The Instigator
WaterTipper
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Petrichor
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

There is evidence for God

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/28/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 544 times Debate No: 51172
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
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WaterTipper

Con

Just curious, since so many people on DDO claim that there is.
Anyone can accept (I hope – I'm new to all this stuff o_O).


Boring info and clarifications:

In this argument, we will use the term "God" as meaning the deity of the Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – and all of their recognized branches and denominations.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines evidence as "the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid."
Presenting anecdotes or personal stories will not be considered valid evidence, as they are unverifiable, untestable, and lack a meaningfully large sample size to test for consistency.
Any scripture cited by itself as direct evidence will not be considered, as this results in the fallacy of circular reasoning (however, scripture used for other purposes, such as in historical context supporting another point, may be accepted).
Attempts to disprove scientific theories will not be valid as evidence for the Abrahamic God, as such assertions only disprove that theory and nothing else.

This will be more of an informal debate, and will be closer to a deliberation. No rigid structure or sequence of events (contention > cross ex > rebuttal > conclusion, etc.) will be required.

As Pro bears the burden of proof of presenting evidence for God and it is not the duty of Con to disprove God per se, I invite Con to go first.


Best of luck!
Petrichor

Pro

Thanks for the invite WaterTipper. I'll try to keep things informal.

Let's begin by noting that something may indicate God's existence without entailing God's existence. For example, if I were able to demonstrate that a perfectly good being exists, this fact would indicate that God exists (in so far as he'd be perfectly good), but it wouldn't entail his existence, as it would not have yet been shown that this perfectly good being is omnipotent, omniscient and so forth.

Bearing that in mind, allow me to identify a rather peculiar phenomenon and then explain why I believe it's indicative of God's existence.

The Datum

Philosophers of mind have long discussed something they call intentionality. Intentionality is the property mental states—such as beliefs, thoughts or desires—typically have of being about something. When we believe, we believe something. When we think, we think about something. Our mental states are usually aimed at or directed toward objects of belief, thought or desire.

But, our mental states aren't the only things that have this aim or direction: all causes are directed toward producing certain effects (or ranges thereof) rather than others prior to doing so. This is easiest seen in intentional agents (where 'agent' = 'causer'). E.g. The finished sandwhich is the effect that all my actions in the kitchen are aimed at producing. But, this is also true of agents in general, whether they're conscious, or were acting intentionally.

As Thomas Aquinas explained: "Were an agent not to act for a definite effect, all effects would be indifferent to it. Now that which is indifferent to many effects does not produce one rather than another [lest it, in fact, be different to one]. Therefore, from that which is indifferent to either of two effects, no effect results, unless it be determined by something to one of them. Hence it would be impossible for it to act. Therefore, every agent tends toward some definite effect, which is called its end." [1]

It's precisely because acorns are geard toward becoming oak trees that they tend to develop into oak trees, instead of apple trees or shitzus: it's not just some big coinkydink. The same thing goes for light photons, cells, galaxies and contintents: in so far as each causes a particular effect, it is geared toward that effect prior to producing it. Otherwise, it'd be completely inexplicable why a cause produces one effect instead of another (let alone on a regular basis!).

Interestingly, the Substance-Powers-Liability theory is a major theory of what the laws of nature are. It states that a law of nature is just the powers which a substance is liable to exercise under certain circumstances. E.g. Water has the power to boil, and is liable to do so when heated to 212 F. [2]

The Indication

But, how can these non-intelligent agents (like atoms, rain drops or solar flares) be directed toward effects that don't yet exist, as when heated water is directed toward boiling before it's boiling? Intelligent agents can of course think about, believe in or even desire things that don't exist. In my earlier sandwhich example, the uncompleted sandwhich was just an idea, or image in my mind before I worked my magic. But, non-intelligent agents don't have ideas or mental images. So...what exactly are they directed towards? It has to be something, or, they're not in fact disposed toward any effect and we're back in Wonderland. These effects have to be in some sense, even though they're not in reailty yet.

The problem is that there are really just two ways for something to exist: either in reality, or in a mind. Since the effects these non-intelligent agents are geared toward producing haven't been produced yet, they cannot exist in reality. That leaves only one option: they exist in someone's mind.

But, when you take our ridiculously vast universe as a whole, replete with its innumerably many non-intelligent agents, it's not only clear that all these uninstantiated ends exist in a mind outside of the universe, but that this mind must be of frightening power.

Does this prove that God exists? Definitely not. But, it does seem to indicate that he's out there.


Footnotes:

[1]: Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chap. 2.

[2]: "The S-P-L [Substance-Powers-Liability] account of laws of nature and of the explanation of particular events seems to me more satisfactory than the other accounts." - Swinburne, Richard. The Existence of God. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 2004. p. 34

Notorious atheist philosopher Keith Parsons recently said: "Along with Harré, Madden, Bhaskar, and Cartwright, I “…take the Laws of Nature to be about the powers, dispositions, or tendencies of natural systems to bring about observable phenomena (Harré, ‘Laws of Nature,’ A Companion to the Philosophy of Science, ed. by W.H. Newton-Smith, p. 218).”" - http://www.patheos.com...
Debate Round No. 1
WaterTipper

Con

"Let's begin by noting that something may indicate God's existence without entailing God's existence. For example, if I were able to demonstrate that a perfectly good being exists, this fact would indicate that God exists (in so far as he'd be perfectly good), but it wouldn't entail his existence, as it would not have yet been shown that this perfectly good being is omnipotent, omniscient and so forth."

Sorry, I'm not following you here.
Indicating that God exists does not necessary entail that he exists, because you haven't yet shown that he's omnipotent, omniscient, etc.?
Isn't the Abrahamic God supposed to be omnipotent (Revelation 19:6) and omniscient (Hebrews 4:13, Isaiah 46:9-10)?
If you cannot confirm these things, how do you know that the deity you have demonstrated to exist is the deity of Abrahamic religions?


"But, how can these non-intelligent agents (like atoms, rain drops or solar flares) be directed toward effects that don't yet exist, as when heated water is directed toward boiling before it's boiling?"

Water boils when its vapor pressure reaches its surrounding pressure.


"In my earlier sandwhich example, the uncompleted sandwhich was just an idea, or image in my mind before I worked my magic. But, non-intelligent agents don't have ideas or mental images. So...what exactly are they directed towards? It has to be something, or, they're not in fact disposed toward any effect and we're back in Wonderland. These effects have to be in some sense, even though they're not in reailty yet."

Your argument seems to be flawed in that you initially assume all things in the universe have a purpose, or as you've stated it, "gearing towards an effect." To make such a baseless claim and assume it as fact is fallacious. Please provide evidence for so before basing your argument on it.
Also, your argument seems to be that parallel to something like investigating "the meaning of life." That is up to an entirely different debate.


"The problem is that there are really just two ways for something to exist: either in reality, or in a mind. Since the effects these non-intelligent agents are geared toward producing haven't been produced yet, they cannot exist in reality. That leaves only one option: they exist in someone's mind."

Again, you are assuming things again and using it to carry you through arguments. Please provide evidence that objects can only exist in reality or the mind, no more, no less.
Your assumption is actually false in that the definition of existence is "the fact or state of living or having objective reality" (Oxford English Dictionary). Since "existing" in the mind is not grounded on objective reality by definition, it's not really existence at all, thus invalidating your entire point.



Sources:
New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 29 March, 2014.
Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Web. 29 March 2014.

Petrichor

Pro

"Isn't the Abrahamic God supposed to be omnipotent (Revelation 19:6) and omniscient (Hebrews 4:13, Isaiah 46:9-10)?
If you cannot confirm these things, how do you know that the deity you have demonstrated to exist is the deity of Abrahamic religions?"

Yes, the Abrahamic God is supposed to be omnipotent and omniscient, and if I cannot confirm these things, then I have not demonstrated the Abrahamic deity to exist.

But, who says I cannot confirm these things?

Evidence is incrimental, WaterTipper. It accumulates, gets stronger and weaker etc. If I were to give evidence of all of God's attributes, I'd be doing much, much more than just indicating that God exists: I'd be proving that God exists. Instead of giving a cumulative case for God's existence in which I argue there's something that is omnipotent and omniscient and morally perfect and...etc., I've chosen to just argue for one of God's attributes: supreme intelligence. This suffices to indicate that God exists.

This distinction might help:

"Let us call an argument in which the premisses make the conclusion probable a correct P-inductive argument. Let us call an argument in which the premisses add to the probability of the conclusion (that is, make the conclusion more likely or more probable than it would otherwise be) a correct C-inductive argument." [1]

I'm giving a correct C-inductive argument for God's existence, not a correct P-inductive argument. My evidence makes God's existence more probable than it would otherwise be, but it does not make God's existence probable.

"Your argument seems to be flawed in that you initially assume all things in the universe have a purpose, or as you've stated it, "gearing towards an effect." To make such a baseless claim and assume it as fact is fallacious. Please provide evidence for so before basing your argument on it."

I haven't assumed that causes are geared towards producing particular effects, I argued that they were. Check out my citation of Thomas Aquinas again wherein he argues that if causes weren't geared toward one effect instead of another, they wouldn't produce any effects at all.

"Also, your argument seems to be that parallel to something like investigating "the meaning of life." That is up to an entirely different debate."

I don't think my argument concerns the meaning of life, it just concerns how non-intelligent agents can be directed toward producing things that don't yet exist.

"Please provide evidence that objects can only exist in reality or the mind, no more, no less.
Your assumption is actually false in that the definition of existence is "the fact or state of living or having objective reality" (Oxford English Dictionary). Since "existing" in the mind is not grounded on objective reality by definition, it's not really existence at all, thus invalidating your entire point."

The sensations, images and ideas that exist in our minds are very much often grounded in mind-independent reality. E.g. The image of a tree in my mind is grounded by the tree I'm looking at, etc. Your suggestion implies radical skepticism of the external world.

As for whether objects can exist without existing in reality or in a mind, consider this:

1. Everything that exists is either mind-dependent or it is not. [Law of Excluded Middle]
2. If it is mind-dependent, then it exists either in a mind (e.g. an idea) or in reality (e.g. inventions of minds).
3. If it is not mind-dependent, that is if it is mind-independent, then it exists in reality (e.g. stars, mountains and countries).
4. Therefore, everything that exists either exists in a mind or in reality. [(1)-(3) Constructive Dilemma]


Footnotes:

[1]: Swinburne, Richard. The Existence of God. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 2004. p. 6
Debate Round No. 2
WaterTipper

Con

"Yes, the Abrahamic God is supposed to be omnipotent and omniscient, and if I cannot confirm these things, then I have not demonstrated the Abrahamic deity to exist.

But, who says I cannot confirm these things?

Evidence is incrimental, WaterTipper. It accumulates, gets stronger and weaker etc. If I were to give evidence of all of God's attributes, I'd be doing much, much more than just indicating that God exists: I'd be proving that God exists. Instead of giving a cumulative case for God's existence in which I argue there's something that is omnipotent andomniscient and morally perfect and...etc., I've chosen to just argue for one of God's attributes: supreme intelligence. This suffices to indicate that God exists. "

So... where's that evidence of supreme intelligence, then? :P
Because up until now, you've only alluded to the possibility that that evidence might exist.


"I haven't assumed that causes are geared towards producing particular effects, I argued that they were. Check out my citation of Thomas Aquinas again wherein he argues that if causes weren't geared toward one effect instead of another, they wouldn't produce any effects at all."

Ah, sorry about that. I seem to have misunderstood your words.


"The sensations, images and ideas that exist in our minds are very much often grounded in mind-independent reality. E.g. The image of a tree in my mind is grounded by the tree I'm looking at, etc. Your suggestion implies radical skepticism of the external world."

The sensations, images, and ideas that "exist" in the mind is perceptions encoded and stored using electricity and chemicals.
When you think of an image, that image doesn't actually exist as a tree inside your brain or in some "mind world." While the tree itself may exist, your image does not exist in the objective reality.
Petrichor

Pro

I've proposed as evidence of God's existence, the unrealized effects that non-intelligent agents are directed towards. Such unrealized effects can only exist in a mind, and when considered as a whole, only in a mind outside of the universe with frightening power. In so far as these unrealized effects show there is a supreme intelligence, they are evidence that God exists.

You could object to my argument either by contesting the existence of these unrealized effects, or by contesting that they're indicative of God's existence.

You don't seem to have taken either route. Instead, you insist in your final remarks that our sensations, images and ideas are stored in our brains, not in some "mind world." And maybe this is the case with embodied minds. But, the aforementioned unrealized effects are not encoded in anyone's brain, at least in their totality. So, given that they exist in some sense - lest non-intelligent agents *fail* to be geared towards producing any particular effects - they must be in someone's mind, as ideas, thoughts, images or some sort of mental item. Therefore, even conceding your highly controversial remark about the nature of mental states, my argument seems unaffected.

Thanks again for this exchange WaterTipper, it's a shame it was so short.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by WaterTipper 2 years ago
WaterTipper
My thanks go to Petrichor for accepting and participating in my debate.
Posted by WaterTipper 2 years ago
WaterTipper
@lightingbolt50
The conservative fundamentalists on DDO say otherwise, so I was curious what they had to say.
Posted by WaterTipper 2 years ago
WaterTipper
@demonlord343
Also, that's not even how probability works :P
According to your logic, every child in the world must have a 50:50 chance of being born with three arms, since it either has three arms or it doesn't have three arms.
Posted by lightingbolt50 2 years ago
lightingbolt50
There is no evidence for god, this is a pointless debate.
Posted by WaterTipper 2 years ago
WaterTipper
@demonlord343
However, I'm not arguing about the probability. I'm arguing about evidence.
Posted by demonlord343 2 years ago
demonlord343
Gods chances of existing are constant, and are always fifty-fifty. He either exists or he doesn't..
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