This House Asserts That Ontology Necessitates God!
The idea of this debate started with me contacting Roy for a debate. Given a list of topics he believed that the best topic to discuss is the Ontological Argument. I believe I should mention the Spirit of the Motion is whether the study of Being, with relation to the studies of Ideas can make God a necessary conception.
There are some rules which both parties must accept:
1. The first round for Roy is acceptance only, and to share any pleasantries. He accepts the definitions, and rules set herein.
2. The onus rests on the Proposition who must show that there is a logically sound Ontological Argument.
3. The order of the debate is such that the maximum limit is 10, 000 characters, there will be 48 hours given to post an argument, and anyone with an Elo above 3500 may vote. I do ask, of those who vote, to please provide strong reasons for debate explaining the decision on each point. This is of course only a humble request.
4. Any and all sources must be linked, and a referencing number should be provided in the argument. Sources must be easily available, and paginations must be cited.
5. All the respective definitions may be taken from the Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy or any other well reputed text such as A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume, or A Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant. These definitions of course can be debated.
While I would like that everyone be courteous and respect the opponents arguments so as not to deconstruct it, and take out meanings where one meaning is specified, Roy does not wish this to be part of the rules and so this is not. I only request that the words I use be taken (so long as they are reasonably in the lines of one specific meaning) to that meaning.
Here are some of the fundamental definitions:
1. God: God is a transcendental entity, who escapes the boundaries of human cognition, and holds the answer to key metaphysical concepts. God here is a Being who is different than Nature or the Universe, and it would not do that I universalize God. It should be clear that He is a separate entity/being/phenomenon which exists independent of any physical element.
2. Ontology: Ontology is the study of Being where one tries to prove phenomenon from a completely rational perspective, starting out with nothing but the conceptualization of a Being.
3. Necessitates: Makes necessary, when I talk about necessitating God I make it clear that the argument must prove that God exists.
I wish the best of luck to Roy!
I thank Roy for accepting, let's get started. I believe that it is pertinent to start with a few definitions, now these definitions are only summarized by me. I have quoted the parts of the books I have taken them from and I would be infinitely grateful should the readers look at those respective paginations.
Let us start at the most basic of all definitions and specify what an idea is. An idea can be classified into two forms, an empirical idea, and an innate idea. An empirical idea is the weaker reflection of an impression. It refers to all the sensations, passions and emotions that we experience as impressions through the senses, albeit in a lesser form. An innate idea is one not garnered from experience, it is an idea which one possess a priori. It refers to the a general construct, or the idea of an idea.
The next distinction which is necessary is that between simple and compex ideas. A simple idea is an idea which cannot be distinguished into parts, a complex idea is one which can be divided into parts. So as Hume says: 'Simple perceptions or impressions and ideas are such as admit of no distinction nor seperation. The complex are contrary to these and may be distinghuished into parts. Tho' a particular colour, taste, smell are qualities all united togerher in an apple, 'tis easy to percieve they are not the same, but distinguishable from each other.
The next important definition that we need to consider is that of Imagination. What then is imagination? It is commonly believes that imagination comes up with original ideas, that is untrue. Imagination in a word takes ideas from memory, if they be complex ideas it changes the arrangement of the ideas, and if they be simple ideas, imagination combines them together. Imagination does the work of chaning these ideas. Imagination as Hume tells us cannot come up with a simple idea, for a simple idea is only one part and no matter how you twist it, it remains the same.
Now lets move onto the argument, I wanted to write it out in Quantificational Logic but debate.org does not allow that. Here is the argument is a valid premise-conclusion format though.
1. The idea of God exists in cognition, independent of experience.
2. If an idea of cognition which exists independent of experience exists, it is either false or necessarily true.
3. If an idea of cognition which exists independent of experience is false then it is imaginative.
4, The idea of God cannot be imagined.
5. Ergo: the idea of God is necessarily true.
1. Defense of Premise 1:
(1.1)When I talk about the idea of God existing independently of experience what I mean to say is that the idea of God is not an empirical idea. This I state this way, the God we are talking about is tri-omni, and ex vi termini we can claim that since he is above human cognition, he cannot be felt by human senses and therefore the idea of God is independent of sense experience. This shows sufficiently that the idea of God exists in cognition as an idea which is not empirical.
(1.2)If my opponent argues that the idea of God has been told to you through your ears, or by your parents then a simple question for my case ab absurdo would be that where did the first man originate the concept of God. Either s/he made it up, or it is an innate idea.
2. Defense of Premise 2:
(2.1) This is I believe quite simple and can be deduced from common sense. It is simple that either an idea is true or it is false. There is no grey areas here because this is not an opinion, or a normative issue. The idea is either accurate when it proves the Impression from whence it claim (here God) or it is necessarily false and the idea does not lead to an Impression for it was made up by the mind.
3. Defense of Premise 3:
(3.1) This is an interesting premise. I show this by telling you that the mind has no other faculty. The mind is a limited subject and either it gets its knowledge from empirical knowledge something we have ruled out. Now the other faculty is Imagination, other than reason. Now reason leads to accurate conclusions therefore we cannot say a rational idea is false. I ask my opponent to quote another faculty of the mind if he can. Only Imagination is the faculty which takes ideas and produces them in new ways, often creating false constructs.
4. Defense of Premise 4:
(4.1) This is the most important premise, and I plan to defend it vehemently. My first argument is that the idea of God is a simple idea. Remember we are talking about the being of God. Can you divide the idea of God into any sensation? Can you tell me the tast of God? Or (remember we are talking only about the idea of the Being of God) the color? One cannot because the idea of God is a simple idea. And we can see ex vi termini that imagination cannot come up with simple ideas, and thereofore just as two elements however mixed together cannot create but a compound, imagination cannot create the idea of the Being of God. We have therefore proved our premise.
(4.2) The other proof regarding our premise is this that the idea of God is an a priori construct. Which mean that God is above space, time and number. We attribute to God atemporality, aspaciality and hence call Him omnipotent and omniscient. All our sense ideas are a posteriori ideas. No a posteriori idea can be combined in any form to create an a priori idea. For an a posteriori idea can be combined only to form similar ideas. The idea of state, and the idea of perfection can be combined to form the idea of a perfect state. We cannot however do that with a priori ideas such as God. There is another proof of this statement. We can imagine a perfect state, but even now if we consider or try to look at the finer points in the idea of God we cannot. The idea of God is hidden and no amount of thinking upon it reveals anything such as color or taste as an idea of the perfect state would. While we can imagine the idea of a perfect state, we cannot pretend to imagine the idea of God or God in our minds, other than attributing to him an a poteriori form Morgan Freeman. We then need to realize that we cannot think of God as an a priori substance. The simple reason is because God transcends the human faculty of reason, and can therefore not be thought off.
With this I beg to propose.
Treatise of Human Nature; Of Ideas, Their Composition, Connexion, and Abstraction.
Ibidium, Section 3, Of the Ideas of the Memory and Imagination
Pro does not define an “idea” nor does he define a test for what can be imagined and what cannot be imagined, yet his proof depends critically upon both definitions. I deduce from the reference to Hume and Pro claim that an idea of cognition must be true or false that an idea is a proposition.
Ideas may be true, false, or meaningless
Pro claims that an idea of cognition must be true or false. Let's try to apply that to three ideas of cognition.
a. The jabberwocky 'twas brill and twillig in the slithy toves.
This is an idea of cognition because Lewis Carroll thought it up for his poem The Jabberwocky. Without any knowledge of actual jabberwockys, which in fact are solely mental constructs. As a proposition is the jabberwocky proposition is neither true nor false because it nonsense. Being deliberate nonsense none of the key words have known meanings, and a meaningless proposition cannot be evaluated. It many have a poetic meaning derived by a sense of the properties of the English language as used in the poem, but whatever the poetic meaning it is not defined well enough to determine whether it is true of false.
b. Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
Is a phrase coined by Noam Chomsky to illustrate a type of nonsense. Each word has a well-defined meaning, but when strung together the meaning of the sentence as a whole is lost through contradictions. Ideas are not subject to having or not having colors, and if they were subject to color they could not be both green and colorless.
c. An omnipotent God can make a rock so big He cannot lift it.
This proposition has been around for a long time as a theological question. The best resolution is that “omnipotence” does not include the power to perform a logical contradiction, so that even though it seems like a legitimate proposition it is not. It is nonsense in the same sense that asking if ideas are green or colorless is nonsense.
What is the meaning of a proposition that has no testable outcome? We may think of the proposition “There are no black swans.” The proposition begins as an idea, but it is the kind of idea that can be tested. The existence of black swans in Australia settles the question.
We ask if “The tri-omni God exists.” is a testable proposition, and hence empirical, or is it strictly an untestable proposition of cognition. If it is purely one of cognition, then it is meaningless. The most readily tested aspect is omni-benevolence, because benevolence only applies to sentient beings who can feel pain.
Apparent benevolence is disproved by the argument from evil and the argument from non-belief. If an omnibenevolent God exists, then there would be incrementally less suffering than is observed. A child that suffers and dies from an illness could die more quickly or with less suffering than is observed. Non-believers would benefit from knowing that the tri-omni God exists, so such a God would not leave non-believers in doubt. However, if the claim is that omni-benevolence cannot be known to humans then the proposition of the existence the God is meaningless.
That which cannot be imagined is nonsensical
Pro argues that the concept of the tri-God can be conceived, but the God as a being cannot be imagined.
Consider the proposition “i is the square root of minus one.” The proposition is true by definition, but can the concept of i be imagined? I argue that it cannot be understood by analogy to everyday experience of the senses, but it is understandable it terms of rules that apply the concept. We use some analogies to understand the concept of imaginary numbers, such as mapping the numbers to the complex plane. We may come to understand that according to the math rules that e raised to the power of itimes pi equals minus one.
The proposition “time is two-dimensional” is not imaginable in any way other than by rules that apply the concept. If we ask if the universe exists in space having two-dimensional time, we can in principle test the theory without ever imagining the concept directly, but rather only in terms of the consequences.
Something can only be imagined in a meaningful way if some aspect of existence is in principle observable. If observable, God is disproved by evil and non-belief. If not observable, then God cannot be imagined.
Pro argues that the God concept is simple, because the idea of perfection is simple. The idea of perfection is simple, but that does not mean the idea of God is simple. The idea of winning an auto race is simple: go the fastest. But a winning automobile race team is extremely complex. It involves complicated mechanisms in the car, and very complex interactions among team participants. The only thing that makes the God concept simple is refusing to consider the mechanisms. To be omniscient, the state and location of every particle in the universe must be continually tracked and updated for quantum events. Omnipotence require a control path and mechanism back to every particle. Omni-benevolence requires tracking of thoughts Refusing to think about the mechanisms of God does not remove the complexity any more than refusing to think about the mechanisms of auto racing makes it simple.
If perfection is simple then we ought to be able to, say, compare two garden flowers and say which is closer to perfect. We can imagine that both flowers are free of damage, but which has the more perfect combination of color, shape, fragrance, and ability to survive in the garden? We must abandon the notion that perfection is simple, and in fact abandon the notion that perfection can even be defined.
Because humans are inherently different, what is most benevolent to one may not be most benevolent to another. For some people, benevolence is adding excitement to their lives, for others benevolence is reducing excitement. Does a perfect being continually intervene in peoples lives, or occasionally intervene, or leave people alone? If the reply is that God works each case on its merits, then that asserts that perfection is enormously complex.
Before I start out I should like to clarify some things about the onus. While the onus of the motion rests upon me, if Roy should make any positive claims (of which there are many) then it is his onus to prove them. He must prove the premises of his argument against my case. He has provided much rhetoric but if you scan his argument you will see little proof. I shall not appraise his individual parts until I have addressed the two major assumptions his entire case is based on. Following that I will show a principle contradiction in his argument, and then I shall end by rebutting his individual points. I will use A for assumption, C for contradiction, and P for individual points; if necessary I will use F for counter refutation.
5. A1: That an idea is a proposition:
(5.1) I must say, this point significantly surprised me, especially considering that I gave a clear enough definition is my first argument. An idea is not a proposition, it is a construct. If an idea is true then the construct that it refers to exists, if it is fault then the construct is illusory. The idea does not propose the construct, it represents it, and this can be gauged by reading my citation. I will however, for clarification provide Immanuel Kant's definition of an idea (the same definition I use above, but in clearer words): 'the species of representation which gives rise to metaphysical beliefs. Ideas are special concepts which arise out of our knowledge.' Here the knowledge is innate, and so hidden. We are only debating whether this construct which represents God directly connects to an actual object God, or whether this construct is a simple mixture of other constructs and therefore represents an illusory object. Another meaning that might help clear up is the one used in the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy: 'In philosophy, ideas are usually construed as mental representational images of some object.' From Plato to Locke to Hume you will not find any philosopher coy enough to say that an idea is a proposition.
(5.3) It is then clear what my definition of an idea is. One can gain the same definition from reading my citation. If Roy should assert that all ideas are necessarily propositions then he must prove this claim. Roy has provided no evidence of this claim. In any case does the idea of pain propose anything? It represents the feeling of pain but does it propose a statement? Does the idea of a cake propose anything? No, it is a construct which may refer to an actual object (a cake from memory) or may be a made up construct. In any case it is foolish to think that ideas are propositions without any evidence.
6. A2: To be meaningful a proposition must in principle be testable:
(6.1) Roy does try to show how his assertion may apply to my case. I do not really see what he tries to prove here. In any case, not to label it, but this assertion is a theory known as Logical Positivism. Just read Roy's words, now read the words of A. J. Ayer: 'that only statements about the world that are empirically verifiable or logically necessary are cognitively meaningful'. I still won't make this about Logical Positivism strictly, I will use Roy's words against Roy. Roy says for any proposition to be meaningful it should be testable, and assumes this test to be empirical. The proposition that everything meaningful should be empirically testable is not testable. How do you test the belief that everything ought to be empirically tested? There is no such test, and the theory then is self refuting.
(6.2) The above was enough to convince A. J. Ayer who stated later: 'the problem is, nearly all if it is wrong', speaking of this theory. Another problem is that of Induction, and the repudiation of the deductive-nomological model. I find that since Roy never presented any proof for this theory, and since an adequate rebuttal is given I need not expand on these until time comes. I have linked a scholarly source  which is part of my argument against Logical Positivism. This point however is moot in any case because as I once again remind the readers, an idea is not a proposition, it is a construct which represents an object. If the idea is true then the object it represents exists in Reality, if it is false then the object it correlates to is not an object of reality, rather the construct is made by jumbling up simpler constructs.
7. C1: That the condition of meaning is both imagination, and empirical testing:
(7.1) There is a principle contradiction in Roy's case. He states firstly that anything that can be experimentally tested is meaningful. He then says that anything which cannot be imagines is nonsensical or unmeaningful. This is a contradiction which Roy needs to clarify.
(7.2) To show this contradiction I will simply give one example which would be meaningful for the first condition, but utterly meaningless for the second condition. This will also serve as a refutation to Roy's point entitled: 'That which cannot be imagined is nonsensical'. Sir, I quote one thing: Quantum Physics. Now Quantum Physics is a most baffling concept. There is a reason even the mighty Feynman stated: 'I think I can safely say that no one understands Quantum Mechanics'. The reason can in another quote be summarized: 'we cannot imagine, nor conceive what might happen, it is based on randomness. Ask someone to conceive that an electron can be in multiple places at once, and they will not be able to'. This is Quantum Physics where the human mind is left completely baffled and cannot imagine nor conceive the process. This is why it is called the 'most counter-intuitive subject of all'.
(7.3) According to Logical Positivism Quantum Mechanics would have meaning because it can be empirically tested, however according to the second criterion it is nonsensical. Do you see the impossibility of Roy's argumentation? He is arguing that one of the most important theories ever conceived is 'nonsensical'. So not only here do we have a contradiction between two of Roy's arguments, but we also have both arguments failing miserably. I have therefore by now shown that firstly ideas are not propositions, that secondly the criterion of meaning should not be logical positivism, and thirdly that to say that that which cannot be imagined is nonsensical is nonsensical. Now I may be told that I need to provide an alternate theory of truth and I could present Pragmatism, but I have no need to. The only reason he could have used Logical Positivism as an advantage is because he believed ideas are propositions. Without that belief I think it is clear that his entire case goes to folly, for this was his primary assumption: that ideas are propositions, and this we have shown to is foolish.
8. P1: That the idea of God is the idea of perfection, and that perfection is complex:
(8.1) Pray thee where did I say the idea of God is the idea of perfection? God may be perfect, but that is besides the point. Currently we see only the construct of God or the representation of God as an idea. Roy may say we are arguing for a tri-omni God but then I would direct him to the definition. God is only a metaphysical Being who transcends Time, Space and Number. Now when we talk about simple, as I defined it we talk about whether it can be divided into parts. Prithee what is the taste of God? What is the smell? There is no answer which possess the conception of necessity and is same for each person. The idea of God is only a faint representation of God, that is it. Either this representation is correct and the object God is real, or it is incorrect and the object God is fake. There are no grey areas.
My argument stands uncontested. For the first premise there was no attack. To attack the second premise Roy lived on one assumption that ideas are propositions. By giving examples, and clarifying my answer with further postulates and arguments I have shown that ideas, are in fact not propositions. Roy never proved ideas are propositions but added inside a short argument based on Logical Positivism, which he also did not prove. I showed with sources how Logical Positivism is absolutely absurd. I need not give a counter theory because ideas are not propositions. A counter theory of knowledge is not needed here because it is not necessary to prove my points. If Roy wants to use Logical Positivism as an argument against God as a whole then he must first make an attempt to prove it, and only then need I present a counter theory. He has currently given no proof. As for the next premise his first attack is that that which cannot be imagined is nonsensical, this I debunked easily by giving the example of Quantum Theory. His next attack was on the second part of my argument that the idea of God is not simple. I ask him, most humbly, to tell me the distinguish the parts of the idea of God. Not the attributes or anything, but the representation of God. Then Roy dropped one of my arguments! He never tackled my argument about how God is a priori and no amount of a posteriori ideas combined in whatever ways can result in an a priori idea. He never tackled this, and I deserve to win here and now for this! The premises are then sound and therefore the conclusion is as well: God exists!
Critique of Pure Reason, Transcendental Logic
Pro's Premise 3 is wrong, because ideas may be nonsense
My problem with understanding Pro's use of “idea” is that the subject of proposition is not the type of thing that is able to be true or false. Pro claimed that an “If an idea of cognition which exists independent of experience exists, it is either false or necessarily true. “ Pro clarifies that an idea is not a proposition but rather a concept that might be the subject of a proposition. He uses the example of “pain.” So according to Pro “pain” is either “true or necessarily false.” But “pain” is not a proposition, and asking if it true or false is as meaningless as asking if a rock is true or false. Pro says that if the idea exists then it is true. That is making a propositions from an idea, like “pain exists in the real world” or “the tri-omni God exists.” Once the propositon is formed, it can be nonsense.
If Pro absolutely insists that there is no proposition either explicitly or implicitly formed from his use of “idea” then Pro's third assumption is nonsense and his whole argument fails for that reason. All of my arguments show that an idea exists, which may be true, false, or nonsense.
The three examples I gave of nonsense propositions work equally well as examples of nonsense ideas. A jabbywocky, understood as a creature capable of being twill and brillig in the slithy toves, is as nonsensical as an assertion of what the jabberwocky does. The pure idea of “colorless green dreams sleeping furiously” is nonsense. The concept of an omnipotent God that can (or cannot) make a rock too big to lift is nonsense.
Pro's third premise is wrong because he did not cover the cases of nonsense ideas. I am arguing that the particular God he is claiming to prove is either nonsensical or nonexistent.
Consider two cases. The first case is if the God has no interaction with the real world. That's nonsensical because “benevolence” is only defined relative to interaction with humans. A benevolent god that does not interact is a nonsensical concept. The other case is that the tri-omni God interacts, in which case benevolence could be demonstrated and the idea of God thereby gains meaning. But the Argument from Evil and the Argument from Non-belief disprove the God. Either Pro's idea of God is nonsense or the God does not exist, depending upon whether the god concept excludes or includes interaction with humans. If the God is to be derived from ontology alone, then the idea is nonsense.
I did not mention logical positivism in my argument. Doing so would have given Pro a reading assignment to understand logical positivism, and arguments made as reading assignments are not allowed. I am aware that logical positivists have abandoned their early claim that all non-empirical questions are meaningless. However, logical positivists and others, nonetheless maintain that some ideas and questions that sound meaningful are in fact shown to be meaningless when carefully examined. All I am calling upon for this debate is the philosophical concept of “nonsense” and the application of that to Pro's particular idea of God. Other ideas of God may escape the objection.
I spelled out how an idea may escape the criticism of being meaningless. I said that ideas could be understood either directly in terms of human sensation or, alternatively, in terms of rules that ultimately affect sensation. There is no contradiction is supposing it may be done either way, because the ultimate reference is to senation. Pro said quantum physics cannot be imagined directly, and I agree. However, quantum physics is understood as a mathematical description which is verified by observation. For some theories, at some point it might be possible in principle to verify the theory, but the technology might not exist to carry out the verification. The potential for verification still makes the idea sensible.
String theory is an example. Some scientists argue that string theory is not a scientific theory because it cannot be tested. String theorists respond that there are potential tests of the theory, but experimental verification requires energy levels above what is currently available. I don't know who is correct in the argument, but the point is that observation, actual or potential, takes the theory out of the realm of meaningless construction and into being a realistic possibility. Those who support string theory as valid do not claim that the universe is really made of tiny vibrating strings. They acknowledge that the “strings” as merely useful analogies, and that whatever is really happening is not subject to direct human comprehension.
Pro said, “Roy may say we are arguing for a tri-omni God but then I would direct him to the definition. God is only a metaphysical Being who transcends Time, Space and Number.” Pro established the connection to the tri-omni god in the second round under the heading “Defense of premise one,” where he said “This I state this way, the God we are talking about is tri-omni, ...” Pro further agreed that the debate would be bound by standard philosophical definitions. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says,
“Most theists agree that God is (in Ramanuja's words) the “supreme self” or person—omniscient, omnipotent, and all good. But classical Christian theists have also ascribed four “metaphysical attributes” to God—simplicity, timelessness, immutability, and impassibility.” [1. http://plato.stanford.edu...]
No one thought we were talking about rain gods or the like, but rather what most theists have as their concept.
If we use nothing but the definition of “a metaphysical Being who transcends Time, Space and Number.” We can have ideas of an infinite variety of such gods: gods who make it rain and make it not rain, gods who control the stock market on Thursdays and others who work on other days, and so forth. But the definitions and powers of the infinity of gods allegedly proved to exist by ontology cannot all be true because their powers conflict. A logical conflict cannot be resolved, so the claim is nonsense.
As shown by the standard definition of the Stanford Encyclopedia, and by Pro's assertion that we are talking about the tri-god, the concept of perfection is inherent. But if there is anything not perfect about the tri-god, then my arguments against simplicity stand. There is, for example, no simple definition of what is “benevolent,” because what is benevolent for one person is not necessarily benevolent for another, and in fact attempts to be benevolent to all results in conflicts to be resolved.
Pro argues that because God can not be detected by the senses, He must be simple. Consider the DNA molecule. It is too small to be seen or touched or tasted. Yet it is ultimately revealed by it's functions to be extremely complex, with millions of components. A god that is omniscient must be extremely complex in order to access all the data of the universe. The extreme complexity is necessary whether god is perfect or not.
9. A1: That ideas are propositions, and that these ideas may be nonsense:
(9.1) There is again no proof that ideas are propositions. I already mentioned how ideas are simply constructs which direct us to objects. Now I mentioned this in my original argument and I shall reiterate it for Roy. I accept that ideas may be meaningless, but in a different way. My premise itself states that ideas can be false. How so? What is an idea? It is a representation of an object. If that object which it represents is real, then the idea is true. If that which it represents is false then the idea is also false or illusory.
(9.2) Coming back to the idea of pain we have two situations: that the idea of pain is false and that that pain does not really exist. Or that the idea of pain is true and that pain does truly exist. It is the same thing: if the idea of God is true, then then God is real, if it is false, then God is also false. My argument is free from the messiness of propositions. These are two different approaches. Remember I am connecting ideas not propositions. As long as my logic is sound I win. If Roy wishes to argue from a propositional point of view let him build his case up from scratch.
(9.3) The same applies to a Jabberwocky. The idea of a Jabberwocky exists in cognition and if the idea is true then a Jabberwocky is real. If the idea is false then the Jabberwocky is not real. Seeing how the jabberwocky is not real he must be a product of imagination.
(9.4) As for God and the rock how about Roy gives it as a separate proper argument and proves his premises and I will tackle that then. The same applies to the Problem of Evil and Argument from Non-Creation. Roy speaks as if they were proven phenomenon so let him prove them. The burden is on him to prove his own assertions, let him do so.
(9.5) Again Roy assumes the proposition: the tri-omni God exists is meaningless but that works for propositions and I am arguing from ideas. Also Roy assumes Logical Positivism, providing no refutation to the argument I gave against it. As I never argue from propositions, and in any case the proposition: the tri omni God exists only is nonsensical in the debunked logical positivists I win this point. Roy must prove Logical Positivism before he calls this proposition meaningless. For other theories like Pragmatism find this proposition meaningful.
10. A2: Logical Positivism:
(10.1) And the theory that Roy uses to attempt to show that my ideas are meaningless is logical positivism. I wrote down Ayer's own words to show how congruent they are, and then I provided three arguments against (through the source) and in my argument against Logical Positivism.
(10.2) Now Roy says that he thinks Logical Positivism only applies to some concepts. Could he at least prove his theory first? Could you show why Logical Positivism applies to certain things and not others? Or will you make assertions?
11. A3: An idea is meaningful if it has a sensible application:
(11.1) Roy has conceded his earlier point which stated that: 'all that which cannot be imagined is nonsensical', and now accepts that 'quantum physics cannot be imagined'. This concession should influence the votes of the debaters. Now he once more changes his theory, and once more it is in contradiction to his earlier theory. Firstly he shifts his claim from absolute logical positivism to it applying on some things. Now God has a sensible application. God can be applied to metaphysics to answer many questions, God can be applies to ethics to make an ethical difference. What constitutes a 'sensible application' here? If God exists morals would be different, therefore a difference is made. Now earlier Roy argues that the proposition God exists is meaningless, and here he shows it to be meaningful. Another contradiction.
(11.2) God may potentially be verified. He may be verified from reason (remember we use Roy's word "potency"). Since there is a possibility that God can be verified, because arguments for God can be given, then Roy's own theory states that the proposition of God is meaningful. This all again is useless because it has nothing to do with my original argument. Roy has not yet once tackled my original argument, he has only tackled the proposition of God.
You are right I talk about the tri-omni God. I will not hide it as you try to do, but will openly admit it. It still does not make a difference because of two things: firstly even the idea of a tri-omni God is a simple one. The idea of DNA can be broken down into size, shape, and color but the idea of God cannot. Secondly (this being very important) lets go into some burden of proof analysis. My job is to show necessarily O, and my opponents job is to show not necessarily O. This means the motion does not allow my opponent to argue the Problem of Evil, or any other argument. It also means I win now because my opponent has to show a flaw in my logic, not provide a parallel case. Until my opponent can show that not necessarily is God proven through Ontology I must win this. Even if his argument of propositions is sound, the resolution is very explicit in this matter. As for God's benevolence you once more need to prove that assertion. I already informed you of my definitions, a complex idea is one which can be distinguished into sensory parts. That is why the idea of benevolence is a simple idea and of course not imagined.
Roy may object to my definitions but the fact is he is not allowed to change the definitions in my arguments. You see if he argues that my definition to simple is incorrect then he must rebuild the case with his definition before tackling it down. This is a dirty game called deconstruction, if my argument is wrong please show a problem in my logic.
So I will say it again just so people understand. An idea is not a proposition. While Roy may find an argument against God from a proposition I do not need to even attack that because the resolution is clear. I must show necessarily O, and he must negate it. In negating it he must show a deficiency in my logic not make arguments of his own. Why can an idea not be a proposition? Well I have already shown how pain does not propose anything and 'tis be true for all ideas. The idea of God is an idea, it may be true and represent a real object or fake. It is not a statement, a proposition is a statement.
I once more remind everyone that Roy has made two contradictions, and two concessions by now. I must also remind the voters that he has not proven what he has preached. Please remember (and a quick google search and some reading will verify this) that philosophers use their own definitions. And I am using the definitions approved by everyone from Hume to Kant to Leibniz, and Hume was an atheist. He is known as the King of the Skeptics.
For all these reasons I beg to propose.
Pro's case requires that he independently prove each of four propositions:
1. The idea of God exists in cognition, independent of experience.
2. If an idea of cognition which exists independent of experience exists, it is either false or necessarily true.
3. If an idea of cognition which exists independent of experience is false then it is imaginative.
4. The idea of God cannot be imagined.
Pro explicitly acknowledges that his argument references the “tri-god” which is the God that is omnipotent, omniscient, and and omni-benevolent. Moreover, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, referenced by Pro as the standard for definitions describes the standard conception of God has having those three characteristics.
There an additional characteristics of God that are important for the debate: either the God interacts with humanity or the God does not interact with humanity. This distinction is important because Pro is attempting and ontological proof, which is to say that the proof is in the domain of thought alone. One can have the idea of, say, “black swans,” but any proof depends entirely upon the real world and so the proof is not ontological.
Pro's Premise 2 -- Ideas may be true, false, or nonsense
In the second premise, Pro's says an idea is true if the idea exists in the real world. “The idea exists” is a proposition which is true of false.. Pro supposes that either “the idea exists” or, if the idea is not true, then “the idea does not exist.” I claim that there is at least one other alternative to idea being true or not true, which is that the idea and hence the proposition which asserts its truth is meaningless.
To examine the proposition “the tri-god exists” which is in Pro's parlance, “the tri-god idea is true,” we look at two cases.
Case 1: God does not interact.
If the tri-god does not interact with humans, then the tri-god idea is nonsensical. That is because the concept includes omni-benevolence, and benevolence is only defined by interaction with humans. Without human interaction, the proposition is like claiming “rocks are omni-benevolent.” It is not that rocks are not benevolent, it is that without human interaction benevolence is undefined so the concept of rocks or a tri-god being benevolent has no meaning, it is impossible to be benevolent entirely in the abstract. Pro did not attempt to find meaning in abstract benevolence.
Pro claims I did not prove that “nonsensical” is an alternative to being true or false. To prove it is an alternative, a need only give one valid example. It is like proving that black swans; I need only produe one example. I gave three valid examples of nonsense ideas and propositions. Pro rebutted that a jabberwocky either exists or not. The reason that is an inadequate response is that to exist, a jabberwocky must be “brill and twillig in the slithy toves.” Since that requirement has no meaning, we can never say whether some creature meets it or not. If the words had meaning, perhaps sea otters would qualify as jabberworckies, but we can never know. I also cited Chomsky's “green and colorless” example of nonsense. That's the same time of nonsense by inherent contradiction as “all-powerful, omni-benevolent and never interacting with humans.” Finally, asserting a logical contradiction is a self-evident example of nonsense. Pro made no attempt to assert meaning in the latter two examples, so the “nonsensical” alternative to “true” or “false” stands.
The other case is that the tri-god interacts with humans. In that case, the idea of the tri-god is meaningful and can be tested in the same sense that “black swans exist” is a meaningful and testable proposition. However, if this is the case, the proof is no longer ontological, it is empirical. I claim that the study of philosophy has arrived at disproof of the tri-god by the Argument from Evil and the Argument from Non-belief. Pro need not accept those proofs as valid, but whether accepted or rejected, they are not in the domain of ontology. The God may or may not exist, but if the God exists the proof is not ontological.
Pro's Premise 4: God is not simple, and is nonsensical if not imaginable.
Pro claims that the idea of God is simple, quoting Hume in defining“The complex are contrary to these and may be distinguished into parts. Tho' a particular colour, taste, smell are qualities all united together in an apple, 'tis easy to perceive they are not the same, but distinguishable from each other.” In setting up the debate, Pro asserted “God is a transcendental entity, who escapes the boundaries of human cognition, and holds the answer to key metaphysical concepts.” there are many metaphysical concepts, so God must have aspects that treat them all. The tri-god is omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent, three aspects that help answer metaphysical concepts. These demand a marvelously complex God, with, it turns out, contradictions. But suppose the properties of the tri-god are not implied, so God is vacuous. Then God is simple, but is also not a god that can answer anything. Pro is clear that we are discussing a God that offers answers.
If the idea of God cannot be imagined, there are two possibilities. One possibility is that the experience of our senses limits what we can imagine, and those limits are exceeded by the idea. For example, we cannot imagine two-dimensional time because it is beyond our senses. . The other possibility is that the idea is nonsense. For example, we cannot imagine an object that is green and colorless.
If an idea exceeds our senses then we can still imagine something as a mathematical or abstract concept if the results of which are observable. We cannot imagine quantum mechanics directly, but we can imagine that the theoretical concept succeeds in describing the world. A tri-god cannot be imagined directly, but we can certainly imagine, for example, the results of godly benevolence. But once God is given meaning through interaction with the world, we have left the realm of ontology.
Pro argues that God is not imaginable, either directly or by potential interaction with the real world. If that is true then the concept is nonsense. Sensible things are either sensed directly or constructs verified by the senses.
I should like to start with a reminder of the debate rules, and some analysis on the burden of proof. I have already shown to you how I must argue necessarily O, and Roy must argue not necessarily O. Any argument against God's existence, a negative argument will not be counted here. Now secondly Roy says he has the right to be inconsistent, and launch individual attacks. This is a load of bull. The burden is on me to show necessarily O, but as soon as Roy makes a an argument the burden shifts on him to prove his statement. He has up till now used many theories in his attacks none of which he has proved i.e Logical Positivism. He has not once attempted to answer my point regarding how he has changed his theory of imagination with sense thrice, and even conceded that he made a mistake originally. Also Roy might bring up new individual attacks now, and I will never have a chance to rebut them. Roy should stand firm with his contentions and answer my analysis on his arguments.
Now as for concessions, I believe Roy has conceded that ideas are in fact not propositions for he no longer carries on that attack. This means that his first two rounds which were based on this premise fail utterly. He has failed to back up Logical Positivism or his theory of 'verifiable truth' even admitting that the philosophers of the Vienna Circle later thought it was tripe. He concedes he made a mistake when he said that anything which cannot be imagined is senseless, only now in the second last round, where I only have one chance at a rebuttal, does he amend his statement. All of this should be taken into consideration. For the ease of the readers I will now go point by point into my premises and summarize and show how each premise stands. I am going to ignore Roy's summary because it does not contain arguments just more of a sort of rant, where he once more asserts the defunct theory Logical Positivism when he states: 'Thoughts and dreams make no sense unless or until they are subject to application.' Until he proves Logical Positivism this statement is meaningless.
I do feel however I need to clarify one basic rule. It is not that Ontology is anti-empirical, only that is studies phenomenon which by themselves are not necessarily empiricist. So even if God is benevolent and interacts with the world, He may possess the quality of benevolence but He and benevolence are not the same. Otherwise if today a child is born would Roy state that this is Opus Dei and proves God? No. Since God is a transcendental object, even if He is interacting, there may be an Ontological Proof. You may prove physical things through Ontology too, so long as I do not use any empirical arguments, as I have not used, the proof is Ontological. Only if I say, I can feel God, therefore God exists is the proof no longer Ontological.
1. P1: Roy never attacks this premise per say, outside his analysis that ideas are propositions, something which he, himself has conceded. This premise then stands uncontested, especially since in the last round Roy does not mention this premise.
2. P2: Now Roy is once more changing the words I have used. When I talk about an idea being true I mean that this representation represents an object which exists in reality, if it is false then the object that this idea represents is imagined and is not a real object. Roy may argue that we can never know whether this object represents anything, and therefore attack premise three, but premise two is simple logic. You see, let us suppose our omniscience, then is it such that a representation represents something real, or that this representation represents something which is not real. It is as simple as this. Roy's entire attack is mislead.
When Roy says that the idea of God may be empirically tested, I laugh. It is the most ironic thing I have heard. God's omnibenevolence does not directly cause interaction with humans, but indirectly. I am free to say this because my above logic is sound, and well Roy has brought up this point and it is his burden to prove it. God being benevolent means He can use intermediaries, and in any case as long as my argument is not using any empirical science this is in fact an Ontological Argument, and a sound one at that.
You see here is where the proof of God could not be Ontological. If I had said since people have seen benevolence, and since benevolence can only come from God, therefore God exists. Or that there exists morals in the world, and this can be empirically tested, and since the ultimate source of morality is God therefore God exists (Kant's Moral Argument). Alas for Roy, I use nothing empirical, my appeal is solely to reason, and to nothing else, therefore my argument is in fact Ontological. If I can prove the existence of Roy without appealing to empirical sciences then I will have proved Roy Ontologically, this contention does not stand.
My logic, I ask the readers to read it again, is quite sound, and this can be demonstrated through Modal Logic if debate.org only allowed to to publish it. Alas I cannot.
P3: This premise has gone uncontested throughout the entire debate. If anyone wishes one may read my original argument in support of this premise, though since Roy never attacked it, I ask that it be taken as true.
P4: I should ask my readers to go back to my original argument. I win this debate for one simple reason, that this was the most important premise and I supplied three proofs for this premise. The first is that the idea of God cannot be imagined because imagination yields complex ideas, and the idea of God is a simple idea, the second is that the idea of God is a priori, and no amount of combination between a posteriori ideas can yield a priori idea, and the last that God cannot be brought or forced into cognition without attributing to Him a posteriori a form. My opponent has only tackled one of these premises, alongside a negative argument. He has left out the other two and these should win me the argument.
Now the first contention that is brought up is that the idea of God is not simple. Roy himself quotes the passage of Hume I cited (see only five lines of reading) regarding what constitutes a simple idea. It is then baffling that 'tis contention still hold true. For Roy himself notes how simple and complex idea distinctions are made by the only distinctionary power of human cognition (for imagination also is limited by that power): that power is the power of sensation (the definition of Hume here). Now tell me what is the taste of an omni-benevolent God (give me an answer which has the conceptualization of necessity: that it is universal to all people who possess the idea of God). What is the smell of omniscience, what pray tell is the sound of omnipotence? If one can, keeping in mind the conceptualization of necessity, please divide by Humean divisions the idea of God. If you cannot then I win, for this argument is separate to my other argument.
Now Roy argues that that which cannot be imagined, and which cannot be represented by practical methods, or abstract mathematics, then it is nonsensical. Well readers do you see how he has changed and conceded his original points, and now amends his arguments? In any case lets take a few examples which would be nonsensical to Roy now. Lets recall the example of pain. Now pain only has one distinction: that of touch, so it is again a simple idea. Now pain does not have a sound (the person experiencing it might), nor does it have a taste. So is one to say that the idea of pain is absurd? Not one bit. Even if pain cannot be represented by Mathematics, and it cannot be imagined, for it is a simple idea, the idea of pain makes sense. In the words of Avicenna: 'He who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and flogged separately, then at the same time, and then separately again till he may tell the difference'. So seeing the practical uses of pain I doubt pain is an absurd idea.
Roy also pseudo-appeals to Logical Positivism, there is a drifting sense of it in his words. I remind the voters he never proved this theory. Another problem that I have previously mentioned, and deem fit to mention again is that I indeed did not provide a contrary theory of truth per say, although I did briefly talk about Pragmatism. The reason I did not prove a new theory of truth is because Roy never answered my contentions regarding Logical Positivism, and a propositional theory of truth is un-needed in my argument.
With that then I believe I have shown that Ontology in essence necessitates God. I thank Roy Latham once more for taking out time from his schedule and debating me. If at any time I seemed anything but grateful please forgive me, for I truly do value your contentions to my argument. I also thank the voters, and the readers for going through my (as I am told) esoteric writing, and giving a thoughtful judgement.
Pro told me he believed this debate will be interesting to a number readers. I hope so.
Pro says, “Now as for concessions, I believe Roy has conceded that ideas are in fact not propositions for he no longer carries on that attack.”
The problem for Pro is that he specifically claimed that the idea of God is either true or false. Since only propositions are true or false, if he wants to strictly maintain that ideas are not propositions, then the claim of his proposition is meaningless. What he meant to say was “either the God, as conceived, exists or does not exist.” That is the proposition he must prove. I established that either an idea or a proposition can be meaningless.
Pro says “Any argument against God's existence, a negative argument will not be counted here.” says,
I think Pro is confusing a point about the nature of arguments with the validity of the arguments. Pro has to prove that the existence of tri-omni God can be established based upon thought alone. That means that no reference to the real world can be made in imagining or proving the God. My argument is that it is not possible to imagine an omni-benevolent all-powerful God without referencing the real world, and in fact referencing the real world a comprehensive way. My point is that the Argument from Evil and the Argument from Non-belief, which deal with the contradiction between the two claimed properties of God, are inherently outside of ontology. God cannot have infinite power and universal benevolence without expression in the real world. A volcano god can be imagined as existing or not existing, because the volcano god might exist but conceivably never act on volcanoes. A God-concept supposing that an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God might exist solely in the realm of thought is unimaginable, because benevolence is only defined by action upon humans.
“Now secondly Roy says he has the right to be inconsistent, and launch individual attacks. This is a load of bull. The burden is on me to show necessarily O, but as soon as Roy makes a an argument the burden shifts on him to prove his statement.”
Pro must prove four independent propositions, with proved premises logically yielding his conclusion. I pointed out that in general, if I use some argument against premise 1 and another argument against premise 2, there is no need for my two arguments to be consistent with each other. this is done all the time with arguments that say "suppose x is true, then..." All that matters is that one or the other argument be a correct argument that shows that one of the premises is false. Moreover, I might make two arguments against one premise, and have those two arguments be inconsistent. It does not matter, so long as one of my two arguments is valid.
I must make any single argument self-consistent. But Pro must argue the specifics of that particular argument, not give a lecture on debate principles and leave a homework assignment to figure out where he thinks it applies.
Pro says, “I win this debate for one simple reason, that this was the most important premise and I supplied three proofs for this premise.”
Pro's argument depends upon four premises. He must prove all four, not just the one he considers most important. If any premise fails for any reason, the logic of the entire argument fails.
Pro says “My opponent has only tackled one of these premises, alongside a negative argument. He has left out the other two and these should win me the argument.”
Pro says, “Now the first contention that is brought up is that the idea of God is not simple. .... Now tell me what is the taste of an omni-benevolent God (give me an answer which has the conceptualization of necessity: that it is universal to all people who possess the idea of God). What is the smell of omniscience, what pray tell is the sound of omnipotence?”
I pointed out the error in equating “sensation” with the senses of taste, smell, and so forth. The error is than humans imagine complex things that ultimately experienced as simple sensations. The idea of omnipotence cannot be tasted, but the only way we can maintain the idea of omnipotence is imagine how it is realized. “Omnipotence” is simple only in that it is a single word, but any imaging of the concept behind the word requires recognizing the enormous complexity of controlling everything. I don't know what Hume would say, but Pro never responded in any way except to repeat what he originally said and to falsely claim I granted it.
I claimed that an idea was nonsense if it either had no direct experience in the real world or could not be mapped into a potential experience in the real world. Pro attempts a counter-example to my objection, “In any case lets take a few examples which would be nonsensical to Roy now. Lets recall the example of pain. Now pain only has one distinction: that of touch, so it is again a simple idea. Now pain does not have a sound (the person experiencing it might), nor does it have a taste.” But that is not a counter-example, because that meets my definition of something sensible. It corresponds directly to a real world experience. I cannot guess why Pro thinks it a counter-example.
Pro says, “Roy also pseudo-appeals to Logical Positivism, there is a drifting sense of it in his words. I remind the voters he never proved this theory.” Pro's assertions are both false. I made no appeal to logical positivism, direct or indirect. I never mentioned logical positivism nor did I reference any result from it. I claimed that Pro's premise which includes his claim that “a certain God either exists or does not exist” is not valid. Pro's error is that there is a third alternative. Rather than true or false, the God concept can be meaningless.
I proved that a concept can be meaningless by giving three examples of concepts that are meaningless. Pro attempted to prove that the Jabberwocky example was meaningful, but when I pointed out that no creature could be either judged “twill and brillig” or not “twill and brillig” because those are nonsense words, Pro dropped his argument. Pro never attempted to prove that a “green colorless idea” could have meaning. I gave the example of a “God that can make a rock so big he can't lift it” as an example of a nonsense concept. It's nonsense to demand a logical contradiction be performed. I think Pro took it as an example of a disproof of God rather than an example of nonsense, but in any case it stands as a nonsense concept of God.
Pro seems to suppose that the argument was about whether ideas are propositions or not. It was never about that. It was about whether there was an alternative to Pro's concept of God "existing or not existing." Whether considered either as an idea or or as an idea claimed to exist, it was reality.
All it takes to prove that a concept can be meaningless is one example, so I proved my claim redundantly. Pro's premise that a concept must be true or false is thereby shown to be a false. All that's necessary to win the debate is for me to show one of Pro's premises false, and I have done that.
Pro has littered this debate with false claims of my making concessions or making contradictions. I have no objective to Pro saying that he thinks my saying A concedes B, or that my saying C contradicts my saying D. If he as ever made such pointed claims, I've missed them. He seems content to let both me and the reader guess what he is talking about. When he says that I somehow invoked logical positivism without proving it, that's an inexcusable. Logical positivism holds some things to be meaningless, but I never made any references to logical positivism, and I went no further than to prove that some concepts and propositions are meaningless.
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