The Instigator
bigbob91
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
unitedandy
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

Logical absolutes are dependent on god

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
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 4 votes the winner is...
unitedandy
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/16/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,328 times Debate No: 19915
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (4)

 

bigbob91

Pro

I will attempt defend the position that logical absolutes depend on the existence of god.
Logical absolutes include- law of noncontradiction, law of identity,the law of excluded middle
1st round will be arguments, 2nd,3rd will also be arguments but in each round the debater will be able to ask 2 questions that must be answered in the opponents next round. 4th round will be arguments and answering of last questions. 5th round no new arguments just conclusions. Burden of Proof will be shared.

Define God- Transcendent being, who exists outside time and space.

Ok, I will start,

Logical absolutes exist
anything that exists must be physical or conceptual
logical absolutes are not physical
Therefore they are conceptual.

concept: http://www.thefreedictionary.com......
1. A general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences.
2. Something formed in the mind; a thought or notion.

By definition a concept must come from a mind.

Logical absolutes transcend the human mind and cannot come from human minds. Since human minds are different and these logical absolutes are true at any time or space.
Logical Absolutes are not dependent on space.
They do not stop being true dependent on location. If we travel a million light years in a direction, logical absolutes are still true.
Logical Absolutes are not dependent on time.
They do not stop being true dependent on time. If we travel a billion years in the future or past, logical absolutes are still true.
http://carm.org......

Therefore the logical absolutes must come from a transcendent mind, and that mind is what we have defined as god.

In order for my opponent to even start to make an argument he cannot just assume logic, as an atheist my opponent has no reason for logic so he can't use logic, his own position is self refuting.
unitedandy

Con

Abbreviations

TAG (Pro’s argument) - the Transcendental argument for the existence of God

TANG - the Transcendental argument for the non-existence of God

LA - Logical absolutes (laws)

TAG

P1 - Logical absolutes exist
P2 - Anything that exists must be physical or conceptual
P3 - logical absolutes are not physical
C - Therefore they are conceptual

Given that LA are conceptual they must come from a mind, which is transcendent and absolute. And this we call God.


Attacking P1 (1)

Before I begin tackling the argument, such as it is, from Pro, the first thing, and perhaps the most important thing to establish is a very clear distinction between LA as logical concepts, and LA as the nature of existence . Now conceptual LA are the statements of logic themselves; the symbols, language, and framework. Now clearly these concepts are contingent not just upon human minds but on particular persons throughout history (mainly Aristotle), and do not exist without a sentient mind which follows our linguistic process to conceive of them. They are always conceptual by nature and are used as the founding principles of logic. Now, obviously accounting for these would require a historical approach, not a philosophical one, so TAG must refer to LA as laws which govern the nature of existence.

LA as the nature of existence would be what statements like they law of identity REFER to (that something is what it is, and not what is not) - the consistency of existence to behave in a particular way. Now, clearly the nature of existence is not contingent upon anything, it behaves the way it does regardless of what anyone thinks or does, so is transcendent, and does so seemingly in all time and places. But crucially, it is not conceptual. We can conceive of it, but the statements we use (the logical laws) are not laws which govern the universe, but symbols we use to the way things consistently behave - the nature of existence. The laws are conceptual; what they refer to is not (in the same way as the word "apple" is conceptual, but what it refers to is not). To conflate the conceptual absolutes with the existent absolutes is to commit the fallacy of equivocation.

Clearly, this distinction impacts TAG profoundly. Now obviously what was said above will have an impact on how we answer the challenge. So, do logical laws "exist"? No. This is a categorical error, akin to asking what colour justice is, or what kind of fruit a triangle is. What the law of identity refers to is not something that exists, but the NATURE of existence, and all things that exist. LA are therefore not things which exist, with a nature, but the nature of things. In light of this, P1 makes no sense, as well as being fallacious.


Attacking P2

Anything that exists must be conceptual or physical

Here, we see Pro gives us 2 options for LA. So inept is this premise however, that if it’s true, it actually disproves God as follows:

P1 - Anything that exists must be physical or conceptual (Pro’s premise)
P2 - God is neither physical nor conceptual
C - God does not exist.

Now, Pro has a choice. First he either falsifies his own premise, and backtracks away from such a claim, in which case, TAG fails, or he argues that God is either physical or conceptual. Clearly, God can’t be physical (according to Pro’s logic), because he has a “transcendent mind”. As for conceptual, Pro clearly isn’t arguing for God as an idea of the mind, but as an ontological entity with particular properties. Also, even if there is the possibility of a third option, not only shows that Pro commits the fallacy of false dichotomy, but he would have to restructure TAG, because it tries to show LA are conceptual merely by rubbishing the only alternative (that they are physical). But if there are more alternatives, such a strategy cannot deduce the right answer, until Pro eliminates ALL alternatives. As such, we have reasons to reject his second premise.


3 General Criticisms of TAG

More generally, TAG can be criticised thus:

Unjustified argumentation

My first criticism is something which should be apparent to all who read Pro’s post. His argument is very leanly supported. Indeed, the most crucial premise of the argument (P1) is neither explained nor supported at all, and neither is P2. All Pro does is very quickly sketch out why LA are transcendent and conceptual, without even anticipating any objections to his assertions.

Fallacy of division

Pro argues that because LA’s are transcendent, absolute, and so forth that we can conclude that they came from an absolute, transcendent mind. But clearly this isn’t sound reasoning. This blatantly commits the fallacy of division by concluding that the properties of the absolutes reflect the source of them (God).

Consider this: All humans are made up of atoms
Atoms are invisible
Therefore, all humans are invisible.

TAG fails in the exact same way in its crucial shift from the existence of logical absolutes, to the source of these absolutes (an absolute, transcendent mind). The nature of LA tells us nothing of the properties of their source.

The futility of TAG

The most popular rebuttal to TAG is that logical laws are axioms which assume their own truth. Even Kant agreed that denying God's existence is in no way contradictory, while denying logic is. But this point can be taken slightly further.

The stated aim of TAG - to account for logical absolutes, is the first problem, because it is impossible to account for them without implicitly assuming them to be true and even using them in pretty much every way throughout the argument. The problem can be simplified thus: In order to account for LA (the stated goal of the TAG argument), one must first define what these are. But wait! Defining something REQUIRES ASSUMING that the so-called logical absolutes are true.

In order to define something, we must assume the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction.

SO EVEN DEFINING LOGICAL ABSOLUTES ASSUMES THAT LOGICAL ABSOLUTES EXIST!!! Which is what the argument is supposed to conclude, not assume! Thus, as soon as we try to account for logical absolutes, we commit the fallacy of begging the question, because it is only by assuming that logic absolutes can be accounted for that the argument can even make sense and have a stated purpose. The theist faces a kind of Euthyphro dilemma: either he commits said fallacy or he tries to account for logic and absolutes without the law of identity and non-contradiction. Just to be perhaps a bit more clear, here's a syllogism below:

P1 - In order to account for LA, a necessary (but not sufficient) precondition is to define LA.

P2 - To define LA, one has to assume that the law of identity is true.

C - In order to account for LA, one has to assume that the law of identity is true.

The conclusion then is that a necessary condition to account for LA is to assume that the law of identity is true, thus begging the question, which is why identifying LA as anything other than axioms runs into tremendous problems, and, so TAG seems doomed to circularity. Incidentally, Pro also begs the question by assuming that I have no "reason for logic".

TANG (2)

P1 - If God's nature is bound by LA, He cannot account for LA.

P2 - God's nature is bound by LA

C - God cannot account for LA.

Clearly, if God is to be considered logically consistent, then He has to conform to LA. If God's nature is bound thus, & he cannot change it (God cannot be both God & not God at the same time for example), then not only are LA still unaccounted for, but it would seem God cannot be their source, as He Himself is as bound by them through His own nature as anything else. Conclusion - God cannot account for LA. LA are still unaccounted for. If God therefore is to account for LA, then He can't exist.

Sources

(1) Theoretical Bullsh!t youtube videos "Slick Logic" and "Matt/Matt" series
(2) http://www.infidels.org...

Debate Round No. 1
bigbob91

Pro

First, I would like to thank my opponent for the debate. Now I will go over some of the problems I have with his rebuttals.
My opponent is trying to create a difference in Logical absolutes and doesn't really do a very good job. As even in his case a square circle would not exist. I am not talking about the symbols, even without a human mind the square circle would not exist. An example would be a ball would still be a sphere without human minds. It may not be called such, but it would not be a square shape also. So, his differentiation is meaningless.

Now, onto his attacks on god. Since god is transcendent and all powerful he is making claims god can not be this or that. This is simply limiting god. He is the creator of logic. My opponent is limiting it to one set of logic. What may be logical to you, does not mean god has to hold by it.. God does not hold to our standards of logic, he has can do as he pleases. He is also saying god can not exist and not exist. That is smply an assertion, but why would a god want to not exist, it just doesn't make any sense, it isn't that he wouldn't be capable. It just would be why would a being choose not to exist. It is like choosing to kill yourself a sane being does not want that and god does not want that.

Next, I want to go into my opponent saying that TAG is an argument to prove logical absolutes exist. No, it is saying because logical absolutes exist, and then going on to show how there must be a god. Logical absolutes are a given at this point, elephants non elephants did not exist before humans and so on. And since that is a concept that requires a mind, and the laws are transcendent. That mind must be transcendent and as we defined god he is that transcendent mind.

I now want to go into my opponents argument is faulty to begin with. As an atheist he has no basis to use logic whatsoever. He just tries to use logic to attack my argument. He has no idea where logic came from and can not even prove it exists?

So my questions to my opponent are:

1. Where does logic come from?

2. Name something that is neither physical or conceptual?
unitedandy

Con

Introduction

In my opening speech, I detailed 7 criticisms of TAG and a counter argument (TANG). Unfortunately, Pro completely ignored 6 of my criticisms of TAG. Not only that, but his response to my attack on P1 and TANG argument is self-confessedly rushed and all too brief, and entirely unsatisfactory. In this round, I will respond to each of the points Pro makes, but I stress that he must address all of my arguments made in R1, otherwise TAG fails by default.


Attacking P1

Pro argues that my distinction between conceptual LA (the human process of logic) with existent LA (the consistency of existence) is “meaningless” because, even with this distinction and “without a human mind the square circle would not exist“. The problem here is that either Pro unwillingly concedes the point which my distinction aimed to show (that LA are not conceptual), by agreeing that they hold irrespective of human minds existing, or he begs the question by assuming God accounts for them conceptually. Either way, TAG unravels because of my distinction. Secondly, by distinguishing between conceptual LA (the human process of logic), and existent LA (the nature of existence), we can see that while cLA (logic) are conceptual, contingent upon persons (Aristotle and others), finite, and exist (as conceptions do), LA as the nature of existence (TAG’s LA, according to Pro) are not conceptual, transcendent, absolute, but do not “exist” in the relevant sense (see below). The purpose of the distinction was to show that Pro fallaciously conflates these, committing the fallacy of equivocation. His only denial of this is to deny that he was referring to cLA at all, and admit, through his square-circle and ball examples, that these things would conform to LA just as they would "without a human mind". Therefore, Pro's own words strongly suggest that existent LA (the referent of TAG) either are not conceptual, which is a denial of his conclusion, or he begs the question by assuming LA are conceptual because God accounts for them. Either way, my distinction highlights this dilemma, and so seems highly relevant in refuting TAG, as either option is fatal.

This leads me to my final (and most important point) regarding P1 which Pro failed to respond to, which is the denial that LA “exist” at all. As I said, this is a categorical error. My position is that P1 (LA exist) is false, because, as I said in R1:

“do logical laws "exist"? No. This is a categorical error, akin to asking what colour justice is, or what kind of fruit a triangle is. What the law of identity refers to is not something that exists, but the NATURE of existence, and all things that exist. LA are therefore not things which exist with a nature, but the nature of ALL things. In light of this, P1 makes no sense”

All Pro does here is explicitly take this as a given, saying:

“Logical absolutes are a given at this point”

I honestly don’t think I could have made myself clearer in disagreeing here, spending 3 paragraphs entitled “Attacking P1”, only for Pro to surmise that P1 is somehow “a given”. I can’t stress the importance of this point enough. In light of this, Pro must a) respond to these 2 challenges to P1 AND b) provide some justification to accept P1, rather than somehow assuming that I accept a premise which I explicitly deny.


Attacking P2

A3 -P2 proves God does not exist

A4 - Highlights false dichotomy, which destroys the structure of TAG, as Pro presents it.

No response. Extend all arguments.



3 General criticisms of TAG

A5 - Unjustified argumentation

A6 - Fallacy of division

A7 - The futility of TAG

No response. Extend all arguments.



TANG

Here, Pro denies that God conforms to LA to try and defeat TANG. Again, this response actually defeats TAG in 3 way. First, if God is not bound by LA, then LA are not absolute! Secondly, Pro throws logic under the bus, and hints at a logical relativism, saying:

“My opponent is limiting it to one set of logic. What may be logical to you, does not mean god has to hold by it.”

Who is he kidding here? Pro uses (or abuses) logic to try to show that atheism is untenable, yet when we have an argument to suggest God may be bound by LA, logic quickly becomes collateral damage. This is merely contrivance to save a bad argument, and it only seeks to weaken TAG yet again. Thirdly, Pro (while denying God is bound by LA) says that although the idea that God does exist and does not exist “ just doesn’t make any sense, it isn’t that he wouldn’t be capable.” Huh? Saying that God is outwith LA destroys any reference we can have to God. Given that Pro himself attributes several properties to God (transcendence, omnipotence, etc), clearly he has to think of God as being bound by LA. Does it really make sense to speak of an omnipotent, impotent being? No, because it is logically contradictory. Therefore, to attribute any qualities to God (rightly or wrongly), we simply have to assume that the law of identity and the law of non-contraction hold for God as well, in order to make sense of God at all, and if we do this, TANG shows that God simply can‘t account for LA, as He is as bound by LA as anything else is.

Lastly, I didn’t claim that God could exist and not exist simultaneously, as Pro claims. Rather, I showed that accepting this nonsensical proposition brings the 3 problems above, while denying it admits God cannot account for LA, as He is bound by them.

Yet again, Pro is caught in a dilemma, with either option burying TAG.



Conclusion

In short, Pro’s inadequacy in responding to these points is only surpassed by his sheer lack of engagement with my criticisms of TAG (6 of which were entirely ignored), and my counterargument (TANG). His short and rushed post to supplement his unjustified and poorly argued TAG does not come anywhere close to showing that logical absolutes depend on God.

Lastly, I ask that Pro actually answer my criticisms, rather than ignoring the vast majority of them. Given the huge mountain Pro has to climb in what remains, I wish him the best of luck.


Questions

1. Where does logic come from?

I’ve actually answered this numerous times already. If you mean LA as the nature of existence, I don’t accept that it comes from anywhere, as it doesn’t “exist”, but is the nature of all things which do or could exist, rather than a thing that exists with a nature. Secondly, I think trying to account for LA is futile, and I answered this in my “Futility of TAG” section. But even if I were to drop these contentions, and accept the question on what I believe are faulty grounds, I’d simply say that they were necessary truths. There is no world in which x could be not x simultaneously, and this is shown by the denial of this as being self-contradictory.

2. Name something that is neither physical or conceptual

God, if He exists, as I argued in my attack of P2. Essence would be something else which is neither physical or conceptual. I think there’s also a problem with defining physical, in light of contemporary physics as well (which is part of the reason I don’t hold to physicalism), but in any case, if any these options are even possible, P2 presents a false dichotomy, and TAG is refuted. If God is possible, P2 is false.

Lastly, if we are eliminating possibilities this easy, I could make a similar compliant. I could ask Pro to name an agent which we know exists outside of time, or any mind which has no constituent, physical parts, other than the one in question. Any move that can be made here to save God could equally be made to LA, even if I don't believe for a moment that they are either physical or conceptual.

My questions

1. If God isn’t bound by LA, why does anything else (e.g. chairs) follow the laws of identity and contradiction?

2. If God “does not hold to our standards of logic”, how on earth can you meaningfully identify specific properties of God, without assuming the laws of identity and non-contradiction hold?

Debate Round No. 2
bigbob91

Pro

bigbob91 forfeited this round.
unitedandy

Con

After challenging me to debate the merits of TAG, Pro has yet again failed to properly engage with the debate, forfeiting this last round after 2 rounds of relatively little substance. Obviously, as a result, the unanswered criticisms I made of TAG yet again go completely ignored, and thus refute TAG so far. Pro has been online regularly in the past 3 days, so I find it hard to believe it a time issue, or unforeseen circumstance. In any event, the result is that 6 of the criticisms of TAG I made in R1 will not be responded to until (at least) R4.


Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
bigbob91

Pro

bigbob91 forfeited this round.
unitedandy

Con

Yet again, Pro has forfeited his round while frequenting the site, which is clearly grounds for him to forfeit the whole debate, for all intents and purposes.

TAG is thus refuted, and the resolution negated - Logical absolutes do not depend upon God.
Debate Round No. 4
bigbob91

Pro

bigbob91 forfeited this round.
unitedandy

Con

Unfortunately, Pro has forfeited yet again, despite being active on the site.

Thus, we must conclude that given the debate, logical absolutes do not depend upon God.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by revgrad 1 year ago
revgrad
Is Con saying by "SO EVEN DEFINING LOGICAL ABSOLUTES ASSUMES THAT LOGICAL ABSOLUTES EXIST!!!" that there are absolute truths by inference of the statement alone. Con has given us his absolute truth, so by inference there is such a thing as absolute truth. Therefore, absolute truth being defined as conceptual by those in the debate has to have an origin. If it has an origin, it does have to have a creator. So, by giving everything a definition as defined by the arguments, why can't we call the creator GOD. An absolute creator can only create an absolute (let's call it truth) by the arguments given in the debate.
Posted by unitedandy 5 years ago
unitedandy
16kadams,

Seriously? 8 arguments, 6 of which were completely ignored, and I still lose arguments. What a farce.
Posted by unitedandy 5 years ago
unitedandy
I'll have my response up by tomorrow hopefully. Also, fyi, if you need any clarification on my questions or anything else, just let me know.

Cheers.
Posted by bigbob91 5 years ago
bigbob91
Sorry, pretty busy did not get to take as long as I would like on rebuttal but didn't want to forfeit.
Posted by bigbob91 5 years ago
bigbob91
yeah no problem, just for clarification you will answer my 2nd round questions in your second round, I will answer your 2nd round questions in the 3rd round, You will answer my 3rd rounds question in your 3rd round, I will answer your 3rd round questions in the 4th round.
Posted by unitedandy 5 years ago
unitedandy
Lol, just noticed this debate is 5 rounds. Don't think we'll get it finished before Christmas :)
Posted by bigbob91 5 years ago
bigbob91
Thank you, I wish you luck with the debate and god bless you.
Posted by unitedandy 5 years ago
unitedandy
Hey bigbob, cheers for the opportunity to debate. I'll try to get my post up ASAP, so we can finish it in time for Christmas. Good luck, and welcome to the site.
Posted by bigbob91 5 years ago
bigbob91
2nd link didn't post right, here it is http://carm.org... will post it in my second round as well.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by popculturepooka 5 years ago
popculturepooka
bigbob91unitedandyTied
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 Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments obviously to Con; pretty much all of them were ignored. Con had superior sources. Pro forfeit so the conduct point goes to Con as well.
Vote Placed by THEBOMB 5 years ago
THEBOMB
bigbob91unitedandyTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: With the forfeit aside, Pros arguments were completely well demolished by Con. You also have the forfeits....
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
bigbob91unitedandyTied
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 Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: who had stronger arguments? Pro, who FF'd less? con
Vote Placed by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
bigbob91unitedandyTied
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: FF