The Instigator
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
Protagoras
Con (against)
Losing
21 Points

The Argument from Design is inherently false

Do you like this debate?NoYes+3
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 8 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/23/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,280 times Debate No: 6324
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (8)

 

RoyLatham

Pro

Resolved: The Argument from Design is inherently false

1. The Argument from Design (AD) is an argument for the existence of a god that argues (a) that every complex mechanism requires a more complex designer to have brought the mechanism into existence, (b) the universe and human beings are complex mechanisms that exist, and (c) therefore a god must exist as the more complex designer that brought them into existence.

"Inherently false" means that the arguments are rendered invalid by contradictions implied by the assumptions of the AD itself. Thus this debate excludes falsification of AD by counter-example, such as the existence of evolution that provides complex mechanisms according to natural laws.

2. For this debate, "magic" is an event that occurs which is not only unexplained by any current known law of nature, but which cannot be a consequence of any future discovery of new laws of nature. "Laws of nature" are testable and repeatable behaviors of the natural world, such as the laws of physics. A "god" is a being that can perform magic at will.

to clarify, a stage magician performs feats that appear to defy laws of nature, such as making objects appear and disappear at will, but the magician is not a god because we believe that there are explanations within the laws of nature that explain the events, even though we may not be able to identify them.

3. With the terminology thus defined, the AD can be restated as

a) the creation of the universe and of humankind were magic
b) magic cannot occur without the will of a being of a more complex nature
c) therefore a god must exist to will the creation

4. The first contradiction in AD lies in the assumption embodied in (b). Why is it that a design cannot come into existence without a designer? That is because the laws of nature as postulated by AD require a designer for every design. However, something that occurs not in accordance with the laws of nature is magic, and the existence of magic is attested to in (a). Therefore, the magical event of (a) need not require a god to have caused it, because the requirement for cause derives from a physical law that need not apply. In other words, once magical events are allowed, they cannot be assumed to be subject to a separate physical law that requires a certain kind of cause and effect.

5. The second contradiction derives from assuming that even though magic occurs, the law requiring a designer for every complex mechanism is nonetheless true. A god is a complex mechanism by assumption of AD. That is a consequence of the assumption that every complex mechanism is the product of a more complex mechanism. By AD, therefore, each god must have a greater god as designer. This sets up an infinite regression in which there is no original designer. Therefore, AD is false.

6. This is not an LD debate. Only accept the challenge if you reasonably believe you will not forfeit any round.
Protagoras

Con

Protagoras of Abdera is back. I haven't been here for a while now, but I am ready to one again fight on the side of truth and logical accuracy.

Thus, I do not agree with "Resolved: The Argument from Design is inherently false."

This is an exemplification of "sticks and stones". This is true to the extent that my opponent is throwing a substantial amount of sticks at me. Sticks being used as a synecdoche for a stick man fallacy.

For those of you who are unversed in logical fallacies, allow me to explain. A stick man fallacy occurs when an individual debates another person by presenting his opponent's "arguments" vis-�-vis some sort of pr�cis, sometimes via syllogistic semblance, as my opponent bestows upon you. This is a fallacy because the displayed arguments are not really an argument that was made, rather a fabrication constructed by the opposer. My opponent does just this.

First, he defines what argument from design is, subsequently he presents the arguments made to support his argument. Following this, he defines ‘magic' and ‘god' in a severely strategic manner so that his syllogism regarding the AD to be contradictory. This is a quintessential case of the straw man fallacy.
My opponent is stating the following:

This is what (I think) AD is defined as.
This is what God and Magic are (according to me).
This is how what I just defined cannot make sense because they contradict each other.

Even if you think what my opponent proposed to you makes sense, I must offer counter definitions and clarifications in order for this debate to be fair. At this point my opponent fabricated definitions and then deconstructed what he wrote himself.

For those of you who need further clarification, allow me to present to you what my opponent is doing in a dialogue.

Person A and B are just your average Joe's.

A: Hey B, do you believe in God?
B: Yes, why?
A: Well, I bet you I can prove he doesn't exist.
B: Take a shot at it.
A: Well, God is defined as a unicorn, SO, if I prove unicorns do not exist, I win.
B: Wha..
A: Hold on, let me finish.
A: Let us assume the bible is accurate, that's fair.
B: Wait, God is...
A: Let me finish B.
A: Anyways, the bible is accurate, so, let's see....
HERE, I found it, the bible says " " (....). This means that God is a contradictory, thus "inherently false".

Now this may be an extreme version of what my opponent is doing, but I entreat you that the resemblance is far from different. My intentions may be a bit unclear at this moment, so allow me to explain. You should not accept my opponent's advocacy because of it's fallacious nature. He uses a logical fallacy to deconstruct my advocacy prior to me even making an argument. Therefore, I urge you to vote in my favor.

______

EVEN if you do not accept this approach, I shall offer counter definitions and a true argument, in syllogistic form, defending the validity behind the "AD".

A God is defined as a supreme being. BUT, it does not need to be defined as for God is not an inherent component within the AD. My, being the affirmative debater, have the ability to define the grounds that I am willing to defend. Thus, I am not obligated to prove the existence of God.

Since the term "God" does not have to defined, nor does the term "magic", as for magic once again is not an inherent component of the Argument from Design.

Allow me to explain what the "AD" is. The Argument from design argues one main precept; that being, there is an intelligent designer for either the creation of earth, and/or the complex species that exist today. I shall now present to you justification for the AD in 3 seperate syllogistic proofs.

FIRST this being a simple version:
"1.X is too complex, orderly, adaptive, apparently purposeful, or beautiful to have occurred randomly or accidentally.
2.Therefore, X must have been created by a sentient, intelligent, wise, or purposeful being.
3.God is a sentient, intelligent, wise, or purposeful being.
4.Therefore, God exists.

SECOND: Other forms of the argument assert that a certain category of complexity necessitates a designer, such as the following...
1.All things that are designed were preconceived, intended, purposed, or contrived.
2.Preconception, intention, purpose, and contrivance necessitate an intellect, mind, or will.
3.All things that are irreducibly complex display intention and preconception.
4.The universe contains non-man made things that are irreducibly complex.
5.Those things display intention and preconception.
6.Those things necessitate an intellect, mind, or will.

THIRD:
1.Complexity implies a designer.
2.The universe is highly complex.
3.Therefore, the universe has a designer."

http://en.wikipedia.org...

_______

As a defender of epistemology, my last argument is that labeling things "inherently false" discourages research. This is true because, supposing a rational being agrees to the extent that something is inherently false, they will not regard it as a valid, or at least a possibly valid, argument. They would thus disregard it when it could in fact be beneficial or at least partially true. So, I urge that my opponent never attempts to label things as "inherently false".

_______

I hope this is sufficient enough for you to see that my opponent is not only fallacious in his approach, but also incorrect in his final conclusion. I would like to withhold the right to present new argument and proof in my next speech, if need be. Thanks for this opportunity, and good luck.

Thanks for your consideration,
Protagoras of Abdera (is back)
Debate Round No. 1
RoyLatham

Pro

1. Con offers three alternative definitions of AD, all three of which clearly contain the same two inherent contradictions as the more-encompassing definition that I offered. Con offered no argument as to why the two fallacies would not apply to his versions of AD, therefore the arguments stand unrefuted.

2. If I understand Con, he claims that I used the word "magic" in some pejorative sense, and he then supposes I went on to refute the existence of magic. This is not true; I clearly distinguished the trickery of stage magicians from the concept of true magic allegedly performed by gods. I needed a word for "an event that occurs which is not only unexplained by any current known law of nature, but which cannot be a consequence of any future discovery of new laws of nature." A can think of no better word than "magic," but if the word displeases Con, the acronym "AETOWISNOUBACKLAWONBCBACOAFDOFNLON" instead of "magic." All of the arguments stand as stated if the phrase is used in place of the word. I defined a "god" as a being that can perform AETOWISNOUBACKLAWONBCBACOAFDOFNLON at will.

If all events are a consequence of repeatable and reliable laws of nature, then there is no need to for a god to have a played a role in creation, and therefore AD cannot be a proof of the existence of a god. If Con stipulates that there is no AETOWISNOUBACKLAWONBCBACOAFDOFNLON, then there nothing that requires a god to explain, and the resolution is true.

4. Con offers "A God is defined as a supreme being. BUT, it does not need to be defined as for God is not an inherent component within the AD. My, being the affirmative debater, have the ability to define the grounds that I am willing to defend. Thus, I am not obligated to prove the existence of God."

a. I am assuming that by "My, being" con meant to write "My opponent, being".

b. Con is correct that he is not obliged to prove the existence of God. That is correct because there might be some proof other than AD.

c. Con asserts that "God is not an inherent component within the AD." If that is true, then Con concedes that AD is not an argument for the existence of a god. Moreover, Con's argument is derived from an inherent flaw in AD. Therefore, Con has conceded the debate. I presume that Con will attempt to retract his concession and continue accordingly.

5. Con's first version of AD is "1.X is too complex, orderly, adaptive, apparently purposeful, or beautiful to have occurred randomly or accidentally. 2.Therefore, X must have been created by a sentient, intelligent, wise, or purposeful being. 3.God is a sentient, intelligent, wise, or purposeful being. 4.Therefore, God exists."

a. The argument contains the false dichotomy that all events are either random or purposeful. This supposes that if an objects consistently fall to the ground when dropped, that because they do not fly away in random directions that God must be guiding them to the ground. The alternative Con does not admit is that gravity brings the object to the ground without benefit of will or purpose.

b. The first inherent fallacy is that since God is to complex to have been created by accident, then God must have a creator. This sets up an infinite regression in which there is no first creator, therefore the argument as stated fails by inherent contradiction.

c. If God is allowed, for unstated reasons, to be an exception to the rule that all extremely complex things have creators, then the universe must also be allowed as an exception. This obviates the need for a good, and AD again fails.

6. Con's second version of AD depends upon "All things that are irreducibly complex display intention and preconception."

a. No definition of irreducibly complexity has ever been sustained. Books on intelligent design (ID) give examples of physiological structures in nature that they allege to be irreducibly complex and therefore could not have evolved by natural processes. All of the examples are ad hoc, and the evolutionary mechanism for many of them has been explained. Some are left to be explained, but the list gets forever shorter. Since irreducibly complexity has no definition and many examples have been proved false, the entire argument based upon it is false.

b. God is irreducibly complex by any definition that could be imagined. Therefore God must have a designer, and AD formulation fails because there can be no first designer.

c. If God is allowed as an exception to the requirement for a designer, then the universe must also be allowed as an exception.

7. Con's third version of AD is "1.Complexity implies a designer. 2.The universe is highly complex.
3. Therefore, the universe has a designer." is quite close to the formulation of AD I offered originally. In any case, it fails as:

a) God is complex. Therefore by the AD assumption that complexity requires a designer, therefore God must have a designer. This allows no first designer, so the argument fails.

b) If God is an exception to the rule that everything complex requires a designer, then the universe must also be allowed as an exception.

8. Con argues that declaring something inherently false "discourages research." Something is inherently false if the argument contains a logical contradiction. For example "All As are B. X is an A. But X is not a B" is not something that research can possibly resolve. It is a logical contradiction. In the context of this debate the assertions "everything complex requires a designer" and "God is complex but does not require a designer" are inherent contradictions that cannot be resolved by any means.
Protagoras

Con

I am going to be gone for the next four days. I ask my opponent to please not post his response till the last day possible. Unfortunately I have an unexpected vacation that I must attend. I now must forfeit this round and ask the voters to disregard this round and only evaluate what has been said.

I apologize for my departure, and if need be, I'd be glad to reengage in this debate at a later date. For clarification, I am NOT forfeiting this debate, just this round. My flight leaves in an hour! I must leave now.

Thanks for your consideration,
Protagoras of Abdera
Debate Round No. 2
RoyLatham

Pro

Is God more complex than the universe or the human He is supposed to have created? It might seem not, because God represents what seems to be a simple concept: omnipotent, omniscient, and good\. By contrast, the universe seems to be a vast maize of galaxies and forces. I believe that the apparent simplicity of the God concept accounts for the emotional appeal of the Argument from Design to many people. Something obviously complex is explained by something apparently simple.

In the known universe there are roughly 100 billion galaxies, each averaging roughly 100 billion stars. to be omniscient, God must know the position and of every particle of every star, not only know, but from the beginning of time. Earth has about six billion people. every thought of every human must be known to God immediately and simultaneously, and remembered forever. All of data of stars and humans must not be known, it must be contemplated and judged. Omnipotence implies the ability to control all of the particles of the universe. The implications are of God as a being of massive complexity, far more complex than either the universe of humans.

The Argument from Design requires that everything of high complexity, advocates sometimes say "irreducible complexity" even though that has no sustainable scientific definition, must have a designer. Therefore either God must have a designer, or the Argument from Design is false.

Other arguments are continued.
Protagoras

Con

Due to a multiplicity of time allocation issues, I must forfeit forfeit this debate to my opponent.
Unfortunately I will be unable to post a closing argument.
Let all arguments stand and evaluate from what has been presented.

- Protagoras
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
Wow! Brilliant debate on both sides. Intellectually challenging and thought provoking. We could do with more debates like this.

I sympathise with Con not having the time to post the responses that Pro deserved, although he deserves credit for at least posting something. Perhaps there should be a way of extending these time limits?
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
solarman, The choice between divinity and chance is a false dichotomy. Objects fall to earth neither by chance, they could go anywhere, nor by divine guidance, the Lord pushes them down. Gravity is neither, it is a law of nature. The laws of nature suffice to explain the origins of life and its evolution. Ah, but how did the laws of nature come to be? That I do not know, and it really doesn't bother me that I don't know. I live in ignorance of many things. I see no harm in positing God if one chooses to, just understand it is an act of faith, not a logical derivation.

(Editorial comment: There are lots of religious debates on this site. It is good that religious people are willing to discuss their beliefs. The problem I have is with the liberals who prefer to hide under a rock rather than defend their beliefs.)
Posted by Solarman1969 8 years ago
Solarman1969
One can believe whatever they like

I think the main question is the origin of life

Either is was just chance, or there is some cosmic force (ie God ) that had a hand in the process

I think the belief in a greater power, God, Jesus, Buddha, karma or whatever you want to beleive adds MEANING to life

thats all....

It is a fascinating subject, to say the least
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
I see the pattern of scoring debates not on what was argued, but on the conclusion you would prefer. Right?

From a review of the Collins book: "After two thirds of the book, Collins finally presents his theistic evolutionary point of view. Here's where Collins starts to get in over his head. Collins argues that the widespread human feature of a "moral impulse," along with the near universality of religion as a cultural and personal phenomenon, is evidence for the existence of God (the Christian God, of course). But what happens when science starts to explain the psychology and evolutionary origins of morality and religious belief - as it has already begun to do? What evidence does Collins have left for his belief in God?"

I do think there is an inborn human instinct to find simple all-encompassing explanations of things. This instinct explains not only religion but all manner of conspiracy theories, racism, and the current eco-fanaticism that explains virtually all ills as failure to please nature. I think traditional religion is much less harmful then the new pseudo-religions, because traditional doctrine has evolved to get rid of most of the stuff that is dangerous. I am perfectly willing to leave many things unexplained until such time as they are actually explained.
Posted by Solarman1969 8 years ago
Solarman1969
read Francis Collins new book - the Language of God :A scientist presents evidence for Belief

it is VERY VERY well written on this subject of evolution and genetics and faith

I just finished it and he definitely changed my view abit more toward a CREATOR from pure Buddhist

here is a link

http://books.google.com...
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Those who think Con won the debate should give their reasons why. I am curious because Con seemed to me to forfeit every argument.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
I so would have liked to see this debate seen through to the end. Oh well, points to Pro since Con forfeited.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Sorry, I didn't see your request until after I posted, or I would have done as you requested.
Posted by Protagoras 8 years ago
Protagoras
RoyLatham,
Do you mind posting your argument Sunday?
I will be on a trip for the next 4 days and that'd be beneficial.

Thanks,
Protagoras of Abdera
Posted by Protagoras 8 years ago
Protagoras
I apologize severely for my tardiness. My response shall be posted in a timely manner.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
RoyLathamProtagorasTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
RoyLathamProtagorasTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by pakipride 8 years ago
pakipride
RoyLathamProtagorasTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by DiablosChaosBroker 8 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
RoyLathamProtagorasTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
RoyLathamProtagorasTied
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 Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
RoyLathamProtagorasTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
RoyLathamProtagorasTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Protagoras 8 years ago
Protagoras
RoyLathamProtagorasTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00