The Instigator
StreetLogician
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
errya
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

The Argument for/Pro presented in the debate "Atheism is reasonably impossible" is flawed

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Post Voting Period
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after 5 votes the winner is...
StreetLogician
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/1/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,266 times Debate No: 27671
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (5)

 

StreetLogician

Pro

I would like to take up the debate started by errya in "Atheism is reasonably impossible" since his opponent has not replied. The reader should note that the Pro position here is the Con position in other debate.

The argument presented for/Pro "Atheism is reasonably impossible" is flawed. It is flawed primarily for two reasons. It relies on:
1. a false dilemma (Materialism or Folk Dualism)
2. a mistaken notion of "Natural Law" (dictated versus descriptive)

The first round is to present a summary of my argument for errya to accept.
errya

Con

I accept. I hope we can have a robust debate.
Debate Round No. 1
StreetLogician

Pro

For the benefit of readers I am cutting and pasting in the argument my opponent made in the other thread that I claim is flawed. It begins:

Now, I am sure we all know that our universe is orderly, and has many scientific laws, such as Newton's Law of Motion, and the Universal Law of Gravitation. We know these laws exist objectively because of the objective effects they have on our world.

Now here's the important part.

We know these laws exist objectively, but they are not actual physical things.

We can see their effects, but see can not actually touch, see, smell, taste or hear the laws themselves.

What are the effects of this in relation to our debate?

We now know that these objective non-physical laws must exist. However, with an atheistic viewpoint, it is reasonably impossible for these laws to exist. Atheism is the non-belief in God, which means no spiritual being can exist. If any did exist, even if they were not omnipotent, they would be in a higher form of being than the physical world, and would not be subject to our physical restrictions. This would therefore make any spiritual being able to be called a God, assuming they were the most powerful spiritual being. Ergo, Atheism requires materialism, the belief that nothing exists but the physical world.

But mere physical matter cannot create laws or rules, as it requires intelligence. Example: We as humans have intelligence, so we can create laws. But a rock cannot create rules and laws, as it is mere physical matter. But there's more. We humans, despite being intelligent cannot create objective physical laws, as any law we make will be subjective. We only have control over ourselves, so we can only make ourselves obey that law. Through that same logic we must conclude that anything able to make an objective law must have control over everything, ie. Omnipotent. So as the last conclusion, anything that is capable of making objective laws such as the laws of science, must be:

1.Non-physical
2.Omnipotent

The only thing that fits this criteria is God.

Also, I would like to point out that if this argument is correct, Atheism is reasonably impossible (see above statement), so to win this debate my opponent must refute my argument.

This ends my opponents argument an begins mine.

Atheists do not believe in gods by definition.This does not commit them to materialism, though most are materialists. It does, however, commit them to naturalism. An example of a famous atheist who was not a materialist is Bertrand Russell. Bertrand Russell was a neutral monist. He believed that there was something more fundamental than mental and physical stuff. Here is an article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for anyone interested in the position and it also confirms that Bertrand Russell held the position.

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

Neutral Monism is only one of many possible metaphysical positions an atheist can take with regard to the relationship between the mental and the physical besides Materialism. Another example of a position an atheist can take is what David Chalmers terms Type-F Monism. I fall into this category. In this ontology, what we think of as physical properties are really just abstracted mental properties. In other words, mass actually has a feel associated with it. We abstract it out when we quantify to predict behavior. In Type-F Monism, .0001 grams could actually stand for what it is like to see the color blue. Someone interested in learning more about this position and many other alternatives might enjoy this article from David Chalmers:

http://consc.net...

It is even possible that an Atheist subscribe to interactive naturalistic dualism.
What make a theist’s notion of a “spiritual being” unpalatable to most if not all atheists is that theist’s invariably attribute complex cognitive functions to something other than the brain and so personality and memory can persist without it.Hence a theist can believe in an afterlife where spirits can remember their previous life and reflect on it. This seems to be at odds with observations of patients with brain damage who can become very different in personality and are no longer able to recall memories. A naturalistic dualist can believe that there is mental(experiential stuff) and physical stuff and that they are distinct and fundamental, but that cognitive functions require a brain that evolved and and this shapes the experience of the mental stuff so that it becomes the experience of what it is to be a human being. In the case of interactive naturalistic dualism as proposed by physicist Henry Stapp that mental stuff is what brings about the collapse of the wave function of the brain. It experiences memories and thoughts only because it is the wave function associated with the brain. Wave functions in general would not experience cognitive functions.

These are all naturalistic positions positions an atheist can take besides materialism. Atheists do not have to be materialist and some are not.

Your argument also relies on a misunderstanding of how many scientists and philosophers use the word law in the expression "natural law". A materialist can hold the position that the behavior of an electron is self determined and described by natural laws written by men. You may not believe that an electron can determine its own behavior, but an atheist can and there is no contradiction in holding this position or disagreement with empirical observations. You may have an intuition that disagrees with the intuition of an atheist, but does not invalidate his position. An atheist can even say that there are no laws of nature in the sense that you use the term. They describe the likelihood of behaviors and do not even predict them.

Here is an article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that talks about this position of the descriptive nature of natural laws:

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

There is no contradiction in these posittions or disagreement with empiricle observation. An atheist does not have to believe that natural laws dictate behavior, They can hold that these laws simply describe behavior or probabilities.
errya

Con

I personally think that my opponents argument has more holes than a tennis racket, and will now proceed to point them out.

Atheists do not believe in gods by definition.This does not commit them to materialism, though most are materialists. It does, however, commit them to naturalism. An example of a famous atheist who was not a materialist is Bertrand Russell. Bertrand Russell was a neutral monist. He believed that there was something more fundamental than mental and physical stuff. Here is an article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for anyone interested in the position and it also confirms that Bertrand Russell held the position.



Neutral Monism is only one of many possible metaphysical positions an atheist can take with regard to the relationship between the mental and the physical besides Materialism. Another example of a position an atheist can take is what David Chalmers terms Type-F Monism. I fall into this category. In this ontology, what we think of as physical properties are really just abstracted mental properties. In other words, mass actually has a feel associated with it. We abstract it out when we quantify to predict behavior. In Type-F Monism, .0001 grams could actually stand for what it is like to see the color blue. Someone interested in learning more about this position and many other alternatives might enjoy this article from David Chalmers:



It is even possible that an Atheist subscribe to interactive naturalistic dualism. What make a theist’s notion of a “spiritual being” unpalatable to most if not all atheists is that theist’s invariably attribute complex cognitive functions to something other than the brain and so personality and memory can persist without it.Hence a theist can believe in an afterlife where spirits can remember their previous life and reflect on it. This seems to be at odds with observations of patients with brain damage who can become very different in personality and are no longer able to recall memories. A naturalistic dualist can believe that there is mental(experiential stuff) and physical stuff and that they are distinct and fundamental, but that cognitive functions require a brain that evolved and and this shapes the experience of the mental stuff so that it becomes the experience of what it is to be a human being. In the case of interactive naturalistic dualism as proposed by physicist Henry Stapp that mental stuff is what brings about the collapse of the wave function of the brain. It experiences memories and thoughts only because it is the wave function associated with the brain. Wave functions in general would not experience cognitive functions.

These are all naturalistic positions positions an atheist can take besides materialism. Atheists do not have to be materialist and some are not.

I don't quite get what you are trying to argue here. Maybe we should go over my arguments again.

  1. Natural laws are both absolute (they affect all physical things) and they in themselves are non-physical.

  2. For them to have been created, the creator must have also been absolute, ( ie, omnipotent) and non-physical.

  3. This could only be God.

    In your argument you seem to be saying that not all Atheists are materialists. I accept this, but I fail to say how it is relevant to our argument as they are still Atheists and therefore don't believe in God.

    Your argument also relies on a misunderstanding of how many scientists and philosophers use the word law in the expression "natural law". A materialist can hold the position that the behavior of an electron is self determined and described by natural laws written by men. You may not believe that an electron can determine its own behavior, but an atheist can and there is no contradiction in holding this position or disagreement with empirical observations. You may have an intuition that disagrees with the intuition of an atheist, but does not invalidate his position.

A materialist can hold the position that the behavior of an electron is self determined and described by natural laws written by men. You may not believe that an electron can determine its own behavior, but an atheist can and there is no contradiction in holding this position or disagreement with empirical observations.”

Is this argument that some Atheists believe that natural laws 'just are', and that the natural laws are just descriptions of what 'just is', and the fact that they believe that makes it a reasonable possibility? Because I am pretty sure saying 'it just is' is not a reasonable answer.

An atheist can even say that there are no laws of nature in the sense that you use the term. They describe the likelihood of behaviors and do not even predict them.

Describe the likelyhood?” Are you saying that every time I throw a ball into the air there is only a likelyhood it will come back down? And “do not predict it?” Are you saying the when my ball comes back down (like it always will) the Law of Gravity hasn't predicted that?

Here is an article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that talks about this position of the descriptive nature of natural laws:


I'm afraid this link didn't lead anywhere.


There is no contradiction in these posittions or disagreement with empiricle observation. An atheist does not have to believe that natural laws dictate behavior, They can hold that these laws simply describe behavior or probabilities.

Describe behaviour...that never varies, therefore something must be making it do that. I think I mentioned before why natural laws don't describe probabilities, only certainties.

Debate Round No. 2
StreetLogician

Pro

For clarification, the reason why I go on about the different ontological positions an atheist can take is that you claim that atheism requires materialism. That is false. Not all atheist are materialists, nor does being an atheist commit them to materialism for the reasons I provided.

Next, I do understand your argument. It is an old argument called the lawgiver argument. You can Google it. You are arguing that atheism is reasonably impossible. Let's examine what that means and what each of us needs to establish. When you say a position is reasonably impossible you are saying that the position is internally inconsistent or disagrees with empirical results. Your "proof" may be persuasive to you because you believe your premises. I do not and neither do atheists in general. From the point of view of an atheist, an argument can be made that god is unnecessary to explain natural laws. The argument might go something like this:

1. Every fundamental particle (I prefer to say constituent) in the universe determines its own behavior.
2. Many of these constituents appear to behave similarly so human beings can classify them.
3. These apparent similarities allow us to glean and relate properties such as mass, charge, etc... and call the relationships between properties natural laws.
4. All of this can be done without invoking gods.
Therefore, gods are unnecessary to explain natural laws.

There is nothing in this argument that is internally inconsistent or that disagrees with empirical results. What is does disagree with is your intuitions. You believe that nature is to some degree handicapped and in need of help so you say something like "Particles can't determine their own behavior because they are mere physical matter. That kind of thing requires intelligence." This is something that may seem obvious to you, but it is not obvious to an atheist. You need to demonstrate why intelligence is required to determine a particles behavior. Without a convincing argument, it is a claim at best and one that makes no sense to an atheist.

There is another problem with your argument. It appears to be completely at odds with empirical results. You claim that matter behaves the same all the time. This is not true. Deterministic Newtonian physics was displaced by Quantum Mechanics more than 80 years ago. Electrons passing through a double slit from a single source do not end up in the same place. At best we can come up with a probability distribution that can account for the pattern. This is not a traditional deterministic natural law.

Many Physicists, especially cosmologists, believe that a multiverse is the best explanation for the sum of observed phenomena. If that is the case, there really are no natural laws. Each time line would be determined, but there would be no absolute patterns of behavior. Natural laws for large scale objects in QM and multiverses are statistical expected paths, but they can unexpectedly deviate from them though it would be a very rare occurrence in most time lines.
errya

Con

I thank my opponent for his prompt response. I will now attempt to refute his arguments.

For clarification, the reason why I go on about the different ontological positions an atheist can take is that you claim that atheism requires materialism. That is false. Not all atheist are materialists, nor does being an atheist commit them to materialism for the reasons I provided.

I never claimed that Atheism required materialism, I just said that an atheist cannot believe in a spiritual being. And even if I did I fail to see how it is relevant to our debate topic.

Next, I do understand your argument. It is an old argument called the lawgiver argument. You can Google it. You are arguing that atheism is reasonably impossible. Let's examine what that means and what each of us needs to establish. When you say a position is reasonably impossible you are saying that the position is internally inconsistent or disagrees with empirical results. Your "proof" may be persuasive to you because you believe your premises. I do not and neither do atheists in general. From the point of view of an atheist, an argument can be made that god is unnecessary to explain natural laws. The argument might go something like this:

1. Every fundamental particle (I prefer to say constituent) in the universe determines its own behavior.
2. Many of these constituents appear to behave similarly so human beings can classify them.
3. These apparent similarities allow us to glean and relate properties such as mass, charge, etc... and call the relationships between properties natural laws.
4. All of this can be done without invoking gods.
Therefore, gods are unnecessary to explain natural laws.

There is nothing in this argument that is internally inconsistent or that disagrees with empirical results. What is does disagree with is your intuitions. You believe that nature is to some degree handicapped and in need of help so you say something like "Particles can't determine their own behavior because they are mere physical matter. That kind of thing requires intelligence." This is something that may seem obvious to you, but it is not obvious to an atheist. You need to demonstrate why intelligence is required to determine a particles behavior. Without a convincing argument, it is a claim at best and one that makes no sense to an atheist.

Electrons, or any other inanimate objects for that matter, CANNOT determine their own behaviour. It is impossible.

1. Inanimate objects cannot make decisions, in fact, they cannot do anything at all.

2. To determine (Determine, verb: Cause (something) to occur in a particular way) it's own behaviour an inanimate object must make a decision on which way to behave.

3. Inanimate objects cannot determine their own behaviour.

4. Inanimate objects appear to have a determined behaviour.

5. The behaviour of inanimate objects must be determined by an external force.

I went on a bit of a tangent on the last 2 points, but I feel they are relevant.


There is another problem with your argument. It appears to be completely at odds with empirical results. You claim that matter behaves the same all the time. This is not true. Deterministic Newtonian physics was displaced by Quantum Mechanics more than 80 years ago. Electrons passing through a double slit from a single source do not end up in the same place. At best we can come up with a probability distribution that can account for the pattern. This is not a traditional deterministic natural law.

I would appreciate sources on this subject. My opponent has not told me enough on this experiment for me to attempt to refute their conclusions.

Many Physicists, especially cosmologists, believe that a multiverse is the best explanation for the sum of observed phenomena. If that is the case, there really are no natural laws. Each time line would be determined, but there would be no absolute patterns of behavior.

I have a basic understanding of the multiverse idea, but there are three serious problems for it I can think off the top of my head.

1.There is absolutely no evidence for it. And have you ever considered how ridiculous it sounds? It's like science fantasy. There is an incomprehensible number of the biggest things in existance (universes), out there, some of which have alternate versions of your self, doing exactly the same thing you're doing now. We can't actually sense them in any way, and probably never will, in fact, there is nothing to suggest they actually exist. Remember, my argument was "Atheism is reasonably impossible."

2.If it's true, the world we live in is not rational at all, but it is just that the timeline we are in gives the appearance of rationality. Every time an atom moves it is mind numbingly likely we will collapse into some strange, totally random sludge.

3.How could the multiverse possibly have been created? Think about it. An inconprehensible amount of ...universes...., bordering on infinite, created by inanimate objects?

Natural laws for large scale objects in QM and multiverses are statistical expected paths, but they can unexpectedly deviate from them though it would be a very rare occurrence in most time lines.

I don't quite understand what you are talking about here.



Debate Round No. 3
StreetLogician

Pro

I never claimed that Atheism required materialism, I just said that an atheist cannot believe in a spiritual being. And even if I did I fail to see how it is relevant to our debate topic.

Below is a quote from your argument in your original debate which I cut and pasted into my second round response. Look again. It is an indication of your deep misunderstanding of the position you which to discredit.

"Ergo, Atheism requires materialism, the belief that nothing exists but the physical world."

-

Electrons, or any other inanimate objects for that matter, CANNOT determine their own behaviour. It is impossible.

1. Inanimate objects cannot make decisions, in fact, they cannot do anything at all.

2. To determine (Determine, verb: Cause (something) to occur in a particular way) it's own behaviour an inanimate object must make a decision on which way to behave.

3. Inanimate objects cannot determine their own behaviour.

4. Inanimate objects appear to have a determined behaviour.

5. The behaviour of inanimate objects must be determined by an external force.

I went on a bit of a tangent on the last 2 points, but I feel they are relevant.

You can restate the same thing five different ways, but it remains your intuition and nothing more. There was a time when it was intuitively clear to people that the world was flat. They were wrong and I have no reason to believe that your intuition is anymore correct. You also seem to believe that deterministic theories attribute complex behavior to matter and energy. In fact they do not. An object in Relativity Theory actually behaves very simply. It simply follows the path of maximal aging. See: http://www.science20.com...

Irreducible complexity would be a problem. Irreducible simplicity is not.

-

When I said:
There is another problem with your argument. It appears to be completely at odds with empirical results. You claim that matter behaves the same all the time. This is not true. Deterministic Newtonian physics was displaced by Quantum Mechanics more than 80 years ago. Electrons passing through a double slit from a single source do not end up in the same place. At best we can come up with a probability distribution that can account for the pattern. This is not a traditional deterministic natural law.

You said:

I would appreciate sources on this subject. My opponent has not told me enough on this experiment for me to attempt to refute their conclusions.

Try the following:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu...


Feel free to find more by Googling it. You will win a Nobel Prize in Physics if you can refute it.

-

I have a basic understanding of the multiverse idea, but there are three serious problems for it I can think off the top of my head.

1.There is absolutely no evidence for it. And have you ever considered how ridiculous it sounds? It's like science fantasy. There is an incomprehensible number of the biggest things in existence (universes), out there, some of which have alternate versions of your self, doing exactly the same thing you're doing now. We can't actually sense them in any way, and probably never will, in fact, there is nothing to suggest they actually exist. Remember, my argument was "Atheism is reasonably impossible."

2.If it's true, the world we live in is not rational at all, but it is just that the timeline we are in gives the appearance of rationality. Every time an atom moves it is mind numbingly likely we will collapse into some strange, totally random sludge.

3.How could the multiverse possibly have been created? Think about it. An inconprehensible amount of ...universes...., bordering on infinite, created by inanimate objects?

I will remind you again of the cautionary tale of the flat earthers. Also, direct observation is not necessary to confirm theories. Theories make predictions that can be tested. Multiverse theories make predictions too. The difficulty lies in creating or finding the conditions to test them. Here is one such attempt: http://physicsworld.com...

We could not observe the Big Bang, but we were able to confirm it by detecting the background radiation it predicted. See: http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...

errya

Con

I thank my opponent for his timely response, I will now reinforce my position that my opponents opinion is a can of beans. ( Please don't take my sad attempts to be funny too seriously ).



Below is a quote from your argument in your original debate which I cut and pasted into my second round response. Look again. It is an indication of your deep misunderstanding of the position you which to discredit.

"Ergo, Atheism requires materialism, the belief that nothing exists but the physical world."

I can't believe I missed that quote when looking through my previous argument... It's kind of embarrassing... feel free to deduct points. At the point of writing that argument, I thought my argument only refuted materialism, so I felt the need to prove that Atheists must be materialists. However, through debating my argument I have gained a better understanding of it and now realise it applies to all Atheists, whether materialist or not. I think I have made my current position on this clear in the previous rounds, saying that I don't think all Atheists are materialists. Now onto matters that are relevant to our argument.

You can restate the same thing five different ways, but it remains your intuition and nothing more. There was a time when it was intuitively clear to people that the world was flat. They were wrong and I have no reason to believe that your intuition is anymore correct.

This was not 5 different ways of stating it. This was a chain of logic.



1. Inanimate objects cannot make decisions, in fact, they cannot do anything at all.

And...

2. To determine (Determine, verb: Cause (something) to occur in a particular way)it's own behaviour an inanimate object must make a decision on which way to behave.

And...

3. Inanimate objects cannot determine their own behaviour.

And...

4. Inanimate objects appear to have a determined behaviour.

Ergo..

5. The behaviour of inanimate objects must be determined by an external force.

You also seem to believe that deterministic theories attribute complex behavior to matter and energy. In fact they do not. An object in Relativity Theory actually behaves very simply. It simply follows the path of maximal aging. See: http://www.science20.com......

Irreducible complexity would be a problem. Irreducible simplicity is not.

Oh, I think it is, at least in this case. From my understanding, this law greatly simplifies the reason why objects move as they do. But it is still a law, one that is both absolute and non-physical, and thus subject to my argument. It may be simple, this law, but it still defines a behaviour.

When I said:
There is another problem with your argument. It appears to be completely at odds with empirical results. You claim that matter behaves the same all the time. This is not true. Deterministic Newtonian physics was displaced by Quantum Mechanics more than 80 years ago. Electrons passing through a double slit from a single source do not end up in the same place. At best we can come up with a probability distribution that can account for the pattern. This is not a traditional deterministic natural law.

Perhaps it is not traditional, but it is still deterministic, in a way. When the electrons go through the double slits they always get a bit messed up don't they? Always being the key word.

Feel free to find more by Googling it. You will win a Nobel Prize in Physics if you can refute it.

Sorry, I meant to say your conclusions. As in, “I conclude that from this experiment errya's argument is at odds with empirical results.”

I will remind you again of the cautionary tale of the flat earthers. Also, direct observation is not necessary to confirm theories. Theories make predictions that can be tested. Multiverse theories make predictions too. The difficulty lies in creating or finding the conditions to test them. Here is one such attempt: http://physicsworld.com......


Just because a theory in the past that everyone thought was ridiculous was proved right doesn't actually provide any evidence for multiverses. There is actually no evidence for it. That idea in the article was simply speculation on to how one might be able to tell if a multiverse did exist. They have done no tests, and even if the microwave background matched up, there would still be no conclusivity. This is because if it didn't match, it would not prove multiverses wrong, so if did match, it would not prove multiverses right.

Quote:

But he notes that a positive detection would be "spectacular". "Such a case would offer suggestive evidence in support of string theory," he says. "On the other hand, no evidence in the CMB data for a collision between two universes would not rule out string theory, it would simply extend the widely held belief in the field that string theory is unfalsifiable."



One argument I think works well against multiverses is the ol' “Flying Spaghetti Monster” from South Park, an argument which is often used when I am debating Atheists. It doesn't work very well against God, but I think the Multiverse Theory fits it perfectly. Past all the silliness, at the heart of it is the argument if we can't sense something or see it's effects in any way, why should we believe in it? It would be like believing in the flying spaghetti monster. Considering the abysmal lack of evidence for multiverses, why should we consider their existence reasonable? Reasonable being the key word.

We could not observe the Big Bang, but we were able to confirm it by detecting the background radiation it predicted.

We're not here to debate the big bang, but I humbly suggest you use the word “confirm” a little more lightly.

I look forward to reading my opponents response.




Debate Round No. 4
StreetLogician

Pro

Below is a quote from your argument in your original debate which I cut and pasted into my second round response. Look again. It is an indication of your deep misunderstanding of the position you which to discredit.

"Ergo, Atheism requires materialism, the belief that nothing exists but the physical world."

I can't believe I missed that quote when looking through my previous argument... It's kind of embarrassing... feel free to deduct points. At the point of writing that argument, I thought my argument only refuted materialism, so I felt the need to prove that Atheists must be materialists. However, through debating my argument I have gained a better understanding of it and now realise it applies to all Atheists, whether materialist or not. I think I have made my current position on this clear in the previous rounds, saying that I don't think all Atheists are materialists. Now onto matters that are relevant to our argument.

It does not apply to any kind of atheist, but for different reasons. This can be a separate debate for another time. This is the last round and it requires more time to adequately cover it. I am satisfied that you at least owned up to your mistake.

You can restate the same thing five different ways, but it remains your intuition and nothing more. There was a time when it was intuitively clear to people that the world was flat. They were wrong and I have no reason to believe that your intuition is anymore correct.
This was not 5 different ways of stating it. This was a chain of logic.


1. Inanimate objects cannot make decisions, in fact, they cannot do anything at all.

You beg the question in your first premise when you say “in fact they cannot do anything at all”. After that, you are being redundant. On what grounds do you assert this? Site a source. This is what it all comes down to. Does an electron follow a law dictated to it or are the so called laws of nature descriptions of what the electron does. It is interesting that you have argued that intelligence is required for an electron to determine its behavior, but you seem to ignore or fail to notice, that it could be argued that it takes intelligence for it to interpret and understand a law. How would it follow the law if as you say “it can do nothing at all”. If that were true, even if it understood the law, it could not act on it. It would stay stationary. Or do you mean to imply that their are no laws and god intervenes at every instant for every particle? Either way you are gored on the horns of a dilemma.



Irreducible complexity would be a problem. Irreducible simplicity is not.
Oh, I think it is, at least in this case. From my understanding, this law greatly simplifies the reason why objects move as they do. But it is still a law, one that is both absolute and non-physical, and thus subject to my argument. It may be simple, this law, but it still defines a behaviour.

It describes a behavior and a very simple one at that. Holding the position that you do leads to the contradiction I point out above. We can either believe an electron has its own simple behaviors or some magical super human intervenes at every instant for every particle. An atheist very reasonably prefers the former.


When I said:
There is another problem with your argument. It appears to be completely at odds with empirical results. You claim that matter behaves the same all the time. This is not true. Deterministic Newtonian physics was displaced by Quantum Mechanics more than 80 years ago. Electrons passing through a double slit from a single source do not end up in the same place. At best we can come up with a probability distribution that can account for the pattern. This is not a traditional deterministic natural law.
Perhaps it is not traditional, but it is still deterministic, in a way. When the electrons go through the double slits they always get a bit messed up don't they? Always being the key word.

Seriously, your response is that they follow a law of “They always get messed up a bit”. So my question to you is if no law determines exactly where they end up, what does?

Just because a theory in the past that everyone thought was ridiculous was proved right doesn't actually provide any evidence for multiverses. There is actually no evidence for it. That idea in the article was simply speculation on to how one might be able to tell if a multiverse did exist. They have done no tests, and even if the microwave background matched up, there would still be no conclusivity. This is because if it didn't match, it would not prove multiverses wrong, so if did match, it would not prove multiverses right.
Quote:
But he notes that a positive detection would be "spectacular". "Such a case would offer suggestive evidence in support of string theory," he says. "On the other hand, no evidence in the CMB data for a collision between two universes would not rule out string theory, it would simply extend the widely held belief in the field that string theory is unfalsifiable."


I am not arguing for String Theory. You said Multiverses are untestable. An outline for a test was presented in the article. The multiverse is possible until empirical results prove it wrong. This debate is about whether or not Atheism is reasonably impossible or not. You make your claim based upon your intuition. You made your claim that multiverses were impossible based on your intuition. Flat Earthers hold their position for the same reason you do because of intuition. Your intuition is no more trustworthy than anyone elses. The fact that someone else’s intuitions are at odds with your’s does not invalidate them. Only internal inconsistency or disagreement with empirical results would.



One argument I think works well against multiverses is the ol' “Flying Spaghetti Monster” from South Park, an argument which is often used when I am debating Atheists. It doesn't work very well against God, but I think the Multiverse Theory fits it perfectly. Past all the silliness, at the heart of it is the argument if we can't sense something or see it's effects in any way, why should we believe in it? It would be like believing in the flying spaghetti monster. Considering the abysmal lack of evidence for multiverses, why should we consider their existence reasonable? Reasonable being the key word.


The multiverse is possible and reasonable to believe because it explains the empirical results of Quantum Mechanics. In fact, it is a recognized interpretation of QM. See: http://en.wikipedia.org...

We could not observe the Big Bang, but we were able to confirm it by detecting the background radiation it predicted.
We're not here to debate the big bang, but I humbly suggest you use the word “confirm” a little more lightly.

Why? This is how the word is commonly used. The competing hypothesis made a prediction contrary to the evidence so it wins.

I would like to close by pointing out that my opponent’s sole argument for claiming atheism is reasonably impossible amounts to it violates his intuition. He is claiming that atheism is reasonably impossible so the burden is on him to persuade. He has not cited a single source or defended his intuition. He has simply repeatedly asserted it. Along the way he has not demonstrated that atheism is internally inconsistent or disagrees with empirical results. I have cited sources and shown that his argument does contradict empirical results. He has had to back peddle on his argument more than once as you can see be reading the thread from beginning to end. He has failed to meet his burden of proof. Atheism is reasonably possible.
errya

Con

You beg the question in your first premise when you say “in fact they cannot do anything at all”. After that, you are being redundant. On what grounds do you assert this? Site a source. This is what it all comes down to. Does an electron follow a law dictated to it or are the so called laws of nature descriptions of what the electron does. It is interesting that you have argued that intelligence is required for an electron to determine its behavior, but you seem to ignore or fail to notice, that it could be argued that it takes intelligence for it to interpret and understand a law. How would it follow the law if as you say “it can do nothing at all”. If that were true, even if it understood the law, it could not act on it. It would stay stationary. Or do you mean to imply that their are no laws and god intervenes at every instant for every particle? Either way you are gored on the horns of a dilemma.

Reasons why it is reasonable to assert that inanimate objects cannot make decisions:

  1. No one has ever seen an inanimate object make a decision, they just sit there being, well... inanimate!

  1. But you may say, “Aha! But electrons seem to spin round the nucleus of the atom without any apparent help.” But then you come to the problem that, if electrons can determine their own behaviour, it seems every single electron ever has determined to spin in exactly the same way as the others.

  1. If inanimate objects could determine their actions, why don't we see them hopping up and walking down to the mall for a sundae or whatever.

I'm not saying that electrons have to understand the instructions. I they are inanimate objects, they don't need to understand, they can just be made to. Does a ball need to understand when you pick it up?

Or do you mean to imply that their are no laws and god intervenes at every instant for every particle?”

I don't quite see what's so wrong with this. It works, and it would give the impression of there being laws.

It describes a behavior and a very simple one at that. Holding the position that you do leads to the contradiction I point out above. We can either believe an electron has its own simple behaviors or some magical super human intervenes at every instant for every particle. An atheist very reasonably prefers the former.

The behaviour may be simple, but it is not random, and seeing as electrons cannot make decisions, as I explained before, it therefore requires something to set those behaviours.

And as for the reasonability, I prefer the second option, so it comes down to a matter of opinion.

Seriously, your response is that they follow a law of “They always get messed up a bit”. So my question to you is if no law determines exactly where they end up, what does?

They get messed up when they go through the slits, and only when they go through the slits. It's a bit unconventional, but there's nothing wrong with it.

I am not arguing for String Theory. You said Multiverses are untestable. An outline for a test was presented in the article. The multiverse is possible until empirical results prove it wrong. This debate is about whether or not Atheism is reasonably impossible or not. You make your claim based upon your intuition. You made your claim that multiverses were impossible based on your intuition. Flat Earthers hold their position for the same reason you do because of intuition. Your intuition is no more trustworthy than anyone Else's. The fact that someone else’s intuitions are at odds with your’s does not invalidate them. Only internal inconsistency or disagreement with empirical results would.

Maybe it is testable, but until some solid evidence is presented, I do not think supporting it can be called reasonable.


The multiverse is possible and reasonable to believe because it explains the empirical results of Quantum Mechanics. In fact, it is a recognized interpretation of QM. See: http://en.wikipedia.org......

I only have a vague understanding of quantum mechanics, so this article made no sense to me.

Why? This is how the word is commonly used. The competing hypothesis made a prediction contrary to the evidence so it wins.

I should have put the first line in quote marks. I was essentially trying to infer the the background radiation was not good enough evidence, to prove the big bang because of all the other problems that plague it.

I would like to close by pointing out that my opponent’s sole argument for claiming atheism is reasonably impossible amounts to it violates his intuition. He is claiming that atheism is reasonably impossible so the burden is on him to persuade. He has not cited a single source or defended his intuition. He has simply repeatedly asserted it. Along the way he has not demonstrated that atheism is internally inconsistent or disagrees with empirical results. I have cited sources and shown that his argument does contradict empirical results. He has had to back peddle on his argument more than once as you can see be reading the thread from beginning to end. He has failed to meet his burden of proof. Atheism is reasonably possible.

I do not need to cite sources as I have come up with the entire argument myself. And I think I have given logical steps to defend my argument. I have shown Atheism to be inconsistent by showing that an omnipotent, non-physical being must exist in order for inanimate objects to act the way to do.

In all honesty, I am not very pleased with this debate, as I thought it was filled with confusion and misunderstandings, probably most of which were my fault. But I thank my opponent for engaging with me anyway.

Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 4 years ago
johnlubba
StreetLogicianerryaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter GoreFordMaixmillion Better RFD needed. Con defeated Pro's premises, nullifying her argument.
Vote Placed by GorefordMaximillion 4 years ago
GorefordMaximillion
StreetLogicianerryaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro defeated con's premises, nullifying her argument.
Vote Placed by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
StreetLogicianerryaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It's just too tough to distinguish the quoted material from the responses. This site has easy-to-use quotation features. If you don't want to learn those, then you can use boldface, or something else to set off the quotations. You made it hard on your readers, and you are going to go on like this for five rounds? My vote is: TL;DR.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 4 years ago
iamnotwhoiam
StreetLogicianerryaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro points out that Con's intuitions are not facts, and there are reasons to think at least some of those intuitions are inaccurate.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
StreetLogicianerryaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments are essentially "arguments from incredulity." He adopts premises that he believes cannot be doubted, but which modern science very much places in doubt. Pro points out that natural laws were determined to be probabilistic 80 years ago. String field theory is unproved, but it is mathematically and logically consistent, and thereby allows for a logical atheism with respect to the issues raised in the debate. Arguments to Pro.