The Instigator
dylancatlow
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

God is real

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/21/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,215 times Debate No: 49627
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (43)
Votes (5)

 

dylancatlow

Pro

Definitions:
1. God - tri-omni and benevolent; the creator of the universe
2. Real - exists objectively

Conditions:
First round: acceptance only
Second round: opening arguments from pro, rebuttal by con
Third round: rebuttals/additonal arguments
Fourth Round: closing arguments only

By accepting this debate, you agree to these conditions.

RoyLatham

Con

For readers of this debate, understand that the "omni God" is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. This is the traditional Christian concept of God. The Wikipedia article on omnibenevolence links to the other definitions. [1. http://en.wikipedia.org...]. The omni God is sometimes referred to as the O3 God.

I'm looking forward to a good debate.
Debate Round No. 1
dylancatlow

Pro

1. Some background
Reality contains all and only that which is real. This is tautologically self-evident; if there were something real enough to make it false, then it would be included in reality. The reality concept is also self-contained; if there were something outside reality that were real enough to affect or influence reality, it would be inside reality, and this contradiction invalidates any supposition of an external reality or external causality. According to the principle of syndiffeonesis, any assertion to the effect that two things are different implies they are reductively the same. If their difference is real, then they both reduce to a common reality which supports their difference and are to that extent similar. This negates any notion of “multiple” realities; if the difference between two realities were real - if they were not the same reality - they would both occupy a more basic joint reality providing the metric of separation (a contradiction). Because reality contains only that which is real, it must make a real (internal) distinction between real and unreal. This means that reality must conform to two-valued logic, for if it didn’t, reality would disintegrate due to corruption of the informational boundaries which define it.

2. Nothingness
Traditionally, the concept of nothingness has been interpreted in light of ex nihilo nihil fit, the idea that “out of nothing nothing comes”. This has lead many to suspect that the universe has simply existed for all time (as if an infinite causal regress occurring within the spacetime manifold could explain away the manifold itself...or existence for that matter). However, this would amount to something indeed. For if “out of nothing nothing comes”, constraints must exist to enforce this requirement. In order for logic to be violated, there must be a distinction between X and ~X, and such a distinction can only be maintained in existence. Therefore, nothingness is the utter lack of constraint..that is, pure freedom. The construction of the universe can be viewed as a self-restriction of this potential. In a realm of unbound ontological potential, defining a constraint is not as simple as merely writing it down; because constraints act restrictively on content, constraint and content must be defined simultaneously in a unified syntax-state relationship (but more on that later).

3. On false dichotomies
Determinacy and indeterminacy...at first glance, there seems to be no middle ground. Either events have a causal precedent or they don’t, and if they don’t, then the future would seem to be utterly independent of the past. Either we use causality to connect events, or we settle for a random scattering of independent dots without pattern or meaning. But there is another possibility after all: self-determinacy. Self-determinacy is like a circuitous boundary separating the poles of the above dichotomy...a reflexive and therefore closed boundary, the formation of which involves neither preexisting laws nor external structure. Thus, it is the type of causal attribution suitable for a perfectly self-contained system [reality].

Accordingly, reality must adopt a reflexive form in which it can “self itself” for self-defined existence, with the selection function identical to that which is selected. Since a self-contained, causally closed universe does not have the luxury of external guidance, it needs to generate an intrinsic self-selection criterion (i.e. a reason for its existence) in order to do this. One might at first be tempted to object that there is no reason to believe that the universe does not simply "exist", and thus that self-selection is unnecessary. However, this is not a valid position. First, it involves a more or less subtle appeal to something external to the universe, namely a prior/external informational medium or "syntax" of existence; if such a syntax were sufficiently relevant to this reality, then it would be analytically included in reality (as defined up to perceptual relevance). Second, active self-selection is indeed necessary, for existence is not merely a state but a process; the universe must internally distinguish that which it is from that which it is not, and passivity is ruled out because it would again imply the involvement of a complementary active principle of external origin. If there were no real (internal) distinction between what reality is and isn’t, reality could not differentiate itself from nothingness.

Still further, one might object that “the existence of the universe is given and therefore in no need of explanation." The phrase “is given” is incomplete; it has hidden "loose ends" corresponding to that by which existence is given, the means by which it is given, and the reason for which it is given. If the source, means and reason are actually real, then they are inside reality. On the other hand, omitting this phrase (is given) results in something like "the existence of the universe is inexplicable". However, this amounts to the assertion that the universe has no identifiable basis or medium of existence, not even itself - i.e., that no explanatory function can be defined on the explanandum, and that the universe is somehow prohibited from serving as its own source, means, or reason. Since there is, by definition, no reason to believe an explanation of inexplicability, since there is no reason to believe in magic, it would seem we have no choice but to treat the universe a casually self-contained system (it is, after all, the only logical option).

4. Telic recursion
Ordinary feedback, describing the evolution of mechanical systems, is cyclical or recursive. The system and its components repeatedly call on internal structures, routines and actuation mechanisms in order to acquire input, generate corresponding internal information, internally communicate and process this information, and evolve to appropriate states in light of input and programming. However, where the object is to describe the evolution of a system from a state in which there is no information or programming at all, a new kind of feedback is required: telic feedback.

The currency of telic feedback is a quantifiable self-selection parameter, generalized utility, a generalized property of law and state in the maximization of which they undergo mutual refinement (note that generalized utility is self-descriptive or autologous, intrinsically and retroactively defined within the system).Through telic feedback, a system retroactively self-configures by reflexively applying a "generalized utility function" to its internal existential potential or possible futures. In effect, the system brings itself into existence as a means of atemporal communication between its past and future whereby law and state, syntax and informational content, generate and refine each other across time to maximize total systemic self-utility. This defines a situation in which the true temporal identity of the system is a distributed point of temporal equilibrium that is both between and inclusive of past and future, thus repudiating any notion of “now-centeredness”. In this sense, the system is timeless or atemporal [the alternative would imply non-causal closure].

A system that evolves by means of telic recursion - and ultimately, every system must either be, or be embedded in, such a system as a condition of existence - is not merely computational, but protocomputational. That is, its primary level of processing configures its secondary (computational and informational) level of processing by telic recursion. Telic recursion can be regarded as the self-determinative mechanism of not only cosmogony, but a natural, scientific form of teleology.

5. Additional principles
Since reality cannot (intrinsically) emerge from infinite ontological potential with the use of blunt mechanisms - since a domain in which the conditions of existence could be passively distinguished would require an explanation of its own - reality must reflexively define itself to be infinitely intelligent, for this is precisely what it must be in order to solve the problem of self-selection (self-selection amounts to identifying and solving all problems relevant to reality). Now, if the universe were pluralistic or reducible to its parts, this would make God, Who coincides with the universe itself, a pluralistic entity with no internal cohesion. But because the mutual consistency of parts is enforced by a unitary holistic manifold with logical ascendancy over the parts themselves, God retains monotheistic unity despite being distributed over reality at large. Indeed, without a guiding entity whose Self-awareness equates to the coherence of self-perceptual spacetime, the universe could not coherently self-configure in pursuit of its self-defined self-selection criterion, the undertaking on which all of existence is predicated. And for obvious reasons, God’s actions perfectly coincide with objective (reality’s) morality, making Him omnibenevolent.

6. The problem of suffering
One of the perennial problems facing the God concept has been the problem of suffering. How can the idea of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent God be squared with the idea that there exists suffering in the world? This would seem to imply that either God doesn’t care, or cares, but lacks the means to assist. But if we look at the issue from the perspective of God, a little reflection should reveal that God is not bound by time, for time is properly contained within God. Since reality is self-contained, God must (timelessly) generate and retrieve information on the intrinsic utility content of various possible forms that it might take. This amounts to self-generative freedom, providing reality with a "self-simulative scratchpad" on which to compare the aggregate utility of multiple self-configurations for self-optimization purposes. In other words, the universe is the mind of God.


Out of characters, will cite sources and tie up loose ends next round.
RoyLatham

Con

1. Pro's case is mumbo jumbo

Mumbo jumbo is “unnecessarily involved and incomprehensible language” [1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...] The dictionary says the phrase derives from “a masked figure among Mandingo peoples of western Africa.” (1738) No doubt the Mandango peoples had a good idea of what the mask figure represented, but whatever it was it was incomprehensible to outsiders. Similarly, whatever Pro is talking about undoubtedly has meaning to the tribe of those interested in the language.

Searching the web for terms like “telic recursion” reveals that there is such a tribe, proponents of what they call Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe (CTMU). CMTU originated with Christopher Langan. RationalWiki attempts to summarize the theory, and states the obvious, that “Critics point out this model is kind of a semantic game.” [2. http://rationalwiki.org...] Count me among those critics who find it to be semantic horsepucky.

One critic, Tom Beasley, puts it this way:

The language of the CTMU theory is intentionally convoluted. Proponents might plead “but he should not have to be limited to the petty language of the common folk!” There is a problem when not only does Langan select obscure and confusing word pairings, he mixes it in with word pairings for concepts he himself is inventing. What person trying to clearly convey what they mean would mix confusing regular language with the technical terms of an at-the-moment-of-reading invention? In his words, what we all regard as clear and concise language is “clown language.” His language serves two interests, (1) it feeds his superiority complex and (2) it prevents criticism because no one will take the time to delve through 56 pages of this. Let me state clearly, none of this speaks to the truth of his claims. His claims are nonsense for other reasons yet to be stated. This is simply to provide a reasonable explanation as to why this theory has any credit whatsoever, beyond the fact that it is an intelligent design argument (which are arguments themselves without value, yet still lauded today).
[3. http://anamericanatheist.org...]

2. CMTU is, by implicit admission, not to be a scientific theory

Beasley attempted a partial translation into plain English, and he then claims:

From concluding that a soul is the intermediary between the ‘global consciousness’ and the ‘temporal consciousness’ he somehow reasons that this soul has additional characteristics not described by his theory (capable of being punished, reincarnation, etc.). Langan also ascribes similar additional characteristics to what he calls “God.” Everyone can already agree that there is a kind of order to the universe, in that there are natural scientific laws. Langan might marvel at the low probability that our specific universe would be produced. I employ here a lottery example. If all people entered a lottery and there were one guaranteed winner, the person who won would find it so extraordinarily unlikely that he would think that it was not by mere chance – however, it is a fact that someone would win. With the process of natural selection there could have been infinite other variants of life forms on earth, that poses no problem for evolution whatsoever. There is, however, a problem of why we have anything at all, which Langan’s theory hardly explains. As a final note on the substantive criticism of his work, what is the practical application? Science presents practical applications from its theories. One would think that a ‘theory of everything’, a very theory that attempts to explain all of the major discrepancies would have an application – intelligent design as a whole provides no application. [3. op cit]

Langan admitted in a quotation provided by Beasley that there are no practical applications of CMTU. But if there are no practical applications, there is no way to falsify the theory. A practical application says that if A, B, and C happens then D will happen. If D does not happen, the theory is falsified. Lacking application means that it is not a scientific theory, because all scientific theories can be falsified. That means that any claim that it is scientific proof of the existence of the O3 God is unwarranted.

Being incomprehensible does mean that there is no truth in it. The possibility exists that a plain English translation would reveal some useful insights. But that is yet to be demonstrated.

I could try to make sense of the theory, translate into plain English, then refute it. But it's not my job to accomplish the translation into plain English. That's Pro's job. If it were possible, it seems to me that Pro would have performed the feat in his opening argument. That he stuck with mumbo jumbo is evidence that there is no plain English version. There is space left in the debate for him to attempt the feat.

I will pose the two arguments against the existence of the O3 God. Understand that these arguments do not attempt to disprove all concepts of God, just the very narrow concept of an all-knowing, all-powerful, and benevolent God. Also understand that not all Christians subscribe to the O3 concept of God, so that the disproofs of the O3 concept do not claim to disprove Christianity. However, Pro signed up to prove the existence of the O3 God, so that's his job here. If either of these arguments, stands then Pro's claim that God is real is defeated independent of whatever CMTU may say.

3. The Argument from Evil

There are several versions of the AE. I will use what is called the axiological formulation. The axiological AE is that if an O3 God exists, that there would be fewer bad things happen then are actually observed. The problem is not to explain why anything bad happens under the auspices of a benevolent and all-powerful God. There is a fair explanation that free will requires that bad choices are possible, and so bad outcomes must be allowed.

For example, the earthquake in Haiti, an act of God, killed about 200,000 people. The AE claims that if one fewer person had died, say a newborn child, that it could not have upset the divine plan for the universe. A superintelligent and all-powerful God could have found a way to save one innocent life. In fact, an O3 God should be able to get plate tectonics to work without cataclysmic earthquakes.

Another example is a child with an illness who suffers horribly for weeks and then dies. A benevolent God could have at least shortened the suffering before death.

The formal statement of the AE is, as taken from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

  1. There exist states of affairs in which animals die agonizing deaths in forest fires, or where children undergo lingering suffering and eventual death due to cancer, and that (a) are intrinsically bad or undesirable, and (b) are such that any omnipotent person has the power to prevent them without thereby either allowing an equal or greater evil, or preventing an equal or greater good.

  2. For any state of affairs (that is actual), the existence of that state of affairs is not prevented by anyone.

  3. For any state of affairs, and any person, if the state of affairs is intrinsically bad, and the person has the power to prevent that state of affairs without thereby either allowing an equal or greater evil, or preventing an equal or greater good, but does not do so, then that person is not both omniscient and morally perfect.

Therefore, from (1), (2), and (3):

  1. There is no omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect person.

  2. If God exists, then he is an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect person.

Therefore:

  1. God does not exist.

[4. http://plato.stanford.edu...]

4. The Argument from Non-Belief (ANB)

The form of the ANB presented here is due to philosopher Theodore Drange. [5. http://infidels.org...] The argument is:

  1. If an all-powerful, all-knowing, and benevolent God were to exist, then there would not be many nonbelievers in the world.

  2. But there are many nonbelievers in the world.

  3. Therefore, that God does not exist.

The first of these premises is derived as follows

a. Knowledge of the existence of a benevolent God would ease the lives of many people

b. An all-powerful and all-knowing God could convince any reasonable person of His existence

Separately, J.L. Schellenberg, quoted in [5], justified the premise 1 with:

A being who did not seek to relate himself to us explicitly in this life -- who elected to remain elusive, distant, hidden, even in the absence of any culpable activity on our part -- would not properly be viewed as perfectly loving.

In the ANB, “non-believers” means anyone who does not believe in the O3 God. That includes not only atheists, but as Drange says “includes not only atheists and agnostics but also deists, pantheists, Buddhists, Hindus, and countless other individuals throughout our planet who do not believe in a single Supreme Being, it actually contains close to half the earth's population.” [5. op cit]

Summary

No one has ever even attempted to fully parse CMTU into comprehensible form, but Beasley elicited the admission from CMTU's originator Langan that the theory makes no predictions. The means it is not a scientific and therefore cannot be a scientific proof of the existence of the O3 God.

Separately, the AE and the ANB provide disproofs of the O3 God. Many other concepts of God are untouched, but Pro's burden is to prove the O3 God.

Debate Round No. 2
dylancatlow

Pro

Rebuttals:


Mumbo jumbo is “unnecessarily involved and incomprehensible language” [1. http://www.merriam-webster.com......] The dictionary says the phrase derives from “a masked figure among Mandingo peoples of western Africa.” (1738) No doubt the Mandango peoples had a good idea of what the mask figure represented, but whatever it was it was incomprehensible to outsiders. Similarly, whatever Pro is talking about undoubtedly has meaning to the tribe of those interested in the language. Searching the web for terms like “telic recursion” reveals that there is such a tribe, proponents of what they call Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe (CTMU). CMTU originated with Christopher Langan. RationalWiki attempts to summarize the theory, and states the obvious, that “Critics point out this model is kind of a semantic game.” [2. http://rationalwiki.org......] Count me among those critics who find it to be semantic horsepucky.


Error: My case is hardly “mumbo jumbo”. In fact, the essential argument is exceedingly simple (albeit abstract for those unused to thinking in this way). While some of my arguments did contain neologisms, such terms were either explicitly defined (as was the case with telic recursion) or easily inferred from the context in which they were used. This was necessary, since many of the ideas presented were novel, and no words yet existed to provide for them. Telic recursion can be a difficult concept to grasp, but its implication for the debate and its justification are not. Simply stated, telic recursion says that reality, being totally self-contained, must be self-determinative and self-configuring. Moreover, whereas ordinary time accommodates changes occurring within the spacetime manifold, this is obviously not so for the kind of time in which the manifold itself changes. Obviously, the highest level of change is that characterizing the creation of reality. But 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 this sense, reality is timeless, because time amounts to change, and there must exist a level on which there is no real change...non-reality to reality is no real change at all.

Langan admitted in a quotation provided by Beasley that there are no practical applications of CMTU. But if there are no practical applications, there is no way to falsify the theory. A practical application says that if A, B, and C happens then D will happen. If D does not happen, the theory is falsified. Lacking application means that it is not a scientific theory, because all scientific theories can be falsified. That means that any claim that it is scientific proof of the existence of the O3 God is unwarranted.

Error: What utter nonsense. First of all, Langan has said explicitly that the CTMU has practical applications . Unfortunately I cannot find the quote I was looking for, but I was able to find some others : “As far as wringing practical applications out of it is concerned...well, there'll be time for that later. I will say, however, that it [the CTMU] has a lot to say about "AI"...”Of course, the fact that the CTMU is not strictly scientific, i.e. dependent on the scientific method for confirmation, does not in principle stop it from yielding predictions or explanations of empirical phenomena.” - Chris Langan. In any case, a theory can be falsifiable without being empirically falsifiable, as is the case with the CTMU. It can be tested for logical and semantic consistency by examining it for errors or internal contradictions. But in the end, all of this is irrelevant, for we are not here to debate whether the CTMU is valid or falsifiable.



Both of Con’s arguments reduce to “an imperfect world is inconsistent with a perfect being”. As I said in my previous round, God is not bound by time, permitting him to timelessly explore various forms he might take. The rebuttal that “A perfect being would have no need to for this” implies that such self-configuration would make God imperfect. This is false for at least two reasons: since God would be in the position of defining objective morality, he can (and in this course of acting, does) define what “perfect” entails. Secondly, since God is not bound by time, he witnesses a single act of creation, and can retroactively self-configure in such a way as to embody his ideal. In this sense, that which is not in line with God’s morality “never existed” except as a possibility.


Summary:

Con dropped all of my arguments. I don’t blame him for being annoyed with the prospect of refuting esoteric concepts like “telic recursion”, but I would appreciate it if he did not lump it all together and label it “incomprehensible”, as that is simply untrue. Many of the points I made were not nearly as abstract as the one he chose to focus on, and he doesn’t just get to avoid them because of it.
RoyLatham

Con

1. The arguments are mumbo jumbo

If the concepts are simple, then they could be expressed in plain English. Even the most complicated theoretical arguments of physics have been expressed in plain English. But no one, not Langan, not Pro, not critics, not other advocates of CMTU have ever been able to do that. That's what makes it mumbo jumbo.

I do not claim that there is no explanation, just that none has ever been accomplished. The origins of the phrase "mumbo jumbo" were from the Mandango peoples who had some concept of a masked figure, perhaps well defined, that could never be understood by non-Mandango peoples. In a debate, it's the proponents responsibility to make a clear argument and that hasn't happened. Some sentences make sense, but attempt to assemble a coherent proof fail.

Let's consider part of Pro's explanation. I have underlined words and phrases that have no dictionary meanings. Pro says,

"Simply stated, telic recursion says that reality, being totally self-contained, must be self-determinative and self-configuring. Moreover, whereas ordinary time accommodates changes occurring within the spacetime manifold, this is obviously not so for the kind of time in which the manifold itself changes."

If all telic recursion says is that there is nothing outside of reality, that says nothing about whether a god exists or not. If not god exists, then gods are with unicorns and successful socialism in the world of imagination.

"Self determination" means "free choice of one's own acts or states without external compulsion." But reality is a set of objects and natural laws. Natural laws govern what happens, but there is no free choice involved at the scale of the universe. One might say that there is analogy to "free choice" in the sense that nothing outside of reality is imposed, and there is no choosing going on. Later the conclusion is claimed that the universe is the mind of God, but the analogy does not work when it is taken literally to mean that choices are somehow contemplated. The dictionary meaning does not fit the context.

“Spacetime manifold” is never defined. Later on “cosmic time” is used as if it is different from ordinary time, but it is never defined.

The broader argument says, "For if “out of nothing nothing comes”, constraints must exist to enforce this requirement." But there is no proof of the assumption that "out of nothing comes nothing." it is an argument from incredulity. Quantum theory argues against the assumption, showing that equal amounts of positive and negative energy can appear spontaneously. Creationists argue that a quantum field must exist first, but that too is an argument from incredulity. It assumes that a quantum field must be pre-existing because it cannot be imagined otherwise. But it can.

2. Hawking has an apparently similar theory with no God required.

Way before Langan, Hawking introduced a theory with some similarities, although Hawking was more careful to define terms. I'm straining to try to make a connection between CMTU and conventional cosmology, which may not be possible, but I'll try.

Hawking proposed that time is finite but unbounded. It is not infinite, but it does not have a beginning and an end. [6. http://www.hawking.org.uk...] Hawking proposed that a universe is created by a quantum event, which is random.

Hawking proposed that time is two dimensional, which seems to sort of correspond to “ordinary time” and “cosmic time.” I cannot say if there is really a correspondence, but it's suggestive.

In the Hawking theory there is nothing outside of physical laws, so he says

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing," he writes. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. ... It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." [7. http://www.theguardian.com...]

Hawking's theory seems to bear similarities to some of CMTU if the undefined terms are mapped into some established terminology of physics. In Hawking's theory, the universe created itself without any need for a god. However, Hawking only claimed his ideas were a theory. CMTU is claimed to be a proof. I see nothing in CMTU that constitutes a proof.

CMTU says that reality is self-contained. That implies that if God exists then God is real, but it does not argue that God exists. Hawking postulated a universe in which everything is real, but God does not exist.

3. Proving existence does not prove omnibenevolence.

Pro must prove not only that some god exists, but that the particular god that exists is omnibenevolent. I do not see a trace of a link between the CMTU theory and benevolence. The best I can make of it is that anything God does is by definition benevolent. The AE and the ANB show that there are events which are clearly not benevolent by human definitions.

The AE and ANB have to be made and answered using human definitions. If the principle is allowed that any definition can be substituted for the human ones then no test can disprove any god. For example, consider “The Flying Invisible Spaghetti Monster determines the weather. It is so written in the scriptures of pastafarianism.” The rebuttal is, “But the Flying Invisible Spaghetti Monster doesn't determine the weather. Weather is scientifically explained by unequal heating of the atmosphere in conjunction with geography and many other factors.” And rebuttal to that is “No, you just don't understand what weather is. The definition is not known to humans.” If human definitions are disallowed, no proof or disproof is possible.

If “benevolence” is taken in the human sense, then the CMTU god is clearly disproved. If definitions are allowed which are unknown to humans, then the CMTU God cannot be tested and hence cannot be proved.

If God is only thinking about what is moral and immoral, per Pro's idea that the universe is the mind of God, then it is immoral for God not to tell humans that what is going on is just a thought experiment. He must know, per omniscience, that he is causing humans substantial pain, and that revealing it is an experiment would be a substantial relief. An O3 God of any type would avoid unnecessary pain.

Of course, if God has to even think about what is moral and immoral, then he is not omniscient. He should know.

4. CMTU offers neither a logical nor scientific proof.

Pro says that Langan claims that there are useful applications of CMTU, but grants that none have been found. If so, then CMTU might be scientifically provable someday if a someday a test is found. String theory is in that awkward state of proponents claiming that a test will be found. Fine, but it cannot be proved until then, and Pro's debate obligation is provide a proof immediately.

Pro argues that there might be a logical proof rather than a scientific proof. But logical proofs only work upon assumptions. They are of the form, "If A has some property and B has some property, then by logic C has some property." CMTU starts with a good definition that reality is the set of all things that exist. But it does not follow that God must exist to organize reality or to do anything else. We know some things exist and that natural laws exist, but claiming that there is nothing but reality implies that if anything is created it is natural laws. Hawking shows there is no need for any god.

Pro has not met the burden of proof.

Debate Round No. 3
dylancatlow

Pro

Even the most complicated theoretical arguments of physics have been expressed in plain English. But no one, not Langan, not Pro, not critics, not other advocates of CMTU have ever been able to do that. That's what makes it mumbo jumbo.

Error: Delusions to the contrary notwithstanding, the CTMU is presented clearly and in plain English. Since Pro did not backup his claim with any evidence, there's not much I can say beyond that.


Let's consider part of Pro's explanation. I have underlined words and phrases that have no dictionary meanings. Pro says,
"Simply stated, telic recursion says that reality, being totally self-contained, must be self-determinative and self-configuring. Moreover, whereas ordinary time accommodates changes occurring within the spacetime manifold, this is obviously not so for the kind of time in which the manifold itself changes."

Error: Telic recursion and self-determination were both explicitly defined within the debate (anyone who doubts this need merely read the debate). And a simple wikipedia search of "spacetime manifold" yields the definition: a
manifold consisting of "events" which are described by some type of coordinate system.


If all telic recursion says is that there is nothing outside of reality, that says nothing about whether a god exists or not. If not god exists, then gods are with unicorns and successful socialism in the world
of imagination.

Error: No, that's the premise on which telic recursion is based. From the self-containment principle, Telic recursion deduces that reality is self-determinative and self-configuring (and thus intelligent).


Later on “cosmic time” is used as if it is different from ordinary time, but it is never defined.

Error: I defined time as change [of state], and clearly set cosmic time apart from ordinary time in restricting it to only those changes occurring at levels higher (i.e., more general) than those occurring within the spacetime manifold.

But there is no proof of the assumption that "out of nothing comes nothing." it is an argument from incredulity.

Error: My opponent has my position backwards. I am claiming precisely the opposite - that out of nothing "comes" a self-contained system. Since any argument to the contrary invokes constraint, it is a priori false.


Way before Langan, Hawking introduced a theory with some similarities, although Hawking was more careful to define terms. I'm straining to try to make a connection between CMTU and conventional cosmology, which may not be possible, but I'll try.


Error: Maybe that's why Langan calls his theory "a cross between
John Archibald Wheeler's 'Participatory Universe' and Stephen Hawking's 'Imaginary Time' theory of cosmology."


Pro must prove not only that some god exists, but that the particular god that exists is omnibenevolent.

Error: We defined God to be omnibenevolent, so proving that the God which exists is omnibenevolent would be redundant. I already outlined the reasons why God is omnibenevolent.


But there is no proof of the assumption that "out of nothing comes nothing." it is an argument from incredulity. Quantum theory argues against the assumption, showing that equal amounts of positive and negative energy can appear spontaneously.

Error: This would amount to acausality, which means what it has always meant:
magic."Explaining" the universe in this way would yield the following conclusion: the universe is inexplicable. But this, of course, is both absurd and unscientific, and could be applied to literally anything, thus removing it from the realm of rational discourse.


If “benevolence” is taken in the human sense, then the CMTU god is clearly disproved. He must know, per omniscience, that he is causing humans substantial pain, and that revealing it is an experiment would be a substantial relief. An O3 God of any type would avoid unnecessary pain.

Error: Once again, God is not bound by time. His omniscience is retroactively defined, meaning that such statements as "In this moment, God does not know, so he is not omniscient" are senseless - the "present moment" does not apply to God, since time would necessarily be contained within Him. This can be a very difficult concept to grasp. In the context of evil, it means that God "reverses time" (retroactively self-configures) such that any evils never existed except as a possibility i.e. a possible future. Any claim to the contrary implies that God is not omnipotent. Thus, the fact that evils exist in the world is not evidence against God, since it is compatible with both the existence and non-existence of God.


I do not see a trace of a link between the CMTU theory and benevolence.

Error: As a condition of existence, reality must make and recognize its own choice to exist. Thus, reality seeks to maximize its own self-defined utility in light of the inherent freedom of the universe. This is what constitutes objective morality (and thus what constitutes omnibenevolence) since "good" is defined as "that which should be kept", and value scales internal to reality (like the laws of motion) are objective, since objective just means real. Since there is nothing to "prod" reality in any specific direction, so to speak, "should" is necessarily implied.


If so, then CMTU might be scientifically provable someday if a someday a test is found. String theory is in that awkward state of proponents claiming that a test will be found. Fine, but it cannot be proved until then, and Pro's debate obligation is provide a proof immediately.

Error: The CTMU will never be scientifically provable (however, it is empirically confirmed by such phenomena as the accelerating expansion of the cosmos, wave and particle properties of matter, and quantum mechanics). The theory is a supertautlogical extension of logic, which means it proves itself. If you are interested in how it does this, I made a thread on the topic which explains it:
http://www.debate.org...

Pro argues that there might be a logical proof rather than a scientific proof. But logical proofs only work upon assumptions. They are of the form, "If A has some property and B has some property, then by logic C has some property." CMTU starts with a good definition that reality is the set of all things that exist. But it does not follow that God must exist to organize reality or to do anything else. We know some things exist and that natural laws exist, but claiming that there is nothing but reality implies that if anything is created it is natural laws. Hawking shows there is no need for any god. Pro has not met the burden of proof.

Error: As do empirical proofs. Empiricism rests on the assumption that nature is uniform, which it then seeks to confirm (and is thus circular, and can "prove" nothing beyond the bare data). The CTMU only rests upon the "assumption" that A is A, from which all of its conclusions are deduced.

RoyLatham

Con

1. The Pro case is mumbo jumbo

The evidence I gave that the case for CMTU is mumbo jumbo is:

a. RationalWiki couldn't parse it. They could do no more than quote the original mess and say that critics found it to be a semantic game.

b. Beasley provided an analysis justifying his conclusion that CMTU is "intentionally convoluted." Beasley explains "There is a problem when not only does Langan select obscure and confusing word pairings, he mixes it in with word pairings for concepts he himself is inventing. What person trying to clearly convey what they mean would mix confusing regular language with the technical terms of an at-the-moment-of-reading invention?"

c. When pressed for clarity, Pro repeatedly asserts that the unparseable material is clear and that all criticisms are answered therein, but he is generally unable to supply any additional clarification.


d. When pressed, Pro is unable to reference anyone who has provided clarifications using ordinary English. I pointed out that the most difficult concepts of cosmological theory, such as those of Hawking, have been explained in plain English both by Hawking and by others who wish to discuss the theories.

Keep in mind, I'm not claiming that there aren't some elements of truth in the theory. Superficially convincing double talk requires tantalizing elements of truth. I'm saying that attempts to assemble a coherent theory uniformly fail.

2. CMTU is not a scientific theory

Pro admits, "CTMU will never be scientifically provable ." That means it cannot be proved right or wrong based upon factual evidence. Moreover, there is no demonstrated utility whatsoever. Langan claims that someday implication for artificial intelligence will be found, but that hasn't happened yet. The boldest claim is that CMTU is consisted with what is observed, by there are any number of consistent theories of the universe. Hawking's theory is consistent with what is observed, but Hawking doesn't claim that his theory is proved. Pro's burden is to prove the existence of the O3 God.

The lack of predictive power also means that CMTU is not an explanation. As Beasley pointed out, a theory consistent with everything that might happen explains nothing.

3. The AE and the ANB disprove an O3 God.

The two arguments are not directly disputed by Pro. If omnipotence, omniscience, and benevolence mean what nearly everyone thinks they mean, then the CMTU proof of such a God is false.

Pro argues that "the universe is the mind of God." If I understand what Pro is saying, that means that what we see as evil is a product of the divine process of contemplating all the possible outcomes of the universe concurrently. If so, then an omniscient God would know that some of the alternatives cause great pain to sentient humans, and omnipotence would then exclude those possibilities.

Pro further argues "since God would be in the position of defining objective morality, he can (and in this course of acting, does) define what 'perfect' entails." That make whatever happens "benevolent" by definition. Nonetheless, it certainly seems evil to humans, and a benevolent God is obligated to at least make His definition of "benevolence" clear to humans, which he does not do. Failure to define benevolence is non-benevolent when the failure leaves humans in doubt of a God that wishes to save them.

Summary

CMTU attempts to prove the O3 God exists solely by logical derivation from tautological identity. Aside from the proof being mumbo jumbo, the theory is bound to fail because there are no possible consequences of the proof. Omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence then mean nothing in humans terms, so the theory explains nothing.



Debate Round No. 4
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dylancatlow 1 year ago
dylancatlow
This debate isn't worth reading lol.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
I'm sorry, but I completely didn't get the meaning of a word in the telic recursion argument ... even the teleologic evolution website is a bit incomprehensible.
Posted by Aleksandr 2 years ago
Aleksandr
"learn your it"
Posted by Aleksandr 2 years ago
Aleksandr
Your speech pattern is unusually in such high vocabulary which makes it difficult to read. Because your words are so great.. I'm gonna learn your it.
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Okay... It's looking vaguely more comprehensible than this:

https://www.youtube.com...

I'll eventually get it... I think.
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
dylancatlow
"This argument really does sound interesting, and I would love to actually be able to understand it!"

This might help: http://www.teleologic.org...

Or this: http://www.ctmu.org...
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
dylancatlow
"I then went on to show that those words were defined in the debate"

Again, your definitions were just as clouded.

Which ones specifically?

"The author of that source is a petulant idiot who I clearly demonstrated to be an incompetent evaluator of Langan's work (earlier in the comments sections)."

"It isn't just Beasley... Roy had other sources as well."

Not pertaining to the CTMU's supposed incomprehensibility.

And WHY can't you provide a simplified explanation? The fact that you didn't is the single biggest supporting point of Roy's mumbo jumbo argument.

That's quite the circular argument, no? He asserted that my original arguments were mumbo jumbo, and that because I couldn't explain them in a way that makes sense, this is further evidence that they are mumbo jumbo. That's a bit like claiming a non-alcoholic is in denial about their alcoholism, citing the fact that they deny being an alcoholic.

I agree with Sswdwm's evaluation; if concepts as incredibly complex as QM and String Theory can be explained in plain English, this concept can as well, yet not even the creator of the argument has been willing to do it so far, showing that he needs his unnecessary jargon to avoid analysis from critics.

Believe me, he doesn't need any more defense against his would-be-critics than the would-be-critics themselves. The CTMU is explained in plain English.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
This argument really does sound interesting, and I would love to actually be able to understand it!
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
"I then went on to show that those words were defined in the debate"

Again, your definitions were just as clouded.

"The author of that source is a petulant idiot who I clearly demonstrated to be an incompetent evaluator of Langan's work (earlier in the comments sections)."

It isn't just Beasley... Roy had other sources as well.
And WHY can't you provide a simplified explanation? The fact that you didn't is the single biggest supporting point of Roy's mumbo jumbo argument.
I agree with Sswdwm's evaluation; if concepts as incredibly complex as QM and String Theory can be explained in plain English, this concept can as well, yet not even the creator of the argument has been willing to do it so far, showing that he needs his unnecessary jargon to avoid analysis from critics.
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
I think I'm going to stick with my RFD for now, and stand by Einstein's quote:

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

And this is a debate, where you need to convey your ideas quickly to a non-specialized audience. And you did a really poor job of it. Everything in the argument could have been a knock-down argument for God... but it's meaningless if even the most basic concepts are not explained simply.

Even relativity and quantum mechanic's basic principles can be explained in simple terms to understand, even though the theories themselves are profound.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by WilliamofOckham 2 years ago
WilliamofOckham
dylancatlowRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's case was very hard to understand, and it was reinforced further by con's argument that it was mumbo jumbo, especially with con's use of circular reasoning. Con gave good reasons, on top of the obvious reasons why pro's case was so. Con then presents two arguments showing that God does not exist. Pro's two responses in the latter two rounds were not very on point, and committed many of the same problems and fallacies that plagued his very argument. Overall, pro did not uphold his burden of proof, as con presented the problems with pro's case and explained how the resolution could be negated.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 2 years ago
MrJosh
dylancatlowRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments due to "Mumbo Jumbo." Conduct because 2 of the three blocks of PRO's text I pasted into Google came up, word for word, on other websites. I believe that is called plagiarism.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
dylancatlowRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Reading this gave me a headache. Pro, there is no doubt that your arguments have logic, but I am inclined to believe Con's argument on Mumbo Jumbo here, as those were the first words that came to mind after I finished. He points out some specific reasons to call it that, and I agree with him. The arguments contain so much circular reasoning, convoluted logic, overly complex diction ("I don't think you know what that word means"), not to mention nearly impossible to follow conclusions, that I could hardly parse through them without butting my head into a wall of words several times. Overall, I see Con bringing the debate down to a manageable level, and I have a really difficult time finding where Pro proves omnibenevolence. Con points out multiple times how O3 is inconsistent with reality, and Pro's responses about time are simply confounding. Overall, it seems Pro is having some issues upholding his burden, and Con is showing some major inconsistencies in his arguments.
Vote Placed by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
dylancatlowRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
dylancatlowRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Note: I am likely to change my vote at some point,l as I need to reread this opening round a couple more times and my head hurts too much to do so now I also had serious issue sifting through all the terminology in Pro's opening argument, and several of the terms i could not find online outside of other CMBU pages. One example is protocomputationa, which only has 125 google hits. Wth is that?? Pro's opening arguments seem to only qrgue as far as infinite intelligence being the structure of reality, at no point is omnipotence or omnibenevolance argued for, correct me if I am wrong. Furthermore, I could barely keep track on the part that actually argues for this, the arguments up to a self-contained universe were agreeable and somewhat convincing given the axioms set, the next part I agree with Pro, seems to be very much mumbo jumbo. It would have been useful to break this up into logical form, akin to the ontological argument. The sourcing and conduct were both equal.