Resolved: God exists
Statement 1) Something cannot be A and not-A at the same time and in the same relationship (the law of non-contradiction).
Statement 2) Ex nihilo nihil fit (out of nothing nothing comes).
Statement 3) There is something.
Alright, so with those basic preconditions set, let's launch into my argument for the existence of God.
Point 1) The Impossibility to the Contrary
Going from statement 3 above we can conclude that there is indeed something that exists. Therefore, by definition, there is not nothing. Now, since something can't come out of nothing, we have to ask the question, where did the universe come from? I hold that God cannot not exist because otherwise the universe would not exist. He is an impossibility to the contrary.
Obviously, people will disagree, so let's go back to the beginning of the world. What started the ball rolling, so to speak? What caused the world to exist? There are a couple option available to us. A) Chance, B) Time, and C) a timeless, spaceless, immaterial entity.
Option A) is probably what we hear most of the time but actually has a gaping hole. Chance can't create anything. Chance is a word we assign to the mathematical probability that something will or will not take place. If I toss a coin up in the air, there is a 50/50 chance it will land heads up. However, if I were able to use a machine that always started the coin heads up, and always applied the same amount of pressure, and always made the coin spin a certain number of times, we would be able to increase that probability it would land heads up. But, did chance do that? Absolutely not! Chance is an idea, not an entity capable of doing anything including starting the world.
Option B) is arguably the second most popular explanation for the existence of something instead of nothing, but sadly it carries even less intellectual weight. For example, if I went to a party with an atheist, and 45 minutes after we arrived we found a trout in the punchbowl, what would we conclude? Well, we would both conclude that someone put it there. We would reject the idea that time caused it to exist. Regardless of whether we give the ice cubes 45 minutes to bump together, or 45 billion years to do so they will still be ice cubes and a trout will still be absent from said punchbowl. Time doesn't create something new. Time doesn't create anything, in fact. As Douglas Wilson said, "If I want to walk across my pool, inching out slowly isn't going to help." Time is clearly not an intellectually defensible option.
Option C) actually has two sub-options, one which is defended by atheists on occasion, and one by theists. The Atheistic one is that there was some matter that is self-existent and created everything else. Now, ignoring the fact that everything we know about matter tells us it is dependent and will erode (the second law of Thermodynamics), let's assume we found this matter. This matter would be that which created everything. Now, the creator (be it matter or God) is always superior than the creation. It has to be by definition. This matter would also have to be timeless, since it created everything else, including time. Therefore, this matter would be self-existent, timeless, spaceless (since it would create space to), and superior to the creation. This is starting to sound a little bit like God.
So, why God and not the matter? The reason is that God is the only thing that provides the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. Let me explain.
Point 2) Necessary Preconditions for Intelligibility
Everyday we live we operate as if there are objectives in the world. In fact, this debate round shows that. First, my opponent accepts the debate, thereby showing that he believes there is truth to be known (showing his rejection of relative truth and his acceptance of objective truth). He believes that the debate is not futile and that we can say that it is objectively true that God doesn't exist. While he may not be able to say he knows as a fact, he certainly believes that there is an objective truth here. Which begs the question, what is our standard for this objective truth?
Second, he expects me to be logical, and I expect him to do the same. Now, we both accept that there is that which is logical and that which is not. By statement 1 provided above (the law of non-contradiction) we show our belief in objectives when it comes to logic. Even if my opponent denies that, he will be sure to accuse me of circular reasoning if I then say "God exists because he does!" But then he must answer the question of, "if logic isn't objective, but is subjective, then why do I care if you say I'm engaging in circular reasoning? That's just your opinion."
If we deny the objectivity of logic, this debate is futile. However, with logic being objective, it to begs the question of what is our objective standard for logic?
And finally, morality. Both me and my opponent expect the other to be civil. We want a fair, and kind discussion on both sides. Now, if my opponent denies this, then if I say something incredibly rude, he can't tell me that it's wrong! It's just his opinion! Why should I listen to his subjective opinion? Why should I listen to anyone's?
See, we operate each day like there are objectives. Impersonal matter cannot account for that anymore than a tree can be our objective standard for logic, morality, and truth. Matter can't be a standard because it's just matter. Matter cannot be our objective standard.
Only God can supply the necessary preconditions for intelligibility, namely objective standards of logic, morality, and truth. This statement is proven analytically true.
So, in order for my opponent to critique my worldview, he has to have an objective standard for logic. Lewis said "How can a man call a line crooked if he doesn't have an idea of a straight one?" His accusation that God is a myth implies a standard of logic, one that can only be provided in a worldview in which God exists.
Therefore, God is an impossibility to the contrary for two reasons: because he is the only valid explanation for the existence of something, instead of nothing, and second because he is the only one who can provide the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. Meaning that in order for my opponent to critique the existence of God, he has to appeal to him.
Thank you, and I look forward to a fascinating and edifying debate. Please vote Pro.
Pro starts the ball rolling by proposing, as requirements, the following three statements:
Statement 1 - Law of Non-contradiction
Statement 2 - Ex nihilo nihil fit
Statement 3 - Something Exists
...as a condition of accepting the debate. I accept these conditions.
Now to the argument.
Point 1 - Impossibility to the Contrary
Sub-point 1 - The universe couldn't have come from nothing, so it must have come from something.
From statement 2, the first half of this claim is evident. But what of the second half? Not necessarily. Or, at least, not demonstrated. The statement presumes that the universe "came" from something, at some time. It is not known if this is true. From a scientific standpoint, our current models break down if we rewind the clock far enough. Furthermore, some scientists have even suggested that time has no meaning outside the universe. Since the question of the universe "coming" from something implies a temporal framework outside of the universe, the very question may be incoherent.
Moving outside of the realm of science would require the assumption of some form of theology or creation myth, which is the very thing in question, and would be circular.
Sub-point 2 - The timeless, spaceless, immaterial entity
Sub-point 2 presumes the validity of sub-point 1. Since that has been called into question, anything that rests upon it is equally called into question. However, there are a few questions and concerns I have regarding statements made that would be questionable even given the validity of sub-point 1.
Sub-sub-point 2.1 - Ontological superiority?
Pro states: "Now, the creator (be it matter or God) is always superior than the creation. It has to be by definition."
This is offered without support or reference. I'm not aware of this definition or why this would have to be the case and Pro has offered no frame of reference by which we could measure this. I reject this bare assertion until such a time as Pro provides a reason to accept it.
Sub-sub-point 2.2 - Sounds like God?
Pro states: "This is starting to sound a little bit like God."
Pro is attempting to assert the existence of god by positing the existence of something which, presumably, has the same attributes as god. Now, I will concede that, if two entities - A and B - have completely identical attributes then they are logically identical. However, Pro has failed to provide an exhausted list of what attributes define "god." I assume there are more than three (self-existent, timeless, spaceless, superior). Alternatively, Pro could demonstrate that only god could have those attributes.
In fact, Pro implies he will do that "The reason is that God is the only thing that provides the necessary preconditions for intelligibility."
Point 2 - Necessary Preconditions for Intelligibility
Sub-point 1 - Objective truth
Sub-point 2 - Objective logic
Sup-point 3 - Objective morality
Each of these make similar arguments, simply swapping "truth" for "logic" for "morality." Therefore they all commit the same errors and suffer the same rebuttals.
Firstly, that we act a certain way does not indicate the truth of any assumptions inherent in that manner of acting. Indeed, the hallmark of maturity and development is that we adjust our manner of behavior to conform to the realities of our environment, which presumes an initial disconnect. I certainly don't assume that reality conforms to my preconceptions. Does Pro?
Second, Pro ignores the very idea of implicit frameworks. Indeed, we do "operate as if there are objectives" but that is merely a matter of convenience. If a cop asks you how fast you were going, you will provide an objective, absolute measurement in miles-per-hour (or kph). While stated as an absolute, it is still relative (to the Earth's surface). Much of what we do depends on implicit relative frameworks such as these, almost to the point that we forget they are there. This is a matter of convenience, not a matter of truth.
Third, Pro implies that the only objective statements that can be made are those that are objective. This is utterly false. Relative statements are only meaningless if you fail to produce a framework. Relative statements are completely valid and meaningful within said framework. In fact, that is the very essence of relative philosophies: that statements are meaningless without a relative framework against which you can judge their truth or falsehood.
Finally, the second point fails to support the first. Our instinctive tendencies toward behaving as if absolutes exist does not (as far as I can tell) support the notion that only god can be timeless, spaceless, and superior. This is a non sequitor.
 - "[T]he presently understood laws of physics may be expected to break down on the Planck scale, and our standard picture of inflation followed by the big bang says nothing about the Universe at those very early times..." (http://csep10.phys.utk.edu...)
 - "To ask what happened before the beginning of the universe would become a meaningless question..." (http://www.hawking.org.uk...)
 - "We also distinguish descriptive and normative versions of relativism and see that normative relativism has two faces, an anti-realist face (there are no framework-independent facts of certain sorts) and a realist face (but there are framework-dependent facts of those sorts)." (http://plato.stanford.edu...)
Now, I'll go through and respond to my opponent's arguments one by one, starting with his rebuttal of my subpoint 1.
I agree that outside of the universe time has no meaning. However, unless my opponent is suggesting that the universe is eternal here (which is defeated by the second law of thermodynamics) then I'm not sure what he's referring to. If the universe isn't eternal at some point it began, and with it time. Therefore, the argument goes like this.
Premise 1: Something exists.
Premise 2: That something must have had a beginning.
Premise 3: The something could not come from nothing.
Premise 4: The something did not come from eternal matter.
Conclusion: That something must have come from a spaceless, timeless, self-sufficient being.
Now of course the conclusion above does not prove God, rather just an entity, I suppose one can label as God. My second point proves God.
HIs argument against subpoint 2.1 asks whether the statement that the creator is superior to the creation is true. I would ask him to provide a reason how it is logically possible for God (assuming he exists) to create something greater then himself. Whatever he creates will be a creature, and thus inferior to him.
His argument against subpoint 2.2 assumes that I am trying to show how the option of eternal matter ends up becoming God. However, that is not the case. I am merely trying to show why it results in a God-esque type entity. I then say that it couldn't be matter because of my second point, and that is where we will have the most contention, I think.
Rebuttal to the Rebuttal of Point 2: Necessary preconditions for intelligibility.
Now, I'm not sure if my opponent just doesn't know what necessary preconditions for intelligibility are, or if he's just acting like he doesn't know. Unless he is supporting total relativism (which is hinted at in several places, but not strongly enough to be able to say that is what he is supporting) then he has failed to provide alternative objective standards for logic, morality, and truth.
His first argument assumes that a "hallmark of maturity and development is that we adjust our manner of behavior to conform to the realities of our environment." Though I agree, I hold the position that in the atheistic worldview, this statement is just opinion. What objective standard of truth is he appealing to to prove this point? He hasn't provided it.
He then talks about implicit frameworks (opening with a "Pro ignores," as if ignoring an idea was wrong, without of course providing a standard for why it's wrong). And here my opponent completely misuses the terms "relative" and "objective." Objectively speaking, in the example he gave, you were going X miles per hour relative to the earth's surface. My opponent, I'm sure, would agree. But in his worldview, how fast you were going is up to you. And, if you think you were going Y mph instead of X mph then you are right. If the cop thinks you were going Z mph instead of Y or X mph he is right! Without an objective standard for truth, which my opponent hasn't provided in his worldview, this entire debate is futile.
My opponent then claims, in his third point that I am "utterly false" in an assertion that I make. I want to ask, by what standard? According to you? My opponent? "Relative statements are completely valid and meaningful within said framework." According to who? By what standard of meaning and validity? And, if my opponent says logic, then by what standard of logic?
See, my opponent doesn't understand what I'm getting at here. I'm asking an epistemological (how do we know what we know?) question here. What are the objective standards my opponent appeals to in his rebuttal? He appeals to logic, he appeals to truth. But by what standard do we judge these things.
I contend that in the atheist worldview, there are no such standards, and thus, in the atheist worldview knowledge is impossible since knowledge requires the necessary preconditions for intelligibility.
If my opponent says that we determine truth by what is logical, then how do we know what is logical? Who judges when something is logical? A bunch of people? So the majority determines truth? What majority then? What obligates me to accept their determination.
If my opponent says the scientific method determines truth, then he is talking in circles since the scientific method relies on several truths (including the truth of itself) to reach any conclusion. In my opponent's worldview, Nietzche was right.
All is meaningless. Knowledge is futile. Only in the theistic worldview, where we have a transcendent, objective standard for those things (God) is knowledge possible. By appealing to logic and truth in my his arguments my opponent was borrowing from theism to support his side. He was borrowing necessary preconditions for intelligibility from theism in order for his side to even function.
My opponent must provide standard for logic, morality and truth, or all his statements here or in the future devolve into pure opinion.
The beginning of the universe.
Pro contends that I must make, and prove, a definitive conclusion regarding the origin and make-up of the universe. I disagree. All I have to do is show that Pros' conclusions do not hold, either by demonstrating some invalidity of his argument, the falsity (or unknown truth) of any of the premises or both. In demonstrating Pro's argument as false (or, at least, not demonstrated as true) it is not required of me to posit and prove an alternative scenario.
This is important since my rebuttal of Pro's arguments are that: A) accepted scientific models of the universe break down, preventing any conclusions about its origins from being made; and B) questions of its origins may be meaningless to begin with.
This means that Pro's premises 2, 3, and 4 are not known to be true as far as the concern the universe as a whole.
Since I do not know what it means for some entity to be inferior or superior to another entity, I cannot meet Pro's demand. And, to repeat, while counter-examples is one way of refuting an argument, in this case it is simply sufficient for me to note that Pro's assertion is bare and without support. As it is, measurements of "superiority" and "inferiority" require some sort of criteria by which we can judge.
Necessary Preconditions of Intelligibility
Admittedly, this was the first time I've heard of this phrase. I began to do some research into it before realizing that it's not my job to find support for Pro's assertions: it's Pro's job. Regardless, as far as I can tell, all statements of god providing for the necessary preconditions of intelligibility are simply bare assertions without support.
Pro consistently misrepresents what relativism is.
"Objectively speaking, in the example he gave, you were going X miles per hour relative to the earth's surface."
No, relatively speaking. X miles per hour relative to the Earth's surface is a relative statement. It's right there!
"But in his worldview, how fast you were going is up to you."
This is Pro's primary sin with regards to relativism: he thinks it is synonymous with "made up." That, relative frameworks mean we are free to say anything and everything is true and there is no basis for saying anything is wrong. This is a horrible assessment of relativism.
In a nutshell, all relativism means is that, when asserting a truth, a framework must be provided. (Whether this is for all truths or merely some is depends on how strong or weak the relativism is; references in the previous round).
My example was not an example of relative truth, but rather an example of relative motion; I was using an analogy. "45 mph" is not a meaningful statement to make in physics without a frame of reference. That reference can be implicit and widely understood, but it must be there. Likewise, for relative truths, some logical framework must exist.
"I am "utterly false" in an assertion that I make. I want to ask, by what standard? According to you? My opponent? "Relative statements are completely valid and meaningful within said framework." According to who? By what standard of meaning and validity? And, if my opponent says logic, then by what standard of logic?"
The answer to this is simply: by the established and agreed upon definitions of the words.
Pro delves into an epistemological argument that I think is off topic. I will reserve any rebuttals until Pro can demonstrates how this relates to the argument at hand ("God exists.") Pro seems to simply want an outlet to bash his perception of atheistic worldviews, but that is not the purpose of this debate. To summarize:
1. Pro has made claims about the universe that are not only unsupported, but completely unsupportable without a complete model of the universe which doesn't exist.
2. Pro has claimed that the "preconditions for intelligibility" somehow prove that the universe was created by a god, but this connection has not been established. Furthermore, these preconditions are based upon a misunderstanding of relativism.
Rather than refute my statements, or resupport his arguments, it seems that Pro has simply repeated himself.
Now, I'd like to address something my opponent says near the end of his last post. He says "Pro delves into an epistemological argument that I think is off-topic." Now, I hope that my opponent is merely saying that I haven't made the connection, and not asserting that epistemology is irrelevant to the topic of God's existence at all. If so, this is a very serious error, since we need to know how we know what we know before we begin to talk about what we know (ontology) and what the purpose is for what we know (teleology).
Now, I will grant that I did not draw the connection between objective standard of logic, morality, and truth (necessary preconditions for intelligibility) as clearly as I should have so let me try to clarify.
Assuming God exists, and that he created everything, it would then follow that he created logic, morality and truth. Now, in regard to the God I am arguing for (the Christian God) these things flow out of him as part of his nature (and I can provide Bible verses to back that up upon request). Now, unless my opponent is willing to support relativism (the philosophical theory) we must have standard for logic, morality, and truth. These standards must be transcendent, otherwise they cannot apply to everyone (I hope my opponent sees this). In other words, they cannot be person-relative, culture-relative, planet-relative, or even universe-relative otherwise they are not objective. Thus, the only thing that can provide transcendent, objective standards is God, since he is the starting point for logic, morality, and truth. Those things are part of his character. He is transcendent, and thus provides the standard for those three things.
So, in my worldview, I have standard for logic, morality, and truth. My argument regarding atheism is epistemological. What are your standards of logic, morality, and truth, and where do they come from? People? Culture? The majority? The people in power? The smartest people? Tradition?
See, obviously I cannot respond to every possible attempt to provide standards in atheism, but I will provide answers to the ones I listed above. If my opponent has a different proposal, I ask him to make it clear so that it may be discussed.
Let's assume culture provided the standards (henceforward when I say "the standards" I am referring to standard of logic, morality, and truth). What would obligate me to follow these standards? Why should I accept them? What if different cultures have different standards, which one is right? Why is that one right? Furthermore, this one, just like if I were to say that the majority provided the standards, violates the laws of logic that it is being claimed they provide by committing the ad populum fallacy.
The people who claim that the standards are provided by the people in power or the smartest people both have the issue of them committing the logical fallacy of an "appeal to authority" again violating the very laws of logic it is claimed they provide, and thus invalidating them as standards. The source of tradition simply commits chronological snobbery, thus again failing to provide the standards.
Here is my assertion, in short. The only atheistic source for standards that I have listed that I have not yet discussed is individuals. My claim is that atheism ultimately falls in nihilism. All is person-relative. Truth, logic, and morality are just things we come up with in our minds. This is because atheism doesn't have a transcendent standard to provide, and the standard I have seen provided fail as I have shown above.
Therefore, if we have no objective standards of morality, logic, and truth then it simply devolves into personal opinion. This renders all the sciences and logic meaningless, because there is no truth to be known. There is nothing but pure subjective opinion.
And therein lies the problem with my opponent's last response. In his last post and throughout this debate round he has made assertions of science, truth, and logic but cannot in his worldview account for them. My worldview can account for things like logic, morality, and truth because we have a transcendent entity (God) who can provide them. Thus, when my opponent makes those assertions he is standing on the very ground he is trying to refute. This is a huge issue. My opponent needs God in order to disprove his existence. Even saying "God doesn't exist" requires that God exists, since it is a statement of truth that cannot be accounted for in atheism, but only in theism.
Allow me to take just a little more time to attempt to demonstrate the problem's with atheism using an example.
Suppose I decided one day that no one in the world existed but me, and suppose an theist tried to convince me otherwise. How could he do that?
Could he say that my belief is untrue? No. See, in his worldview (as I have shown above) there is no such thing as objective truth, there is merely truth for him. Can he prove me logically wrong? No, because logic is person-relative in atheism. Can he say that by ignoring the existence of others I turning a blind eye to the evil in the world and thus I am immoral? No, because right and wrong are pure personal opinions in atheism.
Atheism cannot answer the question of how we know what we know, and thus it cannot move on to discussing what is, because what is implies that there is something that exists outside of personal opinion, and atheism has already been shown to fail epistemologically.
To sum it all up, in order to refute me, my opponent must borrow from my worldview. My "proof" for the existence of God is summed up best by one Christian apologist who said "The proof for the existence of God is that without him, you cannot prove anything." Why? Because there's nothing to be proven and no way to prove it if there was.
Before addressing my opponent's tangents, I wish to address what Pro called his "main argument."
"Now, since something can't come out of nothing, we have to ask the question, where did the universe come from? I hold that God cannot not exist because otherwise the universe would not exist. He is an impossibility to the contrary." - Pro, R1
My rebuttal to this was to note that our current models of the universe are insufficient to answer this question (they break down) and other models require the presumption of god (making the argument circular) and we don't even know of the question is coherent with regards to the universe (see references in R1). My opponent did not address the first two and has conceded the last.
The only point to the rest of the argument is in support of the first, with respect to concluding that God is the answer to the question posed. However, the question has been rendered invalid, making the rest of the argument moot. Until Pro demonstrates that that the universe had a cause in time (which can only be the case if there exists a measure of time outside the universe) then everything else is academic and irrelevant.
Even ignoring the above, Pro has not demonstrated why or how, the rest of his argument suppots his main point. Pro admits this:
"Now, I will grant that I did not draw the connection between objective standard of logic, morality, and truth (necessary preconditions for intelligibility) as clearly as I should have so let me try to clarify." - Pro, R3
First, we will address this clarification...
Clarification of Supporting Arguments:
My opponent's clarification can be summarized thusly:
If God exists, then objective standards for logic, morality, and truth exist.
Therefore, if God doesn't exist, then objective standards for logic, morality, and truth don't exist.
This is fallacious, committing an "inverse error". Pro assumes that only god can provide for such objective standards citing only his ignorance of other possibilities which is also fallacious.
I respectfully request a clarification that does not commit these errors.
Tangential Odds and Ends
I believe that R1 set the scope of the debate, and I do not think it appropriate to delve into other arguments for God or start breaking out into every god-related philosophical quandry. The Main Argument in R1 is what is at stake here and what Pro should defend. However, for the sake of argument I will address some of his issues, but I consider this to be outside the scope of the debate and for purely academic reasons:
1. Definition of Relativism - I don't believe the dictionary is appropriate here. While it can provide a general description of relativism, relativism as a philosophical concept is much more. It is more appropriate described using the source I provided in R1. As such, portraying relativism as "made up" or "meaningless" are right out.
2. Objectivism is the only intelligible answer - Pro contends that, without an objective standard (independent of individuals, cultures, the planet, and even the universe) we cannot discuss things meaningfully. This can be proved false via example. Take language. Language is not objective. All words are "made up." We can decide what words mean and even change their meaning. Yet this does not prevent communication. All of Pro's issues with logic, truth, and morality also apply to language. The objection being: why should anyone else adhere to a relative standard? And the answer is simple: because we agree to and that is the only way to obtain utility from it.
We all agree to use (generally speaking) the same definitions of words, else we would not be able to communicate. Since we value communication, we have a vested interest in agreeing to a standard. The same is generally true of truth, morality, and logic. While agreement varies, it is only our agreement that binds us to any standard.
3. Is Objectivism really the answer? - Pro cites objectivism as the solution, but it isn't. Since there are many logical, epistemological, and moral models that have been put forth as "objective" and since there is no agreement regarding which models are actually objective, the choice of model relies upon personal opinion. Thus, even if there exists an objective system, we don't know what it is and the end result is practical relativism anyway.
4. No, I don't have to provide counter examples - Pro continues to insist that I provide alternatives for him to critique. This is not how debates work. Pro presented an argument and, while the presentation of counter examples is one way to disprove an argument, it is not the only way. Since pro did not stipulate that only counter-examples are valid forms of rebuttal, I will continue to critique his arguments as I see fit, which will include counter-examples at my discretion.
 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
However, I still stand Resolved: God exists. I still hold that the Christian Worldview is the only worldview that can account for the debate we have had so far. I still hold that the Christian Worldview is the only worldview that can provide objective standards of logic, morality, and truth.
First, I'd like to clarify that the "main argument" my opponent said was my main argument was only one of the main arguments. Both of my 2 points were my main points, and while they did flow together I did not intend one to serve the purpose of supporting the other.
Second, I'd like to respond to the source of necessary preconditions for intelligibility that my opponent provided.
"The objection being: why should anyone else adhere to a relative standard? And the answer is simple: because we agree to and that is the only way to obtain utility from it." " Con, R3
In essence, Con claimed that convention (the majority) is the source of logic, morality, and truth. He did not deal with my rebuttal of that source that I presented in R3, so I will restate it and elaborate on it.
First, appealing to the majority as the source of necessary preconditions for intelligibility breaks one of the laws of logic it is claimed they provide. It commits the fallacy of the "appeal to the masses," or "ad populum." This means that his source is self-contradictory. Second, how do we know what the majority says? In other words, what majority? For a while, the majority in America thought slavery was fine. So was slavery morally acceptable just because at least 51% thought it was?
To use the classic example, in Nazi Germany the majority believed the Jews were an inferior race. Were they right? My opponent might respond, no, because the majority in the world thought they were wrong? Ok, so then what obligated Germany to adhere to that? According to my opponent, because they agreed to do so. Where? And even so, are we really ready to claim that the only reason Hitler and the slave-owners were wrong was because they disagreed with the rest of us? That they broke convention? Really, that's the best the atheist worldview has?
So we've seen how a source of the majority fails in regards to logic and morality, but what about truth? Well, even though I think I've sufficiently proven the source invalid, let's assume for a moment that it is valid. If that is the case, if the majority determines truth, then my opponent's worldview is wrong, since studies show that only about 5% of people are atheists. Therefore, the majority agrees with me. Now, I won't for a second say that because the majority agrees with me therefore God exists because that is fallacious, and the majority is not a valid standard of truth. But, even if it were, it would defeat my opponent's worldview. Thus, if in his next post my opponent doesn't reject this standard, then please consider this debate round won by Pro because of the standard of truth that Con set up.
Now, let's move on to an accusation my opponent made against my case, claiming that I committed the "inverse fallacy."
"My opponent's clarification can be summarized thusly:
If God exists, then objective standards for logic, morality, and truth exist.
Therefore, if God doesn't exist, then objective standards for logic, morality, and truth don't exist.
This is fallacious, committing an "inverse error". Pro assumes that only god can provide for such objective standards citing only his ignorance of other possibilities which is also fallacious." " Con, R3
I take fault with the summary my opponent used. I would restate it thusly:
God is the only way for necessary preconditions for intelligibility exist.
Therefore, if God doesn't exist then it is impossible for necessary preconditions for intelligibility to exist.
This is an argument from the impossibility to the contrary. Furthermore, though, by what standard of logic does my opponent critique me? We've already seen how his current standards are invalid, so then what standard does he have?
The first premise is supported by the fact that God is the only thing that is by definition transcendent, and he is the starting point for logic, morality, and truth. They flow from his character.
My opponent makes several other arguments. He claims that appealing to objective standards doesn't work because not everyone agrees on objective standards. Again, here he appeals to his standard of the majority's agreement. I've already shown this to be false, but, this also places people's agreement as the standard for what is objective, and my opponent once again shows his misunderstanding of epistemology. If I am right, then I am right regardless of whether or not people agree with me. If Islam is right, then islam is right regardless of who agrees with them or not. People's agreement are not the source of all knowledge (which is essentially what my opponent suggested in presenting the majority as the answer to my questions).
Then, my opponent states that he is not obligated to present counter-examples. Now, even though he did provide a counter-example (the majority) I have to point out two things. 1) In formal logic, if one does not present an alternative option then a statement has simply been proven "non-true." This is not, as some may think, false. This is instead anything but true. So, even though it is an absurd example, the statement might be, say, a chicken. But it hasn't been proven false. Thus, under this point my opponent keeps bringing up, every debate, including this one, must end in a tie. 2) If I am questioning his ability to say anything at all without using my worldview, he must show how his worldview can account for necessary preconditions for intelligibility, which he has not done in a valid manner yet.
My opponent also presents the argument that necessary preconditions for intelligibility aren't necessary to make sense out of the world. Now, while the opposite is proven analytically true (true by definition) I will respond to the analogy my opponent presents. He talks about how language is subjective but yet we make sense of everything. Now, it is important to note that language is not a necessary precondition for intelligibility, but also that language is a subjective medium used to communicate an objective idea. To illustrate, imagine if 50 years in the future we decided to start calling mountains "ice cream." Now, while the name for mountain would have changed, we would still be communicating the same idea that we would be if we said "mountain." Furthermore, if language is just our agreed upon definitions of things (as my opponent rightly asserts) the dictionaries, as a collection of those agreements, are a perfectly valid way to define a philosophy contrary to what my opponent said.
So, in conclusion, I believe my opponent has failed to provide a solid epistemological ground upon which he can critique my worldview, without appealing to my worldview. He has failed to show how his worldview can account for any sort of logic, morality, or truth. Whereas I have shown how my worldview can and does account for those things. My opponent is doing the equivalent of trying to disprove oxygen, while all the time breathing it in order to be able to argue against it's existence.
It is for those reasons that I urge a vote for Pro, and stand firm in stating that God does indeed exist.
The second point not in support of the first?
This is an odd statement to make in the very last round of the debate. I have been treating the arguments thusly (quite clearly and explicitly) and my opponent has seemed to have been in agreement with that or, at least, not objecting to it.
Me, R1: "Finally, the second point fails to support the first."
Pro, R3: "Now, I will grant that I did not draw the connection between objective standard of logic, morality, and truth (necessary preconditions for intelligibility) as clearly as I should have so let me try to clarify."
Agreement = Majority?
It is interesting that Pro made this leap, and unfortunate, since he spent so much time rebutting an argument from majority that I did not make. I merely said that agreement is necessary. This can be as simple as agreement between two individuals in a sea of dissenting opinion. Furthermore, I did not assert that this agreement generates truth or knowledge, but rather:
"While agreement varies, it is only our agreement that binds us to any standard."
"The objection being: why should anyone else adhere to a relative standard? And the answer is simple: because we agree to and that is the only way to obtain utility from it."
I didn't say that agreement produces an objective standard. I said that the only reason we adhere to a standard, and the only way we can get utility out of a standard, is by agreeing with it. If no one uses a standard, then it is useless, even if it is objective.
Pro also seems to fail to understand what I meant by "practical relativism."
"My opponent makes several other arguments. He claims that appealing to objective standards doesn't work because not everyone agrees on objective standards. Again, here he appeals to his standard of the majority's agreement. I've already shown this to be false, but, this also places people's agreement as the standard for what is objective..."
This is a rather odd statement to make. Pro portrays my position as relativism, which eschews objectivism, yet also claims I am positing a standard for objectivity. This is a contradiction. Either I'm positing relativism or I'm positing objectivism. To be clear, I'm positing relativism, so I can't be presenting a "standard for what is objective..." Regardless I am not saying that people's agreement is the standard (as stated above). But I think this point bears clarification.
Going back to Pro's R1:
"Everyday we live we operate as if there are objectives in the world."
Indeed, but we don't all agree on what those objectives are. There are many different models of epistemology, morality, and logic and, among them many different proposed candidates for objective standards. Since there can only be one God-given objective standard (one each for truth, morality, logic, etc.) that means that many of us are operating on a non-objective standard thinking it is objective.
This means that, our mere behavior is not enough, in itself, to establish the existence of an objective standard. Yet we are able to communicate intelligibly (or apparently intelligibly) by agreeing on a standard to communicate concepts. I illustrated this with the example of language (if Pro doesn't think that language is a prerequisite for intelligibility, then I challenge him to present an intelligible argument in the comments without using language).
"God is the only way for necessary preconditions for intelligibility exist.
Therefore, if God doesn't exist then it is impossible for necessary preconditions for intelligibility to exist."
While Pro has removed the inverse error, the argument from ignorance seems to remain; Pro's reason for asserting the first statement is because he cannot think of any alternatives.
Burden of Proof
Pro: 'In formal logic, if one does not present an alternative option then a statement has simply been proved "non-true."'
The issue of Pro's argument not being presented in a formal manner aside, I will accept this. Pro contends that his resolution: "God exists" is true. I contend that Pro has failed to prove it true. There was no burden placed upon me to prove a contrary statement.
1. Pro failed to demonstrate that the questions asked of the universe were coherent.
2. Pro failed to demonstrate why merely acting as if objective standards exist mean they exist.
3. Pro failed to demonstrate why God is the only possibility for objective standards.
Without these, Pro has failed to demonstrate his assertion that "God exists."
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