The Instigator
KingDebater
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
KeytarHero
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

The Teleological argument is failed, and should NEVER BE USED EVER AGAIN.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
KeytarHero
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,221 times Debate No: 30238
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (7)

 

KingDebater

Pro

No trolls please.

I'll be arguing that the Teleological argument is flawed. I'll be using the following version:

1)The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.
2) It is highly improbable that it resulted from physical necessity or chance.
3) Therefore, it is highly probable that the universe was designed.
KeytarHero

Con

I'll take this debate. Since Pro is making the claim, he bears the burden of proof. Not only must Pro show that the Teleological Argument has failed, he must also show that it should never be used again, as per the resolution. If he fails to show one or both of these parts of the resolution, then Pro loses the debate.

Considering this argument has been around since the ancient Greeks, it's highly unlikely that Pro has some new knock-down argument that shows the argument should never be used again. But I await his opening argument.

For the record, the argument Pro is attempting to refute is the Teleological Argument as William Lane Craig formulates it:

P1: The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
P2: It is highly improbable that it resulted from physical necessity or chance.
C: Therefore, it is highly probable that the universe was designed.
Debate Round No. 1
KingDebater

Pro

I thought I'd explained this already in Round 1. I'll simply be arguing that the Teleological is flawed.
Probability
1. The probability of Design has not been established.
2. The probability of Chance has not been established.
3. The probability of Physical Necessity has not been established.
4. Therefore, it is blind to assert that it is highly probable that the universe was designed.

Until the three probabilities have been established, I conclude that the Teleological argument is flawed.

Chance
Just a thought, and I'll use an anology to express it. If we're betting on a number on a roulette wheel,
not matter what number it lands on, it will always be more likely that it won't land on it than it will.

I'm interested to hear my opponent's view.

KeytarHero

Con

Pro is the one who made the resolution, "The Teleological Argument has failed and SHOULD NEVER BE USED EVER AGAIN." That is the resolution that we are to debate. Why would he make that claim if he did not intend to defend it? The Teleological Argument may be flawed (which Pro has not established), but that does not mean it should be done away with completely. All that shows is that the flaw should be pinpointed, then fixed, and used.

Since he made the claim, Pro bears the burden of proof in this debate, but has not established it. He didn't even attempt to argue that the universe could have arisen through physical necessity or chance. I will support the argument as established in the first round.

Premise 1 -- The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.

This premise is easily established. It merely lists the three possibilities that could account for our universe existing.

Premise 2 -- It is highly improbable that it resulted from physical necessity or chance.

What is meant by "fine-tuning"? William Lane Craig explains,

"The physical laws of nature, when given mathematical expression, contain various constants, such as the gravitational constant, whose values are independent of the laws themselves; moreover, there are certain arbitrary quantities which are simply put in as boundary conditions on which the laws of nature operate, for example, the initial low entropy condition of the universe. By "fine-tuning" one means that the actual values assumed by the constants and quantities in question are such that small deviations from those values would render the universe life-prohibiting or, alternatively, that the range of life-permitting values is exquisitely narrow in comparison with the range of assumable values." [1]

The anthropic principle states that the universe was fitted from the very first moment of its existence for the emergence of life in general and human life in particular. [2] As agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow noted, the universe is amazingly preadapted to the eventual appearance of humanity. [3] For if there were even the slightest variation at the moment of the Big Bang, making conditions different, even to a small degree, no life of any kind would exist. [4]

So what can account for the sheer near impossibility that life would have arisen in our universe?

Physical necessity?

This does not seem likely. This alternative rests on a faulty assumption, that a life-prohibiting universe is impossible. But why should we believe this? There is no reason that this universe must have adapted life. It could much more easily have prevented life from existing.

Chance?

This is highly improbable. The odds are astronomically stacked against it, in fact.

Julian Huxley, an arch-defender of Evolution, estimated that at the known rate of helpful mutations over the known time scale, the odds against evolution happening by pure chance are 1 followed by 3 million zeros (fifteen hundred pages of zeros) to one. [5] Additionally, there are quite a lot of factors in our universe that have to be "just so," otherwise life would be impossible. There are so many of these factors that I couldn't possibly give them all here. A few examples include:

The fact that our universe exists in three dimensions. It is due to its basic three-dimensionality that the world possesses the chemistry that it does, which furnishes some key conditions necessary for the existence of life. We don't know why the universe possesses three dimensions, but if it didn't then we wouldn't exist to ask that question. [6]

Additionally, the values of the various forces of nature appear to be fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life. One example would be that if the strong force of nature were increased as much as 1%, nuclear resonance levels would be so altered that almost all carbon would be burned into oxygen; an increase of 2% would preclude formation of protons out of quarks, preventing the existence of atoms. Furthermore, weakening the strong force by as much as 5% would unbind deuteron, which is essential to stellar nucleosynthesis, leading to a universe composed only of hydrogen. It has been estimated that the strong force must be within 0.8 and 1.2 its actual strength or all elements of atomic weight greater than four would not have formed. [7]

Now, Pro did allude to an argument regarding betting on numbers on a roulette wheel (I've also heard an argument from playing the lottery). William Lane Craig explains why this analogy is mistaken,

"Contrary to popular impression, the argument for design is not trying to explain why this particular universe exists. Rather it's trying to explain why a life-permitting universe exists. The lottery analogy was misconceived because it focused on why a particular person won.

The correct analogy would be a lottery in which billions and billions and billions of white ping-pong balls were mixed together with just one black ping-pong ball, and you were told that one ball will be randomly selected out of the horde. If it's black, you'll be allowed to live; if it's white, you'll be shot.

Now notice that any particular ball that is randomly selected is equally improbable: No matter which ball rolls down the chute, the odds against that particular ball are fantastically improbable. But some ball must roll down the chute. This is the point illustrated by the first lottery analogy. That point, however, is irrelevant because we're not trying to explain why
this particular ball was picked.

The crucial point is that whichever ball rolls down the chute, it is overwhelmingly more probable that
it will be white rather than black. Getting the black ball is no more improbable than getting any particular white ball. But it is incomprehensably more probable that you will get a white ball instead of a black one. So if the black ball rolls down the chute, you certainly should suspect that the lottery was rigged to let you live." [8]

And so on. It is simply not at all likely that the universe could have resulted from chance.

Design?

Design seems to be the more plausible explanation, when all factors of the state of our universe are taken into account.

Conclusion -- Therefore, it is highly probable that it was due to design.

To reiterate, there are only three alternatives -- that our universe was fine-tuned by physical necessity, chance, or design. There is no reason to suppose physical necessity; in fact, doing so begs the question. The odds against chance are so astronomical as to be, for all intents and purposes, impossible. The only possibility is that our universe is the result of design.

I look forward to Pro's rebuttal.

[1] http://www.reasonablefaith.org......; if the article doesn't come up, then simply search for it in the search bar.
[2] Norm L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, 2000, p. 27.
[3] Robert Jastrow, "A Scientist Caught," as noted in ibid, p. 26.
[4] ibid.
[5] Julian Huxley, Evolution in Action, as quoted in ibid., p. 718.
[6] http://www.reasonablefaith.org......; if the article doesn't come up, then simply search for it in the search bar.
[7] ibid. See the article for more evidence on fine-tuning.
[8] Craig, William Lane, On Guard, David C. Cook Publishing, 2010, pp. 114-115.
Debate Round No. 2
KingDebater

Pro

My main argument is that the Probability of Design has not been established, and therefore we're wrong to assert that it's highly probable that the universe resulted from design. Granted, you've given me probability for Chance and it does seem like a big number, but there still are an innumerable amount of numbers that could be higher than it and therefore making Design more unlikely, as numbers simply go on forever. Since numbers go on forever, I can safely say that it is more likely that it is more likely for the universe to have resulted from Chance.

That's why I think that the Teleological argument is flawed, it doesn't provide the probability for design, and therefore it is blindly asserting that it's highly probable that the universe resulted from design.

Also, Con has failed to prove that it is more likely for the universe to have resulted from chance.
'Design seems to be the more plausible explanation, when all factors of the state of our universe are taken into account.'

He's only said that it seems to be the more plausible explanation, but things are not always what they seem. When looked at simply, the Earth appears to be flat, but due to new evidence, we know that the earth is more of a spherical shape.

Not only does Con do this, but he makes an illogical conclusion.
'Conclusion -- Therefore, it is highly probable that it was due to design.'
This conclusion is an illogical one as he's said before that it SEEMS to be the more plausible, and he's failed to prove that it's either more probable or plausible. His conclusion should have been something more like this:
'Conclusion -- Therefore, it seems to me that it's highly probable that it was due to design'

Until Con provides the Probability of the Universe resulting from Design, I conclude that the Teleological argument is flawed. A flawed argument does not deserve to be used, and therefore the Teleological argument is flawed, and SHOULD never be used ever again.


KeytarHero

Con

Once again I thank Pro for the opportunity to debate this argument. He has offered no substantial rebuttal to my support for the Teleological Argument, so I extend all of my arguments. I will simply reply to a few of the points he made last round.

Pro's only response to the astronomical odds against chance occurring as "the numbers could be higher therefore Design is more likely, as numbers go on forever." This is irrelevant. It's not simply that the odds are low. If someone bets on a horse at a race track with 10 to 1 odds against, they can justify it by "with great risk comes great reward." These aren't simply low odds. The odds against evolution happening, and the fine-tuning of the universe being just right are so astronomical as to essentially be nil. It simply could not happen. Since it could not happen by chance or physical necessity, the only remaining alternate is that it happened by design.

Pro's next argument is that I said design "seems to be the more plausible explanation." But remember that according to the argument, we are speaking with high and low probability. We can't prove anything beyond the shadow of a doubt. The Teleological Argument argues that given the astronomically low possibility of chance or physical necessity, the only reasonable alternative is that the universe is the result of design.

So simply saying that "things are not always as they appear," while true, is not an argument against the Teleological Argument. Pro has provided no argument against the possibility of design.

The conclusion of the Teleological Argument is not illogical. The argument is logically valid. If the three possible explanations are chance, physical necessity, and design, if chance and physical necessity are off the table, then logically the only possibility is design. The conclusion logically follows from its premises.

Pro has failed to show that the Teleological Argument is flawed, and he has certainly failed to show that it should never be used again. Even if he did find a flaw with the argument, that doesn't prove that it should never be used again. It would only prove that the flaws should be located, fixed, and then the argument is good to go stronger than last time.

I thank Pro for his time in debating, and thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
"The fact that our universe exists in three dimensions."

Tip: Our universe does not exist in three dimensions.
Posted by KeytarHero 3 years ago
KeytarHero
What was your first clue? lol He's done that to me before in the past. I vote against him in a debate, so he finds one of my debates and votes against me.
Posted by KingDebater 3 years ago
KingDebater
I am starting to think that Qopel is a troll for some reason.
Posted by KeytarHero 3 years ago
KeytarHero
No, KingDebater. I showed that the odds against chance and physical necessity are astronomically stacked against the argument. The odds may as well be nil. It couldn't have happen. If it couldn't happen by chance or physical necessity, that leaves us with design.

Incidentally, this argument is part of a cumulative case for God's existence. This argument doesn't necessarily prove that God is the designer, but taken together with all the other arguments, this shows that the universe was designed, and the other arguments show that the designer was/is God.
Posted by KingDebater 3 years ago
KingDebater
You didn't show that it is not due to Chance. You haven't proven that Design is any more likely than Chance. Therefore, you're blindly asserting that Design is more likely
Posted by KeytarHero 3 years ago
KeytarHero
KingDebater, it doesn't blindly assert that. I responded to your claim in my argument. The first premise states that the fine-tuning of the universe is explained by either physical necessity, chance, or design.

Since I showed that it is not the result of physical necessity or chance, then it is the result of design.

It's an argument that infers to the best explanation.
Posted by KingDebater 3 years ago
KingDebater
I've said that the Teleological argument is flawed because it shows no probability of design, and therefore it BLINDLY ASSERTS that design is highly probably for the universe to have resulted from. I only put those words in capitals because it appears that you missed them in your rebuttal. Please respond.
Posted by KeytarHero 3 years ago
KeytarHero
Teleology is not intellectually bankrupt.

Philochristos, I'm not convinced that they're two different people. DDO has had problems with dual accounts in the past
Posted by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
Teleology as a concept is intellectually bankrupt. I'll enjoy watching someone try to defend it, however.
Posted by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
KeytarHero, KingDebater is not the same person as Jarhyn. If you read his profile, he says he just liked the way Jarhyn posed his resolutions.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 3 years ago
ModusTollens
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's point that the probability is not established is valid, and Con did not refute it.
Vote Placed by BennyW 3 years ago
BennyW
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Reasons for voting decision: Con successfully attacked pro's arguments. Con didn't prove how it was fundamentally flawed as to be dismissed altogether as he stated from the onset.
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
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Reasons for voting decision: Stop it qopel.
Vote Placed by qopel 3 years ago
qopel
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Reasons for voting decision: KVB
Vote Placed by Sojourner 3 years ago
Sojourner
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Reasons for voting decision: Con successfully defended the teleological argument by framing three possibilities for the existence of the universe and providing effective argumentation for the high improbability for two of the three possibilities leaving only design. I see no flaw here. Pro wants to see statistical probability for design alone and defends this by stating that the unlikely probability of chance "does seem like a big number, but there still are an innumerable amount of numbers that could be higher than it". Although I didn't fully appreciate this defense, I think he was arguing that there could be an equally high (or higher) improbability that the universe resulted by design. This fails (IMHO) because chance is dependent on probability where design is not. Conduct to Con for the flippant remark in the title, "and should NEVER BE USED EVER AGAIN". If the remark is made, it should be defended.
Vote Placed by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't do much to support his point of view in this debate. He seemed to think that as long as there were no good reasons to support the premises in the teleological argument he presented, that the argument is therefore fallacious. But that doesn't follow. It's only fallacious if one of the premises is false (which Pro never even attempted to show), or if the logic is invalid (which Pro never attempted to show). Con's defense of the first premise went unchallenged. Pro's answer to Con's defense of the second premise was weak, and I wasn't sure he really understood Con's argument. Con adequately responded to Pro's attempted refutation of the second premise. So Con won the debate.
Vote Placed by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
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Reasons for voting decision: Con argued well enough. Pro tried not to argue, and couldn't thereby meet his burden of proof, couldn't begin to show that the teleological argument should never be used again.