Instigator / Pro

The Concept of God is More Similar than Not Compared to Unknown Information


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 1 vote and with 1 point ahead, the winner is...

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Contender / Con

God: the supreme or ultimate reality: such as
a: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped (as in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism) as creator and ruler of the universe
b: a being or object that is worshipped as having more than natural attributes and powers

Information: knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction

Con: The concept of God is more dissimilar than not to the concept of unknown information

Round 1
Resolution: The concept of God is more similar than not to the concept of unknown information
I regret that my opponent has forfeited the first round. Please recover for round 2.
I Argument: The concept of God, not God, the Person
I.a Let’s be certain we understand the Resolution by Pro, as given. It regards a knowledgeable “concept of God,” not a knowledge of the Person, as we know our next-door neighbor, whom we see and perhaps converse with on a daily basis. Perhaps even a pen-pal we’ve never met, but with whom we periodically communicate fits this description. As an example, I know of Vladimir Putin, Russian President, conceptually, but, I have never met nor spoken to him. I suspect there are many individuals who agree. Conceptually, if the subject of the debate were Mr. Putin, I have thus demonstrated the failure of the Resolution for me, personally, and for countless others. Therefore, I accept all Pro definitions, as given. 
II Argument: The secular dissimilarity of God to the unknown
II.a “In God we trust”
II.a.1 The above concept is such a well-known phrase to U.S. citizens who have dollar bills in their pocket, they see this phrase emblazoned on every one of those bills, all in-circulation, and all denominations.[1]   It is on other U.S. currency, on coins, as well.  The phrase is honored as the U.S. national motto according to statute 36 USC § 302.[2]
II.a.2 The national motto, according to the U.S. Treasury, was  “…first placed on coins by the U.S. Treasury in 1864, during the Civil War… because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War.”[3]  The idea of a separation of church and state seems to have taken a hiatus. So, the motto has been in our hands and pockets, and hearts [Pro’s definition of God does acknowledge worship] for well over 150 years. Long enough to be  conceptuallyknown information. 
II.a.3  According to estimates, 26.8 trillion USD are currently in circulation. This is actual, physical money that's available in currency notes and coins.”[4]  With a U.S. population of 330M, each of those millions of people, on average, have more than $81,000 in currency and coins, figuratively and in reality, in their pockets. The trillions of dollars are “in circulation,” but not just in pockets, and, at that, worldwide, not just in the U.S., so the $81,000 is an exaggeration. However, it is reasonable to conclude that the U.S. motto, and its conceptual mention of God, is  conceptually  well  known.
II.b We could add “God Bless America,” or even “God bless you,” a polite sentiment offered when another sneezes, and other familiar phrases, some impolite, such as “goddammit,” to offer sufficient evidence of a secular knowledge of the concept of God, but the one example detailed in II.a, above will suffice. It may be difficult to find a person in the U.S., at least, who has not had in hand [since it must be there, first, to be in a pocket] some currency. A modicum of curiosity, alone, would eventually lead a person to discover the motto.
III Argument: How knownis God, conceptually?
III.a According to Pew Research, as of 2018, “80% of Americans believe in God.”[5]  Let’s be careful, here. The fine print behind the Pew survey found that, Though God regularly gets evoked in prayer, platitudes, and phrases like “God bless America” and “in God we trust,” Americans—even within Christianity—have different conceptions of who God is and how he operates.”[6]   Bold added.
III.a.1 However, by Pro’s Resolution, and Description, and by definition, “God” has variable attributes as a person, or an entity [there is even variation on that variation, but all is carried within the Resolution], and, in fact, is  a being or object that is worshipped as having more than natural attributes and powers.”[7]   We’re firmly on solid ground of Pro’s Resolution even with the variable beliefs about God among American Christians, let alone among other world Christians and alternate world religions. That 80% of Americans accept a variable belief in a concept of God demonstrates that conceptual information about God is more known, and acknowledged, than unknown, person to person. Pro has not designated any particular concept over another as evidence. 
III.b We’ve just looked at U.S. belief in [knowledge of the concept of] God. How about worldwide? According to a global survey by Ipsos,  A poll conducted by global research company Ipsos for Reuters News finds that one half (51%) of global citizens definitely believe in a `divine entity'”[8]   That’s not a great majority, but, it does indicate there is more known than unknown of the concept of God, let alone the further course of belief in a divine entity. Let’s recall, too, that even by atheist dogma, the etymology of the word, atheist  acknowledges [knows] a concept of God, and just does not accept it. Both the 80%, and the 51% just increased. Therefore, the Resolution, as stated, is defeated.
IV Rebuttal: Pro R1: 
IV.a Since pro has not offered a first round argument, there is nothing to rebut. Therefore, I will close my argument for R1, and wish pro the best for the following rounds.

Round 2
Sorry, I didn't want to do this debate any more. Con completely misinterpreted the resolution and argued whether belief/knowledge of God himself was unknown, rather than the actual attributes of God. I don't think this debate would be productive. Because my primary basis is that God's origins come from gaps of information -- for example, Zeus creating lightning, Poseidon causing waves in the ocean, and even modern day, God creating humans as an alternative to evolution, or the 7 day creation as either a symbolic or literal explanation compared to the billion year old universe and the Big Bang.

Con is free to bring more information but I do not feel like addressing Con's points because they're completely irrelevant to the debate. He's talking about whether God himself is known to people, which is a "duh" moment -- obviously a lot of people have knowledge of God. But the creation and existence of God seems to be surrounded by the unknown information we have in our world. Just as we didn't understand the forces of nature around us, and had to resort to attributing it to a mystical superior being, rather than mere science or "the way the world should be". 
Resolution: The concept of God is more similar than not to the concept of unknown information
V Rebuttal: Pro R2: “Con completely misinterpreted the resolution and argued whether belief/knowledge of God himself was unknown, rather than the actual attributes of God.”
V.a Thus we see how a debate instigator is better off by defining the keywords of a Resolution, which Pro apparently did not do sufficiently. Or, did he and not realize the extent of his terms? Pro defined God as a worshipped being with more than natural attributes, but stops there. He defines information. As far as Pro defined these terms, I argued my acceptance of them. But, in R2, Pro introduces attributes such as creation, causing waves, and God’s existence, as attributes and powers that are more than natural.
V.a.1 What is creation? Pro does not define it as an attribute. Some argue the idea of creatio ex nihilo;creation out of nothing. But, lacking a definition, we have no idea if that is Pro’s position, or not. Doesn’t matter. I argue that creation is organization of existing, chaotic matter and energy.  The first law of thermodynamics doesn't actually specify that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but instead that the total amount of energy in a closed system cannot be created nor destroyed (though it can be changed from one form to another). It was after nuclear physics told us that mass and energy are essentially equivalent - this is what Einstein meant when he wrote E= mc^2 - that we realized the 1st law of thermodynamics also applied to mass.”[1]   As such, creation is not an exclusive attribute of God. I, and many others who manipulate matter into forms not seen before are creating. At this point, we’re merely talking about economy of scale.
V.a.2 Pro argues that Poseidon made waves. God did, too, in the flood. Can I make waves? Just by my hand, certainly. With a paddle, they’re bigger. With a bigger paddle… you get it. Another economy of scale.
V.a.3 As for God’s existence, the Resolution assumes he does, for Pro applies a concept, or attributes, to God. Do non-existing things have attributes? Lacking matter and energy, I think not. So, what’s the argument? On a matter of degree, as in how much are these attributes known to us as opposed to unknown, since I have demonstrated that all three exemplary Godly attributes [concepts] offered by Pro are capable abilities, or attributes, of humans. Therefore, the Resolution fails.
V.b Pro adds an argument that creation ought to be argued as the antithesis to evolution. Okay, where’s the assurance [oh, it is certainly a common theory], that these two concepts are antithetical? The proponent argues that when God finished creation, he was done and went fishing. Evolution took over and has naught to do with creation. 
V.b.1 Charles Darwin’s first edition of On the Origin of Speciesdeclared in his concluding paragraph,  “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”[2]
V.b.2 Therefore, Darwin’s original thinking allowed for creation and evolution as not even two sides of one coin, and certainly not two separate coins, but two functions on the same side of one coin. Therefore, even with the attributes of creation + evolution, we are talking about known concepts of simple understanding of information. With our growing capabilities of genetic manipulation, how far are we from evolving new species? Actually, we have already done so, and did it in antiquity: the simple ear of corn.[3].  And, therefore, the Resolution fails.
VI Argument: “To an unknown God”
VI.a The Apostle Paul, passing through the Areopagus in Athens, paused to consider an altar with the inscription, in Greek, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD,” and spoke to the elites gathered on the subject of this “unknown God.”[4]
VI.b In Rome there is also an altar, once on the Palatine Hill inscribed, in Latin, “Either for a god or a sacred goddess…” commemorating Caius, a Senator, restoring the monument.[5]
VI.c These historic artifacts are evidence that, although unknown, to be included with known Greek and Roman gods, even deities unknown were acknowledged. Conceptually, even unknown gods were known, or at least believed to exist. Thus, even in the ancient world, the Resolution was defeated.
I conclude R2 and turn over to Pro for R3.

Round 3
I still don't find Con's argument fulfilling. I was talking about the unknown gaps in science were filled by gods (ex. Zeus controls lightning -> now we know the heat and condensation of the clouds creates the lightning). I forgot to mention it, but God also fills in the gaps in morality (what is Good? God commands it: In Christianity, you follow Golden Rule, don't murder, don't commit adultery, etc.). But Con's argument fails to address these key issues. He instead focuses on whether God himself is unknown or not, or God's attributes are unknown. Of course, Christians would understand God's personality of omnibenevolence, and omnipotence, and incredible awe and forgiveness, so on and so forth. We are not saying that God's personality is similar to unknown information. We are saying the *concept* of the creator is inherently associated with unknown information. Can you imagine "infinite power" that can do everything logically possible? We can hardly imagine some scientific force like the Big Bang; our minds are not made to imagine the entire universe. Can you imagine infinite good -- not merely Ghandi's selflessness, nor Martin Luther King's civil rights movement, but good beyond good? Surely, the stories hardly do justice to infinite mercy and pleasure within heaven. Regardless of what kind of story, the God's power and ideals are far beyond reach of normal people, even in their imagination. This is why I said he is more similar to unknown information than not. Con focuses on that "we know the concept of god, therefore God cannot be similar to unknown information". However, we also know unknown information. For example, most people cannot agree on one moral system consistently. We also do not know if life exists on other planets. We know that we don't know if there is a God in the world for sure. As you can see, Con's simple "know the idea of God" falls apart because the concepts related to God are still largely grown from "unknown information". The premise is still fulfilled.
Resolution: The concept of God is more similar than not to the concept of unknown information
VII Rebuttal: Pro R3: Pro’s Fulfillment
VII.a I do not present argument to fulfill Pro. I present argument to readers/voters, hopefully sufficiently convincing to illicit their agreement. I respond to the Resolution as written and posted.
VIII Rebuttal: Pro R3: Unknown gaps in science
VIII.a Pro speaks to historic gaps in science; human understanding of lightning, the heat and condensation of clouds, and morality, the latter of which is not very scientific, if it ever was.  The point is, Pro is arguing for  historic  knowledge, as opposed to the Resolution speaking of God as a  present  entity [“God is…”] with  “…more than natural attributes and powers.”
VIII.b My R2, V.a argument:  “Pro introduces attributes such as creation, causing waves, and God’s existence, as attributes and powers that are more than natural.”  My following V.a.1, V.a.2, V.a.3 verified that in all three cases, the difference in human attributes of these natures, and God’s, are economies of scale. They are, therefore, known to us in the present, as demonstrated by God, in the present, as attributes we share with God, in the present, just to a lesser degree.
IX Rebuttal: Pro R3: The concept of the Creator…
IX.a See my R2, V.b.1 Rebuttal regarding the concept of the Creator. I discussed Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species,[1]  and that biologist’s conception of the Creator. His acknowledgement of God in that role seems well enough known to him, not presently, but in 1859, fully 162 years in the past. I am suspicious that now, our knowledge is increased, thus, the failure of the Resolution, now, as opposed to then.
IX.b Pro attempts, in this foray into attributes of God, to link science with morality, as if we should somehow equate the big bang with our relative goodness, compared to God’s, or not. I’ll admit, that attempted linkage is probably beyond us, but, I do not see, in the Resolution, any demand that we link science to morality. Science is the pursuit of knowledge [common knowledge – need it have a source?]. Whereas morality… well, most philosophic discussions, such as by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on moral relativism is a dilemma of objectivity v. subjectivity.[2]   This is hardly the arena of scientific empiric study.
IX.b.1Pro attempts a final argument in this realm to equate his Resolution to life on other planets. That is a discussion to be had, but I’ll suggest it does not belong in this debate, since, whatever the resolve of that question may be, it is beyond the scope of the Resolution because that proposal suggests our concept of God, and not of our concept of off-world aliens, nor their concept of God.
XArgument: “God: the ultimate reality”
X.a The above quote is Con’s definition from the Description. What, therefore, is “ultimate reality?”
X.a.1 Ultimate:According to the OED, Of ends, designs, etc.: Lying beyond all others; forming the final aim or object.”
X.a.2 Reality:According to the OED: What is real rather than imagined or desired; the aggregate of real things or existences;” 
X.a.3 Therefore: God lies beyond all others of what is real existence. This is clearly a known entity, being real, thus defeating the Resolution of the conceptual unknown, and Con has said it within his own definition of similarity, thus defeating the entire Pro argument. 
I defer the final round to Pro.

Round 4
Resolution: The concept of God is more similar than not to the concept of unknown information
XI Maintenance: An error in my R3
XI.a Just to clarify an error made in my R3, X.a.3: I said, “…thus defeating the Resolution of the conceptual unknown, and  Con  has said it within his own definition of similarity…”   Please read the bolded Con as  Pro.  As soon as I published, I realized the error. Sorry for the confusion.
XII Maintenance: An explanation
XII.a  Two days prior to accepting this debate, I entered a query in Comments to assure I understood Pro’s Resolution correctly. Lacking any response, I accepted the debate. In R1, Pro forfeited, and then in R2, expressed that he  “…didn’t want to do this debate anymore,”  yet offered argument which was rebuttable. I did not, therefore, consider Pro’s initial statement a concession, and accepted his arguments as effort to debate anyway. Based on Pro’s argument of attributes of God, I offered rebuttal in R2 and R3. This is a debate of keen interest to me. That I misunderstood, according to Pro, is no longer of consequence, since Pro decided to present argument anyway. I will continue rebutting Pro arguments.
XIII Rebuttal: Pro R3: Growth of Knowledge is, itself, an attribute
XIII.a Pro has argued that our knowledge of God, conceptually, is lacking and that, therefore, we remain unknowing with regard to a concept of God according to the Resolution. 
XIII.b Pro’s R1 was a forfeit. By contrast, my R1 argued that our knowledge of God, conceptually, encompasses even secular understanding by such elements as the U.S. national motto, “In God we trust,” and by presentation of the majority of people worldwide who believe in God, and that, therefore the Resolution fails.
XIII.c Pro’s R2 reluctantly argued  [“…I didn’t want to do this debate any more,” thus, the reason for Pro’s R1 forfeit?], which, by R1, alone, does not lose the debate for Pro since Pro’s R2 offered argument of our lack of knowledge of God’s attributes. Pro offered examples of Zeus lightning, Poseidon waves, and God’s creation; the latter as alternative to evolution.  Note that “God’s attributes” were not mentioned in the Resolution, although the Description does speak to God  “…having more than natural attributes and powers.”  
XIII.c.1My R2 , V, and R3, IX, rebutted Pro’s R2 argument by rebuttal that human attributes are the same as God’s, offering three examples of it, rebutting Pro’s lightning, waves, and creation/evolution. Our abilities in these attributes are of a lesser degree than God’s, but that does not mean we do not know of them. 
XIII.d By further example: we know that water is a molecule of two atoms of Hydrogen with one atom of Oxygen, forming the molecule, H2O. We have learned that with 5 such molecules of water, water is not wet, not a liquid, but a cluster of 6 molecules, or more renders the wetness as an added condition.  “Scientists have now shown that water does not start to behave like aliquid until at least six molecules form a cluster.”[1]   Until that point, water is a cluster of gasses, or, if cold enough, a solid cluster.
XIII.d.1 This has no direct relationship with the concept of God, other than by example; i.e., a concept of water. We understand the attributes of water, and, by the same logic, also understand God’s attributes, and, therefore, a concept of God by even a greater degree than we understand water, because we share attributes with God.
XIII.d.2 Regardless, we know enough, at present, to appreciate the uses water has, and we marvel at its various expressions [liquid, solid, gas], without understanding why that curious feature of wetness is a limited nature of the stuff. God knows why; we do not. An attribute that is greater than ours, yet we share sufficient ability with God to make use of water, so, the analogy works. 
XIII.d.2.A We might further exemplify a divine attribute by observing the incident of Jesus Christ walking on water, as described in the Holy Bible:  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.”[2]  The fourth watch is 3am to 6 am; the last watch of the night. The entire episode is recorded in verses 22 – 32 of Matthew 14. For the same reason that we can plunge a hand into a body of liquid water without significant resistance, Jesus should not have been able to walk on it. To do so, it seems that he was applying a greater knowledge [attribute] than we currently understand. Not necessarily a violation of natural law [such as gravity], but applying the attribute of a greater law we do not currently know. That Peter, a disciple of Christ, was able to briefly apply the greater law, by faith, is evidence that we, too, may participate in such ability without understanding why. 
XIII.d.2.B Thus are miracles explained; Jesus performed miracles numerous times in the Biblical account: the use of laws we currently do not understand, but which Christ did, and God has done from the beginning:  the use of attributes we share, but do not yet fully understand in scope. Observe, for example, our expanding ability to yield more produce from an acre of land than previously thought possible, by applying greater knowledge gained about the nature of growing a crop. Not miracles, in our perspective, though sometimes we call it that, but simply learning more than we knew before. 
XIII.d.2.C  Another example: flight by our own human power was once thought impossible. A miracle that defies logic and natural ability? No, just the application of more knowledge. We call it “wingsuit flying.”[3]   Five hundred years ago, da Vinci was attempting a design to allow human flight. He failed, but some principles he developed are still used. We have acquired more knowledge; we have improved on the attribute. There is more to learn to understand how Jesus rose into heaven. We will ultimately learn it.
XIII.e Therefore, we know that, while our body of knowledge is less than God’s, we can appreciate that not only is there more to know, we know how we can increase our body of knowledge. Thus, we grow in our concept of God, and his abilities [attributes] as our body of knowledge increases. The comparison of our respective bodies of knowledge does not mean that our relative lack of full knowledge of God’s attributes does not grow and increase. Conceptually, we simply get it.
XIX Rebuttal: Pro’s R3: Morality
XIX.a Pro accuses in R3 that, “…Con's argument fails to address these key issues.”  To be fair, Pro was arguing more than just morality as  “these key issues.”  Pro was also speaking to his previous arguments of, as noted above, Zeus lightning, Poseidon waves, and God’s creation as alternative to evolution. But, as also noted above, I responded by rebuttal to these in my R2, V & R3. IX. Pro simply disregards these rebuttals by application of Pro’s R2 argument that his thematic intent was discussion of the attributes of God, which were addressed, as noted above, in my R2 and R3 rebuttals, defeat the Resolution. 
XIX.b However, Pro is disingenuous accusing my lack of rebuttal with regard to  morality since Pro never mentions the term prior to his R3, and I did address it in my frame of R3, IX.b. Therefore, to date, I have addressed all Pro arguments; to wit, Zeus lightning, Poseidon waves, God’s creation as alternative to evolution, and morality. 
XIX.c Pro argued in R3, “However, we also know unknown information. For example, most people cannot agree on one moral system consistently.” Does anyone else see the contradiction in these two sentences? We know unknown information? If we know something, how is it unknown but by forgetfulness? To use Pro’s own disconnected mention of life on other planets in R3, I didn’t bother to ask Pro what, exactly, we know of that unknown since there exists no verifiable knowledge on the subject; it is all conjecture. As for morality, being unscientific, as I argued in R3 [we don’t know for sure if morality is objective or subjective], it is no wonder we cannot agree what is moral and what is not, other than in very general terms, and their consistency simply isn’t. 
XX Rebuttal: Pro’s R4: No argument from Pro by forfeit
XX.a Pro forfeited R4 and, as such, having effectively forfeited  “every other round,”  in this case, two rounds, or 50% of the total four rounds, Pro should lose the debate not only by full forfeiture per the Voting Policy, but also by the success of my arguments over Pro's throughout the debate. I thank Pro for the debate, and ask for your vote. Thank you.