Arguments and evidence for deism, theism, and miracles

One-on-one debates

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18565
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 210 times
Contact:

Arguments and evidence for deism, theism, and miracles

Post #1

Post by otseng »

We have agreed to debate the following:

Is there sufficient evidence to conclude the existence of a deistic God?

And if so, is there sufficient evidence to conclude a theistic worldview whereby this God intervenes in human affairs? Specifically, is there evidentiary justification for concluding that some claims of intervention are authentic whereas others aren't.

---

A thread has been created for followers of this debate to post comments:
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... hp?t=24538
Last edited by otseng on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

no evidence no belief
Banned
Banned
Posts: 1507
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:18 pm

Post #161

Post by no evidence no belief »

otseng wrote:
no evidence no belief wrote: We agree that the concept is meaningless as I word it.
Then the case should be closed. We both agree that your definition is meaningless.
If you fail to establish that your wording points to a substantially and significantly different concept, then you're admitting that your concept is the same as my concept, which is meaningless no matter how you word it.
The burden is on you to show why the Wikipedia definition is meaningless, not for me to prove your definition is meaningless. (Which is pointless anyways since we both agree that your's is meaningless.)
By the way, this is just the first of three preliminary counter-arguments to fine-tuning, and then there is my main counter-argument. So it will be a while before you go on to theism :)
I'd suggest for you to present your others because I'll be going on to Theism otherwise.
Could you answer my previous question. If you find yourself forced to concede fine-tuning is not a valid argument for God, and then all other subsequent deistic or theistic arguments you present are also debunked, will you stop being a Christian?
What I've said before is that if a viable naturalistic explanation is found for the origin of the universe, then Deism is falsified. I would include fine-tuning also. If a viable naturalistic explanation is found for fine-tuning, then Deism is falsified. If Deism is falsified, then that would include Theism and Christianity. If I remain a Christian after that, it would only be based on fideism.

Let me ask you, if an intelligent creator is more tenable than any other explanation, would it then be irrational of you to be an atheist/agnostic?
Oliver, I am offended. This is NOT cool.

I wrote a few posts ago that if you win this argument I will become a deist/theist, and yet now you ask me about that in your post above, as though I hadn't made that clear earlier. That tells me you didn't read my post in which I said that.

In your last post you also say that the burden of proof is on me to show the wikipedia definition is meaningless. I just provided a color-coded, word-by-word, breakdown of EXACTLY why the wikipedia definition is meaningless. You have the right to disagree with that, of course, but you can't say I have the burden to do something which I just did! That tells me you didn't read my post.

We have invested immeasurable amounts of energy into this debate, literally over months. You owe it to me to pay attention to what I'm saying.

Either that, or tell me you lost interest, and we call it a day. But don't make me throw hours into constructing arguments you're not going to read.

no evidence no belief
Banned
Banned
Posts: 1507
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:18 pm

Post #162

Post by no evidence no belief »

Look, are the physical constants that which causes the universe to be the way it is?

Are matter, astronomical structures, elemental diversity, and life, descriptions of the way the universe is?

If so, the wikipedia definition can be CORRECTLY summarized like this:

"If that which causes the universe to be the way it is were different, then the universe wouldn't be the way it is".

Please don't just assert that I am wrong. Please make a substantiative and detailed response which directly addresses the core of my argument.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18565
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 210 times
Contact:

Post #163

Post by otseng »

no evidence no belief wrote:
Let me ask you, if an intelligent creator is more tenable than any other explanation, would it then be irrational of you to be an atheist/agnostic?
I wrote a few posts ago that if you win this argument I will become a deist/theist, and yet now you ask me about that in your post above, as though I hadn't made that clear earlier. That tells me you didn't read my post in which I said that.
Well, I'm not sure if you've been reading my posts. I didn't ask if you'd become a deist or a theist. I asked if it'd be irrational to be an atheist/agnostic.
In your last post you also say that the burden of proof is on me to show the wikipedia definition is meaningless. I just provided a color-coded, word-by-word, breakdown of EXACTLY why the wikipedia definition is meaningless. You have the right to disagree with that, of course, but you can't say I have the burden to do something which I just did! That tells me you didn't read my post.
If you reword the Wikipedia definition and say the reworded definition is meaningless that does not mean the Wikipedia definition is meaningless.
Either that, or tell me you lost interest, and we call it a day. But don't make me throw hours into constructing arguments you're not going to read.
I think I've given you freedom to talk about tangential issues regarding fine-tuning and we've been discussing those for many pages. But, you have yet to address the question that I first posted for fine-tuning. I think you'll need to extend the courtesy to me of addressing my original question.

no evidence no belief
Banned
Banned
Posts: 1507
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:18 pm

Post #164

Post by no evidence no belief »

otseng wrote:
no evidence no belief wrote:
Let me ask you, if an intelligent creator is more tenable than any other explanation, would it then be irrational of you to be an atheist/agnostic?
I wrote a few posts ago that if you win this argument I will become a deist/theist, and yet now you ask me about that in your post above, as though I hadn't made that clear earlier. That tells me you didn't read my post in which I said that.
Well, I'm not sure if you've been reading my posts. I didn't ask if you'd become a deist or a theist. I asked if it'd be irrational to be an atheist/agnostic.
Well, I'm a rational person. If I say that if you provide adequate support for belief in God, then I'd believe in God, then it's implied that I would believe it to be irrational to be an atheist in the presence of adequate evidence for God.

Disbelief in the existence of that which demonstrably exists is irrational. So, yes, if you demonstrate that logic and evidence support belief in God more than they support alternatives, then being an atheist would be irrational, and I would no longer be an atheist.
In your last post you also say that the burden of proof is on me to show the wikipedia definition is meaningless. I just provided a color-coded, word-by-word, breakdown of EXACTLY why the wikipedia definition is meaningless. You have the right to disagree with that, of course, but you can't say I have the burden to do something which I just did! That tells me you didn't read my post.
If you reword the Wikipedia definition and say the reworded definition is meaningless that does not mean the Wikipedia definition is meaningless.
If the rewording changes the fundamental conceptual meaning of the definition, then you're right.

If the new wording retains the essential meaning of the original definition, and it's evident that the new wording is meaningless, then the original wording must be meaningless as well.

If A is essentially the same as B and B is meaningless, then A is meaningless.

I have spelled out in great detail my argument for why the original wikipedia definition of fine-tuning is meaningless, but somehow you refuse to address my argument on its merits.

I will make one last effort to spell out my argument as clearly and succinctly as I am able. If you STILL refuse to address it, I must assume that you don't have a response and that my point has been made.

Here goes:

Are the "physical constants" that which causes the universe to be the way it is?

Are matter, astronomical structures, elemental diversity, and life, descriptions of the way the universe is?

If so, the wikipedia definition can be CORRECTLY summarized like this:

"If that which causes the universe to be the way it is were different, then the universe wouldn't be the way it is".

Please don't just assert that I am wrong. Please provide an exhaustive and detailed response which directly addresses the core of my argument.
Either that, or tell me you lost interest, and we call it a day. But don't make me throw hours into constructing arguments you're not going to read.
I think I've given you freedom to talk about tangential issues regarding fine-tuning and we've been discussing those for many pages. But, you have yet to address the question that I first posted for fine-tuning. I think you'll need to extend the courtesy to me of addressing my original question.
If your question is "how do we account for the fine-tuning of the universe", then I've answered it by saying that your question presupposes that the notion of fine-tuning as you define it requires accounting for.

I have presented a cogent, detailed and exhaustive argument that the wikipedia definition of fine-tuning does NOT require to be accounted for, because it's a meaningless assertion.

I haven't just expressed my opinion that fine-tuning is meaningless and does not require being accounted for, I have provided a step-by-step, word-by-word, color-coded breakdown of the merits of my position.

You need to either counter my position with an equally cogent, exhaustive and pertinent response, or concede that you are unable to do so.

"If the physical constants were different, there wouldn't be life in the universe". Isn't that the essence of the wikipedia definition of fine-tuning?

"If the things which cause the universe to be the way it is (the physical constants) were different, then the universe wouldn't be the way it is (conducive to life)"

In what way are the two statements above fundamentally different from the wikipedia one? Answer in DETAIL, please.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18565
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 210 times
Contact:

Post #165

Post by otseng »

no evidence no belief wrote:
Well, I'm not sure if you've been reading my posts. I didn't ask if you'd become a deist or a theist. I asked if it'd be irrational to be an atheist/agnostic.
Well, I'm a rational person. If I say that if you provide adequate support for belief in God, then I'd believe in God, then it's implied that I would believe it to be irrational to be an atheist in the presence of adequate evidence for God.
People do not necessarily believe in things because it is rational or irrational. Though we all think we are rational, we do not always make decisions based on rationality.
If the rewording changes the fundamental conceptual meaning of the definition, then you're right.
How about this? I'll agree to your definition if you can provide a reputable third party source that presents your definition.

no evidence no belief
Banned
Banned
Posts: 1507
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:18 pm

Post #166

Post by no evidence no belief »

I thought of an even better answer to your question.

How do we account for "fine-tuning" as defined in Wikipedia? Simple: The principle of causality.

If X is caused by A and A changes, then X would change.

If X is caused by A, then not-A CANNOT cause X.

That is an undeniable, simple, incontrovertible, non-controversial manifestation of the simple principle of cause and effect.

If the universe is the way it is (conducive to life as we know it) as a result of the physical constants being the way they are, then by the simple principle of cause and effect, if the cause (the constants) change, then the effect (a universe conducive to life) changes.

There is absolutely no need to posit intelligence, and there is zero evidence and logic in support of intelligence being involved in this process, which is universal to ALL events, including those where intelligence is clearly not involved.

If it rains, the ground will get wet. If small changes in air pressure, wind, temperature, etc would cause it not to rain, then the ground would not get wet. Please explain how this is NOT a valid analogy for the principle outlined in wikipedia

no evidence no belief
Banned
Banned
Posts: 1507
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:18 pm

Post #167

Post by no evidence no belief »

otseng wrote:
no evidence no belief wrote:
Well, I'm not sure if you've been reading my posts. I didn't ask if you'd become a deist or a theist. I asked if it'd be irrational to be an atheist/agnostic.
Well, I'm a rational person. If I say that if you provide adequate support for belief in God, then I'd believe in God, then it's implied that I would believe it to be irrational to be an atheist in the presence of adequate evidence for God.
People do not necessarily believe in things because it is rational or irrational. Though we all think we are rational, we do not always make decisions based on rationality.
Fair enough. Well, I'm on the record. If sufficient evidence for God is presented, I will stop being an atheist, and become a deist or theist depending on nature of evidence.

Can you in turn confirm that if sufficient evidence for God is NOT presented, you will stop being a theist and become an atheist?
If the rewording changes the fundamental conceptual meaning of the definition, then you're right.
How about this? I'll agree to your definition if you can provide a reputable third party source that presents your definition.
Ok.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality

I have provided multiple versions of a detailed, word-for-word, color-coded analysis of your definition of fine-tuning, and backed up with sound arguments and logic my conclusion that it's nothing more or less than a wordy reiteration of the principle of causality, as outlined by the reputable source linked above.

I'm sorry, but there is no way out of it. Sooner or later you will HAVE TO respond specifically to my argument, contest its merits in detail and provide a cogent counterargument, or admit (explicitly or implicitly) that you are not able to.

So, please read back carefully the half dozen versions of the detailed, meticulous argument I presented on the basis of a color-coded, word-for-word analysis of the concept in question, and please argue for a specific flaw in my argument.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18565
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 210 times
Contact:

Post #168

Post by otseng »

no evidence no belief wrote: I thought of an even better answer to your question.
So, in other words, you cannot find any reputable third party that is similar to your definition of fine-tuning. In that case, then there is no need to even discuss further your definition.

We both agree that your definition is meaningless. And you are unable to provide a third party definition to affirm your definition. This is sufficient to drop discussions of your definition.
If the universe is the way it is (conducive to life as we know it) as a result of the physical constants being the way they are, then by the simple principle of cause and effect, if the cause (the constants) change, then the effect (a universe conducive to life) changes.
This does not explain why the constants have the values that they do to make the universe conducive to life.
no evidence no belief wrote: Can you in turn confirm that if sufficient evidence for God is NOT presented, you will stop being a theist and become an atheist?
It'll have to be more than sufficient evidence for God is not presented. It will require a proof (or close to a proof) that God does not exist. If that happens, in order to be logically consistent, I will stop being a Christian.
How about this? I'll agree to your definition if you can provide a reputable third party source that presents your definition.
Ok.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality
I asked for source that offers a definition that matches your definition of fine-tuning, namely, "the physical constants are the way they are and aren't the way they are not, and that as a result, the universe is the way that it is and isn't the way that it it's not." This does not affirm your definition of fine-tuning.

no evidence no belief
Banned
Banned
Posts: 1507
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:18 pm

Post #169

Post by no evidence no belief »

otseng wrote:
no evidence no belief wrote: I thought of an even better answer to your question.
So, in other words, you cannot find any reputable third party that is similar to your definition of fine-tuning. In that case, then there is no need to even discuss further your definition.

We both agree that your definition is meaningless. And you are unable to provide a third party definition to affirm your definition. This is sufficient to drop discussions of your definition.
Oliver, Oliver, Oliver. You and your fixation for arguments from authority and from popularity, never cease to mesmerize me.

Seriously, man, why do you even bother making a statement that you must know I will have a crushing response to?

It's very simple: Every single valid argument that was ever made in the history of humanity did NOT have third party corroboration the first time it was made. That's true for everything from 2+2=4 to "murder is wrong".

Maybe there are people who agree with my position, maybe there aren't. The fact remains that I've (repeatedly) presented a cogent, lucid and detailed argument for why the wikipedia definition of fine-tuning is meaningless.

That argument is either valid or not valid.

If you wish to establish that the argument is not valid, you must do so ON THE ARGUMENT'S MERITS, not on the basis of the mainstream popularity of my argument.

Either you find a flaw in my argument, or you don't. In any case, the popularity of my argument among experts and/or laymen has ZERO relevance.

I have asked you several pointed and direct questions in the last few pages. All of them are different formulations of the same argument. Pick one post, and line for line, ANSWER IT.

I'm sorry, but if you fail to do so, no impartial observer is going to doubt that you don't have an answer, and I think that in all fairness I can consider my point made.
no evidence no belief wrote: Can you in turn confirm that if sufficient evidence for God is NOT presented, you will stop being a theist and become an atheist?
It'll have to be more than sufficient evidence for God is not presented. It will require a proof (or close to a proof) that God does not exist. If that happens, in order to be logically consistent, I will stop being a Christian.
Oliver, you should enter the olympics. You would most certainly win the gold in the javelin throw. I mean, if you can move the javelin as far as you just moved the goalpost, you'd win the gold for sure.

Are you joking?

In order to not believe in a deity such as the Christian God, you must be provided with PROOF that he doesn't exist?

If that's your standard, in order for you to maintain the logical consistency that you claim you value, I demand that you provide PROOF that Allah doesn't exist. Now. Not in the future. In your next post. Provide proof (not evidence, proof) that Allah does not exist, that Mohammed is not his prophet, and Islam is false.

Either that, or confirm the fact that as well as being a Christian you are also a Muslim.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18565
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 210 times
Contact:

Post #170

Post by otseng »

no evidence no belief wrote: You and your fixation for arguments from authority and from popularity, never cease to mesmerize me.
Pretty much the first thing that needs to be done in debates is to agree on the definitions. That is why I ask for a reputable third party source to confirm the definition that you proposed. This is standard practice in debating. You cannot just offer a definition (which you have admitted is meaningless) and continually say that your definition is what fine-tuning is.
The fact remains that I've (repeatedly) presented a cogent, lucid and detailed argument for why the wikipedia definition of fine-tuning is meaningless.
Actually, I would disagree. We agree that your definition is meaningless. You have not established that your definition is equivalent to the Wikipedia definition.
I have asked you several pointed and direct questions in the last few pages. All of them are different formulations of the same argument. Pick one post, and line for line, ANSWER IT.
You have yet to even answer MY first question that I posed. And I have have answered your argument by agreeing with you that your definition is meaningless. And you have failed to show that your definition is the same as the Wikipedia definition. As a matter of fact, you stated, "Your wording is more detailed and specifies what A and X are in our particular case."
I'm sorry, but if you fail to do so, no impartial observer is going to doubt that you don't have an answer, and I think that in all fairness I can consider my point made.
I think an impartial observer would note that you have failed to even answer my very first question on fine-tuning. For all of your questions, I have responded to them.

Well, I've already given my closing argument for fine-tuning. I'm comfortable with the jury to decide for themselves on our debate on fine-tuning.
It'll have to be more than sufficient evidence for God is not presented. It will require a proof (or close to a proof) that God does not exist. If that happens, in order to be logically consistent, I will stop being a Christian.
In order to not believe in a deity such as the Christian God, you must be provided with PROOF that he doesn't exist?
Please read again what I actually posted. I said "It will require a proof (or close to a proof) that God does not exist." Suppose that an argument was presented to show that there was a 60% chance that God did not exist. It can still be logically consistent for me to be a Christian, because there is still a 40% chance that God does exist. Only when there is a 100% chance that God does not exist, then it is logically inconsistent for me to believe in the existence of God. Now, I realize that there is no way prove if God exists or not exists with 100% certainty, that is why I also said "close to a proof."

This is immaterial to the debate anyway. Are you ready to move on to Theism?

Post Reply