The Instigator
Mr.Infidel
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Nur-Ab-Sal
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

The Incoherent Attribute Argument is Sound

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Post Voting Period
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after 5 votes the winner is...
Nur-Ab-Sal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/30/2011 Category: News
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,738 times Debate No: 19057
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (34)
Votes (5)

 

Mr.Infidel

Pro

Resolved: The incoherent attribute Argument against God's existence is sound.

God will be defined as a singular being who possesses the attributes of, but not limited to:
  1. Almighty;
  2. Eternal;
  3. Holy;
  4. Immortal;
  5. Immense;
  6. Immutable;
  7. Incomprehensible;
  8. Ineffable;
  9. Infinite;
  10. Invisible;
  11. Just;
  12. Loving;
  13. Merciful;
  14. Most High;
  15. Most Wise;
  16. Omnipotent;
  17. Omniscient;
  18. Omnipresent;
  19. Patient;
  20. Perfect;
  21. Provident;
  22. Supreme; and
  23. True. [1]
The argument shows that God cannot exist based upon incoherency:
  1. Whatever has incoherent attributes cannot exist.
  2. God has incoherent attributes.
  3. Therefore, God cannot exist.
Incoherency is defined as contradictory attributes (i.e., you can't be invisable and pink at the same time).

Good luck to whoever accepts this debate!

References
[1] The National Catholic Almanac (1968). Quoted in Tobin, Paul. Rejection of Pascal's Wager
Nur-Ab-Sal

Con

I accept the challenge. I look forward to this debate and good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
Mr.Infidel

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate. It is a delight to be debating with you and I hope to have a fruitful discussion. It is my Burden of Proof to show that God cannot exist based upon contradictory attributes. Whatever has contradictory attributes cannot exist.
  1. Whatever has contradictory attribtues cannot exist.
  2. God has contradictory attribtues.
  3. Therefore, God does not exist.
Omnipotent v. Omniscient

Omnipotence is defined as the quality of having all power. However, He can do all things that do not conflict with His holy nature. God has the power to do anything He wants to. [1]

Omniscience is defined as the quality of having all knowledge. [2]
  1. God is all powerful.
    1. Therefore, he can change the future.
  2. God is all knowing.
    1. Therefore, he knows the future.
  3. A being who knows the future is powerless to change it.
  4. Hence, an all-knowing, all-powerful, and freewilled God is impossible.
It is impossible for God to change the future. Therefore, we cannot say that God is all-powerful. Either or that, you must admit that God is not all-knowing. Either way, there is a contradiction in his attributes.

Immutable v. All-loving
  1. If God exist, then He is immutable and all-loving.
  2. An immutable being cannot change.
    1. Hence, that immutable being cannot be affected by any events.
  3. However, to be all-loving, it must be possible for a being to be affected by events.
  4. Hence it is impossible for an immutable being to be all-loving (from 3 and 4).
  5. Therefore, God does not exist. [3]

To be affected is to be changed in some way; therefore premise 3 is true by definition. The concept of love is relevant in this argument and it is that of agape, which is the willingness to sacrifice oneslf for the sake of another [4]. It is thereby impossible for an all-loving God to be immutable.

Just v. Mercy
  1. If God exists, then it is necessary that he is all-just and all-merciful.
  2. An all-just judge would treat every offender with exactly the severity that he/she deserves.
  3. An all-merciful judge treats every offender with less severity than he/she deserves.
  4. It is impossible to treat an offender with both exactly the severity that he/she deserves and also less severity than he/she deserves.
  5. Therefore, God cannot be all-just and all-merciful.
  6. Therefore, God cannot exist.
The definition of just and merciful is important in this argument. Just is defined as the dew reward or punishment for an act (i.e., getting what is deserved). [5] Mercy is defined as the act of not administering justice when that justice is punitive. [6]

Because of those definitions, it is impossible for God to be both administrating justice and not administering judtice. Therefore, God does not exist!

| CONCLUSION |

I have shown that it is impossible for God to exist as his attributes are contradictory. Therefore, my opponent needs to either show: (1) The attributes are not really contradictory; or (2) That it is possible for a being with contradictory attributes to exist.

References

[1] Slick, Matt. Dictionary of Theology: Omnipotence. <http://carm.org...;
[2] Slick, Matt. Dictionary of Theology: Omniscience. <http://carm.org...;
[3] Drange, Theodore. Incompatible-Properties: A Survey. <http://www.philoonline.org...; (adapted for this debate).
[4] Ibid.
[5] Slick, Matt. Dictionary of Theology: Just, Justice. <http://carm.org...;
[6] Slick, Matt. Dictionary of Theology: Mercy. <http://carm.org...;
Nur-Ab-Sal

Con

I thank my opponent for his quick and persuasive argument.

Introduction
My opponent has said that it is my duty "to either show: (1) The attributes are not really contradictory; or (2) That it is possible for a being with contradictory attributes to exist." I will do both. I will show that not only are the supposedly contradictory attributes not contradictory, but I will also show that even if this was the case, this God could still exist. I will structure my response in to parts: the rebuttal, which will provide a response to my opponent's contentions, and my own arguments, which will provide my opponent something to counter to.


Rebuttal
I will provide a rebuttal to my opponent's argument that the aforementioned attributes are contradictory.


Omnipotent v. Omniscient
I agree with my opponent on the first two points of his syllogism. However, he seems to believe that these two attributes are mutually exclusive in regard to the future. He says in statement 3 of his syllogism, "a being who knows the future is powerless to change it." This is not the case.


An omnipotent God that can change the future knows how he will create it. Can a God that is all-powerful not change the future according to the way he destines it? Take the following analogy:

1. An essayist is God.
2. The essayist knows word for word how his essay (the future) will be finished.
3. The essayist writes it according to his plan.

The essayist writes his essay (omnipotence) in the way he envisioned it, word for word (omniscience). Can a God not determine the way he decides the future?

I have disproved statement 3 of his syollogism, therefore statement 4 is false.

Immutable v. Omnibenevolent
Again my opponent draws false assumptions. He writes that because immutability requires the attributed to not change, it also "cannot be affected by any events," and therefore cannot be omnibenevolent (all-loving). However, these two attributes are not contradictory as my opponent asserts; in fact, one actually supports the other.


The immutability of God reinforces omnibenevolence: a God that does not change in his attributes does not change in his omnibenevolence. A God that is unchangeable is unchangeable in his attributes; that is, he is immutable in his omnipotence, omniscience, etc., and omnibenevolence. It is not that God is not immutable because he loves all; rather, it is that he is unchanging in his omnibenevolence because of his immutability.

My opponent defines immutability in that he is unchanged in his ability to be affected by earthly events, and therefore his ability to love; however, immutability, on a higher and more divine sense, is that he is unchanged in his attributes, and thus is unchanged in his omnibenevolence.

Just v. Merciful
Again, my opponent draws the conclusion that justice and mercy are mutually exclusive.


As God is omnipotent, it is well within his ability to define morality. Because he can define morality, he can similarly define what is just as a punishment for a lack of morality. Thus, he may be merciful in a punishment, but he is just in that he is the one who defines it. Thus, he may be merciful in punishment; and thus, he is similarly just in punishment because he defines justice.

Arguments
I will now provide various arguments.


Incoherency exists
Incoherent objects actually do exist. For example, a Beryllium ion was caught in the superposition of two quantum states (in a similar manner to Schrodinger's cat, as defined by this article: http://goo.gl...). The ion was in what called "quantum decoherence."

Earthly definitions
You yourself defined God as "ineffable" in that he is too great to be described in words. This is clearly the case: our words simply cannot accurately describe God's attributes. We may say he is omnipotent (see below), but we may put a limit to that omnipotence to what our human minds are capable of. Similarly, we attempt to define immortality to "living forever," as if God is limited to our own perception of time, etc. You yourself used several passages from a Matt Slick, who, like all of us, has a human mind and thus limited human cognition.

Omnipotence
My opponent has equated omnipotent and all-powerful. I agree to this definition. This is important because all-powerful means he has the ability to change the very fabric of the Universe, in that he is not bound by human perception of what is logical. An omnipotent God could operate outside what we consider logical. For instance, an all-powerful God could be coherent and incoherent at the same time because his all-powerful. If my opponent was correct even in his statement that incoherent objects do not exist, in his human definitions of what we attribute to God, and in his assertion that God's attributes are contradictory, we must still remember that an omnipotent God, if he exists, is not bound by what we consider logical.


Conclusion
Through my rebuttals, I have shown how the pairs of attributes my opponent has labeled contradictory are not so. I have also shown how even if they were contradictory, this disproves nothing about God's existence. I look forward to my opponent's response and wish him good luck.



Debate Round No. 2
Mr.Infidel

Pro

I want to thank you for such a speedy reply. My opponent has attempted to prove that beings with contradictory attributes can exist and God's attributes are non-contradictory. In this round, I will attempt to show how my opponent's arguments are false.


Omnipotent v. Omniscient

We are both in agreence that if God were to exist, then He is necessarily all-powerful and all-knowing.


My opponent asks, "Can a God that is all-powerful not change the future according to the way he destines it?" My opponent's response totally misses the point. God is supposedly a being with free-will; therefore, He should be able to change the future. However, if he changes the future, then he really did not know the future at all. Take, for example, this following analogy:
  1. I know that tomorrow, X is definately goaing to happen.
  2. Because I know beyond certain that X is going to happen, I am powerless to change X.
  3. Although I can attempt to prevent X, I am still powerless.
  4. However, if I did change X, then I really did not know that X was going to happen with a 100% certainty.
Conclusion: I have shown that my opponents "rebuttal" completely missess the point and is not a rebuttal at all.

Immutable v. Omnibenevolent

Again, my opponent's rebuttal completely missess the point. "God is unchangeable in his attributes" is true, which is a better definition of immutability. However, when we conteplate the concept of what love is, premise 4 is forced.

A better name is called the "Immutability-vs.-Personhood Argument." The idea is that it would be that in order to be genuinely a person (or personal being), it is necessary that one being capable of being affected by what happens.

Consider this syllogism:

1. If God exists, then he is transcendent (i.e., outside space and time).
2. If God exists, then he is a person (or a personal being).
3. If something is transcendent, then it cannot exist and perform actions within time.
4. But a person (or personal being) must exist and perform actions within time.
5. Therefore, something that is transcendent cannot be a person (or personal being) (from 3 and 4).
6. Hence, it is impossible for God to exist (from 1, 2, and 5). [1]

Just v. Merciful
Again, my opponent draws the conclusion that justice and mercy are mutually exclusive.

As God is omnipotent, it is well within his ability to define morality. Because he can define morality, he can similarly define what is just as a punishment for a lack of morality. Thus, he may be merciful in a punishment, but he is just in that he is the one who defines it. Thus, he may be merciful in punishment; and thus, he is similarly just in punishment because he defines justice.

My opponent once again misses the point. If we say that God is just (i.e., giving what is deserved) then he cannot give less than is deserved. "[H]e may be merciful in a punishment, but he is just in that he is the one who defines it. Thus, he may be merciful in punishment; and thus, he is similarly just in punishment because he defines justice." I do not quite understand this. Once again, you are missing the point. It is impossible for God to both administer justice and not administer justice!

Rebuttal to your arguments

Incoherency exists

Can you please offer me an example of a being with contradictory attributes existing? (i.e., an Invisible Pink Unicorn!) Moreover, you obviously have no clue what a Quantum Decoherence actaully is. A quantum decoherence is the loss of coherence or ordering of the phase angles between the components of a system in a quantum superposition. [2] Quantum decoherences have nothing to do with contradictory attributes!

Decoherence=/=Incoherence


Earthly definitions

I did not define God as ineffable. That was a characteristic of God given by the Catholic Church. If you say that he is too great to describe in words, then how is it that we possibly know what God is? My characteristics of God and definitions are based upon respected theologians.

Omnipotence

"God cannot be logical if he wants..." Well then, why did he create us to be logical?

Does an all-knowing God have the all-power to change his future mind? The only rebuttal you came up with is semantic play. This is a cop-out.



References

[1] Drange, Theodore. Incompatible-Properties: A Survey. http://www.philoonline.org...;
[2] "Author Unknown." Quantum decoherence. http://en.wikipedia.org...;
Nur-Ab-Sal

Con

I thank my opponent for replying with well, thought-out responses despite his delay.

Rebuttal
I will provide a response to my opponent's arguments.

Omipotent v. Omniscient
My opponent still sees these two as incoherent, but I better understand his argument now. However, in my opponent's analogy, he sees time, and thus the future, outside the subject's control, which is not in the case of God. Because you know something to happen in the future does not mean you are not in control of its happening. God creates the entire timeline of events, and executes it accordingly.

Your analogy is completely erroneous, because you write it from a human perspective -- " if I did change X, then I really did not know that X was going to happen with a 100% certainty." An omniscient God CAN know what would happen in ANY course of events, and he may create in a specific way with full knowledge of the end result of any course of events. An omniscient God knows all of this, and an omnipotent God can choose whatever way he wishes to create the future.

Immutable v. Omnibenevolent
"When we contemplate what love is" from a human perspective, perhaps premise 4 -- "it is impossible for an immutable being to be all-loving" -- may be forced. But an omniscient God is not affected by earthly events, because he already knows what is to happen. However, he is omnibenevolent in that he loves his creation. His immutability is not in his being affected, it is in his attributes, once again. His omnibenevolence does not change.

My opponent's syllogism fails to take into account the other attributes. He states that if God exists, he must be transcendent. However, my opponent seems to mistake the anthropomorphic representation of God seen in religious paintings as actual representations of a God. God is not necessarily a person anymore than the personified rabbit from Alice and Wonderland. He speaks, meddles with human events, and other human capabilities in the Bible, but that does not necessarily mean he is a person. However, I will ignore the error in statement 2 and assume my opponent means any entity that can perform actions within the Universe as we know it. My response is simple: an omnipotent God is not limited by his creation, that is, space and time -- he can operate both in and out of his creation just as the programmer of a virtual world can operate in and out of his program.

I will finish by saying this syllogism does not actually refute my response to immutability v. omnibenevolence, but rather diverges into an argument about God's personhood.

Just v. Merciful
There are several ways to define both justice and mercy (ignoring for a second that once again an omnipotent God exists outside what we consider contradictions). Mercy may not mean giving the criminal less punishment than he deserves, but merely showing compassion to the victim, etc. (http://www.merriam-webster.com...) A "lenient" punishment may be one way to consider mercy, but other ways, including showing compassion, is another way. A just God may deal a punishment to a criminal (because he defines morality, and thus justice) but also be merciful in that punishment, not only relative to humans in considering the "lenient" definition, but also in showing compassion for the victim.

Arguments
I will now respond to my opponent's rebuttals of my arguments.

Incoherency exists
The Beryllium ion has several possible quantum states that can collapse the wavefunction. However, all of these states exist simultaneously before the wavefunction is collapsed by an observer. The superposition of all of these states before the collapse is contradictory in what we consider logic. A particle might be is in one state, but in another at the same time. I am not even arguing that decoherence and incoherence are the same concept. All of these states in superposition are contradictory -- the particle is everywhere but nowhere -- before the wavefunction is collapsed by a measurement by an observer and the particle is forced to choose only one state, and then its position can be defined.

Earthly definitions
In Round 1, you did define God as ineffable, you merely used a Catholic Almanac as your source for this defintion. In saying "God will be defined as," and then listing 23 adjectives, you defined God in this argument. You could have picked any number of adjectives (or, any number of definitions as well) and defined this as God for the argument. You may have used a theological source, but you still repeated the defintion. You then say, "how is it that we possibly know what God is?" We use the closest words we have to describe God, and even then, in our inherent human nature, we have altered and added definitions to each of these words. They are a human creation.

Omnipotence
I do not pretend to know why a God would create us to be logical. I do not pretend to understand his reasoning for creating anything in any way. God's motives or incentives for creating a logical universe. However, even without the actual knowledge of God's motive, I can offer a human answer. Logic is something that limits the Universe -- Newton's laws of motions, the laws of conservation, etc.

My opponent goes on to state the following: "The only rebuttal you came up with is semantic play. This is a cop-out." First, this is not my only rebuttal -- I actually rebutted with several which he has kindly acknowledged by responding. Next, he accuses me of playing with semantics. On the contrary, I am actually using your definition of omnipotent, which you defined in your very first syllogism of Round 2, "God is all powerful." In your very own definition, you did not place a limit on this. An all-powerful entity is just that -- all powerful. In saying "all powerful," by definition are not limiting the power. My argument stands and my opponent has used "straw man" instead of responding.

I look forward my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 3
Mr.Infidel

Pro

Mr.Infidel forfeited this round.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Con

I would like to remind voters we are not necessarily arguing the existence of God but rather that a particular argument is sound.

Thanks for the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
34 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Ah, I see. I mean, I appreciate the vote, I just didn't understand the reasoning.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
I view a forfeited round as a utter loss, and therefore I award all points to the non-forfeiting debater.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Does forfeiting the last round really change the voting this much? For instance, if Reformed Arsenal believes that I did not win, why did he give me convincing arguments?

I don't understand why forfeiting is a huge factor in voting.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
No worries. I'm just hoping we don't get 0 votes, I have tied several debates because of this.
Posted by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
Thanks. I wish I could have responded.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
It's fine. I understand there are more important things in life than arguing about God online.
Posted by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
Shoot! Was very busy today. I am SO SORRY I forfeited!
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Ah, I see. I appreciate the kind words, then. I too find Mr. Infidel a talented debater.
Posted by kevinbravehart 5 years ago
kevinbravehart
No sir, although reading it back I can see how it could look that way. I truly feel that both of you are top notch. Some of Infidels other opponents.... not so much.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Assuming you're not being sarcastic (as it is often difficult to discern with text), thank you.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by renji_abarai 5 years ago
renji_abarai
Mr.InfidelNur-Ab-SalTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit in the final round gave it all to con
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
Mr.InfidelNur-Ab-SalTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's case held throughout the debate and a final round forfeit by Pro made recovery impossible.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
Mr.InfidelNur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Mr.I had decent arguments. They were not insurmountable, and even though Nub didn't quite overcome them, Mr.I forfeited.
Vote Placed by nickthengineer 5 years ago
nickthengineer
Mr.InfidelNur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The contradictions that Pro thinks exist in the nature of God simply do not exist. Well done Con!
Vote Placed by Davididit 5 years ago
Davididit
Mr.InfidelNur-Ab-SalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit