This house believes: Motion in the universe points to the existence of God.
The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.
After 3 votes and with 6 points ahead, the winner is...
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By "exist" I mean to have objective being in reality.
By God I mean an omnipotent, eternal being.
By motion, I mean the actualization of a potential, in other words, change.
"1. There exist in the world entities in motion (i.e. things which have potentials actualized)2. Whatever is in motion is set in motion by another. (i.e. whatever potential becomes actual is actualized by another, that "another" is something itself actual, as mere potential cannot actualize anything.)3. An infinite regress of movers carries with it no explanatory power for how any entity was set in motion. Therefore this chain of movers must terminate with a prime mover, in other words, an entity with the principle of motion in itself. An unmoved mover, or, more specifically, an unactualized actualizer. "
"A being that is pure actuality is, as we saw, eternal and omnipotent. We may call this being God."
" One does not arrive at an explanation for their motion unless one appeals outside the chain. "
"To put it another way, suppose I have a chain of mirrors all with the reflection of a bear in them. The mirrors have no power in themselves to produce the image of the bear, no matter how long the chain. Therefore there must be a "principle of bearness" which actualizes the mirror's potential to reflect a bear. "
" The atoms and the subatomic particles of said entity could have been arranged in another fashion, or simply not have existed at all. Their potential to exist however, was actualized by something actual, as we saw in premise two. "
" A being with no potentiality to actualize is to say that such a being cannot change (immutable)"
The first glaring problem is that this syllogism alone is not an argument for a god, only an unactualized actualizer at best. Even if we accept the premises, it makes no suggestions that this actualizer is a being, let alone omnipotent or eternal.
The current scientific understanding for the Universe as it exists is that it began expanding from a hot, dense state a few Billion years ago, and is expanding uniformly in all directions . I'm assuming that for the purposes of this debate, my opponent does not dispute these well established facts of the universe. My opponent claims that this initial expansion was started by an omnipotent being, and that he calls this being "God."
Now, my opponent's claim is that an "unactualized actualizer" started the initial expansion of the Universe. This is a claim that flies in the face of our current breadth of human knowledge, for the simple fact that nobody actually knows what started the initial expansion. Furthermore, his idea of causes and effects (actualizers and actualizations) is a temporal concept. Since time didn't exist before the initial expansion, my opponent must demonstrate how his temporal argument makes sense when time words don't necessarily mean anything. Essentially, asking what came before the initial expansion is like asking what is North of the North Pole: the question is meaningless. And unless my opponent can demonstrate that time existed before time existed, then his core concept is meaningless in the context of how he is applying it. Spatial-temporal concepts are necessarily within the scope of the Universe, and without space-time (the universe), these concepts are incoherent.
This argument also refutes my opponent simply because, If god is outside the universe, then he does not have objective being in reality.
This is patently false. It is not the "principle of bearness" that is reflected in a mirror, it is whole bunch of photons . Aquinas was not aware of the existence of photons, and so could not have known this. The ignorance of the Middle Ages of the nature of the world around us bleeds through the cracks of this argument. The mirror is simply a reflective medium, that bounces photons back, allowing for reflections.
In other words, the initial energy for all the matter in the Universe was already existent at the moment of initial expansion. Therefore, our atoms do not have the potential to not exist, they must necessarily always exist in some form of matter or energy.
There is no difference between a being with no potentiality and a being that doesn't exist. Being unable to change, this being would be unable to make a decision to create the Universe. Furthermore, if it cannot change, then it is not omnipotent.
"Goodness me! the argument simply doesn't deal with the specifics of big bang cosmology! I claimed nothing of the sort, and Aquinas himself knew nothing of an expanding universe.""...my opponent mistakenly misunderstood the argument as dealing with the expansion of the universe."
"A hierarchical series is independent on time. Example, my ceiling fan is being held up by a chain. The chain is being held up by a rope, the rope by the roof, so on. In the latter series, time is not relevant, what is relevant is dependence."
"If the cause is sufficient to bring about the effect, yet the effect did not exist with it from all eternity (all potentials were not actualized from eternity, obviously) then, at some point, the effect was brought into being from the cause, that bringing the effect into being must have been the result of either 1. A change in the cause. 2. A choice by the cause. Since a being lacking potentiality cannot change, it must have been the latter. "
"Gracious! What circularity! You have defined the universe as "all that exists" and then concluded that God cannot exist because He is "outside all that exists!" "
"Physically, yes, photons are in view. We are not speaking strictly physically though. I am using the analogy metaphysically. By principle of bearness I mean the agent that the mirrors derive their reflections from. "
"1. The energy that existed in the singularity had the potential to exist as matter2. That potential was actualized.3. Whatever is actualized is actualized by another, something already actual.4. An infinite regress cannot explain the actualization of any potential....so onEven with an eternal universe, which Aquinas never argued against, we can still run the argument successfully. "
"Choosing to perform a creative act does not entail a change in essence or nature. Which is what is in view here. My opponent has merely asserted that there is no difference between a being with no potentiality, and a being that does not exist. My opponent has not provided any evidence for this claim. "
"Number one, he has simply appealed to ignorance, claiming he does not know what caused the expansion of the universe. He has rejected the sound metaphysical proof laid out in my opening case in favor or a generic agnosticism."
"All transitions from potency to act require an actualizer, and this chain must terminate at something that itself was not actualized by anything temporally or logically prior. "