The Instigator
enaidealukal
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Typhlochactas
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points

Is Belief in the Existence of God Intellectually Tenable?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Typhlochactas
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,381 times Debate No: 31610
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (15)
Votes (3)

 

enaidealukal

Con

Waiting for opponent, arguments to commence in Round 2. To be clear, I'm taking the position that belief in the existence of God is NOT intellectually tenable.
Typhlochactas

Pro

Ave!

I will offer some basic definitions in this debate. 'God' is the greatest being conceivable. If you could conceive of a greater being, then that would be god. Belief is to hold something to be an accurate representation of reality. Exist is to be a part of reality. Intellectually tenable means that it can be rationally defended in a debate.

Now that we have the basics out of the way, I'll await R2 arguments from Con.

Vale!
Debate Round No. 1
enaidealukal

Con

First, I want to thank my opponent, Typhlochactas, for participating in this debate, and to the sponsoring site (debate.org) as well.

It's fairly routine to begin such a discussion as this with some definitions; my opponent has provided a definition of God, which I can abide for the time being, but let"s also clarify the definition of "belief"; a belief, for our purposes here, will be propositional- that is to say that a belief is a belief that such-and-such is the case, or is true.

Now, to inquire whether a particular belief is tenable is to inquire about the warrant or justification for the belief- what is the reason for thinking that this, and not that, is the case? We do this all the time- if your co-worker comments that the boss looks angry today, you may ask them "what makes you think that?" You're asking them to justify their belief- usually in terms of citing some evidence. They may tell you that they heard the boss yelling or being curt with his secretary- or maybe it turns out it that this was just a hunch (in which case we would decide their belief was not really warranted- if the boss did turn out to be angry, we may say our co-worker "got lucky" with this hunch).

But there are other ways one could justify a belief; for trivial beliefs, such as my belief that 2+2=4, my justification is that the opposite of this belief is contradictory- so some claims are logically necessary and demonstrable. Or perhaps my belief, while not itself logically necessary, follows logically from some other belief.

So here we have three possibilities for providing a justification for the belief that God exists such that it could be regarded as intellectually tenable; provide sufficient evidence that God exists, we could demonstrate that God"s existence is logically necessary via deductive argument, or we could demonstrate that God"s existence follows necessarily (via deductive argument) from some other claim for which there is sufficient evidence. Now, I will argue two primary theses here; one, that God"s existence cannot be justified on evidentiary grounds, nor can it be demonstrated by a sound deductive argument. Let's focus on the first of these claims here.

Now, in order to evaluate the evidence for or against a given belief in the first place, the belief in question must be intelligible- one must know what exactly that belief holds to be the case, or to be true. These are the belief's truth-conditions; the specific conditions under which we could consider the belief true, as opposed to false. A belief with no truth-conditions is a belief which doesn"t assert anything; it is vacuous, and not a belief that, in the sense of being a belief asserting that something or other is the case, at all.

If a belief is intelligible, we can begin to consider the evidence, and compare it to the truth-conditions for that belief; does the evidence suggest that what the belief asserts is actually the case? Does it contradict the truth-conditions for the belief?

So now, keeping the above in mind, let us turn to belief in the existence of God; is it intelligible? If so, is it supported, or contradicted, by the evidence? The answer to the second question hinges on the answer to the first, but not in the way you may think; any conception of God that is intelligible turns out to be inconsistent, or at least not supported by, the evidence, whereas any conception of God that is not contradicted by the evidence is unintelligible. At one time, when the truth of Christian doctrines were held to exclude the truth of, for instance, Darwin"s theory, belief in God maintained some specifiable truth-conditions. God was the entity described in the Bible who caused some specific and unique changes X, Y, and Z in the world (created the heavens and the Earth, sent a rather large flood, turned people to pillars of salt and so on)- if we find evidence those events did indeed occur, it tends to support God's existence, and if we do not, it tends to discredit it. So highly literal, and philosophically naive, conceptions of God often entail definite truth-conditions; the problem is, the evidence doesn"t support those truth-conditions.

But when we look to the theologians and more conceptually sophisticated conceptions of God, the situation reverses; we are told that God is that of which nothing greater can be thought. He is perfectly simple- utterly without parts- they say, and yet present in three distinct persons and yet one. He is the ground of Being itself, or he is the foundation of moral principles, or a spirit of pure Love. These are all great as poetry, but as definitions, they don"t cut the mustard; such definitions don"t entail any definite truth-conditions, and as such, belief in such a being is unintelligible. On the other hand, belief in such a God remains immune from being discredit by the evidence, because it is consistent with any and all evidence; it is unfalsifiable. But an unfalsifiable belief may be immune from evidentiary disproof, but it remains intellectually untenable nevertheless.

Thus, this is the dilemma for belief in the existence of God; become intelligible and state specific truth-conditions but be discredited on evidentiary grounds, or avoid evidentiary refutation by remaining unintelligible and unfalsifiable. Either way, belief in the existence of God cannot satisfy the criteria of being both intelligible, and supported by evidence. It remains to be seen whether belief in God's existence can be justified as being a necessary truth, or following logically from some other truth (which is either necessary, or intelligible and supported by evidence).
Typhlochactas

Pro

Ave!

Deductive Argument for God: Ontological Argument

P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

Possible Worlds
A Possible World is a Maximal Description of Reality, not planets or a universe. It's just a way reality might be. Imagine a huge conjunction where propositions, p, q, r, s … and worlds, W1, W2, etc:

A possible world is a conjunction which comprises every proposition or its contrary. Such a conjunction yields a maximal description of reality—nothing is left out. So by negating different conjuncts in a maximal description of reality would yield different worlds:

W1 = p, q, r, s …

W2 = p, ¬q, r, ¬s …

W3 = ¬p, ¬q, r, s …

Only one of these worlds can be the actual world, that is a world with all true conjuncts. Possible world conjuncts must be capable of being true individually and together. For example, The prime minister is a prime number isn’t even possibly true!

Saying God exists in some possible world means the proposition: God exists is true in some maximal description of reality. Thus God is ‘maximally excellent’ in every possible world: God has ‘maximal greatness.’

To have Maximal Excellence is to possess great making properties. Great making properties are things like omniscience, omnipotence, moral perfection, etc. But we can gradually discover what a great making property is, without undermining the objective notion that God would, by definition, possess all such properties.

Maximal Greatness is thus possibly exemplified. But then it must exist in a maximally excellent way in every possible world, including the actual world, therefore God exists.

Is it possible for god to exist?
Given the above argument, if it is even possible for god to exist, then god must actually exist. Since the argument is logically valid, the only way to disprove the argument is to show that it's impossible for god to exist, which is a very difficult task for any debater.

The ontological argument gives us a logically valid, deductive reason for believing that god exists.

God's existence follows necessarily (via deductive argument) from some other claim for which there is sufficient evidence: The Moral Argument
P1) If god does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not ext.
P2) Objective moral values and duties exist.
C) God exists.

Logical Validity of the Argument
The moral argument is a logically valid. It's a standard Modus tollens formulation. Logically, it states that if P implies Q, and not Q, therefore not P. Here's an example of what Modus tollens looks like in an argument.

Without hydrogen and oxygen, water could not exist. Water does exist. Therefore, hydrogen and oxygen exist.

Since the argument is logically valid, the only issue is whether the premises are true or not.

Moral Truth
There are three forms of moral relativism, all of which claim that objective morality does not exist. This has obvious implication on the moral argument, because premise two can't be true if relativism is true. So, it is vital to demonstrate that moral truth exists.

Descriptive relativism argues that moral conflict exists. This view doesn't have any implications on the objectivity of morality. If I say that voodoo practices are justified by physics, and Victor Stenger tells me otherwise, then the logic implies that there must not be any truths to be known about physics! But there are truths to be known about physics, so descriptive relativism can't disprove moral truth.

Meta-ethical relativism argues that when there is moral conflict, no side is actually right or wrong, because objective rights and wrong do not actually exist. However, there are good reasons to believe that right and wrong actually exist. The following is an argument for moral truth.

1) For any action A affecting some person P, if A has moral content, then A cannot be amoral

2) If such morals exist, then they would exist necessarily

3) Some objective moral knowledge exists

4) Moral truth exists

Ergo, meta-ethical relativism cannot be true.

Finally, we approach normative relativism. This argues that since there is no objective right or wrong, we should be tolerant of other people's actions and behaviors, even if we find them to be wrong. However, this presents us with a contradiction. Tolerance is treated as a universal moral value that we should all act by. A moral relativist in America thinks we should tolerate other moral systems, and a moral relativist in Brazil would believe the same. On relativism, everybody should be tolerant of other people's morality. Ergo, tolerance is assumed as objectively moral, making normative relativism self-contradictory.

God and Objective Morality
‘'An objective moral prescriber is necessary for objective moral prescriptions, and an objective moral standard is necessary for objective moral values. God is a maximally great being, and since it's intuitively greater to be the standard of moral perfection rather than exemplify it, then it follows that God would be the moral standard were he to exist, which makes him uniquely qualified in issuing commands. Therefore, God is the most plausible and least arbitrary standard, necessary for moral reality.'’ -Apeiron, DDO philosopher of science and geophysicist


Conclusion
Con gave us three ways of justifying belief: provide sufficient evidence that God exists, demonstrate that God"s existence is logically necessary via deductive argument, or demonstrate that God"s existence follows necessarily (via deductive argument) from some other claim for which there is sufficient evidence. Using the arguments that I have given above, there are good reasons to believe that the first and third justifications apply to god. From that, the first category would apply to god as well. Ergo, belief in god is intellectually tenable.

Vale!
Debate Round No. 2
enaidealukal

Con

Deductive Arguments: The Modal Ontological Argument

The argument my proponent has provided- known as the “modal ontological argument” (henceforth MOA)- is a familiar one, although the way they have presented it is fairly peculiar- this version has a couple of redundant steps, is missing a premise (and so, as it stands, is actually invalid), and has disguised several of the crucial logical steps. However, I’m familiar with the argument, as well as familiar with the principle of charity, so we’ll chalk this off to hastiness and re-include his missing premise, as well as make explicit the inferences being made. The argument is essentially that A. it is possible there a maximally great being exists and B. that necessarily, if a maximally great being exists it exists necessarily. From here one infers that it is possible that such a being exists, therefore it is possibly necessary that such a being exists, and from this, one concludes that such a being does in fact exist. But to make the argument, and the inferences, explicit lets present them in numbered premise/conclusion form-

P1. It is necessary that, if a maximally great being exists then it is necessary that a maximally great being exists.
P2.It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
C3: If it is necessary that, if a maximally great being exists then it is necessary that a maximally great being exists, then if it is possible that a maximally great being exists then it is possibly necessary that a maximally great being exists. (from P2, 3)
P4. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists then it is possibly necessary that a maximally great being exists.
C5. It is possibly necessary that a maximally great being exists. (from P2, 4, C3)
P6. If it is possibly necessary that a maximally great being exits, then a maximally great being exists. (B-principle)
C7: A maximally great being exists.

This may appear slightly different than the argument my opponent has presented, but it is logically the same. Now, is the argument sound? It’s hard to say, because it isn’t obvious at first glance whether the argument is even valid; there are some rather large problems with both P1 and P2, and the inference at P6 is based on a modal principle that is not included in all systems of modal logic. Furthermore, as we will see, in order to get the modal principle that allows the inference to P6, the proponent of the MOA must open the door to a proliferation of entities and ultimately, potential contradiction.

Standard criticisms of this argument focus on P1 (for instance, any Buddhist or Hindu would likely claim that existence is not greater than not-existence, and necessary existence is not greater than actual or contingent existence, while others would question if the notion of a "necessary being" is any more coherent than that of a "neurotic triangle" or a "valid being" ) or P2 (pointing out contradictions in the definition for God, i.e. the logical problem of evil, logical conflict between maxima of various attributes, etc.), which are all valid criticisms, but I will take a slightly different route here.

The serious, and fatal, problem appears at P6, i.e. the inference from the possible necessity of a maximally great being to there (actually) existing such a being: this inference is an instance of the general modal principle "P-> P" (if it is possibly necessary that P, then P) sometimes called the “B-principle”, which is found in certain modal systems, but not all. Without this principle, the inference can not be made to “a maximally great being exists”, and the MOA is invalid; therefore the MOA is valid ONLY in those systems of modal logic which include this principle, and invalid in those that do not (Von Wright’s system M, any of the Lewis systems weaker than S5).

Ultimately though, whether we adopt a modal system which has the B-principle or not has devastating consequences for the MOA either way; if we don’t adopt such a system, P6 doesn’t stand and the argument can’t go through, but if we do adopt such a system, this leads to a proliferation of existant necessary beings, and some contradictions with the theological conception that God exists. If the MOA is valid, and the B-principle states an acceptable inference (i.e. from “it is possibly necessary that X exists” to “x exists”), then it provides us with the logical machinery to demonstrate the existence of all sorts of necessary beings- for instance, any number of beings whose essence entails existence but who are not maximally great- maybe they are simply very great but not maximally so.

Consider a being whose existence is necessary if it is possible (like God’s), but who is slightly less maximally great- is it possible that such a great-but-less-than-maximally-great necessary being exists? If it is, and the MOA is valid, then it follows that such a being in fact exists. Moreover, we could now prove the actual existence of any number of such entities we care to pick; thus our ontology has gotten a lot more crowded, and arbitrarily so it would seem. Worse, if the MOA is valid and we can derive the existence of a maximally great being, as well as a variety of great-but-not-maximally-great necessary beings, then we would presumably have placed a limit on God’s omnipotence- God could not cause these other necessary beings to cease to exist, since they exist of their own necessity- moreover, this would presumably contradict the frequent claim in theology that God is the first uncaused cause in the sense that he alone is not dependent upon anything else for his existence. The existence of other necessary beings would mean there are at least some things which do not depend on God for their existence.

So, we’ve seen that the premises of the MOA are highly questionable, but more importantly that it is invalid unless the crucial inference is granted; but if this inference is indeed granted, it leads to an arbitrary proliferation of entities in our ontology, and suggests that any maximally great being could not have the qualities typically ascribed to the Christian God and may even be self-contradictory. In other words, it fails either way.

Moral Arguments:

My opponent also advances an argument for the existence of God from morality. The argument is indeed valid (provided we are not using intuitionistic/constructivist logic, in which case it is not), unfortunately, like all other such arguments, it is not sound, or if it is, it remains to be shown as such. Both of its premises- that if God does not exist then objective moral values do not exist, and that objective moral values do indeed exist- are every bit as contentious and unestablished as the claim that God exists, and thus make poor premises. Furthermore, I’m not sure how one could ever substantiate the first premise; one would have to effectively rule out all other possible explanations for an objective moral code (including but not limited to deontic/Kantian accounts of universal moral values, evolutionary accounts, etc.)- this is a tall order, needless to say. But more crucially, it remains far from obvious that objective moral values exist at all; indeed, stating it is if it were obvious is to ignore the entire last few centuries of ethics and moral philosophy (the fact/value dichotomy and Hume’s fork, emotivism and phenomenology), and the positions my opponent presents as alternatives to moral realism are simply strawmen.

Ultimately, if God’s existence can be rationally believed insofar as it follows necessarily from the existence of objective moral values, then it needs to be shown that the existence of objective moral values is itself a necessary truth, or else some evidence for their existence must needs to be given.

***

Anyways, I had been planning on discussing the problems with deductive arguments for the existence of God in general, but I've maxed the character limit for this round. At this point though, we can say that the MOA and the moral argument, as least, are not successful.
Typhlochactas

Pro

Ave!

Is Belief in the Existence of God Intellectually Tenable?

Remember, this debate is not about whether the arguments for the existence of god are true. It's asking if one can rationally defend the belief in god. For one to rationally defend belief in god, there are several forms of arguments that can be offered. The point of my last round to demonstrate that such arguments exist, and that they can be defended. In order to uphold the resolution, Con has to prove that it's impossible to defend these arguments rationally, not that the arguments are false. Ignoring this issue, I will press on to his criticisms of these arguments.

Ontological Argument
Con misconstrues the argument. He asserts that his reformulation is logically the same thing, but he places modal quantifiers before statements of necessity, thereby trivializing the modal argument! All of this is done by convention to set up an invalid argument that I didn't use.

The existence of less than maximally great beings is no problem to the ontological argument. In fact, it's very easy to answer. In order for such beings to be less than maximally great, a maximally great being would have to exist! The existence of less than maximally great beings depends on a maximally great being! Thus this is a failed parody, and actually ends up supporting the ontological argument.

Moral Relativism
You'll recall that in the last round of the debate, I gave three good reasons to think that moral relativism isn't true. Con's only response to this is to assert that it is a straw man. I was personally affected by this allegation, because I try to make my refutations as accurate as possible. So, I decided to consult philosopical encyclopedias to see if I was getting moral relativism right.

My definition of descriptive relativism: 'Descriptive relativism argues that moral conflict exists.'
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: 'Descriptive relativism is a family of empirical claims to the effect that certain groups in fact have different modes of thought, standards of reasoning, or the like.'

Match! That's for 1 for 1.

My definition of meta-ethical relativism: 'Meta-ethical relativism argues that when there is moral conflict, no side is actually right or wrong, because objective rights and wrong do not actually exist.'
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
'Meta-ethical relativism is the doctrine that there is no single true or most justified morality.'

That's 2 for 2.

My definition of normative relativism: 'we should be tolerant of other people's actions and behaviors, even if we find them to be wrong.'
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: 'the doctrine that it is morally wrong to pass judgment on or to interfere with the moral practices of others who have adopted moralities different from one's own'

That's 3 for 3. Where's the strawman?

[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] http://www.phil.cmu.edu...

Moral Argument

Con gives examples of moral systems that assert objective moral values without the existence of god. This doesn't relate to the moral argument at all. The contention isn't that an atheist has no way of saying objective moral values exist. The contention is that there is no objective foundation for any atheistic framework of objective morality.The issue here is what ontology is the most plausible and least arbitrary. God as a moral basis is, in my view, the most plausible and least arbitrary moral basis. If Con thinks that deontological ethics present a more plausible and less arbitrary system, then he should argue for it. Unless Con shows that it's better than god as a moral basis, his observation is futile. In order to say that god is the most plausible and least arbitrary moral basis, one does not need to disprove every other moral basis. It just needs to be demonstrated that god is more plausible and less arbitrary than that moral basis.

I also gave an argument for the existence of objective moral values. Con doesn't respond to this argument. Instead, he names ideas that contradict the existence of objective moral values. Never does he provide any reason to think that these ideas are true. He just says 'Here are the ideas that contradict your argument', and leaves it at that. We are never given any reason to think that emotivism
or phenomenology is valid, so it's unclear as to how Con refuted the argument.

Ultimately, Con's statements on the moral argument can be reduced to 'This contradicts your argument, but I'm never going to prove it!'. I concede that emotivism contradicts objetive morality, but why think that emotivism is true? That's the issue with Con's argumentation.

Vale!
Debate Round No. 3
enaidealukal

Con

First let me reiterate what I’ve said about when a belief is intellectually tenable; in my opening argument I’ve argued that a belief is intellectually tenable if it is justified, and that a belief is justified if it is either supported by sufficient evidence, shown to be a necessary truth, or shown to follow from some other claim which meets one of these two criteria. But even if we judge by whether Pro has provided a rational defense for belief in God, he would still need to do more than simply provide arguments- if one has not provided arguments which both valid and have premises which are either self-evident or substantiated, then in no sense has one rationally defended the claim in question. Now, on to my rebutals.

The Modal Ontological Argument

The
charge that I have trivialized the MOA by placing modal quantifiers before statements of necessity is extremely curious; since the MOA is a modal argument (hence modal ontological argument), it can only be symbolized in terms of the language of that formal system- including the quantifiers. To be entirely frank, this objection betrays a rather elementary misunderstanding of formal logic, and is an entirely misplaced and forceless objection. Similarly, Pro has failed to understand the equivalence of ordinary modal language (necessarily/possibly) and possible-worlds language (in all possible worlds/in a possible world)- these are simply different ways of expressing the same thing- the modal quantifier
is the formal symbol for possibly, □ for necessarily, and possibly, X and in a possible world, X both say X, and necessarily, X and in all possible worlds, X both say □X.* Thus, this is another misplaced and irrelevant objection.

My opponent also alleges that I have reformulated his argument in a way that is not accurate and which would thereby invalidate it. Although this is also ultimately irrelevant because my criticisms of the MOA apply to either form of the argument, I must note the irony here- rather than being charitable and offering a stronger version of the MOA
, he alleges I have constructed a straw-man. This is simply mistaken; the version I offered is stronger than the version my opponent gives; not only does it make the inferences more explicit, it is actually more plausible. But at bottom, they are the same argument, and the same objections apply to both, so this objection is a red herring.

But as far as the superiority of my version of the argument, Pro's version claims that if it is possible a MGB exists then it necessarily exists-
but it is far from obvious why this should be so, it doesn't seem to follow. On the other hand, my version requires the more plausible claims that it is possible a MGB exists necessarily and that if a MGB actually exists, it necessarily exists. Far from a strawman, my version of the MOA is actually more plausible.

But ultimately, this is beside the point since my objections apply to both forms of the argument
. Now, I'm not entirely sure my opponent has fully appreciated the force of the less-than-maximally-great necessary being (LGNB) problem; the fact that we could derive, if the MOA is valid, the existence of a limitless number of LGNB's would, if true, constitute a fatal objection to the MOA. Anytime our ontology becomes populated with an infinite number of existing imaginary beings, it is a sure sign that something has gone terribly wrong.

But perhaps some examples would help drive home the scope of the problem; suppose (Pro's version of) the MOA is valid. Let's say I want to prove that some imaginary LGNB exists; lets call it Gobblydeegook. This entity is extremely powerful and moral, but not maximally so. Now take my opponents argument, and substitute "LGNB " for each instance of "MGB", and we get-

P1: It is possible that a LGNB exists.

P2: If it is possible that a LGNB exists, then a LGNB exists in some possible world.
P3: If a LGNB exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a LGNB exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a LGNB exists in the actual world, then a LGNB exists.
C: Therefore, a LGNB exists.

Now lets consider another imaginary LGNB - let's call this one "Turd Ferguson". Turd is powerful and everything else, and can read minds. Follow the same steps as above, and we have proved that Turd exists, as well as Gobblydeegook. This procedure can be repeated as many times as one likes, to prove that any number of imaginary things actually exist. Thus, the MOA cannot be a sound argument.

But worse; contrary to Pro's claim that the existence of LGNB's supports the MOA, they prove that the MGB cannot be God, and further, lead to a contradiction. Since these LGNB's exist necessarily, they could not not exist, and they exist of their own necessity- they do not require any cause external to themselves. Thus our MGB can't be the cause of their existence (and since this MGB is supposed to be identical to God, who is held by Christian tradition to be the cause of everything, this would in effect prove that the MGB is not God). But if a MGB is a being responsible for everything that exists (since, presumably, a being who is responsible for everything that exists would be greater than one who is not) then if the MOA is valid, it follows that a MGB exists and that the MGB is the not the MGB- a contradiction. Again, the MOA cannot be sound.

The Moral Argument

Here again I'm afraid my opponent has misunderstood my objection; the charge is not that he has misrepresented moral relatavism, but rather that by focusing on moral relativism at the exclusion of more defensible moral anti-realist positions, he has constructed a strawman- providing some arguments why moral relativism is false does not suffice to establish that there are objective moral values- moral relativism could be false and yet some other form of moral anti-realism could be true. Thus, his argument is non-sequitur. In order to justify the inference that God exists, Pro must justify the premises on which this inference rests- he must either provide positive evidence there are objective moral values, or show that the alternative (moral anti-realism in general) is impossible. He has done neither.

Similarly, Pro must justify the other premise of the moral argument, that if God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist- in other words, that the existence of God is the only possible explanation for the existence of objective moral values. To do this, Pro must show that any other alternative is impossible- if he is to justify his premise that objective moral values do not exist unless God does, he must rule out the possibility that moral values could exist without God. Pro has mixed up the burden of proof here; I have no obligation to argue for deontology or any other non-divine command moral realism- he has claimed that objective moral values do not exist without God, now he must back that claim up, and so far he has not.

Summary

So Pro's objections to my characterization of the MOA turn out to carry no weight, and curiously, he offers no counter-arguments to my more substantial and serious objections to the MOA; he grants that the MOA leads to a proliferation of imaginary LGNBs, and offers no reply to the charge that this result suggests that the MGB being cannot be the Christian God. Moreover, he has failed to meet his burden of proof with respect to the moral argument, because he has not substantiated either of the premises, according to the criteria for justification. In the final round, I will make some concluding remarks about the problem facing deductive arguments for the existence of God generally (i.e. not just the MOA or moral argument).


*http://plato.stanford.edu..., http://en.wikipedia.org..., any other source on modal logic you care to pick
Typhlochactas

Pro

Ave!

Ontological Argument
I don't have anything to say about the formal logic behind the ontological argument because I'm not trained in philosophy at all.

Earlier, Con asked why existence is greater than non-existence. I realized that I forgot to answer this point in the last round. The MOA as Plantinga formulated it doesn't depend on existence being greater. Existence isn't even a property, but necessary existence IS a property.

But anyhow, it's clearly greater to exist than not since if you didn't exist, there would be ~you and so nothing great could arise in which you're the only existing entity whatever.

In fact, it may even be nonsense to say that non-existence is greater... how would that work out? If nothing is not anything, and since only things have the capacity for greatness, however big or small, then how in the logical world can ~thing be somehow "great"? It's incoherent to think of a non-existant being as having any amount of greatness.

It's unclear as to why a LMGB would exist in all possible worlds. That's why I don't understand P3 of Con's parody. If a LMGB were an objective feature of all reality (existing in all possible worlds), then why not call it maximally great? It seems intuitive that a LMGB would exist in many possible worlds, but not exist in another set of possible worlds. So why think that a LMGB exist in all possible worlds?

I also didn't see real response to the 'LMGB requires a MGB' argument. Perhaps I just missed it.

Moral Argument
I apologize for misunderstanding Con about the straw man point. Aside from DDO, I’m a member of a forum where the term is thrown around to describe refutations a lot. I naturally assumed that he was calling my description of relativism inaccurate. I see that this isn’t the case, however.

I chose moral relativism and its forms because it’s the most common anti-realism that is put forward. Con is correct to point out that this doesn’t refute all forms of anti-realism. Still, my case for theism stands even if I don’t do such a thing. In my round two argument, I gave a positive argument for moral realism. I did this because it’s impossible to refute every form of anti-realism in one debate. Instead of doing that, I chose the most popular forms of anti-realism to make a negative argument, and then I made a positive argument for moral realism. Even if I don’t tear down all forms of anti-realism, there is still an untouched argument in favor of moral realism on my side.

It’s also interesting that Con cites deontological ethics as an alternative to divine command theory. Deontology argues that right and wrong depends on duty. That’s exactly what divine command theory states as well! It’s your duty to follow commands given by the epitome and paradigm of moral good. Even if we accept Kant’s forms of ethics, it’s not mutually exclusive to divine command theory. One could say ‘’Yes, right and wrong are based on duty, and we have a duty to god!’’.

I would also agree that it’s very difficult to show that it’s impossible for objective moral values and duties to exist sans a god. So, it’s imperative to my case to show that atheism provides an implausible and arbitrary explanation of objective moral values, if any. If I can accomplish this, then theistic objective morality is the most plausible explanation,

"The position of the modern evolutionist … is that humans have an awareness of morality … because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. …Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. … Nevertheless, … such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, … and any deeper meaning is illusory..” -Michael Ruse

A vastly different set of morals might well have evolved if evolutionary history were started over. Darwin wrote,

“If … men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters, and no one would think of interfering.”

To think conscious human’s morality is true is to be guilty of species-ism. Dawkins says,

“there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. . . . We are machines for propagating DNA. . . . It is every living object’s sole reason for being”

Moral obligations or prohibitions arise in response to imperatives from a competent authority. For example, if a policeman tells you to pull over, then because of his authority, who he is, you are legally obligated to pull over. But if some random stranger tells you to pull over, you’re not legally obligated to do so. Now, in the absence of God, what authority is there to issue moral commands or prohibitions? There is none on atheism, and therefore there are no moral imperatives for us to obey. In the absence of God there just isn’t any sort of moral obligation or prohibition that characterizes our lives. In particular, we’re not morally obligated to promote the flourishing of conscious creatures

I have explained why theism provides a plausible and unarbitrary explanation of objective morality. Since atheism’s explanations of objective morality (deontology, Sam Harris’s Moral Landscape) are implausible and arbitrary, theism wins out at the end of the day.

Vale!



Debate Round No. 4
enaidealukal

Con

enaidealukal forfeited this round.
Typhlochactas

Pro

Ave!

Extend all arguments.

Vale!
Debate Round No. 5
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by elvroin_vonn_trazem 4 years ago
elvroin_vonn_trazem
A debate can only be as valid, intellectually speaking, as the data upon which the arguments are based. For the most part, there is not a lot of data supporting the notion that God exists. However, "not a lot" is not the same as "none". Consider this, for example:

http://listverse.com...

So far as I know, there is no Scientific explanation for that....
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
True Scripture is where you find all answers. Many try to pass off outdated tripe as true scripture, however, True Scripture is more relevant for the 21st century :)

I think a sky daddy is going to protect me and I think that the reason for the stars is a stud because in his book he said that women should cover their head, and that makes perfect sense :)

CryBabies 2:37--Widdle kids will whine "Well science cant answer questions like "Why are we here? What is our purpose?", that is correct, and Wal-Mart cannot answer those questions for you either, so go pout and stomp your feet that nobody will answer your questions and nobody will help you go potty and wipe your butt for you. Put on your big kid pants and figure out your own purpose and legacy :)

Buddies 9:17--The reason for zombie worms that have sex in whale bones, made an appearance in the middle east so we would know to obey or get a spanking. That was nice of god to let us know that :)
Posted by Sleezehead 4 years ago
Sleezehead
Phylosophers obandon the simplistic teaching of religion as amid to abstract a larger picture of why religion could still be realistic. In other words, we make up our own reason why god can be tenable.
Posted by SinNoMore 4 years ago
SinNoMore
*I was responding to Dominion*
Posted by SinNoMore 4 years ago
SinNoMore
^^ I think it's hardly fair to say that anyone who believes in God is mentally imparied. Of course there are good reasons for believing in God. In my opinion, the evidence for His existence outweighs the evidence against. But if the only evidence that you are willing to accept is empirical scientifically determined data, then that is what is unreasonable, because that is not the only valid kind of knowledge/evidence.
Posted by enaidealukal 4 years ago
enaidealukal
No thanks, we can tough it out- only 1 1/2 rounds left, anyways.
Posted by Typhlochactas 4 years ago
Typhlochactas
Do you want to tie this debate? I'm getting kind of bored by it.
Posted by enaidealukal 4 years ago
enaidealukal
Not a problem- as I said, it was my own fault. The other debates I've set up since have shorter response times (except one in which my opponent specifically requested 72 hours, to which I agreed- grudgingly).
Posted by Typhlochactas 4 years ago
Typhlochactas
There you go. Sorry to keep you waiting.
Posted by enaidealukal 4 years ago
enaidealukal
Indeed. Most of your other opponents appear to be entirely unfamiliar with the subject matter, including even the basics of formal logic. Doesn't make for a very stimulating debate, I would imagine.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Apeiron 4 years ago
Apeiron
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Pennington
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Vote Placed by KingDebater 4 years ago
KingDebater
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