The Instigator
Freeman
Pro (for)
Winning
63 Points
The Contender
Clockwork
Con (against)
Losing
60 Points

God is not real.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/28/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 11,611 times Debate No: 9566
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (41)
Votes (25)

 

Freeman

Pro

I will demonstrate that it is logically impossible for a God to exist if that God is defined as being both omniscient and omnipotent. In the same way that married bachelors and square circles cannot exist a God that is claimed to be both omniscient and omnipotent cannot exist. It's an old argument, but it should still be pretty fun to debate.

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A quick syllogism:
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1.Anything with logically incompatible properties cannot exist. (This is not arguable)
2.Any God that knows the future is powerless to change it, and is therefore not omnipotent.
3.Omniscience is logically incompatible with omnipotence. (2)
4.God is described as having omniscience and omnipotence. (given)
5.Therefore God does not exist. (1) (3) (4)

This is sufficient proof to discredit the existence of any God that is said to be both omniscient and omnipotent. It doesn't work with every definition of God, but for the sake of convenience this debate will focus only on Gods that fall within my definition of God.

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Definitions
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Omniscience- the capacity to know everything infinitely. (This includes knowledge of future events)
Omnipotence- almighty: having unlimited power.
God- any being that is simultaneously omnipotent and omniscient.
Real- being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verified existence; not illusory.

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Guidelines
=========

Any attempts to engage in semantics will not be allowed. If you are unclear about the debate then please ask me so that I can clear things up.

For the sake of convenience God will refer only to beings that are claimed to be both omniscient and omnipotent. Therefore my syllogism only applies to them. Creating your own definition of God is not allowed

All the best,
Freeman
Clockwork

Con

While my position my be one that I do not entirely agree with, I remind any potential voters that my burden lies in negating the Affirmative's claims as opposed to proving the opposite to be true.

PRO's claims (2) and (3) are invalid and render his syllogism non-sequitur. Christian doctrine, particularly including the Catholic Canon, views God as an entity that exists outside of the barriers of time. Compare God to the author of a book. This hypothetical book tells the story of the universe, all things past, present, and future. The contents of this book also change in accordance with the story that comes before it, just like past events affect future occurrences. God can "read ahead" in this book and foretell the future; he can also edit any point in this book and thereby affect events at that point and at points in the future affected by his interference.

There is no logical contradiction in PRO's syllogism if God is viewed as an entity that exists outside of time, as is the view of several religious belief systems. The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 1
Freeman

Pro

Allow me to begin by thanking Clockwork for his time and writing.

My opponent's entire case is a well thought out straw man argument. [1] Nowhere in my opening round did I mention Christianity or any other religious belief system. I simply wont be lured into contending points that I never raised, because I more than adequately set up the guidelines for this debate.

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A quick syllogism:
==============

1.Anything with logically incompatible properties cannot exist. (This is not arguable)
2.Any God that knows the future is powerless to change it, and is therefore not omnipotent.
3.Omniscience is logically incompatible with omnipotence. (2)
4.God is described as having omniscience and omnipotence. (given)
5.Therefore God does not exist. (1) (3) (4)

--> "This is sufficient proof to discredit the existence of any God that is said to be both omniscient and omnipotent. It doesn't work with every definition of God, but for the sake of convenience this debate will focus only on Gods that fall within my definition of God." (round 1)

Christian doctrine has nothing to do with this debate whatsoever. You simply can't infuse my definition of God with Christian assumptions that I never hinted at. Moreover, I already gave a coherent definition of what I meant by a God. And, by accepting the debate you choose to accept that definition.

--> "God- any being that is simultaneously omnipotent and omniscient." (round 1)

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Conclusion
=======

Any God that knows that it will rain tomorrow in Seattle is incapable of preventing it from raining. Because if God could change the weather so that it didn't rain tomorrow then that means that God couldn't know that it was going to rain since it wasn't really going to rain. I know; I just blew your mind. If you know for a fact that something is going to happen -(and the future is whatever is going to happen)- then there's nothing you can do to stop it, even if you existed outside of time. It's confusing, but it's an entirely valid point that has so far gone uncontested. –(Resolution affirmed)

Sources:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

All the best,
Freeman
Clockwork

Con

My fallaciously opponent objects to my argument as a straw-man case. I am allowed to use the diety any religion, real or imaginary, to oppose PRO's case, so long as it fulfills the two standards needed to define a god. Christianity believes in a God that is omnipotent and omniscient, so the God of Christianity is a valid example to disprove my opponent's syllogism. It is not, however, necessary; any god which fulfills PRO's two criteria can be used, and that god can have any additional abilities that do not contradict the criterion.

PRO confuses the possibility of change with the (human) permanence of time. Because God exists outside of time, he can observe all events as a singular entity.

The problem with PRO's extension of God's helplessness against the permanence of time fails on two points. Firstly, a certain outcome for a certain event does not disprove that other outcomes were possible. Secondly, because God can exist outside of time, he is not limited by it's barriers; he wouldn't be seeing the "future" because the concepts of "past" and "future" by definition do not exist to an entity existing outside of time. From a godly perspective, God would be altering a certain event and the events affected by the primary event because he is unaffected by the barriers of time.

In conclusion, PRO has failed to stipulate any necessary contradiction between an omnipotent and omnipresent being and a being that exists outside of time, and completely fumbled his attempt to envision an entity existing outside of time. He has not "blown my mind" but rather seems to have confused himself by trying to explain the problems inherent to his argument. So long as his burdens remain unfulfilled, the ballot should be passed to CON.
Debate Round No. 2
Freeman

Pro

I thank Clockwork for his time and for his writing. It has been a pleasure to correspond with you.

Let me begin by clearing some things up. I don't take issue with anything you have written thus far about God existing outside of time. For some reason or another I was under the misapprehension in my second round that you were trying to play with the definitions of the words omniscient or omnipotent, but clearly this isn't the case. The point you raised about God being outside of time is entirely valid and I acknowledge it while maintaining that it doesn't affect my argument one way or the other. My syllogism would still work even if God existed outside of time.

It would appear that most of your writing was done in a state of confusion. So, allow me to work through what you have presented thus far. Your analogy of God being the author of a book for the universe is quite useful, but it only serves to strengthen my side of the argument. If God knew with certainty what was going to happen on page 100 of this book then there is no way he could alter it so that something else happened on page 100. Moreover, you have also claimed my position has serious problems without elucidating what they are or showing how they affect the resolution one way or another.

---> "The problem with PRO's extension of God's helplessness against the permanence of time fails on two points."

My argument doesn't assume this either explicitly or implicitly. For the sake of your argument I will concede that God is not bound by time.

---> "Firstly, a certain outcome for a certain event does not disprove that other outcomes were possible."

If something is going to happen with absolute certainty this logically precludes the possibility of any alternative outcomes. I will go into this further later on when I introduce another syllogism. However, it is easy enough to see that this assertion is erroneous with even a cursory glance. If something is certain to happen then it is going to happen. Other possibilities are therefore excluded by definition. Q.E.D.

--->"There is no logical contradiction in PRO's syllogism if God is viewed as an entity that exists outside of time, as is the view of several religious belief systems."

This assertion is baseless. If God knows something will happen then it must happen. If God changed the event so that it didn't happen then God couldn't know that it would happen because it didn't happen.

For quick reference I will post my first syllogism once again.

==============
A quick syllogism:
==============

1.Anything with logically incompatible properties cannot exist. (This is not arguable)
2.Any God that knows the future is powerless to change it, and is therefore not omnipotent.
3.Omniscience is logically incompatible with omnipotence. (2)
4.God is described as having omniscience and omnipotence. (given)
5.Therefore God does not exist. (1) (3) (4)

=========
Contention 1: A God with omniscience and omnipotence is impossible
=========

If my second premise is correct then everything else would follow because the structure of my first argument is valid. Therefore if I can demonstrate that my second premise is correct I will have won this debate. I have already demonstrated that premise #2 is correct, but let me see if I can't do this to your satisfaction.

Allow X to represent any possible event in the future. And let us assume for the moment that God is at least omniscient to determine whether or not the addition of omnipotence is possible.

1. God knows that X will occur in the future. (Given)
2. In order for something to qualify as a piece of knowledge it must be factually correct. (This is not arguable)
3. The knowledge that X will occur is only factually correct if X actually occurs. [2]
4. The knowledge that X will occur logically necessitates its occurrence. [3]
5. The logical necessity of X occurring precludes the possibility of alternative outcomes. (Given)
6. Omnipotence is impossible if alternative outcomes can't occur for a situation. (This is not arguable)
7. Omniscience and omnipotence are logically incompatible. [5] [6]
8. Therefore God cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent. [7]

=========
Conclusion
=========

Instead of making a logical argument my opponent has decided to claim that my position doesn't logically cohere without demonstrating why or how? I have already conclusively shown that omniscience and omnipotence cannot logically coexist in one God and therefore I have fulfilled my burden. For these reasons I encourage everyone to give this resolution the overwhelming endorsement that it deserves. (Vote pro)

All the best,
Freeman

Good Luck :)
Clockwork

Con

God, being omniscient and omnipotent, know what will happen in the future, assuming that there is no outside (supernatural) interference; however, the only reason that he knows what will happen in any point in the future is because he knows what will happen immediately before it, and what will happen before, that, etc. until we arrive at the present.

However, God could also know how any certain intervention on his part would affect antecedent events. (Because God is omniscient and omnipotent, there is no reason to believe otherwise.) God, being omniscient, would know that doing A would result in B and that intervening by doing X would result in Y. God's "knowledge" of the future is true if certain precincts are fulfilled, and God knows exactly what those precincts are. However, from our point of view, we see the events as set in stone as they occur, and it is here where my opponent's syllogism fails to translate the relevance of God's position outside of time.

My opponent confuses himself by conceding that God can exist outside of time while contradictorily applying time-based terms (future, etc) to such a God. God is often viewed in the context of immutability (http://en.wikipedia.org...(theology)), which means that God's unchanging nature coupled with His existence outside of time means that, from God's vantage point, He doesn't see events as affecting the future, he simply sees events; past, present, and future are blended into His unchanging and eternal nature. It's quite a deep subject to think about and it is thus understandable that my opponent would become confused, but unfortunately such confusion has resulted in my opponent's case being insubstantial. God is changing our future, not his, and when this is possibility is taken into consideration, the PRO case fails.

Please remember when voting that my points only need be possible to result in a Negative vote. God is defined as omnipotent and omniscient; any points that do not contradict omnipotence of omniscience can thus be an available possibility that eliminates PRO's BoP. PRO has failed to show any such contradiction. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
"2.Any God that knows the future is powerless to change it, and is therefore not omnipotent."

That's quite the fallacious statement. Why couldn't God know what the future will be because He will create it? I know what the future of my essay will be because I am writing it. If God is writing the future, he would be changing it himself (if he saw it necessary) and thus know what it would be. This is all assuming that God would change his plans. An omniscient God would have no need to change His plans.

Syllogism debunked.
Posted by Clockwork 7 years ago
Clockwork
To Freeman:

Firstly, I seem to recall that your opening argument is very similar to one of the first qualms that Dawkins has against God's existence, and I know for sure that your Mark Twain quote was mentioned in the book. Perhaps I'm connecting dots where there is no big picture.

Further,

(1) God is forever and unchanging
(2) God exists outside of time
(3) God is unbound by human principles of time (1) (2)
(4) When determining events occurring in the "future" (by human perspective), God does not require the use of precognition. (1) (2) (3)
(5) When (and if) God intervenes in human affairs, he is not changing the "future" because, being unbound to the "present", there is no "future".

Remember that premises 1, 2, and 3 cannot be disputed, as my reasoning only needs to have a fractional possibility of being correct in order for your BoP to be displaced.
To the Lightkeeper:

Your point is invalid: if I were to assume that the sky is blue, I can further assume, simultaneously, that the sky is not red or green. While such obvious facts may seem insubstantial compared to conventional precognition, they are not to an (omniscient) God.
Posted by Lightkeeper 7 years ago
Lightkeeper
What I found interesting was Con's assertion that God knows that doing X would result in Y. If God exsists out of time then this is clearly not possible as for one action to reasult from another, the former must take place at a later time than the latter. Causality as we know it depends on time.

If God knows that page 100 of the book contains X then God can't change it to Y. This is because if God were to change it to Y then God would know that page 100 contains Y and not X as in fact page 100 would then contain Y and not X. I can't see how the concept of time is relevant at all.

Otherwise, good debate on both sides.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
To Clockwork:

I read your arguments multiple times and I still don't see how they logically cohere. In other words I don't know how you went from A to B to C to your conclusion. Could you put your argument in some sort of a syllogism so I can follow it? I suspect that your attempt to do this would allow you to realize something that is fundamentally lacking from your position, namely coherence.

I've never taken anything verbatim from Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion. I read that book like two years ago and I haven't looked at it since.
Posted by Clockwork 7 years ago
Clockwork
All this back-forth would be rendered null if the multiverse theory happens to be true =)

In terms of related criticism, the one thing that really frustrates me about your argumentation, Freeman, is that many of your debate topic and open arguments are taken verbatim from Hawking's "The God Delusion".

Further, you conceded the idea that God could exist out of time but completely ignored the implications of such a state in your antecedent argumentation.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
To Mongeese:

Remember when I wrote the syllogism I let X be the ultimate variable.

Anything that can happen would constitute X even if that something that happens is actually nothing.

Something or nothing has to occur and whatever that is we can call it X. This is not disputable. If God knows that X will happen then it will have to happen because if it didn't happen then God wouldn't be omniscient because there would something he didn't know.

No matter which assumption you make first about God's omniscience or omnipotence you end up with a paradox.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
Thank you mongeese.

"However, there is no logical necessity of X occuring. The future is a dependent entity. God knows this."

Knowledge is an independent unchangeable "entity" and thus your point is irrelevant. The future is a dependent entity but knowledge of the future is not.

"And under your view, all of us are eternally dead."

What's wrong with being eternally dead? As Mark Twain famously put it, "I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it." Don't become sad by your inevitable death. If anything the knowledge of our mortality should make us cherish this life all the more fully. That's how I look at it anyway.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
"1. God knows that X will occur in the future. (Given)"
Not Given. God knows that IF He does X, THEN Y occurs, and IF He doesn't do X, THEN Y doesn't occur.
"2. In order for something to qualify as a piece of knowledge it must be factually correct. (This is not arguable)"
"3. The knowledge that X will occur is only factually correct if X actually occurs. [2]"
"4. The knowledge that X will occur logically necessitates its occurrence. [3]"
"5. The logical necessity of X occurring precludes the possibility of alternative outcomes. (Given)"
However, there is no logical necessity of X occuring. The future is a dependent entity. God knows this.
"6. Omnipotence is impossible if alternative outcomes can't occur for a situation. (This is not arguable)"
But they can.
"7. Omniscience and omnipotence are logically incompatible. [5] [6]"
False premises.
"8. Therefore God cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent. [7]"
Again, false premises.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
And under your view, all of us are eternally dead.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
Maybe God exists and she loves all of us whether we believe in her or not. That at least seems slightly more plausible than a God who would set up a system of salvation that was disproportionately unfair to intellectuals and scientists. Given your worldview 93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences are seriously in trouble when they die because 93 percent of them don't believe in a personal God.
25 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
FreemanClockworkTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The resolution was not well negated from CON. CON's example of outside space and time does not negate the fact that omnipotence and omniscience are not compatible no matter where god is.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
FreemanClockworkTied
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Vote Placed by TayJay13 6 years ago
TayJay13
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Vote Placed by Atheism 6 years ago
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rougeagent21
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