(2) To exist is to have actual being, or to be real. Conversely, to not exist is to not have actual being, or to be not real.Example: A squirrel exists, a human exists.This is not a poor definition of existence; however it fails to exemplify the existence of abstract concepts such as love, mathematical theory, etc. That which exists is not exclusively physical.
Let me clarify, as humans have the ability to think about things. The neural process of connecting thoughts has to do with specific "nodes" of meaning, called concepts:
(1)A concept is a general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences.
Concepts are things formed in the mind; thoughts, or notions. Concepts are simply abstract ideas.
Source: American Heritage Dictionary, 2000. American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 2001.
(2) Ideas are thoughts.
Source: WordNet 2.0, 2003.
The following can be inferred:
A. Concepts can be about anything.
B. All concepts are ideas.
C. An idea exists within the human mind, and may or may not exist outside of the human mind. For instance, one can conceive of a fluffy bunny with six legs which breathes fire. This is a concept ("one can conceive of X") and is an idea within one's head. However, it does not exist.
D. One can conceive of a higher power of any sort. This does not mean it exists or not. Direct proof of this conception (see the refutation of 4-D space-time) needs to exist for the conception to exist. Direct proof only comes from the natural world, since humans are only capable of understanding things in terms of their sense experience, which is only natural.
In conclusion, concepts such as math are simply descriptors of what already has been proven to exist through sense experience. These concepts in and of themselves don't exist except in our heads as neural impulses, but they describe natural law. Love is a concept which describes emotion towards another object or entity in the natural world ("I love you," "I really love eating"); it may also describe a similar type of emotion towards a concept in the supernatural world ("I love God," or "I love unicorns."), but such emotions are generated by the human brain anyways and may be assigned to any concept as humans see fit. This concept does not have to refer to something which exists or even makes any sense to another human being. This debate does not deal with concepts, however; it deals with the existence of a higher being. Stating that "I can conceive of an infinite, non-extant, timeless, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing being" means as much as "I can conceive of a unicorn with the power to create worlds, collapse stars, and transcend the natural world to the beyond at its will." They are both concepts; both refer to supernatural entities, and in both cases, these entities do not exist; existing is a property assigned to those entities in the natural, or known world.4) Supernatural things do not exist in nature; specifically, they are not physical or material.Again, a simple yet effective definition. I might add that because supernatural things exist outside nature and consequently its laws, they are unable to exist in nature.
There is no disagreement. Things which are supernatural (God, robot monkies from outer space) are not natural.
) God is a supernatural being.Here is in part where I disagree. God is neither natural nor supernatural. So then, what is He? Based on the evidence I presented, I can make several assumptions about the nature of God. God is:1.Self existent, timeless, nonspatial, immaterial (Since he created space, time, and matter, He must be outside space, time, and matter) In other words, He is without limits. He is infinite.2. Unimaginably powerful since He created the universe out of nothing.3. Personal, since He chose to convert a state of nothingness into the time-space-material universe (An impersonal force has no ability to make choices).4. Supremely intelligent, since He designed life and the universe with such incredible complexity and precision.5. Purposeful, since He designed the many forms of life to live in a specific and ordered environment.6. Absolutly morally pure.Okay. So if God exists outside of the time-space-matter continuum He exists outside of natural laws and is therefore supernatural. Right? Wrong! I also added that that which is supernatural cannot exist within natural laws. This implies that they are merely outside of them but not above them. If God is God, not only must He exist outside of natural laws, He must be above them. If He is above them, it means He can bend them and consequently exist within them to a certain extent. God is neither supernatural nor natural because He, as God must transcend both. God is supranatural. Supranatural is defined as that which transcends nature.
If God is neither supernatural or natural, then it is theoretically both impossible for him to exist in the natural world, and impossible to conceive of him as one would conceive of unicorns and leprechauns or any other supernatural being. This is an impossible contradiction. If God can bend natural law, it would be nice to actually see some evidence of natural law bent by God. If God exists within natural law, then God is limited, because existing within natural law automatically implies being bound by natural law. Supranatural is not a valid definition, either. As I stated earlier:
"Supernatural things do not exist in nature. Natural things do exist in nature."
These two properties are mutually exclusive: (~A v B) or (A v ~B). Since there is no dictionary definition for supranatural, I will do the best I can by combining the prefix supra- with the term "natural." "Supra" is defined as something above. This means that the term "supranatural" does not, in fact, mean something which is natural, but rather, something which is above the natural world. This is synonymous with calling God "supernatural."
This is further confounded by a definition of God as:
(a) an infinite being
(e) capable of choice
There is no rational possibility of a natural and supernatural higher power combined; a power with even a scintilla of existence is limited in terms of its existence by the laws governing the natural world. No entity may exist within the natural world and yet disobey natural law: if such an entity does exist, it is outside the realm of sense experience as it has not been discovered yet. If God exists partially within the natural world, then God is in part bound by natural law; the only possible way to contend this would be to give a live demonstration involving irrevocable proof that an entity can openly violate natural law. This is impossible, as it would require ultimate knowledge of every aspect of natural law in order to conclude that such a violation took place to begin with. (humans' conceptualization of the natural world is rather limited at the current point in time) Not only is this a practical impossibility, but only God may possess this ultimate knowledge; otherwise, God would cease to be the greatest possible being. Conclusively, humans must become greater than God to prove through direct knowledge God's existence.
Another troubling issue is this: properties which mean nothing outside of the natural world are given in tandem with a series of incoherent infinite attributes. The following contradictions plague the coherency of the above definition of God:
(1) God cannot be both male and infinite. To be infinite is to be undefined. Any definition must be describing a finite entity. There is no in-between; something is either finite or infinite, and not both. God cannot be female if God is male ("He"); if God even resembles anything, that indicates God doesn't resemble something else, rendering God finite. If God doesn't resemble something, then God is limited to not resembling that entity.
(2) Infinity is not a quantity; anything described in terms of infinites is being described in terms of a never-ending direction. One can automatically infer that, besides the contradictory terminology of "infinite being," anything which is infinite is unknowable: infinity is undefinable. Therefore, God, being infinite, must also be unknowable, which begs the question: from where are these properties derived? What direct natural evidence points to their validity? God must be either infinite and unknowable or finite and natural.
(3) If God is capable of choice, can God choose to be evil? If God chooses to be evil, can God be called all-good? If God is capable of choice, can God choose to ignore things? Can God choose to reduce his power? Can God render Himself female, or powerless? The very notion of a being with infinite attributes and the power of choice is an absurdity. God must be capable of both good and evil in order to possess free choice. However, God is defined as all-good. This is an impossible contradiction.
(4) Can God create a rock which he is unable to lift? If God does not have this capability, he lacks the all-powerful attribute. If God does create such a rock, he cannot be infinitely powerful as God would be unable to lift the rock. As one can see, infinite attribution leads to absurdity: God will always have a limit regardless of his choice; if the choice cannot be made, free will is lacking; if the choice is not known, absolute knowledge is lacking.
(5) God cannot be both a being, which is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "something which exists in actuality, life, or reality" and to be immaterial. In addition to this, God cannot be a first cause, as no being has been known in the natural world to possess a first cause attribute. No being is likewise known to remain timeless. It is theoretically possible for God to be a first cause, but only if God is not a being.
(6) Another problem, aside from the very nature of any individual infinite attribute, is the stacking problem of infinite attributes: one creates problems when combining ultimate power, ultimate kindness, and ultimate knowledge. Each attribute contradicts the others:
a. An all-powerful being is capable of infinite cruelty, as this is a corollary of power. However,
all-kindness is not possible in a being capable of cruelty.
b. An all-knowing being is capable of seeing the future in perfection and in its absolute entirety. Yet this renders such a being powerless in changing the future. Conversely, to be
able to change the future, a corollary of infinite power, renders a being ignorant of the future.
c. An all-knowing being cannot possibly allow evil to exist in the world and at the same time be
all-powerful or all-kind. Unfortunately, the everyday process of existence as natural being includes negative elements, such as pain, death, and suffering. All three infinite attributes
cannot coexist given reality. This is also known as the problem of evil; many philosophers
have attempted to solve it via complex proof; however, the null hypothesis that God simply
does not exist is a simpler solution. Occam's razor renders any argument requiring more than a syllogism (two premises and a conclusion) insufficient at tackling the problem of evil.(6) Ockham's razor is a law in science and philosophy stating that entities should not be multiplied needlessly. This is interpreted to mean that the simplest of two or more competing theories is preferable and that an explanation for unknown phenomena should first be attempted in terms of what is already known.Ahh, good old Ockham’s Razor. Unfortunately for this argument, it goes both ways. Look at my opening argument, and you will see why I believe God’s existence is the simpler explanation. I won’t detail it here because it is not necessary to disprove this argument.
There is no evidence refuting the principle of Ockham's razor at any point in both the opening statement and the rebuttal. "Nothing" is simpler than God; God has properties while nothing has no properties. If God was nothing, then Ockham's razor would not be a problem, but then God wouldn't exist anyways. Therefore, the default position is that no God exists. One must argue from this position towards the existence of a higher power. There must be absolute proof of a God's existence, but this is problematic as described above. Hoping that God exists is not enough; having faith that God might exist as the explanation for why the universe is the way it is might be a good start, except for the fact that the definition of God and the very nature of God are both impossible and unsatisfactory at the current moment. Another reason to assume that the default would be nothing is history - God was the assumed default explanation for many things in life which science continuously proves to be natural phenomena which need no further explanation.
For example, God supposedly caused natural disasters. Science has since demonstrated that natural phenomena such as plate tectonics adequately describe the process behind earthquakes; meteorology provides an explanation for the formation of hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and blizzards in terms of natural elements on the planet, etc. There need not be a supernatural cause for something which is easily observed to have been caused by natural phenomena. Science is based upon what can be observed; this is knowledge. When science and belief in God crossed paths in the past, the God explanation always fought an uphill battle against simple scientific knowledge, eventually becoming absurd.
An excellent example of this is how the heliocentric model of the solar system came into be. Prior to the work of Galileo, the best description of how our immediate universe was layed out lies with
Psalms 93 and 104
, and Ecclesiastes 1:5: the motion of celestial bodies revolved around the suspended position of the earth. Galileo proposed heliocentricism, in direct contradiction to this widely-held belief. Nobody could have proven for certain either way except for one important technological innovation: the telescope. Through observation of details previously unseen, knowledge supporting the heliocentric hypothesis quickly became enough to change the consensus about the layout of the universe: a Godly view of the universe no longer had Earth at its center, but the sun. Science, armed with a process of classifying and relating knowledge, pushed religion and a Godly earth-centered universe away in favor of a model which agreed with observation. Other absurd beliefs include the concept that a higher being suddenly created the Earth in some magical way (most religions have a creation story of some sort - I can make one up, too, and it is just as valid as any other, since the story does not have to be conceived in agreement with observation). Science has a better explanation based solely upon observation of what exists in the natural world, and works in contrary motion to most religious belief: religion takes belief and attempts to justify it by any means necessary; science starts with observation and draws the most plausible conclusions from these observations. God is not a necessary element in any accepted scientific law to this date. The sphere of God's influence continuously loses ground to science. Extrapolating this trend over time, one can see that the concept of God is not needed as an explanation at all. Most certainly, it is the worst possible choice as a default explanation.
(7) Knowledge is the awareness of that which exists.I am almost in agreement with this definition. Except that as mentioned previously, existence is not limited to physical things. It includes concepts and abstract ideas.
A concept is the same thing as an abstract idea. A concept exists in the brain as a series of neurological connections. Concepts describe "nodes" of meaning, which can be anything from the simplest possible emotion (desire, hate, fear) to a complex chain of other interconnected concepts (making sense of a sentence of English). The concept of God exists in the brain as a series of neurological connections. This does not mean that God exists in the outside world as God unless the concept of God can fit within the definitions of existence. Then, the concept of God would point towards an actual God outside of the neurological connections within our brain which give us the notion of a God.
A. Supernatural things are unclassifiable by features in nature. (4)True.B. By definition, a supernatural thing is not physical nor material and cannot exist in nature (3, 4, 1).True.C. All natural things are real. (2,3)True.D. All supernatural things are not real. (2)False. The definition was that all supernatural things do not exist inside of nature. Not that they do not exist at all. To support this, let us look at the definition of supernatural (Which was perhaps too broad) and see how it is faulty and thus why statement is false:Consider the fourth dimension. It fits into the definition of supernatural (See what I mean about it being too broad) because it does not exist in nature. We live in a 3-D world and thus things that are 4-d cannot exist naturally. Yet, the concept of the fourth dimension has been mathematically verified by physicists.Thus, by that definition of supernatural, supernatural concepts can exist.
The fourth dimension does not disprove anything; it actually supports the distinction between natural and supernatural. The fourth dimension is a concept (a thought in the human brain) describing the natural world in terms of length, height, width, and as a function of time. Since this is a concept, or abstract idea, it does not exist in and of itself in the real world. However, it describes everyday life. Concepts are not supernatural, but may describe supernatural things. Therefore, supernatural concepts cannot exist, but a concept describing anything, be it natural or supernatural, can exist. The concept of the fourth dimension exists as a series of neural impulses in our head. It describes a chain of properties which are knowable through sense experience. Therefore, the concept of four-dimensional space-time is a concept describing the natural world. A concept decribing the supernatural world might be the concept of a fruitcake bigger than the universe, a unicorn, Middle Earth, and, of course, God. The concept exists, but these things don't, since they are supernatural.
As soon as evidence is found describing an entity's existence, it is part of the natural world, as humans only understand evidence in terms of their sensory perception. The mutually exclusive definition of natural and supernatural and the definition of knowledge is uncontestable and irrefutable; if the definitions of truth and natural are uncontested, the converse of natural is also uncontested by virtue of the principle of negation.
Imagination is not a valid means by which one can acquire knowledge; imagination is the means by which an individual may think of something, or conceive of concepts. Imagination is knowledge processing: basic sense experience can be combined into abstracts which describe existing entities or impossible, non-existing entities.E. God is a supernatural being.False. As explained in the definitions portion, God is not supernatural, but supranatural.
Again, according to the syntactic properties of the English language, the prefix supra- means above; consequentially, supranatural is synonymous with supernatural, which means higher than nature. There is little distinction. A better definition of a God which is both natural and supernatural, as it was put in the first rebuttal, would be a quasinatural God.
If God is to be both natural and supernatural, I need supporting evidence (a dictionary definition or direct, irrefutable, uncontestable sensory evidence which proves that God is both natural and supernatural). Otherwise, the standard Christian and dictionary defintion of God as a supernatural being stands.
As demonstrated earlier, a quasi-natural God is an absurdity and needs no further attention; it cannot exist just as someone cannot be both alive and dead at the same time and true and false must mean different things.
The opening argument of my opponent shall also be touched upon briefly:If there is an absolute standard of morality engrained in all people’s hearts, it suggests the existence of God.
There is no absolute standard of morality ingrained in all people's hearts. Humans have the concept of what is "good" and what is "bad," but what is "immoral" and "moral" varies widely from person to person, society to society. Therefore, evidence of humanity suggests a lack of the existence of God. The fact that humans trust their hearts to murder other humans demonstrates that no such absolute standard exists. Even if an absolute standard of morality existed, one could just as easily claim that the human genome contains a knowable answer to the question of absolute morality.Inherent and identical morality across all mankind cannot be explained with evolution, much to the chagrin of Darwinists.
Actually, it is quite effectively explained by science; natural selection, unlike an unknowable God, has a significant body of supporting evidence.
Some claim that morality developed because it was a social mechanism that allowed humans to work and survive together. In essence, they call morality an instinct. However, this cannot be true because if morality is an instinct, it is in direct opposition with other instincts.
One of the main reasons why Homo sapiens
has been such a remarkably effective species is climate change. Through the gradual warming of the earth, primitive pre-humans evolved a larger brain: brains require immense energy to power, but allow for more effective communication and thought. A greater abundance of food and temperate climate led to pre-humans with larger brains surviving instead of perishing. These pre-humans more effectively communicated with other pre-humans. Other changes include the enlargement and refinement of the larynx; according to natural selection, those humans which possessed the means for effective verbal communcation made peace with human rivals, forming larger groups, and establishing primitive societal and cultural standards. This, and a constant thirst for new territory and the urge to explore (an instinctive urge much different from H. neanderthal
) was all that the first H. sapiens
needed to quickly replace any remaining and less sophisticated primates, territorially speaking.
Morality doesn't come from God. Morality comes from an instinctive urge to keep the peace in the community and to help out those in need, even if it may require endangering one's own life: precisely the traits which helped H. Sapiens
supersede and eventually push out other competing humanoids.
I am not conceiving of this outright. This is in reference to the currently accepted knowledge of the scientific fossil record. Modern man actually shared the earth with up to four other species of related humanoids in the genus Homo.
Scientists don't make things up; this can be concluded due to the discovery of humanoid fossils dated with a relative degree of accuracy.
For example, if someone sees a person being mugged the moral thing to do is to help them. The animal reaction is to run away and remain safe. If morality were an instinct it wouldn’t contradict but compliment other instincts. Additionally, there is a third force at work that allows humans to decide which option to follow.
Humans have the capability of thinking things through very carefully before making a decision. Again, this was simply another element which lead to the success of our species over several other competitors. Morality compliments another instinct, as anyone can see that a generally moral society will have an evolutionary advantage over an immoral one, assuming one defines morality as the "urge to do good to others of one's own species in one's immediate environment."
One interesting explanation for the fact that humans are moral animals yet seem to manage annihilation of each other by the millions in epic wars stems from the way in which they succeeded approximately five hundred thousand to fifty thousand years ago. Humans worked in small, closely-knit groups ranging in size from a few dozen to several hundred; larger societies generally did not form as this was prohibitive under the hunter-gatherer lifestyle at the time. By the time agriculture allowed for the formation of larger societies, H. sapiens
was the only species remaining from the genus Homo.
As a consequence of this, very little natural selection took place which favored the formation of social morality. Humans are very good at maintaining peace within their own culture, but find it difficult to do so on a global level. In addition, this explains a human's inability to rationalize suffering without actually experiencing it at a direct level: nobody in the U.S. cares if sixty people die in Iraq from suicide bombing; however, sixty people dying in your own neighborhood from suicide bombing would be a catastrophic, life-changing experience. If someone else's society gets destroyed, yours will end up populating the gap: more power to you. If your own society is in trouble, your social network and thus your survival network is threatened: terror and fear results.
God doesn't need enter the realm; evidence from the fossil record describes why humans are the way they are better than the existence of a creator.
This third force cannot be accounted for by Darwinists.
Actually, I just did. Also, note that humans are inclined to hold superstitious belief, as holding superstitious belief within a society created an effective means for social bonding, likewise leading to an increase in survival probability.
Evolution also cannot account for self destructive behaviors such as suicide, smoking, drinking, and cutting.
All of these behaviors become a problem due to a human being's natural reward pathway. Humankind has not had time to naturally select, or evolve, into modern-day society. Natural selection only has a significant impact over an extended period of time; hundreds of thousands of years are needed to evoke significant changes in physiological properties of a species. Smoking, drinking, and other drugs press chemical buttons which signify important rewards: sexual intercourse would lead to the propagation of the species, an important survival strategy. Those which successfully reproduced and took care of their offspring eventually pushed out those which were less successful. Most highly addictive drugs simply press the same chemical pathway as sex and love: sex results in more genetic copies of one's self, so a feel-good effect accompanies it; love results in the caretaking of offspring to increase the offspring's chances of survival - a feel-good effect also accompanies love. Suicide and cutting are caused by chemical imbalances which result in terrible feelings; the rational mind may end up conceiving of a solution which is less than ideal: death.In conclusion, so much evidence points to the existence of a theistic God that, ironically, atheism becomes the worldview based on blind faith and theism the logically based one.
In actuality, a collection of ideas was represented as an attempt to justify the existence of a higher power. A-theism is the lack of theism. Since atheism is a lack of belief, the standard atheist has no belief, and therefore no faith in anything which cannot be explained by observation. Due to the inherent unknowability of a higher power, blind faith is only required insofar as a supernatural being's existence is concerned.
End. I will post refutations of the basic philosophical arguments for God, but it is unnecessary insofar as each argument is still defeated by my opening and rebuttal material. Still, expect to see that posted in the next 24 hours.