If God created the universe then Monistic Idealism is probably true
Debate Rounds (4)
God will be defined as the grand-mind which is the cause and creator of all things that are not God (such as the universe). Monistic Idealism is simply the view that only mentality exists, and that there is no such thing as something "outside of mind". The conventional theistic view is that God created a material universe, and that God is immaterial (this is Dualism as you have the material and immaterial). I will attempt to show why this view is nonsensical, and that the view that Monistic Idealism entails from God's creation is the most rational view. First round for my opponent is for acceptance.
I will be arguing that Monistic Idealism does not follow logically as the only result of God's creation of the world. In doing so, I might end up making an argument for an alternative conclusion, such as the conventional theistic view. If so, I will assume burden of proof to prove such a conclusion, but, as a pure negation of Pro's claim, I think BOP is on Pro at this point. He will need to demonstrate that his conclusion is, as he says, "probably" true, which I take to mean that no serious arguments can be brought up that refute it. This weak conclusion (weak meaning it does not assert itself strongly) may be easier to prove for Pro, in which case I might assume BOP on my own conclusion.
All yours, Pro! Feel free to comment if I have misunderstood anything about the debate or your terms.
Rational_Thinker9119 forfeited this round.
1 - there is no material world and that our sensory experiences are merely illusions of some sort
2 - that consciousness, or the mind, which Pro is arguing is the only component of existence, is not at all dependent on biological processes (in other words, that consciousness does not negate his assertion that there is no materialism)
One major issue I have with arguments for Monistic Idealism, as well as many other arguments that more or less fall under the category of Ontological arguments, is that they tend to rely heavily on "a priori" assertions. These statements typically describe a way that things are, or a way in which the world works. A priori statements are often described as "something you can just look at and know it is true", and it follows that they might be good for arguments. However, when arguing for the nature of God, or the nature of the metaphysical world, these statements are not as convincing. Such statements that Pro might be assuming for this argument might be:
1 - the world might as well be seen as mentality, as we cannot step outside of our own minds to be sure
2 - our perceptions are not always functional or credible, and so it should not be trusted that there is a material world
3 - if God is a "grand-mind" that is the creator of all things, God would create that which he is most like, namely, our minds
These assertions do not hold up to scrutiny. They all might be true, and if you already believe them, you will be more likely to believe the argument that follows. However, if someone begins an argument by telling me that the world is immaterial because we cannot prove that it isn't (as we are only inside our minds and perception cannot be trusted), they have already lost me. This claim might be true, but it is unsubstantiated in their argument, and so they have committed the "Appeal to Ignorance" Fallacy. Many of these statements strike me as what would be called "food for thought", in that they are interesting and lead to many avenues of cognition. However, while they might be cool to talk about or ponder, it is quite difficult to substantiate them, and possibly impossible to do so.
I will await further arguments from Pro, as there are two rounds left, and I am interested in the justification for this case. However, I am anticipating some assumptions and conditions for the argument that will not hold up to scrutiny. Here are some links to resources I used:
http://en.wikipedia.org... (look under Classical Idealism for a mention of Monistic Idealism)
I apologize for forfeiting a round, I got really busy and didn't have time unfortunately. Either way, I hope I will be able to get a point across and win the argument.
"In philosophy, Idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental..." 
If God created the universe, then there were 3 ways he could have done it:
1. God created the universe out of nothing 
2. God created the universe out of something that is not God 
3. God created the universe out of himself 
Ruling out 1
We can rule out 1, as the very idea of that is nonsensical. God's will had to act on something in order for the universe to manifest, this something would be the causal connection from God to the universe. However, if God created the universe out of nothing, then there is no causal link to the physical universe from God's intention. To create a universe, causality is required by definition, but there is no causal connection if the universe was created from nothing. Out of nothing, nothing comes. If all that exists is God and his contents, then nothing else could possibly exist.
2 Leads to 3
If God created the universe out of something that is not God, then that something that is not God must have came from God either directly or indirectly (as everything that is not God is God's creation according to his definition). Eventually, there had to have been a first thing that is not God created by God that would have either have had to come from nothing, or from God. Since we have ruled out the universe coming from nothing then 2 leads to 3 being the last option.
3 is the only viable option...God must have created the universe out of himself, as there would be nothing else to create a universe from. However, God is a Grand-Mind by definition, meaning that to create from himself would be to create from his mental content. Thus, the universe is composed of God's mental content, as the universe is just a manifestation of mind.
If God, the universe, and everything else is mental (which it would all have to be if it manifests from a mind) then Idealism is probably true, if not necessarily true. Everything is composed of and reduces to aspects of God's mental, as there would be nothing else for the universe to be composed of.
Now, I am not saying that God created the universe, just that, if he did, the universe reduces to aspects of his mental as that is what the universe would be made out of. I think I showed that to be the most reasonable view. I also did not respond to his last round as he was attacking arguments for Idealism that aren't really relevant here (which isn't really his fault).
So, moving on to the debate.
First, I will mention something that caught my eye right away. Pro has defined God as "the grand-mind which is the cause and creator of all things that are not God (such as the universe)". I accepted this definition by agreeing to participate in the debate, however, Pro's argument zeroes in on the premise that asserts that "God created the universe out of himself" and uses this statement for the conclusion. What seems strange to me is that Pro's definition of God seems to go against his premise and conclusion, in that he has identified God as the creator or cause of all non-God objects, but then goes on to argue that God has not created anything that was not already himself. Perhaps he can rationalize this, or perhaps viewers will not have a problem here, but I see this as very problematic, as I am being asked to assume a definition of God that calls for something which Pro is asserting is more or less impossible. God cannot create non-God things if the entire universe is only a part of God. Where did the non-God things go?
Moving on. I need to show why Monistic Idealism is not probable or likely. One main way I would like to do this is by refuting the likelihood of our world being made up only of mind, per the definition of Monistic Idealism: "consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all being".
I take issue with the assertion that our universe is comprised not of matter, but of consciousness for multiple reasons:
1) there is strong evidence to show that consciousness is derived of a change in matter, specifically the increased cranial capacity for brain matter found in humans
2) the mind is not accurate in its depiction of real-world events, and this can be seen in the results of psychedelic drugs on the user's perception of reality
3) the entirety of our assumed life revolves around interpreting sensory data and interacting with the physical world, and changes in our mental state seem to be indicative of physical changes, such as that mentioned in 1).
Defense of 1:
So far as we know, human beings are alone in our experience of consciousness. There may be the possibility of animal consciousness, but this has not been fully concluded as of yet. Our ability to exist inside a "mind" and have thoughts that are distinguished from urges is due to our cranial capacity, which allows our brain to grow. Scientists such as Hansell Stedman argue that a mutation in a gene related to chewing muscles altered humans, causing us to have less power in our jaw, but less pressure on our skull, thereby giving us more room for brain growth . Now this is interesting, because it gives us good reason to believe that our special kind of sentience is somewhat of an accident, in that it was not caused directly, and merely happened when our brains got bigger. There may be those who argue that animals have minds of some sort, or perhaps souls. However, it is difficult to argue that animals such as mice, or even primates, have the same capacity as the average human, and one key factor defining our species is our capacity for consciousness. If this consciousness is due in large part to an increase in brain matter, however, how are we to argue that our minds are actually the basis for the world around us? If we can merely turn off our minds by not having as much brain matter, it seems highly likely that our consciousness is derived from physical properties, not the other way around.
Defense of 2:
One does not have to look far for an example of a way in which our brains can be "tricked". Optical illusions such as  and  are a dime a dozen, and these typically result from either a misconception of the original image by the eye, or from a misinterpretation of the information by the brain. So, we know that we are not always perceiving reality as it perfectly is, but these optical illusions do not change much about our experience. What about mind-altering substances, however? LSD, or acid, is largely known to have hallucinogenic properties, causing the individual to experience sensory information that is not actually present in the world around him or her. This study examined a man who experienced hallucinations of faces following a period of drug use and found that certain parts of the brain, such as the Visual Cortex and the Superior Frontal Gyrus, were more active during the hallucinations . The individual in question saw faces when presented with images of trees, which is obviously not the correct visual information. So, I must ask, what would happen if a person experiencing a hallucination actually acted upon this perception? Let us imagine an individual who is driving, and begins to hallucinate that they are actually driving in a video game. What are the consequences if they trust their mind and not the physical world around them? In this case, the consequences could be deadly. In the case of the man examined in the study, such misplaced trust in the mind might result in the man talking to or kissing a tree. So, if our consciousness is truly the only aspect of the universe around us, why is it wrong when it attempts to deliver information to us? Why would incongruous communication between the psychic (mental) and real (physical) worlds have such dramatic repercussions, if the physical world did not actually exist? Is it really more likely to assume that our mentality is creating the world around us as an illusion, when the mind seems perfectly capable of misinterpreting the information around it?
Defense of 3:
I am sitting on my bed, typing on a computer, and assuming that the characters I type will be read. I am hungry, and so I will eat after finishing this and continue to do so every day, or else I might die from starvation. I value my mind and its capabilities, however I value the physical world just as much, and tend to think that these two are one and the same. The sum of our experiences are based on this physical world, and the existence of a physical object is quite possibly the easiest empirical statement to prove, as one can simply touch it. Pro is asking us to entertain an argument that rests on the assumption that reality is entirely mental, and so the physical world does not exist. This requires a complex explanation that involves the nature of God, the nature of the universe, and some understanding of how our minds are able to project this entire world for us. On the other hand, the explanation for the material world's existence is simple: reach out and touch it. So, allowing for use of the principle behind Occam's Razor (which is actually used to compare equally likely hypotheses, a situation which is not present here, as Pro's hypothesis is much less likely than those against it), we may see that the simplest solution is the most likely . Not necessarily the ultimate truth, however, Pro's argument is asserting that his stance is the most likely, whereas the arguments against it are simpler and have more backing, and so we should assume, rationally, that Pro's argument is not likely, and possibly not true.
In conclusion, I have demonstrated why Pro's stance is flawed and not likely. I will give my rebuttal of his argument in full next round.
Rational_Thinker9119 forfeited this round.
Pro is using a classical deductive form for his argument, referred to here as "Disjunctive Syllogism" . While this form is valid and is listed as such, there are problems with Pro's argument for other reasons. In the same list, you will see something called the "False Dichotomy" . In the case of Pro's argument, we have instead a false trichotomy, as Pro has asserted that "If God created he universe, then there were 3 ways he could have done it:". Pro lists three ways indeed, but gives no reasoning as to why there cannot be more. Allow me to suggest some other methods which God might have used to create the universe, methods which Pro has not refuted or even mentioned:
-God created the universe out of pre-existent qualities, laws, forces, etc.
-God organized the processes of the universe, "creating" by using the early universe as a starting ground
-God expanded himself to include the physical realm so that he might create the universe out of this part
These are just three of the many other alternatives God might have used (all assuming the existence of God as per this debate and its definitions). You see, when creating a disjunction, you must be sure of two things: 1) that the items listed in the disjunction are the only possibilities, and 2) that the items are exclusive of each other, in that more than one of them cannot be possible. This is why the form Pro is using is also called the "Exclusive disjunction". How it works is that, if the above two conditions are true, all the thinker must do is negate all but one of the options. The most appropriate way to do this is by defending each option and showing that one of the options has a good defense, while the others can be ruled out.
In Pro's case, he has not only set up a false trichotomy of options, where other options should have been included, but he has merely ruled out two options. His conclusion, that "God created the universe out of himself", has no evidence or backing behind it. Pro has formulated these possibilities from his imagination and is attempting to declare, without any reason, that the universe is the way he says it is, simply because it isn't the other two ways he mentioned. Anyone experienced in the tautology of William Lane Craig, the man in the video linked by Pro (wherein 90% of Pro's argument can be found), knows that arguments such as these make a mockery of classical deductive form using everything from clever wordplay to absolute circle logic.
I already discussed in Round 3 how Pro's definition of God as "the grand-mind which is the cause and creator of all things that are not God" goes against his very conclusion. I accepted this definition with the assumption that Pro would provide me with good reason to assume its truth, but now I see that Pro was banking on the use of the word "grand-mind" to jump to his conclusion that the universe is all just part of "God's mind". I have already demonstrated in Round 3 why it is wrong to assume with any likelihood that the universe does not contain matter in the physical sense. Without any refutation of these arguments, they go far to discredit the idea that the universe is all mental, not physical, regardless of the nature of God. I ask again, if God caused all non-God things in the universe, but the universe is God, where did those non-God things go? Pro's argument does not account for this major contradiction.
Pro's argument rests on an invalid form, makes hasty conclusions, and is, at its heart, incongruous with the very definitions set forth by this debate. Not only is his concept unlikely, but his argument is nearly devoid of logic and has no real backing or evidence. Pro's sources include blogs, a Christian apologist who received a degree from an institution where William Lane Craig is on staff, and the theology version of wikipedia. I have provided links to academic papers that have been peer-reviewed and will also include a video showing why William Lane Craig is not a proper source for good arguments in philosophy. I hope voters will see that I have not only committed more time to this debate, but that I have refuted Pro's arguments and shown why his is fundamentally flawed. Vote Con.
(concerning William Lane Craig)
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