The God Debate

Monday, March 27, 2006

 

Rebuttal Against Ian's Opening Argument

Since the rest of our debate hinges on this argument being adressed, I thought I would go ahead and post my rebuttal.


This is my critique of this argument. Note that if even one premise is found to be illogical, unfounded, or untrue, then whole syllogistic argument is considered false. I intend to attack this argument from several different angles and show that it is poorly wrought and inconsistent.

Definitions

(1) A rational human has (among other corollaries of reason) the capability to distinguish between truth and falsehood:Truth - a thing which is. (A) = 1Falsehood - a thing which is not. (B) = 0Either something is true, or it is false. [(A*~B) v (~A*B)] (1 or 0)Things may not be both true and false, i.e., ~(A*B) if A=true (1) and B=false (0)

This definition about the nature of absolute truth is logical and true.

(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.

(3) Natural things are those which exist in the natural world.

This definition is perhaps oversimplified, but effective for the purposes of this argument.

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.

5) 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.


(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.

(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.

Rebuttal of Inferences

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.

E. God is a supernatural being.

False. As explained in the definitions portion, God is not supernatural, but supranatural.

F. God is not real. (D, 2, 5) Specifically, God does not exist.

False. Because:

1. That which is supernatural can exist according to the definition. Thus even, if God were supernatural, it would not disprove His existence by default.
2. God is not supernatural. The argument states that that which is supernatural doesn’t exist, but fails to mention anything about that which is supranatural. Thus, even if that which is supernatural cannot exist, God can exist because He is not supernatural.


G. All arguments default with the assumption that God does not exist, since non-existenceis a simpler explanation than anything else. (6)

False. While Ockham’s Razor is correct, its application in the instance is not. There has been no attempt to prove whether God’s existence is simpler or more complex than His nonexistence. I am not talking philosophically here, but scientifically. Probability suggests the existence of God.

H. Knowledge is the awareness of things which are real. (2,7)

True. However, not that that which exists can be either supernatural or natural according to the definitions and refutations given.

I. The supernatural cannot be known. (C, D, ~H)

False. While that which is supernatural (According to the definition) may not be directly observed, its principles can be understood. Consider the fourth dimension example I gave.

J. God cannot be known. (E, I)

False. Because:

1.The supernatural can be known.
2. Even if the supernatural could not exist or be known, God is not supernatural but supranatural.

Comments:
Concepts do not exist: they are not part of the natural world; rather, they define the natural world. A concept and a being or entity are not the same thing: concepts are statements of logic or descriptors of what exists. For example, the concept of God describes God, but what would exist is God, not the concept.

I stand by my dictionary definitions.
 
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You have not adequately addressed my refutation. If you stand by your defitions, then that which is superntural merely does not exist in the natural world. Note that the definition is not: That which is supernatural is that which does not exist. So even if you term God as supernatural, you cannot say that He does not exist becuase your definition of supernatural is not that expansive. Additionally, God must be supranatural. This is a better definition fo him becuase a God must not only be outside the natural world, but above it. So until you explain adequately why:

1. God is not supranatural but supernatural and therefore cannot exist.

Or,

2. God is supranatural and therefore cannot exist.

you will have failed to adequately adress my argument. I have just one question for you: Why can't the supernatural exist? I am not asking you to disprove its existence, just to clarify why it theoretically cannot exist. As far as either of us know, it has just as good a chance of existing as it does of not existing.

As for my fourth dimension example, allow me to clarify. the fourth dimension is supernatural becuase it does not exist in the natural world. The concept of the fourth dimension is merely, as you point out, a descriptor. However, becuase its concept is logical, its physical embodiment remains a possibility. While an entity that exists in the fourth dimension cannot exist in this world, this does not mean that a four dimensional entity cannot exist at all. In fact becuase its descriptor is logical and theoretically verifiable, the evidence is that a four dimensional entity has a possibility if existing.

Do stand by all your definitions? What about God as supranatural. That is undeibaly a more accurate statement. So why stick with supernatural? To simply say that you do is not enough. You have to provide a logical argument for "standing by your dictionary definitions."

So far all that you have done is pointed out an inconsistency in my fourth dimension example, which I have now clarified. To simply state that you stand behind your defintions is inadeqate. You must refute each of my criticisms in detail. Becuase my refuatation was not in syllogistic format, disproving one of my arguments does not disprove all of my statements. Conversely, becuase your arguemnt was in a syllogysitc form, until you disprove all of my arguemnts, your conclusions are invalid and illogical.
 
I haven't posted an official rebuttal yet; you'll find that in the near future. I'd like to see some dictionary definitions; you need fact to fight fact, you can't make things up.
 
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