The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
InquireTruth
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

God most likely does not exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/14/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,660 times Debate No: 24713
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

God in this debate, will be defined in two ways:

(i) The omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator of the universe

(ii) The divine author of moral authority

If either (i) or (ii) fail, then the resolution has been affirmed. If one of the aspects of God fail, then God's existence has been negated as well.

First round for acceptance.

InquireTruth

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

Argument From Incoherence: Omnipotence/ Omnibevenvolence

Omnipotence ("all-powerful") entails being "all-free". This means that it is possible for God to freely chose to commit an act of evil if he wishes, thus, he commits an evil act in some possible world. For example, if raping an innocent woman without a compensating good is objectively evil, then God commits this act in some possible world due to his omnipotence and freedom. There is no contradiction in a omnipotent being freely choosing to commit an act of evil. A being who could freely chose to commit an act of evil, is more free and powerful than a being who is not free to commit an act of this nature. This doesn't mean there is a high probability he would commit this act in the actual world, this just means there exists one possible world where God commits an act of evil.

Now, an omnibenevolent being commits an act of evil in no possible world. If an omnibenevolent God committed an act of evil in some possible world, this would render the being not omnibenevolent, because a being who committed an act of evil in no possible world, would be perfectly moral, and more morally good than a being who did commit an act of evil in some possible world.

There cannot both be a possible world where God commits an act of evil, and no possible world where God commits an act of evil. Thus, the idea of God is incoherent and he cannot logically exist. There cannot be a being who is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

Paul Draper's Argument From Evil (Gratuitous Suffering)

Paul Draper's article “Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists” [1] involves a highly sophisticated argument supporting Naturalism over Theism. I am going to run down the basics of this argument. Basically, our knowledge of the biological utility of pain and pleasure is extremely troubling for Theism, but this is exactly what we would expect if Naturalism was true. Thus, this argument demonstrates the probable disconfirmation of Theism.

First, we are going to analize two different hypotheses:

(T) The hypothesis of theism

(HI) The hypothesis of indifference

According to T, the universe was created by God, the same God defined in my opening round.

According to HI, neither nature nor the condition of sentient beings here on this planet is the result of benevolent or malevolent actions on the part of personal being(s).

HI is completely consistent with metaphysical Naturalism, but it is not compatible with the existence of supernatural personal beings. There are certain observations (O) we have made regarding the nature of human/ animal pain and suffering that are severely less probable on T than they are on HI.

This could be described as:

Pr(O|T) < Pr(O|HI)

Pr (O|T), which equates to “the probability of our observations about suffering given theism” is much lower than the Pr (O|HI), which equates to“the probability of our observations about suffering given the hypothesis of indifference.”

**The Biological Utility Of Pain**

If one lives a sanitized lifestyle (which I'm sure all of us on DDO do), then it's not hard to fail to acknowledge the grim cruelty in the nature of the world. Hearing the squeal of a pig as his throat gets slit for example, would definitely wake you up to this. Draper’s argument here isn't like most PoEs, it predicates itself particularly on a problem arising from the biological utility of pain. This is basically, the pain of the type experienced by the pig as its throat is slit.

Draper states:

"A system (S) is goal-directed, just in case for some property or characteristic (G) that S exhibits, environmental changes are such that (i) if no compensating changes occurred in S then S would no longer G; and (ii) if compensating changes occurred in S, then S would continue to G or would repeat G."

Biological utility itself, refers to sub components of a biological system (Xs) which are biologically useful if (i) they causally contribute to a biological goal and (ii) their contribution is not accidental.

Now the key to understanding this argument is that pain and pleasure are biologically useful, in (S), which is a goal-directed system. Pleasure helps us to come forward to biologically useful things and pain helps us detract from biologically damaging things. People who can't feel pain for example, damage themselves often (a condition known as congenital analgesia)[2].

It is also true to say that not all pain and pleasure is biologically useful. Sometimes it is biologically gratuitous. For example, the pain felt by the squealing pig was biologically gratuitous because although pain may often help organisms avoid bad situation, it did not help on this occasion, yet the pig still felt the pain. Something similar can be said about the pleasure experienced by a heroin addict, it didn't help him biologically, but he still felt the pleasure.

Now, O (observations) can be split in three ways:

O1. Observations of moral agents experiencing pain or pleasure that is biologically useful.

O2. Observations of sentient beings that are not moral agents experiencing pain or pleasure that is biologically useful.

O3. Observations of sentient beings experiencing pain or pleasure that is not known to be biologically useful (and likely to be biologically gratuitous).

This means our original equation, can be restated as:

Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) < Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI)

Now, God as a morally perfect being, would need to have some moral reason for allowing moral agents, such as human beings, to experience pain. A biological reason for allowing pain would clearly not be enough. Of course, the problem for T is self-evident. Even if pain could be somehow morally justified it is also clearly observed to be biologically useful. This, obviously makes more sense if there is not a personal being (HI) than on Theism (T), regardless if the theist posits some hidden reason or not. I would add that God could and would have not included this biological utility of pain, and this would not hinder with any free will (a being who is responsible for less suffering, while maintaining our free will, would be more benevolent). A hidden reason for the allowance of what seems to be gratuitous pain, may possibly raise the probability for T, but the point is, not enough to disconfirm the probable truth of HI. I would even add, that positing this "reason" appeals to the Law of Parsimony less, thus lowering the likelihood of T by definition.

Possible Objections to Draper's Argument

Richard Swinburne, a prominent Theistic philosopher, argued that non-moral pain is required if human beings are to have genuine freedom over serious moral issues. This seems to be an objection to Draper's argument that may have merrit. Does Swinburne's argument however, undermine Draper's argument at all? I think not much at all, it at all. There are three crucial problems with it.


  1. This does not explain the need for pain of which we have no knowledge of.
  2. This does not explain the mass volume and magnitude of non-moral pain.
  3. Several theists, like Eleanore Stump have actually argued that God could let us know how our decisions lead to mass suffering, without letting us know of his existence. Stump proposes that God could send us message-laden dreams that do not compel us to believe in his existence.
Another possible objection is that if God exists, he would have a vast amount of knowledge about good and evil and how they are related that humans that we do not have. This is where everything connects. For while it might be true that God has a reason for O, we have no antecedent reason to expect O to obtain. Regardless, (HI) already accounts for O, making it more likely anyway.


Conclusion

I have established the likely non-existence of God with my two arguments.

Sources

[1] http://commonsenseatheism.com...

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

InquireTruth

Con

Introduction

I appreciate this topic and I look forward to debating this with my opponent. As an important reminder to my opponent, merely citing the website at the bottom of your round is not a proper sourcing of content when many sections of text in your argument are verbatim. I’ve followed Luke at commonsenseatheism.com for quite some time; please be judicious and avoid plagiarism by quoting him specifically when you make use of his exact phrases.

In regards to the arguments presented, you’ll perhaps notice that they suffer from some pretty significant weaknesses even without yet delving into the details of them. Perhaps you’ve noticed already, as I have, that my opponent’s second argument (argument from gratuitous evil) ignores the definition (ii) of which it intends to refute. But let’s start from the beginning.

RE: Argument From Incoherence: Omnipotence/ Omnibenevolence


This argument is a nonstarter for at least one very distinct reason: omnibenevolence and omnipotence do not entail what he thinks it does. He claims, “This means that it is possible for God to freely chose to commit an act of evil if he wishes, thus, he commits an evil act in some possible world.” First, we can see that this assumes (ii) to be wrong from the onset, inasmuch as it assumes that God is bound by some supra-divine standard of Good and is not himself the author of it. Secondly, his very first sentence entails that this very next is false. He says, “Omnipotence (‘all-powerful’) entails being ‘all-free’.” Being “all-free,” as it were, entails that he is not bound by any limitation (definitionally true); committing an act of evil implies that God is bound by a moral metric for which he is presumably not the author, which is a limitation. Thus, my opponent’s first and second sentences are incoherent and suffer from the very criticism he wishes to levy. Just as a scale exists outside of its own measurements, insomuch as it cannot weigh itself, so God exists as not something to be measured, but as the very object by which we measure. In fact, logic dictates that the creator of the universe not only has the right but has the capability of setting the standards for his creation. The verity of this claim is confirmed every day when a programmer creates his own gaming "universe." It would be intellectually insane to assume that a programmer ought to be bound by his own programming. As the quip goes, "His game, His rules."

Thus, though omnipotence and omnibenevolence may by incoherent, we certainly cannot deduce as much from the argument presented by my opponent.

RE: Paul Draper's Argument From Evil (Gratuitous Suffering)

This argument fails for a great number of reasons, not least of which is the fact it begs the question from the beginning. My opponent began his first round with the definition (ii) of God, which states, “The divine author of moral authority. “ But if this were truly the case, then the argument from evil could never begin! It would be a true nonstarter, for it is only a problem if evil exists wholly apart from God’s authorial handiwork, wherein we can actually claim evil to be a standalone concept. But if the definition of good and evil are bound inexorably to God, then we cannot call actions evil unless we presuppose that God exists. Draper and my opponent have called certain actions evil (gratuitous suffering) apart from God and have thus begged the question. For all we know, God may very well enjoy the needless suffering of animals of every sort—hominid and otherwise. Moreover, if God is the author of moral authority, we have no basis for thinking it a contradiction with his omnibenevolence. So far as I can tell, my opponent is assuming a CHRISTIAN God, wherein we have at least some basis for determining the CONTENT of morality. But that is not what this debate presumes; it presumes to be able to show that an omniexcellent God who is the author of moral authority is unlikely based upon probabilistic arguments that have literally no epistemic scope. And by this I intend to mean that we have literally NO idea whether suffering of any magnitude is evil or whether God very much likes it—we have no access to his mind and thus have no idea what sort of morality he has in fact authored and how it may or may not correspond with our own dim visions of it.

So logical calculations like the following: Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) < Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI), are really quite meaningless, as they depend upon information for which we have no access. In philosophy, we call scenarios like this inscrutable, inasmuch as they are impossible to know because they exist outside of our epistemological access.

Needed Clarity

I don’t intend to believe that it is easy to be clear with so few words. But I would very much like to be as clear as possible on these points, as I think a careful reader will recognize that they are damning to my opponent’s argument.
The first argument is weak enough and I think needs no more time. The second, being more complicated, may need some clarification. First, we must recognize that there is nothing inherent in my opponent’s definitions of (i) and (ii) in round 1 that give us the impression that we would know the content of the morality that God authored and whether or not it corresponds with our own impressions. Further, the observation of our own finiteness and cognitive shortcomings coalesced with our acknowledgement of God's omni-excellence gives us very good reasons for believing God's mind and reasons are completely foreign to us - inasmuch as we have no good reasons for knowing what he would and would not do. This means that PR(O1 & O2 & O3|T) may be incredibly high, because it may very well be the case that God enjoys gratuitous suffering and, by virtue of his moral authority, has rendered it Good. Thus, it could be that my opponent’s formula: Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) < Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI) is actually Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) >> Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI). Even worse, the two formulas juxtaposed have not yet been shown to be in contradiction! That means that both indifference and theism (as defined) can be true! It may very well be the case that it is good to God that he not care about the wellbeing of any of the living organisms that came about after his creation of the universe. Since the formula can go in either direction by virtue of our inability to epistemologically access crucial and necessary information, it is only fair to conclude that the probability is inscrutable. By deeming the probability as inscrutable, my opponent has failed to show that God’s existence is unlikely based upon his arguments. Probablistic arguments of this nature simply fail by nature of assuming to know too much. Our epistemic range is finite and we cannot intend to make sound arguments in areas of infinite magnitude.

Definition of formula:

PR(O1 & O2 & O3|T)
Translation: The probability of our three respective observations of pain suffering on theism.

Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI)
Translation: The probability of our three respective observations of pain suffering on the hypothesis of indifference.

Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) < Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI)
Translation: The probability of our three respective observations of pain and suffering on theism is less than the probability of our three respective observations of pain and suffering being true on the hypothesis of indifference.

Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) > Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI)
Translation: The probability of our three respective observations of pain and suffering being true on theism is greater than the probability of our three respective observations of pain and suffering being true on the hypothesis of indifference.

Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

First off, I copied and pasted the formulas along with what the variables were being filled with, however I tried to refrain from using exact phrases and modified much the text greatly. Also, I added commentary of my own extensively.

Argument From Incoherence: Omnipotence/ Omnibenevolence

Con claims that my statement “This means that it is possible for God to freely chose to commit an act of evil if he wishes, thus, he commits an evil act in some possible world.” assumes (ii) is false right off the bat. I do not see how Con reached this conclusion, God could still hypothetically be the author and source of morality and be malevolent (thus I am not assuming ii false off the bat). This argument attacks either God's omnipotence or omnibenevolence specifically. Regardless, my opponent claims:


"committing an act of evil implies that God is bound by a moral metric for which he is presumably not the author, which is a limitation"

We can see that this is false immediately. God committing an act of evil implies he is not bound by any moral standard. If a being is truly omnipotent and free, then he commits an act of evil in some possible world. I will give an example to show how outrageous my opponents argument is here. Imagine an omnipotent being who is both benevolent snd malevolent. This being could hypothetically do almost twice what God can, however, if that being could do more then God then that being would be omnipotent. A being who is limited to only acts of good, cannot be omnipotent, because a benevolent and malevolent being could do twice as much. Therefore, my opponent's argument here is severely moot.

Now, Con claims:


"It would be intellectually insane to assume that a programmer ought to be bound by his own programming"

It would be intellectually insane to think that moral truths do not apply to one sentient being, while they apply to all others. This would negate the claim that moral truths, are actually moral truths. For example, if raping a child for no reason but purely for pleasure is wrong, then it would be objectively wrong even if God commits this act. An omnipotent being could commit this act, but not an omnibenevolent being. This is because, a being who commits an evil act in no possible world would be more benevolent than a being who commits this act in some possible world.


Basically, Pro did a horrible job refuting this. Therefore, it still stands. Either God is not omnipotent, or not omnibenevolent.

Paul Draper's Argument From Evil (Gratuitous Suffering)

All of my opponents objections here, seem to fall flat on their face. First off, (ii) is how God is defined and would be an attribute of his essence if he exists. I am not assuming God's existence in anyway shape of form with (ii). Also, Con suggests that the very existence of evil implies God's existence. However, this simply begs the question against objective Atheistic morality. Most moral philosophers simply do not believe that God is necessary for objective morality, and moral philosophy has been done without appealing to God for centuries. Even prominent theistic philosophers for example, believe that if objective moral truths exist, they must exist independently of God.


Take Richard Swinburne for example:

“Some moral truths are clearly moral truths, whether there is a God or not: it is surely wrong to torture children for fun whether or not there is a God.” [1]

Objective morals would exist independently of God if they exist. If objective morality exists, it cannot even be grounded in God's nature/ authority ontologically.

If God's nature is the way it is because it is good, then this means there is an independent standard of good. Thus, God could not be the source of good. If God's nature is good simply because whatever God's nature is, is necessarily good, then if God's nature was that of a murderer or rapist these attributes would be necessarily good, because whatever was God's nature would be necessarily good (this seems to be what my opponent adheres to). However, this should strike us as intuitively wrong. Surely, raping a child for fun without any compensating good, is wrong even if God commits this act.

The theist could claim that God's nature could not be that of a murderer of rapist, because since by necessity, God's nature must be good. However, without an independent standard of good, any attributes possible could be applied to God's nature, and they would be good necessarily when we know some acts if objective, are evil.

Therefore, there must be some independent source of good besides God and his nature ontologically. If rape is bad, then it would be bad if even God did it as well. If God could rape and it would be good, then obviously moral truths would not be necessary truths regarding all sentient beings. Thus, this would completely destroy the idea of objective morality as a whole.

God simply could not be the source/ author of objective morality. Thus, the resolution is still affirmed. There is no way to ground objective morality in God.

I would also add, that if God exists he is a non-physical mind (William Lane Craig has said this on several occasions). If morals are dependent on God, then they would be dependent on a mind, and thus subjective by definition.

Now, Con states:

"So logical calculations like the following: Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) < Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI), are really quite meaningless, as they depend upon information for which we have no access."

However, I already addressed the claim regarding lack of information. I stated:


"For while it might be true that God has a reason for O, we have no antecedent reason to expect O to obtain. Regardless, (HI) already accounts for O, making it more likely anyway."

There is no reason to believe we are lacking certain divine information. This is assuming God actually exists, and has information we are lacking in the first place.



Needed Clarity

My opponent's argument is one that is intuitively ridiculous, and I already addressed this line of reasoning in the last section, but I will drive it home even further. My opponent is basically saying that Draper's argument fails, because gratuitous suffering would be a good thing if God wanted it or allowed it to happen. Basically, anything God does is good no matter what it is, thus I am presenting a false problem. The problem with this line of thinking, is that if Earth was one big torture chamber, this would be good because God allowed it. Why is this a problem for the theist? Well, in defense of the moral argument the theist appeals to intuition. Basically, we all know deep that certain things are objectively wrong. However, Con completely stomps on this intuition by claiming that these things would actually be good, if that's what God wanted. However, it is more intuitively obvious that certain acts are objectively morally evil regardless of which being commits the act. Until my opponent adequately responds to this, his attempts at refuting my argument remain futile thus far.

Now, Con also has not justified Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) > Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI). This is because, even if he undermined my argument (which he did not), all this would mean is that we are now on the same playing field. This wouldn't mean, gratuitous suffering is now more likely under T than Hi.


Also, since I showed the outrageousness with my opponents stance regarding God and morality, there is no foundation for claiming that Hi and T can co-exist. They simply cannot, if God exists, he is not morally indifferent with regards to us.

Conclusion


Con didn't even scratch the surface of my argument from incoherence, and I adequately refuted the objections he did have. Thus, the resolution has been affirmed with this argument alone. Also, Con's refutation of Draper's argument was based on a radical morality with regards to God, which I easily dismantled. This took care of (ii) simultaneously, therefore, furthermore affirming the resolution.

Source(s)

[1] Richard Swinburne, Is there a God?, P14

InquireTruth

Con

Introduction

For the areas where you did not refrain from using exact phrases, quotes are needed—this much is certain. Now I really am quite disappointed that my opponent has quite significantly missed my meaning on the most crucial points and has instead laid claim to meaning that I did not intend. We'll be judicious and assume that this is due to some wanting clarity on my own part, and for that I am sorry. Let us begin in order.

RE: Argument From Incoherence: Omnipotence/ Omnibenevolence

First, my opponent states that, "God could still hypothetically be the author and source of morality and be malevolent." Now, granted, this much is true, if we take his authorship to be the arbitrary creation of rules of morality for which he is free to break. But my opponent seems to disagree with himself here, as in his later section he states, "first off, (ii) is how God is defined and would be an attribute of his essence if he exists." The former statement assumes that God arbitrarily creates moral values and thus is free to break them, while the latter assumes that goodness is defined in accordance with his nature. Thus, what is Good is NOT defined by what God arbitrarily deems but by whatever God is. Thus, the argument is reduced to God can do whatever God is not. This is a logical contradiction and therefore itself subject to the criticism of incoherence.

This being can literally do whatever it wants to do, and is not bound by the limitations of a supposed supra-divine moral code. That is to say, it can do any act possible for an omnipotent God to do with TOTAL freedom from the semantic value of evil. Evil is only defined by what God's nature is not.

So in order for my opponent's argument to work, he HAS to show that God, as an omnipotent and omnibenevolent being, would be bound by a moral authority apart from himself by which we may judge his actions as evil. He must show that omnibenevolence is a set of precepts that God must conform to and not the very state of his nature, insofar as believing that God can do evil is tantamount to saying God can break the law of identity.

What's worse here, though, is that my opponent misuses modal logic in his "possible world claims." And it's quite embarrassing. First, God would be omnibenevolent in every possible world ONLY if we intend to say that this is a necessarily true proposition. If my opponent intends to say that this is a necessarily true proposition, he must also admit that God not only likely exists, but necessarily exists. Instead, in order for him to avoid committing to the necessity of omnibenevolence and thus the necessity of God, he must simply be content with saying that God as an omnibenevolent being is a possible proposition, meaning it obtains in at least one possible world. Thus, my opponent's misuse in using modal logic to reformulate an ontological disconfirmation has failed by parity of modal misuse.

A few direct responses:

"It would be intellectually insane to think that moral truths do not apply to one sentient being, while they apply to all others."

There is nothing inherent in the definitions given in round one that this God is sentient. Moreover, if it is not intellectually insane to believe that a programmer is not bound by his own programming, it is similarly intellectually sane and reasonable to think God is not bound by any rules, physical or abstract, for which he authored.

"For example, if raping a child for no reason but purely for pleasure is wrong, then it would be objectively wrong even if God commits this act."

If a game programmer made it wrong for his programmees to engage in the act of juggling, would it be wrong for the programmer to juggle? Objective morality only refers to the fact that moral categories exist independent of HUMAN apprehension. Morality is SUBJECT to the nature of God, but so what?

RE: Paul Draper's Argument From Evil (Gratuitous Suffering)

"Most moral philosophers simply do not believe that God is necessary for objective morality, and moral philosophy has been done without appealing to God for centuries."


I'm not terribly concerned with atheistic failures to lay claim to an objective moral foundation anymore than I am concerned with the theistic claim to the same thing. I am saying that if we ASSUME an objective measurement for morality APART from God as defined in round 1, then we are begging the question, inasmuch as my opponent's argument against (ii) presupposes that (ii) is false from the beginning. Instead, we are tasked with the burden of pondering what we would intend to observe if (i) and (ii) were true. My contention is that we have literally NO IDEA what we would observe if (i) and (ii) are true. That is to say, if God were the author of moral authority we would be tasked with the burden of knowing the content of the morals he authored. Since it would be perfectly within his power to author morals that our current sensibilities are appalled by, it is possible that Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) > Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI). Now, you'll notice that my claim is not that Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) > Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI) is, indeed, true, but rather that we have no idea whether or not it is. Thus, since Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) > Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI) or Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) < Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI) or Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) = Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI) are all unknowable but epistemically possible outcomes, we have no legitimate way of determining the likelihood. This means the probability equation as listed is utterly inscrutable and meaningless.

"The problem with this line of thinking, is that if Earth was one big torture chamber, this would be good because God allowed it. Why is this a problem for the theist? Well, in defense of the moral argument the theist appeals to intuition. Basically, we all know deep that certain things are objectively wrong."

Now this is completely off-topic. I am not defending a moral argument and don't care to. Further, knowing "deep down inside" is a nice and romantic image, but it is wholly an empty appeal to human emotion. We have literally NO IDEA whether or not what we believe "deep down inside" corresponds in any meaningful way to the morals that this God has decided to author. Unless my opponent can show HOW we can claim to know the CONTENT of the morals that this God has authored, we have no idea whether or not our observations make his existence likely or not. If the hypothesis in question is whether a God who authored moral authority exists, we must seriously consider that this God could author literally anything as morally good, like, for instance, that the world be indifferent to suffering. Until my opponent can grasp the profundity of this rebuttal, he may continue to miss the point, grasping earnestly at straws. But I sincerely hope he does grasp this point, as that may make his next round more interesting.

You simply cannot weigh the probability of the hypothesis of indifference, whose functions are known, against the probability of a wholly epistemically inaccessible, infinite being, whose functions are not known.

Conclusion:

My opponent's first section fails because it does not account for the fact that omnibenevolence can be easily defined as inherent in God's nature and/or wholly defined by whatever God chooses to do. This would better fit with the idea of a "wholly" free God whose actions/thoughts/nature are not bound by rules but rather define them. Secondly, his modal logic is demonstrably false, inasmuch as there is nothing inherent in the definition of omnibenevolence that requires it to obtain in all possible worlds, because, if it did, it would be a necessarily true proposition that requires it to exist in the actual world--making God's existence by orders of magnitude more than likely, as it would be wholly necessary. Instead, we must say that omnibenevolence is a possible proposition. Lastly, he seeks to make probabilistic claims based on unknowable information.

Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro


I thank my opponent for his response. Unfortunately, it's not hard to see where his arguments fall flat.

Argument From Incoherence: Omnipotence/ Omnibenevolence

My opponent is claiming I am contradicting myself with these two statements on my end:


"God could still hypothetically be the author and source of morality and be malevolent."

"first off, (ii) is how God is defined and would be an attribute of his essence if he exists."

Of course, these two do nothing to contradict each other. Thus, my opponent has created a false problem. God could be the author and source of moral authority (this is of course, under the assumption that I didn't dismantle this idea already) with this being an attribute of his essence, all while God being malevolent as well. You see, the source of morality could (and most likely) also be the source of immorality. Therefore, there is no conflict between moral authority being part of an omnipotent beings essence, while being benevolent and malevolent at the same time even.

Basically, I'm shocked that my opponent would even suggest a contradiction here. I have stated nothing incoherent, if it came off this way, it is only due to Con straw-manning/ not comprehending my stance.

Now, my opponent also states:

"Evil is only defined by what God's nature is not" - Con

This is absolutely absurd. This means, if God's nature was that of a rapist, then not being a rapist would be evil. This is an irrational view of morality and extremely counter intuitive, also this has not been justified by Con (I do not think this position can even be rationally justified).

"So in order for my opponent's argument to work, he HAS to show that God, as an omnipotent and omnibenevolent being, would be bound by a moral authority apart from himself by which we may judge his actions as evil." - Con

I have shown this already extensively. I already proved that morality cannot be grounded in God ontologically in my last round. I even quoted a prominent theistic philosopher who agrees. If moral goods exist, then certain acts are immoral no matter who commits them. Philosopher Philosopher Michael Ruse also states:

"the man who says it's acceptable to rape a child is just as mistaken as saying 2+2=5!"

This is how morality is generally viewed by people who adhere to objective morality. My opponent's argument basically boils down to, "2+2=5 is incorrect as far as us sentient beings are concerned, but this would not be incorrect as far as this special sentient being is concerned". This obviously involves some shaky reasoning. 2+2=5 is wrong no matter what, just like raping a child is wrong no matter what. My opponent simply doesn't understand, that moral truths are necessary truths.


Con is also claiming that my use of modal logic was embarrassing, well this is false. The only thing embarrassing I see, if Con's irrational and radical view on moral good and God (which, once more, he has failed to justify sufficiently). Regardless, I never said God was omnibenevolent in every possible world. I really wish my opponent would either read my arguments, or quit straw-manning them. I stated that being B would be more benevolent than being A, thus being A cannot be omnibenevolent:

(A) If it impossible for Being A to exist, then Being A commits an act of evil in one possible world

(B) If it is possible for Being B to exist, then Being B commits an act of evil in no possible world

Being B would obviously be omnibenevolent, but not Being A. However if God is omnipotent then we would have to combine this with Being A, and not Being B. Why? Well, Being A would be more powerful than Being B (in this new scenario):

(A) If it is possible for Being A to exist, then being A commits an act of evil in one possible world (benevolent/ malevolent)

(B) If it is possible for being B to exist, then being B commits an act of evil is no possible world (omnibenevolent)

A being who can commit both good and evil acts, is obviously more powerful than a being only limited to acts of good. The contradiction is as clear as day, a being cannot both be omnipotent and omnibenevolent. My opponent's responses are based on a ridiculous view of moral goods and God which cannot be rationally supported. Thus, this argument from incoherence still stands firm, completely unscathed.

Also, Con states:

"There is nothing inherent in the definitions given in round one that this God is sentient" - Con

Due to this and the other previous arguments presented by Con, I am started to believe he may be legitimately trolling. You cannot be benevolent or knowing unless you are sentient. I mean, how could one know anything, unless they were consciously aware of certain information? The definitions I provided, clearly necessitate sentience.


"If a game programmer made it wrong for his programmees to engage in the act of juggling, would it be wrong for the programmer to juggle?"

**Face palm**

Objective moral truths, are necessary truths (like 2+2=4). If God can rape a child and have it not be evil, then this means God could also make 2+2=5. Of course, this goes against my opponent's view of omnipotence. My opponent simply hasn't supported the idea that acts of evil which are objectively bad, could be objectively good if God did them (this is utter absurd and incoherent). This would be like saying that if God wrote the equation 2+2=5, then it would be correct.

Paul Draper's Argument From Evil (Gratuitous Suffering)

My opponent states:

"I am saying that if we ASSUME an objective measurement for morality APART from God as defined in round 1, then we are begging the question" - Con

I am sincerely in shock here. I didn't simply assert, or assume that an objective measurement had to be apart from God, I proved it extensively with my argument regarding moral goods and God's nature. I supported the idea that morality cannot be grounded in God several times throughout this debate.


Now my opponent's main argument here in a nutshell, is that if God exists, we would have little to no knowledge of his knowledge regarding reasons for allowing gratuitous suffering, this gratuitous suffering could not even be evil by God's standard. Thus, Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) < Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI), Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) > Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI), and Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|T) = Pr(O1 & O2 & O3|HI) are equally as supported.

However, I have argued that moral truths (truths regarding good and evil), are necessary truths (like 2+2=4). Thus, you cannot exclude one sentient being from these necessary truths while all other sentient beings are subject to them. Not only does this make (ii) an illogical attribute of God (thus, affirming the resolution), but this also further solidifies Draper's argument. One who causes or knowingly allows gratuitous suffering when it can be prevented, is either evil, or good. There are no exceptions, because the second there are exceptions, then moral truths cease to actually exist. This would still negate the resolution, because if morals don't exist, then God cannot be the author/ source of them.

Conclusion

Moral truths regarding good and evil are necessary truths about certain actions. If raping a child is evil, then it can't, not be evil, if God commits this act. This would mean, that moral truths don't actually exit. Objective moral truths, cannot be grounded in God. Thus, if objective morality exists, God is bound by this morality. If God authored this morality, while he himself was not bound by it, this would make morality subjective (thus, non-existent in reality). It already would be subjective, because morals would be dependent on God's mind, making them subjective by definition (nothing about the definition of subjective, implies that it is limited to just human beings). Since my opponent's refutations all revolved around this idea regarding "God" and "good" that cannot be justified rationally, then both of my arguments clearly remain standing without a scratch. The resolution firmly stands affirmed.
InquireTruth

Con

As was sorely anticipated, my opponent believes all of his arguments survived unscathed. A careful reader may wonder if my opponent would be able to legitimately discern between a scathed argument and an unscathed one, all things considered, of course. Let’s see where the debate now rests.

RE: Argument From Incoherence: Omnipotence/ Omnibenevolence

As you’ll notice, my opponent believes that God, as author of moral authority, can be both malevolent and benevolent. You’ve also noticed, I expect, that I agreed in my last round that this is possible ONLY if we take God’s moral authority as his having authored morality as precepts for which he is also free to break. Such that we can take the precepts authored by God and also conclude that he’s free to break them. However, if we take omnibenevolence as an ESSENTIAL part of God than omnibenevolence can be easily defined as inherent in God's nature and/or wholly defined by whatever God chooses to do. Thus, Evil would only be defined by what God's nature is not. You may also understand that this doesn’t need to be true, it need only be possible. So long as it is possible, my opponent’s criticism of incoherence fails.

But there is something we REALLY need to touch on here, and that is this ridiculous appeal that my opponent is making to some sort of fluffy, undefined, atheistic understanding of objective morality. Going so far as it say that this is a NECESSARY truth. Those familiar with modal logic may well know that a necessary truth is one that is true in ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS. That means that “it is wrong to rape” is also wrong in worlds where no sentient life exists at all! Or even in worlds where green monsters rape 2 million schoolgirls on Sunday unless one person is raped on Saturday. Or in a world where all things must rape to survive. Or in a world where rape is rewarded with eternal life. Having a whole range of epistemic possibilities, this weird appeal to moral objectivity can be reduced to absurdity in literally countless ways.

God is either the moral authority, inasmuch as morality is contingent upon Him and Him alone, or he is not. My opponent CANNOT in any reasonable fashion think he can seriously assume that God is not the author of moral authority in order to prove that he is not. This is what his argument can be reduced to:

“God cannot be the author of moral authority because some things are wrong no matter what.”

THIS IS BEGGING THE QUESTION. Things being wrong no matter what assumes that God is not the author of moral authority and thus assumes false from the start the thing it is trying to prove false!!! It’s really that simple.
Now we move to my opponent’s failure to properly use modal logic. First he claims, “Regardless, I never said God was omnibenevolent in every possible world.” To which I respond with a quote from his 2nd round, “an omnibenevolent being commits an act of evil in no possible world.” And “a being who committed an act of evil innopossible world, would be perfectly moral”

The only way for this criticism to work would be to make omnibenovelence a necessary truth, inasmuch as omnibenevolence must obtain in every possible world in order to qualify as omnibenevolence. If this is true, than my opponent must maintain that either omnibenevolence itself, without the addition of omnipotence, is incoherent, or that omnibenevolence necessarily exists in the actual world. This is defeating to his case. Omnibenevolence is ONLY defined as being absent of evil and this need only obtain a possible proposition (wherein it obtains in some possible world). In fact, saying that a being is made more morally righteous by not committing wrongs in all possible worlds is ridiculous, as the moral weight of nonfactual moral goods or crimes is precisely 0.

His (A), (B) distinction can be reduced to the following:

(A) A being who commits no acts of evil in all possible worlds except 1.
(B) A being who commits no acts of evil in all possible worlds.

The difference is (A) distinguishes a being who is omnibenevolent – 0 and (B) distinguishes an omnibenevolent God + 0. Thus, the sum of their differences by way of basic math is 0 – 0 = 0. Or, in less modal terms, the question is (1) whether or not a being is made more good if it must do good necessarily, or (2) a being who always does good despite not having to. I think the difference here is immeasurable. And intuition tends to favor (1), though (2) is necessary for my opponent’s argument work.

In sum, my opponent either must maintain that omnibenevolence is a necessary truth, meaning it MUST exist in reality. Or he must maintain that omnibenevolence is a possible proposition that obtains in at least one possible world. The former works against him, and the latter makes his argument fail.

RE: Paul Draper's Argument From Evil (Gratuitous Suffering)

“I supported the idea that morality cannot be grounded in God several times throughout this debate.”

Let us refresh on what my opponent sees as his great defense of this non grounded nature:

“However, without an independent standard of good, any attributes possible could be applied to God's nature, and they would be good necessarily when we know some acts if objective, are evil.”

This is a super important lesson that my opponent should learn. It is called the fallacy of consequences, begging the question and also circular reasoning. He seems to be committing a form of all them. He is attempting to prove that Morality cannot be grounded in God by showing that it could allow for something that we feel as wrong, like rape, to be right. This (1) appeals to our emotional reaction to the idea of rape in an attempt to weigh truth value (fallacy of consequences. It also (2) assumes that some things are objectively wrong, like rape, independent of God as moral authority, in order to work as an argument to begin with. This is a begging the question, inasmuch as his defense of independent moral objectively depends upon the truth of independent moral objectivity. Lastly, (3) in order to prove objective morals he assumes objective morals and in order to prove God’s moral authority false he assumes it false. All of these are forms of circular reasoning. And he really ought to know better.

“If God could rape and it would be good, then obviously moral truths would not be necessary truths regarding all sentient beings. Thus, this would completely destroy the idea of objective morality as a whole.“

This is another fallacy of consequences. WHO CARES! My opponent has simply assumed objective morality and wants the whole DDO crew to buy into the idea that he has somehow proved its extensive obviousness.

Conclusion:


My opponent was unable to surmount my criticism of the inscrutable nature of God, wherein if He is the author of moral authority we have no good reasons for thinking we would be privy to the content of his moral nature. Having full and unilateral control over what morality is, we have no justificatory grounds for calling this or that evil. Thus, making a probabilistic claim between something we do know and something we do not know is meaningless and inscrutable. Lastly, my opponent failed to show that omnipotence and omnibenevolence were incompatible because he did not surmount the objection that omnibenevolence can be defined as inherent in God's nature and/or wholly defined by whatever God chooses to do. Also, he made indefensible modal claims regarding omnibenevolence, inasmuch as omnibenevolence must be defined as a possible proposition or his conclusion is false, or it must be defined as a necessary proposition and his conclusion is necessarily false. Lastly, his modal claims rest upon an immeasurable moral claim that it is better not to be able to do good than to be able to do evil but to not.

The likelihood of the God as stated in round 1 is made no less likely by the arguments given by my opponent in all transpired rounds.

InquireTruth
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by KRFournier 4 years ago
KRFournier
Naturally, when one author's morality, immorality is equally defined. But you also defined God in (i) as omnibenevolent, i.e., good. When one is both omnibenevolent AND the author of morality, then you can longer logically criticize God on moral grounds as he is both--by definition--good and the author of good. It's in your definition.

In round 2 you state, "For example, if raping a child for no reason but purely for pleasure is wrong, then it would be objectively wrong even if God commits this act." If God is, by definition, good and is, by definition, the author of morality, then God cannot commit rape if it is wrong and rape is good if he can commit it. This is purely based on your R1 definition.

So, god is limited by his goodness and the morality which is defined by his goodness, which was meant to be incoherent with omnipotence. But in order for you to make your incoherence argument, you had to appeal to a separate moral law than what you defined in the first place. Thus, you switches "modes" in your modal argument, which failed to make your case.

My RFD didn't really make my thoughts clear in this regard due to the limited character space.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"Everytime I he told me that God could be the author of morality and simultaneously could be immoral struck me as utter nonsense"

Why? Why can't the author of moral authority, also be the the author of immorality? I already pointed out that Con had no reason to infer that the author of morality cannot also be the author of immorality.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
I provided definitions.
Posted by ATHOS 4 years ago
ATHOS
Is this specificaly concerning God of the Bible? Or could a contender just argue for any God?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by NewCreature 4 years ago
NewCreature
Rational_Thinker9119InquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con refuted Pro's arguments right away in round 2. Con did a great job in explaining that omnibenevolence is the very nature and character of God. Con also did great at pointing out Pro's wrong assumptions on the definitions of words like omnipotent, omnibenevolence, free. etc. Good job Con!
Vote Placed by KRFournier 4 years ago
KRFournier
Rational_Thinker9119InquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I found Pro's arguments frustrating for the very reasons Con pointed out. Everytime I he told me that God could be the author of morality and simultaneously could be immoral struck me as utter nonsense. He is either author of or subject to morality, not both. Pro says that evil cannot be what God is not, but the problem is that Pro is using that very definition in his modal argument. He wanted the door to swing one way only, so I found his arguments fell flat.