The Instigator
AndyHood
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Yassine
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

The Cosmological Argument (in any form) is risible

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Yassine
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,914 times Debate No: 73684
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)

 

AndyHood

Pro




The Cosmological Argument relies on:

1. Everything in the Natural World that exists has a cause of its existence.
2. Therefore we must resort to Supernatural causation.
3. It is not necessary to inquire too far into what causes Supernatural things.

How do people still make this argument with a straight face?

The Kalam argument, championed by William Lane Craig, goes one worse and investigates Supernatural causal chains explicitly, before finally requesting that nobody inquire any further as to ultimate Supernatural causation.
Yassine

Con

I thank Pro for instigating the debate & I accept the challenge.



Resolution:


- The burden of proof is on Pro to prove that the CA -in all its forms- is objectively risible*, which is a huge BOP to bear.



(*) risible: such as to provoke laughter [google dictionary].



Best of luck.

Debate Round No. 1
AndyHood

Pro

Okay, thanks, Pro, for accepting. I am not feeling too weighed down by my burden of proof (and, by the way, there is no such thing as "objectively risible", don't be daft), in fact I'm looking forward to the debate!

I'd like you to picture, if you will, a very intelligent chicken. Now, this chicken has observed two salient facts:

1. Chickens come from eggs
2. Eggs come from chickens

What might this chicken then conclude about its own ultimate beginnings? She came from an egg, which came from a chicken, which came from an egg, ad infinitum.

But maybe our heroine really is a *very* smart chicken, and makes the argument that actual infinities are not possible: if she was the result of an infinite sequence of events, there's no way they could all have completed by now. I consider this idea to be smart, for a chicken, but slightly less so for a species that has named itself "sapiens".

But okay, how we got to the right answer (that there was not an infinite string of ancestors) doesn't matter; our heroine appears to have reached a sensible conclusion that tallies with the facts available to us in the 21st century, thus far.

Now, the smart chicken may look around her and observe a superabundance of intelligent primates; primates who seem to be quite keen on housing, feeding and protecting chickens. Perhaps, she thinks, the first chicken was designed by a human. That must be it -oh dear, I fear that the chicken has reached the limits of her (admittedly incredible) intellectual capacity.

Now, here's a question that we could ask the chicken: well, where did the human come from?

Our chicken goes off and does some research into bipedal primates and finds that humans come from humans. She stumbles accross an analogue of the chicken and egg problem, but she's already familiar with that! So, humans couldn't have been around for ever.

Our chicken considers her options.

Maybe something smarter than a human made humans?

But then she realises that this is a bit of a silly idea; she realises that postulating ever-increasing intelligent sources for the beginning of things is going to have to run out at some point. This is the third time that she's faced an infinite regression; she's getting a little tired of them! She realises that in order to do any actual explaining, she's going to have to find answers that get simpler, not more complicated.

Eventually, when presented with evidence of simply mind-bogglingly vast expanses of time, a fossil record showing gradually increasing complexity, DNA and so on and so forth, our chicken becomes satisfied that evolution is a fact of life and, with a little bit of a hiccup at the point of abiogenesis, feels quite comfortable; ultimately, life probably started in a chemical soup.

But oh, what now? Where, what, did you ask? Oh, yes, good question... where did the chemical soup come from?

Supernovae. Where did they come from? Vast clouds of hydrogen. Where did they come from? A big bang. Where did that come from?

So far, note, we have been following a very sensible path of decreasing complexity (all evidence-based, too):

Human, simple life, chemical soup, supernova, gas cloud, explosion...

It must be noted that it's going to be *really* hard to get to the end of this trail... what is the ultimate source of everything?

The chicken is rightly sure that the answer will be simple. Not necessarily simple to find, but simple when you get there... It stands to reason that the answer cannot be something exquisitely complex; if it were complex, it would itself need further explanation.

This is the point at which many Theists are fond of inserting that most complex of all unevidenced propositions ever known to man: a god. For the purposes of this debate, I'm not going to argue that point too much. At this point, I have to say that my funny bone is already itching, but we haven't got to the howler yet!

The howler comes when, like we asked the chicken "where did humans come from?", we ask the Theist "where did God come from?". The utterly indefensible answer is that we can't ask questions like that!

So thwarted by the stupidity of using a complex solution is this argument that the clever Theist feels they must somehow create a rock-solid argument that will silence such persistent and intelligent enquirers as our erstwhile chicken.

The Cosmological Argument, in one form or another, is just this: it is a construct created to avoid the "but what created God?" question.

I don't say, necessarily (for this debate), that there isn't a God... but... but, this Cosmological Argument is not the way to demonstrate God's existence. Even for some Theists, this is a step too far... it's ludicrous, is what it is... it has not convinced a single human being to go from unbelief to belief (and humans are pretty gulllible creatures).

So, let's look at the last step in the argument... keep in mind that the sole purpose of these arguments is to avoid the scrutiny of "but what made God?".

1. All things natural have a source.
2. Natural things couldn't have lasted for ever (insert some "actual infinity" argument here).
3. Nature must have been created by the supernatural.
4. Supernatural things don't need explanation. (last for ever, etc)

At first, this seems slightly reasonable, until you get the joke (and it is funny): "supernatural", in this context, can be defined as "something that can do causing that doesn't need to be caused". Of course, one has to double-take step 2, which seems to insist that step 4 is wrong. This argument isn't just wrong, it's laughably funny (at least, it's laughably funny when people propose it).

And, of course, anything that can do causing but doesn't need to be caused would fit the bill; any number of gods (many religions borrow the CA for their competing claims), magic, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or just, perhaps, a ripple in the supernatural realm that Theists are already proposing. Jumping to a thinking agent as an explanation for the beginning of everything is just daft; and in so doing, you have simply asked more questions than you've answered!

Hypothetical conversation:

"What caused A?"
"Supernatural magic."
"And what caused supernatural magic?"
"Supernatural magic just is"

You've got to crack a wry smile and stiffle a titter at this answer, at least... it's a laugh or cry situation!

Believe in God, if you must. Believe that He created everything, if you like. But don't, unless you want to be laughed at, don't even think about justifying that faith by using the Cosmological Argument. It makes you look stupid.

I'm going to use one source, to make a point [1]. steffon66 asks, on DDO, "So the theist argument is that everything must have a beginning. But god didnt need to have a beginning. Is this stupid or what?". What's the repsone from Theists?

"Strawman Alert!"
"it is not an argument I have ever heard from any theist and is not one I espouse"

Of course, there are also responses backing up the argument, too (ignoring even their Theist allies who are trying to distance themselves from the stupid, which burns)... I imagine that some of them might make you laugh, too...

"something had to happen beyond our logic"

Aha! Ahahhhaaha! Oh, stoppit, stoppit, you're killing me here! So, you even admit that what you're proposing is not logical? Then why dress it up to look like a logical argument!? *Giggles*... if you don't have an answer, admit that you don't know. If you want to jump to a conclusion, be my guest - but don't, whatever you do, don't pretend that you are offering up a reasoned argument!

[1] http://www.debate.org...;

P.S. I hope that the gentle reader will not be offended at the scorn in my position; please note that it is the idea, not the people, who are the object of my derision; the idea is more than worthy of any derision it gets.
Yassine

Con

Preface:



- Abbreviation: from now on, the Cosmological Argument will be referred to as CA, & the Kalam CA as KCA.


- Objectivity: Pro has made the affirmative claim that the CA in all it forms is risible, & thus it stands to reason to expect from Pro an affirmative case establishing how the CA is in fact risible, at least with a reasonable degree of objectivity. Imagine if I made the claim that such & such joke is funny, or such & such female is beautiful ; it would be expected from me to make a compelling case of why my claim is justified to some degree of objectivity.


- Judgement: the Cosmological Argument is a philosophical construct based on Logic that has been the subject of serious philosophical discourse for well over a millennium [1]. It’s rather counter-intuitive to expect such a construct to be the object of laughter! Thus, one should require from Pro some really good reasons why he thinks that is the case, even more so than what is usually required. Pro, then, has a huge burden of proof he has yet to fulfil.




Case:



Misrepresentation of the Resolution:


- Pro, throughout his first Round, attempts to argue for the dubiousness or unreliability of some form of the CA & extrapolates that to conclude on the comicality of the CA in all its form, a hasty generalisation [2] to say the least.


- Pro’s dubious method consists of a “form of comparing a nuanced circumstance or argument to a laughably commonplace occurrence or to some other irrelevancy on the basis of comedic timing, wordplay, or making an opponent and their argument the object of a joke.” which coincides with the definition of appeal to ridicule [3], an informal fallacy of appeal to emotion. He does that by relating a story of an irresistibly ‘smart’ chicken trying to figure out the ultimate origin of the World, & by adding *laughs* here, & *giggles* there!


- Pro’s case is in its entirety a red herring [4], for it is not really relevant to wether or not the CA (in all its forms) is risible. The contention that the comical traits of the extraordinary circumstances in which Pro’s chicken found itself, is not really relevant to the alleged comical nature of the CA itself, which as I explained before is rather counter-intuitive, for Pro’s method is in & of itself fallacious.


- Pro uses a forum source to make the point that the CA is unreasonable because some guy in a forum was being unreasonable (or some theists are being unreasonable)! This tactic is known as ad hominem fallacy, more precisely Tu quoque fallacy [5], which is “an informal logical fallacy that intends to discredit the opponent's position by asserting the opponent's failure to act consistently in accordance with that position.” At any case, this does not even relate to the resolution!


=> A funny story, or a funny response from a theist, or a funny dialogue is irrelevant to the CA being allegedly the object of laughter!



Misrepresentation of the CA:


- Pro misrepresents the CA in a rather straw man fashion, in which he overly expresses a universal construct that has metaphysical conclusions in a particular frame! The CA deals with: being, contingency, necessity, causality, infinity [6]. . .which are universals [7], whereas Pro deals in abiogenesis, evolution, birth. . . which are particular instances of the said universals!


- Even more so, Pro resorts to dubious semantics to distort the philosophical nature of the CA by inserting words like “supernatural”, “magic”, “natural”, “source”. . . which are not precisely identified as to represent the CA [6], which constitute a straw man fallacy.


- Pro’s misrepresentation of the CA, rejects on top, the very conclusion the CA infers based on a false analogy. Pro attempts to inject the premise of the CA into its own logical conclusion so that to prove its inconsistency, which is in itself a fallacy of begging the question [8]. To elaborate more, the necessary being which the CA infers is identified with God, asking why God is necessary is inappropriate, for it is defined as such as not having an explanation. Or, in a simpler formula, asking: “what caused God?” is the same as asking: “what caused the uncaused?”, it’s like saying: “what black is white?” Which leads to a contradiction, thus an inappropriate question.



Disregard of other forms of the CA:


- Pro disregards the other forms of the CA, namely those that involve sufficient causation, contingency, possibility & necessity [6].


- Pro’s argument is focused on temporal causality, infinite regress & actual infinities ; but ignores entirely the other forms of CA that discard causality in favour of sufficient causation & necessity & more ontological oriented arguments.


- It is not on me to present all the formats of the CA, for it is the BOP of Pro to show that all these formats provoke laughter.




Conclusion:



- Pro’s entire case is logical fallacies compiled together to make a fallacious argument seems legitimate, while in fact it invalid, for:

1. It is not really related to the Resolution.

2. It is not really representative of any of the elements of the Resolution: not the CA, not its varieties, & not its alleged comicality.


=> It is only reasonable to reject Pro's entire argument on the basis that it's invalid.




Sources:


[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[6] http://plato.stanford.edu...

[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 2
AndyHood

Pro

Well, now, well now...

I'm going to ignore the vast majority of incorrectly attributed calls of "fallacy"; I'll deal with the most important one:

=================================================================================
- Even more so, Pro resorts to dubious semantics to distort the philosophical nature of the CA by inserting words like “supernatural”, “magic”, “natural”, “source”. . . which are not precisely identified as to represent the CA [6], which constitute a straw man fallacy.
=================================================================================

Is what I have done to create a straw man? Certainly not. I think we need a name for falsely playing the "straw man" card. Whatever fallacy that is, Con is guilty of it.

A straw man is when, for the sake of show, one tackles an argument that was not made. I am tackling the arguments that *have* been made. I am rewording them, sure, but not in a dishonest way that changes the meaning... I am simply pointing out the glaring flaws. And there are glaring flaws.

The fact that people have debated the CA for hundreds or thousands of years just makes the whole debacle funnier! But Con makes a fair point, that I must show the argument per se is laughably wrong. I intend to do so.

Is it a parody, a straw man, or a fair assessment when I point out that the CA simply invents a supernatural realm in which causation is magically not a concern any more? I am merely providing the punchline to the joke that is the CA. I am providing the key, the perspective from which we can see the CA for what it really is: a sham!

Con mentions the Kalam Cosmological Argument; I am very familiar with it. William Lane Craig is a formidable opponent, and has done a good job in obfuscating the issue even further but, crucially, the same argument succesfully derails the KCA.

Here is a brief synopsis of William Lane Craig's formation of the KCA:

  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause;
  2. The universe began to exist;
    Therefore:
  3. The universe has a cause.

Now he uses this conclusion to go further:

  1. The universe has a cause;
  2. If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universeexists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful;
    Therefore:
  3. An uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful.
(from Wikipedia [1])


If you're not laughing at this point, you should be! It's the most laughably stupid thing I've ever seen issue from an intelligent mind. It's nonsense. It's like the Emperor's New Clothes. Look at it and trust yourself and you'll see the corpulent naked form of the Emperor... he's naked!

Do you see how my simple description of what's wrong with the CA still applies to the KCA?

1. Everything in the Natural World that exists has a cause of its existence.
2. Therefore we must resort to Supernatural causation.
3. It is not necessary to inquire too far into what causes Supernatural things.

In the case of the KCA, we have these essential gems:
"Everything that begins to exist" - what cunning sophistry is this? Who uses phrases like that!?
"An uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists" - AHEM, what? You do who? Come again! Seriously, is the gentle reader not having a bit of a chortle (as I indeed am, right now)?

AN UNCAUSED PERSONAL CREATOR? How is that not funny?

And somebody is claiming to have a logical proof of this, based on the existence of something rather than nothing? Come on, this is farcical... this is good stuff. This is comedy gold!

Here's the key: it doesn't matter how much dancing around in a silly costume you do, nor how much you mutter some magic words and tap the argument with a magic wand, nor how much you dress the silly thing up in fine robes made from infinitely thin golden threads, there it is, naked, ugly, pretending to be intelligent, logical and rational... this, really, is what makes the thing so risible. It's an incredibly dumb thing dressed up to look smart... the amusement stems from the sheer amount of effort that's gone into shining this ancient t**d of an argument.

I'll tell you again what's so laughably funny about the Cosmological Argument; in all its forms, it boils down to something like this:

"Everything has a cause except my imaginary friend, who is so amazingly amazing that he does not need a cause. Ner ner-ne ner ner, I'm going to go and play with my toy cars with my imaginary friend now!"

That is simply not a straw man, gentle reader; it's a lampoon and it accurately highlights what's wrong with every version of the CA.

I challenge Con to find any formulation of the CA which doesn't boil down to this utterly risible proposition.




[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Yassine

Con

I thank Pro for submitting his 3rd Round, & I commend him for the humorous manner in which he presents his case, I won't deny I chuckled a bit.



Preface:


- Fortunately for me I still have 2 additional rounds left, hopefully with enough space to allow for a solid counter-argument against Pro’s affirmative stance.



Case:


- Now, since Pro attempted to argue that William Craig’s formulation of the KCA is laughable, a failed attempt to say the least which I will get to in later rounds, he has yet to prove that other formulations of the CA are also risible. For instance, Ibn Sina’s (Avicenna’s) formulation [*]:

1. A contingent being (a being such that if it exists it could have not-existed or could cease to) exists.

2. This contingent being has a cause of or explanation for its existence.

3. The cause of or explanation for its existence is something other than the contingent being itself.

4. What causes or explains the existence of this contingent being must either be solely other contingent beings or include a non-contingent (necessary) being.

5. Contingent beings alone cannot provide an adequate causal account or explanation for the existence of a contingent being.

6. Therefore, what causes or explains the existence of this contingent being must include a non-contingent (necessary) being.

7. Therefore, a necessary being (a being such that if it exists cannot not-exist) exists.


- I would also like to see Pro’s response to al-Ghazali’s formulation which is a mixed of all the elements found in the other CA: temporal causation, causality, sufficient causation, necessity & contingency. Or even other formulations such as the Gale-Pruss Argument.



Sources:


[*] http://plato.stanford.edu...

Debate Round No. 3
AndyHood

Pro

I thank Con for keeping things real; I'm enjoying this debate, no matter the result. I am glad if I have caused at least one person to chuckle; if nothing else, that makes it all worth while!

I must point out that my comedic style for this debate is not without purpose: if I can show my audience how to reveal the inner funny in the argument then I'll empower them to have a chuckle every time they see it presented - this will have three positive effects:
  1. It will bring a smile to people's faces
  2. It may win me the debate
  3. It may change people's minds about whether this argument makes any sense
(Just because the CA is ludicrous does not in any way disprove God's existence - that's not the point, here, just to end the usage of this silly argument by revealing its hilarious heart).

However, I shouldn't keep the funnies up the whole time; I'd like to show some of the history of the argument (probably a last round offering), because I do find it interesting AND because I think that it helps illuminate the funny! If a picture is funny, how much funnier is a movie? Watching the argument develop over time, growing odder and odder appendages that are all singularly unfit for purpose has its own special charm!

What I'd like to get is a bit of audience participation. I therefore encourage you to hear the funny in the back of your mind; let down your guard about whether it's mean to ridicule (it is questionable to ridicule people but I don't think that it's mean to ridicule ideas). Now, the idea that I would like you to keep in the back of your mind, is an existentially troubled rubber chicken! Sorry, I couldn't help it... so, imagine this flaccid, floppy, funny fake fowl perched on your shoulder... it can't speak (that would be ridiculous, obviously) but it can squawk. The chicken will squawk at you and you'll suddenly see the funny whenever the argument gets to the point of "God doesn't need to have a cause". Good luck to you all - I hope that you enjoy spotting the funny elements in the many variations of the constantly evolving Cosmological Argument for years to come!

If you prefer, you may wish to use my line from before, in addition to the chicken, to spice it up a bit - everybody likes spicy chicken
(or this may be a bit rich for your comedic predilections; add seasoning to taste; results may vary):

"Everything has a cause except my imaginary friend, who is so amazingly amazing that he does not need a cause. Ner ner-ne ner ner, I'm going to go and play toy cars with my imaginary friend now!"

So, I'll start with Con's suggestion (the late, great Ibn-Sīnā's {respect where it's due, *tips hat*} formulation of the CA):

Approximately 1,000 years ago, Avicenna (a truly brilliant mind) proposed the following formulation † of an idea that was, even at that time, at least 1,500 years old. I hope that I won't offend if I change the presentation of argument given slightly (whilst retaining all of the meaning):

1. A contingent being (a being such that if it exists it could have not-existed or could cease to) exists. *
2. This contingent being has a cause (not itself).
3. This cause must be a being, either contingent or not. **
4. An infinite string of contingent beings is ludicrous.
5. Therefore there must be a non-contingent (necessary) being. ***

†† This is not exactly what Avicenna said (which I will address next round if I've got any spare space,
I just thought that it would be rude not to answer my opponents framing of the argument)

* I ask, in all seriousness, what does it mean to say that something exists such that if it exists it could have not existed? Because I have to say that whilst the imaginary rubber chicken on my shoulder is thus far silent, it is leaning forwards suspiciously and cocking one black and beady eye towards this rather odd phraseology! (And if you believe in a deterministic Universe, the proposition is impossible). Also, many theists believe that all of our souls are eternal; this would rule out this argument.

** As a point of interest, there are three questionable ideas in this one line: must the cause be a being (as a certainty)? Can a being be contingent (determinism says "no")? Can a being be non-contingent (reason says "no")? My chicken is clearing it's throat; it's hard to hold it back much more! It's psyching itself up to deafen me with an enormous and insistent SQUAWK.

*** And there's the punchline! "My imaginary friend is so amazingly amazing that he does not need a cause"

It's interesting to note that this argument is merely going back to abiogenesis - most forms of the CA go back further to the beginning of ALL things (not just "beings"). The idea of life arising from a chemical soup (no matter how improbable you consider that, it is at least a possibilitiy) demonstrates that there is a gaping great hole in the logic of the argument so big you could fit an excitable flapping chicken through it!

Now, another unresolved issue: Con does not think that I have adequately taken down the formidable William Lane Craig. I think I have, but I'll have another pop! First of all, I don't think that we need to get into the detail of all of WLC's version of the KCA; it suffices to know how the man answers the question "Who created God?" [1]. I encourage you all to go and hear the answer in his own words.

I hope that the gentle reader will by now be able to spot the problem from a mile away; I do hope that some gentle readers will be guffawing alongside their imaginary chickens already, but, if not, here goes:

William starts his version of the KCA with "Everything that begins to exist"; this is a clever (well, you be the judge) way of catching (according to him!) everything that exists except, of course, his imaginary friend. I fail to see the logical distinction (in the way that WLC is using the phrase) between "Everything that begins to exist" and "Everything except my amazingly amazing imaginary friend". And if that doesn't convince you, then consider my chicken's response: "We agree on one thing: your imaginary friend never began to exist".

The universal fact of every version of the Cosmological Argument is that it separates all things into two categories: those things that have a cause and those things that don't have a cause. In the one column you have everything except an imaginary friend, in the other column is, of course, an imaginary friend. This is what that looks like tabulated in rows:

Things that have a cause : EVERYTHING (except my imaginary friend)
Things that have no cause: my imaginary friend.

This is how you now know to recognise the kernel of the Cosmological Argument. It's a very cleverly dressed up logical fallacy... it really is quite beautiful, until you look a little closely... then it reveals itself to be nothing but a highly polished t**d.

Well done, all you great thinkers... what you have done is technically known as "special pleading" [2][3][4] and this is a logical fallacy. Essentially, you are creating a rule that applies to everything except your special case (in this case, an imaginary friend) and you are not giving sufficient reason for why your case should be an exception. Ah, but doesn't WLC claim not to be special pleading? Yes, yes he does... and his defence is the questionable claim that "atheists have always been claiming the same about the universe", which is close to true but technically untrue because: atheists have not sought to split things into two categories without reasonable justification... which is exactly what WLC is up to and is the very definition of special pleading! It's not entirely his fault, I suppose, he just chose to build a house upon the sand!

I'll provide an approximate timeline here and, in the next round (if I've space after rebuttals), I'll cover the rich history of this argument. It's like watching an Emperor attempting to become camouflaged... he's tried walking naked, he's tried lots of silly hats, he's tried dark glasses, he's tried dressing himself in the finest of fine gold fibres and told people that they are unwise if they can't see the finery of the coat, but still the emperor is naked! He's jigged about to try to distract the careless observer... dances? Oh what amazing dances he has performed! What a load of balls!

Here's a brief (and incomplete) history of the key players who helped dress this well-heeled fallacy:

. .400 BC - Parmenides ("nothing comes from nothing")
. .400 BC - Plato (first cause must "move itself", therefore it's alive; must be two: good and bad)
. .350 BC - Aristotle (like a man moving a rock with his stick)
. .250 AD - Plotinus (the One (good and beautiful), prior to all existents)
1,000 AD - Avicenna (adds neccessary/possible and essence/existence)
1,250 AD - Aquinas (First Cause: Universe must have been caused by something that was itself uncaused) SQUAWK!
1,700 AD - [5] Leibniz (similar to Avicenna)
2,000 AD - Craig (Everything that "begins to exist" has a cause - but not my imaginary friend!)

I include a link to a discussion of Leibniz's formulation because I think it's incredible to get a window into how susceptible even the greatest of minds are to confirmation bias (an idea that I will develop in the next round); in short, I can see how entirely appealing the idea of an eternal god is (and I am not denying the possibility of there being one)... I don't say that it's ludicrous to believe in an eternal god... I just say that it's risible to think that this belief can be justified by logic and reason with no reference to evidence!

[1] https://www.youtube.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] Damer, T. Edward (2008). Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-free Arguments (6 ed.). Cengage Learning. pp. 122–124. ISBN 978-0-495-09506-4.
[4] Engel, S. Morris (1994), Fallacies and Pitfalls of Language: The Language Trap, Courier Dover Publications, p. 102, ISBN 978-0-486-28274-9
[5] http://www3.nd.edu...

Yassine

Con

Thanks Pro for submitting his 4th Round.




Preface:


- I should remind the voters that the BOP is on Pro to establish how the CA is risible in all its forms.


- Pro has ignored my entire case & dropped all my arguments, thus they all stand & extend to this round too. Nevertheless, I'll try to respond to Pro's contentions, it would be rude otherwise.


- Conclusion in next round.




Rebuttals:



I'm going to ignore the vast majority of incorrectly attributed calls of “fallacy".

=> Bare assertion fallacy.



I think we need a name for falsely playing the "straw man" card. Whatever fallacy that is, Con is guilty of it.

- Pro has not provided any reason to believe his accusations are sound, thus making his claim: a bare assertion, red herring, ad hominem fallacy.



A straw man is when, for the sake of show, one tackles an argument that was not made. I am tackling the arguments that *have* been made. I am rewording them, sure, but not in a dishonest way that changes the meaning... I am simply pointing out the glaring flaws.

- “A straw man is a common reference argument and is an informal fallacy based on false representation of an opponent's argument.” Which is what Pro has been doing so far (arguing against a false representation of the CA & for a false representation of the resolution is, by definition, a straw man).

- Pro straw-maned the straw-man fallacy itself.

=> Strawmanception fallacy. :)



The fact that people have debated the CA for hundreds or thousands of years just makes the whole debacle funnier!

- An argument that survived philosophical discourse for that long is most certainly formidable, otherwise it would’ve been tossed aside long ago by the philosophers community, as so many others have been!

- This is the KCA:

Everything that begins to exist has a cause;

The universe began to exist;

Therefore:

The universe has a cause.

- The rest is an implication of the KCA proposed by WLC, not necessarily inferred by it.

=> To verify if WLC’s postulates based on the KCA are sound or not, we have to check his whole reasoning, which is entirely irrelevant to our topic at hand.



If you're not laughing at this point, you should be! It's the most laughably stupid thing I've ever seen issue from an intelligent mind. It's nonsense. It's like the Emperor's New Clothes. Look at it and trust yourself and you'll see the corpulent naked form of the Emperor... he's naked!

- Pro resorts over & over again to his primary method which constitutes of an appeal to ridicule fallacy.

1. Everything in the Natural World that exists has a cause of its existence.

2. Therefore we must resort to Supernatural causation.

3. It is not necessary to inquire too far into what causes Supernatural things.

- Pro is again grossly misrepresenting the CA!



"Everything that begins to exist" - what cunning sophistry is this? Who uses phrases like that!?

- Philosophers. ;)



"An uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists" - AHEM, what? You do who? Come again! Seriously, is the gentle reader not having a bit of a chortle (as I indeed am, right now)?

AN UNCAUSED PERSONAL CREATOR? How is that not funny?

- These are conclusions WLC deduced from the KCA, disproving them, or even proving that they are risible does not make the KCA itself risible.

- The KCA is a logical argument which postulates that every thing either has a cause, otherwise it’s uncaused. The uncaused ‘thing’ is henceforth identified, generally, though not necessarily, with God.

- Questioning the validity of the KCA or its soundness does not help the case of it allegedly being the object of laughter.

=> Straw man.



"Everything has a cause except my imaginary friend, who is so amazingly amazing that he does not need a cause. Ner ner-ne ner ner, I'm going to go and play with my toy cars with my imaginary friend now!"

- Pro jumps from “cause” to “supernatural” & now to “imaginary friends”!

=> This is a complex straw man fallacy, one straw man over the other!



That is simply not a straw man, gentle reader; it's a lampoon and it accurately highlights what's wrong with every version of the CA.

- If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a freaking duck!

- Pro’s denial of his argument being straw man doesn’t make him right. Pro falsely represented:

> the CA, as established previously.

> his false representation of the CA, as he did just above.

> the resolution, as established previously .

> & the straw man argument itself.

=> This is becoming more like Strawman City. :P



I hope that I won't offend if I change the presentation of argument given slightly (whilst retaining all of the meaning):

1. A contingent being exists. *

2. This contingent being has a cause (not itself).

3. This cause must be a being, either contingent or not. **

4. An infinite string of contingent beings is ludicrous.

5. Therefore there must be a non-contingent (necessary) being. ***

- Here Pro confesses to falsely representing the CA!

=> Straw man (Intentionally)!



This is not exactly what Avicenna said (which I will address next round)

- We’ll wait till next round then. :) No point in arguing a false representation anyways!



* I ask, in all seriousness, what does it mean to say that something exists such that if it exists it could have not existed?

- It means, it is subjunctively possible, thus may be conceived to exist & may be conceived to not exist.

- Pro seems to be utterly unfamiliar with basic philosophical terminology & concepts, which renders his contention all the more questionable, as on what basis does Pro judge concepts such as he can not conceive of!



And if you believe in a deterministic Universe, the proposition is impossible.

- Avicenna did believe in a deterministic Universe [2], as do Muslims in general.

- A deterministic Universe would not affect the proposition, for the latter is inferring a metaphysical possibility, as opposed to a, epistemic possibility [1].

- If Pro can not distinguish between these two concepts, then he is in no position to argue anything any further concerning the CA.



Also, many theists believe that all of our souls are eternal; this would rule out this argument.

- Coincidently, so did Avicenna [3], yet, he came up with that ‘argument’. In fact, Avicenna believed the Universe itself to be eternal [4], a postulate which does not affect the argument either.



Can a being be contingent? (determinism says “no”)

- Metaphysically, yes. (false, it doesn’t).



Can a being be non-contingent? (reason says “no")

- Metaphysically, yes. (false, it doesn’t).



My chicken is clearing it's throat; it's hard to hold it back much more! It's psyching itself up to deafen me with an enormous and insistent SQUAWK.

- What do you expect, it’s a chicken, it can’t possibly comprehend basic logic!



And there's the punchline! "My imaginary friend is so amazingly amazing that he does not need a cause”.

- Non sequitur, or, straw man.



It's interesting to note that this argument is merely going back to abiogenesis - most forms of the CA go back further to the beginning of ALL things (not just “beings”).

- Pro jumps from premises to conclusions in a rather fallacious fashion, where is the reasoning? & what does this have to do with the resolution?!

=> Bare assertion & red herring fallacy.



The universal fact of every version of the CA is that it separates all things into two categories: those things that have a cause and those things that don't have a cause.

- Which is equivalent to the law of the excluded middle.

=> “Everything must either be or not be” [5] = Everything must either have a cause or not have a cause.



This is what that looks like tabulated in rows:

Things that have a cause : EVERYTHING (except my imaginary friend)

Things that have no cause: my imaginary friend.

- Pro’s abuse of straw man has reached a critical degree here!

- As for the ‘tabulation’, that’s called -deductive- proof by exhaustion [6], which Pro seems to be, unsurprisingly, unfamiliar with. This again puts a huge question mark on Pro’s logical proficiency, & thus on his elementary understating of the CA to begin with! How can one’s judgement on something be expected to be sound if one does not conceive of it or even comprehend it!

- Here is how proof by exhaustion (a type of case analysis) works:

P. A or not-A => B.

C. Therefore, B.

- This is a deductive proof, which means, if P is valid, then the conclusion is necessarily True. In our case it reads:

P. either beings are contingent, or beings are necessary => necessary beings exist. (Avicenna’s proof).

C. Therefore, necessary beings exist.



Well done, all you great thinkers... what you have done is technically known as "special pleading" [2][3][4]

- Pro confuses special pleading with proof by exhaustion, the former being a logical fallacy, & the latter being quite literally the opposite: a logical proof.

- Moreover, & ironically, Pro commits himself the special pleading fallacy in assuming that proof by exhaustion -thus deductive reasoning- always works except in this particular instance of the CA!!



atheists have not sought to split things into two categories without reasonable justification.

- Pro seems to be ignorant of the most fundamental elements of Logic itself: “the principle of identity (1st law of thought) intellectually partitions the Universe into exactly two parts: "self" and "other", it creates a dichotomy wherein the two parts are "mutually exclusive" and "jointly exhaustive”.

=> Everything is, by definition, split into two categories: Itself, & not-Itself (i.e. its opposite).

=> In our case, whatever thing is either caused, or not-caused.



Here's a brief (and incomplete) history of the key players who helped dress this well-heeled fallacy:

- Beside the fact that the timeline & its content are grossly inaccurate, I fail to see the point of it all.




Sources:



[1] http://goo.gl...

[2] http://goo.gl...

[3] http://goo.gl...

[4] http://goo.gl...

[5] http://goo.gl...

[6] http://goo.gl...

Debate Round No. 4
AndyHood

Pro

Let's take a step back.

Does there, in fact, exist an immortal, timeless, causeless, perfect, onmiscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator? Sure, it's possible! Does the cosmological argument prove that? No way!

I spent half of my life as a Christian; I attended church every week; I assisted with youth programs in my summer holidays; I prayed every day; I got confirmed; I believed; I feared; I trusted. I was utterly convinced by the cosmological argument.

Some of the greatest thinkers that the World has ever seen have been convinced (or have proposed, in some form) the cosmological argument; and yet I have the arrogance to call the argument risible. Yup. And I'll bring you along for the ride, if you're willing.

God is immortal; God is eternal; God is timeless. God is all-seeing; God is all-knowing; God is all-loving. God is ineffable; God's mind is unkowable; do not question God; do not test God; do not try to understand God. Now, if the gentle reader agrees with any or all of these sentiments, it may be that the gentle reader is not an impartial and unbiased arbiter. In order to evaluate the argument fairly, it may be necessary to lift yourself out of yourself and take another look; this is not easy, but it can be done.

Logical fallacies (which my opponent makes quite a thing of) have been studied by mankind for a while; this is a form of meta-analysis of logical arguments. I beg the gentle reader take some time and become acquainted with the logical fallacy known as "special pleading". Wikipedia is often not trusted, but it's an invaluable resource precisely because it has so many authors trying their best to be impartial. Please spend a little while on Wikipedia's page on "special pleading": [1]

It is of interest to note the following paragraph: In medieval philosophy, it was not assumed that wherever a distinction is claimed, a relevant basis for the distinction should exist and be substantiated. Special pleading subverts an assumption of existential import.

It behoves the intelligent reader to follow the link to "existential import" to understand what Wikipedia is telling you.

Let me repeat myself again: when I was a Christian, the cosmological argument completely convinced me. It is a sublimely clever magic trick, but it's basically just a reinforcer for existing belief. If you already believe in God, the cosmological argument seems to make sense. However, it is just a well disguised form of special pleading.

If you seek to split things into two categories (the caused and the uncaused) then you must provide sufficient reason or evidence to support this distinction. To fail to do so is to be special pleading.

Now, I don't think that it's necessary to defend every cry of logical fallacy that my opponent makes. Suffice to say that I do not think the accusations are correct or appropriate; however, I'll answer one thing my opponent says:

- This is the KCA:
Everything that begins to exist has a cause;
The universe began to exist;
Therefore:
The universe has a cause.
- The rest is an implication of the KCA proposed by WLC, not necessarily inferred by it.

No, sorry: Like all cosmological arguments, the kalam cosmological argument is an argument from the existence of the world or universe to the existence of God [2].

But even in this first step we see the distinction between caused and uncaused forming (without sufficient justification). What does it mean to say that something is "uncaused"? Does that even make sense? What things do we ascribe this property to? Just God? I don't for one second say that it's not logically possible for God to be uncaused - but what I do say is that the CA simply fails to demonstrate that.

The CA is, in all its forms, a logical fallacy in fancy dress. It's pretty cool in many ways, and it does appear, sometimes, to hold water... but, like all good magic tricks, if we look hard enough we spot the illusion and the correct response at this time is to be, like a child, delighted with the sheer magic of the illusion. It's a suprise, like a magic trick or a joke. It's funny!

I thank my opponent for the debate and leave myself in the gentle voters' hands.

[1] Special Pleading on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.philosophyofreligion.info...
Yassine

Con

Thanks Pro for posting the final round.



Preface:


- Pro has not disputed my Opening Argument, & all my case went largely uncontested throughout the debate. Thus, all my points are valid.


- Pro had the burden of proof to establish that the CA in all its forms is risible, as in it provokes laughter. The resolution is certainly not about the soundness of the CA, or its reliability ; it is about its faculty to provoke laughter.


- For instance, Pro had to show that the CA has sarcastic elements, or ironic forms, or some wordplay in such a way that it’s comical . . . some combination of things that will make his case stronger, without resorting to logical fallacies & appeal to emotions,to also convince us how the CA is really an object of laughter.


- Finally, Pro had the bop to convincingly show that this was the case for CA in all its forms. So far, Pro has argued against some form of KCA (WLC’s formula), & dropped Avicenna’s formula, for he admitted that his contentions are not related to Avicenna’s CA (“This is not exactly what Avicenna said”), & also Gale-Pruss’ [1] formula, among others.



Case:


- Since Pro has dropped all the argument in my case, that by claiming they are inaccurate, without providing any reasons why that is the case. Therefore, I shall repeat my opening argument as a reminder: “Pro’s entire case is logical fallacies compiled together to make a fallacious argument seems legitimate, while in fact it invalid, for:

1. It is not really related to the Resolution.

2. It is not really representative of any of the elements of the Resolution: not the CA, not its varieties, & not its alleged comicality.”



Rebuttals:


It is of interest to note the following paragraph: In medieval philosophy, it was not assumed that wherever a distinction is claimed, a relevant basis for the distinction should exist and be substantiated. Special pleading subverts an assumption of existential import.
It behoves the intelligent reader to follow the link to "existential import" to understand what Wikipedia is telling you.

- First of all, the wikipedia page doesn't reference said proposition, thus we can not really verify whether or not medieval philosophy had such a stance, which is dubious [2].

- Second of all, either way, Pro does not make any point of why he brought up this contention, ‘the intelligent reader’ is left wondering what is the purpose of such contention, & how it’s related to the resolution!

- Third of all, the issue of “existential import” doesn’t apply to the KCA (if that was Pro’s intention), as it has a basis in reality:

> Everything that begins has a cause.

=> The existential import here lies in the way we observe the world, that is Causality, a well established concept in both philosophy & science [3].

> An example of a statement not bearing an existential import is: “Every eagle is a mammal”, & we know no eagle is a mammal.



Let me repeat myself again: when I was a Christian, the cosmological argument completely convinced me. It is a sublimely clever magic trick, but it's basically just a reinforcer for existing belief. If you already believe in God, the cosmological argument seems to make sense. However, it is just a well disguised form of special pleading.
If you seek to split things into two categories (the caused and the uncaused) then you must provide sufficient reason or evidence to support this distinction. To fail to do so is to be special pleading.

- First of all, as stated previously: “the principle of identity (the most fundamental law of Logic) intellectually partitions the Universe into exactly two parts: "self" and "other", it creates a dichotomy wherein the two parts are "mutually exclusive" and "jointly exhaustive” [4]. That’s an axiomatic law, providing sufficient reason to believe in it, means presupposing it in the first place, hence the axiomatic nature.

- Second of all, contrary to what Pro has stated, & suite literally, assuming there is an exception in making the above distinction is, by definition, special pleading. Basically, Pro is identifying “special pleading” with its exact opposite.

- That been said, this: “All things are either caused or not caused” does not necessarily imply this: “Some things are caused, & some things are uncaused”.


=> That’s for the CA to determine, & so far as it has an existential import, either through inductive causality, or sufficient causality, or from contingency, it is a valid argument. Otherwise, it may be deemed unsound, which as stated in previous rounds, & repeated again & again, says nothing about wether or not the argument is risible. Even if an argument is unsound, that does not make it automatically risible, for unsound =/= risible.



Now, I don't think that it's necessary to defend every cry of logical fallacy that my opponent makes. Suffice to say that I do not think the accusations are correct or appropriate;

- Pro, again, attempts to refute my counter-arguments with bare assertions, giving no reason to believe what he says, & no basis for me (Con) to counter.



however, I'll answer one thing my opponent says

This is the KCA:

Everything that begins to exist has a cause

The universe began to exist;

Therefore:

The universe has a cause.

- The rest is an implication of the KCA proposed by WLC, not necessarily inferred by it.

No, sorry: Like all cosmological arguments, the kalam cosmological argument is an argument from the existence of the world or universe to the existence of God.

- The KCA defines God as the Cause of the Universe, as its structure clearly implies. Adding new attributes to this notion of God necessitate proofs each time a new attribute is added. WLC adds a number of attributes to the First Cause inferred from the KCA, it’s his bop to support these super-additions.

- Either way, this is a red herring fallacy, as it had nothing to do with the resolution.



But even in this first step we see the distinction between caused and uncaused forming (without sufficient justification). What does it mean to say that something is "uncaused"? Does that even make sense? What things do we ascribe this property to? Just God? I don't for one second say that it's not logically possible for God to be uncaused - but what I do say is that the CA simply fails to demonstrate that.

- Pro has yet to show us how the CA fails. & in that case (or otherwise), how is it risible. A burden of proof he entirely failed to uphold.



The CA is, in all its forms, a logical fallacy in fancy dress. It's pretty cool in many ways, and it does appear, sometimes, to hold water... but, like all good magic tricks, if we look hard enough we spot the illusion and the correct response at this time is to be, like a child, delighted with the sheer magic of the illusion. It's a surprise, like a magic trick or a joke. It's funny!

- This is a series of bare assertions, where Pro relies on appeal to emotion to make his case, & we are not compelled to believe anything Pro says without proof, after all, the entire bop lies on him. If he thinks it’s funny, then why should we?!



Conclusion:


- Pro has not contested any of my primary arguments. He is, therefore, guilty of misrepresenting the resolution, misrepresenting the CA, & also discarding the many forms of the CA. Three points, already sufficient to negate Pro’s bop entirely.


- Pro has only precipitated the erroneous nature of his entire argument, one round after the other, by relying, intentionally or unintentionally, on fallacies to desperately prove his case. In which he failed, for he did not, not once, provide a proper argument for why the CA, in at least of its forms, is the object of laughter, let alone in all its forms.


- Pro has also showed a serious lack of understanding of the philosophical constructs & ramifications, which makes his judgements on the subject all the more questionable.


- Pro has thus failed, hopelessly, to carry his BOF, & on top of that failed to negate my case.


=> Vote Con.



Sources:


[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Yassine 1 year ago
Yassine
@tejretics

- Dude, impeccable RFD. Thx for the vote ^_^.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
== Note 1 ==

Any objections to my RFD below *must* be PM'd to me, as I will not address any objections if they are posted in the comments of this debate.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
RFD - Part 1

Pro's first presentation of their case was, as Con accurately demonstrated, an appeal to ridicule *by proper*, ~standard~, definition, almost word-for-word. The appeal to ridicule was via. an analogy of the "chicken and the egg", wherein Pro attacked the non-contingency cosmological argument, specifically one that constitutes the Leibnizian and Kalam variations. The standard variation of the question there was "then WHAT caused supernatural magic", without a standard naturalistic *explanation* of its own. Pro questions HOW something supernatural caused itself if everything requires a cause. This clearly committed the strawman fallacy, as *shown* by Con. This was explicitly denied by Pro, which Con then refuted.

Pro goes on to claim that the fallacy of appeal to ridicule is "incorrectly attributed" without ANY evidence contrary, whereas Con ~demonstrated~ by Wikipedia that Pro *was* using an appeal to ridicule, thus committing a logically fallacious argument. Pro denies the strawman fallacy, which Con refutes, once more, by showing it is "textbook" strawman. Con presents the cosmological argument from contingency, which Pro is unable to refute and thus modifies it committing ~intentional~ and *admitted* strawman fallacy. These fallacies extend absolutely.

Pro then attacks Con on not being able to show God exists, which is NOT Con's burden. Even IF the CA is wrong, Pro must *demonstrate* that the CA is objectively *risible*.

"Pro has only precipitated the erroneous nature of his entire argument, one round after the other, by relying, intentionally or unintentionally, on fallacies to desperately prove his case. In which he failed, for he did not, not once, provide a proper argument for why the CA, in at least of its forms, is the object of laughter, let alone in all its forms." ~ this is a *perfect* illustration of the poor arguments of Pro.

Towards the end, Pro commits strawman, red herring and ipse dixit fallacies.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
RFD - Part 2

Ultimately, Pro's entire case is based on fallacies and Pro fails to ~justify~ that the CA in any form, let alone in ALL FORMS (which he frequently strawmanned), is *objectively* risible. Pro *denies*, BARELY (committing ipse dixit), the accusation of fallacies and Con's observations. Ultimately, the argument is TOO weak to award points to Pro. Pro also *frequently* used word-forms of "emoticons" ["*giggle*", etc.] and had a highly informal tone that overall led to the dis-credibility of their arguments.

Thus, arguments to Con.
Posted by Yassine 1 year ago
Yassine
@ AlphaTBITW
- Why do you think by rebuttal is horrendous?
Posted by AlphaTBITW 1 year ago
AlphaTBITW
Well, Andy's not getting conduct points...

I see such a great argument being defended okayishly and rebutted horrendously. I'll most likely vote afterwards.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
AndyHoodYassineTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.