Sorry I haven't posted in a while. It has been really hectic. Not to fear though. The debate is still on. Expect a post soon (I hope).
One question... Do you dispute the Big Bang Theory? Or do you agree with it?
On a personal level, I have never really felt psychological attachment to any particular scientific theory beyond those describing normal sense experience effectively (seeing because of the process of visible light triggering hair cells to send neural impulses to the brain is believable; so is the theory of gravity - both simple explanations for day-to-day occurrences). Scientific theory which works at one or more levels of conceptualization beyond sense experience can be problematic: one cannot "believe in" something unless its absolute conceptual logical truth can be established. The Big Bang Theory works at a level of conceptualization far above normal sense experience and is not regarded as fact.
The Big Bang theory is one of many plausible explanations of the origin of the universe given the evidence; however, it has serious problems which render it meaningless in terms of actual believability. These problems effectively cripple the theory
in terms of its practicality or its probability as the correct explanation for the origins of the universe as we know it today.
There are effective alternative explanations
to the origin of the universe which, when analysed objectively, offer an equal or better explanation than the Big Bang Theory for the origins of the universe.
Whether or not the Big Bang Theory is actually correct or not is very difficult to prove; again, the problems described above must be effectively worked out and direct overwhelming proof given which confirms the Big Bang Theory as the correct one. I much prefer the lecture given by Alexander Franklin Meyer
(linked to in the first paragraph - it is a large pdf) to the Big Bang Theory; Meyer's explanation describes the universe more clearly and with fewer problems than the Big Bang theory; in addition, it builds upon the General Theory of Relativity proposed by Einstein without reliance on currently unproven concepts such as Dark Matter.
When enough scientific astrophysical knowledge emerges, these questions can be answered with a sound consensus based upon the known linking of factual concept. Until then, nobody will know exactly what is going on. I don't believe without knowledge or inference, and consequentially, I don't believe the Big Bang Theory (or Meyer's theory, for that matter).Language is limited and therefore not adequate to support the existence or lack thereof of a limitless God.
I'm not sure what the point of this statement is. It undermines the fundamental logic behind any form of communication and debate and acknowledges the impossibility of determining whether or not a higher being exists beyond simple belief. If this statement is true, there is no point in debating as there is no clear winner: the disbeliever disbelieves and the believer believes; neither have an advantage and neither can win any argument; all arguments involve language, logic, etc.Words can easily be manipulated and used in whatever manner is most beneficial for the person communicating.
That's why I laid out my arguments in as simple and as clear a manner as possible. Words can be manipulated. Logic cannot be. To manipulate logic requires tricky use of the English language, which I attempt to avoid as much as possible in order to make things as clear and concise as possible. That is also why dictionaries are helpful: one cannot easily argue with a commonly-accepted consensus; to do so requires an impressively sound argument. While dictionary definitions are not without their uses, they are incredibly limiting.
Without at least a reasonable degree of limit, or consensus, one cannot have an argument with any meaning at all.What if there is no one word to describe what God is or is not?
Words describe things in terms of concepts. All concepts are derived, at a root level, from sense experience. All sense experiences, and therefore all concepts, must be based upon natural knowledge. It is unlikely that one can apply words to describe a God that is anything above natural. If one can even ask this question without a sound answer, the definition of God is incoherent. Without a sound description of God, one cannot prove such a God to exist.Although these vain word games of supernatural vs. natural vs. supranatural are amusing, they prove nothing. I suggest that this debate would be carried out more effectively through the use of broad concepts.
Debate is, by definition, a game of words, since words relate concepts which at an absolute level allow humans to distinguish truth from falsity. One can use broad concepts, but problems are encountered when vagueness is a factor in any concept: the meaning of a concept may not be shared between two individuals and such a debate can and does in many instances lead to a disagreement which prevents a useful discussion about the main topic. For example, if one cannot define what a "concept" is, what "natural" is, and one cannot agree on whether the negation of "natural" is "supernatural" or whether an entirely different meaning is implied, not much can really be concluded about anything at all. One starts from the ground up, assumes nothing, defines everything, and concludes or refutes with absolute certainty and a complete lack of ambiguity.However, I have refrained from directly citing a dictionary source becuase I generally believe it to be too narrow. However, if you would like, I will readress your arguments and include dictionary definitions. Expect a second rebuttal soon.
This is up to my opponent. Generally, one cannot argue with the dictionary, making it a useful tool in establishing irrefutable fundamental axioms in a particular argument. Vagueness has its place in short public lecture, public television, and in informal day-to-day argumentation. Individuals can argue a point with a much higher margin of error and rely on non-logos methods of argumentation (weaker arguments which aren't given enough thought by the opposition due to shorter time constraints, fallacy, etc). I find that in the realm of online debate, these issues tend to evaporate as people agree on points slowly, with much thought, and then press on to a larger structural level.