The Instigator
Typhlochactas
Pro (for)
Losing
34 Points
The Contender
Magicr
Con (against)
Winning
38 Points

It is most probable that a god exists.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+9
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 21 votes the winner is...
Magicr
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,296 times Debate No: 31686
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (21)

 

Typhlochactas

Pro

Ave!

God is a maximally great being, and by definition, you cannot conceive of anything greater than god.

'Most probable' simply means that it is more possible than its negation. If the theist side's arguments are more plausible than their refutations, then god most probably exists.

Exists means to be a part of reality.

For rules, I think we should just follow general ideas of DDO conduct. Sources are not needed for this debate, but they can be included. Burden of proof is on myself.

Vale!
Magicr

Con

I accept this debate.

Before my opponent continues on with his arguments, I would like to clarify that the God about which we are debating is subject to logic, as otherwise this we could really not discuss this being substanially.

I look forward to an excellent debate
Debate Round No. 1
Typhlochactas

Pro

Ave!

Indeed, god is subject to logic.

Contingency Argument
P1) Anything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
P2) The universe exists.
P3) The universe has an explanation of its existence.
P4) The explanation of the universe is not due to necessity.
P5) The explanation of the universe is due to an external cause.
P6) The external cause must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, omnipotent, and personal.
P7) If god existed, he would at least have the traits of being spaceless, timeless, immaterial, omnipotent, and personal.
C: The external cause of the universe is god.

Principle of Sufficient Reason
For every event E, if E occurs, then there is a sufficient explanation for why E occurs. Due to this principle, the universe could not have existed without cause.

The Universe is Not Necessary
It is easy to conceive of some logical state of affairs where the universe does not exist. There is nothing in logic that would require the universe to exist necessarily. From this alone, we have very good reason to believe that the universe does not exist necessarily.

There is also the problem of an actual infinity. If the universe exists necessarily, then it existed eternally. If the universe existed eternally, then it existed an infinite amount of time ago. But this would mean that there would be an infinite number of events before the present moment, making this debate impossible. Ergo, the universe could not exist necessarily.

Something cannot come from nothing

The universe could not have come from nothing. If the universe had come from nothing, then that 'nothing' would have the property of something coming from it. Nothing is the state of having no properties. If the universe came from nothing, then it wouldn't be nothing at all!

Virtual particles are given as an example of something coming from nothing. But virtual particles don't come from nothing! They come from the quantum vacuum, which consists of known physical laws, and fundamental asymmetries


The Need for a Necessary Cause
The universe didn't come from nothing. The universe isn't eternal or necessary. The only option left is that the universe had an external cause of it coming into being. Since time began to exist during the Big Bang, the cause must be sans (without) time. Ditto for space and matter. The enormous power required to create the universe to exist suggests that the cause is omnipotent. Finally, the cause must be personal because it decided to bring another state of affairs into existence.

In conclusion, the most plausible explanation of the universe coming into being is a personal, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, omnipotent, necessary being.

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 World

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.

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

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.

Moral Truth Exists
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
There are three good arguments for thinking that god exists, making his existence more probable than the negation.

Vale!
Magicr

Con

I’d like to thank my opponent for his opening round.


CONTINGENCY ARGUMENT

Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) and the Necessity of the Univererse

My opponent’s presentation of this point basically acts as if it is a given and he has provided no substantial reasoning for its acceptance. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online, however, this principle is far from a given: “The Principle of Sufficient Reason is a powerful and controversial philosophical principle...”

http://plato.stanford.edu...

In light of this, I would have expected my opponent to provide a justification for the confirmation of this principle. I will present an argument against the PSR, but it should be noted that even if this argument fails, that is not a substitute for an affirmation of the principle by my opponent, given that he has the BoP.

I will present this objection in the words of Tom Senor, chair of the Philosophy Department of the University of Arkansas:


“Suppose we list every contingent fact. Suppose we now tie them all together with ‘and’s. In other words, suppose there are just two contingent facts, fact F and fact G. Then we could write down their corresponding propositions and put an ‘and’ between them so that we’d now have a conjunctive proposition ‘F and G.’ Suppose that we do that with not just two facts, but with all the contingent facts. Call the mammoth conjunction ‘C.’ Now if the PSR is true, then there is some sufficient explanation for C. This explanation must be either necessary or contingent. If it is contingent, then it is part of C. But no contingent proposition could be the explanation for a proposition of which it is a conjunct (because then it would be explaining its own existence and if it could do that it would be necessary and not contingent). On the other hand, if the explanation of C is itself necessary and if it is a sufficient explanation of C, then C will be necessary (since C will be a necessary consequence of a necessary proposition). So either C is unexplained or it is necessary. But the PSR tells us that it can’t be that C is unexplained so it must be necessary. So PSR entails that all facts are necessary.”

http://comp.uark.edu...

As the paragraph argues, if we are to accept my opponent's conclusion that the PSR is accurate, we must accept that all facts are necessary. This would include the fact that the Universe exists, therein invalidating his claim that the existence of the Universe is not necessary.

Unfortunately, he cannot have it both ways.

Additionally, I would ask my opponent the following question: Assuming the PSR is true, what is the sufficient reason for quantum fluctuations, virtual particles, etc.?

Something Cannot Come from Nothing

This section of my opponent’s argument responds to an argument that I neither have made nor intend to make. Indeed, it would be impossible for something to come into existence from a state that does not allow even for the potentiality something to come into existence. What I have not ruled out, however, is something coming from a state without matter or energy. As we have never experienced such a state, we are no position to make a judgement as to whether something could or could not come from it.

P6

The argument claims that the explanation of the Universe must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, omnipotent, and personal. The justifications he provides for several of these categories are pretty weak. Indeed, I see no reason that the explanation of the Universe must be spaceless, immaterial, omnipotent, and personal.

Just because the explanation of the Universe must have created all of the space and matter within our Universe does not necessarily mean that this explanation is spaceless and immaterial. For could there not exist space and matter outside of our Universe and outside of time? Why could there not be timeless matter or laws governing outside of the Universe that serve as an explanation for its existence?

Additionally, just because the explanation of the Universe has significant causal power does not automatically make this explanation omnipotent.

I also question the conclusion that the cause must be personal because “it decided to bring another state of affairs into existence.” I see no reason that a conscious decision had to be made here, and I echo my previous question in asking my opponent: Is there a conscious decision that is made that is responsible for the changes in states associated with quantum events?

Contingency Argument Conclusion

The final thing I’d like to point out regarding this argument is that it does not conclude that there exists a maximally great being at all, for there could exist an explanation fitting all of the traits the argument grants it that is not maximally great. So, it fails to prove God in sense of the agreed upon definition.


ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

I will respond to my opponent’s ontological argument with an ontological argument of my own:

P1. It is possible that a maximally great being does not exist.

P2. If it is possible that a maximally great being does not exist, then a maximally great being does not exist in some possible world.

P3. If a maximally great being does not exist in some possible world, then it does not necessarily exist in every possible world.

P4. If a maximally great being does not necessarily exist in every possible world, then it does not necessarily exist in the real world.

P5. If a maximally great being does not necessarily exist in the real world, then a maximally great being does not necessarily exist.

C. Therefore, a maximally great being does not necessarily exist.

I don’t feel that I actually have to say a lot concerning this argument beyond presenting this counter example, given that my opponent’s justifications for several of the premises are pretty shaky. He provides no justification for P1 and his justification for P3 that “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 not really a justification at all as my opponent has provided no reasoning to support the notion that existence is greater than nonexistence.


MORAL ARGUMENT

Moral Truths Exist

My opponent’s attempts to discredit moral relativism are not very strong.

The example regarding descriptive relativism doesn’t necessarily mean that that are not any truths to be known about physics. All it tells us is that either Victor Stenger or the other person claiming knowledge of what physics support are incorrect about the conclusions of physics.

His argument against meta-ethical relativism also disappoints in that its first premise makes the assumption that some actions have moral content.

Pro has failed to demonstrate that moral truths exist.

God and Objective Morality

All my opponent presents here to justify the first premise of the argument is a quote from Apeiron. What the quote fails to take into account is that objective moral truths could exist based an idea such as aiming to reduce suffering.


CONCLUSION

My opponent has failed to present and justify sound arguments for the existence of God.

Debate Round No. 2
Typhlochactas

Pro

Ave!

Epistemological Argument for the PSR

If some contingent facts are inexplicable, then your perceptual states may be occurring for no reason at all, with no prior causes (Koons (1997).

Objective probabilities are tied to laws of nature / objective tendencies, and so if an objective probability attaches to some contingent fact, then that situation can be given an explanation in terms of laws of nature or objective tendencies. Hence, if the PSR is false of some contingent fact, no objective probability attaches to the fact. Thus we can't say that violations of the PSR are improbable if the PSR is false. But someone who doesn't affirm the PSR can't say that the sceptical scenario is objectively improbable either. So if the PSR were false or maybe even not known a priori, we wouldn't know any empirical truths. But we do know empirical truths. Hence, the PSR is true, and maybe even known a priori.

Evolution: If one rejects the PSR, then our knowledge of evolution may be undercut. For if one weren't confident of something very much like the PSR, it would be hard to be justifiably confident that no biological features of the human species arose for no reason at all...

Inference to best explanation: The PSR is essential to the practice of science, even outside of evolutionary biology, for were it not for the PSR, bricks can just pop into being and there would be no reason to consider why it did so.

Why aren't there widespread violations of the PSR all around?: For each way that things could go in accordance with the laws of nature, there is an uncountable infinity of ways that things could, for no reason at all, go contrary to the laws of nature. Our empirical observations suggest that the probability of such events is very low.

The logical possibility of miracles shows that it should be possible for a supernatural being to cause photon clouds to show up ex nihilo, and if the PSR is false, such supernatural beings could be coming into existence all the time, and causing the weird effects. But the best explanation for why this is not happening is that there is nothing in existence that would be likely to cause such supernatural beings to come into existence, and by the PSR they can't come into existence uncaused.

Con's appeals to quantum indeterminacy are irrelevant. The PSR that I'm defending concerns explanation, which is the giving of reasons sufficient to explain the explanandum, not the giving of reasons logically sufficient for entailing the explanandum.

Quantum mechanical events do, however, have explanations. The experimental set-up in which they happen has the property of giving rise to emissions with certain probabilities (John Haldane makes this suggestion in Smart and Haldane 2003, p. 126).

Argument against the PSR Refuted
Con's argument against the PSR can actually be used to prove the existence of god! Here's how:

1. If p1 is the Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact of a world w1 and p2 is the Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact of a world w2, and if p1 and p2 are identical, then w1=w2. true by definition

2. p is the actual world’s Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact.

3. (W-PSR) For any proposition, p, and any world, w, if p is in w’s Big Conjunctive Fact, then there is some possible world, w1, and proposition, q, such that w1’s Big Conjunctive Fact contains p and q and the proposition that q explains p.

4. If p is in the actual world’s Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact, then there is some possible world, w1, such that w1’s Big Conjunctive Fact contains p and q and the proposition that q explains p.

5. There is a possible world w1 and a proposition q, such that w1’s Big Conjunctive Fact contains p and q and the proposition that q explains p. from 2 and 4 by modus ponens
6. w1=the actual world.

7. There is in the actual world a proposition q, such that the actual world’s Big Conjunctive Fact contains p and q and the proposition that q explains p

8. q is either a personal explanation or q is a scientific explanation. Some sort of a conceptual truth

9. q is not a scientific explanation.

10. q is a personal explanation.

11. q reports the intentional action of a contingent being or q reports the intentional action of a necessary being. Premise

12. It is not the case that q reports the intentional action of a contingent being. Premise

13. q reports the intentional action of a necessary being.

A full explanation of the argument can be found here: http://www9.georgetown.edu...

Ontological Argument
The ontological argument against god is logically valid. So, the question before us is whether the premises are sound and demonstrated. P1 has has not been demonstrated to be true. How is there a logical state of affairs where a maximally great being does not exist? Unless Con demonstrates that such a logical state of affair can exist, his parody can not go through.

Con asks us why existence is greater than non-existence. But 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.

Moral Argument
Con actually ends up supporting my criticism of descriptive relativism. There is no reason to think that an objective answer does not exist just because there is conflict over what that answer is. Con writes, 'The example regarding descriptive relativism doesn’t necessarily mean that that are not any truths to be known about physics.' Trying to rebutt my argument, he just ends up helping it.

Moral content simply means that an action can be thought of in terms of right and wrong. This premise should be obvious, as people think of actions in terms of right and wrong all the time! Why would we think that our actions have no moral content? Abortion, murder, slavery, infacticide. All of these can be thought of in terms of right and wrong, so they have moral content. On what grounds does Con consider P1 to be dubious?

Objective Morality on Atheism
Con argues that we can have objective morality on atheism if we base it on the suffering of conscious creatures. But on atheism, why think that the suffering of conscious creatures is actually immoral? It's an arbitrary assumption that Con does not justify at all.

Sure, conscious creatures don't like to suffer. That's just an is statement, however. It doesn't tell us that therefore, conscious creatures ought not to suffer! Con's pain based morality is destroyed by Hume's is-ought gap.

Conclusion
1: There are good epistemological reasons to accept the PSR.
2: The counter-argument offered actually proves a necessary being.
3: There is no reason to think that there is a logical state of affairs where a maximally great being does not exist.
4: There are good reasons to believe that existence is greater than non-existence.
5: There are no good reasons to think that actions don't have moral content.
6: All objective morality without god depends on arbitrary assumptions.

Vale!
Magicr

Con


Thank you to my opponent for his swift reply.



CONTINGENCY ARGUMENT



Given that my opponent has not challenged that my assertions that this argument does not actually prove God as defined in R1 and that the sixth premise was not sufficiently proven, I could say nothing more on this argument at this point in the debate. So, it is rather unfortunate that my opponent has spent most of his round arguing something that I can simply drop with no repercussions whatsoever. I will, nevertheless, offer some comments regarding his oppositions.



PSR



I’ll go ahead and concede that the PSR is true within the Universe given its practical applications, but I see no reason to believe that it is true outside of the Universe, which would be the applicable state for use in an argument over the Universe’s origin.



Regarding quantum mechanics, if physical laws can explain the change in state in these events, I don’t see why laws outside the Universe could not be responsible for the change in state that led to the Universe. This brings me right to...



The Argument Against the PSR “Refuted”



My opponent claims that he has turned Professor Senor’s argument in his favor, but his argument really doesn’t address my objection at all. He has not explained how the Universe can both be a contingent fact and the PSR can be true.



The argument he presented also suffers from similar problems as the Argument from Contingency. First, it fails to prove a maximally great being, and second the eighth and ninth premises are unjustified and present a false dichotomy.




ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT



Here, I must both congratulate and thank my opponent for recognizing why my version of his ontological argument “cannot go through,” for in making this recognition, my opponent himself has pointed out why his (the normal version of the argument) fails to “go through.”



What is Pro’s objection to my argument? That the first premise has not been demonstrated to be true. Yet, if we look back at my opponent’s initial presentation of the argument what do we find is lacking? You guessed it: A sufficient demonstration of the truth of his P1.



Beyond my opponent failing to prove his P1, I think there’s good reason to actually reject that notion that it is possible for a maximally great being to exist, as the idea of a maximally great being is rather paradoxical in nature.



In the same vein that infinities of time provide problems, so do infinities of other natures. Put simply, a maximally great being cannot be greater than itself, meaning it is not actually maximally great.



I’ll present another variation on the argument to help illustrate this point and why this sort of argument doesn’t help us explain the actual world.



P1. It is possible that there exists an island that is infinitely better than every other island.


P2. If it is possible there exists such an island, then such an island exists in some possible world.


P3. If such an island exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.


P4. If such an island exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.


P5. If such an island exists in the actual world, then such an island exists.


C. Therefore, such an island exists.




But, we know that such an island does not exist, and, in fact, it would seem that such an island cannot exist given the practical impossibilities of infinities, which are explained by my opponent in R2 as he discusses why there cannot exist an infinite amount of time.



My other challenge in R2 to this argument was to P3. I argued that there was not sufficient reason given to accept that a maximally great being’s existence in some possible world equated a such a being’s existence in every possible world. I expressed this challenge to the premise by asking what made existence greater than nonexistence. I apparently wasn’t clear enough in what I was trying to say, as my opponent addressed why existence is greater than nonexistence outside of the context of the discussion of the third premise. What I am really trying to ask is why it is greater to exist necessarily than to exist contingently, for no justification for this premise along these lines has been presented.



MORAL ARGUMENT



To criticize descriptive relativism, my opponent presented the argument that if two people disagree whether physics supports a moral position, this leads us to the conclusion that physics must not demonstrate any truths about the world, but since we know that physics does demonstrate truths about the world, descriptive relativism must be false.



I challenged this by saying that this scenario should not lead us to the conclusion that physics has no truths to offer about the world, but rather that at least one of these two was mistaken about what physics says about the world. My opponent has failed to refute this, and misconstrues my argument.



Additionally, my opponent has failed to take into account the possibility of moral nihilism and has given us no reason to believe that actions ultimately do have moral content. He has given several examples of things he claims are moral judgements, but does not back this up with logic.



CONCLUSION



My opponent has failed to truly address my objections to his arguments. Additionally, I have explained why a God as defined is not even a possibility.


Debate Round No. 3
Typhlochactas

Pro

Ave!

Contingency Argument
Con argues that there is no reason to think the necessary cause of the universe is god. To the contrary, I think we have very good reasons to affirm that to be true.

Material or Immaterial?: A maximally great being wouldn't be material, because material is contingent. If material were contingent, then the maximally great being would not be maximally great, as it's not necessary. So, a maximally great being has to be immaterial.

Personal or impersonal?: A maximally great being would be personal because if it weren't, it would be a material explanation, and we've already ruled that out.

Timeless or temporal?: Time began to exist. If the maximally great being were temporal, it would also have to begin to exist. A being that began to exist wouldn't be necessary, so it wouldn't be maximally great. Therefore, the MGB must be timeless.

Spaceless or sans space?: Same reasoning as above.

The contingency argument establishes a timeless, immaterial, spaceless, omnipotent (likely), and personal cause. A maximally great being, in order to be maximally great, has to be timeless, spaceless, omnipotent, immaterial, and impersonal. Most plausibly, the maximally great being is the cause of the universe that the contingency argument posits.

PSR
Con argues that there is no reason to apply the PSR to things outside of the universe. The problem is that we're not applying it outside of the universe. The theist is saying that the universe began to exist, so it had an external cause. At that point, we stop using the PSR and begin using deductive reasoning to determine what that cause would be. The PSR is only used to show that there is an explanation of the universe's exists. It is not used to tell us what the cause would be like (timeless v.s. temporal, etc).

The PSR is used to demonstrate that the universe had an explanation, and we use deductive reasoning to demonstrate what that explanation is. At no point do we apply the PSR to things outside of the universe.

Argument against the PSR Refuted
Con seems to think that anything that forces you to pick between two options must be a false dichotomy. That's just not the case. It's only a false dichotomy if a third option is available. So, what is the third option besides a scientific or personal cause?

Ontological Argument
It seems to me that this argument will come down to the plausibility of P1. Is it more plausible that P1 of the ontological argument is true, or is it more plausible that P1 of the parody argument is true? I would argue that the former is more plausible. There seems to be nothing that would prevent a maximally great being from existing in some possible world. The only way to show otherwise is to prove that the maximally great being has some contradictory properties, like a square circle or a married bachelor.

Con has attempted to demonstrate that the MGB has contradictory properties because it can’t be greater than itself. Because of this, it has a limitation, and it can’t be maximally great, as such a being would have no limitations. I think this argument fails to understand that limitation is not inherently a lesser-making property. It’s logically impossible to conceive of a being that is greater than a being that is the greatest thing you can conceive of. In other words, it’s logically impossible to think of something greater than the MGB by definition. The fact that the MGB can’t be any greater is just a logical rule. It’s not a lesser-making property.

Premise three of Gaunilo’s parody cannot be substantiated. There is a logical state of affairs where no land exists, and therefore, no islands! So, there’s no way that the maximally great island could exist in all possible worlds! Yes, I realize that you could argue there is some possible world where the MGB doesn’t exist, but the only reason to think so has been refuted above.

Con gives another argument for why a MGB can’t exist. An actual infinite can’t exist, a MGB is infinitely great, ergo a MGB cannot exist. This severely misunderstands what it means to be maximally great. A maximally great being has all great making properties to their maximal extent. It does not have all great making properties to an infinite extent. Con’s argument fails because its definition of a MGB is flawed.

A necessary being has great making properties that last eternally and in all possible worlds. A contingent being has great making properties that are finite and don’t exist in all possible worlds. Ergo, it is greater to be necessary than contingent.

Moral Argument
In my opening statement, I gave an argument for why objective moral truth exists. The argument went like this: For any action A affecting some person P, if A has moral content, then A cannot be amoral. If such morals exist, then they would exist necessarily. Some objective moral knowledge exists. Moral truth exists

The only objection to this argument from Con was that there is no reason to believe that the action has moral content. Sadly, defending this premise is trivial. As I explained in my opening statement, moral content simply means that an action can be thought of in terms of right and wrong. I gave several examples of actions that can be thought of in terms of right and wrong. It simply requires one person to say “I think that this action is morally wrong’’ to give the action moral content! I’m stunned that Con would choose this premise of all to attack.

Con tried to show that objective morality could exist without god if we based it on alleviating suffering and promoting happiness. I demonstrated that this was only an assumption and that it falls under the is-ought gap. Con never answered this objection, so we have no reasons to believe that objective morality can exist without god.

So, we have one weak objection to the argument for moral truth. This objection doesn’t stand, so moral truths must exist. God is the best explanation of objective moral truth, so god exists.

Vale!
Magicr

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate.

CONTINGENCY ARGUMENT

Pro has finally gotten around to attempting to justify why we can assign certain properties to a cause of the Universe, if one were necessary.


Material or immaterial?:
Pro argues that material beings are contingent, therefore a maximally great being would be immaterial.


First of all, Pro has diverged from the contingency argument into the ontological argument a bit in his discussion by discussing a maximally great being, as he assumes that if there were a necessary cause of the Universe required, it would be a maximally great being. This is not necessarily the conclusion drawn by the contingency argument, however. So, while the cause would have to be necessary, and not contingent, as Pro has argued if the Contingency Argument were true, it would not have to be a maximally great being.

Second, I question why a material being cannot be a necessary cause. Perhaps this is because of some basic philosophic principle that I am not aware of, but regardless of that, this point has not been justified.


Personal or impersonal?:
Pro has made this point dependent on the previous one, which I see no reason to necessarily accept, so this point can be disregarded as well.


I’ve already conceded that a necessary cause would have to be timeless, and Pro’s reasoning regarding spacelessness has been demonstrated to be unjustified.

Additionally, assuming omnipotence for this cause is not a warranted assumption, and although a maximally great being proved in some other argument could be said to share these attributes, that does not mean that the cause that is allegedly proved in this argument is a maximally great being. That logic is akin to saying “All men are mortal, Socrates is mortal, therefore Socrates is a man,” a syllogism which is clearly invalid.


PSR

Pro claims that we aren’t applying the PSR outside of the Universe, but if we are judging whether the Universe would have needed a cause, we must apply it to the conditions “before”/outside the Universe.


Argument Against the PSR “Refuted”

I must apologize for using the wrong phrase here, but that does not excuse Pro’s lack of justification for his argument.

Instead of saying it was a false dichotomy, I meant to say it is special pleading (which is a false choice of sorts as I suppose). It appears to be special pleading because the argument claims that a personal cause does not require an explanation but scientific laws do, a claim that is unjustified.

Additionally, Pro did not respond to my claim that he never actually addressed my initial objections to the PSR, a drop which must be taken into account.

ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT


P1
Pro says he thinks the argument will come down to the plausibility of P1, however he has failed to give a strong defense of P3, so it is important for voters to take both of these premises into consideration.

Saith Pro: Since I have not justified why it would be not be possible for a MGB to exist, acceptance of his first premise is justified.

Saith I: Since he has not justified why it not be possible for a MGB not to exist (outside of this argument, of course, since doing so by using the argument is circular reasoning), acceptance of my first premise is justified.

Since the premises are contradictory, and one has not been demonstrated to be superior than the other with regards to truth, we must disregard them both.

P3
Pro also tries to object the other alternative ontological argument that I presented. He argues that since we know that there exists a possible world in which no land exists, we must conclude that a maximally great island (MGI) does not exist in all possible worlds.

This is like saying that since we know that there exists a possible world in which no omnipotent being exists, we must conclude that a MGB does not exist in all possible worlds.

Clearly Gaunilo’s argument demonstrates that there can exist no possible world in which an there is no land, as a MGI must exist in every possible world.

But, but, but... that would mean that somehow this logic fails. For if an MGI did not exist in all possible worlds, then it would not be superior than every other island because, as Pro has pointed out, it is greater to exist in all possible worlds than just in some. So, either this logic does not work or there exists an MGI in every possible world. (As a side note, if we find that the logic works and an MGI would have to exist in every possible world, then this would be a counter example to Pro’s claim that material things cannot be necessitates.)

And as I pointed out in the previous round, a MGI does not exist in this world, so a MGI does not exist in every world, so an MGI is not necessary, so we must conclude that this logic does not work.

Pro argued that Gaunilo’s P3 “cannot be substantiated,” and it appears that this would be true of the Plantinga P3 as well. Pro’s only attempt at a justification of his P3 is that a contingent being is finite and only exists in some possible worlds, and since a MGB is not finite and exists in all possible worlds. What’s missing here is a warrant between this claim and it being greater to exist in more possible worlds.

I see no reason to accept P3.


Impossiblitiy of a MGB

Finally, Pro has argued that a MGB does not need to possess infinite powers, just powers to their maximum possible extent. But what happens when the logical possibility to do a certain thing is infinite? Wouldn’t a MGB then have to have an infinite power?

To show what I mean, let’s look at something simple like the number of stars in our galaxy. The number of stars has to be finite, but the range of logically possible numbers of stars is [0,∞).

Let’s let S represent the maximum number of starts a MGB could create. No matter what that S equaled, I could always logically conceive of a being that could create S+1 stars.

So, we see that a MGB must have infinite abilities in this regard, and thus my argument that a MGB could not exist for this reason stands.

This conclusion is rather significant, as it basically swings the debate in my favor necessarily, as it shows that a God could not exist as defined by Pro.


MORAL ARGUMENT

Pro has failed to successfully prove this argument as well. Despite his claim that I only gave one, I gave two objections to this argument. The success of either one of these objections is enough to send this argument down the drains.

Pro’s first point was that descriptive relativism was false. I provided an objection to the reasoning that yielded this conclusion. My objection was insufficiently challenged in R3, I reinstated the objection in my R3 argument, and now this first objection has been dropped by Pro. Like I previously said, this in and of itself is enough to disqualify the argument.

The other objection comes from a completely morally nihilistic perspective. With this argument, I objected to the idea that there is a reason to view actions as right or wrong, and my oppoentn failed to prove otherwise. Just because a person says “This has moral content,” does not mean that “This” does have moral content.


CONCLUSION

We’ve seen three arguments from Pro attempting to prove that a MGB exists: The Argument from Contingency, the Ontological Argument, and the Moral Argument. Significant parts of all three of these arguments have not been proven or have been shown to be false.

My objections to P1 of the Contingency Argument were never really challenged, and Pro provided an insufficient defense of P6.

I provided several variations of the Ontological Argument that Pro quite easily spotted flaws in, but was less eager to spot these flaws in his argument. Just as the P1 I presented was unjustified, so was his. Just as Gaunilo’s P3 if unjustified, so is his. More importantly, however, I demonstrated here that a MGB cannot logically exist.

I also provided two objections to the Moral Argument. One of these was dropped in the final round and the other received a poor challenge.

I have clearly demonstrated that Pro has not fulfilled his BoP in this debate.

Vote Con!!

Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jdog2016 3 years ago
jdog2016
Wow, this is interesting
Posted by Typhlochactas 3 years ago
Typhlochactas
A MGB would have to be omnipotent for it to exist in all possible worlds.

I'd really like for you to give a brief answer to this in your next round. I know you're not debating me, but your case is done for if you can't justify that assumption.
Posted by Typhlochactas 3 years ago
Typhlochactas
@ Magic. You said '. It's kinda funny Pro basically gave the same objection against the island as Con did against the OA.'

I already answered that point.

'Yes, I realize that you could argue there is some possible world where the MGB doesn"t exist, but the only reason to think so has been refuted above.'
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Okay, I'll counter Badbob then.
Posted by Typhlochactas 3 years ago
Typhlochactas
By the way, if MasterChief's vote was a VB, then his votes for Magic should be countered too.
Posted by Typhlochactas 3 years ago
Typhlochactas
Who said I was ok with that vote?
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Badbob's vote was in your favor but thp's was against. How are you okay with badbob's vote but you say that thp was votebombing?

Don't they both cancel out?

Why aren't you asking for badbob's vote to be countered as well if you want thp's vote countered?
Posted by Typhlochactas 3 years ago
Typhlochactas
Apeiron didn't have the room to counter everyone who screwed things up.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
In particular, how is thp078's RFD of "There were numerous holes in pro's logic that con was able to point out.' worse that badbob's RFD of "This was an excellent debate. One of the best I have seen here. Both sides did a nice job. Better arguments by pro. He wins."
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Apeiron, I've noticed you CVB'd thp078 but not badbob. Why? Both gave RFD's of relatively equal worth.
21 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter.
Vote Placed by TheVoiceOfReason67 3 years ago
TheVoiceOfReason67
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: hehehe
Vote Placed by jdog2016 3 years ago
jdog2016
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I voted on this here debate!
Vote Placed by Smithereens 3 years ago
Smithereens
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: reconfiguring vote to counter Ragnar
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:12 
Reasons for voting decision: Really hard to measure through those walls of text. However current physics theories does lead to some interesting questions.
Vote Placed by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's Contingency argument failed to show the cause was God. When he finally decided to prove it, he assumed the cause was already a being. Pro failed to give justification for P1 and P3 on the OA. His rebuttal to the famous Gaunilo's island was poor, as you can make the same objection to a being. If an Island is maximally great then it would exist in all possible worlds. It's kinda funny Pro basically gave the same objection against the island as Con did against the OA. In the Moral argument Pro never refuting subjective morality nor responded to Con's objections. Arguments to Con
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Countering Badbob. See comments 14-20 for explanation.
Vote Placed by KingDebater 3 years ago
KingDebater
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Spelling and grammar to Con because of Pro's mistakes here and there, such as 'the universe could not have existed without cause'. Conduct to Con because Pro copy and pasted his arguments, but they were better so arguments to Pro. Sources to Con because although they both used reliable sources, Con used more. Edit: Countering part of masterchief12's votebomb.
Vote Placed by masterchief12 3 years ago
masterchief12
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:43 
Reasons for voting decision: Good debate
Vote Placed by Apeiron 3 years ago
Apeiron
TyphlochactasMagicrTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro gave a cogent case and Con's objections were either based on misunderstandings or irrelevant straw-man formulations of the same argument. Con had to deal with Pro's formulation in order to invalidate it. Also, P6 was intuitively justified and isn't as obvious that ~P6 is true. For these reasons, I vote convincing arguments to Pro. ******Update to give CVB for thp078 (using source & grammar points as the counter)