Langan. For example, Dylan copies the following writings from Langan and Langan-associated websites verbatim in his last round:


“Prior to the moment of creation, the universe was not there; afterwards, the universe was there. This represents a sizable change indeed! Unfortunately, it also constitutes a sizable paradox. If the creation of reality was a real event, and if this event occurred in cosmic time, then cosmic time itself is real. But then cosmic time is an aspect of reality and can only have been created with reality. This implies that cosmic time, and in fact reality, must have created themselves!” - Christopher Langan, “A Very Brief History of Time” [2]


“In other words, reality comprises a "closed descriptive manifold" from which no essential predicate is omitted, and which thus contains no critical gap that leaves any essential aspect of structure unexplained”[3]


This plagiarism should count against Pro considerably when it is time to vote.


Creation Ex Nihilo

Dylan argues that nothingness is actually an unbounded, infinite ontological potential. Given this definition, anything and everything that is logically possible could actualize itself from this unbounded, infinite ontological potential. If only a certain type of entity could actualize itself from this unbounded, infinite ontological potential, then “nothingness” would be constrained, which Dylan seeks to refute in his opening statement. Furthermore, if only a certain type of entity could actualize itself from this unbounded, infinite ontological potential, then it is not really “unbounded” or “infinite” in any usual sense of the terms. Therefore, we must conclude that anything and everything that is logically possible can actualize itself from this unbounded, infinite ontological potential. However, this entails that Dylan’s position is rather than absurd. For if an entity like god can actualize himself from this infinite, unbound potential, why can’t all kinds of beings actualize themselves as well? The Christian philosopher William Lane Craig satirizes this dilemma by asking “Why not leprechauns, or unicorns, or Shakespeare?!” Pro’s position reduces to absurdity. Dylan hints that he understands this dilemma by stating that all “lesser possibilities” (I have to assume he is talking about things like leprechauns) are either excluded by god or contained within god. However, this doesn’t escape the dilemma! It’s absurd to think that god would have any reason to stop entities like leprechauns and unicorns from actualizing themselves. What difference would it make to god? This means that we can do with away the possibility that they are excluded by god. Now, the only option left is that these “lesser possibilities” are contained within god. Since god is synonymous with reality in Dylan’s ontology, then it would follow that these lesser possibilities still exist, so the problem of unicorns and leprechauns also still exists.


Ontological Argument

Dylan offers an argument for the existence of god based on a form of the ontological argument. Based on what I can gather, his reasoning is more or less this: Denying the existence of god entails that there is something external to god which prevents it from existing, but since it belongs analytically to the definition of god that he cannot be constrained by something external, it is not rational to deny the existence of god. However, this argument fails because of the first premise. Denying the existence of god does not necessarily entail that there is something external to god which prevents god from existing. As the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza argued, “there are only two possible explanations for a thing’s non-existence. The first is that the thing is prevented from existing by something external to it. The other possible explanation is that something doesn’t exist because its nature is internally inconsistent.” [4]It follows that the first premise of the argument is false, because it does not exhaust all explanations for a thing’s non-existence. This argument also suffers from the fact that none of our R1 definitions define god as “unrestrained” or “without constraint”, so Dylan’s statements that this property belongs to the definition of god are entirely unfounded in the context of this debate.


The Euthyphro Dilemma

Dylan argues that god is the basis of objective morality. This contention is subject to the famous Euthyphro dilemma: “Is it good because god chooses it, or does god choose it because it is good?”. If the second horn is true, then objective morality exists whether or not god exists, and the existence of god is irrelevant to the existence of good. If the first horn is true, then the theist is left in an absurd situation. As the philosopher Tim Maudlin remarks, “The notion that what makes something right is god’s approval leads you to a very strange and bizarre situation. It suggests that god can’t have any moral reasons for approving of things. It’s as if in trying to write down the Decalogue, god can write ‘Do not steal’ or ‘You should steal’, but before I approve of one or the other, there’s no right or wrong. I can’t make that decision based on what’s just or unjust, fair or unfair, good or bad. There is no good or bad until I decide! But that means god’s decision would have to be arbitrary!” [5] The theist is stuck between god’s decisions being arbitrary, and god’s existence being irrelevant to the existence of good. Neither is helpful to Dylan’s case.



Reality

I will offer what I consider to be a “knockdown” argument of Dylan’s position which combines the definitions as stated in R1 and the statements in Dylan’s first round. The argument goes like this.


P1: An infinite, unbound ontological potential exists

P2: God cannot be the cause of this infinite, unbound ontological potential.

P3: The definition of god is that god is the cause of everything that is real

P4: By P1 and P2, there is a real entity that god did not cause

C: By P3 and P4, god does not exist


I personally have no beliefs about the existence of an infinite, unbound ontological potential. However, Dylan argues that such a thing exists. It is necessary to Dylan’s case that an infinite, unbound ontological potential exists because he gives it properties. For example, he states that it is the thing from which god actualizes himself. Therefore, it would simply be incoherent for Dylan to deny P1, because this would entail that god actualizes himself from something that doesn’t actually exist.


In regards to P2, god cannot be the cause of this infinite, unbound ontological potential. Why? Because it is absurd for an entity to be the cause of its necessary conditions. This infinite, unbound ontological potential is a necessary condition of god’s existence because god requires this “sea of potential” to bring himself into being. By looking at concrete examples of necessary conditions, it is absurd for an entity to be the cause of its necessary conditions. For example, a necessary condition of my birth is that my parents exist, so it is absurd to suggest that I am the cause of my parents. Since the infinite, unbound ontological potential is a necessary condition of god’s existence, and it is absurd for an entity to cause its own necessary conditions, it must follow that god cannot be the cause of this infinite, unbound ontological potential.


P3 is true by the definitions offered in R1. P4 follows logically from the truths of P1 and P2. P5 follows logically from P3 and P4, since if god is defined as the cause of everything that is real, and there is a real entity that god did not cause, then we must conclude that god does not exist.


Therefore, using Dylan’s own statements and the definitions in this debate, god does not exist.


References

Being and Time, pg 1

http://tinyurl.com...

http://tinyurl.com...

Fundamentals of Philosophy, pg 299

“Cosmology, Theology, and Meaning” lecture at the Greer-Heard Forum. Available on YouTube.

Debate Round No. 2
dylancatlow

Pro

Rebuttals

What does it mean to say that an entity is, if we do not know what 'is' means, or what the difference between entity and non-entity is? Because these issues in pre-ontology have not been worked out, we are necessarily on a weak foundation when we jump from pre-ontology to ontology.

Truth and existence are tautologically related. If statement X is true, then it is a description of existence, and if X exists, then any statement which reflects this fact is true. If existence has no meaning, then truth has no meaning. But if truth has no meaning, then consistent and inconsistent theories are of equal validity (a contradiction). Indeed, Sargon's statement - that existence isn't necessarily understood - is wholly based on the truth concept. Since this is necessarily true, no such argument can be considered valid. Quite simply, acknowledging that something exists is to rule out its nonexistence. Existence means inclusion in the most general sense (that is, in every included sense) and non-existence means exclusion.

Dylan argues that nothingness is actually an unbounded, infinite ontological potential. Given this definition, anything and everything that is logically possible could actualize itself from this unbounded, infinite ontological potential.

Like I said, only possibilities with an intrinsic capacity to define and maintain their own existences can be actualized. My argument, as described in the previous round, is that only God satisfies this requirement. In order for there to be a real difference between two things, both must be embedded in a common medium providing the metric of separation. Therefore, a single reality exists, and therefore only one God exists.

If only a certain type of entity could actualize itself from this unbounded, infinite ontological potential, then "nothingness" would be constrained, which Dylan seeks to refute in his opening statement.

That which exists must conform to the rules of existence i.e. logic, in order to distinguish itself from nonexistence. Without two-valued logic, distinctions are impossible. Entities which are logically incapable of defining and maintaining their own existences cannot self-actualize; they defeat themselves in the very attempt to, as they have no means by which to self-actualize.

Furthermore, if only a certain type of entity could actualize itself from this unbounded, infinite ontological potential, then it is not really "unbounded" or "infinite" in any usual sense of the terms.

UBT is unbounded, but reality is a self-restriction of this protomedium and must conform to a logical structure in order to be recognizable as something which "exists" as opposed to something which doesn't exist. In keeping with this requirement, reality must actively distinguish that which it is from that which it is not - that is, maintain its identity. Ultimately, this is possible only through structural closure implying that reality is self-referential.

Therefore, we must conclude that anything and everything that is logically possible can actualize itself from this unbounded, infinite ontological potential.

Anything that is "logically possible" is predicated on self-consistency (that is, identity), and identity requires God for reasons I explained last round. It's not enough that something be logically possible given a pre-existing framework - it must also define and maintain such a framework. Reality must enforce its own consistency, which requires a self-distributed and coherent identity (God).

However, this entails that Dylan's position is rather than absurd. For if an entity like god can actualize himself from this infinite, unbound potential, why can"t all kinds of beings actualize themselves as well?

In fact, Sargon, an entity "like God" is the only thing which can self-actualize. His "complexity" is not a hinderance to self-actualization, but a sin qua non of existence itself.

It's absurd to think that god would have any reason to stop entities like leprechauns and unicorns from actualizing themselves. What difference would it make to god? This means that we can do with away the possibility that they are excluded by god.

You assume that something would exist unless God prevents it, when really, something exists only when God permits it. This is because God is the guiding principle of existence, and the cause of all things.

Now, the only option left is that these "lesser possibilities" are contained within god. Since god is synonymous with reality in Dylan's ontology, then it would follow that these lesser possibilities still exist, so the problem of unicorns and leprechauns also still exists.

The lesser possibilities do not insist on their actualization at the expense of displacing others. Only God can do that since it requires self-referentiability.

However, this argument fails because of the first premise...Denying the existence of god does not necessarily entail that there is something external to god which prevents god from existing.

Yes, the concept of God must be consistent with the concept of God for the argument to work (however, this is a trivial observation insofar as consistency is a requirement for anything to be real). That's why I would like to resolve any paradoxes associated with God's attributes.

This argument also suffers from the fact that none of our R1 definitions define god as "unrestrained" or "without constraint", so Dylan's statements that this property belongs to the definition of god are entirely unfounded in the context of this debate.

Omnipotence implies an arbitrary ability to define and remove constraint. God could not be described as all-powerful if he were unable to do something because of something external to himself, and not simply because the action was incoherent and therefore not "something" which he could do/not do.

The Euthyphro Dilemma
Dylan argues that god is the basis of objective morality. This contention is subject to the famous Euthyphro dilemma: "Is it good because god chooses it, or does god choose it because it is good?".

This assumes an either-or situation when that need not be the case. I contend that it is both - that neither "leads" to the other, but that the two necessarily coincide in order for reality to have a closed structure. That is, objective morality = God's morality (since God is reality). Now the question changes...instead of asking "why is God's morality good" we must ask "why is God's morality God's morality". The answer, of course, is that since God is self-justifying, God's morality is God's morality because it is God's morality. This may seem arbitrary, but that's merely because God's morality is self-justifying and cannot be externally justified. The case is no different for logical tautologies...X = X because it does (it is self-proving), but that doesn't mean the statement is non-objective. Indeed, it is based on logic itself!

If the second horn is true, then objective morality exists whether or not god exists, and the existence of god is irrelevant to the existence of good. If the first horn is true, then the theist is left in an absurd situation...I can't make that decision based on what's just or unjust, fair or unfair, good or bad. There is no good or bad until I decide! But that means god's decision would have to be arbitrary!" [5] The theist is stuck between god's decisions being arbitrary, and god's existence being irrelevant to the existence of good.

This argument makes the assumption that in order for a moral standard to be objective, it must be based on something external. In other words, it assumes that since God doesn't base his moral reasoning on any pre-existing ethical framework, it must be random in origin, and based on nothing. But that merely rules out the possibility of self-justification. There is nothing more oxymoronic than a self-justifying, self-determinative entity which chooses its moral standard for what it considers to be an arbitrary reason.

P1: An infinite, unbound ontological potential exists
P2: God cannot be the cause of this infinite, unbound ontological potential.
P3: The definition of god is that god is the cause of everything that is real
P4: By P1 and P2, there is a real entity that god did not cause
C: By P3 and P4, god does not exist

An infinite, unbound ontological potential is not real in the sense which requires a cause. Reality is by definition all and only that which is real, and unbound potential is incompatible with such a distinction (or definition of any kind). In this sense UBT is meta-paradoxical, and is why reality can be described as a self-resolving paradox (that is, since UBT lacks definition, it also has definition i.e. reality). It should be noted that UBT does not cause reality, it just doesn't stop reality from causing itself. Unreality is defined with respect to reality by reality in order for reality to be defined. That is, UBT's existence can only be extrapolated, and only exists qua existence.

In regards to P2, god cannot be the cause of this infinite, unbound ontological potential. Why? Because it is absurd for an entity to be the cause of its necessary conditions. This infinite, unbound ontological potential is a necessary condition of god"s existence because god requires this "sea of potential" to bring himself into being.

UBT does not need a cause, as it lacks structure and therefore has no definition.

Langan: … UBT "contains" other positive properties in the sense that it represents the suspension of their definitive constraints, and the superposition of the things thereby distinguished. To put it as simply as possible, unbound potential is simply the logical complement of constraint with respect to syntax-state relationships, and is a requisite of any attempt to meaningfully define or quantify constraints...Jacob asks "from whence arose the UBT?" Since UBT is nil constraint, it doesn't need to have "arisen"; causes are necessary only in the presence of informational content (that's really the point).

(Out of characters...)

Sargon

Con

(I omitted the section debating the Euthyphro dilemma, as I was running low on characters and had to sacrifice a part of my argument. I chose to eliminate this section because this isn’t a debate about whether or not god is the foundation of objective moral values. Such a trait is not even found in the definition of god in R1. Therefore, I found it to be the best section to remove.)

Plagiarism


Dylan makes no attempt to defend his blatant plagiarism of Christopher Langan and Langan related websites, so I am forced to conclude that he has nothing to say in his defense. Therefore, Dylan’s plagiarism should be taken into account when voting. If the DDO community does not deter plagiarism in debates by counting against it when it is time to vote, then we will in effect be sanctioning acts of plagiarism by refusing to take any action when they occur. It is vital that debates on this website do not become nothing more than copy and pasting from other sources without attribution.


Contrasting Methods


A part of effective reasoning is to justify all of your assertions in your argument. In other words, it is not wise to commit the fallacy of bare assertion, or when a premise or assertion is “assumed to be true merely because it says that it is true.”[1] Unfortunately, this practice of bare assertion is common throughout Dylan’s last round. While I attempt to justify all of my assertions using reasoning and quotations from outside sources, Dylan merely asserts things to be true with no quotations or outside sources as justification. For example, no reasoning is offered to justify the assertions that “only possibilities with an intrinsic capacity to define and maintain their own existences can be actualized”, “In order for there to be a real difference between two things, both must be embedded in a common medium providing the metric of separation”, “. Without two-valued logic, distinctions are impossible.”, “His "complexity" is not a hinderance [sic] to self-actualization, but a
sin qua non of existence itself. “, and “An infinite, unbound ontological potential is not real in the sense which requires a cause.”. Dylan, at many points, offers nothing more than assertions without any actual argumentation. I will ignore any statements that Dylan makes which are not justified, as it is too tedious for myself and the audience to point out every instance where bare assertion fallacies are made (this plays into the UBT discussion greatly).


Ambiguity


Another part of effective reasoning is to make your meaning clear. Ambiguity is not inherently bad, as poetry and literature would show, but ambiguity
in a debate is bad because your opponent and your audience can’t understand what you’re talking about, which makes it difficult for your opponent to refute your argument and for the audience to weight the quality of your arguments. It is not the obligation of your opponent or the audience to define your terms for you. If Dylan wants to convince us that something is true, he should make sure that we actually understand what he’s talking about by presenting definitions for his terms. Dylan leaves us wondering what terms like “UBT”, “self-actualized”, “unbounded”, “protomedium”, “meta-paradoxical”, and “self-determinative” are supposed to mean. This takes away from his case significantly, as precision and clarity are superior to ambiguity in a debate for reasons already given.


Pre-ontology


I argued that if issues surrounding the meaning of being--that is, the difference between entity and non-entity, are not solved, then any jump from this “pre-ontology” to ontology itself would be necessarily preemptive and on a weak conceptual foundation. This argument is not about whether or not existence has meaning, but what the difference between entity and non-entity is. We are inquiring about the difference between entity and non-entity, or “Being” in Heidegger’s work. We are
not asking about the meaning of existence. The meaning of existence is a question about the meaning of entities, while the meaning of being is not. As Richard Polt clarifies in Heidegger: An Introduction, “When we ask about Being we are not asking about any particular thing, nor even about the totality of things in the universe , we are asking why all of these things count as beings in the first place.” [2] Heidegger himself writes in Being and Time that the meaning of being goes beyond the highest generic concepts applicable to entities. [3] While Dylan is correct in stating that we already have some prior conception of the difference between entity and non-entity, as we are able to say something exists and rule out its non-existence, this only shows we have an intuitive approximation of the meaning of being that comes from beings ourselves, not that we have a full of understanding of being. Why? Because despite this intuitive approximation of the meaning of being, the meaning of being still escapes exact conceptual definition. Our intuitive approximation of the meaning of being only ends up showing that we still have a long way to go in pre-ontology.


Creation ex nihilo


Dylan is adamant that only two-valued logic can make distinctions possible. First, this assertion goes without any justification at all. Secondly, two-valued logic is outdated given quantum mechanics. A logical system is two-valued if it follows the principle of bivalence, which means that for any declarative sentence expressing a proposition, it has exactly one truth value [4]. As I stated earlier, this type of logic is not consistent with the empirical findings from quantum mechanics. The physicists Birkhoff and von Neumann, by treating observables in quantum mechanics as propositions, were able to create a form of logic called
quantum logic . Quantum logic, however, is a many-valued logical system. Contrary to the principle of bivalence, propositions in quantum logic have more than two truth values [5]. Considering this, quantum mechanics shows that Dylan’s preferred logical system is outdated and inconsistent with empirical findings.




Speaking more on logic, a large part of Dylan’s ontology depends on the notion of possibility (e.g. infinite, unbound ontological potential). The relevant logic for dealing with possibilities is modal logic. In modal logic, there is such a thing as “modal collapse”, where all possibilities are removed, and everything exists by necessity [6]. If modal collapse occurs, then there are no possibilities, and only necessities. Therefore, Dylan’s ontology assumes that modal collapse has not occurred. Dylan has only made the assumption that modal collapse is not true. In order for us to take his ontology seriously, he needs to show that modal collapse is not true. Otherwise, his ontology is based on unfounded logical assumptions.



Ontological Argument



It does not matter what Dylan sees a trivial observation. If a premise in an argument is false, then the argument is unsound. Dylan's argument has the premise that denying the existence of god entails that there is something external to god which prevents god from existing. I provided an example of how this premise is false by pointing out that denying the existence of god could entail that god is a logically inconsistent concept. Dylan does not refute this alternative, so the first premise is false. Therefore, the argument is unsound.



Reality




In my last round, I offered an argument constructed from Dylan’s own words and definitions which concluded that god does not exist. Rather than spend time addressing every statement made by Dylan in regards to this (I found many of them to be red herring), I will only analyze each premise of the argument and determine if the argument still holds at this point. Dylan does not challenge the logical validity of the argument, so we can already conclude that the argument is at least logically valid. But is the argument sound (i.e. all of the premises are true)? Let’s take a look.




The first premise states that an infinite, unbound ontological potential exists. I believe that this premise is obvious based on Dylan’s own statements. For example, in his last round, Dylan ascribes numerous properties to what he calls the “UBT” (I assuming this is intended to be synonymous with the infinite, unbound ontological potential). He gives it the properties of “lacking structure”, “not real in the sense that it requires a cause”, and existing “qua existence”. Dylan himself states that “we were never really dealing with nothingness to begin with, but UBT”. Dylan’s own words make it clear that the infinite, unbound ontological potential is not nothing, but something which exists and can be described with numerous characteristics. From these quotations, Dylan’s last round only helps to support the first premise of the argument.




The second premise states that god could not have caused this “UBT”. My argument for this premise was that it is absurd to suggest that something can cause its own necessary conditions. It’s like saying that you can cause your parents to come into being, when you depend on their existence to come into being in the first place! This argument was not addressed by Dylan, so we can affirm the second premise as true based on this alone. However, from what I can interpret in Dylan’s last round, he has supported this second premise himself! He states things like “An infinite, unbound ontological potential is not real in the sense which requires a cause” and “UBT does not need a cause”. These statements only serve to help the notion that god cannot have caused the UBT, not to refute it!



The rest of the premises are either true from the terms in R1, or follow logically. Therefore, god still doesn't exist.




References


http://tinyurl.com...


Heidegger: An Introduction, pg 28
Being and Time, pg 4
http://tinyurl.com...
Dalla Chiara, M. L. and Giuntini, R.: 1994, Unsharp quantum logics, Foundations of Physics,, 24, 1161–1177.
Einstein, Relativity, and Absolute Simultaneity “A radical rethinking of quantum gravity”

Debate Round No. 3
dylancatlow

Pro

Rebuttals


For example, no reasoning is offered to justify the assertions that “only possibilities with an intrinsic capacity to define and maintain their own existences can be actualized”

In order for a potential to actualize, it must be real, for if it weren’t, there would be nothing to actualize. This implies that only potentials which can define themselves can actualize (by define, I mean distinguish that which they are from that which they are not i.e. define what is “real”). In other words, the only real potential is reality's own potential (and this potential is synonymous with reality itself). All potentials not relevant to reality are not real.


“In order for there to be a real difference between two things, both must be embedded in a common medium providing the metric of separation”

In order for two real things to be different, the difference must be real for both things, and this means that both things must “recognize” the “realness” of this difference, and are therefore part of the same reality. In any case, this point was to establish that there is only one reality, which can be done by simply defining reality as all and only that which is real.


“Without two-valued logic, distinctions are impossible.”

This is self-evident. A distinction cannot be distinguished if true and untrue, real and unreal, are not kept apart.


“His "complexity" is not a hinderance [sic] to self-actualization, but a sin qua non of existence itself.“

Refer to round one.


“An infinite, unbound ontological potential is not real in the sense which requires a cause.”

An infinite, unbound potential cannot be called real, since it is the total lack of information i.e. constraint. In order for something to be real, you must distinguish it from its negation (else the term is meaningless), and that’s not possible where there’s no constraint i.e. where there’s nothing about something which is as opposed to isn’t.


Dylan leaves us wondering what terms like


“UBT”

A total lack of information i.e. real constraint.


“self-actualized”

When a potential distinguishes itself from that which it is not.


“unbounded”

Same as UBT.


“protomedium”

The logical complement of real constraint i.e. that which real constraint is defined on, and which reality as a whole defines and is defined on.


“meta-paradoxical”

When something has no means by which to distinguish real from unreal, and as a logical consequence, has no mean by which to avoid it.


“self-determinative”

When something is internally determined and externally unconstrained/undefined.


This argument is not about whether or not existence has meaning, but what the difference between entity and non-entity is. We are inquiring about the difference between entity and non-entity, or “Being” in Heidegger’s work. We are not asking about the meaning of existence. The meaning of existence is a question about the meaning of entities, while the meaning of being is not.

The difference between entity and non-entity directly mirrors the difference between existence and nonexistence. If there is no difference between entity and non-entity, then how can Sargon identify them as things which need definition in the first place? How can you identify something when it is no different from its negation? This argument is self-defeating.


Dylan is adamant that only two-valued logic can make distinctions possible. First, this assertion goes without any justification at all. Secondly, two-valued logic is outdated given quantum mechanics.

Does two-valued logic need answer to quantum mechanics, or does quantum mechanics need answer to two-valued logic? There is nothing about our observations which makes two-valued logic obsolete save the erroneous interpretations we make of them.


Quantum logic, however, is a many-valued logical system. Contrary to the principle of bivalence, propositions in quantum logic have more than two truth values [5]. Considering this, quantum mechanics shows that Dylan’s preferred logical system is outdated and inconsistent with empirical findings.

Langan: ... many-valued logic, including infinite-valued logic, is a 2-valued theory - it must be for its formal ingredients and their referents to be distinguished from their complements and from each other - and thus boils down to 2VL. So 2VL is a necessary and sufficient element of logical syntax for systems with distributed internal structure.

I provided an example of how this premise is false by pointing out that denying the existence of god could entail that god is a logically inconsistent concept. Dylan does not refute this alternative, so the first premise is false. Therefore, the argument is unsound.

I fully acknowledge the soundness of Sargon’s insights. However, he has not attempted to show why the concept of God is inconsistent with the concept of God. My main argument establishes the consistency - in fact, the necessity - of God’s existence.

The first premise states that an infinite, unbound ontological potential exists. I believe that this premise is obvious based on Dylan’s own statements.

Then you have obviously failed to understand them.


For example, in his last round, Dylan ascribes numerous properties to what he calls the “UBT” (I assuming this is intended to be synonymous with the infinite, unbound ontological potential).

UBT does not express these properties intrinsically. Once again, they are defined only with respect to existence.


He gives it the properties of “lacking structure”, “not real in the sense that it requires a cause”, and existing “qua existence”. Dylan himself states that “we were never really dealing with nothingness to begin with, but UBT”.

That’s because UBT is in fact contradictory, as it lacks real constraint. Hence, “meta-paradoxical”.


The second premise states that god could not have caused this “UBT”. My argument for this premise was that it is absurd to suggest that something can cause its own necessary conditions. It’s like saying that you can cause your parents to come into being, when you depend on their existence to come into being in the first place! This argument was not addressed by Dylan, so we can affirm the second premise as true based on this alone.

Neither God nor anything caused UBT, as was clearly stated.


However, from what I can interpret in Dylan’s last round, he has supported this second premise himself! He states things like “An infinite, unbound ontological potential is not real in the sense which requires a cause” and “UBT does not need a cause”. These statements only serve to help the notion that god cannot have caused the UBT, not to refute it!

God did not cause UBT, for there is nothing to cause.



Sargon

Con

Pre-ontology


The primordial (i.e. the most basic and fundamental) question of philosophy is the meaning of being. All other areas of study in philosophy are less fundamental. For example, ontology, which seeks to study what entities exist, takes the meaning of being as a given, and assumes what it means to be rather than investigating the question at all. Therefore, if we do not have an answer to this fundamental, primordial question, then any philosophical ‘jump’ from the fundamental issues to less fundamental issues is on a weak foundation. I argue that Dylan is attempting to make a jump of his own, from pre-ontology to ontology, without a proper answer to the questions of pre-ontology. Dylan’s most recent objection to this argument is to ask how I can identify entity and non-entity as things which need definition if there is no difference between the two. I don’t believe that I’ve stated that there is no difference between entity and non-entity at any point in this debate. Rather, I’ve only stated that the meaning of being escapes exact definition. While an understanding of being is already included when we ask about the meaning of being, this is the average, everyday approximation of being which serves as a foundation for further investigations into the meaning of being, not an end to the questions of being! Dylan’s argument is predicated on a straw man--that I believe there is no difference between entity and non-entity. This is far from the case; I only contend that the difference between entity and non-entity has not been fully discovered and escapes exact definition.


Creation ex nihilo


In his last round, Dylan helpfully clarifies aspects of the UBT. He states that there are real potentials, and that the only potentials which can emerge are those potentials which can self-actualize (i.e. form an identity of itself). Dylan takes reality to be the only potential that can self-actualize from UBT. While it is a dubious assertion that only reality can self-actualize from UBT, the notion that there exist real possibilities has come under scrutiny in this debate. As I pointed out earlier, the relevant logic for dealing with the concept of possibility is modal logic. In modal logic, however, there are logical systems where “modal collapse” is accomplished, which entails that there are no possibilities and that everything which exists does so necessarily. The implication of these modal collapse ideas is that possibilities aren’t real. Obviously, this is detrimental to any ontology based around the idea of possibilities actualizing themselves. Dylan has done nothing to address the problem of modal collapse theories. He offers no argument that modal collapse does not occur, or any proof of a system where modal logic does not occur. He only assumes that modal collapse doesn’t occur. His entire notion of possibilities self-actualizing from the UBT depends on an assumption about logic which has not been justified throughout the entire debate, so it is rational to reject his notion for this reason.


Another important issue in this debate is Dylan’s reliance on two valued logic. I pointed out in my last round that empirical findings from quantum mechanics demonstrate that the principle of bivalence is false, and that an empirically formulated logical system is multi-valued rather than two-valued. Dylan responds to this by asking if two-valued logic needs to be readdressed in light of quantum mechanics, or if quantum mechanics needs to be addressed in light of two-valued logic. Consider Aristotle’s notion that a heavier object will fall faster than a lighter object. Experiments in physics showed that this notion is false. Dylan’s counter-argument is rather like asking if Aristotelian ideas need to be reevaluated in light of empirical evidence, or if experiments in physics need to be reevaluated in light of Aristotelian ideas. Dylan’s other argument is a quote from Christopher Langan, the inventor of CTMU, which is the basis of Dylan’s argument for the existence of god. However, this quote does not make an effective argument. Langan argues that multi-valued logic must be a two-valued theory because it needs two-valued logic in order to distinguish its reference and its complements from each other. Firstly, this assertion is never justified, so one can dismiss Langan’s argument for this reason alone. However, I will construct what I believe to be the argument that Langan is getting at. In logic, a referent is a relationship where one object designates another object. A logical complement is another word for “negation” (e.g. “not X”, “not P”.) From these definitions, I presume that Langan is arguing that multi-valued logic needs two-valued logic in order for the objects in referents to distinguish themselves from each other and from their negation. However, in multi-valued logic, objects in referents can distinguish themselves from each other and from their negation through the law of excluded middle (simply because they are distinguished by either being X or not being X). It may seem as if I’m contradicting myself by using the law of excluded middle, but this ignores a very important philosophical distinction. Two-valued logic depends on the principle of bivalence, which is a semantic principle stating that any declarative sentence which expresses a proposition is either true or false. There are logical systems where the principle of bivalence is false while the law of excluded middle is true, as the former is a semantic principle while the second is not. As Princeton University’s website states, “The difference between the principle and the law is important because there are logics which validate the law but which do not validate the principle, and vice versa.” [1] Therefore, one is not contradicting themselves in using the law of excluded middle to distinguish objects in references from each other and their negation.









Ontological Argument


Dylan offered the following argument for the existence of god: Denying the existence of god entails that there is something external to god which prevents it from existing, but since it belongs analytically to the definition of god that he cannot be constrained by something external, it is not rational to deny the existence of god. The first premise is false because denying the existence of god can also entail that god is logically inconsistent. As such, the first premise is false because denying the existence of god does not necessarily entail that there is something external to god which prevents god from existing. By making this objection, do I have to prove that god is logically inconsistent as a concept? Not at all. Even if such a contention remains unproven, it would still be the case that the first premise is false on the grounds that it does not exhaust all possibilities as to what denying the existence of god entails. Dylan asserts that this argument proves the logical consistency of god, but this is plainly false. The philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, himself a proponent of ontological arguments, “recognized that proving the coherence or logical possibility of God’s nature is crucial to the success of a priori attempts to prove God’s existence”.[2] In other words, an a priori argument for the existence of god such as Dylan’s depends on the logical possibility of god, and therefore can never prove god to be logically possible.


Reality


Dylan objects to the notion that the UBT (infinite, unbound ontological potential) is real. Rather, the UBT only has its properties with respect to existence, not properties intrinsic to itself. This answer to my argument entails a “chicken or the egg” causal paradox. Phrased logically, this paradox asks “Which came first, X that can’t come without Y, or Y that can’t come without X?”. Reality self-actualizes itself from the UBT, yet the UBT receives a definition of its properties from reality. Perhaps this is why Dylan describes UBT as “contradictory” and “paradoxical”. Even if Dylan accepts that the UBT is contradictory and paradoxical, this does not help his argument, for accepting that your ontology is contradictory and paradoxical still makes it contradictory and paradoxical, and therefore unbelieveable to any rational person.


Conclusion


Thanks to Dylan for participating in this debate with me. Dylan is an extremely intelligent debater whose ELO is not becoming of his skill. I know more about CTMU and Dylan’s beliefs than I do when I came into this debate, and for this reason alone I consider it an accomplishment.



With this being the final round of the debate, issues about voting are now pertinent. First, there is a difference between reasoning and rationalizing. If you're going to choose the winner before the debate and rationalize a vote for that person, then don't waste your time. I do not want anybody voting for me out of pure bias towards my position, and I am guaranteed that Dylan feels the same way. I want voters who use reason to make their decision, which is to take away as much bias as possible and vote on who truly won. Secondly, I want to call attention to remarks that a DDO user made in a forum thread. The simple fact that another user had more sources than another user does not mean that they deserve a sources vote. Sources are to be judged on their quality and how effectively they were utilized, not quantity alone. In addition to this, arguments should be weighted. The winner of the debate is not a tally of who responded to the most points and who ignored the most points. It's a tally of who won what arguments and how important they were. Debates are not mere mathematical quantification.


Finally, I am extremely gracious to the audience for taking the time to read this debate and vote. Without this, the very heart of DDO would be missing.


Vale


References

https://www.princeton.edu...

Fundamentals of Philosophy, pg 302

Debate Round No. 4
128 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
dylancatlow
Actually, attributes are constraints.
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
dylancatlow
The fact that nothingness lacks even the potential for properties obviously has implications i.e. certain attributes (like constraint) are out of the question. Of course nothingness is defined... *within the context of existence*. Without an underlying syntax of its own, it would be undefined, and lack of syntax is what nothingness is all about.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
You did say that, but it's irrelevant.

You can't just handwave away the incoherency of your position. You can't simultaneously say it has no properties *and* give "analytically inferred" properties. That's inherently contradictory, and as such incoherent.
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
dylancatlow
Where something is undefined due to its lack of expressive syntax, it obviously lacks constraint as well. Like I said, nothingness is only defined with respect to reality.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
They're still properties Dylan, that in no way solves the problem.
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
dylancatlow
"You *are* alleging that nothingness has properties--which, in itself, is a form of constraint."

The "properties" ascribed to nothingness are only *analytically inferred* from nothingness' lack of definition. They are not intrinsic to nothingness.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
You *are* alleging that nothingness has properties--which, in itself, is a form of constraint. The philosophical notion of "true" nothingness could be argued to be incoherent--certainly, your own arguments for your interpretation of it are contradictory, and incoherent as such.

And I didn't say that "Being a set" meant that reality *can't* be referred to as a coherent singleton--you failed to justify that it be described as such, particularly since the point is that it's equivocation to attribute something from part of the set to the whole.

You say that I've missed the point--it's really quite clear that YOU missed the point of my analogy. You can't say "The set includes all Xs, I think an X created the set, therefore the set is self-caused"--because that's disingenous.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
Not one of those is an error, dylan. Nowhere can you point to an actual *error* in the statements--a place where I have gotten something factually wrong, or misquoted or unfairly misrepresented you.

You're just upset that you didn't get *agreement*. But disagreement is not necessarily an "error", and you have utterly failed to substantiate it as one except by repeating assertions that weren't convincing in the debate, and still aren't convincing now.
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
dylancatlow
4. I am a bit inclined, however, to be charitable in my interpretation of Con's use of this, to call into question Pro's need to differentiate "god" from "the set of reality", that is, to give us a reason to suppose this entity is an entity, and not a non-entity.

It comes down to coherency. Reality must possess a stable definition between that what it is and that which it is not. Reality is therefore not reducible to its parts, because reality needs a distributed identity according to which such parts are mutually consistent.
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
dylancatlow
More of bladerunner's errors:

1. This seems contradictory--Pro argues that nothingness isn't nothingness.

As I explained, nothingness lacks an informational basis on which to preclude things like contradictions (as that requires definition i.e. constraint). A total lack of constraint means that nothingness (UBT) is inherently asymmetrical from the perspective of reality.

2. Reality is generally considered a *set*, not a thing in of itself, which Pro seems to allude to when he says that it "contains" all and only that which is real. It's a set of all things which have the attribute of being "real". The notion that a set caused anything seems wanting of more justification than Pro provides. It seems true that the cause of the set may be a member of the set. But that doesn't mean the SET caused anything as a whole.

"Being a set" does not mean reality can"t be referred to as a coherent singleton. Reality is by definition *all and only that which is real*. That is indeed *something*. In other words, reality is everything that is real *at once*.

3. A blue machine may create a set of things which are blue, and, being blue itself, be a member of the "set of blue things". However, it seem unfair to claim from that that "the blue things" (a set which now includes the things that were painted blue by the original blue machine) were self-caused.

This completely misses the point. I don"t claim that a set which includes itself as a member is necessarily self-causing. Reality is the most general set, which means if there is a real cause of reality, reality includes its cause, and is therefore a self-defining predicate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by NathanDuclos 2 years ago
NathanDuclos
dylancatlowSargon
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Bop was not met. . .
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
dylancatlowSargon
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: pro didn't have enough evidence to prove God's existence
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
dylancatlowSargon
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: This is an especially pernicious kind of resolution. It's stated in "positive" terms, meaning that it would appear that this could be tested, falsified, etc. But, insofar as the claim is of a metaphysical character it cannot be falsified. Even still, it would be imprudent of me to judge this debate as if the burden were equal, because CON's only responsibility is to, where necessary, prevent PRO from "proving" the existence of a god. He need not prove that any god does not exist, to win. PRO did not prove the existence of a god, so he cannot win. Even still, there were a number of problems on both sides -though the phraseology of 'this' specific resolution requires me to, as a judge, judge the resolution 'as if' it were positive in nature. PRO failed to sustain that burden, as he invariably would, because the burden cannot be met. But even if I were to judge this as if it were normative, that is to say, as if the burden were equal, CON would have still won nevertheless.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
dylancatlowSargon
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.