The Instigator
King_da
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

There is a God

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
TheSkeptic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,328 times Debate No: 10153
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (23)
Votes (3)

 

King_da

Pro

Affirm the resolution: "There is a God."

I will be arguing that there is a God; you will be arguing that there is no God. I will not be arguing any God in particular, though I believe in the Christian God.

This first round in just clarification, I will begin my points in round two. If you have anything else to add to the resolution, or any observations, you can state them on your half of the first round. But please don't start your arguments in the second round.

My basic definition of God is Someone who is all knowing, all powerful, Creator of the universe.
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for challenging me to this debate.

I accept your definition of God, which you take to refer to an entity that is omnipotent, omniscient, and the creator of the universe. You do not state whether or not this God is a personal one who interferes with the affairs of those in the universe, so at the least you can affirm a deistic God.

Furthermore, for your sake I should note that your burden is at the very least to show that your conception of God is likely to exist - it's a much harder to task to affirm the certainty of God's existence.

Following the rules ascribed by my opponent, I will say nothing more and await his first argument.
Debate Round No. 1
King_da

Pro

In this round, I will only prove that there is a moral law.

There is a moral law. We hear people saying things like, "That's not fair!" We expect other humans to follow a certain standard. So by criticizing those who do not follow a certain way, we are holding them accountable to something. Humans also tend to make excuses. The only reason for this would be to cover up some wrong doing.

The common objection would be, "Well, what about moral relativism?" Through looking at different cultures, we find that no matter when, where, or who the culture was, the same qualities were up held.

In Ancient Egypt, a righteous man once said: "I have not slain men." (1)

Babylonian believed in the words: "Slander not." (2)

Ancient Jews said, "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour." (3)

Ancient Egyptian would life out the phrase: "Love thy wife studiously. Gladden her heart all thy life long." (4)

Greeks would say, "Choose loss rather than shameful gains." (5)

A Hindu would say, "One should never strike a woman; not even with a flower." (6)

Ancient Chinese cherished the 'golden rule'. "Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you." (7)

These are just some examples showing that all cultures share values, no matter the time, place, or civilization. If you want more examples, let me know.

Some people will say, "The Moral Law is just herd instinct." Well, it isn't. Instinct is something that is automatic. Something that is not thought out. Instinct always chooses the easiest option. There is always a time in which we chose the harder option. Hear this example, there is a man in a burning house. As a spectator, I have two options. I can walk away, the easy way, or I can help him, the hard way. There must be a way in which we decide which option to chose; there must be a third factor in the decision. Morality is the thing that compels us to choose the harder, right option. Morality is the thing that compels us to choose the option that is not in our best interest.

Other people will say, "Well, isn't it just a social convention?" No. We find that we can compare cultures as "better" and "worse," which implies some kind of standard morality, some standard 'yardstick.' We find that we can compare the morality of one people as "better" or "worse" than another people, which also indicates a 'standard morality.' We find that we can compare laws over time (example: slavery, race laws) as "better" or "worse." Some people would bring up the Salem witch trials. But realize this, it is not that we think that killing witches is wrong. It is that we realized that witches don't exist. If we found out that there are witches, we would kill them.

Again, this round is just to show that there is a moral law. Next round, I will add onto it, and I will refute your arguments.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

(1) (Ancient Egyptian. From the Confession of Righteous Soul, 'Book of the Dead'. v. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics [= ERE], vol. v, p.478)

(2) (Babylonian. Hymn to Samas. ERE v. 445)

(3) (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:16)

(4) (Ancient Egyptian. ERE v. 481)

(5) (Greek. Chilon Fr. 10. Diels)

(6) (Hindu. Janet, i. 8)
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for his response. He makes an interesting for case that has yet to do anything with the existence of God - though supposedly his establishment of an objective morality will demonstrate that God exists (perhaps to say that only God's existence can account for morality). Other than that, I can't see much of an alternative though I'd be delighted to find one. Either way, I will simply refute the idea that an objective morality exists by showing we have no reason to believe moral facts exist.

Simply put, my opponent doesn't make any case for moral objectivism - he has given an argument against moral relativism but this isn't the position I am advocating. Instead, I will be arguing for a form of moral skepticism, moral nihilism/error theory. I will be taking inspiration from J.L. Mackie, probably the most prominent advocate of moral error theory - the arguments I will use come from his book Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong[1].

====================
Arguments against the existence of an objective moral law - Problem with motivational internalism
====================

To uphold moral objectivism, you would have to adhere to the thesis of motivational internalism (MI), which claims that "If an agent judges that it is right for her to Φ in circumstances C, then either she is motivated to Φ in C or she is practically irrational[2]." As you can see, there is a internal, necessary, and a priori connection between the moral obligation to do X and a defeasible motivation to do X. I realize that there are different versions of this thesis, some being more restrictive than their traditional counterparts, so I will offer some basic counterexamples that should cover most of them.

I will refer to some two counterexamples that work against the unrestricted version of MI. If my opponent wishes to uphold a restricted version, then he should do so and present and argument for it. Until then, if he fails to clarify then it should be assumed my arguments are succinct to defeat his position unless they are shown to be unsound/invalid.

The basic argument is to propose the notion of volitional impossibility, which can be manifested in certain cases. Take the following examples[3]:

A soldier believes that were he to flee the scene of the battle at this very moment, he almost certainly would be able to emerge from the conflict unharmed. But he finds it simply unthinkable that he abandon the other members of his platoon, even though there is considerable risk to his well-being as a result of remaining in the engagement.

A guard is ordered to take the family members of a political prisoner and execute them without attracting any attention in the process. The guard sincerely believes that he ought to carry out these orders in virtue of his allegiance to the state, and yet when it comes time to actually pull the trigger, he is overwhelmed by the innocence of the prisoner's children and the horrendous nature of the act he is about to perform. As a result, he comes to believe that he is incapable of carrying out the order.

These are examples in which agents realize an action A to be morally right and yet they are overwhelmingly averse to doing it; or in other words, they are not motivated. This is usually because of their psychological architecture, such as fear.

====================
Arguments against the existence of an objective moral law - Argument from queerness
====================

This argument can be summed up in this one pivotal line from Mackie: "If there were objective values, then they would be entities or qualities or relations of a very strange sort, utterly different from anything else in the universe[1]." What I am referring to is the argument from queerness, which is meant to demonstrate that we have no sufficient reason to believe in the existence of objective moral values. To be brief, I will supply some points as to why we should doubt moral objectivism:

Our ordinary moral discourse purports to refer to intrinsically prescriptive properties that somehow influence and motivate us to do actions irrespective of our desires - indeed, think of esoteric concepts such as obligations and here we have these, frankly, weird properties that are universal and yet prescriptive.

Furthermore, these moral properties seem to supervene upon the natural world which would beg for a mysterious metaphysical connection between the two - very similar to the mysterious connection between the mind and the body in a dualist framework. I ask of my opponent, what is the nature of a moral truth?

====================
Conclusion
====================

I have presented what I believe to be two major faults for moral realists; I would like to see my opponent show otherwise. Furthermore, I want to make a last observation that my opponent really hasn't shown any argument for moral realism except for an argument against moral relativism.

---References---
1. Mackie, J. L. Ethics Inventing Right and Wrong. New York: Penguin (Non-Classics), 1991. Print.
2. http://plato.stanford.edu...
3. http://www.wfu.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
King_da

Pro

King_da forfeited this round.
TheSkeptic

Con

Extend my arguments to this round.
Debate Round No. 3
King_da

Pro

King_da forfeited this round.
TheSkeptic

Con

Extend my arguments to this round.
Debate Round No. 4
King_da

Pro

King_da forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by daniel_t 4 years ago
daniel_t
Maybe when King_da has more time, he can try again.
Posted by daniel_t 4 years ago
daniel_t
Conduct: Con.

Pro forfeited too many rounds, and the rounds he did submit had nothing to do with the resolution.

Arguments: Con.

Pro only made one argument to show that there is at least one moral law. He then proceeded to show that there are many moral laws which are similar in some respects. None of his argument went towards the resolution though.
Posted by King_da 4 years ago
King_da
sorry about forfeiting so many rounds...
Posted by TheSkeptic 5 years ago
TheSkeptic
Yes, there is a branch called moral skepticism in which moral knowledge is denied - this is the less popular choice of the three but I find it more convincing. And if you can't find Mackie, which is shame since you should (try buying his books on Amazon - he's also a great critic of religion), try others such as Richard Joyce.
Posted by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
"If we found out that there are witches, we would kill them."

+1
Posted by daniel_t 5 years ago
daniel_t
TheSkeptic,

Interesting argument. I have always thought of the absolute vs relative morality question as a dichotomy, but you seem to be presenting a third choice. Have I understood your argument correctly?

I can't get Mackie's book through my library system. Can you suggest other books on the subject?
Posted by daniel_t 5 years ago
daniel_t
By the way King_da, I fully accept that there is an absolute morality, but that says nothing about the existence of God.
Posted by daniel_t 5 years ago
daniel_t
"What is his anatomy in a general sense? Does he look like a cat, a human, Casper the ghost, what the hell is this 'God?'"

The Bible tells us that God has hands (Ex 15:12), arms (Deut 11:2), fingers (Ps 8:3) and a face (Deut 13:17). He does not like people seeing his face but he doesn t mind if they see his back. (Ex 33:23).

However, although God seems to have a human body he does at the same time look not unlike the demons and fierce guardians one often sees in Indian and Chinese temples. For example, he has flames coming out of his body. (Ps 97:3) (Ps 50:3) (Num11:1)

More can be found at http://www.vgweb.org... if you believe the Bible that is...
Posted by Rob1Billion 5 years ago
Rob1Billion
NAGS -

"Pro is making an absolute statement. Good luck."
"King, you should change the resolution to "There is probably a God" to make it easier for you."

In my debate with king_Da, formerly known as Da_king due to an as yet still unexplained sudden ban from DDO, he was able to successfully defend an absolute statement much like this. He was so good, he didn't even have to use sources, good grammar, good conduct, or even good arguments to do it! King, I keep forgetting... Why was it you were deleted again?
Posted by King_da 5 years ago
King_da
He could potentially sin. But He is not a sinner because He never actually sinned. Jesus is a rather interesting Being to say the least. He could not create temptations within Himself, but He could commit to sins presented to Him.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by zdesotelle 4 years ago
zdesotelle
King_daTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by daniel_t 4 years ago
daniel_t
King_daTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 4 years ago
TheSkeptic
King_daTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07