The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
lefillegal
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

It is probable that God does not exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 976 times Debate No: 23877
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

God in this debate will be defined as:

"a maximally great being; the creator of the universe and source of objective morality"

I will be arguing against the idea that God exists, and for the idea that it is reasonable to make the claim that God probably does not exist. Thus, I will be arguing in favor of God's non-existence being the best conclusion we can reach regarding his existence.

First round for acceptance.
lefillegal

Con

I will be arguing that GOD does indeed exist and I plan on using your arguements to prove it. I myself am a Christian, but I will try to present my arguments with a regard to all religions. put plainly, I won't argue over "who" this GOD is, rather ill argue the fact that he must exist. With that said I welcome your fisrt arguments against the existance of GOD.
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.


Modal Argument Against Against A Maximally Great Being


"A modal is an expression (like ‘necessarily’ or ‘possibly’) that is used to qualify the truth of a judgement. Modal logic is, strictly speaking, the study of the deductive behavior of the expressions ‘it is necessary that’ and ‘it is possible that’." [1]

Now if one uses modal logic, one could conclude that if a maximally great being exists in one possible world, he exists in all possible worlds (and thus, exists in the actual world). However, one could also conclude that a maximally great being exists in no possible world, and thus does not exist in the actual world, which is what I will be doing.


P1: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, the maximally great being is both necessarily maximally free and necessarily maximally good in every possible world.

P2: If a maximally free being exists in some possible world, necessarily, the maximally free being is free to choose to want to commit an act of evil, and free to choose to commit that act of evil in every possible world.

P3: If a maximally free being exists in some possible world, necessarily, there is some possible world where a maximally free being commits an act of evil.

P4: If a maximally good being exists in some possible world, necessarily, the maximally good being commits no acts of evil in every possible world

P5: There is no possible world where a maximally free and maximally good being exist.

P6: There is no possible world where a maximally great being exists.

P7: A maximally great being does not exist in the actual word.

Defense of P1

I do not think any Theist will deny P1. If a being is not maximally free, it is not a maximally great because freedom is a quality interwoven with common doctrines of divine greatness (William Lane Craig describes God as a personal being who freely chose to create the universe, and a maximally great being). A maximally great being is also morally good, because evil cannot be logically equated with greatness. Thus, because a maximally great being must be free and good, necessarily, a maximally great being must be maximally free and maximally good.


Defense of P2

If a being is maximally free, there are two options:

(a) Being A is free to do x

(b) Being A is not free to do x


(a)
Is compatible with a maximally free being

(b) Is not compatible with a maximally free being


If objective morality exists, then raping and torturing a 9 year old girl for fun who has done absolutely nothing wrong herself, is objectively wrong. Theists would agree, this act would be objectively evil. However, a maximally free being could commit this evil act if he wished. Theists may claim that it would go against his nature, however if it’s possible for a maximally free being to exist then he can freely chose the attributes of his nature, thus in all possible worlds a maximally free being would necessarily would have the ability to freely choose to want to commit an act of evil, and commit and evil act if he wanted.


Defense of Premise 3

The conclusion logically follows from the first two premises. There exists at least one possible world, where a maximally free being commits an act of evil if it is possible for a being who has the ability to freely choose to commit an act of evil, to exist. This is because if it is possible this maximally free being exists then he necessarily exists in all possible worlds, so there would have to be at least one possible world where he would freely chose to commit and evil act, and commit an evil act.


Defense of Premise 4

A being can only be maximally good, if there is no evil associated with him, his essence, his wants, his choices or his actions. If there is any evil associated with this being, then the being is not maximally good, because if the evil associated with the being didn’t exist, the being’s greatness could have been maximized further. Thus, in all possible worlds, a maximally good being commits no evil acts if this being exists in some possible world.

Defense of Premise 5

It is logically necessary that an entity that contains incompatible properties exists in no possible world. A being who is both maximally free and maximally good exist in no possible world, because there cannot be both a possible world where this being commits an act of evil, if in every possible world the being commits no acts of evil.


Defense of Premise 6

A maximally free and maximally good being exist in no possible world, however a maximally great being necessarily is maximally free and maximally good. Thus, a maximally great being exists in no possible world.


Premise 7 (conclusion)

If something exists in no possible world, then it does not exist in the actual world. Since it’s not possible for a maximally great being to exist, a maximally great being cannot exist, and therefore does not exist.


Argument Against A Cause Of The Universe


P1: x has a cause, if x is a consequence of that which occurs earlier to x


P2: There was no earlier to The Big Bang, the Planck Epoch (0 to 10−43 seconds) was the earliest
period [2]


P3: The universe could not have been a consequence of that which occurred earlier to the universe


C: The universe is not something which had a cause

William Lane Craig tries to address arguments like mine, by appealing to simultaneous causation:


"For example, a heavy chandelier hanging on a chain from the ceiling. The ceiling and chain hold up the 
chandelier; the chandelier and chain don't support the ceiling... They[Atheists] might say that even
simultaneous causation presupposes time. Yes, the cause and effect occur at the same time. But then
why couldn't such a causal dependency exist timelessly?" - William Lane Craig [3]

The problem is that for simultaneous causation to have occurred, the causal dependency must have
involved the beginning of the existence of the chandelier, chain, and ceiling which occurred temporally
prior to the effect in question. Also, other conditions which existed earlier to this simultaneous causation
must have existed before the effect as well, thus, even simultaneous causation can only occur if it is the
result of that which occurred earlier. So it seems, that even the idea of a timeless causal dependency
doesn't make much sense because even causal dependency presupposes time. It also seems, that Premise
1 of my argument is not phased in light of simultaneous causation.


What does this mean? If God exists he is the cause of the universe, but there are good reasons to believe that causation does not past the limits of space-time. Theists are simply just using spatio-temporal experiences and trying to apply them to the universe itself fallaciously. Thus, God probably did not create, or cause the universe to begin to exist, because there is no earlier to The Big Bang for this cause to exist.


God Could Not Be Is Not The Source Of Objective Morality


If God's nature is the way it is because it is good, then this means there is an independent standard of good. Thus, God could not be the source of good. If God's nature is good simply because whatever God's nature is, is necessarily good, then if God's nature was that of a murderer or rapist these attributes would be necessarily good, because whatever was God's nature would be necessarily good.

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

Therefore, there must be some independent source of good besides God and his nature ontologically.

Conclusion

God ("a maximally great being; the creator of the universe and source of objective morality") probably does not exist.


Sources

[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

lefillegal

Con

You presumed we would look at this from a "modal viewpoint" but we won't. Its not in anyway because you had a chance of winning this debate with so many useless and irrelevant arguments. I say this simply because 1. "Any theist", as you state, would not be able to partake in this "modal logic" you mention. According to your standpoint, any god that exist in any world must exist in all worlds. For any theist to even agree to this he must concede that his faith is meaningless. All theist share the common belief that GOD exist outside the concept of "world" because he created the "world". To even think that he exist in the world and not the world in him is something no theist would do. 2. You are right to presume that if GOD set the standard for good then what ever he does is good and whatever he says is evil is evil. Even according to your argument, that some outside force governs what's good and what's not, then wouldn't this outside force ultimately be greater than GOD. According to your logic, GOD himself can be measured by these rules. Therefore making him subject to some higher being right? But if GOD doesn't exist than who are these rules meant to govern? Rules come from a higher intelligence. To even have a rule of good and evil, you must have someone who can rightly judge between the two. Rules don't establish themselves. Your whole argument is based on the rules of modal logic. But theist beliefs are based on GOD'S rules. One can conclude that this debate is unarguable based on the concept of "rules" alone. Had you established that you wanted a "modal" standpoint, I would have established I wanted a biblical standpoint and that my standpoint would not be within the "rules" of this debate. I would have "necessarily" concluded this is "possibly" not something I would choose to debate in this world(or any possible one) under the "rules" which you set forth. With that said I welcome any rebuttal outside the realm of this "modal logic"
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Rebutting My Opponent

Modal Argument Against A Maximally Great Being


"According to your standpoint, any god that exist in any world must exist in all worlds."

Yes, however there is a huge difference between epistemic possibility, and subjective possibility. With epistemic possibility, if someone says x is possible, it could also be true that it's impossible, we just wouldn't know. When dealing with subjunctive possibility on the other hand, if one is making the truth claim that x is possible, they are also making the truth claim that x is not impossible. The theist cannot demonstrate that God's existence is not impossible so their is no reason to assume his possibility in that context as true (thus, God's possibility is not a default position).


"For any theist to even agree to this he must concede that his faith is meaningless. All theist share the common belief that GOD exist outside the concept of "world" because he created the "world". To even think that he exist in the world and not the world in him is something no theist would do."

Well, it seems my opponent doesn't understand modal logic and rejects the basic underlining of the modal ontological argument for the existence of God. Either way my argument has not been refuted, but I will try to explain the idea of a possible world. A possible world in this context means a possible reality where there are no logical contradictions. Regardless, I will try not to debate in that context.


Argument Against A Cause Of The Universe

My opponent had nothing to say regarding my argument in this area.



God Could Not Be The Source Of Objective Morality

"Even according to your argument, that some outside force governs what's good and what's not, then wouldn't this outside force ultimately be greater than GOD. According to your logic, GOD himself can be measured by these rules. Therefore making him subject to some higher being right?"

I never implied a higher being, because that would imply that a higher being is necessary for morality. I'm saying that if God's nature is the way it it because it's good, then this means there is an independent source or standard of good. If you say God's nature is good because it's in his nature and whatever his nature is is good, then he could be a murderer or rapist it would be good, because it's in God's nature to be good, and whatever God's nature is, is good necessarily. Even theistic philosopher Richard Swineburne (a Christian who has written many books arguing for God's existence) has argued that if objective moral truths exist, they are necessary truths, and exist in all possible worlds, even in those where God doesn't exist (sorry about the modal logic, but it's an interesting point that I wanted to share). [1]


Basically, to claim that objective moral truths can be grounded in God leads to a clear dilemma.

"But if GOD doesn't exist than who are these rules meant to govern? Rules come from a higher intelligence. To even have a rule of good and evil, you must have someone who can rightly judge between the two. Rules don't establish themselves."

Well society and law (collective human thought) is what produces these rules. Of course there are differences between the two, as far as society is concerned it's an offense to sleep with another woman if you are married, but it's not against the law. With regarding the law it's an offense to to carry marijuana on your person, but many people in society wouldn't view this as morally corrupt. We all have to live on this planet together, and most of us have sympathy and empathy, and we must co-operate. Logically, raping and killing people is not the best way to maximize our situation.


"Your whole argument is based on the rules of modal logic. But theist beliefs are based on GOD'S rules."

My opponent says they are based on God's rules, without any warrant or merit I'm afraid.

"One can conclude that this debate is unarguable based on the concept of "rules" alone. Had you established that you wanted a "modal" standpoint, I would have established I wanted a biblical standpoint and that my standpoint would not be within the "rules" of this debate. I would have "necessarily" concluded this is "possibly" not something I would choose to debate in this world(or any possible one) under the "rules" which you set forth. With that said I welcome any rebuttal outside the realm of this "modal logic"

The rest of my arguments will not be put forward using modal logic.


Continuing My Case

Fine-Tuning Argument For Atheism

P1: The combination of physical constants which is capable of sustaining life is necessary to sustain life, because other conceivable combinations of physical constants could not sustain life.

P2: If theism is true, then the combination of physical constants which is capable of sustaining life, is completely contingent to God’s design.

P3: The combination of physical constants which is capable of sustaining life it is necessary to sustain life, and thus could not be completely contingent to God's design.

C: Theism is not true

Defense of P1


The theist could deny P1, but the first premise of the fine-tuning argument for theism is "the combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of sustaining life as we know it". This means, these particular physical constants are necessary to sustain life, and no other constants could.


Defense of P2

The theist could deny P2, but then they would have to sacrifice the property given to God known as omnipotence (there is no contradiction in an omnipotent God sustaining life in a vacuum if he wished).


Defense of P3

This logically follows from P1 and P2.

Defense of the Conclusion

The conclusion logically follows from P1 to P3.

So, It seems that the constants couldn't have been completely contingent to God. This gives us reason to believe, that the universe was not created by God.

Argument From Perfection

P1: If God exists he is a maximally great being.

P2: It is greater to be perfect than not to be perfect.

P3: If a maximally great being exists he is perfect.

P4: If a perfect being exists he is complete and unlimited

P5: An entity cannot be both complete and unlimited

P6: A perfect being cannot exist

P7: A maximally great being cannot exist

C: God cannot exist


Defense of P1

If you could imagine a greater being, then that being would be God. So it seems that if God exists, he is a maximally great being.


Defense of P2

I believe, this is self-evident (if it needs defending, I'm sure my opponent will let me know).


Defense of P3

This follows from P1 and P2. If a maximally great being exists, he is perfect.


Defense of P4

Perfection is a maximum, a complete set of perfection. If someone asks you to create the most round 3D object imaginable, and someone creates a sphere, that sphere is perfectly round because you cannot make it more round, it's reached it's limit, it is absolutely perfect because if it could be more round, then it wasn't perfect. However, it is greater to be unlimited than limited, thus it's possible for a maximally great being to not have limits and can keep improving upon his greatness.


Defense of P5

An entity with contradictory properties cannot exist. If something is complete then no improvement is logically possible, but if something is unlimited, then improvement is logically possible. This is contradictory.


Defense of P6

Since a perfect being must be complete and unlimited, and an entity cannot be both complete and unlimited, a perfect being cannot exist.


Defense of P7

Since a being must be perfect to be maximally great, and a perfect being cannot exist, then a maximally great being cannot exist.


Defense of the Conclusion

God must be maximally great, and a maximally great being cannot exist, thus God cannot and does not exist.


Conclusion

My opponent didn't refute any of my arguments, or present any of his own. So until shown otherwise, I think it's safe to say I have the upper hand here.

Sources

[1] http://wiki.ironchariots.org...
lefillegal

Con

Again an introduction of a new premise I would not have chosen to debate but for the sake of argument, I will. To the athiest premise1 I would say. Physical constants can indeed support life but they are not the "necessary," I say that because life is not always present in these life sustaining constants. Which would bring us to premise2 where I would agree that physical constants are contingent to GODS design. Which brings me to premise 3. That physical constantants can and are completely contingent to GODS plan because it is quite possible he "designed" them to work independant of himself. The burden of proving he didn't or can't would be yours.
Now to the perfectionist argument I would simply ask "what's more perfect? an unlimited power source or a limited one. Or from another stand point perfection has to be measured by something or someone. They decide what that perfection is. Who can GOD be measured against if he is indeed the highest being? Therfore he has all the right to call himself and whatever else he deems perfect, for he is doing the measuring. Your example was talking about "perfection" by design, and from that standpoint correct, but who is the designer of GOD? What if he is designed to be unlimited? Wouldn't that make him perfect by design? Or how can perfection be reached if our world is the result of a chance happening. What other event could we measure it by to call it or anything in it perfect. Seeing how all of mankind thruout the ages have chased after some form of perfection, its hard for me, where and yourself included not to believe perfection exist. Where there is a any comparison, perfection must exist. You need something to compare it too.
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Rebutting My Opponent's Arguments

"To the atheist premise1 I would say. Physical constants can indeed support life but they are not the "necessary," I say that because life is not always present in these life sustaining constants."'

My argument had nothing to do with how much of the universe we live in contains life, my argument was based on how this particular combination of physical constants allows for life in the first place, and how they are necessary for life because no other constants could sustain life (if the theist excepts the fine-tuning argument, they must accept this premise).

"Which would bring us to premise2 where I would agree that physical constants are contingent to GODS design."

It's seems my opponent has conceded my point, if theism is true then the constants are completely contingent to God's design.

"Which brings me to premise 3. That physical constants can and are completely contingent to GODS plan because it is quite possible he "designed" them to work independent of himself. The burden of proving he didn't or can't would be yours."

I met my burden of proof. The constants in our universe cannot both be necessary to sustain life and be a life sustaining set of constants completely contingent to God's design (this is a clear contradiction, either the constants are necessary or contingent).

"Now to the perfectionist argument I would simply ask "what's more perfect? an unlimited power source or a limited one. Or from another stand point perfection has to be measured by something or someone. They decide what that perfection is. Who can GOD be measured against if he is indeed the highest being? Therefore he has all the right to call himself and whatever else he deems perfect, for he is doing the measuring."

This means that my opponent concedes that applying the attributes such as omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolence to God is not a good idea. This would be because God wouldn't have to meet any standard met by a mere human (this actually makes sense). However, this would also undermine the Ontological Argument for the existence of God, which applies attributes such as omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolence to God. If my opponent is ok with this, then that is fine by me.

"Your example was talking about "perfection" by design, and from that standpoint correct, but who is the designer of GOD? What if he is designed to be unlimited? Wouldn't that make him perfect by design? Or how can perfection be reached if our world is the result of a chance happening. What other event could we measure it by to call it or anything in it perfect."

I'm not sure if this has any impact to my argument, so I am going to make a bold move and disregard it.

"Seeing how all of mankind thruout the ages have chased after some form of perfection, its hard for me, where and yourself included not to believe perfection exist. Where there is a any comparison, perfection must exist. You need something to compare it too."

Well this is actually a fallacy. I could chase some magic power which could make me a Super Saiyan, this doesn't mean a Super Saiyan actually exists because I could imagine what it would be like, and I want to be a Super Saiyan badly. So even though humans strive to be perfect, this doesn't mean that perfection therefore exists.

Conclusion

My opponent only addressed one or two out of my five arguments, and I refuted all of his objections with ease.
lefillegal

Con

Quick rebuttal

P1-P3 which definition fo contingent are you using? Necessary vs contingent statement? Or contingent meaning dependant? It seems from your format its meant to be dependant. If that's the case you've failed to prove why god could not make a system independant of himself. In the event you meant contigent as in a "necessary vs. contingent" statement, then both P2 and P3 would be statements with no meaning leaving me nothing to argue.

With that said id like to thank my opponent for taking it easy on me and with the hopes that our future debates will be just as exciting.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Pro, I think there is a problem with your case. Con didn't exploit it, but you ought to know about it.

Maximal isn't maximum. "Maximal" means something like, "as far as you can go in that direction without causing a contradiction." It's a hedge word.

Maybe god can't be perfectly free and perfectly good (though I don't see why not), but he can be maximally free and good, because that means, "as free as you can be without logically conflicting with your goodness, and as good as you can be without conflicting with your freeness."

You could attack Plantinga for using a term that is undefined and undefinable, but I don't think you can attack him for a contradiction between freeness and goodness.

-

It's been a long time since I read Plantinga, but I think I'm right about this.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
I now notice this line in Pro's first post: "God in this debate will be defined as:
a maximally great being; the creator of the universe and source of objective morality"

This makes much of my criticism irrelevant. Con shouldn't have accepted the debate if he didn't know what a maximally great being is.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Probability would come into it in an argument like this: "Of the sixty-four other universes that we know of, only seven have gods. Therefore, statistically speaking, the odds of this universe having a god are below fifty percent."
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
- The resolution is, "It is probable that god does not exist." I indicated agreement with Pro, because I believe that gods don't exist. I mention this because of that word, "probable"; I don't know that probability comes into it.

- Pro's arguments were rebuttals to arguments not being made in his debate. Con could easily have dismissed them as not relevant to all possible gods, or not relevant to the god he believes in. For instance, I believe that Plantinga invented the "maximally great" god for the purpose of floating his pointlessly weird version of the ontological argument. I imagine that, before Plantinga, no theist believed that god had to exist in every possible world in order to exist in this one. So Pro wasn't refuting all theistic gods, but only one very weird one. But Con never mentioned that Pro refuted only specific weird gods, and not "God" generally. So, Pro's arguments stand largely unrefuted. Pro gets the persuasion point.

But, in future, if Pro wants to refute an argument, he should list that argument in the first post, and incorporate it by reference in the resolution. As in, "Resolved: The Version of the Ontological Argument Set Forth Below Is Unsound."
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 5 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
*typos

(lol)
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 5 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
*My apologies regarding some of the types in the headings
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by TheOrator 5 years ago
TheOrator
Rational_Thinker9119lefillegalTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro won overwhelmingly. I threw in the Conduct vote as well because the Con clearly just refused to adress claims regardless of standard procedure
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
Rational_Thinker9119lefillegalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Cons responsibility was to refute Pros case. The type of logic Pro used had nothing to do with that responsibility. On that note Con disregarded nearly all of Pros arguments, leaving the winner of this debate an obvious choice.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Rational_Thinker9119lefillegalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had overwhelming arguments over Con. Con put forth an unsatisfactory effort, didn't address most of Pro's points, and barely had a last round.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Rational_Thinker9119lefillegalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.