The Instigator
000ike
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
thett3
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

God is a logical impossibility

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 14 votes the winner is...
thett3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/6/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 12,151 times Debate No: 25017
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (205)
Votes (14)

 

000ike

Pro

This is designed to be a quick and straightforward debate.

God: The divine author of all things; the creator of the universe and the laws thereof. An omniscient, and omnipotent being.

At no point can this definition be questioned or altered by either side in the course of this debate.

5000 character limit, Round 1 is for acceptance.
thett3

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for instigating this debate, and for notifying me of it's existence. As we've had many clashes on this subject in the forums, I greatly anticipate the exchange of ideas that will be generated by a formal debate. Note that the debate is not about the likelihood of Gods existence, but rather if such a being existing is logically possible. I like how wikipedia put it[1], logical impossibilities are: "propositions which could not possibly be true under any circumstances in any universe because they are formal contradictions. While it is logically possible for the sky to be green, it is not logically possible for a square to be circular in shape." As we both seemingly agree on the rules of logic, the only debate lies on the interpretation of such laws when it comes to a being such as God.

With that, I turn the debate over to my opponent.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
000ike

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting. Since this is only a presentation of the affirmative case, it will be an unusually brief argument.

P1: All things that are logically possible are bound by logic

P2: God is not bound by logic

C: God is logically impossible

Premise 1: This is tautologically self-evident.

Premise 2: As defined in Round 1, God is the divine author of all things and creator of the universe. Therefore, logic must be his invention. And by virtue of his omnipotence, he is not bound by it. Given that the definition of God was permanently established in Round 1, the only possible point of contention my opponent has is to attack the notion that God is not bound by logic. However, if God is in fact bound by logic, then he is not all-powerful. If logic is not God’s creation, then he is not the divine author of everything.

In short, in order for God to be God he must be capable of modifying or bypassing logic whenever he so pleases….and insofar as he has those powers, he must be logically impossible.

thett3

Con

Thanks, ike.

1. All things logically possible are bound by logic

First, this is not self evident as he claims. Indeed, it first begs the question as to what is actually meant by existence. That is, I can imagine illogical situations and the chemicals that created the perception exist, and the situation exists in my head. It's clear that they do not actually exist however, and ike means to say that everything that exists in the universe is bound by universial law. Hence, a better wording for this premise would be "Everything that exists in the physical universe is bound by logic" (questionable given the insane rules of quantum physics), in which case I'll offer the observation that God does not have to physically exist. It's most probable that God exists in another dimension, since he existed prior to the creation of the physical universe. Just as Ike wouldn't exist (or be bound to the rules) in a program he created, he could still affect and govern the program as he wishes while existing outside of it.

Second, there are obvious exceptions to this claim, including the very thing we are debating which is logic itself. Indeed the enitre debate presumes that logic itself exists, and since bounds can only be imposed by outside forces, the premise is demonstratively false. Logic and mathematics exist as abstract objects, while they do not physically exist they affect our perceptions and every day lives greatly, and are fundamental component of reality. Concious minds also are not bound to logic since they can imagine illogical situations.

Third, he's presuming the objectivity of logic within all things, not just our univverse. Just as the logic and mathematics of our universe would not govern another dimension with different laws, wherever God "physically" exists (if such a thing could be even concieved) is obviously not our univserse, so our logic would not govern him.

Fourth, God has the power to do illogical things. He used creatio ex nihilo, and yet from nothing, nothing comes logically! This shows clearly that God is not bound by the logic he created.

It's evident that if this premise holds true for anything, it holds only for physical existents.

2. God is not bound by logic

This is where the argument really falls apart.

Let's first look at his main point of contention, that "if God is in fact bound by logic, then he is not all-powerful. If logic is not God’s creation, then he is not the divine author of everything." The obvious counter to this is that God could have created logic while still not being bound to it. Ike gives you no reason to think that God is forced to follow the rules in the Universe he created rather than just choosing to do so. For example, if I impose a rule upon myself, I am the creator of the rule, but I can break it if I wish.

Secondly, it is most probable that it's not God that is bound to logic, but logic that is bound to Gods action. As it stands, nothing begins to physcially exist without a cause, 2 + 2 is 4 and squares cannot be circular. However since God controls completely the Universe, if he decides to make circular squares than it becomes possible to have a circular square, even if that doesn't make sense to us. The consistency in our logic indicates only that God has thus far decided not to alter his created rules thus far.

Thirdly, he's presuming that human logical interpretation is always correct, despite humans having physical and mental limitations. Just because we cannot concieve of a circular square, or 2 + 2 being greater than 4 doesn't mean that our perception is accurate.

Fourth, there is significant advocacy amoung philosophers that God can do everything that is logically possible, while still being omnipotent. My opponent posits that if God cant do illogical things than he must not be omnipotent, but try to imagine an illogical thing. A circular square is meaningless, it cannt be concieved. How exactly is it a limit on Gods power to not create an abstract object that has no concievable meaning? He could easily create another univserse in which a circular square is possible or alter ours to make it possible. It's meaningless that he doesn't.

His premise two also falls, from which the conclusion falls.



Nonphysical, abstract concepts are not bound by logic. Something that does not physically exist is not bound by rules in the physical universe, and creators of worlds can change that world at will. That God (seemingly) doesnt change the rules governing the universe is meaningless.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 2
000ike

Pro

Thanks for the response Thett

Premise 1: Defense

The “logically” in “logically possible” is not a superfluous adjective. “Logically” is deliberately inserted both in the resolution and my syllogism to draw a distinction between that which is logically possible (as in, permitted by logic), and that which is just possible. There are events that occur (particularly on the Quantum Scale, as my opponent mentioned) that directly defy classical logic. So really what I am affirming is that God is inconsistent with classical logic (hence logically impossible)….not that God is simply impossible. This was not intended to be a surprise trick or anything. I thought it was understood. In this way, Premise 1 is indeed self-evident. If it is logically possible, it abides by the rules of logic.

I disagree with my opponent when he says that we can imagine illogical things. What we can imagine are stupid/irrational scenarios, like a 1 million year old clown being president of Hong Kong, not illogical ones. To prove my point, try imaging a square that is triangular. However, this is a moot point, even if we could imagine such things, imagining something that is illogical is not itself illogical. What is contradictory about imagining something that is contradictory? The nature of the abstraction you imagined is illogical, not the act of imagining it.

I completely agree with my opponent on the non-universality of logic, but I never claimed that was universal. Again “logically” is a very distinctive adjective in this debate. However, before anyone breathes a sigh of relief that this argument is not really attacking the standard God, I’ll explain what damage it does at the end.



Premise 2: God is not bound by logic (Defense)

Ike gives you no reason to think that God is forced to follow the rules in the Universe he created rather than just choosing to do so. For example, if I impose a rule upon myself, I am the creator of the rule, but I can break it if I wish.

This doesn’t really address the premise. If God “chooses” to follow the rules of logic, then he is not bound by logic. Logic demands a COMPULSORY adherence to its rules, not voluntary. A voluntary adherence to logic is itself in violation of logic.

My opponent offers an extremely innovative rebuttal in saying that logic conforms and changes according to God’s actions, that God IS logic. This took me aback, but unfortunately it fails on its own terms. If logic may change at any arbitrary moment, then no logical proposition has certainty. And since the law of noncontradiction can also be compromised, we wouldn’t know whether or not logic was still true or false and we wouldn’t know if God had just changed it. Ergo, changeable logic is a pure absurdity that destroys the very argument from which it was born.

Our perception of logic IS what we call classical logic. If God is not in line with this perception, which I think my opponent just conceded, then the resolution is affirmed.

My opponent posits that if God cant do illogical things than he must not be omnipotent, but try to imagine an illogical thing. A circular square is meaningless, it cannt be concieved. How exactly is it a limit on Gods power to not create an abstract object that has no concievable meaning?

My opponent affixes our own limited capabilities to God himself! Is what is meaningless to us also meaningless to him? Does that not mean our intellect and his are equals? Is what is impossible to us also impossible to him? Does that not mean our power and his are equals? What is omnipotence if not boundless power? How can a god be all powerful, yet bounded by logic? The errancy in this argument is evident. It’s a definitional contradiction.

Conclusion

My opponent has unmistakably affirmed the existence of a transcendent, non-logically bound, eternal God,…but not the God the resolution sought to impugn, nor the God of any standard western religions. If an omnipotent God is not bound by logic, which I believe I have proved, then he cannot be affirmed nor negated. He cannot be conceived by our limited minds. The God so many of us believe in, by virtue of his boundless power, has no business in intellectual discourse. There can be no reason to believe in God, for God is above all reason! And within that framework, he is logically impossible. Resolution affirmed.

thett3

Con

Thanks for the debate.

Premise one

My opponent still doesn't prove this argument. His entire case for the debate rests on the assumption that in order for something to exist, it has to follow logic, and yet we know (and he concedes--quantum particles) that this is false. He responded to this argument exactly as I hoped he would, saying that if something can defy logic it's logically impossible, but we know from applying logic to observation that Quantum particles exist. Ike is under the flawed assumption that something needs to be bound by logic in order to physcially exist, then procedes to affirm the counter to that. Two extremely important things come from this:

1. It's an implicit concession that our logic is fluid/non objective. Ikes argument rests on the assumption that human logic is static and forever unchanging ("classical logic"), but has failed to prove that. I contend that logic changes as new discoveries are made, and previous assumptions are proven false. Moreover, it's self contradictory. Isn't it logically possible that our perceptions and logic are flawed? Logic is derived from observation. If we observe particles doing seemingly illogical things, it means we are wrong. Ikes view of logic is extremely limited in that it doenst allow for new discoveries to be of significane.

2. His premise does not hold true, even in the physical universe.

Recall that ike conceded by drop that a better wording for this premise would be physical existence. This means that already, his argument does not apply to God since God definitionally would have to exist outside of the physical universe. He drops that even if this premise is true, non-physical, abstract objects are exempt from it such as logic itself or a concious mind, meaning that his entire syllogism is no longer applicable.

He also drops the fact that, just as he would not exist or be bound to any rules in a computer program he made (but could still govern its laws), so would God when compared to the physical universe. Logically it makes sense that the creator of all logic would be exempt from it, especially given that beings history of creatio ex nihilo.

I get it. Ike is trying to say that even if logic can be undermined, it doesnt matter since logic is (in his view) unchanging and immutable, anything that doesnt follow it is impossible. This is a limited, and falsified view along with being self contradictiory since it's logically possible that what we know as logic is false. Remember that in my first round I claimed that for something to be logically possible, it has to avoid a formal contradiction. Ike has yet to show any real contradiction, only perceived ones. Since God did not arrise from the physical universe, it's not a contradiction to say that he is not bound to the laws that govern the physical universe.


This premise falls, especially when referencing a God.



Premise 2

To my rebuttal about how God isn't bound by logic, but chooses to follow it, he says that logic "demands a COMPULSORY adherence" not only has this been proven false, he doesnt put it in the context of God. EVEN IF God is "bound" by logic, its only because he CHOOSES to be. It's impossible for God to be bound by logic, bcause all of our logic is based on our perception of the Universe he created.

He tries to argue that my argument about logic being bound to God is "pure absurdity" because it destroys logic itself. I had to think a while before coming up to a response to this, but I realized he's making the same flaw that he was making before: he implicitly binds God to logic. That is, he places logic before God by saying that if God can change logic at will, then logic is meaningless, and yet if a God exists then logic, physics, everything HAS TO be bound to his will. Think about it. An omnipotent God, who created the universe and all laws that govern it, he can do whatever he wants with the universe (even change logic), just as a master programmer could do whatever he wants to a program. We just assume that God doesn't change logic as a matter of pragmatism, and moreover its already been established that logic can be changed by new obsevation, even from forces within the physical universe.

About my limited omnipotence argument, he misconstrues it. It is my position that God created logic, but since logic and God are both abstract objects, its logically possible that they could operate together-God still creating "everything" because without physical creation logic couldn't have been observed or used and hence didnt actually exist. What is meant by existence is a hard thing to define, but it's a safe assmption to assume that if something has no way of affecting anything (like logic without God), it doesnt exist. Hence, God did create logic, and could have alsobound himself to it. He could just end this by destroying the universe. This is another avenue to negation.

I thank my opponent for a good debate, but strongly urge readers to vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
205 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by emospongebob527 4 years ago
emospongebob527
"If God doesn't exist then how did everything come into existence and what happens after death, and if you answered Evelution and nothin, that's a sad thing and I don't see how you wouldn't die of depression. But with God you go to heaven and live forever with God and that is really happy. But if you don't believe in him you go to hell and that isn't so happy... So believe in God you have nothing to lose!"

We should debate mister............
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
the comment below is pascals wager expressed by an idiot
Posted by 100_percent_Syd 4 years ago
100_percent_Syd
If God doesn't exist then how did everything come into existence and what happens after death, and if you answered Evelution and nothin, that's a sad thing and I don't see how you wouldn't die of depression. But with God you go to heaven and live forever with God and that is really happy. But if you don't believe in him you go to hell and that isn't so happy... So believe in God you have nothing to lose!
Posted by 000ike 4 years ago
000ike
you're completely right.
Posted by muzebreak 4 years ago
muzebreak
It seems that most voters didn't understand the debate resolution.
Posted by CarlosMarti123 4 years ago
CarlosMarti123
@000ike

I find it quite surprising that you think the definition of 'omnipotence' includes the ability to do what is logically impossible. I know of no prominent, contemporary Christian scholar that accepts this kind of definition (Descartes did, but that was an exception, not the norm).

http://www.debate.org...
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
I wish we could, Fool, but hopefully the difference of our philosophies is not too vast. :-) (not to imply any superiority on my part, though)
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 4 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@Man-is-good
The Fool: I will debate you on this.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Ike, I still wish for a debate on this...at least.

:-) :-) :-)
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
@Ike

Best advice here is to not try to get it. I find all sorts of things that most people would justifiably find damnably frustrating, mundane or otherwise disheartening to be ecstatically hilarious. That's the primary reason I'm on DDO. Entertainment value. This place is almost always fresh, and I like that.

Kitteh returns:
=^,,^=
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by davidtaylorjr 4 years ago
davidtaylorjr
000ikethett3Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not convince me on his stance of Logic and God being bound by it. Vote goes to Con.
Vote Placed by logicalrobot 4 years ago
logicalrobot
000ikethett3Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Based off of arguments, Pro clearly showed how God is logically impossible and con practically conceded that. The better argument is that God is bound by logic because of his nature. By this definition, He would still be omnipotent and all powerful. BTW quantum mechanics is ridiculous. The entire foundation of truth, even science, is based on logic.
Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 4 years ago
Cody_Franklin
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 4 years ago
1dustpelt
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter Acvavra
Vote Placed by acvavra 4 years ago
acvavra
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Reasons for voting decision: Con showed that God does not have to be bound by logic. That persuaded me.
Vote Placed by Axiom 4 years ago
Axiom
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Reasons for voting decision: This wasn't an argument about the existence of god. This was an argument about if god's existence was acceptable within the realm of logic, and yes, there is a difference. Con argued, "His entire case for the debate rests on the assumption that in order for something to exist, it has to follow logic, and yet we know (and he concedes--quantum particles) that this is false." I agree with Con, but this was not a debate about existence. It was a debate about existence within the realm of logic.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 4 years ago
Ore_Ele
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro said in his last line, "If an omnipotent God is not bound by logic, which I believe I have proved, then he cannot be affirmed nor negated." This is basically an admittance of defeat, since it was his duty to prove that God is a logical impossibility. I do believe that Con did miss some opportunities to further break down Pro's argument, such as stating that "not logically possible =/= logically impossible." But, regardless, he did a satisfactory job with his arguments.
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
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Reasons for voting decision: The problem with ike's argument is that it blurs the distinction between something an entity which is not bound by logic (God) and an entity which is not logically possible. God isn't bound by the rules of logic, but that doesn't mean God is a logical impossibility. God is logically possible, as long as you understand that God by definition is prior to logic (he created it). thett3 does a good job pointing this out, as well as offering support by pointing out that logic isn't static.
Vote Placed by DetectableNinja 4 years ago
DetectableNinja
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Reasons for voting decision: This will be a difficult choice to explain. However, it is my own opinion that Pro's argument hinged so greatly on the first premise, that merely asserting self-evidence was folly. I do not feel that Pro ever extrapolated WHY all logically possible things are bound by logic. Pro DOES argue that classical logic dictates it, but fails to expound on this, leaving his first premise not strong enough to withstands Con's attacks. I found the noncontradiction arg by Con to seal the deal. Res. negated.
Vote Placed by The_Fool_on_the_hill 4 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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Reasons for voting decision: RDF