The Instigator
Marsupial
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
johncwms27
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points

There is no logical proof for the existance of God.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/31/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,043 times Debate No: 1218
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (9)

 

Marsupial

Con

Okay. So, I looked at your last two debates on the matter, and I think those arguing for God presented some of the weaker points on the matter (Focused more on the bible and beauty of earth, which are still good to take into consideration, but are not the said "logical arguments" you requested.) And I was curious what your thoughts would be on more "logically" based arguments.

Most of my proofs are from Anselm. (Only philosopher who I feel has provided okay/substantial proof.)[Though, I'm probably butchering his arguments quite a bit.]

Okay. God is going to be defined as "Greatest possible being." (Have another definition or is this one agreeable?)

1) God exists in the understanding. (Or else we couldn't very well be discussing his existence/lack of existence.)
2) The understanding/mind is not as great as reality/the tangible.
3) God is the greatest possible being.
__
4) God exists in reality.

The only way I really see this argument failing is by proving that the understanding/mind is greater than reality/the tangible.

But um, next the necessity argument.

If it can't exist, you can't imagine it. You can imagine god, so he can exist. If he can exist, he does exist.

1) Being a necessary being is greater than being an unnecessary being.
2) An existent being is greater than a non-existent being.
3) God is the greatest possible being.
______
4) God necessary and exists.

As to why the earth sucks: (poverty, violence, whatever)
This world is the greatest of all possible outcomes. Having not seen the other options, as humans, we are unable to base our judgement of this world off anything substantial.

And, the complexity argument. I've always preferred to think of it differently. The whole, Earth is complex and needs a complex creator argument fails, because our creator would need a creator, etc. I've always been in favor of the 'if their is a simple solution available, then there's no reason to posit a more complex solution' idea. God would appear to be to me a far more simple solution than evolution. "God did it" is the simplest solution, not the most complex.

Okay, those arguments were a bit jumbled and I would definitely recommend actually reading Anselm's ontological proofs for the existence of God yourself as they are much more clearly laid out and in general better than the arguments I tried to present.
johncwms27

Pro

Hey Marsupial -- thanks for challenging me to the debate. I'm going to respond to your arguments one by one, starting with Anselm's proofs.

To summarize Anselm's 1st proof:
1) God is the "Greatest Possible Being" that can be imagined.
2) Existance in reality is greater than existance in the imagination
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3) Therefore, God must exist in reality. If God did not exist in reality, then God would not be the 'Greatest Possible Being' because existance in reality is greater than existance in the imagination.

My main problem with this argument is Part #2. How is something less great because it does not exist in reality? How is greatness measured? Let's imagine a ruthless serial murderer and rapist. Would it be more great to have this person exist in reality instead of only existing in my imagination? In order for this proof to work, you will have to prove that existance in reality is greater than existance in the imagination. And even then, how is "greatness" defined?

(going back to Part #1)I would disagree if you said that the Judeo-Christian God is the "greatest possible being" that can be imagined. In the Old Testament, God commands genocide, war, and rape. He condones the stoning of adulterers and the killing of those who lie to their parents. To me, this is not the greatest possible being I can imagine, because any God who didn't authorize killing and raping would be far better (in my opinion). So this would seem to invalidate the first point as well.

Now to the necessity argument. You say "If it can't exist, you can't imagine it." Right now, I am imagining that giant squirrels are juggling the Earth, Mars, and Venus like a clown would juggle tennis balls. And I can imagine this, so according to your argument, it must be possible that these giant squirrels exist and are juggling the planets! Now I can't disprove anything 100%, but I think we can agree that this is as close to impossible as it gets.

Then the proof goes, "Being a necessary being is greater than being an unnecessary being". Similar to the "Greatest possible being" argument...how can you define what is greater? How can you define whether a being is necessary or unnecessary?

Moving on...you say "as to why the earth sucks: (poverty, violence,etc.)"

First, let me make one thing clear. I am an atheist and I do not think the world sucks. I know, many Christians out there are dropping their jaws right now. Everyone seems to think that atheists don't believe in God because they say "earth sucks so bad that there just cant be a god." Most of the atheists I have met don't feel that way, and neither do I.

You say "this world is the greatest of all possible outcomes". I think that's bullshit -- there are an infinite number of possible outcomes, and how do you know this is the greatest? you have nothing to compare it to!

On to the complexity argument:
We agree on one point - being in favor of the "if there is a simple solution available, there's no reason to posit a more complex solution." So we both seem to agree that, between God and evolution, the more simple beginning is the one that more likely occurred. But now let me argue that God would be more complex than biological evolution.

Evolution suggests that all living organisms evolved from a common ancestor. Through mutations and the invisible forces of natural selection, that common ancestors children (and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, etc. etc.) become more complex. Wouldn't you agree that all of the plants and animals we see today are more complex than a single-celled organism? And evolution suggests that we all came from this single-cell organism, so it would suggest a very simple beginning.

God, on the other hand, would have to be extremely complex. If there were a God who created everything, he would have to possess the knowledge of how to create the Universe, which in itself would require that he was more complex than the Universe he was creating. Therefore, since part of that Universe includes single-cell organisms, God would have to be more complex than that single-cell organism he is creating. In addition, if God were all-powerful and all-knowing, and if he could simultaneously listen/respond to billions of prayers, and if he could know the future for ETERNITY, then he would surely have to be more complex than the single-cell organism which evolution would require.

So in conclusion, it seems that evolution would suggest a much more simple beginning to life than the explanation of God. (I should point out that evolution does not explain the origin of the Universe, just the evolution of living organisms on Earth. So we can't say that the universe was created by either God or evolution. But since you brought it up in your argument I thought it would be appropriate to reply to.)

Looking forward to the next post.
Debate Round No. 1
Marsupial

Con

Problems with part 2) My only solution to the "existing in reality is greater than existing in thought" problem is that by existing in reality, god can also still exist in thought and so he would have more attributes than shoudld he exist in thought alone. And a being with more attributes is greater than a being with less attributes.

So, I'm measuring "greatness" by 'having more attributes', I guess, not so much in a good vs bad sense of the word.

Problems with Part 1) Other than just definition issues on "greatness" (which I suppose I should have defined before I started using it), I would go with the argument of "god knows best", which of course doesn't really stand as much of an argument, so, I'd say it fails. And there's still the whole "bible was written by man" thing. While it's supposed to be 'the word of god' man is imperfect and could easily have miswritten it and if people are basing their actions off of flawed writings then it's not really God commanding said awful actions.

But yeah, I'm focusing on greatness in the sense of having more attributes/quality. So, God would be infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. etc. While all other objects/people/creations are in someway lacking a quality, and so would be less than a god, making God the greatest being.
___________

On necessity. I would say that while "giant squirrels juggling the planets" isn't plausible, it's not impossible, as it can be imagined. As opposed to a circle-square, which cannot be imagined. But nature, squares are not circular and circles not edged, and so their can be no creation such as a circle square, even in the imagination, and when trying to imagine such an object, you can never actually think of a circle square. But one might be able to picture squirrels juggling planets. (That make sense, or a bit too much of a ramble?)

As for being necessary vs unnecessary and which is greater. It would just seem (to me!) that an object that has to exist would be greater than an object that can not exist. But, I can't really think of any good reason (at the moment) while being necessary is greater than unnecessary.
__________

It's true, there's nothing to compare our world againts. But, assuming their was a god, he would have the infinite knowledge available to him to create the most perfect world. (I mostly just tried to include the "earth sucks" solution in there because I here it argued alot. I find it to be a rather irritating argument as there are plenty of things that do not such as well. But, this solution for the condition of the earth only works once it has been accepted that there is a god.
_____________

Okay. God would definitely be the most complex being. But, it is also important to note that he is a single being. By saying "god did it" we say all the universe is the result of one entity. While, evolution calls for us to posit many separate entities/means of going from single cell to multiple cells or even from lifeless chemicals floating around to the single celled organisms to begin with. One entity, even a complex entity, would be more simple than many different entities.

The universe as a closed-system doesn't strike me as being all too complex (individual pieces are entirely different.) But there are laws of the universe that are followed everywhere (to our current knowledge) and even in nature one can almost always find a balance/symmetry. As by nature closed-systems tend to lean towards entropy, an outside being would be a useful addition to explain why we have order. Plus, the odds of life evolving on Earth without outside interference are rather staggering. (Though, that isn't to say it couldn't happen on it's own, or that say, Aliens had something to do with the matter, and not a god.)

But, um, I also don't think that god and Evolution have to be exclusive of each other. There's no reason that a God could not just set in motion the events that could lead to evolutions over time until we get to be the creatures we are now. And then all those separate ‘entities' involved in the evolution process would all just be the single entity god.

And even in matters outside of evolution, by putting the responsibility onto God, we are placing it to a single entity, which is a more simple solution than positing multiple entities/causes.

(So, my argument for God being a more simple solution was definitely weak. It sounded better when I thought it. :/

I spelled "existence" wrong in my title. D: Don't I feel smart. ... the spell check just tried to get me to change "isn't" into "oceanfront" so I'm going to stop using it now, and going to blame any spelling errors on that instead of my own lack of spelling ability. >_> )
johncwms27

Pro

First, in regards to Anselm's proof: I disagree with your definition of "greatness", meaning 'having more attributes'. Anselm's whole proof lies on the premise that an entity would be "greater" if it existed, rather than if it did not. How "great" is something that exists in thought alone? How "great" are the giant squirrels juggling the planets (referring to Round 1).

You go on to say that "God would be ...omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent.." This brings about a paradox, because no entity could be omnipotent and omniscient. Does an omniscient God have the power to change his mind? Can God make a rock so heavy that he can't push it? There are many well-known paradoxes to the idea of an omniscient and omnipotent entity.

Moving on the necessity: You make an interesting point that a circle square cant be imagined, but nonetheless, just because something can be imagined does not mean it is possible. You said you couldn't find a reason while being necessary is greater than unnecessary - I will assume this point is conceded unless you offer some new ideas on that argument.

On the complexity argument: You mention that God, as only one entity, would be more simple than many others, but I return to one of my original arguments. If God could create all those many many entities, then he would have to be more complex than each one of them, and more complex than the whole of what he has created.

You say that the odds of life evolving on Earth without outside interference are rather staggering. I dont disagree - but that changes nothing. The question is, which is more staggering? the odds of life evolving with God, or the odds of life evolving without God? So while the odds ARE staggering for either answer, that does not help us get closer to the answer we're searching for.

Some people say, as you have, that God and evolution are not mutually exclusive. According to the Bible, the earth is roughly 6000 yrs old, and the earth was created in 6 days. According to evolution, the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and the earth was created over a period of 10 billion years. There is quite a big time difference there!!! If you did reconcile evolution with God, you could only do so by admitting that the earth wasnt created in 6 days...or by saying that "one day" was really 1 billion years. And even then, if the meaning of "day" is 1 billion years, and that error is in the first line of the Bible, then how reliable is the rest of the text?

got to run, although I'd love to continue this post. Look forward to your reply
Debate Round No. 2
Marsupial

Con

Marsupial forfeited this round.
johncwms27

Pro

Since my opponent didn't realize her time was up, I'll forfeit the third round as well, so that we each have the same number of arguments to be judged. Thanks for the debate marsupial
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Marsupial 9 years ago
Marsupial
Aww. You didn't have to forfeit your round too. ^^

Really sorry about missing that cut off. I'm sure we can find another issue to argue sometime. (:
Posted by Marsupial 9 years ago
Marsupial
D:

I didn't realize my time was up. I was going to post my response today.

Sorry.

):

You made good points, I agree with you on the majority of them. The arguments I presented were mostly just ones that came up in my philosophy class that I had a harder time coming up with responses for.

(Ima atheist.)
Posted by SperoAmicus 9 years ago
SperoAmicus
Anselm's argument defines God into a vagueness which much exist. It is accurate because there is no concept of God which it is proving.

The question of proving God is usually the task of proving Omnipotence, or at least, proving a Creator/First Mover. It's sort of possible, but only with a few assumptions which are widely regarded as valid, but easily rejectable in a debate.

I mean, without a few assumptions, we can't even prove that "The Matrix" isn't real.
Posted by Capt.Herp 9 years ago
Capt.Herp
There's a reason why belief in God is called "faith." Prove there ISN'T a God. Otherwise, I guess we'll all find out after we're dead.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Marsupial, do yourself a favor and note that due to the vagueness of your topic sentence the logical proof:

1) The universe is God. (deified in the pantheistic sense)
2) The universe exists.
3) God exists.

... counts as a proof. As it stands now you have arguments, not proofs.
Posted by Gato 9 years ago
Gato
Huh? None of that is "proof".

All that sounds like to me is an abstract justification for faith in "A" God.
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