The Instigator
kohai
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Contradiction
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

There is no God

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Post Voting Period
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after 5 votes the winner is...
Contradiction
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/14/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,643 times Debate No: 16519
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (33)
Votes (5)

 

kohai

Pro

Good luck to my opponent. Arguments begin in the next round.
Contradiction

Con

I accept my opponent's challenge and eagerly await his opening argument. Before I turn it over to my opponent for his opening argument, let me first define what I am arguing for.

By "God," I am referring to a being which has the greatest array of compossible great-making properties. In other words, I am arguing for the existence of a maximally great being. Such a being is traditionally thought to have properties such as omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and incorporeality. Thus, I will not be arguing for the truth of any particular religion, only a generic conception of deity.

I now turn it over to my opponent. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
kohai

Pro

I thank my opponent for allowing me to this debate. I shall give my own definition of God.

God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions (and other belief systems) who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism
(from wikipedia.org/wiki/God)

God is most often conceived of as the supernatural creator and overseer of the universe. Theologians have ascribed a variety of attributes to the many different conceptions of God. The most common among these include omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence(unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere),omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence.

God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), apersonal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim
Remember. This debate is the God of the Bible and is referring to the Christian God. (also from wikipedia)

Argument 1: Refuting the nature of God

God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and is all-good. Let me break down this nature of God that is shown in almost all religions.

1. If God knows all things, he knows the future;
2. If God knows the future, he is powerless to change it;
3. God is powerless to change the future, therefore, he is not all-knowing

Let me break is down. If God knows the future, he can't change it. If you know that tomorrow a killer is going to go in the scools and shoot everyone, can you really stop it? Not really.

1. If God does not know the future, he does not know all things;
2. Therefore, he is NOT all-knowing.

Self-explanitory.

God is also just according to the Bible. Let me break this down.

Why does God need a sacrifice to forgive sins? Well, God is just and cannot let sin go unpunnished.

Fair enough. But, let's say that there is a murderer-rapist before a judge who has confessed his crime and admitted his guilt. He is guilty and worthy of the punnishment. The judge sentences him and he pays for the crime. Is this just? Yes.

Scenario 2: The judge says he is not guilty even though he admitted gult. Is that just? No.

Scenario 3: The judge says "I'll give you a second chance, I'll let my only son pay for the crime." (The son is willing and obedient.) Is this just? No. The murderer-rapist has to pay for his own crime.

What does that have to do with this argument? Well, if God is just, we have to pay for our sins. There can't be any attonment made for our sins. Therefore, God is not just.

That breaks down his nature.

Argument 2: Perfecton's imperfect revelation

God, by characteristic given by the theologians, God is perfect and cannot make any mistakes. Why then are there contradictions in every holy book (yes, including the Bible)? Therefore, the God of mainstream religion is not perfect. Then what makes him different from man?

Final questions

1. Is God eternal (The answer becomes important later)
2. Where did God come from (again the answer becomes important later)

Good luck to my opponent. That's all for this round.
Contradiction

Con

In my opening argument, I will be presenting both arguments for the existence of God and responses to the arguments delivered by my opponent. Let me first start, however, with a word about the definition of God.

As I previously stated, I will not be arguing for the truth of a particular religion. Rather, I am arguing for the existence of a maximally great being with great-making properties such as omniscience and omnipotence. Though this conception of God, known as Anselmian perfect being theology, has been supported by Christian, Jewish, and Islamic theologians, their mere support does not make this about any particular religious tradition. As such, this debate is not about the Christian God, but a generic conception of God that is shared by these three religions. The debate is therefore not over the realm of special revelation (Truths about God known only through revealed texts), but general revelation (Truths about God that can be known through reason alone). Accordingly, I will not respond to Pro's concerns about the Biblical conception of God, such as his argument against penal substitution.

With this clarification in mind, let me outline two arguments for the existence of God.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

1.
Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

The first premise is relatively uncontroversial, and is rooted in the metaphysical principle that out of nothing, nothing comes. If the causal premise were false, then it is quite odd as to why we don’t observe things coming into existence uncaused and out of nothing in our everyday experience. William Lane Craig observes:

"To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic. Nobody sincerely believes that things, say, a horse or an Eskimo village, can just pop into being without a cause. But if we make the universe an exception to (1), we have got to think that whole universe just appeared at some point in the past for no reason whatsoever." [1]

The second premise of the kalam cosmological argument is supported by both philosophical and scientific arguments. Philosophically, the past cannot be of an actually infinite duration because one yields contradictory answers when applying operations of transfinite arithmetic to them. A prime example of this can be found in the Hilbert's Hotel thought experience.

In modern cosmology, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence for the beginning of the universe. Scientific support for the second premise comes from big bang cosmology, the prevailing view in modern cosmology. Factors such as redshift, the cosmic background radiation, and the second law of thermodynamics all are pointers for an absolute beginning of the universe.

But why think the cause is God? It must be noted that since there is nothing prior to the cause of the universe, it cannot be explained scientifically, as this would imply the existence of antecedent determining conditions. Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused. Moreover, the cause must transcend space both matter and time to create both matter and time. It must also be changeless, since there was no time prior to the creation of the universe. Interestingly enough, this also lends credibility to the notion that the cause was personal, for how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect? It seems that the only way this could be possible is if the cause was a free agent who has the ability to effect a change; for if the cause of the universe was impersonal, then it would not have created. We are therefore warranted in concluding that God exists.

The Moral Argument

1.
If objective moral values exist, then God exists
2. Objective moral values exist
3. Therefore, God exists

By "objective," I refer to the state of being true regardless of human opinion. For example, to say that X (Say, torturing babies for fun) is wrong is to say that "it is wrong for anyone to do X, that X is universally undesirable, that it is wrong to do X even if a person finds pleasure in doing it, and that everyone ought to refrain from doing X." [2]

According to the first premise, if there are objective moral facts, then these moral facts have their foundation in the nature of God. This is because morality is prescriptive and is expressed to us in the form of statements such as “Do not lie” and “Do not murder." These statements carry with them a degree of incumbency – that is to say, they communicate commands to us. Both commands and communication, however, can only originate from an intelligent mind. This mind must additionally be a competent authority in order for its commands to be binding on us. Therefore, moral facts require the existence of a supreme legislator who issues these commands to us.

But why should we think that morality is objective? Well, the objectivity of morality accords with pre-existing beliefs regarding morality. Beliefs such as "It's wrong to beat your wife," "Child sex-slavery is immoral," and "Treat others fairly" all seem to express true moral facts. Why should we accept moral relativism when it leads to conclusions that are counterintuitive? The objectivity of morality also accounts for moral judgements through which we condemn others as blameworthy or praiseworthy. Finally, objective morality accounts accounts for the apparent moral progress we observe throughout history. This is because for the latter two, objective morality provides a standard through which we can measure progress and make judgements.

Can God Change the Future?

Pro's syllogism faces a variety of problems. First, it's logically invalid, such that even if I grant the premises, the conclusion does not follow. Argument validity has to do with the way an argument is structured, whereas argument soundness has to do with the truth of the premises. If an argument does not satisfy the validity criteria, then it cannot be sound. Pro's argument is structured as follows:

1. P -> Q
2. Q -> S
3. S
.: ~P

Which is invalid.

But let's be charitable to Pro, for his point seems to be clear enough. I take it that Pro is arguing that: If God knows the future, then he cannot change it. This is suppose to imply that he is not omniscience. Unfortunately, this conclusion doesn't follow through any process of logic. How does God's inability to change the future imply that he is not omniscient? It may imply that he is not omnipotent, but the conclusion that he is not omniscient simply does not follow. But let's again be charitable and assume that Pro is talking about omniscience.

Can God change the future? No, for this is self-contradictory. Is this a limitation on divine power? No, for this simply is a perfection expressed in the negative. When you are perfect, you are unable to be unperfect -- but that isn't a liability, it is the perfection simply expressed in a negative form. For God to change the future would be for him to recognize that his perfect plan for humanity was somehow imperfect. But since God is by definition perfect, he cannot change the future. Moreover, the very idea of changing the future is self-contradictory, for it involves making not happen what will happen. Pro's argument therefore fails.

Final Questions from Pro

In response to the two questions Pro asked me:

1. Yes, for reasons that I elaborate below.
2. By definition, God is uncaused. Since he is a maximally great being, he does not owe his existence to any higher being, for there is nothing higher to which his existence could be dependent on. Therefore, it is impossible for God to have been brought into being.

I now turn it over to my opponent for his rebuttal.


______

Sources

1. William Lane Craig and James Sinclair, "The Kalam Cosmological Argument" in Craig and Moreland (eds), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Blackwell 2009) 182
2. Hadley Arkes, First Things (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1986) p.24

Debate Round No. 2
kohai

Pro


I again thank my opponent for this opportunity to debate. I would also like to thank him for replying to me in a timely manner. You have presented fairly good arguments--but those that can be refuted.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

The first premise is relatively uncontroversial, and is rooted in the metaphysical principle that out of nothing, nothing comes. If the causal premise were false, then it is quite odd as to why we don’t observe things coming into existence uncaused and out of nothing in our everyday experience. William Lane Craig observes:

"To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic. Nobody sincerely believes that things, say, a horse or an Eskimo village, can just pop into being without a cause. But if we make the universe an exception to, we have got to think that whole universe just appeared at some point in the past for no reason whatsoever."

I am not denying that the universe has a cause. My question is what make you think that the only possible explanation for the begining of the universe is God? In fact, there is scientific evidence supporting the big bang.



Let me re-phrase that argument and show how, in reality, it is self refuting.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. God began to exist
3. Therefore, God has a cause. (More on this later)

The Moral Argument

1. If objective moral values exist, then God exists
2. Objective moral values exist
3. Therefore, God exists

Do objective morals have to exist if God exists? I'll be looking at a few arguments used in Richard Dawkin's book The God delusion on this matter.

Richard Dawkin, The God delusion "If our moral sense, like our sexual desire, is indeed rooted deep in our Darwinian past, predating religion, we should expect that research on the human mind would reveal some moral universals, crossing geographical and cultrual barriers, and also, crucially, religious barriers. The Harvard biologist Marc Hauser, in his book
Moral Minds: How Nature Designed our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong, has enlarged upon a fruitful line of thought experiments originally suggested by moral philosophers. Hauser's study will serve the additional purpose of introducing the way moral philosophers think. A hypothetical moral dilemma is posed, and the difficulty we experienced in answering it tells us something about our sense of right and wrong."

As we see, our sense of right and wrong has developed over time. In fact, other cultures in the past have laws that we would think are barbaric. We can clearly see our evolution in the right and wrong phase. This argument fails.

How does God's inability to change the future imply that he is not omniscient? It may imply that he is not omnipotent, but the conclusion that he is not omniscient simply does not follow. But let's again be charitable and assume that Pro is talking about omniscience.

Omniscience: The capability to know everything


If God doesn't know everything that can be known, what makes God different from man? It doesn't. So, back to the argument, if God knows for a fact that man is going to sin and fail, then can he possibly change that? No. Therefore, he cannot be all-powerful.

If God does not know everything, he is not omnisience.

Final Questions from Pro

In response to the two questions Pro asked me:

1. Yes, for reasons that I elaborate below.
2. By definition, God is uncaused. Since he is a maximally great being, he does not owe his existence to any higher being, for there is nothing higher to which his existence could be dependent on. Therefore, it is impossible for God to have been brought into being.

Okay, remember the argument that I made earlier that said that that information would be needed later? Well, here it is now.


1. You said that God is eternal. Well, if he is eternal, then he does NOT exist.
A. An actual infinity is impossible
B. An actual Infinity commits the fallacy of the floating abstraction, which makes it illegitimate.


By definition, God is uncaused. Since he is a maximally great being, he does not owe his existence to any higher being, for there is nothing higher to which his existence could be dependent on. Therefore, it is impossible for God to have been brought into being.

Kind of goes hand in hand from what I was saying. I'll touch on that more in the next round.

Final statements from this round
1) If God exist, why is there evil? There is that problem because if God is all-good, how can he allow suffering and evil?


That is all I have time and space for in this round. More will be touched on in the next round.
Contradiction

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for the timely reply, it certainly makes the debate more engaging.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Recall that I argued the following:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

Pro, interestingly enough, accepts all three premises! He writes, "I am not denying that the universe has a cause." However, he questions the move from a cause to the existence of God. But recall that in my opening argument, I outlined an argument as to why this cause must have the attributes commonly associated with God. As Pro has not yet addressed this argument, let me reproduce it:

But why think the cause is God? It must be noted that since there is nothing prior to the cause of the universe, it cannot be explained scientifically, as this would imply the existence of antecedent determining conditions. Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused. Moreover, the cause must transcend space both matter and time to create both matter and time. It must also be changeless, since there was no time prior to the creation of the universe. Interestingly enough, this also lends credibility to the notion that the cause was personal, for how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect? It seems that the only way this could be possible is if the cause was a free agent who has the ability to effect a change; for if the cause of the universe was impersonal, then it would not have created. We are therefore warranted in concluding that God exists.

Pro also mounts a second criticism of the KCA, namely that it is "self-refuting." He argues:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. God began to exist
3. Therefore, God has a cause.

First, we have to note that even if we grant the premises, the KCA is not self-refuting. Self-refutation occurs when an argument is self-referentially incoherent -- that is, it contradicts itself. Even granting these premises, all that follows is that God has a cause, not the falsity of the KCA.

Second, premise (2) is false. It is impossible for God to begin to exist. Recall my earlier statement: By definition, God is uncaused. Since he is a maximally great being, he does not owe his existence to any higher being, for there is nothing higher to which his existence could be dependent on. Therefore, it is impossible for God to have been brought into being. As we can see, the very concept of God analytically precludes his beginning to exist.

The Moral Argument

In responding to the moral argument, Pro argues that morality is a result of our evolutionary development. Unfortunately, this has several problems:

1. It commits the genetic fallacy
-Suppose I grant my opponent's point that our moral sense is rooted in our evolutionary history. What follows from this? Nothing much it seems. Simply because our moral sense may have been bestowed upon us by evolution does not mean that there are no objective moral values. This is a prime example of the genetic fallacy, which is the fallacious attempt to discredit a position by pointing to its origins.

In fact, if we take Pro's argument to its logical conclusions, then we can discount everything that can be shown to have an evolutionary origin -- including our own knowledge of rationality and basic truths of logic and mathematics!

2. Differing cultural views on morality does not imply anti-realism
-Pro argues that other cultures have moral views that are at odds with ours, with the implicit inference that therefore morality is not objective. The conclusion, however, simply doesn't follow. Disagreement on an issue does not mean that said issue is itself disagreement. After all, we may disagree on scientific issues, but that doesn't mean that science is relative.

3. It leads to wildly counterintuitive results
-Moral relativism leads to wildy counterintuitive results. Beliefs such as "It's wrong to beat your wife," "Child sex-slavery is immoral," and "Treat others fairly" all seem to express true moral facts. Why should we accept moral relativism when it leads to conclusions that are counterintuitive? As Tim Keller puts it, “"If a premise ('There is no God') leads to a conclusion you know isn't true ('Napalming babies is culturally relative'), then why not change the premise?" [1]

Pro's Arguments Against God

In regards to Pro's argument based on the incompability of omniscience and omnipotence, he doesn't seem to have responded to my prior criticism. Let me therefore repeat it:

Can God change the future? No, for this is self-contradictory. Is this a limitation on divine power? No, for this simply is a perfection expressed in the negative. When you are perfect, you are unable to be unperfect -- but that isn't a liability, it is the perfection simply expressed in a negative form. For God to change the future would be for him to recognize that his perfect plan for humanity was somehow imperfect. But since God is by definition perfect, he cannot change the future. Moreover, the very idea of changing the future is self-contradictory, for it involves making not happen what will happen. Pro's argument therefore fails.

Pro also mounts an argument against the eternality of God by arguing that the existence of an actually infinite set is impossible. This argument faces two difficulties. First, it is not true that God has existed for an infinite amount of time. Time itself is finite, since it began to exist at the moment of the big bang. Causally prior to that moment, God existed, but not in time. Secondly, Pro confuses a qualitative infinity with a quantitative infinity. When it is said that God is infinite, we do not mean that God literally has an actually infinite number of parts. Rather, the term is an umbrella term for the intrinsic maxima of God's unsurpassable attributes. An actual infinity is to be understood quantatitively as a set containing a denumerable subset, whereas God's infinity is to be understood qualitatively as an umbrella term for his superlative attributes.

The Problem of Evil (And a third theistic argument!)

As a final argument, Pro invokes the problem of evil as an argument against the existence of God. This argument could take up a debate in itself, but let me make some preliminary observations.

Evil itself counts as evidence for the existence of God. To see this, we have to reflect on the nature of evil. What exactly is evil? Well, evil is a departure from the way that things ought to be – it is a lack of the good. But this assumes that there is a way that things ought to be. It assumes that there is a moral lawgiver. As C. S. Lewis put it:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I com­paring this universe with when I called it unjust? [1]

In essence, there is only a problem of evil if God exists. Writes Eric Mascall:

The problem of evil is one which religion creates for itself, it is not one which it finds waiting solution. If there is no God, there is no problem. And while the atheist may with reason urge against the theist that it has a problem of evil which it can't resolve, the atheist has no business feeling resentment about evil. An actual fact, however, is that very many atheists appear to labor under a general sense of resentment for the existence of evil, although by their own hypothesis there is no one there to resent. [2]

So ironically the existence of evil itself is evidence for the existence of God! We might not know the exact reasons why God may permit evil, but we can be rest assured that it is compatible with -- indeed, it even entails -- his existence.

________

Souces

1. Timothy J. Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York, NY: Dutton. 2008) p.156
2. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (HarperCollins: 2001ed) 38
3. JP Moreland, in his debate with Clancy Martin
Debate Round No. 3
kohai

Pro

I thank my opponent for replying in a timely manner and for this opportunity to debate. I would like to appologize for the long wait inbetween rounds and not touching on everything I needed/wanted to in the previous round.

Pro, interestingly enough, accepts all three premises! He writes, "I am not denying that the universe has a cause." However, he questions the move from a cause to the existence of God. But recall that in my opening argument, I outlined an argument as to why this cause must have the attributes commonly associated with God. As Pro has not yet addressed this argument, let me reproduce it:

But why think the cause is God? It must be noted that since there is nothing prior to the cause of the universe, it cannot be explained scientifically, as this would imply the existence of antecedent determining conditions. Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused. Moreover, the cause must transcend space both matter and time to create both matter and time. It must also be changeless, since there was no time prior to the creation of the universe. Interestingly enough, this also lends credibility to the notion that the cause was personal, for how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect? It seems that the only way this could be possible is if the cause was a free agent who has the ability to effect a change; for if the cause of the universe was impersonal, then it would not have created. We are therefore warranted in concluding that God exists.

I agree to part of that cause because there is some science handing it back. However, I must state that the Cosmological argument is weak. This is what I wanted to touch on and didn't get to.

You can find a whole article about it here http://www.infidels.org... I am not going to copy and pace the entire article, it would be a waste of time and space.

Second, premise (2) is false. It is impossible for God to begin to exist. Recall my earlier statement: By definition, God is uncaused. Since he is a maximally great being, he does not owe his existence to any higher being, for there is nothing higher to which his existence could be dependent on. Therefore, it is impossible for God to have been brought into being. As we can see, the very concept of God analytically precludes his beginning to exist.

More on this later...

1. It commits the genetic fallacy
-Suppose I grant my opponent's point that our moral sense is rooted in our evolutionary history. What follows from this? Nothing much it seems. Simply because our moral sense may have been bestowed upon us by evolution does not mean that there are no objective moral values. This is a prime example of the genetic fallacy, which is the fallacious attempt to discredit a position by pointing to its origins.

I do not get your question, "What follows from this?" We can clearly see, if we read history, how our morals and our sense of right and wrong has changed.

In fact, if we take Pro's argument to its logical conclusions, then we can discount everything that can be shown to have an evolutionary origin -- including our own knowledge of rationality and basic truths of logic and mathematics!

Huh? I'm not quite understanding this. (I'm not avoiding the question, I just don't get it?)

2. Differing cultural views on morality does not imply anti-realism
-Pro argues that other cultures have moral views that are at odds with ours, with the implicit inference that therefore morality is not objective. The conclusion, however, simply doesn't follow. Disagreement on an issue does not mean that said issue is itself disagreement. After all, we may disagree on scientific issues, but that doesn't mean that science is relative.

I am not disagreeing with your statement. If God was the source of our right and wrong sense, then why doesn't everyone follow the same laws? Shouldn't our sense of right and wrong be the same throught the entire world? That is the point I am trying to get across.

3. It leads to wildly counterintuitive results
-Moral relativism leads to wildy counterintuitive results. Beliefs such as "It's wrong to beat your wife," "Child sex-slavery is immoral," and "Treat others fairly" all seem to express true moral facts. Why should we accept moral relativism when it leads to conclusions that are counterintuitive? As Tim Keller puts it, “"If a premise ('There is no God') leads to a conclusion you know isn't true ('Napalming babies is culturally relative'), then why not change the premise?" [1]

Again, I don't quite get this. If I understand this correctly, the rebuttal is in point 2.

More issue with the moral argument!

Let me re-touch as to what the moral argument is. The argument states the following:
1. If there are objective moral values then God exists.
2. There are objective moral values.
3. Therefore, God exists.

The major problem with this arguemnt isn't the question if objective moral values exist, the problem is the simple fact that the first ground is groundless. In actuality, there appears to be NO WAY that God could possibly have grounded our moral "truths"

Only if we can PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt that there is ground on the first premises, then that argument has a very strong stand. Unfortunatly, there is none.

http://www.infidels.org... here. I'm obviously just touched on part of the article.
http://www.infidels.org... more on the divine command theory

Final questions for you

This was not touched as much as I would have liked to. In this round, I will show you the point in asking you those questions.

1. An actual Infinity is impossible. (You have not showed me that my argument there was wrong.)

http://commonsenseatheism.com...

Why is an actual infinity impossible?
-Because an actual Infinity violates the Law
of Identity. Existence is by nature, limitation. To exist,
is to be something specific. An Infinity is unlimited, which means, it's nothing in particular. Something that is nothing in particular, has no identity. Therefore, it doesn't exist.

This was the purpose of asking you those questions. I hope you take time to review my response.

Good luck to you.
Contradiction

Con

Many of Pro's responses touch little my arguments. Instead he refers me to linked articles from the Internet Infidels. As a response to the cosmological argument, he links me to Dan Barker's article, "Cosmological Kalamity." As a line of respond, I will do the same. Due to the fact that it would be a waste of space for me to respond to the entire article, I will simply follow what Pro has done and link to two responses by William Lane Craig and Shandon Guthrie, two professional philosophers who are much more qualified than Barker. [1]

Some Clarifications for Pro

Pro requests clarification on several issues related to my arguments. I'll be glad to clear them up.

1. The genetic fallacy

Pro argues that "our morals and sense of right and wrong has changed" from the fact that differing cultures seem to have different viewpoints of what is considered moral. My response to this was to simply point out tha this doesn't follow. Two cultures may as a matter of fact have different views on what is moral, but this in no way allows one to conclude that therefore morality itself is relative. It confuses the order of knowing with the order of being. After all, simply because two people or cultures may have a different idea on some issue, doesn't mean that said issue is therefore relative.

My second argument under this heading refers to the fact that if we take Pro's arguments to its logical conclusions, we end up discounting our knowledge of anything and everything. For what is Pro arguing? He is arguing that since our moral sense is a byproduct of our evolutionary history, it shouldn't be regarded as something that's actually real. Yet this argument can be applied equally to other nonmoral sources of knowledge, such as our knowledge of math and science. This ends up in a global skepticism.

2. Differing cultural views on morality does not imply anti-realism

Now Pro asks, "If God was the source of our right and wrong sense, then why doesn't everyone follow the same laws?"

The answer is simple, objectivity does not require that everyone know that something is objective. It once again confuses being with knowing. As Frank Beckwith and Gregory Koukl write: "The fact that objective [moral] truth exists does not mean that people's subjective perceptions, prejudices, biases, or faulty theories do not get in the way of it." [2]

3. Relativism leads to wildly counterintuitive results

My final argument is relatively simple. Basically, since relativism leads to conclusions that are wildly counterintuitive, it's best to treat it with an air of skepticism. On relativism, propositions such as "It is wrong to torture babies for fun" and "Tolerance is a virture" are neither true or false. So why should we accept moral relativism when it leads to absurd consequences?

Hopefully Pro will now understand my points better in light of these clarifications. I will now turn to Pro's counterarguments.

Counterarguments to the Moral Argument

Pro argues that the first premise of the moral argument is without warrant. However, he does not respond to my arguments for the truth of the first premise. Let me therefore repeat it.

According to the first premise, if there are objective moral facts, then these moral facts have their foundation in the nature of God. This is because morality is prescriptive and is expressed to us in the form of statements such as “Do not lie” and “Do not murder." These statements carry with them a degree of incumbency – that is to say, they communicate commands to us. Both commands and communication, however, can only originate from an intelligent mind. This mind must additionally be a competent authority in order for its commands to be binding on us. Therefore, moral facts require the existence of a supreme legislator who issues these commands to us.

He then links to two criticisms of divine command theory. Obviously, a response to those articles are beyond the scope of this round. However, let me recommend to interested readers Dave Baggett and Jerry Walls' book Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality (Oxford University Press: 2011) as a rigorous defense of divine command ethics.

Final Questions from Pro

Ironically, I agree with Pro that the existence of actual infinities are impossible. I even started in my opening argument that actually infintie sets cannot exist because "one yields contradictory answers when applying operations of transfinite arithmetic to them. A prime example of this can be found in the Hilbert's Hotel thought experiment." As such, I'm not sure what Pro's point is here. He did not respond to my prior counterarguments regarding the infinity of God.

___________

1. http://www.reasonablefaith.org...;
2. Gregory Koukl and Francis J. Beckwith, Relativism (Baker: 1998) 80
Debate Round No. 4
kohai

Pro

I again thank my opponent for this debate and for his great conduct throught the debate. You, contradiction, are a worthy opponent--one that I am glad to call a friend, and one that I would love to debate time and time again.
I ask that because this is the last round that no new arguments are made. I will do the same. This round is JUST for rebuttals.

In this round, I will start off with the very last things that you have said.

Ironically, I agree with Pro that the existence of actual infinities are impossible. I even started in my opening argument that actually infintie sets cannot exist because "one yields contradictory answers when applying operations of transfinite arithmetic to them. A prime example of this can be found in the Hilbert's Hotel thought experiment." As such, I'm not sure what Pro's point is here. He did not respond to my prior counterarguments regarding the infinity of God.

The existence of an actual infinites are impossible. You have admitted that. You agree that "One yields contradictory answers when applying the operations of transfinite arithmetic to them"

However, you say, I'm not sure what Pro's point is here. He did not respond to my prior counterarguments regarding the infinity of God. The problem is, this is my argument. Let me make this clear

1. Infinities cannot exist
2. God is infinite
3. Therefore, God cannont exist

God cannot exist because he is infinite. As you have stated, "An actual infinite yields contradictory answers when applying the operations of transfinite arithmetic to them." Let us look at a couple rebuttals

Rebuttal 1: God exists outside the universe

Why this fails: The universe, by definition, is EVERYTHING! So, God cannot exist outside the universe, because there IS NO OUTSIDE THE UNIVERSE! (Emphasis added)

Rebuttal 2: God is not infinite

Why this fails: Well, if God is not infinite, then what makes him God? Someone had to create him. This contradicts the other cosmological argument that I will touch up on later in this debate.

Pro argues that "our morals and sense of right and wrong has changed" from the fact that differing cultures seem to have different viewpoints of what is considered moral. My response to this was to simply point out tha this doesn't follow. Two cultures may as a matter of fact have different views on what is moral, but this in no way allows one to conclude that therefore morality itself is relative. It confuses the order of knowing with the order of being. After all, simply because two people or cultures may have a different idea on some issue, doesn't mean that said issue is therefore relative.

I agree that it may confuse the order of knowing with the order of being,but why does God have to be the author of morality? Let us look at the objective moral argument one more time.

1. If there are objective moral values then God exists.
2. There are objective moral values.
3. Therefore, God exists.

There is no ground for the very first point in that argument! Why do objective morals HAVE to exist if God exists? Couldn't we have gotten the objective morals somewhere else? If you can prove that objective morals exist and that objective morals have to exist with God, then that argument stands ground--very strong ground; however, you have failed to provide evidence that the very first point is true. Enough said.

The answer is simple, objectivity does not require that everyone know that something is objective. It once again confuses being with knowing. As Frank Beckwith and Gregory Koukl write: "The fact that objective [moral] truth exists does not mean that people's subjective perceptions, prejudices, biases, or faulty theories do not get in the way of it."

I can agree with the fact that objective morals does not require that everyone knows that something is objective. I will allow you to this argument as it is strong and to the point.


My final argument is relatively simple. Basically, since relativism leads to conclusions that are wildly counterintuitive, it's best to treat it with an air of skepticism. On relativism, propositions such as "It is wrong to torture babies for fun" and "Tolerance is a virture" are neither true or false. So why should we accept moral relativism when it leads to absurd consequences?

The fact is that we all know that torturing babies for any reason is wrong. This is more of a straw-man argument.

Why should we accept moral relativism when it leads to absurd consequences?

The fact is that society expects you to act a certain way and to behave a certain way. If the only reason that we should follow morals or the laws in different texts is to please a God or to gain his favour, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons.


Hopefully Pro will now understand my points better in light of these clarifications. I will now turn to Pro's counterarguments.

Thank you for clarifying. I understand your arguments and your viewpoint.


According to the first premise, if there are objective moral facts, then these moral facts have their foundation in the nature of God. This is because morality is prescriptive and is expressed to us in the form of statements such as “Do not lie” and “Do not murder." These statements carry with them a degree of incumbency – that is to say, they communicate commands to us. Both commands and communication, however, can only originate from an intelligent mind. This mind must additionally be a competent authority in order for its commands to be binding on us. Therefore, moral facts require the existence of a supreme legislator who issues these commands to us.

You claim that these statements carry with them a degree of incumbency--I agree and allow you to this point. However, you then say that it must only originate from an intelligent mind and later say that it is a supreme legislator (i.e. God.)


I agree with your first point--but does it have to be a "God"? Why can't it be a philosopher or someone else that was a king or a leader over a vast majority of the world?

Cosmological Kalamity

I feel I need to touch a few things with this argument.


  • Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  • The universe began to exist.
  • Therefore, the universe has a cause.

The main point is the fact that earlier, you said that Actual infinities do not exist (i.e. everything has a cause) so what caused God? Think about it.

That is all for this debate from my arguments.

Final appeal for voters--Why vote pro?

1. My opponent never shown why God has to be the first cause
2. My opponent never shown why God has to be the author of objective moralities (in fact, that is another debate that we are debating)
3. My opponent never provies evidence that God exists.
4. My opponent never refutes my claim that actual infinities cannot exist; therefore, everything (including God) has to have a cause
Contradiction

Con

As I end this debate, I would like to thank kohai for taking the time to debate me and for his swift responses. They certainly make a debate much more interesting. I want to close by summarizing my arguments and issuing final responses to Pro. Let me note too that Pro has dropped many of his initial arguments.

God and Actual Infinities

Once again, I agree with Pro that the existence of an actually infinite set of things are impossible -- indeed, I even argued against them in my opening arguments! Pro, however, attempts to apply this to God, arguing.

1. Infinities cannot exist
2. God is infinite
3. Therefore, God cannot exist

However, Pro has neglected to respond to my counterarguments which I raised two rounds ago. What's problematic with this argument is that premise (2) equivocates between qualitative and quantiative infinities. Let me repeat my counterargument:

First, it is not true that God has existed for an infinite amount of time. Time itself is finite, since it began to exist at the moment of the big bang. Causally prior to that moment, God existed, but not in time. Secondly, Pro confuses a qualitative infinity with a quantitative infinity. When it is said that God is infinite, we do not mean that God literally has an actually infinite number of parts. Rather, the term is an umbrella term for the intrinsic maxima of God's unsurpassable attributes. An actual infinity is to be understood quantatitively as a set containing a denumerable subset, whereas God's infinity is to be understood qualitatively as an umbrella term for his superlative attributes.

Pro also attempts two other rebuttals. He first argued that since the universe is by definition everything that exists, God cannot exist outside of the universe. Ergo, God does not exist.

Now it's obvious here that this is merely a semantical argument. Pro confuses the universe with reality. The universe simply refers to the totality of all physical existence, whereas reality refers to all of existence. Indeed, by defining our physical universe as everything which exists, Pro actually begs the question by presupposing the non-existence of God.

Elsewhere, Pro argues that "If God is not infinite, then what makes him God? Someone had to create him." This does not at all follow. Recall my earlier statement that "infinity" when applied to God refers to his superlative attributes. It is not used in the mathematical sense, as God has no concrete parts. As William Lane Craig writes,

"Rather the key to your question is to understand that the mathematical notion of an actual infinite is a quantitative concept. It concerns a collection of definite and discrete elements that are members of the collection. But when theologians speak of the infinity of God, they are not using the word in a mathematical sense to refer to an aggregate of an infinite number of elements. God's infinity is, as it were, qualitative, not quantitative. It means that God is metaphysically necessary, morally perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, and so on." [1]

The Moral Argument

Pro takes issue with premise one, arguing but why does God have to be the author of morality." Unfortunately, he still has not adequately responded to the arguments I presented for premise (1). Let me therefore repeat them again:

According to the first premise, if there are objective moral facts, then these moral facts have their foundation in the nature of God. This is because morality is prescriptive and is expressed to us in the form of statements such as “Do not lie” and “Do not murder." These statements carry with them a degree of incumbency – that is to say, they communicate commands to us. Both commands and communication, however, can only originate from an intelligent mind. This mind must additionally be a competent authority in order for its commands to be binding on us. Therefore, moral facts require the existence of a supreme legislator who issues these commands to us.

Pro, however, does attempt to deal in part with this argument. He writes, "but does it have to be a "God"? Why can't it be a philosopher or someone else that was a king or a leader over a vast majority of the world?"

Simple. The argument is based on objective moral facts, this by definition precludes morality having a human origin. As I have said before, to be objective is for something to obtain independent of human knowing. Thus, if there are objective moral facts, then they must originate from a mind that is higher than humans. God is thus the perfect candidate for the locus of morality.

Pro then provides several other objections to the moral argument. He claims that "we all know that torturing babies for any reason is wrong. This is more of a straw-man argument." I agree that it is wrong to torture babies for fun, but what grounds this fact? What makes the act of torturing babies for fun wrong? On atheism, there is no adequate ground to account for the objectivity of this fact. Human opinion is inadequate for this, since it has no imperitival force. My argument therefore is definitely not a strawman -- it points out a glaring inconsistency in Pro's position.

The Cosmological Argument

Having already dealt with Pro's arguments concerning actual infinities, let me point out that Pro has completely dropped most, if not all of his counterarguments against the KCA. He grants all three premises, and he has not responded to my argument that the cause must be God.

As a final criticism, he asks "So what caused God?" Additionally, he treats the causal premise as stating "everything has a cause." This, however, is a strawman. The KCA does not claim that everything has a cause, only that whatever begins to exist has a cause. Since God by definition did not begin to exist, God therefore did not have a cause. To repeat what I said before:

By definition, God is uncaused. Since he is a maximally great being, he does not owe his existence to any higher being, for there is nothing higher to which his existence could be dependent on. Therefore, it is impossible for God to have been brought into being.

The Problem of Evil

Recall earlier that I turned Pro's own argument from evil against him to show how it actually implied the existence of God. This strengthened my case by adding a third theistic argument to my presentation. Pro has not responded to this argument at all.

Pro's Final Appeal

In closing, Pro makes four points. He states that I have not not demonstrated why God must be the creator of the universe, the author of objective morality, now have I provided evidence that God exists or have I adequately responded to his argument that actual infinities cannot exist.

These are all false. I have demonstrated why God must be the creator of the universe -- Pro simply just has not responded to my argument. I have shown why God must be the author of objective morality -- Pro simply just has not responded adequately. And certainly I have provided evidence that God exists. Even if Pro believes my arguments to be false, they still count as evidence. Finally, I agree with Pro that actual infinities cannot exist. However, this has absolutely no implications for God's existence, as Pro's argument equivocates between qualitative and quantatitive concepts of infinity.

Conclusion

Let me once again thank Pro for being such a timely and courteous opponent throughout the debate. Since he has not, however, responded adequately to the arguments presented, I hereby urge a vote for Con.

__________

Souces

1. http://www.reasonablefaith.org...;
Debate Round No. 5
33 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by redstyler 5 years ago
redstyler
@mecap

Youre right on Kalam being logicalled flawed. I saw that too in the beginning. I think I misread your previous comments. Using flawed information to back up your argument is very weak and should be pointed out by the other side.
Posted by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
@redstyler
"You have to look at the arguments themselves, not what you think is right or wrong."
-- I looked at the arguments and specifically Kalam... that argument proposes a being that exists infinitely (in reality) as the first cause of the universe when the argument itself relies on the assumption that there are no infinites in reality. You have to look at it to catch it:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
4. Insert personal creator:
4.22 The Creator is beginningless.
4.221 Whatever is uncaused does not begin to exist.
4.25 The Creator is timeless.
4.251 In the complete absence of change, time does
not exist, and the Creator is changeless.

See what happens when we negate the first premise:
-> 4.221 Whatever is uncaused does not begin to exist.
And look what we get: <b>if it does not begin to exist then does it exist?</b>

But it's timeless you say? Well, no, because the Creator created the universe, so that was an EVENT which allows us to identify a change in the Creator: i.e. the Creator went from: "I don't want a universe" to "I want a universe", so the Creator is not timeless because he/she/it isn't absent of change. The Creator is not changeless, therefore not timeless! If the creator is not timeless, then he began to exist at some time so what is the cause of the Creator's existence?

-> Did Pro point out this logical flaw? No...
-> Does that make it OK for Con to use an argument that has a logical flaw? No!
Posted by redstyler 5 years ago
redstyler
@mecap

"You vote on the outcome of the debate, not your prior conceptions of what must be right"
Contradiction is right on that. You have to look at the arguments themselves, not what you think is right or wrong. This is called critical thinking. If youre biased and you make up your mind on the issue at hand before considering the arguments presented, this makes you full of yourself, not a critical thinker.
Posted by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
And we're talking about the entire KCA, as seen here: http://www.leaderu.com...
...Right?
Posted by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
I didn't vote bomb you, the only point he got was with regards to "who had a more convincing argument." I'm even giving you the "better sources."
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
That's horrible reasoning. I might as well just vote bomb all the debates of every atheist here because I think their arguments are fallacious.

Yes, I will defend the KCA as presented by William Lane Craig.
Posted by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
@Contradiction
"It doesn't matter if I used a flawed argument (Which I didn't...), what matters was how well I argued my case."
-- What's the difference between you having a flawed argument and your opponent not calling you on it? You failed to deliver good argument (in my opinion) and he failed to deliver a good counter-argument. I still don't think that the opponent not calling you out on a flawed argument should be a victory for the flawed argument (or at least what I see as a flawed argument).

P.S.
I'm not sure if I have enough time for a debate, I'm pretty busy with work. I'll give it a shot tho... are we taking the Kalam argument as it is posted on this debate?
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
It doesn't matter if I used a flawed argument (Which I didn't, and I'll challenge you to a debate on that very issue), what matters was how well I argued my case. If my opponent couldn't point out the flaws in my argument, then no matter how fallacious it is, I still argued my case better.
Posted by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
"So even if I clearly out-argued my opponent, I still lose the debate?"
--I don't know how you can out-argue your opponent when you're using a logical fallacy... if you had a valid argument and he didn't address it, then you win, but you didn't have a valid argument (in my opinion). He didn't do a good job at addressing your argument, perhaps because he didn't know that Kalam is flawed, but that doesn't excuse you for using a flawed argument.
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
So even if I clearly out-argued my opponent, I still lose the debate? That's not how it works. For all intensive purposes, you may think the Kalam is fallacious (It's not, and I'll even debate you on that), but if I argued a better case, then you should vote on how I argued.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
kohaiContradictionTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Kohai is and will become a learned advocate for atheism. I think he needs to spend some time refining his style argumentation and arguments. Contradiction wins as a result of the strength his arguments possess, the way they were expressed and how reliable his sources are.
Vote Placed by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
kohaiContradictionTied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Kalam is a known fallacy, objective morality exists without God (see the Golden Rule), etc. Better sources go to Con.
Vote Placed by popculturepooka 5 years ago
popculturepooka
kohaiContradictionTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con won on pretty much all contentions and pro did not seem to understand a lot of cons arguments.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
kohaiContradictionTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Very dominating performance from Con, Pro fell apart in round 4.
Vote Placed by GeoLaureate8 5 years ago
GeoLaureate8
kohaiContradictionTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't understand Cons arguments, put forth fallacious counter arguments suggesting God began to exist, confused himself over the omniscience omnipotece argument, etc. Con argued his position really well. However he could've picked stronger argents like the Argument from Contingency, etc. Kalam is good, Moral Argument, not so much.