The Instigator
David99741
Pro (for)
The Contender
Envisage
Con (against)

Does God Exist?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/5/2018 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,720 times Debate No: 110191
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (41)
Votes (0)

 

David99741

Pro

The first round will be for acceptance only. I intend to use the ontological argument and the moral argument in this debate.
Envisage

Con

Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
David99741

Pro

In this discussion, I will be arguing that there are better reasons to believe that God exists than to belive that He does not exist. Although there are many arguments for the existence of God, I will be defending two of them in this debate.

First, the Ontological Argument. The ontological argumenr states that if God's existence is at all possible, then God does exist. Fist, let's define God. God is a maximumly great being. If something were grearer than God, then that would be God. For a being to be maximumly great, it would have to he all loving, all powerful, morally perfect, and exist in every possible world. Let me divide this argument into basic premises:

-It is possible that a maximumly great being exists.

For the atheist to deny this premise, he would have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is impossible for a maximumly great being to exist in any possible world.

-A maximumly great being exists in some possible world

Following the first contention, this premise must also be true. Please note, by "possible world", I am not referring to an alternate universe or something of the sort. Rather, I am talking about another abstract description of what this world could have been. Since it is possible that a maximumly great being exists, we therefore can think of a possible world in which a maximumly great being exists. Thus, a maximumly great being exists in some possible world.

-If a maximumly great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

This is part of what it means to be maximumly great. In order for a being to be maximumly great, it would have to be maximumly great in every possible world. If this was not the case, then the being would not be maximumly great.

With these contentions being true, then it logically follows that:

-If a maximumly great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

-A maximumly great being exists in the actual world
-Therefore, a maximumly great being exists.

My second argument is the moral argument. The moral argument goes as follows:

-If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
-Objective moral values and duties do exist
-Therefore, God exists

If an atheist wants to deny the conclusion, he must first deny either of the two first contentions. Let's look at the first contention. If God does not exist, what basis is there for morality? How do we know what is really right or wrong? If a man stole something, how can we say that it is really wrong? If he stole something for his own personal gain, is it not right? Without God, these things would be merely opinions. There would be no absolute standard of right and wrong. I do not think anyone can deny the second contention. We all know it is objectively wrong to steal or to murder. Thus, with these two contentions being true, it logically follows that God exists.
Envisage

Con

Pro holds the BoP in this debate, so I will focus on negating Pro's arguments so that this burden is not met. I will try to keep it as concise as Pro too.

Ontological Argument

Pro’s argument here presupposes S5 Modal logic with possible world semantics. I don’t have an issue a priori with this, except that it requires very specific meanings of the word “possible”, and “necessary”.

Rebuttal

Pro’s argument is logically valid, however the most premise that needs justification is Pro’s first one: “It is possible that a maximumly great being exists”, which Pro has not even attempted to prove of justify.

Now, this what Pro needs to prove here is metaphysical possibility (that there exists a coherent abstract description of a reality that contains a being that exists by definition, in all other abstract worlds), not just epistemic possibility (that is could be true, for “all I know”).

The former mode of possibility needs to actually be proven, not assumed.

The issue I raise with this comes in two parts:

Problems when applies to other cases

The Goldbach conjecture is an unproven theorem in mathematics. IF the Goldbach conjecture is true in one possible world then it is true in every possible world (using Pro’s possible world semantics).

Therefore we get the following argument:

  1. It is possible the Goldbach conjecture is correct

  2. The Goldbach conjecture is correct in some possible world

  3. If the Goldbach conjecture is possible in some possible world, then it is is correct in all possible worlds

  4. The Goldbach conjecture is correct in the actual world

Now, obviously this is an absurd way to prove mathematical theorums, however this argument is logically valid using the same framework Pro has used to justify his own argument. The only premise that can be incorrect here is P1 – “It is possible the Goldbach conjecture is correct”. However the burden is clearly not on the skeptic to “prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is impossible”. Metaphysical possibility here needs to actually be proven.

Reverse Ontological Argument

This argument actually works in reverse:

  1. It is possible that a maximumly great does not exist

  2. A maximumly great being does not exist in some possible world

  3. If a maximumly great does not exist in some possible world, then it does not exist in any possible world.

  4. If a maximumly great being exists in no possible world, then it does not exist in the actual world.

Things get even worse for Pro here since it is trivial to propose descriptions of worlds without a God in it. For example, a hypothetical world with space, static time and one particle that exists indefinitely. Or a world with just space and nothing else in it. All Godless, and easy to define mathematically.

Now, we have two mutually exclusive premises:

  1. It is possible that a maximumly great does not exist

  2. It is possible that a maximumly great exists

Both of these premises cannot be correct at the same time, and both can’t be false. So why should we prefer B over A? No justification is, or could be, given.

My second argument is the moral argument. The moral argument goes as follows:

Moral Argument

Contrary to Pro’s expectations, this moral nihilist (me) will dispute the second premise. I assert there are no objective moral values and duties. The burden is entirely on Pro to prove the affirmative. Pro asserts “We all know it is objectively wrong to steal or to murder”. This is just an assertion.

While humans generally have advertsions to certain behaviours and actions (which is unsurprising, since we have similar psychology and biology), that’s not the same as objective moral values and duties existing.

Values are by definition, subjective, since it is a subject that values. I value something, another person values something, etc. Values by definition cannot be objective since theya re derived from a subject.

Duties are poorly defined, but duties tend to be defined as a duty towards a party, organisation or individual. All of these are subjects, and therefore are not objective.

To make thigns worse for Pro, I pose the following horned dilemma:

  1. Either Gods exists or doesn’t exist

  2. If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.

  3. If God does exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.

  4. Objective moral values and duties do not exist

P1 is tautologically true, and P2 is the same as Pro’s first premise, he cannot attack this without dropping his argument, so all is left is to affirm P3.

If anything “not a God” cannot ground objective moral values and duties, then all that is left to differentiate P3 from P2 is God itself. However, God is a subject (since he is intelligent, and a being). Therefore any duties grounded by him are therefore grounded by a subject. Thus, even if God exists, nothing improves.

Debate Round No. 2
David99741

Pro

My opponent begins in stating that the burden of proof is on me. I would like to point out, however, that if he is to assert that God does not exist, then he needs to successfuly refute both of my arguments; as well, needs to in turn provide his own argument against the existence of God.

My opponent's major objection to the Ontological Argument lies within the second contention. He states that it is up to the theist to demonstrate that it is possible for a maximumly great being to exist. I believe, however, that the burden of proof is entirley in his hands. If he wants to deny the first contention while remaining rational, he needs to prove that the idea of a maximumly great being is incoherent. To paraphrase, he needs to demonstrate that it is impossible for a maximumly great being to exist, regardless of the type of world we may have lived in. To give an analogy, there is no possible world in which a married bachelor can exist, as "married bachelor", is a palpable oxymoron. There is nothing contradictory about a maximunly great being.

My opponent then goes on to state that the Ontological Argument can be used to support other ideas. He gives the analogy of the Goldbach Conjecture, which he has structured as:
-It is possible that the Goldbach conjecture is correct
-The Goldbach conjecture is correct in some possible world
-If the Goldbach conjecture in some possible world, then it is correct in all possible worlds
-The Goldbach conjecture is correct in the actual world

The problem with this is that there is no reason as to why the Goldbach Conjector would have to be correct in all possible worlds. Remember, the justification I provided for a maximumly great being having to exist in all possible worlds is that in order for something to be maximumly great, it has to exist in every possible world; otherwise, it would not be maximumly great. Yes, he did use the same structure as my argument, but his third contention is unjustified; therefore, his argument would fall apart.

My opponent then goes on to state that the Ontological Argument works in reverse. Howver, his argument falls apart in his second contention. A maximunly great being can't not exist in some possible world, as if this were the csse, the being would not be maximumly great. If my opponent wants to stick to this premise, then he needs to prove that it is impossible for a maximumly great being to exist.

My opponent then states that he can imagine worlds in which it is possible for a maximumly great being to not exist. However, as previously stated, if a maximumly great being exists in one possibme world, then He necessarily needs to exist in every possible world, otherwise He would not be maximumly great.

My opponent then responds to the moral argument by stating objective moral values and duties do not exist. If this is the case, then it is simply an opinion that it is wrong to murder. Unless you are a psychopath, we all feel bad when we do something immoral.
Envisage

Con

Burden of Proof

Pro is on the affirmative, and making a positive claim, which always carries the burden of proof. I can affirm arguments against God’s existence in this round (as I have one last round) but neither are necessary to win the debate.

Ontological Argument

The premise “It is possible that God (a MBG) exists” is entirely on Pro’s hands to demonstrate and prove. It’s a necessary premise for Pro’s argument to work, he cannot just assume it. Given that I have given direct challenges to the assumptions made when presenting this premise, it’s high time Pro actually give some support for it.

Note that this is metaphysical possibility (there is a metaphysically possible world where there is a MBG) he needs to prove, not just epistemic (It could be true, for all I know”). While proving God’s incoherence by an internal contradiction is one way to do this myself, it’s not the only way. I could also just demonstrate a possible world without a God in it.

Goldbach’s Refutation

I am puzzled by pro’s rebuttal here, mathematical truths follow directly from the laws of logic, they are apodictic truths. Therefore Pro would need to assert that the laws of logic don’t apply to other metaphysical worlds in order to argue against the second premise “If the Goldbach conjecture in some possible world, then it is correct in all possible worlds”.

IF Pro insists on doing that, then he will drop any argument made about other metaphysically possible worlds since he is using the laws of logic and inference to argue about them in those worlds and using the axiom S5 logic system to prove that God would exist in all possible worlds if he existed in just one. Unless Pro has some magical reason why the axiom S5 system works in other metaphysically possible worlds, and why the mathematical system that entails 2+2=4 does not (since the Goldbach’s conjecture is literally a version of this), then Pro cannot possible dispute the second premise without killing his own argument. He would be arguing against the logical system he himself is using if he tried.

Now, the point of this is to show that assuming metaphysical possibility is true from the outset of any claim is absurd, it needs to be proven, the burden of proof therefore is squarely on Pro to show that God’s (defined as a MGB) is metaphysically possible. Good luck doing that.

Reverse Modal Ontological Argument

I will use this as my positive argument, since it carries the same assumptions Pro uses and keeps the debate nice and concise.

Predicate Definition

In Pro’s response to the reverse MOA (which I support further later), Pro seems to be assuming that an attribute of God is “to exist”, which is just a case of burying the term “existence” into God’s definition. However this is trivially shown to be incorrect by posing other examples:

The “whitehouse residing alien” is defined as an alien that exists in the White House, US.

Therefore, to argue that the Whitehouse alien doesn’t exist in some possible world would be to say the whitehouse alien isn’t “whitehouse residing”. Which is a logical contradiction. Therefore there are no possible worlds where the “whitehouse residing alien” doesn’t exist.

Now, there is nothing logically contradictory about a “whitehouse residing alien”, much like Pro asserts there is nothing logically contradictory about a “whitehouse residing alien”. At least at first glance. The issue is that the coherence of God’s and the “whitehouse residing alien’s” definition depends on there actually being a metaphysically possible world where such a thing exists.

Note that I have used a concrete example, but it’s trivially easy to make it abstract and not have a random being’s existence depend on space, time or a physical location that itself would contradict God.

Possible Worlds without God

Pro makes no argument about my possible worlds without a God in it (one or no particle universes, etc.), all of which are fully describable mathematically and therefore entail no obvious logical contradiction. These possible worlds applied to the reverse MOA entails that God’s existance is impossible. Pro would need to dispute the coherence of these worlds to actually get anywhere.

Simply asserting that “A maximunly great being can't not exist in some possible world, as if this were the csse, the being would not be maximumly great” is not enough. It would just follow that the maximally great being just doesn’t exist, since a MGB’s existance in all possible worlds only follows if and only if the MGB exists in at least one possible world. It would just follow that the BGS is metaphysically incoherent, that is God’s definition contradicts reality.

For example, I can invent a new word “Envisrich”, which means “10,000,000 dollars in Envisage’s bank account”. There is nothing logically contradictory about this, however my bank account is pretty empty, so it’s incoherent with this world. Similarly God would just be incoherent with all metaphysically possible worlds.


My opponent then goes on to state that the Ontological Argument works in reverse. Howver, his argument falls apart in his second contention. A maximunly great being can't not exist in some possible world, as if this were the csse, the being would not be maximumly great. If my opponent wants to stick to this premise, then he needs to prove that it is impossible for a maximumly great being to exist.

Moreover, the existance of a possible world without God follows directly from the axiom S5 system of modal logic. If Pro asserts the second premise of the modal argument is false, then Pro would need to attack his own logical system by which he is arguing for God’s existance. Therefore we are left with choosing between two premises:

a) It’s possible that God exists

b) it’s possible that God doesn’t exist

I assert the latter, Pro asserts the former, both can’t be right. I have actually given support for my premise, Pro has given zero for his.

Moral Argument

Pro essentially drops this argument, he gives no rebuttal or support to the premises I have challenged:


“My opponent then responds to the moral argument by stating objective moral values and duties do not exist. If this is the case, then it is simply an opinion that it is wrong to murder. Unless you are a psychopath, we all feel bad when we do something immoral.”

How Humans feel is by definition, subjective. It literally doesn’t get more subjective than that. Therefore moral values are subjective? Pro essentially kills his own premise with this admission. If this is Pro’s best defence of objective moral values then I am happy to run the reverse argument.

Now, even so, psychopaths indeed don’t share this feeling, therefore this feeling isn’t ubiquitous. Moreover Pro would need to assert that every person who believes murdering such as with the death penalty is also a psychopath. It’s not a ubiquitous value even among non-psychopaths, Pro’s assertion that objective moral values fails here at every level.

Reverse Moral Argument
1. If God exists, moral nihilism is false
2. Moral nihilism is true
C. God doesn't exist

I proved the incoherent of objective moral values last round, so this reverse argument holds.

Debate Round No. 3
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Fiasco 3 years ago
Fiasco
Well! I think it's clear that we have reached the end of our discussion, and we have gotten exactly nowhere. Oh, well....I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Adios, until we meet again! :)
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
In that case.. Just read your own comments..
Posted by Fiasco 3 years ago
Fiasco
@canis

This will be my last try. You claim to have provided evidence. I must be blind; I have seen none. I speak of evidence for this statement: "Wrong what you brought up is not relevant to any truth."

Please show me again what your evidence was?
Thanks.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
Comment on this..just to get you started..
https://gizmodo.com...
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
Well and you will comment it was my selfmade truth..But it will be what you can end up with..
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
The only self made" truth" you came with is :"Your god is what you can imagine...Nothing more...Nothing less".
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
But I must ask that you don't make strong claims and provide no evidence to support them. I did not make claimes.. And did provide evidence..

"I'm not a psychologist, and the points I have been bringing up are relevant only to truth, not psychology. "
Wrong what you brought up is not relevant to any truth.
Posted by Fiasco 3 years ago
Fiasco
@canis

I'd love to have an honest conversation with you! But I must ask that you don't make strong claims and provide no evidence to support them. As such, they seem difficult to take seriously!
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
"I'm not a psychologist, and the points I have been bringing up are relevant only to truth, not psychology. "
Wrong what you brought up is not relevant to any truth.
Posted by Fiasco 3 years ago
Fiasco
@canis

Okay, I will keep going with that one! But, how about we just stick to this topic alone. If we were to debate Evolution in full, I'm sure we'd both have a ton of points to bring up and support our side...but I don't have quite enough free time to get into all of that! However, this statement of yours does seem worth some further discussion.

So! I'll get right into it. Relating God to a monster under your bed is a new one for me. As I see it, there are two major points to bring up regarding this:

1) Imagination really has nothing to do with reality. You may think there's a monster under bed, but there's not....or you may think there's not, and there really is. Or, you may be right! But what you imagine doesn't affect whether or not there really is a monster under your bed. Sure, it will affect what you do as a result of your belief: you may be completely carefree, or afraid to let your feet touch the ground! But like I said before, truth isn't subjective.

2) If you are really referring to what you do as a result of your belief (implied by your use of the words "your god"), rather than what is actually true, then it's a different discussion altogether. This discussion would be a purely psychological one, analyzing the effects of different beliefs on one's actions, regardless of truth. I'm not a psychologist, and the points I have been bringing up are relevant only to truth, not psychology. It would be helpful if you could clarify on that one: Are you talking about what's true and what's not, or about a person's opinionated viewpoint on it?
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