Instigator / Pro
Points: 18

Does God Exist?

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 3 votes the winner is ...
Virtuoso
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
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10,000
Contender / Con
Points: 12
Description
TERMS
Resolved: It is probable that God exists.
Rounds:
1. Opening
2. Clash
3. Clash
4. Closing arguments/clash
For the purposes of this debate, the term "God" will be defined broadly as to include the general 4'Os (omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being) who is the source of creation.) That is to say, I am not referring to any specific deity. Hence religious texts and religious doctrines are irrelevant to the debate. .
The time limit between replies is 72 hours. If special circumstances arise, one side may ask the other to wait out his or her remaining time. If one side explicitly concedes or violates any of these terms, then all seven points will be awarded to the other. By accepting this challenge, you agree to these terms.
The burden of proof is shared. It is incumbent on me to show that God's existence is probable, and it is incumbent on my opponent to show that God's existence is not probable. It is thus not enough to simply refute my arguments. My opponent must also erect his own case against the probability of God's existence.
Round 1
Published:
I want to begin by thanking bsh for accepting this debate. It's a delight to be debating someone as strong and knowledgable as he is. 

I. The Ontological Argument

1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

I find this argument to be one of the most fascinating in the Theistic arsenal and this is the first time that I am attempting to defend this argument. This argument is essentially an a priori argument and argues that we can know the existence of God through pure reason alone. There are a three key entities in this argument:

1. Impossible entities that cannot exist in any possible world because they are logically contradictory. For example, an invisible pink unicorn is an impossible entity because it contradicts the nature of pink and invisible

2. Contingent entities are entities that exist in some possible worlds, but not others. Humans, animals, and plants fall into this category because they exist here on Earth, but their existence is not necessarily on other worlds. 

3. Necessary entities exist by the virtue of its own nature. The laws of mathematics, the laws of morality, and the laws of logic are such types of laws. These entities/laws exist independently of the universe. If the universe did not exist, 2+2 will always be 4 and the law of non contradiction will always stand. 

The rest of the argument flows logically and necessarily. Professor William Lane Craig notes (1): 

To say that some entity exists in a possible world is just to say that such an entity possibly exists. It isn’t meant that the entity actually exists somewhere. Look again at my explanation: “To say that God exists in some possible world is just to say that there is a possible description of reality which includes the statement ‘God exists’ as part of that description.” Only if that description is true will the entity, in this case God, actually exist. So (2) is definitionally true.

Again, (3) is virtually definitionally true. A maximally great being is one that has, among other properties, necessary existence. So if it exists in one world, it exists in all of them! In that sense, such a being is different than contingent beings, which exist in only some possible worlds. A unicorn, for example, exists in some possible world, but not in all of them, for its existence is possible but not necessary. So your prof is right that there is something special, not about a maximally excellent
being (which, you’ll recall, is defined to be a being which is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good), but about a maximally great being, which is defined as a being which has maximal excellence in every possible world. If such a being exists in any world, that is to say, if it is possible that such a being exists, then it exists in every possible world, including the actual world.

Thus we have an a priori proof of God's existence. 

II. The Kalaam Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the Universe has a cause

Premise 1 is obvious true. if something began to exist, it must have a cause. Furthermore, if something began to exist then it is a contingent being that exist in some possible worlds but not another. The universe, therefore, does not exist due to its very nature. 

Premise 2 is true and uncontroversial. Professor Stephen Hawkins notes (2):

The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down. Nevertheless, the way the universe began would have been determined by the laws of physics, if the universe satisfied the no boundary condition. This says that in the imaginary time direction, space-time is finite in extent, but doesn't have any boundary or edge. The predictions of the no boundary proposal seem to agree with observation. The no boundary hypothesis also predicts that the universe will eventually collapse again. However, the contracting phase, will not have the opposite arrow of time, to the expanding phase. So we will keep on getting older, and we won't return to our youth. Because time is not going to go backwards, I think I better stop now. 

So what could be a cause of the universe? A cause of the universe must necessarily be transcendent (i.e. exist outside of time and space); be powerful enough to create a universe; and is a necessary being. This is a being we call God. 

III. The Moral Argument

1. If Objective moral facts exist, then God exists.
2. Objective moral facts exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

Objective here means the state of being true regardless of human opinion. For example, torturing babies for fun or committing genocide is always wrong. Where do these moral facts come from? These facts are necessary entities that must exist and is found within the nature of God. Why is murdering an innocent person wrong? The natural law theory would say that it is wrong because humans are cerated in God's image. 

These objective moral facts are commands. The statement "do not lie" is a command. Who or what can possibly command all of humanity to do something or refrain from doing? The answer is God. There can be no duty in isolation as Richard Taylor notes (3):

"A duty is something that is owed... But something can be owed only to some person or persons. There can be no such thing as a duty in isolation.... the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone."

IV. Conclusion

The resolution is strongly affirmed by the three arguments I presented. We can conclude that an MGB (i.e. God) is a necessary being that exists in all possible worlds. Further because the universe began to exist and is not a necessary entity, we must conclude that a necessary entity preceded that existence. We can further conclude that morality can only be objective in the context of God. 

I strongly urge a vote for the affirmative. Good luck to my opponent. 

V. Sources 
3. Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Pentice-Hall, 1985) 83 
Published:
Thanks to Virt. Before I begin, I would like to note that many of the arguments I will make are not ones I believe in, and that I have the utmost respect for my opponent and for the theistic scholars he draws on. The arguments I will make are taking place within the bubble of the debate, and should not be taken to reflect my actual opinions of those arguments or of theists. I will now present my case.

I. The Kritik

Kritiks (Ks) are not prohibited by the rules of this debate. For those who do not know what a K is, a K is an argument which challenges an assumption in the resolution or in the discourse related to the topic and tells us why this assumption is detrimental, in either broad or specific terms.

The assumption made by Pro which is problematic is the assumption that the question of God's existence is even arguable. Wittgenstein tells us that in order to talk about something in any meaningful sense, we must have some point of reference with which to understand that thing. His argument proceeds in this manner: [1]

  1. The world is all that is the case.
  2. What is the case—a fact—is the existence of states of affairs
  3. A logical picture of facts is a thought.
  4. A thought is a proposition with sense.
  5. A proposition is a truth-function of elementary propositions. (An elementary proposition is a truth function of itself.)
  6. The general form of a truth-function is [p,ξ, N (ξ)]
  7. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.
The notion of thought as picture is particularly important here. Our thoughts model, mentally, the reality we encounter isomorphically. In order to have sensically communication rooted in propositions with sense (thoughts), those propositions must have some reference. Imagine an alien for a moment. Perhaps you see a green biped with an ovular head and bulbous eyes. This though has reference: we have been exposed to things which are green, which are bipedal, which have heads, which have eyes, which are ovular, which have odd proportions. The alien we have imagined is a composite of various references. Now try to imagine an alien without reference. The very task is an impossibility, because we cannot imagine the un-referenceable. It is like trying to paint a picture of the unknown; it can't be done precisely because it is unknown. This has a key impact for how we talk about God. God, just by the very breadth of what such a being would be, is unreferenceable. We talk about God in Christians settings, for example, as a male, as made of three things, as a father; these things are all references. But these references cannot possibly accurately reflect a being of such uniqueness an expansiveness. We cannot think of God itself, and so we cannot talk sensically about God and its existence or nonexistence. This debate is therefore an exercise in nonsense.

The harms this K implicates are threefold:

  1. Discussions like this perpetuate a false delusion that the question of God's existence is answerable. Delusions interfere with our ability to think and perceive rationally and should therefore be rejected.
  2. Failing to recognize the possibility of that the question of God's existence is unanswerable contributes to wasted time and effort, as people like my opponent and theist and atheist scholars alike sink their lives into debates like this when their efforts could be more productive elsewhere.
  3. Debate as an activity should be rooted in sensical topics; debate, as an exercise of rational thought, should celebrate rational, sensical arguments. Topics like this, precisely because they are nonsensical, are problematic.
You should vote Con to reward Con for bursting the bubble of delusion which this topic perpetuates. All my following arguments should be understood in the context of my arguing a hypothetical ("what if we could talk about God sensically"); however, by spending time calling attention to the illogical nature of that hypothetical, I have already contributed to dispelling the cloud of delusion which hangs over this topic, as well as the gross misimpression that this is a sensical topic.

II. Against God's Existence: The 4 O's

God is defined, for the purposes of this debate as an "omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being who is the source of creation." Those 4 O's may require additional clarification. According to Merriam-Webster (1-3) and Oxford (4): [2, 3]

  1. Omniscient means "possessed of universal or complete knowledge"
  2. Omnipresent means "present in all places at all times"
  3. Omnipotent means "almighty: having absolute power over all"
  4. Omnibenevolent means "possessing perfect or unlimited goodness."
These terms loosely translate as "all-knowing, all-present, almighty, and all-loving." In order for God to exist, each of these must be true of God. If even one these is not true of God, God as defined does not exist and the Con position must carry the day.

A. God Cannot be Omniscient

In order for morality to be of importance, humans must possess free will. It is not wrong of me to do something I literally cannot avoid doing. It is not morally wrong to be gay or to be a woman because we have no choices in those matters. Similarly, we recognize that the moral agency of someone with a gun to their head is reduced because their freedom of choice is impinged. For morality to matter at all, therefore, we must have free will. To the extent that Pro hypes objective morals, he ought to agree with this conclusion.

Yet, omniscience is necessarily in conflict with human free will. If God is all-knowing, he'd know I was about to write "fart gun" before I wrote it. However, what if at the last second I chose to write "bumblebee larvae" instead? Well, then God would have been wrong, but God can't be wrong because he is omniscient. Yet, if God  knew for a fact that I was always going to write "fart gun," I never really had free will, because my actions were predetermined. Thus, if people have free will, God cannot be omniscient.

B. God Cannot be Omniscient and Omnipresent

Omnipresence means that God is universally temporally present; i.e. that he is present at all times. This means that God possess complete knowledge while also being temporally universal. This is paradoxical.

Yesterday, it was true that I would write this argument.
Today, it is true that I am writing this argument.
Tomorrow, it will be true that I have written this argument.

To possess complete knowledge, God would need to know all of these truths at once--but each of these truths is contradictory. That "I will write this argument" cannot be true at the same time that it is true that "I am writing this argument," but to a God, who exists in all times at once, all of these truths are true simultaneously. This is quite literally impossible. Either God does not know all three of these truths at once, or he is not temporally universal; either God is not omniscient or he is not omnipresent. If that's correct, then God does not exist.

C. God Cannot be Omnipotent

To be almighty is to be able to do anything. If God can do anything, he ought to be able to create a stone so heavy that even he cannot lift it. However, this creates a paradox: if God cannot lift the stone, he is not almighty; if God cannot make the stone, he is not almighty. From this, it becomes clear the God cannot be omnipotent, since omnipotence is logically impossible given the paradox. Ergo, God does not exist.

D. God Cannot be Omnibenevolent

Pro would no doubt agree that evil exists in the world today. In fact, Pro talks about objective morals and how sadists who torture children and genocide are objectively immoral. We can take it then as obvious that evil, cruelty, and immorality exist in the world.

Similarly, we can take it as obvious that there are actions which count as good. Pro does not offer any explicit moral theory which might allow me to deduce what those moral rules are, but it strikes me that benevolence is more than "not doing bad things;" it is in fact also "doing good things." [2] A person who allowed a child to be sadistically tortured or who failed to prevent a genocide would not be a good person. Therefore, to say that God is omnibenevolent is to say that he always does good.

Yet, God does not always do good. If God truly is almighty, all-present, and all-knowing (that is, God is aware of all evil and able to stop it), then why, if he is also omnibenevolent, does he not prevent acts such as genocide and child torture from taking place? That these things occur is proof that God is indeed not omnibenevolent, because it is not consistent with goodness to stand by and do nothing while an infant is electrocuted, cut by box knives over and over and over again, doused in acid, and then left for dead in the woods. God is not omnibenevolent because it is not consistent with goodness to stand by as millions are hauled off to concentration camps, worked to the point of death, and then gassed as they bathe. No good, all-powerful being would ever let such acts come to pass. Syllogistically:

P1. If an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient God exists, then evil does not.
P2. There is evil in the world.
C. Therefore, such a God does not exist.

III. Against God's Existence: Creation

Physicist argues "the entire universe...popped into existence from nothing at all. It had to happen, they say, because 'nothing' is inherently unstable." When empty space--nothing--is quantized, it fluctuates, creating virtual space-times. These virtual bubbles are guaranteed to form (there is some non-zero probability they will form). These bubbles can then expand via cosmic inflation fueled by gravity to create something, e.g. the universe we know now. [4] That something came from nothing means that God is not the creator of existence. Therefore, God does not exist.

IV. Sources


Thank you! Please vote Con!

Round 2
Published:
I want to thank con for accepting this debate. Likewise, I have the utmost respect for con and the scholars that he is drawing upon. 

1. The K

Con brings an interesting K to the argument. I contend that both the Theistic and Atheistic viewpoints make several predictions about how the world should look like. If Atheism is true, then this is what it should look like; and if Theism is true, this is what it should look like. The Atheist view point, for example, would say that evil is incompatible with Theism and the Theist would say, for example, that objective moral facts can only exist in a Theist-centered world.

The first argument I brought up, the ontological argument, is an a priori proof of God's existence while the KCA and moral argument are an a posteriori proof of God's existence.

I propose that we can know God's existence through both pure logic and through empirical evidence. 

II. The 4 O's

A. God Cannot be Omniscient

The Ethics of Our Fathers states: "Everything is foreseen, and freewill is given, and with goodness the world is judged. And all is in accordance to the majority of the deed." (1) 

God's knowledge is not causative. God's knowledge didn't cause me to perform a given act. If I put a bowl of ice cream and a bowl of Brussel sprouts in front of a child, I know that the child will choose the ice cream. This knowledge did not in any way prohibit my child from choosing otherwise.

There are, however, things that are casually determined. I am writing this speech because I instigated the debate. I cannot choose to grow wings and fly because it's not my nature. 

Catholic Answers writer Karlo Broussard states (2):

The contradiction is only apparent. God does not know our future as future. He knows our future actions in all their actuality/being (including their temporal modes of existence) in their presentiality. In other words, God knows our future actions as I know Socrates is sitting before me. My knowledge of Socrates sitting before me is infallible, and yet Socrates is not determined to be sitting. He is still free to sit or stand.
The famous Jewish philosopher Maimonides states (3): 

Free will is granted to all men. If one desires to turn himself to the path of good and be righteous, the choice is his. Should he desire to turn to the path of evil and be wicked, the choice is his.

This is [the intent of] the Torah's statement (Genesis 3:22): "Behold, man has become unique as ourselves, knowing good and evil," i.e., the human species became singular in the world with no other species resembling it in the following quality: that man can, on his own initiative, with his knowledge and thought, know good and evil, and do what he desires. There is no one who can prevent him from doing good or bad. Accordingly, [there was a need to drive him from the Garden of Eden,] "lest he stretch out his hand [and take from the tree of life]."

Were God to decree that an individual would be righteous or wicked or that there would be a quality which draws a person by his essential nature to any particular path [of behavior], way of thinking, attributes, or deeds, as imagined by many of the fools [who believe] in astrology - how could He command us through [the words of] the prophets: "Do this," "Do not do this," "Improve your behavior," or "Do not follow after your wickedness?"

[According to their mistaken conception,] from the beginning of man's creation, it would be decreed upon him, or his nature would draw him, to a particular quality and he could not depart from it.

One might ask: Since The Holy One, blessed be He, knows everything that will occur before it comes to pass, does He or does He not know whether a person will be righteous or wicked?

If He knows that he will be righteous, [it appears] impossible for him not to be righteous. However, if one would say that despite His knowledge that he would be righteous, it is possible for him to be wicked, then His knowledge would be incomplete.

Know that the resolution to this question [can be described as]: "Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea." Many great and fundamental principles and lofty concepts are dependent upon it. However, the statements that I will make must be known and understood [as a basis for the comprehension of this matter].

He continues postulating on the nature of God's knowledge:

Human knowledge cannot comprehend this concept in its entirety for just as it is beyond the potential of man to comprehend and conceive the essential nature of the Creator, as [Exodus 33:20] states: "No man will perceive, Me and live," so, too, it is beyond man's potential to comprehend and conceive the Creator's knowledge. This was the intent of the prophet's [Isaiah 55:8] statements: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways, My ways."

Accordingly, we do not have the potential to conceive how The Holy One, blessed be He, knows all the creations and their deeds. However, this is known without any doubt: That man's actions are in his [own] hands and The Holy One, blessed be He, does not lead him [in a particular direction] or decree that he do anything.

B. God Cannot be Omniscient and Omnipresent

This is basically answered above.

C. God Cannot be Omnipotent

Con completely misunderstands what we mean when philosophers say that God is Omnipotent. God is bound by his own nature and cannot do the illogical. For example, God cannot make a square triangle because it violates the nature of what a square is. Similarly if we define God as omnibenevolent, it follows that he cannot do evil. Rabbi Mandel sums this up nicely (4):

As we see, there are many things God cannot do, many "limitations" He cannot bring upon Himself. But this is because these "limitations" are not really limitations at all, but rather the necessary result of being unlimited.

In other words, the resolution of the omnipotence paradox is that God's inability to make Himself finite is not a lack or flaw on His part at all. This limitation is not testimony to His imperfection. On the contrary, it is actually the ultimate expression of His perfection."

The greatness of an infinite, unlimited being is that He can never lose His unlimited nature. God can never go against logic and make a round triangle, expend too much energy and become tired, nor compromise His perfect memory and forget things. God can never become bound by finite terms. It is an error to view this inability as a limitation that reflects a weakness on God's part. It is really the exact opposite. What makes God so infinitely powerful is that He cannot do the things we mortals can do.85 It is only because of our finitude – our natural weakness and restrictions – that we experience limitations such as sickness, depression, immortality, or the inability to lift a heavy rock. For the Infinite One, however, His all-powerful nature simply does not allow for such weaknesses.
D. God Cannot be Omnibenevolent

For con to make this argument he must concede to premise 2 in the moral argument. So what exactly is evil? First we must understand that evil is a necessity of free will. If I can choose only good, then I have no free will.

Maimonades, one of the most influential Jewish philosophers, proposed that there are three types of evil: (1) Evil that we do to ourselves; (2) Evil that we do to others; and (3) Natural evils like hurricanes and earth quakes. The first one

III. Creation

Con's argument assumes an infinite regress, something that is both philosophically and scientifically impossible. There cannot be an infinite regress of physical causes. This is like saying "the world is standing on turtles - all the way down." It's logically and physically impossible. Similarly to say "the universe was created by quantum fluctuations - all the way back." It's impossible. 

Second, we know form the KCA that the universe had to have an absolute beginning. If the universe as we know it was infinite in age, as con's argument suggests, then the universe would be out of useable energy and would be in a state of a death heat. Since we are not in that stage right now, we can reasonably conclude the universe is not infinite in age. 

IV. Sources 
1. Perkie Avot 3:15
3. Teshuva 5
4. Rambam "Guide to the Perplexed." 
5.

Thank you. Please vote Pro! 




Published:
I will now rebut Pro's case.

I. Proving Omnibenevolence

Since God was defined using the 4 O's, Pro must prove that a being composed of each of those 4 O's is probable, but none of his arguments demonstrate God's omnibenevolence. God need not be omnibenevolent to exist in all possible worlds, to be the cause of the universe, or even to create moral rules (rule-making =/= good-doing). Pro has not met his BOP.

II. The Ontological Argument

I have five discrete responses here.

First, it is not possible that God exists. if you buy the arguments I present with in my case regarding the 4 O's, it is not possible that God, as he has been defined, exists. If it is not possible that God exists, then the ontological argument falls apart because its very first premise will have been defeated. If you buy any one of my arguments against the 4 O's, then you cannot buy the ontological argument.

Second, Pro begs the question. Consider that the ontological argument is just as much an argument against God as for God. Imagine the following:

  1. It is not possible that a maximally great being exists.
  2. If it is not possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in no possible world.
  3. If a maximally great being exists in no possible world, then it does not exist in the actual world.
  4. If a maximally great being does not exist in the actual world, then a maximally great being does not exist.
  5. Therefore, a maximally great being does not exist.
Pro is begging the question because he doesn't do any work to demonstrate that God is possible. He just assumes God is possible and then uses that assumption as proof of God's existence, which is a baseless assertion and begs the question (Pro needs to prove that God is possible first, otherwise his argument is assuming its truth to prove its truth).

I could just as easily assume that God does not exist and use that assumption as a proof of God's nonexistence, at which point the above syllogism and Pro's syllogism cancel out, because there is no rational reason given to prefer either one. Except, I do provide rational reasons to prefer my version of the syllogism in my case, whereas Pro does not do so in his. Pro just assumes that God is possible/exists and that therefore God exists, which is a baseless assertion and begs the question.

Third, the ontological argument invites paradox. Would not a maximally great being be one who could render the ontological argument false? The ability to render truth false or to render logic illogical would express a greater degree of power and "greatness" than not being able to do these things. If the ontological argument is true, then God would be able to render the ontological argument false. If God can render the ontological argument false, then the ontological argument cannot demonstrate itself as true.

Fourth, this argument justifies the existence of The Force (as in Star Wars). The Force is by definition omnipresent (everywhere it is conceivably possible for it to be). Pro must agree that it is possible that an omnipresent entity exists or he would refute his own position. Moreover, it seems that the property which would allow God to be in all possible universes is omnipresence, since we have not defined God as "maximally great." Therefore, if Pro wishes to maintain the ontological argument, he must concede that it is one of the 4 O's which enables God to be in all possible universes. If it is possible that an omnipresent entity exists, then a world with The Force is at least one possible way the universe could exist. Since such an entity is everywhere it is conceivably possible for it to be, it must exist in all possible universes (since it is conceivable that it be in those universes), and therefore must exist in reality. Therefore, The Force exists. Whether we're talking about The Force, magic, or some hypothetical non-God entity, this argument could justify their existence, and is thus absurd.

Fifth, scientific and logical rules are contingent, not necessary. "[T]here will also be an infinite number [of universes] in which the basic laws of physics are different." [5] If it is the case that physics can change among universes, then it must also be, by way of corollary, that mathematical and logical rules can change among universes. If so-called "necessary" entities are not "necessary," this calls into question whether indeed anything is truly "necessary."

III. The Kalam Cosmological Argument

I have three discrete responses to the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA).

First, it is only experientially the case that whatever began to exist has a cause. It is hypothetically conceivable that something could come into existence without cause (e.g. spontaneous combustion). Experience also tells us that anything which exists has a cause. This is a subtle but important distinction, and here's why:

P1. Whatever exists has a cause.
P2. The Universe exists.
C1. Therefore, the Universe has a cause.
P3. The cause of the Universe exists (or existed)
C2. Therefore, the cause of the Universe has a cause (from P1 and P3)

This logic is essentially irrefutable. The first premise of the KCA is not analytically self-evident, because it is conceivable that something could begin without a cause, i.e. because "begin" is not definitionally identical to "caused." [2] If the first premise is not analytically self-evident, then it must be demonstrated empirically. But empiric evidence is equally supportive of the claim that "whatever exists has a cause." Therefore, my syllogism stands on footing precisely equal to Pro's, mooting Pro's entire argument. More precisely, my syllogism moots Pro's syllogism because mine sets up an infinite regression which fails to terminate in any entity that could possiblly constitute God.

Second, quantum events are un-caused. "On the quantum level, the connection between cause and effect, if not entirely broken, is to some extent loosened...[Apologist William Lane] Craig responds that...quantum events are not completely devoid of causal conditions. Even if one grants that the causal conditions are not jointly sufficient to determine the event, at least some necessary conditions are involved in the quantum event. But when one considers the beginning of the universe, he notes, there are no prior necessary causal conditions; simply nothing exists...Morriston is rightly puzzled by this reply, for, he asks, what: 'makes a cause out of a bunch of merely necessary conditions. Apparently not that they are jointly sufficient to produce the effect.'" [6] In other words, that there are conditions in which quantum events take place, that does not make those condition causative. Quantum events are therefore probably un-caused, demonstrating the falsity of the first premise of the KCA.

Third, the empiric nature of the support for the first premise is problematic because it inductive. With something so strange as the universe and existence, it is hard to see how our experiential knowledge is sufficient to generalize to it.

IV. The Moral Argument

I have three discrete responses here.

First, an objective, non-deistic morality is possible. For morality to be objective, it must be such that no rational person, thinking rationally, could reject it. Such a system is not contingent on opinion because any rational actor ought to embrace it in the abstract. It is also universal to the extent that it applies to all rational agents.

Every actor has an aim for which they do some action, implying both that an actor values that aim and the conditions that allow them to pursue it. Actors both need freedom and wellbeing in order to be able to pursue their aims, and so must lay claim to both in order that they be able to pursue their aims. It would be reciprocally invalid (illogical) for me to lay claim to freedom and wellbeing without recognizing the claims of freedom and wellbeing made by similarly situated others. Since all agents have or will have aims for which they do some action, all agents are similarly situated. Therefore, all agents must recognize the rights of every agent to freedom and wellbeing. This kind of logic can be applied to similar moral questions, but the results it produces universal enjoin agents regardless of their individual opinions. Therefore, it is possible to construct a system of objective morals without appealing to God's existence. Much as different religions have different moral commandments, whether or not the system I outlined is correct is immaterial, to the extent it demonstrates that God is not necessary to arrive at an objective, universal morality.

Second, moral facts are not commands. If it is true that killing is wrong, then it is wrong to kill. This is not a command, but rather a means of categorizing actions. Plus, we express facts as "it is the case that f," not as "do not f." That means moral facts should be expressed as "it is the case that it is wrong to kill," not as "do not kill." Pro is deceptively building in his argument that moral facts are commands by the way he mis-phrases those facts. 

Third, I would object to Pro's use of Natural Law Theory, which holds itself to be binding upon rational beings, because it directs us towards the good. The good provides us reason to act in particular ways; it's perfective of us given our natures. It is our nature as rational beings that makes "the good for us is what it is...[I]t is hard to see how a consistent natural law theorist could entirely reject the possibility of [derivationist] knowledge, given the view that...human good is grounded in nature: for to show that the human good is grounded in nature is to show that human nature explains why certain things are goods." [7] Natural Law Theory invokes an is/ought fallacy, i.e. that X is in our nature determines X's moral status.

V. Sources

Round 3
Published:
Thank you for your reply. I'm going to begin by responding to the problem of evil as my response was cut off. 

I. Problem of Evil

I have a few responses. First, in order to make this claim, con has to concede that there are objective moral facts in this world. Second, evil is a necessary component of free will. If evil does not exist, then free will cannot exist. If we cannot choose to be evil, then we cannot choose to be good. Thirdly, who is to say that God does not stop certain evils? If God stopped the evil before it occurred, then we obviously do not know about it. 

Fourthly, the RAMBAM wrote that there are three types of evil. (1) Evil we do to ourselves. A smoker shouldn't be surprised when they end up with lung cancer and a drunkard shouldn't be surprised when they end up with liver failure. (2) Evil we do to others. Because we have free will and can choose to do evil, we can unfortunately choose to do highly immoral acts like commit genocide. Finally, 3) Natural evils like earthquakes and hurricanes. (1)

Fifthly, RAMBAM postulates that suffering can also be a result of punishment. If God is good then he must punish evil. Suffering and evil cause us to look in ourselves and repent and do good. Just as a parent disciplines a child, God to must discipline man. 

Finally, we need to look at the "big picture." There's an interesting story I wish to share (2):


There once was a farmer who owned a horse. And one day the horse ran away. All the people in the town came to console him because of the loss. "Oh, I don't know," said the farmer, "maybe it's a bad thing and maybe it's not."
A few days later, the horse returned to the farm accompanied by 20 other horses. (Apparently he had found some wild horses and made friends!) All the townspeople came to congratulate him: "Now you have a stable full of horses!" "Oh, I don't know," said the farmer, "maybe it's a good thing and maybe it's not."
A few days later, the farmer's son was out riding one of the new horses. The horse got wild and threw him off, breaking the son's leg. So all the people in town came to console the farmer because of the accident. "Oh, I don't know," said the farmer, "maybe it's a bad thing and maybe it's not."
A few days later, the government declared war and instituted a draft of all able-bodied young men. They came to the town and carted off hundreds of young men, except for the farmer's son who had a broken leg. "Now I know," said the farmer, "that it was a good thing my horse ran away."
The point of this story is obvious. Life is a series of events, and until we've reached the end of the series, it's hard to know exactly why things are happening. That's one reason the Torah commands us to give respect to every elderly person – because through the course of life experience, they have seen the jigsaw puzzle pieces fall into place.

So suffering and evil is perfectly compatible with an all loving God. 

Now to defend my case.

I. The Ontological Argument

Con attempts to rebut this argument by attacking P1. Con is effectively arguing that an MGB is an impossible being. I think I satisfactorily rebutted his paradoxes. We will go more in depth on his attack on P1 once he responds.

Second, parodying the argument always fails for one of two reasons: (1) it is not structurally parallel to the argument; (2) it is not dialectally parallel to the argument. Further any attempt to parody the argument that resolves 1 and 2 is the ontological argument itself and thus leads us back to square one. [3] 

Con's attempt to parody the argument with the non-existence of God and the Star Wars force fails for both of those reasons. 

P1: It's not possible that an MGB exists
P2: If it is not possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in no possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in no possible world, then it does not exist in the actual world.
P4: If a maximally great being does not exist in the actual world, then a maximally great being does not exist.
C: Therefore, a maximally great being does not exist.

As I mentioned in constructing the argument, there are three kinds of beings: impossible beings like the invisible pink unicorn, contingent beings that can logically exist in some possible worlds such as a fire-breathing dragon or a unicorn, and necessary beings like the laws of logic and the laws of mathematics. 

Con's parody here starts with a being he assumes is an impossible being. This is an inverse of the original ontological argument by essentially attacking P1. 

The ontological argument is valid and thus the conclusion follows of all the premises are true.  The move from <>[]P -> []P is perfectly warranted and axiomatic given the S5 axiom of modal logic. 

II. The Kalaam Cosmological Argument

Looking at con's parody, the problem exists in premise 1. Everything that exist does not necessarily have a cause. As noted in the ontological argument, there are necessary entities. These necessary entities do not have a cause because they are necessary. If there were no physical universe at all, then 2+2 will still = 4 and laws of logic will still apply. If the universe has a cause, then this cause must transcend space and time. This means that such a being is necessary that exists independently of the universe. This is why we can say that God is the uncaused cause. Premise 1 fails and thus the rest of the argument fails.

But let's be generous for a moment and assume that the argument is sound. This would necessarily imply the existence of an infinite regress which is impossible. An infinite cause of gods or an infinite cause of physical nature cannot exist.

Finally quantum fluctuations are not uncaused. Quantum fluctuations depend on the physical world and depend on the laws of physics. Alex Filippenko notes: 

"The Big Bang could've occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there," said astrophysicist Alex Filippenko of the University of California, Berkeley. "With the laws of physics, you can get universes."

"Quantum mechanical fluctuations can produce the cosmos," said panelist Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the non-profit Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute. "If you would just, in this room, just twist time and space the right way, you might create an entirely new universe. It's not clear you could get into that universe, but you would create it."
Catholic philosopher and theologian Trent Horn notes [5]:

The major intuitive support behind premise #1 is that something can’t come from nothing without a supernatural cause. The case of virtual particles “popping into existence” does not overturn this intuition, because these entities do not emerge from “nothing.” They instead emerge from the quantum vacuum, or a field with a very low energy level. Columbia University Philosopher and theoretical physicist David Albert writes,
[V]acuum state—no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems—are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff . . . the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those [quantum] fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings — if you look at them aright — amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.

Uncaused events in quantum mechanics do not refute the principle that something cannot come from nothing. Furthermore, the reduction of causation in quantum events to unpredictable probabilities does not refute our normal experience that objects simply do not appear without a cause. This leaves us with sufficient evidence to believe that “whatever begins to exist must have a cause for its existence.”

Thus quantum fluctuations do not disprove the KCA. 

III. The Moral Argument

Firstly it is all too common and too easy to rationalize evil. Con needs to define what constitutes a rational person or what constitutes thinking rationally. In the Middle Ages, people rationalized their hatred of Jews by reasoning that they killed Jesus and kill Christian children for their matzah. While we look at this as absurd, to them that was perfectly reasonable.

Second, morality is a duty. Refraining from immoral actions like torturing babies for fun is obligatory and incumbent on all of us to follow.  Obligations are imposed upon us by systems of social relationships thus are commands from person. There is no such thing as an obligation or a duty in isolation, an issue that con fails to address. 

The third response I will get to in the next round as I'm out of space and running out of time.

IV. Sources
1. Guide to the Perplexed, Chapter 3
2. http://www.aish.com/h/9av/aas/Why_Do_Bad_Things_Happen_to_Good_People.html 
3. Yujin Nagasawa; The Ontological Argument and the Devil, The Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 60, Issue 238, 1 January 2010, Pages 72–91, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9213.2008.603.x






Published:
I will now defend my case. I am going to also address Con's R3 argument on the problem of evil, as it applies to my case.

I. The Kritik

Pro fails to address the substance of the K, which is that: "God, just by the very breadth of what such a being would be, is unreferenceable...We cannot think of God itself, and so we cannot talk sensically about God and its existence or nonexistence." Not once does Pro offer us a non-referential way to conceive of God, nor does he argue that it is possible to do so. Con thus drops God's unreferenceability. Indeed, Con later cites a source which says: "it is beyond the potential of man to comprehend and conceive the essential nature of the Creator." This concedes the point.

If we cannot conceive of God, any predictions atheists or theists make about what the world might look like with or without God are necessarily nonsensical and baseless. We must first understand God in order to render predictions about how he might behave, how he might shape the world, etc. We cannot make predictions about the unknowable. Since God is unreferenceable, he is unknowable.

Moreover, the syllogisms Con uses are similarly nonsensical and meaningless, because they are attempting to prove the existence of that which is beyond comprehension. Logic cannot extend beyond our range of comprehension as it would then cease to be logical. Pro's syllogisms also rely on references (i.e. God as "cause," God as "rule-bringer," God as "great"). But, I've already established, God is unreferenceable; this precludes Pro's syllogisms having any meaning, since they rely on their ability to reference God in order to make their argument. Put simply, if God is beyond our comprehension, as I have shown he is, then neither logic nor observation is sufficient to show his existence probable.

Pro dropped the three impacts of the K and the upshot of those impacts (i.e. that voters should vote Con). Thus, so long as the K stands, these impacts require a Con vote. Since Pro dropped these impacts as well as that these impacts mandate a vote for Con, Pro may not attempt to rebut these points later; nor, similarly, may he attempt to challenge God's unreferenceability.

II. Against God's Existence: The 4 O's

A. God Cannot be Omniscient

Whether or not God's knowledge is causative seems immaterial. That God knows what choice I will make is sufficient to say that his omniscience precludes my free will. Imagine that I am a player in a cosmic game of Deal or No Deal, and I must choose which of 1 billion boxes I will open. My range of choices is enormous. In the instant before I decide which box to open, the future is in flux because it is not yet determined which box I will select. Once I make a choice, the choice is determined and becomes the past. A determined future is a future which dictates my choices in the present; free will is instead the belief that my choices in the present dictate the future.

God, if he is omniscient, must know which box I will open. Pro never disputes that fact (nor does he dispute that free will is a necessary prerequisite to morality). Yet, to know which box I will open is to say that the future is fixed--that is is predetermined--rather than in flux, because if it were in flux, God could not possibly know which box I would select. So long as the future is knowable, I, as an agent, cannot have free will, because the future could only be knowable if choices were fixed, and thus not a matter of choice. It is therefore fundamentally impossible for God to be omniscient and for me to have free will, regardless of whether or not God causes me to choose box 39,987,652.

Omniscience and free will cannot coexist. Pro cannot simultaneously maintain his argument about objective morality and still claim that God is omniscient. The very fact that Pro fails to dispute that we have free will indicates that God is not omniscient, and that a Con vote is in order.

B. God Cannot be Omniscient and Omnipresent

Yesterday, it was true that I would write this argument.
Today, it is true that I am writing this argument.
Tomorrow, it will be true that I have written this argument.

To possess complete knowledge, God would need to know all of these truths at once--but each of these truths is contradictory. That "I will write this argument" cannot be true at the same time that it is true that "I am writing this argument," but to a God, who exists in all times at once, all of these truths are true simultaneously. This is quite literally impossible. Either God does not know all three of these truths at once, or he is not temporally universal; either God is not omniscient or he is not omnipresent. If that's correct, then God does not exist.
Pro seems to mistake this argument as identical to the one before; not only is that mistake a clear error, but it gains me unrefuted offense in this debate. Argument (A) makes a claim that omniscience is inconsistent with free will. This argument, (B), makes the claim that omniscience is inconsistent with omnipresence. These claims are clearly not the same.

Truths are often indexical, meaning that they are indexed or linked to certain temporal states. It is "now" the case that I am writing this argument, so the fact "I am writing this argument" is only true "now." The fact is indexed to the temporal state of "now," and will cease to be true when "now" is over and was not true before "now" began. With that in mind, revisit the text of my argument (reposted above). 

It is not possible to know indexical truths as facts when their indices are in conflict. It is not possible to know as fact that "I have written this argument," at the same time as you know that "I am writing this argument," as these facts contradict. God, being omniscient and omnipresent (meaning everywhere at all times), would nevertheless need to know all of these truths simultaneously. This is a logical impossibility, and demonstrates that God cannot exist.

Pro again quotes a source which undermines his position: "He knows our future actions...in their presentiality." In other words, God knows, because he exists across time, that it is presently the case (known as fact) that I have written this argument, that I am writing this argument, and that I will write this argument. This is, for the reasons I've explained, a logical impossibility.

Pro utterly failed to address any of the substance of this argument; he cannot refute this argument later in the debate, as doing so would constitute a new argument. If God cannot be omniscient and omnipresent, then God, as he was defined, cannot exist and Con wins.

C. God Cannot be Omnipotent

Pro's response here is to essentially concede the point. Pro writes, "God is bound by his own nature and cannot do the illogical." If God is "bounded" at all, by anything, he is not omnipotent. An omnipotent being should be able to transcend its own nature and logic. Indeed, God should be able to make the false true and the absurd reasonable because he is God. To suggest that there is anything whatsoever God cannot do is to say that God is not omnipotent. If God is not omnipotent, then God, as defined, does not exist and Con wins.

D. God Cannot be Omnibenevolent

Pro's response to this is basically twofold: (1) people have free will which entails evil, and (2) sometimes evil is "good" because it produces favorable outcomes or is punishment. Pro also makes a tripartite distinction about different kinds of evil, but he never explains why its at all relevant to the debate, so this distinction should be disregarded.

On (1): So what? That free will necessitates evil does not explain how God can be omnibenevolent while permitting evil to exist. Pro is basically saying here, "yeah evil exists, but we have free will," which says nothing about how that evil squares with an omnibenevolent God. If anything, Pro's response shows that free will is inconsistent with omnibenevolence. If free will entails evil, an omnibenevolent God would not permit free will to exist. At this point, Pro can either reject that people have free will (and give up on his objective morals argument) or he can agree that God is not omnibenevolent, which would cost Pro the debate. Pro is in a double-bind which will do serious damage to his case.

On (2): Whenever evil is "good," it's not evil. When we talk about the problem of evil, we are talking about such things as torturing a child. As I said in my case, God's supposed omnibenevolence is not consistent with allowing "an infant [to be] electrocuted, cut by box knives over and over and over again, doused in acid, and then left for dead in the woods." Moreover, Pro has to concede that evil exists, because Pro has made evil's existence a condition of free will's existence; if Pro alleges that true, raw, pure evil does not exist, then he is saying that free will (and objective morality) don't exist. The existence of raw evil necessarily defeats Pro response here, because even if some suffering is good (as was the case with the farmer), that suffering is not "evil," and so is not responsive to my argument.

III. Against God's Existence: Creation

Pro makes some Yurtle the Turtle-inspired infinite regression argument. But there's nothing infinitely regressive here: existence came about as a quantum fluctuation, which was a fixed event/starting point. Even if it were infinitely regressive (it's not), why is that impossible? With a question as complex as existence itself, how can we presume to apply our limited understanding to it? Because Pro's comment here is non-responsive, this argument provides sufficient cause to vote Con--God is not the creator of existence.

Finally, I dealt already with the KCA argument, and applying it here is begging the question anyhow. Since the KCA assumes as its first premise that all things which began have a cause, it cannot be used to argue that all things which began have a cause, or even that all things began.

Thank you! Please vote Con!
Round 4
Published:
I would like to thank bsh1 for this debate. I will now respond to the arguments I failed to address perviously.

----

1. Omnibenevolence

Firstly, a maximally great being is necessarily perfectly good. If a being is not perfectly good, then there is some imperfection, which is not what God is. Second, if God can give moral commands such as not kill and not to torture babies for fun, it is necessary for God to be perfectly good. It follows that God cannot give evil commands like to commit mass genocide or to torture babies for fun.

Now to rebut con's case. 

1. Against the 4 O's 

A. God Cannot be Omniscient

Again God’s omniscience is not causative and thus free will can exit. If I have perfect knowledge that my son will choose ice cream over a bowl of cauliflower, it in no way prohibits my son’s ability to choose the former because my knowledge is not causative

Further, because God is omnipotent, He could therefore choose to refrain from interfering in choices made by others. 

B. God Cannot be Omniscient and Omnipresent

Con simply does not quite understand the issue here. Because God is also transcendence, He  also exists outside the space-time framework. In God’s framework, all three truths are true simultaneously because he exists in eternity past, the present, and eternity future. 

C. God Cannot be Omnipotent

Once again it’s clear that Con does not understand the philosophical concept of omnipotence. If we define God as perfectly good, it follows that God can do no evil. Does this mean God is not omnipotent? Absolutely not! 

It’s impossible for God to create the impossible, like a stone too heavy for him to lift or an invisible pink unicorn. 

Simply put: Omnipotence does not mean an absolute power like the Webster dictionary defines it, but rather God has the maximum power that any being could possibly have. 

D. God Cannot be Omnibenevolent

Because free will exists, evil necessarily exists. If God stepped into the picture every time we were going to do something evil or wrong, then we do not have free will either. We can choose to be as great as Avraham Avinu or as wicked as Hitler, yimakh shamo v’zichro.

We may ask God “Why did you allow the holocaust to happen?” God responds by asking us that very same question. 


III. Against God's Existence: Creation

This is related to the KCA. If the universe has a cause, then this cause necessarily transcends space-time. If a quantum fluctuation suddenly caused a huge universe to exist, then necessarily (1) the laws of physics transcends space time (proven in the KCA); (2) this quantum fluctuation transcends space-time; and (3) this quantum fluctuation is powerful enough to create a huge universe that will eventually create life. This is pretty close to the definition of God! 


Thank you. please vote pro! 

Published:
I will now respond to Pro's case and conclude. Thanks to Pro for the debate.

I. The Ontological Argument

Because my case shows that God's existence (as he was defined) is not possible, the ontological argument fails.

Pro offers some generalized attack against parody arguments. What this generalized attack fails to do, however, is to consider how my counter-syllogism is being used specifically. To begin, my counter-syllogism argument follows logically from its premises:

1. Not W
2. If not W, then not X
3. If not X, then not Y
4. If not Y, then not Z
5. Not Z

What my counter-syllogism shows, is that Pro's argument rests on a question-begging premise. If I assume that God exists, then, using the Ontological Argument, I can prove God exists. If I assume that God does not exist, then, using my counter-syllogism, I can prove that God does not exist. Therefore "Pro is begging the question because he doesn't do any work to demonstrate that God is possible. He just assumes God is possible and then uses that assumption as proof of God's existence, which is a baseless assertion and begs the question (Pro needs to prove that God is possible first, otherwise his argument is assuming its truth to prove its truth)." My counter-syllogism calls attention to the question-begging nature of Pro's argument. In fact, if both of our syllogisms are equally valid and are based on equally plausible assumptions, the best Pro can hope for is that the syllogisms cancel out. However, since my entire case gives reasons to support the assumption that God is not possible, prefer my syllogism which proves that God does not exist. Pro gives no support for his first premise whatsoever. This provides a clear rationale for voting Con.

Pro then drops, entirely, my third and fifth responses to Con's argument. If God transcends logic, any logical argument in favor of his existence is prima facie absurd. If logic is not necessary why ought we believe God is necessary? Pro gives us no answers. Extend these arguments--they void Pro's offense here.

On my fourth argument, Pro says his parody reply defeats it, but never explains why (again, Pro's argument was overbroad, and he never explains how it is responsive to my specific arguments). Since there is no clear explanation from Pro as to why his argument addresses mine, Pro's argument should not be taken to be actually responsive to my argument. It's not my job to do Pro's work for him and to connect the dots he refuses to connect. Consider my argument dropped and extend it. It also defeats the ontological argument; Pro has no offense.

There are therefore at least five reasons--two of which are dropped entirely--to discount Pro's argument here completely. At least one of those arguments is also generating Con offense.

II. The Kalam Cosmological Argument

First, on my counter-syllogism, Pro asserts that the first premise is faulty because there are necessary entities which have not been caused. This is false, and Pro has yet to offer any evidence for the necessity of any entity. As I have already shown in this debate, neither the laws of physics nor logic are necessary. For isntance, my source notes "[T]here will also be an infinite number [of universes] in which the basic laws of physics are different." [5] No evidence or successful argument has been introduced in this debate to support the notion of necessary entities, meaning Pro has no refutation to the first premise of my counter-syllogism. Moreover, empirical observation, as I noted, is just as supportive of the claim that everything which exists has a cause as it is of the claim that whatever begins has a cause. Therefore, my counter-syllogism does successfully cancel out Pro's syllogism, meaning Pro is getting no offense off of his failed KCA argument.

I explained previously why infinite regressions were not impossible. Pro dropped this argument of mine last round; extend it.

Second, on quantum fluctuations, Pro contends that they are not uncaused, but provides no evidence. All Pro's evidence does is establish that quantum fluctuations occur within a set of necessary conditions, which is not the same as saying those conditions cause the fluctuations. For example, it's a necessary condition for me to pass my test that I show up to take that test, but my showing up does not cause me to pass it. I explained this earlier, and Pro dropped that argument outright. Extend it. As my source said: "what: 'makes a cause out of a bunch of merely necessary conditions. Apparently not that they are jointly sufficient to produce the effect.'"

As for the Horn card Pro cites, I have three replies. (1) See my earlier evidence: "'the entire universe...popped into existence from nothing at all. It had to happen...because 'nothing' is inherently unstable.' When empty space--nothing--is quantized, it fluctuates, creating virtual space-times." (2) Pro has not been able to show that absolute nothingness ever existed--indeed, an infinite regression may be possible (an idea against which Pro has offered only bare assertions); this means that the Horn evidence is illogically presumptive, insofar as Pro has not laid the groundwork to justify it. (3) The KCA's first premise is simply that everything which began has a cause; whether or not Horn is right, the syllogism is invalid if quantum fluctuations are uncaused even if they are not in a total vacuum.

Third, Pro entirely drops my third argument: "the empiric nature of the support for the first premise [of the KCA] is problematic because it inductive. With something so strange as the universe and existence, it is hard to see how our experiential knowledge is sufficient to generalize to it." As the first premise of the KCA is unsupportable, there Pro's argument is defeated.

There are then at least three reasons to consider the KCA argument defeated. 

III. The Moral Argument

First, Pro conflates "rational" with "rationalizing." It is not rational to rationalize the irrational. That people can rationalize the irrational (e.g. conspiracy theorists), demonstrates that it is a mistake for Pro to substitute rationalize for rational. You'll notice something important I said: "Such a system is not contingent on opinion because any rational actor ought to embrace it in the abstract." That any rational actor should embrace it in the abstract implies impartiality and estrangement from the various value conflicts that might lead one to rationalize some action. I'm referring to a rational actor cognizing in the abstract; such a rational actor is not one engaged in rationalization. Furthermore, Pro does not attack the moral system I proposed itself--one which respects the rights to freedom and wellbeing. Instead, Pro just gets into semantic, wholly tangential nit-picking. While this may all seem very philosophical and abstract, it shows that God is not needed to create a genuinely viable and indeed desirable objective moral code. That alone is sufficient to negate whole Pro's argument here.

Second, Pro entirely drops my response to the system of morality--natural law--which he advocates. His theory commits an is/ought fallacy and is illogical. Extend my response to this system as unrefuted. The kind of God Pro envisages would not create a moral system based on illogical claims, and so it doesn't seem that Pro's system is proving God exists either.

IV. Miscellaneous

Pro makes 3 illicitly new arguments in his last speech. He responds to (1) my argument that "God Cannot be Omniscient and Omnipresent," (2) Webster's definition of omnipotence, (3) BOP/omnibenevolence, and (4) quantum fluctuations/KCA. These new arguments in the last round should be entirely disregarded. New arguments are unfair because they should have been made earlier (but were dropped) and because they deny their opponent any chance to fulsomely respond.

Also, Pro makes some wierd argument at the end of his last speech about the KCA which sounds like Pro is defining quantum fluctuations as God. Not only is that illicitly new, but quantum fluctuations clearly don't meet the definition of God agreed on (e.g. they're not omnibenevolent). Finally, on omnibenevolence, as I've said before, we never defined God as maximally great and perfect rule-making does not mean perfect good-doing--omnibenevolence is both.

V. Voting Issues

A. The Kritik

This argument preempts all other arguments because precedes the debate itself. Given Pro's drops of large parts of the K, including the voting impacts stemming from the K, a Con vote is required.
B. God Cannot be Omniscient

I've shown that free will and omniscience cannot coexist. The very fact that Pro fails to dispute that we have free will indicates that God is not omniscient, mandating a Con vote.
C. God Cannot be Omniscient and Omnipresent

Pro dropped this argument entirely (setting aside the illicit new argument). This argument demonstrates that God cannot be both omniscient and omnipresent, requiring a Con vote.
D. God Cannot be Omnipotent

I've shown that God cannot be omnipotent. If this is the case, a Con vote is required.
E. God Cannot be Omnibenevolent

I've shown that the existence of raw, purposeless evil precludes God from being omnibenevolent. In fact, if God were omnibenevolent, he would would not allow humans to have free will, precluding Pro's objective morals argument. This requires a Con vote.
F. Creation

I've shown that existence came from uncaused quantum fluctuations occurring in a state of nothingness. God is not the creator, and so does not exist.
G. Other

My counter-syllogism on the ontological argument and Pro's failure to prove God's benevolence are reasons to vote Con.
H. Offense

Vote Con on the weight of offense. I am winning far more major arguments than Pro is winning. Cherry-picking arguments to vote on would be wrong, as any one argument could in theory constitute equal proof against any other. Voters must vote holistically.
Thank you! Please VOTE CON!
Added:
--> @Speedrace
Yeah it was a tough debate
Instigator
#102
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
I'm inclined to agree, I either would have tied or given him arguments, I didn't read the last two rounds though so I'm not sure
Added:
--> @Speedrace
Thanks, though I honestly think @bsh should have won
Instigator
#100
Added:
--> @Virtuoso, @bsh1
This was a cool debate
#99
Added:
-Conduct-
The final fatal blow to Con’s case comes from Con himself. After angrily demanding certain definitions be followed throughout the whole debate, Con finally snaps in the last round and embarks on a babyish gloating fit akin to those usually reserved for a contentious kickball battle at recess in the 3rd grade.
I directly quote:
“…a Con vote is required… mandating a Con vote… requiring a Con vote…a Con vote is required (it was repeated in the last round)…This requires a Con vote… I am winning far more major arguments than Pro is winning…VOTE CON”
This childish conduct is not only sufficient to cost him points on conduct, but if this is the only response Con ever has, to bully voters into voting a particular way by asserting he’s won with definitions he asserts should be followed, it quite substantially demonstrates that he never had a real rebuttal in the first place.
Conduct to Pro for these reasons.
Also, some might find it unfair that this vote is coming in 2 minutes prior to the end of the voting period, but if you’ve got a problem with it, well…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKRzfU3dHGQ
#98
Added:
-Sources-
Con began but did not end his argument with sources. What’s strange is that it never made sense what Con’s sources were supposed to accomplish. Con wanted to disprove that the universe was created by god, so in the first round he linked to a BBC article which contains a quote describing that in fact the universe was created, which could still be god, and it mentions nothing negating god’s involvement, which is what Con was attempting with his source, and it read,
"So you can create virtual space-times just as you can create virtual particles."
You see this debate wasn't about how the universe was created, but whether or not god did the creating of the universe. The BBC article Con linked to says nothing about negating god’s involvement with the fluctuations and such, failing to support his argument.
Conversely, when Pro made a claim, he managed to supply a source (and directly and frequently quote from that source) which exactly said the same thing as the claim he was constructing. For example, when Pro states,
“The answer is God. There can be no duty in isolation,” which serves as a proof for omnibenevolence defined broadly as Pro requested it to be defined, he both links to and quotes from a source which says precisely that. As such, his sources clearly served the purpose of substantiating his argument, which cannot be said of the sources provided by Con.
Sources to Pro for these reasons.
#97
Added:
So what did Con do after mentioning this to everyone?
Con continued to have this delusional, time-wasting, should-be-rejected, unproductive discussion, antithetically contributing to the very harms he claimed were so “bubble-bursting” to know about when he brought them to our attention, which makes me think that this K isn’t serious.
It’d be like someone explaining why combustible engine emissions will likely contribute to our planet heating up to our sever detriment and then using a Hummer to do doughnuts in the parking lot for an hour only to refrain to a recreational vehicle for a long trip to the gas station.
If we buy Con’s K, then Con should have abstained from debating the rest of the debate, because he ended up feeding the delusion, mitigating the impact of the K, and proving that even Con doesn’t buy or choose to remedy the harms of his own K to the extent that Con even exacerbates those harms.
Pro shows a probable 4 O source of creation because Con did not cast enough doubt on the resolution or Pro’s 3 arguments in favor of the resolution.
Arguments to Pro.
#96
Added:
3. The Moral Argument
If Objective moral facts exist, then God exists…Objective moral facts exist…Therefore, God exists.
*Con again leads with “For morality to be objective, it must be such that no rational person, thinking rationally, could reject it,” which overtly ignores Pro’s request in the debate for objective morality to be “the state of being true regardless of human opinion.”
Again, if I have to go against the previous request of the debater to buy Con’s attacks here, I wish to not violate my duty as a voter to honor the request of the debater whose interpretation seems more reasonable, and as such cannot buy Con’s arguments.
I also then must buy that without human opinion god must exist to command objective morals.
4. Con’s Kritik.
Con starts off with saying “Kritiks (Ks) are not prohibited by the rules of this debate.”
Sorry Con, the rules or lack thereof are not binding on voters or debaters…sorry, it’s a site policy, so while the arbitrary rules and definitions you thought you were agreeing to may not mention no Ks, I interpret Pro’s request in the debate to ignore the K as a request for voters to disallow the K.
Furthermore, Pro is reasonable in ignoring the K because Con mitigates it.
Con’s K includes ideas like,
“Discussions like this perpetuate a false delusion…delusions interfere with our ability to think and perceive rationally and should therefore be rejected…contributes to wasted time and effort…efforts could be more productive elsewhere…you should vote Con to reward Con for bursting the bubble of delusion”
#95
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
Look, I'm getting salty, and I don't want to be salty. I like and respect you.
Can we agree to disagree and just leave it at that (as regards this conversation, at least)?
Contender
#94
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
Ram, those were bogus arguments based on Virt totally misunderstanding the argument. The K says that "God is unreferenceable and therefore unknowable," while Virt's response is basically: "we can use referential knowledge to know God." Virt's response is the argumentative equivalent of two ships passing in the night. He never once disputes that God is unreferenceable, but instead appeals to referential knowledge to know God. That's totally illogical, because it fails to address the PRIOR objection that God is unreferenceable. Virt needed to establish God's referenceability BEFORE he could claim that pure logic and emipirical evidence could produce knowledge of God, since both such methods rely on God's referenceability.
As I said in the debate: "Pro fails to address the substance of the K, which is that: 'God, just by the very breadth of what such a being would be, is unreferenceable...We cannot think of God itself, and so we cannot talk sensically about God and its existence or nonexistence.' Not once does Pro offer us a non-referential way to conceive of God, nor does he argue that it is possible to do so." The fact that Virt drops the K in his subsequent remarks concedes to the fact that he failed to address it's substantive.
So, sure, he made an "argument" if by "argument" you mean a non-responsive bare assertion. He did not make an argument in the sense I mean it, which is "a substantive and topical reply which refutes the argument actually being made."
Contender
#93
Added:
--> @Tejretics
I mean, I'd still like you're vote even if you disregard the K, I would just urge you not to.
Contender
#92
Added:
“Since Vert makes no arguments against the K”...
Virt, debate round 2.
“1. The K
Con brings an interesting K to the argument. I contend that both the Theistic and Atheistic viewpoints make several predictions about how the world should look like. If Atheism is true, then this is what it should look like; and if Theism is true, this is what it should look like. The Atheist view point, for example, would say that evil is incompatible with Theism and the Theist would say, for example, that objective moral facts can only exist in a Theist-centered world.
The first argument I brought up, the ontological argument, is an a priori proof of God's existence while the KCA and moral argument are an a posteriori proof of God's existence.
I propose that we can know God's existence through both pure logic and through empirical evidence. ”
#91
Added:
"debaters should be held accountable only for the arguments that they do make."
I'd say that qualifies as a norm. And I mean a norm on DebateArt and in American high school debate.
Like I said, I'll respond to the rest of this stuff later.
#90
Added:
--> @Tejretics
I don't think that's the norm. The norm varies wildly by debating genre, and so there is no norm for "debate" as a whole.
Ultimately, debaters should be held accountable only for the arguments that they do make. Since Virt made no arguments against the K, dismissing the K would be rewarding a debater for saying nothing, which is kind of perverse. Since one debater puts work into an argument (it wasn't just a shell; I took time to develop and defend it), it would be categorically unfair to reward the other debater for doing literally nothing to rebut it. That's like failing a student who took the test while passing a student who skipped school.
Judge intervention is justified when one side acts unethically or unfairly, but nothing about the K was unethical or unfair, as Virt could have made any number of responses to it--including theory arguments. That he chose to make no response whatsoever is his own fault, and should count against him.
Contender
#89
Added:
--> @bsh1
That's the standard norm, which is why I'm declining to vote on this debate.
#88
#3
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
RFD starts here and continues in the comments at #95
-Arguments-
The definition in the debate description for god is the general 4'Os, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being who is the source of creation, but a) the definitions and rules of the debate are not binding on voters and b) how Pro decided to interpret and employ the definition of god is understood to be a request to voters to use Pro’s broader interpretation of god or as Pro puts it,
“for the purposes of this debate, the term "God" will be defined broadly” and that “Con completely misunderstands what we mean when philosophers say that God is Omnipotent…God is bound by his own nature and cannot do the illogical.”
This means that I’m weighing the 4 O’s with this definition that Pro obliquely requested voters to use.
Con tries to appeal to the definitions of the debate, but again, given Pro’s request, I’m overlooking things that Con says like “If you buy the arguments I present with in my case regarding the 4 O's, it is not possible that God, AS HE HAS BEEN DEFINED, exists.”
So what if he was defined that way?
Pro shows that philosophers look at omnipotence differently and so THIS is how I have to weigh my vote.
Con continues to stomp his feet, demanding that Pro is failing to meet Pro’s burden because of definitions.
Con said things like “Since God WAS DEFINED using the 4 O's, Pro must prove that a being composed of each of those 4 O's is probable,”
Pro already explained what he had to prove philosophically and Con just resorted to demanding certain definitions be followed rather than “broadly” as Pro requested.
Con persists to near nauseum “Moreover, it seems that the property which would allow God to be in all possible universes is omnipresence, SINCE WE HAVE NOT DEFINED God as "maximally great."
By this point it seems like Con was harassing voters to follow the definitions he finds suitable to his case, rather than the definitions requested by the debate’s instigator within the debate.
Here are more examples of Con simply appealing to definitions.
“If God is not omnipotent, then God, AS DEFINED, does not exist and Con wins…because my case shows that God's existence (as he was defined) is not possible, the ontological argument fails…Finally, on omnibenevolence, as I've said before, WE NEVER DEFINED god as maximally great…”
Since literally all of Con’s contentions with each of the 4 Os are based around Con’s desperate appeal to “agreed on” definitions of the debate to bolster an otherwise unsuccessful attack on the broader definition that Pro requests voters to use, Pro’s proof of god remains untouched and I buy that broadly, this philosophically 4 O creator of the universe satisfies a source of creation.
Pro's proof of probability of god is numbered.
1. Ontological Argument:
Maximally great is possible-->every possible world-->every actual world-->maximally great exists, contradictory entities impossible, contingent like humans exist in some worlds, necessary entities logic/math independent of universe
*Con, using an arbitrarily restrictive interpretation of god fails to combat that this argument in fact satisfies omnibenevolence (maximally great in goodness), omnipotence (maximally great in power), omniscience (maximally great in knowledge), and omnipresence (maximally great in existence) in one fell swoop, because given Pro’s interpretation of god and Pro’s request for voters to interpret god to be how Pro is employing god’s use in the debate, Con’s refuting shadows by saying things like “Would not a maximally great being be one who could render the ontological argument false?”
Con ignores Pro’s request to voters to view god in the philosophical sense, i.e. cannot violate logical arguments, and so Pro wins the ontological argument because Con basically refuted a strawman god, not Pro’s requested god.
2. KCA
All things that begin to exist have cause -->universe has a cause-->that’s god.
*Con AGAIN can only appeal to definitions not requested in the debate by Pro, “The first premise of the KCA is not analytically self-evident, because it is conceivable that something could begin without a cause, i.e. because "begin" is NOT DEFINITIONALLY identical to "caused."
I really thought Con would try to argue something different here, but no, just appeals to definitions.
This also leaves me buying that the universe did begin to exist and that its cause didn’t begin to exist and thus has no cause because to buy Con’s attacks, I have to accept only the definitions that Con uses, and this is very restrictive on me as a voter, especially since Pro already requested a philosophical interpretation of god.
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
I had considered making a much longer RFD, though in this case, I don't feel that that is necessary. Frankly, Pro is just leaving way too much on the table with his responses, and it cost him dearly. The easiest place for me to vote is on the Kritik, as Pro largely leaves this untouched, choosing instead to post a dismissive couple of points in R2 that simply don't do him any favors. The point about theistic and atheistic predictions has nothing to do with defining what God is, it's just a statement that we can argue about how the world should appear. So this point is in no way responsive to a K that focuses entirely on our ability to define God directly. Similarly, as Con points out, the ontological argument in no way combats this point, nor does the statement that "we can know God's existence through both pure logic and through empirical evidence." All of this just blatantly ignores the text of the K, which leaves me to do little but weigh the Kritik, which functions a priori in the debate. Even if I accept the ontological argument, a K, by necessity, comes before any discussion of whether God exists, even through this lens. I buy all of the impacts and the voting issues and, without even considering their weight, they automatically force me to pull the trigger for Con.
For the sake of argument, though, I will say that I felt many of Con's other points were under-covered, misunderstood and mishandled. Particularly the argument over omniscience and omnibenevolence are quite convincing, largely because Pro's own arguments barely cover omnibenevolence as a factor (and seem to ignore the inherent discrepancy between free will and allowing evil, which is a point he largely drops). I either buy that free will doesn't exist, in which case I buy the omnicience point, or I buy that free will does exist and necessitates that objective evils occur, which means I buy the omniscience point. Even if I buy every point Pro has made, simply by buying one of these two arguments, I'm forced to agree that whatever deity is possible is not logically capable of carrying one of these two traits, which means it doesn't meet the definition Pro established at the beginning of the debate. That's also sufficient reason for me to vote Con.
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
RFD in comments starting here: https://www.debateart.com/debates/376?open_tab=comments&comments_page=1&comment_number=79