The Instigator
Con (against)
4 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

The Deistic God

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,709 times Debate No: 49885
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




Myself and Iredia disagree on essentially everything with regards to space, evolution, intelligence and God, so this debate will concentrate in Iredia's side, with particular focus on his interpretation for the requirement of a deity.


Iredia will begin his arguments in Round 1 and will leave the final round blank/state "Left Blank as Agreed" in order to have an equal number of rounds (4).

No new arguments in the final round, only summarisation and rebuttals.

In round 1 I would like Iredia to lay down the relevant definitions, especially regarding his deity, although one requirement of an attribute must be that it has a mind (I think Iredia agrees in this much).

Changes in format:
Inform me in the comments section prior to accepting this debate what you would like changed regarding the format, and I will oblige.



By God, I mean the Creator of the universe. The non-contingent Mind in which we are and which willed the universe into being.
By consciousness, I mean self-awareness in humans.


My argument is simply from consciousness. For in the unlikely event, that all we see in Nature arose without purpose, and by a combination of chance and natural laws, consciousness in humans must be explainable from a naturalistic standpoint. I don't think atheists address it. I think they ignore or misundertand it and how it weighs much in favor as the evidence for God. Consciousness is very crucial because without it we can't know anything. Without it, the senses mean nothing. Anybody who has thought about it knows it's one thing for you hear and another to listen. In other words, you can receive sensory input and be unconscious of the fact. As it applies to consciousness, the atheist's argument confuses consciousness with processes in the brain that (partly) account for it. Chalmers' argument of a philosophical zombie is important here [1]. In it, he argues that humans can act the way they do without being conscious of the fact. This is valid reasoning because it has clear precedents in the behaviour of babies, in sleep walking, and in well-known cases where (during a momentary lapse of attention) we become unconscious of what we do. So, the self-awareness of our actions, or those we are yet to do violates the fact that matter is unconscious. I have concluded that if the case for God must be made then the materialist stance on consciousness must be shown to be lacking. It is then that one can be free to see God as the only valid means we can make sense out of the universe and purpose in it. My argument is a two-pronged. The first to show a causal gap, the second to show why God fills that gap.

The First Part

P1) Matter lacks consciousness.
P2) The physical universe is made up of matter.
P3) Humans (and their brain) are made up of matter.

Observation: Humans possess consciousness.

Conclusion: There is a causal gap that needs to be explained. How do physical events in the brain lead to the subjective experience of consciousness humans are familiar with ?

Explanation: The reason for my conclusion is simple. As far as we know physical processes lead to effects that are physically observed, at least in principle. For example, dark matter is inferred from its effects on light and galaxies, and it is also detectable in principle. The fact that material causes have veritable material effects is fundamental to science. But in consciousness we have two dilemmas: how can physical processes in the brain result in 'something' that is immaterial ? Furthermore, how is this 'something' self-aware, and knows itself and other things ? We are very familiar with it but it isn't to be taken for granted. And the fact is, while it does happen in humans and other organisms, physical processes don't account for self-awareness and the knowledge that comes with it since matter lacks both in the first instance. Emergent property doesn't explain it because the only emergent property matter effects are other materials with different physical properties eg hydrogen and oxygen result in liquid water. But self-awareness isn't physical, it is mental and is in a well-known class of its own. With that in mind let's see why God is necessary to close that gap, which by the way is a crucial gap, because consciousness is the seat of rationality or knowing of any sort.

The Final Part

P1) Matter can't account for consciousness since it lacks it (my previous arguments back this premise).
P2) There can't be an infinite regress of conscious beings (life on earth isn't eternal).
P3) The cause of consciousness in conscious beings must be uncaused and conscious (given P1 and P2).

Observation: Conscious beings come from conscious beings (as generally seen in mammals).

Conclusion: I postulate that God is responsible for consciousness in humans.

Explanation: The bone of contention here would be P3. But P3 follows because if the cause consciousness is caused like humans and other organisms are, it is contingent on matter, and its consciousness needs explanation. So it must be uncaused. If it is unconscious (as Sswdm would like) we have a causal gap that still begs for explanation. How did consciousness come from what doesn't have it ? The best that can be done is to pressuppose consciousness is a material property, which is disingenous. Because it suggests I'm talking with a robot, and on a serious note, gets at the heart of why people think atheism is purposeless: it denies the very thing by which anyone has purpose (ie consciousness). If you say consciousness is material, and deny that it is immaterial then it follows it that you deny consciousness as a subjective experience which isn't material, and which is precisely what we mean by consciousness. The fact that consciousness depends on the brain is accepted by most people. What they won't accet is that they aren't conscious or that their consciousness is illusory. It is worthy to note that unconscious people of any stance (eg theist etc) or state (eg asleep or dead) can't ask, talkless answer the question.

Possible objections

Since we've argued on this before I'm aware that Con doesn't believe consciousness is immaterial, although he admits that concepts are immaterial. I don't think his position explains consciousness; he can only assume it evolved. I find this to be deficient since evolution boils down to mere material processes and so cannot possibly explain consciousness. It can explain the brain and how it works, but physical processes don't (fully) explain consciousness and the consequent ability to abstract concepts like truth from the physical world. I have already explained why insisting that consciousness is material falls short. The experience of consciousness isn't something that is physical, no more than unconsciousness is physical. Other objections may then try to attack the final part. But I think this wouldn't help Con's stance. The debate on God's existence is based on a fundamental dichotomy when it comes to explaining the universe. The one between idealism and materialism, while these two may intersect in certain ways eg theistic evolution, it doesn't make the dichotomy false. Hence, if Con's stance_which is materialistic_fails then mine is upheld by elimination. Hence, any objection which attacks the second part and leaves out the first concedes the causal gap I point out initially, and this would be fatal to Con's position.


Debate Round No. 1



Thanks to Pro for his prompt & spirited opening arguments. I can't promise I can be quite as prompt with all my rebuttals, but I will give it my best attempt.

Burden of Proof:

Of course I must re-iterate, the BoP is on Pro to demonstrate that a God according the definition Pro has provided exists.

‘Causal Gap argument’

Unfortunately Pro’s conclusion goes farther than his premises will take him, and is attempting to take for granted which isn’t rightfully argued for.

Let’s revisit the argument:

P1.) Matter lacks consciousness.

P2.) The physical universe is made up of matter.

P3.) Humans (and their brain) are made up of matter.

P4.) Humans possess consciousness.

The working definition of matter I am using is:

“The substance of which a physical object is composed” [1]

The correct conclusion is simply:

C.) Human’s possess an additional attribute over matter, i.e. the substance from which the physical object is composed, or assembled.

This argument, can be made for virtually any attribute that macroscopic objects possess which are not applied to the matter these objects are composed of.




Chemical Bonding


A very important distinction one must make in these attributes is that they are entirely descriptive of the physical state the object in question is. The removal of a single molecule will change an object’s sharpness, smoothness, shininess etc., and I will argue it’s very much the same for consciousness.


Of course I am never going to be able to answer this in this debate when it’s an entire field of science. From what we do know however, consciousness is entirely based upon physical processes occurring from within the brain. Furthermore, we see examples of consciousness all throughout the animal kingdom at varying levels of complexity.

The common chimpanzee for example, possesses similar types of neurones to us humans [2] and other fellow primates, and is self-aware and is capable of some higher-level functions usually attributed to humans. These being able to respond to questions in sign language[3]. Furthermore they are known to make & use tools.

We can follow the animal kingdom to lesser intelligent examples, to cats, to fish to ants and leeches. What is seen is a reduction in the complexity and sophistication in the level of cognition. Responses become more reactive, and ‘programmed’ and less

This scales roughly with the number of neurons present in each species’ brain[4]:

Humans: 85,000,000,000

Chimpanzee: 6,700,000,000

Cat: 1,000,000,000

Ant: 71,000,000

Leech: 10,000

Therefore, I would like to challenge the preconceptions behind the following premise:

P4.) Humans possess consciousness.

As it presumes consciousness is something you can have, or have-not. And is akin to ‘having temperature’ or ‘having speed’.

These properties are all emergent from the complex interactions of matter with physical processes, such as spacial & temporal dimensions, force carriers etc. I would argue that he ‘causal gap’ is nothing more than begging an explanation for any macroscopic property.

Now, onto the second part of Pro’s argument.:

P1.) Matter can't account for consciousness since it lacks it (my previous arguments back this premise).

P2.) There can't be an infinite regress of conscious beings (life on earth isn't eternal).

P3.) The cause of consciousness in conscious beings must be uncaused and conscious (P1 & P2)

P4.) Conscious beings come from conscious beings (as generally seen in mammals).

C.) I postulate that God is responsible for consciousness in humans.

This argument suffers a multitude of issues:

1.Fallacy of composition

From P1, Pro argues that the ‘parts’ are representative of the ‘whole’. While a single molecule of water cannot account for ‘puddleness’, a puddle is what we assign to a particular quantity, state, and orientation of a mass of water molecules. Similarly in consciousness, this is simply a state that is assigned to a particular configuration of matter and its macroscopic properties.

2.Has/Has not dichotomy. The reducibility of.

I have already discussed how having something that is demonstrably reducible is a nonsensical argument, the naturalistic argument for how

3.Conscious beings come from conscious beings

The lack of specificity in my opponent’s language makes it hard to find Pro’s precise point. And will allow the audience to fill in the gaps in explanation with their own presuppositions. This will make this debate a waste of time.

Addressing this argument on the face of it, we have examples of brain-dead patients who have given birth to healthy children [5]. Furthermore I would like to propose the following (admittedly grotesque) thought experiment, and potential empirical test for Pro’s claims.

Take a male & female foetus (which we will agree has never been conscious), induce brain death in both but maintain the vitals and allow to full development to puberty. Then via IVF or some other process implant an egg from the female, fertilized by the sperm of the brain-dead male.

Would the female be able to give birth to a conscious child. By taking P3 at face value, this should not be possible, but I would beg to ask what is the mechanism that prevents this from occurring. What mechanism ‘passes on consciousness’ from parent to child? When the science suggests it’s entirely based upon physical processes.

4.Argument ad ignorantum

Let’s assume there is no satisfactory answer from Naturalism/Physicalism yet, what then? The current failure to explain something does in no way lend to the credence to the existence of a deity. This exact same argument can be made for ‘alive’ with the same justification. Just because one cannot yet explain the origin of something doesn’t mean it’s rational to postulate answers where there is no evidence for such.

Evolutionary Origins:

In evolution we see that many of the structures, traits and characteristics are reducible to simpler and simpler origins. Essentially everything from the eye, to the blood clotting cascade are very plausibly derived from simpler systems, I would like to ask Pro how this does not apply to consciousness, and what is the mechanism for preventing such?


I am actually quite impressed by Pro’s arguments, and look forward to reading his rebuttals.





I'll start by answering Con's question on why I think evolution can't account for consciousness. The answer is simple: consciousness is not a material attribute. Unfortunately, this is where presuppositions are a hindrance since Con insists that consciousness strictly reduces to the ongoings in the brain. I was hoping Con will target more important points I made starting from my explanation (in the first part of my argument) that consciousness (ie self-awareness) isn't physical. Or my talk of why the emergent property explanation of consciousness fails. Neither does his counter hold because he still repeats that consciousness is physical. It is interesting he says that consciousness is a property like sharpness and smoothness is. This is because he touches on the most difficult aspect of consciousness that religion extends: the ability to attribute properties to physical objects. For example, height isn't physical and yet it exists because as conscious beings we abstract what height is from seeing physical objects. We just do. Humans quickly infer or attach concepts to and from objects; this is at once the source of human creativity and depravity. On a general note, I think Con's arguments fell into the trap of not building the case against the more important first part of my argument, and 'over-bashing' the second part when its case actually rests on the first part. I hope to build on why neuroscience doesn't help his case and show why his case against the second part of my argument is without merit. It is also noteworthy that while I do have a burden of proof, in the course of debate it can shift to Con if he makes a claim that must be evidenced. Hence, I would want Con to state if consciousness (by which I mean self-awareness) is physical, and if so, bring evidence for it.

Rebuttals For The First Part Of My Argument

* On Matter: First of all I think your definition of matter is vague. Till date, particle physicists are still finding out what matter is. Physical objects are composed of smaller physical objects eg molecules, atoms, quarks, etc. So the 'substance' in your definition must be physical. By matter, I was referring to elements since all objects are certain to be either macromolecules of elements or compounds of elements. If you agree with this we can move on.

* On the 'causal gap' argument: Your conclusion on my causal gap argument doesn't refute it at all. It refines it. Consciousness is certainly an additional attribute over matter. The key words being 'over matter'. Because being over matter suggests that consciousness is an extra baggage atop it.
The physical properties you list, in an attempt to show how consciousness is naturally explained fail for a primary reason: they are attributes conscious minds attach to physical objects. For example, water doesn't know whether its liquid or solid. Neither does a broken glass know if it is sharp. Protons are oblivious to being bound by a strong force: humans observe protons behave in a manner and infer a strong force. The macroscopic objects as constituted by matter just are. Again, this aspect of our debate is crucial as it resonates with a defining ability that comes with our consciousness: the ability to attach or abstract concepts to or from objects respectively. For example, we look at a given natural scene and attach beauty to it, or we see a chair and abstract its volume, width, smoothness etc. Please distinguish the objects and the matter they are composed of from the concepts we make of them. As it applies to humans, consciousness isn't a physical property, it is an awareness of a property starting from knowing its existence. Other properties (eg location, color, temp) which we attach to objects are descriptive of the objects but consciousness goes farther than being a mere description of man; it is what does the describing.

My argument is not solipsistic. Solipsism asserts that when one dies, the universe outside of such a person, ceases to exist. This is false. In contrast, my stance would be that the universe can't know its state of existence without being conscious. And this applies to humans and the properties you mention. Removing a single molecule may change the sharpness, but the object remains. You may break the Himalayas today, but the molecules and atoms it is composed stay similar. The mistake you make is confusing the concepts (ie properties) you attach to objects for objects themselves. This is a point worth repeating.

* On consciousness: Neuroscience doesn't help your case. With or without it humans know they are conscious. I agree that consciousness is entirely based on the brain; that's not what I argue against. My argument is that it isn't fully explained by the brain. I already stated why. It isn't a material property. I grant that animals have varying degrees of consciousness, but theirs is diminished. Consciousness is more fully expressed in the average healthy human adult and though their consciousness is dependent on the brain; it isn't explained by it because the working brain itself (like a working processor) lacks consciousness.

Consciousness (or self-awareness) is thought to be mediated between a portion of the brain stem and the prefrontal cortex of our brains.[1] From experience, damage to this two areas puts people into coma where subjective consciousness is lost[2] This knowledge (while important) doesn't address the problem. The reason is that even these portions of the brain are also unconscious within the context of the working brain. Hence, I find your appeals to emergence to be special pleading.

As to consciousness being something one has (or doesn't have) I stand by it. Your analogy wasn't well explained. I can only presume you mean how temperature or speed are secondary attributes of objects, not objects themselves. This is true of consciousness is humans and it is precisely why I insist there is a causal gap. Begging the explanation_as you say_is precisely what the first part of my argument is. The reason is simple, I find that consciousness isn't physical thing, yet isn't nothing because it knows things. This lacks a precedent because most, if not all chemical reactions typically result in new materials as the emergent property.

To see how absurd your argument is, consider our earlier talk on purpose. You maintained that the universe is purposeless but humans made their own purpose. I then asked how humans could make their purpose when the universe (which is physical like them) lacks purpose. How will the specific arrangement of matter that humans are, have what the universe (a collection of matter too) lacks ? You simply assumed humans somehow had it. I submit to you that, at that point, you simply ignored the causal gap of consciousness as it relates to purpose. Only conscious beings find purpose or deny purpose.

Rebuttals On The Second Part Of My Argument

* On the fallacy of composition: I don't make that fallacy. In fact, what I specifically mean by matter are the elements in the periodic table. All objects are elements or compounds of elements. I disagree with Con's use of puddleness which is conceptual. The word 'puddle' is okay. A drop of water isn't a puddle but lots of water are. If I am ask to bring evidence for a puddle, pictures or videos of them are easily gotten. But consciousness would bring a case whereby lots of puddles know they exist. That wouldn't be an object. How can I detect knowing ? That would be an attribute that begs for explanation. My point in P1 is so that Con would see that even in a conscious brain, the current of sodium ions caused by synapses are themselves unconscious. I have already explained that emergent properties are physical eg hydrogen and oxygen combust to arrange themselves to a new compound called water. The emergent property they result in is physical. How on earth do you then derive the immaterial attribute of consciousness from an assemblage of matter which don't have it ?

* On Has/Has-not dichotomy: Until Con shows that consciousness is an object he is on shaky ground. I don't think he can. Any child knows that their consciousness isn't physical; and that it is somthing they have. As experienced, consciousness isn't physical and the reason why skeptics won't dismiss it is because they directly experience it. Even then, some like Dennet say it is illusory, which is absurd.[3]

* On conscious beings causing conscious beings: I actually gave more context to that argument using mammals as an example. I don't think my opponent's thought experiment will work here. The reason is simple. In the experiment, he is the conscious being who made the brain-dead mum live, concieve, and give birth. A brain-dead person won't even know they should eat without help, they need life support to even breathe (which doesn't require consciousness and suggests its a more widespread damage to the brain) just like the brain dead woman in his reference. A more convincing case would be a scenario like that of 'Kyle XY' who was bred in an artificial womb: even then, so far a conscious being arranged all that, my point will still stand. Robots doing so won't even help, because a conscious human would be the final cause within that scenario.

* On the argument from ignorance: I would argue that_on the contrary_the argument for God stems from what man knows. In this case, from the very source of knowledge. We know as an emergent property consciousness is not physical. We know that as an emergent property it results from the brain and depends on it. We know that knowledge of any kind stems from consciousness, and that all matter, compounds or elements (including the ones in the human brain) lack the ability to know. We know there is ignorance on how unconscious matter can result in conscious brains as in humans (and other apes). It is on the basis of explaining this gap we postulate a God. On the contrary, naturalists ignore the gap and assume matter somehow poofs up consciousness, or they say consciousness is an illusion, or they say consciousness is just the brain. If consciousness was just the brain at work you would think a neuroscientist would know my thoughts by looking at an fMRI scan of my brain. Even then, the 'knowing' wouldn't be physical. It also is important to note that being alive can't be indiscriminately used in my argument since being alive boils down strictly to biochemical processes in the body. As Con showed in his example and thought experiment, unconscious people can be kept alive. But if you mean alive in the truest sense, which is someone's consciousness (their persona), then my argument is applicable in that regard. Don't confuse the two uses of the term 'alive'.

* More on the place of evolutionary mechanisms: I have already said the first reason why evolution fails is that consciousness isn't physical. While neuroscience certainly allows us explore consciousness as it relates to the human body, it doesn't explain consciousness itself (as experienced). The same applies to evolutionary mechanisms. At a base level, evolution is simply chemical processes and how they result in new protein compounds. Random mutations tweaks biochemicals and natural selection is the result of the better ones flourishing. In that sense, evolution concords with naturalism. But when we get to consciousness, there is a problem, we can't explain it in terms of matter. The ability of a group of atoms to know they exist, concieve of other arrangements of matter not seen in nature (eg planes, artificial compounds, short-lived artificial elements, gadgets of all kinds etc) and infer attributes like beauty, religion etc from other physical arrangements is unprecedented . . . . and is immaterial. The only way we do involves equivocating it to the what goes on in the brain. You may equivocate to pheromones all you like but I'll bet that their physiological effect on a person in coma would meaningless. The saying is true that one can't find love in a test-tube and this is what applies to consciousness. As an 'evolved ability', it is inexplicable from a purely physical standpoint. If it isn't, then we should be zombies.

Possible Objections

Again, I think Con's response to my objections here will revolve around his some key beliefs he holds: 1) that consciousness is entirely physical 2) that the arrangement of matter in the human body and in animals fully explain consciousness 3) that consciousness is an emergent property 4) that naturalism is a simpler explanation on the origin of consciousness. If my case must be made these suppositions must be shown to be flawed and I believe I am doing so. If Con can't tell what physical object(s) is consciousness as I asked, then his first assumption falls. If 1) fails 2) falls with it because an arrangement of matter cannot be non-physical. If 2) falls 3) falls, since emergent properties are always physical. This will make 4) untenable as an explanation. We know that attimes simpler solutions can be simply wrong.


[1] Brain Facts pp 6, 8. Download here:
[2] [3]
Debate Round No. 2


Most of Con’s rebuttal was centred around consciousness possessing properties that matter alone cannot explain.

‘Refinement’ of the Argument:

The refinement was actually a blunt correction of Pro’s loaded conclusion, which originally went farther than his premises allowed him to, if we look again at the conclusion:

C.) Human’s possess an additional attribute over matter, i.e. the substance from which the physical object is composed, or assembled.

Then my arguments regarding other attributes become very relevant.

Sharpness, Smoothness, State, Chemical Bonding etc. can be fully explained by matter. If one was to simply apply this to consciousness, then it simply becomes a concept we attach to the processes from which manifest within the brain. As Daniel Dennet said, consciousness is likely but an illusion, and Con’s argument from incredulity doesn’t hold water. Is ‘Sharpness’ really an extra baggage over an arrangement of matter, does it need to be ‘imbued’ in order to be sharp?

Pro’s rebuttal that these properties are not self aware is just side-stepping the point, they still possess properties that ‘matter’ alone does not, and therefore puts this premise on shaky ground.

Material Conciousness:

There is good reason for thinking this is the case. If consciousness was not an illusion than one could expect that minor physical changes in the brain should not cause substantial effects on consciousness, if the brain is just something that mediates it. However doses of Oxytocin, Cannabis, Heroine and other neurostimulants induce enormous changes in consciousness at the micromolar scale. Such changes are easily explained in Biology, with these drugs having substantial effects on the synaptic pathways from where consciousness is thought to manifest, but no such explanation is as readily given by Pro.

Emotions too, are governed largely by hormones produced in various secretory organs (testacles, hypothalamus, the brain itself, etc).

Furthermore, Pro makes the remarkable assertion, “If consciousness was just the brain at work you would think a neuroscientist would know my thoughts by looking at an fMRI scan of my brain.”.

I am sure Pro has already seen the following TED talk where with technology available today, we can get an astonishing sight into what people ‘think’ [2]. Furthermore new applications for equipment controlled exclusively by brainwaves [3] (with great potential for ‘locked-in syndrome’).

Working Processor:

Pro gave the argument that the brainstem alone is unconscious, which rebuts the ‘emergent property’ argument. This is partially true, but that is gross misrepresentation of how something can be emergent. A single wire and battery isn’t going to do anything. Form a loop and you will have a heated wire, form multiple complex loops and you will get a magnet, flatten these out and change the conductivity in some areas and you will have a capacitor, and so on and so on and you will end up with a processor. All these ‘properties’ emerge from increasing complexity and at no point along this series does a magnet immediately become a magnet, or a capacitor become a capacitor etc. Of course if you cut out one of the core emergent ‘parts’, then that ‘part’ will lack the property that the system had, but it in no way invalidates that the property is an emergent one.

Concious beings causing conscious beings:

"The reason is simple. In the experiment, he is the conscious being who made the brain-dead mum live, concieve, and give birth"

Interesting! Once again the fact that conscious beings mediated this process is irrelevant to the argument. The argument was to highlight that at no point is this consciousness ‘substance’ ‘passed down’ from parent to child in this scenario. And is now down to just stating consciousness is just a cause. But the premise was that conscious beings come from conscious beings, and if it is shown to be unnecessary and purely a result of biology, then this premise falls flat.

Note that I don’t even agree with even the presupposition being this premise, that consciousness can come from anything, as it’s a manifestation of the material the brian is made of. In the context of evolution where the neurology becomes increasingly complex and the level of self awareness roughly scales with this increase over time. Going back to my brain cell count, what do Human’s have more then the Chimpanzee? Well obviously more neurones, more in some places than others. Both are self aware, although Humans are clearly more aware and much more capable of abstract though. Now what does a Chimpanzee have more than a Cat? Again more neurones, clearly is more aware, capable of deducing solutions (in the use of tools), and capable of complex sign language.

We can continue on, and the trend will roughly hold. This argument is as bad as ‘life comes from life’ or ‘monkey’s come from monkey’s argument against evolution. The answer being, absolutely true, monkeys do come from monkeys, and they most certainly always will, however changes accumulate and a new species will emerge. At no point will you be able to say ‘new species evolved right here’, as the changes are very gradual. Similarly in the emergence of consciousness, the same argument applies. At no point ‘does the lights get switched on’, as Pro subtle suggests.

Summary of Argument:

Returning to Pro's argument:

C1.) Human’s possess an additional attribute over matter, i.e. the substance from which the physical object is composed, or assembled.

P1) Matter can't account for consciousness since it lacks it

P2) There can't be an infinite regress of conscious beings

P3) The cause of consciousness in conscious beings must be uncaused and conscious

P4).Conscious beings come from conscious beings (as generally seen in mammals).

C2.)I postulate that God is responsible for consciousness in humans.

The position that conciousness is a manifestation of particular arrangements of matter [1], much like any other attribute that emerges (such as sharpness) rebuts P1. The argument that conciousness is not a has/has not dichotimy makes P2 completely irrelevant (as it then just becomes a finite regress into 'unconciousness', or at worst minimally conciousness (such as a simple electric cirtuit).

Also P4 has already been conceded by con, or at the very least has been left so poorly defined it's a 'junk premise' which is subject to non-concious processes substituting the physical actions that current concious beings can do. Which is akin to what is argued in evolution.

Worst of all, the conclusion once again goes farther than the premises allow, as at no point did Pro argue that the first concious being needs to be uncaused, he only argued that it could nto come form a concious being. What about a non-concious being? This is not as absurd as it sounds on the surface of it, although I also do not entertain the idea. The 'boltzman brain problem' [4] is that a brain could spontaneously appear as a random quantum fluxuation (although indescribably improbably for an any given period of time). However in a given reality where anything is possible, with unlimited tries, and that by the anthropic principle, we would not be discussing this problem if we were nto concious, it actually works to question this extra unargued for attribute in Pro's conclusion.









My next post would be conclusory and as is clear all that seperates me from Con are presuppositions. A materialist one on his part and an idealistic one on my part. As it stands, Con is 1) yet to admit the causal gap I mentioned, 2) has glossed over my request (which I highlighted) to state if consciousness is physical and substatiate it and 3) has not responded to my reply on evolutionary mechanisms and why they can't possibly account for consciousness. I will be focusing on rebutting specific points Con makes (on material consciousness, working processors, inferring thoughts from brain scans etc).

Rebuttals To Con's Points

I would like to give my arguments more depth by giving a short detail of an aspect of my deism.

After mulling deeply on the nature of reality as a result of debates on God I concluded that reality is based on 3 aspects: space, matter and mind. I have repeated that I hold space to be nothing, matter is physical (as are molecules, elements, quarks etc) and mind is that which is aware of the two. In mind, we have an excluded middle. Mind is not nothing, it is experienced in its many aspects such as awareness, memory, creativity etc. Neither is mind material. As experienced, it is immaterial.

A curious thing I note about the physical world is how we tend to take as physical, many aspects of that are in fact mental. For instance, one may quickly agree that beauty is a concept attached to objects; but the same is applicable to motion which is manifestly not an object. The moving object is physical but the object's movement isn't. When I consider the simple fact that mindless things can't even know they and other things exist, talkless of their motion, I'm led to conclude_like other idealists before me_that the basis of existence is mind. It is in the nature of mind to acknowledge existence even when there is none (eg space as nothing), and without it not even physical objects can be acknowledged.

One damning aspect of my stance is the gap between the immaterial and the material. 'Poofgooddidit' sums it up. Yet I find it curious that Krauss would say the same in his book 'A Universe From Nothing' and get away with it. At the least, his stance show that the materialist stance is not at all devoid of absurdities, since he asserts that the universe arose from nothing. And presumably, it evolved to result in conscious humans. This tells me that when it's convenient people will accept absurdities. As it stands, God couldn't have used physical means to make the physical world. It will be illogical. If one decides disembodied mind making the world is absurd, you still face having to explain how matter which clearly lacks mind resulting in beings with mind. At this point, matter poofing it up, or mind being illusory, or reducing mind to the material brain involve a denial of the fact of mental experience.

Keeping this in mind, let's see why Con's point fails

" on material consciousness: on the contrary, even Descartes tried to find the seat of the soul in the brain and fully believed that the brain explained the body's behaviour. There's nothing about dualism that precludes the fact that material effects affect consciousness. It so happens you are the one denying the opposite, that the conscious mind affects the way the brain behaves. I happen to be familiar with the TED talk on using brain waves to control devices and I've watched the TED talk on brain imaging. My response to it is that 1) the researchers involve didn't experience for themselves what the subject was thinking, 2) depended on past data built over the years on brain function and interpretation given by subjects 3) the image predicted from brain scans in Jou Lepsen's case study seemed to be highly constrained to videos similar to the ones the subjects were exposed to. And finally, Con ignores the caveat that follows after my talk on fMRI scans. I said "Even then, the 'knowing' wouldn't be physical."

" On emergent properties: Sharpness, chemical bonds and smoothness are not physical objects. One must seperate between objects and concepts we build around them to explain them. Con can use this same argument of emergent property for location, height, width and volume, which are also concepts we build around objects. I make a distinction between objects and the concepts we use to distinguish such objects. Con doesn't. I also note that these properties aren't self-aware because that's what is in contention, and consciousness is in a different category from such properties since consciousness makes a thing aware of itself. To show how absurd Con's insistence on sharpness and smoothness miss the point and don't explain anything I would ask him a question he will undoubtedly special plead for. What physical properties make an object sharp or smooth ? Chances are Con will simply repeat the definition of sharpness and smoothness.

" On conscious beings and working processors: In the case of brain-dead people, I never claimed that a consciousness substance was passed down. I simply noted conscious beings give birth to conscious beings. In mammals, consciousness is tied to our ability to move, survive and thrive. Without it we can't fulfill basic needs of feeding, reproduction and shelter so there's no way unconscious mammals or humans would mate, talkless reproduce. This is why I noted that Con was the conscious being who arranged everything and it is why Con's point fails. As for working processors, I concede Con's point of emergent property. But as is evident, all the emergent property in his examples are physical eg capacitors, magnets etc. But consciousness (again, as experienced) isn't physical.

" On Boltzmann's brain and my concluding points Con's talk of Boltzmann's brain is interesting and I must say while I myself even have wild ideas of my own I don't agree with Boltzmann's proposition that a brain can pop out from quantum fluctuations.

I've already said emergent properties are physical. I've also said that Con's use of properties like sharpness or smoothness misses the point by failing to distinguish between concepts we use to class objects and the objects themselves. Even time and taste are associated with objects, yet won't it be absurd to say breakfast and sweet are emergent properties of a sandwich someone had in the morning ? This is the point I'm trying to make to Con which he is yet to rebut. Furthermore, Con's talk of me not arguing that the being needs to be uncaused is simply false. From the second part of my argument in the first round, I clearly state in P2) that there can't be an infinite regression and use this in P3) to argue that the being can't be caused.

Con's final point shows my point of presuppositions being the issue here. Because explaining why we are here is why I conclude that this 'extra unargued for attribute' is a good case for a deistic God. In fact, it is all that required since deists make no other claims about what God wants or does. At least, they do so less than other theists. Why Con won't consider my argument that at most matter would have made (philosophical) zombies or definitively state what consciousness is (with evidence) is a fairly easy guess.
Debate Round No. 3


Thanks Pro:

I will quickly proceed to rebuttals and attempt to address the three main points my opponent has raised at the beginning of his round.

‘Causal Gap’:

Do not forget the succinct, yet important correction of Pro’s initial argument:

P1.) Matter lacks consciousness.

P2.) The physical universe is made up of matter.

P3.) Humans (and their brain) are made up of matter.

P4.) Humans possess consciousness.

C.) Human’s possess an additional attribute over matter, i.e. the substance from which the physical object is composed, or assembled.

This particular conclusion is one I actually accepted, however is appears Pro is trying to squeeze more out of the argument than the premises actually allow (presumably by still holding to his original conclusion which I have already demonstrated to be unsound). Of course most things known in physical reality do have an explanation for their various properties, which is why it’s reasonable to conclude a priori that consciousness is too also.

Purely Physical Conciousness’ & Attributes:

I asserted that consciousness is currently best understood purely as a result of the physical processes that occur within the brain, which the evidence as it stands seems to support. However Pro seems to be arguing for an additional substance (presumably immaterial) part of consciousness that is not a result of the physical processes within the brain. A priori, it is reasonable to apply Occum’s Razor to Pro’s argument, since a priori the hypothesis with fewest assumptions (physical) is more likely to be true than the one with more.

I never stated consciousness was a physical object, but something that is reasonably completely understandable in light of purely physical processes, as is any other property as already mentioned, sharpness etc. No one will doubt that a knife’s ability to cut a carrot is purely a result of the general arrangement of the atoms within the blade, furthermore there is no ‘sharpness’ or ‘knifeness’ that is imbued into the object as Pro is attempting to claim is the case with consciousness. Pro has not given a response to this assertion, why can’t consciousness be a result of the physical processes we are familiar with?

Given that we see properties emerging all the time absent of any ‘universal sharpness’ giving rise to sharp objected or ‘universal circuitry’ giving rise to circuits, therefore Pro’s claim of a ‘causal gap’ goes as I have already demonstrated, much farther than his premises allow.

As for what these ‘attached concepts’ are, the properties that make an object sharp & smooth are the ones that concur with its definition, of course, as is the case with consciousness. Just because the processes that give rise to consciousness appear to be complex and clouded in our ability to discern individual mechanistic processes, doesn’t in any way take away from the utter fact that consciousness appears to be purely a result of the physical processes within our brains given the current evidence.

I, of course cannot disprove that there is an external non-physical (or disembodied) consciousness moiety, but this is an additional assumption that Pro himself needs to justify, and not for myself not to, as the BoP is on him. A priori it is rational and logical to disbelieve this claim as per Occum’s Razor [1], since Pro is making the additional entity claim.

Second Portion of Pro’s Argument:

Upon reformulation using only the conclusion that he has demonstrated (and has given no rebuttal to, so I presume he accepts this is the genuine conclusion) we have the following syllogism:

C1.) Human’s possess an additional attribute over matter, i.e. the substance from which the physical object is composed, or assembled.

P2.) There can't be an infinite regress of conscious beings

P3.) The cause of consciousness in conscious beings must be uncaused and conscious

P4.) Conscious beings come from conscious beings

C2.) This attribute must have come from God (uncaused & unconscious)

As already argued, the way one accepts P3 & P4 are interconnected. Moreover it’s perfectly conceivable that the initial consciousness being was indeed a physical lifeform. Most likely the first physical lifeform whose experience of consciousness finally passed the threshold of what would be defined consciousness within evolution. Much the same way the ‘first human’ is the first such being which passes the (very blurred and poorly specified) specific definition of a human being.

I have already argued that P4 is an unsound premise in light of the theory of evolution, which explains our origins arising from lesser intelligent (and presumably less aware) organisms, which is continued back linearly results in a lineage where at no specific point could one specify where consciousness first appeared given that it’s apparent that consciousness exists as a spectrum, instead of an on/off attribute. However, my just being able to conceive of an evolutionary pathway from simple>complex is enough to dispel P4, as it’s a statement that is based off very limited data (only the past few thousand years) over the long timescale of Earth’s history.

'Concious Beings come from Concious Beings’:

Pro makes the following statement:

“In the case of brain-dead people, I never claimed that a consciousness substance was passed down.”

By admitting this then Pro effectively concedes that the statement ‘Concious beings come from conscious beings’ is purely an overgeneralized short-term observation which I already argued is unsound given that gradual progressive theories such as Evolution are ‘false’ by this short-term observation (cats from cats, humans from humans etc.).

Given that we know of a number of unconscious organisms within the animal kingdom (starting with bacteria and working up to larger examples) that can indeed reproduce, feed, and grow then it fully stands to reason that there is absolutely no mechanism that prevents ‘unconcious’ beings giving rise to conscious ones. Pro would need to demonstrate that such a mechanism exists in order for this argument to work in the context of essentially any low/zero to high/one consciousness state.

Reducability of Conciousness:

Furthermore, there is absolutely no reason to accept that consciousness is a non-reducible entity as I elaborated in my opening arguments. We have numerous examples within our own animal kingdom who are conscious, but clearly fit a progressively and looser definition of what consciousness is which roughly scales with brain capacity.

I have heard no rebuttal from my opponent regarding the quantitative/qualitative differences between a significantly less aware conscious being and human consciousness. If we accept that consciousness as experienced can vert plausibly come from progressively less self-aware, less intelligent iterations, then the entirety of premise 4 is invalid. One does not need to accept the theory of evolution to see this, as only a plausible conception of a process that could lead to consciousness would make this premise unsound given we have not directly observed even a small fraction of Earth’s history.

In Defence of Evolution:

My opponent’s objection to evolution was as follows:

“I find this to be deficient since evolution boils down to mere material processes and so cannot possibly explain consciousness. It can explain the brain and how it works, but physical processes don't (fully) explain consciousness and the consequent ability to abstract concepts like truth from the physical world.”

However I never accepted the premise that matter cannot possibly explain consciousness, not any less so than matter cannot explain other attributes as already argued. Moreover, ‘material processes’ is a very different animal to matter, and seems Pro is conceding that matter can have properties that matter alone would not possess without advent of any apparent ‘causal gap’ that Pro attempts to press.


“The one between idealism and materialism, while these two may intersect in certain ways eg theistic evolution, it doesn't make the dichotomy false. Hence, if Con's stance_which is materialistic_fails then mine is upheld by elimination.”

Even this is a false dichotimy, with other views such as dualism [2] also being viable alternatives. Pro has the burden of proof in this debate and therefore needs to positively substantiate his own case. However his proof is a negative-proof that depends on physical processes being unable to account for the phenomena of consciousness. I will quickly concede that consciousness doesn’t have a comprehensive physical explanation yet HOWEVER that does not lend weight to any other theory. My inability to demonstrate how consciousness arises via purely physical processes should in no way influence the strength of an argument for the existence of God. But clearly it does in this debate, which is a red flag for one big argument ad ignorantum.








This is my final post in this debate and, hopefully, it has been informative and refreshing for both parties. As I have insisted, what is in contention here are presuppositions. The problem is which one is the more rational one to take. Why not the one more consistent with rationality ? There are three basic reasons interspersed through my arguments on why Con's take on consciousness fails. I will be exploring that and will afford myself of one last chance to show why God_the deist God_is not just a good theory but possibly the best theory. I think I have already dealt with the main points my opponent has made in his previous argument; I will simply post ripostes to them.

Why Materialism (As Regards The Mind) Is Not A Good Theory

1) It is an equivocation: Con has repeated throughout this debate that consciousness is the simply physical processes in the brain. This is false. To press in that point I specifically mentioned that, as experienced, consciousness isn't physical, it is non-physical. The fact that Con agrees that humans possess an additional attribute over matter is a point I affirm. What I don't do is say it fully explains it. Unlike other attributes explained by matter eg smoothness, sharpness, colour etc, consciousness is different: it makes a set of materials aware of their existence amidst other abilities (eg creativity etc). This is a distinction Con isn't making. Moreso, the working brain also possesses physical qualities eg colour, smoothness (or lumpiness), mass, colour, voltage etc. These are qualities fully explained by the working brain, but consciousness isn't.

2) It lacks an explanation: I have noted previously that physical processes can't fully explain consciousness. As I have said elsewhere, this means that on one hand the brain can explain consciousness; since we know from repeated observation and experiment that we need brains to be conscious and how affecting the brain (eg with anaesthetics) affects consciousness. On the other hand, the brain doesn't explain consciousness for reasons I've made known here. It all boils down to the fact that physicochemical laws show that emergent properties are always physical (they result in new materials, material states or energy). But in the brains of living organisms and man especially, the emergent property is a subjective experience of consciousness. This is unprecedented and it's in my opinion a fundamental flaw in Con's stance; because if matter lacks consciousness and its emergent properties are physical, one would expect that we would be like robots. One can model our behaviours as humans eg writing articles, playing pianos, walking, cycling, inferential reasoning etc. But the awareness of these faculties cannot be modelled, and I think that nicely depicts my point.

3) It is an aberration: Simply put, it's absurd_like a square circle. I've already said that I class mind and matter as distinct and fundamental aspects of reality and noted that Con equivocates subjective conscious experience to activities in the brain. This violates the law of identity which requires a thing to be clearly identified. Just as it follows from their clearly identified properties, that squares aren't circles, or reducible to them; it also follows that consciousness isn't matter or reducible to it. For one, consciousness lacks dimensions like height which the brain possesses, neither is energy as used in science applicable to it (heat, kinetic, nuclear) etc. And unlike matter, consciousness displays intentionality, a property that matter lacks. Also you directly experience your consciousness, but you don't directly experience matter; you do so through your consciousness as it relates to the senses eg eyes, nose etc. This is a number of traits identifiable in consciousness which differ from physical objects and their properties eg smoothness. The article I reference states more on such properties [1]. So to say that material processes in the brain FULLY explains consciousness ignores fundamental differences between them and is akin to squaring a circle [2]

Why The Deist's God Is A Good Theory

I identified God as the non-contingent mind behind the universe in which we are and which willed it to being. Why do I say we exist in this mind ? Because all things must exist in space. Why do I say it willed the universe (or multiverse or megaverse, or all possible verses) into being ? Because it will be absurd to for a God which made the physical world, to make it by physical means. That would make an effect precede it's cause which is absurd. And if God is contingent on physical laws, he is not God and must either be a human or an alien.

Like any theory, one can nit-pick its flaws or point out that God leaves more questions to be asked. But this is true of any theory. Relativity answered questions Newton's theory couldn't, but leaves questions open; for example, whether it could be unified into a coherent theory of quantum gravity. One may also say my theory is just a god-of-the-gaps. But as I've argued elsewhere, there will always be a gap. I think knowledge is infinite: a fact agnostics sometimes use to make their case. And because there's no limit to what we can know, there is more than enough gaps that can't be filled. We can start from sets of numbers, a possible multiverse etc But why go that far even when there is still so much about Earth we don't know, or never will because it's in the forgotten past ? Knowledge IMO is a cycle of questions on things and answers to be found which leave open more questions. And I think this is how science operates. Another reason why the God theory isn't a god-of-the gaps argument is in its causal nature. God is about final causes. IOW if we go high up the chain of causes where do we stop ? One can argue that causality is restricted within the natural and list examples of how advances in science pushes God back to the fringes. But must it ? Prominent thinkers of the Enlightenment era such as Locke, Descartes, Bacon and Spinoza were rationalists or empiricists who believed in applying reason and saw no conflict between a belief in God and science. Of interest is Bacon's thoughts on the matter:

"For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity." [3]

This simply reinforces the point that God is the first cause (or final cause as Aristotle called it) in a chain of causes. The mistake people in the past made was to attribute second causes to God whereas they weren't. So disease were caused by God when He was angry_which is unevidenced. This is applicable even in science. For example, any disease humans suffer must be based on harm of some sort to the body. But just because of that doesn't mean its symptoms can't be misdiagnosed. Unfortunate accidents happen and peer-review in medical research and other administrative checks are put in place to stop that.

Deism happened to take root about the Enlightenment era. But I would argue, like Paine, that the first God was the deist's God. Because if man was initially atheistic, or apatheistic, then his first knowledge of God may not have had any religion built around it before shamanism, paganism etc came into play. It might have just been a simple inference to God. Deism takes the best of atheism and religion. Deists are more or less skeptical of the claims of revealed religions, more so than its adherents; but it does that without disbelieving in a deity. It is instructive to note that in various debates, atheists will make the claim that it is one thing to make the case for a Creator God (which is all deism posits) than it is to make the case for the God of a particular religion eg Christianity or Islam. Deists are parsimonious in that we have one less claim to argue for, but not so much as too defer knowledge (as agnostics do), or dismiss good arguments made for a God (as Aquinas did). We do not throw the baby with the bathwater, and I believe I have made arguments here that any honest theist can agree to.

A Few Words On Con's Arguments

* on causal gap: as I said in Round 2 "Consciousness is certainly an additional attribute over matter." And I detailed why physical processes don't fully explain it.

* on material consciousness: Electricity isn't an object, but its a flow of electrons or ions. I was thinking Con would bring something more specific in the brain which accounts for consciousness as I did when talking on the brain stem. As for my BoP I think I have met it but Con isn't content with it.

* I had already agreed in Round 2 that there are is a progression of consciousness in the animal kingdom correlated to the brain as Con describes. How that impinges on P4 of my argument is unknown to me. Is Con simply asserting it ?

* on brain-dead births: It's bad that Con is special pleading from ignorance away from P4 which is an observed fact. The fact that Con has to use my response to a hypothetical scenario he proposed doesn't help his case. In any case, if without the help of a conscious being an unconscious being (that was never conscious) birthed a conscious being, P4 would be falsified.

* on evolution: What more can I say ? I believe consciousness is immaterial. Evolution is a material process so I don't think it can explain consciousness even in principle. Cognition, yes; but not consciousness.


I hope I have made a good case to observers for a deist's God. My goal is that, at least, the way I (and like-minded people) infer a God from the natural world will be clarified and maybe plant a seed of belief in Con and other atheists. I will end with a favorite quote of mine which concurs with my take on God:

"As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear-headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter." - Max Planck (Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944))


Debate Round No. 4


Thanks Pro,

I appreciate Pro for actually following through on this debate, which clearly has been the hard-fought encounter I was hoping for. This debate I didn’t want to make much of a case for materialism, or realism, instead to only focus on Pro’s specific arguments for the existence of God, so I will not conclude with an appeal to such. The debate has also strayed somewhat into evolution and other loosely related stuff, which is refreshing to say the least. The only thing I want people to take form this debate is how to assess claims objectively, and to pick out weaknesses in it and to be wary of where conclusions overreach their goals.

Opponent’s Argument Summary:

Let’s have a final review of my opponent’s argument:

C1.) Human’s possess an additional attribute over matter, i.e. the substance from which the physical object is composed, or assembled.

P2.) There can't be an infinite regress of conscious beings

P3.) The cause of consciousness in conscious beings must be uncaused and conscious

P4.) Conscious beings come from conscious beings

C2.) This attribute must have come from God (uncaused & unconscious)

Contentious C1:

The key area in contention through this debate is the significance of C1. And I’ve brought a number of arguments to the tables that help establish that consciousness is an attribute akin to other attributes that other material artefacts or systems indeed possess or are attributed.

I gave a number of examples which sought to establish what this alleged causal gap my opponent claims to exist between matter and consciousness, the argument from brain-dead parents demonstrates that at least in principle conscious beings can arise form unconscious beings, and my opponent’s reposté that the process requires babysitting by conscious beings I argues misses the point, that in principle a purely materialistic process is observed that gives rise to conscious beings. Indeed my opponent did not argue that consciousness is a substance that is passed down from parent to child, and actually seemed to advocate that consciousness is a result of a material cause (albeit via conscious material beings). Which by itself essentially destroys Pro’s case that the cause must be God (an immaterial being), especially given what we know about evolution.

Furthermore there’s the argument from brain complexity (in other members of the animal species), and detached self I made, which are predictions that are logically necessary from materialistic assumptions, but require additional pleading for an idealistic case. My opponent offered no significant rebuttal to the argument of scaling of brain complexity besides his assertion that the brain acts as a mediator of a sort, to which which I argued, is an additional unsupported assumption, and should be ruled out a priori via Occum’s Razor.

Contentious P3 & P4.:

Given that Pro has put forward P4, he also concedes that consciousness has material causes, as conscious beings themselves are material in their composition, and we both seemed to agree that P4 is just a general observation. General observations break down as I argued when you trace things back to their origins and extremes. Classical mechanics holds well until you get to the very small scales where quantum mechanics is a far more accurate descriptor, biogenesis seems to hold well until you push the time of origins back to chemical origins where the definition of life is thrown around, and it’s very apparent that he same thing is the case with consciousness. I’ll repeat Pro provided no significant rebuttal with the observation that conscious beings become more aware with increasing brain complexity (in animals), something that is a logical prediction of purely physical processes, and provides the ‘gradient’ for conscious beings that gradually pass the ‘threshold’ for the definition of conscious.

Argument ad Ignorantum:

Even if one were to accept the original conclusion, that matter cannot account for consciousness, to state that consciousness is an argument ad ignorantum, as it ignores all the other potential immaterial causes. The only positive argument he gave for that it must be conscious I addressed in my rebuttal to P4 (conscious beings from conscious beings).

On Matter & the Negative Proof:

As already discussed, Pro’s argument is most fragile as only one mechanism or process which gives rise to consciousness from non-consciousness is needed in order to make this entire argument unsound. Much of pro’s case has actually just been attacks on materialism to support the conclusion that consciousness cannot be a result of purely physical processes. I already mentioned there are multiple explanations of consciousness and reality apart from materialism and idealism, and even if Pro ruled out materialism, it does not actually support his particular case of idealism, much like attacks on evolution does not support creation.

I never received a comprehensive rebuttal regarding self-aware processors, he in fact conceded the point that properties can be emergent, properties that bare matter, or the previous components it’s made of did not previously possess. And henceforth, lack this ‘causal gap’.

“As for working processors, I concede Con's point of emergent property. But as is evident, all the emergent property in his examples are physical eg capacitors, magnets etc. But consciousness (again, as experienced) isn't physical.”

Even assuming consciousness is immaterial, how does it follow that material processes cannot give rise to an immaterial attribute? In the same category of concepts, etc.?

Opponent’s Final Remarks:

I find it rather incredible that Pro would sprint off with a plethora of unsupported attributes, feats and assumptions about the deity he has dictated in this debate. In this debate we have only argued about the source of consciousness. Now, incredibly in his closing statement we saw the following:

“Because all things must exist in space. Why do I say it willed the universe (or multiverse or megaverse, or all possible verses) into being ? Because it will be absurd to for a God which made the physical world, to make it by physical means”

All the sudden this deity becomes a creator of the universe now (?!). I find this a rather incredible leap, far more so than the ‘causal gap’ Pro has attempted to demonstrate so far. While this probably should have no impact on the debate, I find it exceedingly worry how far Pro is willing to run off with the conclusions he thinks he has made, as I have noted throughout the debate. Making assumptions farther than your evidence concludes, and making things say more than they can is ‘shaking the tree’, or taking more than your justified share.

One does not use evolution to demonstrate abiogenesis, or Newtonian gravity to demonstrate black holes. The very fact that Pro has lumped all these attributes in with this conclusion demonstrates that the Deistic God is a bad theory precisely because it tries to explain everything, by becoming a theory of literally anything. By being a theory of anything there is no potential for predictive or utility power, and no measure upon which it can be tested. A big red flag for a bad theory.


I have amply demonstrated Pro’s case to be built on a number of fallacies and contentious assumptions that go much farther than our facts allow, furthermore as one large argument ad ignorantum on multiple fronts. And that is all I needed to show in order to demonstrate Pro’s case unsound.


I am grateful to Pro for taking the time to follow through on this debate, perhaps now our forum exchanges will be more productive.



Left blank as agreed.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Sswdwm 6 years ago
Appreciate you making the commitment to do and follow through on this debate, Iredia.
Posted by Sswdwm 6 years ago
Just a reminder, your next round is your closing arguments, and you need to leave your space in the 5th round filled with "Left Blank as Agreed" in order to keep the number of rounds of argument even.
Posted by Sswdwm 6 years ago
Lol, I had an exactly 10,000 character argument, went to post it and realized the limit was 9,000 characters. Had to trim 1000 characters within 5 minutes!
Posted by Iredia 6 years ago
I'll wait till then. Take care.
Posted by Sswdwm 6 years ago
Thanks for your prompt opening arguments. Will attempt to address these tomorrow
Posted by Sswdwm 6 years ago
State it in your argument, especially if its going to be central to your thesis
Posted by Iredia 6 years ago
Then we need to state what we agree on. This is why I am asking you if you still maintain that concepts are immaterial. And it so happens there are a lot of dualists and on DDO who will agree with my take on consciousness.
Posted by Sswdwm 6 years ago
Well in a debate you are attempting to get your points across to the voters/audience, instead of directly myself. So you need to construct your arguments with presuppositions which are generally universally agreed on, or justify the additional presuppositions in the debate itself.

You can make your arguments assuming the presuppositions but it will weaken your argument if you have me pointing them out one after another when the voters will not agree a priori. If you think an immaterial mind needs no further justification then you can go ahead and assume that, but you already know I am going to jump all over it.
Posted by Iredia 6 years ago
I agree with the format. My argument will center about consciousness especially as shared and expressed by humans. And it is this I would most like to clarify before the debate. My problem here is that you equate consciousness to neural processes in the brain and this is an impasse. I disagree because I think consciousness is immaterial but BASED what goes on the brain. However, you allow for concepts as immaterial. Do you still maintain this ? And how do you define it ?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Charliecdubs 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Burden of proof never met for a god existing

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.