Our server costs ~$56 per month to run. Please consider donating or becoming a Patron to help keep the site running. Help us gain new members by following us on Twitter and liking our page on Facebook!
Current time: February 25, 2020, 5:55 pm

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
[ARCHIVED] - The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
#1
[ARCHIVED] - The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
THIS THREAD IS HOME TO THE FORMAL DEBATE between Saerules and Arcanus. In various threads throughout the forums, Saerules had been observed asserting that the God of Christian theism is an impossible entity by reason of logical contradictions intrinsic to the attributes claimed of this God. Arcanus decided "it might be a worthwhile investment of [his] time and energies to engage that claim in a formal debate," so he submitted a challenge to Saerules. The challenge was accepted, and what follows is the material content of that debate.

DEBATE TOPIC:
  • Resolved: "The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions."

DEBATE PARTICIPANTS:
  • Saerules: Affirming the debate resolution.
  • Arcanus: Denying the debate resolution.

DEBATE STRUCTURE AND TIMELINE:
  • Opening Statements (11 Sep 2009, 23:59 hrs. Pacific)
  • Response to Opening Statements (18 Sep. 2009, 23:59 hrs. Pacific)
  • Rebuttal Against Responses (25 Sep. 2009, 23:59 hrs. Pacific)
  • Closing Statements (2 Oct. 2009, 23:59 hrs. Pacific)

DEBATE RULES:
  • WORD COUNT: Every submission by the participants in each of the four debate rounds is limited to not more than 1,500 words.
  • POST DURATION: The participants are given one full week to compose their submission for each of the four debate rounds, such that it will be available online by the morning of the Saturday at the end of each deadline week.
  • EXTENSIONS: If an extension of a post deadline is required, a request will be made no later than 48 hours prior to the deadline.
  • DEFAULTING ON THE DEBATE: Each participants agrees that going 48 hours beyond the post deadline date, without an agreed-upon extension, constitutes having defaulted on the debate.
  • PUBLICATION OF THE DEBATE: Each participant gives their consent to the completed debate being published outside of AtheistForums.org on his or her own web site, provided that proper attribution is maintained, using the names they each go by at AtheistForums.org, and the material is not altered in its content. Any further distribution requires the consent of both debate participants.

NON-PARTICIPANT QUESTIONS:

Upon completion of the four debate rounds, the participants will open themselves up to questions, if there are any, from members who followed the debate. In order to curtail tedium and tangent, each member is restricted to: (i) three succinct questions, which are not more than five sentences long each; (ii) one succinct follow-up question to each of the responses given.
#2
RE: The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
Opening Remarks
by Arcanus

11 September 2009

I am one of the newest members at the AtheistForums.org web site, having joined not much more than two months ago at the beginning of July. Although I cannot recall how I came to discover the site, I recognized it almost immediately as a highly opportune environment to have my ideas and beliefs critically engaged in a ruthless fashion, given the sharp antithesis expected between an orthodox Christian Weltanschauung and their atheistic convictions. With the Socratic method of elenctic apologetics, [1] informed and influenced by the presuppositionalist school in the Reformed tradition, [2] I wanted to confront whatever arguments that might be raised against Christian theism—to observe (a) through fiery trial whether it can withstand scrutiny or not, and (b) whether that scrutiny itself is valid or not.

Through my experiences on that atheist message board I have encountered a large number of arguments critical of Christian theism, some of which—such as analyses of the Transcendental Argument—have been particularly informative and enjoyable. But one species of argument that had really caught my attention recently was being promulgated in a few different threads by a young woman named Saerules, which was essentially the position that God simply cannot exist. She reasoned that certain divine attributes claimed about God are in fact contradictory, such that God is a logically impossible being. It was the consistency with which she had been raising such arguments through several threads that finally enticed me to invite her to defend those arguments in a formal debate, in addition to the fact that others shared her thinking. Instead of chasing the arguments through the different threads they happened to appear in, I wanted to confront them fully in one single location and demonstrate once and for all how bankrupt such arguments are, in the hopes that she would finally abandon them in favour of arguments that are not so weak.

With respect to historic, orthodox Christian doctrine about the nature of God, some of the most frequently targeted attributes have been those 'omni' ones (e.g., omnipotence, omniscience, etc.), which can be found in such arguments as, for example, man's free will seeming to preclude a God who is omniscient, or the existence of evil seeming to preclude an omnipotent God who is all-loving, and so forth. They are also the subject of arguments that seek to prove God as a logically impossible being, such as the horribly popular rhetorical question, “Can God create a rock he cannot lift?” It is my contention that none of these arguments manage to achieve their goal, and sometimes for rather embarrassing reasons. For example, consider the rock-too-heavy argument. Although there are a few different ways to critique it, two of them prove especially embarrassing.

First, it invalidates itself by committing the Loaded Question fallacy [3] (Lt. plurium interrogationum), which is identified by the presence of a stultifying presupposition that the respondent would otherwise disavow and usually begs the question. The common example widely used in basic philosophy texts to illustrate the Loaded Question fallacy is, “Have you stopped beating your spouse?” The question-begging assumption at center here coerces direct answers into serving the questioner's agenda; [4] viz. that the respondent is beating or has beaten his spouse. Whether the direct response is yes or no, either answer is forced into admitting spousal abuse by that question-begging presupposition. The same analysis is made of the question, “Can God create a rock he cannot lift?” Whether one answers with yes or no, both are coerced into admitting that God is not omnipotent—not because of any problem intrinsic to omnipotence, but rather because the question in itself has already assumed that God is not omnipotent. It assumes that a rock which God cannot lift is logically possible. But if an Immovable Object and an Irresistible Force are mutually exclusive, then by presupposing as possible the existence of the former one has necessarily denied as impossible the existence of the latter—i.e., commits the question-begging fallacy.

Second, if the rhetoric is implying that real omnipotence should be able to trump logical contradictions, such that a truly omnipotent being should, for example, be able to produce a square circle, then it destroys itself in a cloud of self-defeat by throwing out the baby with the bathwater. To suggest that nothing is impossible if given sufficient power—omnipotence—is to deny that real contradictions exist; i.e., if the impossible could become possible or actual simply by applying sufficient power to it, then it was never impossible to begin with but merely difficult. However, it should be obvious that this tosses the entire argument out the window. One who makes such an argument accidentally proves too much: if neither logic nor real contradictions exist, well then, the very objection one started out with vanishes (that God cannot exist in virtue of logical contradictions).

When an atheist familiarizes himself with the principles of sound reasoning and rigorously applies them to his thinking and argumentation, he discovers that such a commitment to rationality not only pulls the rug out from underneath many of what he thought were his strongest arguments against the God of Christian theism but also dismantles completely every single argument which attempts to prove that God is a logically impossible being. All such arguments always fail, and in practically every case that failure is due to some logical fallacy or another, either due to some logical fault in the argument itself or due to some misunderstanding about the nature of God (e.g., arguments involving the omniscience of God fatally omit the spatio-temporal implications of his omnipresent immanence). There are a number of arguments which attempt to prove that God is a logically impossible being, but instead of trying to obviate them all, for the purposes of this debate I shall wait to evaluate the ones that Saerules chooses to put forward. That is to say, given the limitations of this debate, it is practically impossible for me to deny the resolution of the debate (that God is a logically impossible being) for I would have to obviate every conceivable argument for it, and I simply have neither the word-count nor time allowances to accomplish such a feat. During the proposal stage, Saerules was encouraged to make her case on what she believes to be the three strongest arguments for it. So I will attempt to make my case once I have those arguments in hand.

----------
1,070 words



Notes:

[1] Vlastos, Gregory. "The Socratic Elenchus." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 1 (1983): 27-58. Print; Turretin, Francis. Institutes of Elenctic Theology. Trans. G. Musgrave Giger. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1992. Print.

[2] Sproul, Robert C., J. Gerstner, A. Lindsay. Classical Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984. pg. 183. Print.

[3] Walton, Douglas. "The Fallacy of Many Questions: On the Notions of Complexity, Loadedness and Unfair Entrapment in Interrogative Theory." Argumentation 13 (1999): 379-83. Print.

[4] "Loaded question." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 21 Aug 2009, 01:36 UTC. Accessed 8 Sep 2009.

Edits:

Cleaned up bibliography (11/Sep/09, 23:30 hrs Pacific).

Changed this sentence, "...it is practically impossible for me to support my side of the debate (that God is not a logically impossible being)..." replacing it with this sentence, "it is practically impossible for me to deny the resolution of the debate (that God is a logically impossible being)..." (11/Sep/09, 23:37 hrs Pacific).[/size]

Altered this Notes section to reflect the format used in subsequent posts (27/Sep/09, 03:37 hrs Pacific).
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when
called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
(Oscar Wilde)
#3
RE: The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
In this debate, i am affirming that the Christian god (in the form it's followers usually believe it to be) is an impossibility... I am basing my evidence upon simple logic (With logical impossibilities existing within the text describing this god), not upon any scientific findings or metaphysical theories.

I start with my first point here, obtained from others: "If God knows everything, he knows his own future. If he knows his own future, is he able to change it? If he is able to change it, then his original knowledge of his future was wrong, and he is not omniscient. If he isn't able to change it, then he is not omnipotent."

An omnipotent being cannot fail to do anything. An omniscient being cannot change its mind. The god in Christianity has changed his mind many times in the bible (Contradiction, therefore it is impossible for "God" to be omniscient). To have ultimate power, one must have ultimate knowledge. If the Christian god is omnipotent: he is also omniscient (Contradiction, therefore it is impossible for "God" to be omnipotent). The Christian god cannot exist in the form that many Christians believe him to exist as (Eg: as an omnipotent entity).


My second point (obtained from myself): If the Christian god unconditionally loves... then the human race is no more special to him than are rocks. By the very definition of unconditional... (without regard for any attributes)... this god's statements about moralities and his judgements are immediately defaulted.

From the beginning of Genesis, to the end of Revelation: the Christian god has shown unfair favoritism, comparison of attributes, and judgements based upon them. The Christian god does not love unconditionally.


My third point (obtained from myself): If the Christian god is jealous... then it is not alone. Christians often think that their religion is monotheistical... and that their god is a jealous god. But if their god is a jealous god: he must have someone (or something) to be jealous of. Who could possibly have earned such a powerful being's jealousy?

If we are to have no other gods before this one, then those other gods must exist in some way. With all the angels, lesser demons, greater demons, Satan, Lucifer, YWHW, Jesus, The Four Horsemen, The Holy Ghost, The Mother Mary, Gog and Magaog, and other such divine entities: it is not hard to guess that the Bible is inconclusive. If YWHW is jealous... it is because there are other gods for it to be jealous of.


Conclusion: The Christian god does not exist as most Christians think he does... he does not unconditionally love us... and if he does exist in some form: he lies to us, and is jealous of his peers and/or superiors.

(Edit: added in Bolds and Italics for emphasis and ease of reading.)
(Edit 2: fixed possible clarification issue.)
Please give me a home where cloud buffalo roam
Where the dear and the strangers can play
Where sometimes is heard a discouraging word
But the skies are not stormy all day
#4
RE: The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
Response to Opening Statements
by Arcanus

18 September 2009

The task for Saerules in this debate was to present arguments which affirm and support the resolution that "the attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions." In her Opening Statements she was supposed to have listed three such arguments; unfortunately, she listed only one: that God's attributes of omniscience and omnipotence contradict one another. The other two arguments did not actually contrast attributes of God. Instead, they contrasted a specific attribute of his against some other supposed fact. But in neither case were the arguments successful at validly proving a logical contradiction, which I will show.

With respect to her one argument that did attempt to prove that God is impossible on account of a logical contradiction, whereby omniscience and omnipotence are said to be contradicting attributes, does the argument succeed? No, it does not, and for a reason similar to that which my Opening Statements had anticipated. Her argument contains a central mistake about the nature of God; for the argument to work it requires an entity who "knows his own future." As a criticism of the Christian God it cannot work, because he has no temporal locality (like an unactualized future, as this case has it) by virtue of God being eternal pure actuality. [1] When an argument that is predicated on a being who has temporal limitations is presented as a criticism against the Christian God, it fails by arguing against a deity that is substantively different from that of Christian orthodoxy—and therefore risks the Straw Man fallacy. In his nature God is pure actuality, and in his operations God is immanent everywhere in our space-time manifold. In either respect, therefore, temporal limitations (such as having a future) is inapplicable.

I have used the following thought experiment to shed light the consequences of omnipresence before with some success, so perhaps it might prove helpful again in the present discussion. Imagine that we observe a supernova in a galaxy two million light years away. From the perspective of that galaxy, the event was two million years ago. But from our perspective we are just now observing it. And from the perspective of another galaxy millions of light years further still, that supernova will not be observed for a very long time to come. So the question presents itself: Is the event past, present, or future? Evidently that will depend entirely on your spatio-temporal location. So then, what if you are omnipresent across all spatio-temporal locations at once?

In the words of Aiden W. Tozer, "In God there is no was or will be, but a continuous and unbroken is. In him, history and prophecy are one and the same." [2] And Charles Spurgeon, "With God there is no past, and can be no future ... What we call past, present, and future, he wraps up in one eternal now." [3] God does not have a future about which he might know something; moreover, for him there is no future about which he might change something. Therefore, if a criticism which presupposes a temporal entity is presented as a criticism of the Christian God, it risks committing the Straw Man fallacy by arguing against a deity that is considerably different from God as affirmed in orthodox Christian doctrine.

The second contradiction Saerules attempts to present an argument for is that God loves unconditionally and yet, at the same time, can be shown to not love unconditionally. This fails to prove a contradiction, however, and for two reasons. First, even assuming her statements are true she has not successfully made her case, because a real contradiction requires two logically inverted propositions to be asserted as true at the same time and in the same respect. If the love of God is "unconditional" (P) in one respect while at the same time "not unconditional" (¬P) in a different respect, then this fails to qualify as a contradiction. Can this be found in orthodox Christian doctrine? Yes, clearly. Christianity holds that the difference which separates these two respects is Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant. When it comes to the human race on the whole, the love of God is "not unconditional" (¬P); when it comes to those who are in Christ, the love of God is "unconditional" (P). So both P and ¬P are asserted as true at the same time but not at all in the same respect. God's love is unconditional only for believers whose sins are covered by the propitiatory [4] sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Second, her argument is predicated upon a God who "unconditionally loves ... the human race," which is a very different sort of God from that of orthodox Christian doctrine. Apart from the atoning work of Christ, the human race is condemned under God's wrath against sin. Saerules was correct in her conclusion that "the Christian God does not love unconditionally" the human race. Apostolic teaching has never suggested otherwise, having always asserted that God loves unconditionally only his children.

The third contradiction that she presents is likewise not a contradiction, insofar as God being jealous does not contradict monotheism. Saerules argues that if God is jealous then "it is because there are other gods for it to be jealous of." But this does not follow. God's jealousy is for the reverent affections of his people, which at times have been directed toward idols. However, there are very clear statements in the Bible that those idols are fashioned by hand and not real, that they "by nature are not gods," that "an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one," that "there is no God apart from me," that there is only "one God and Father of all," verses that can be multiplied a hundred fold (Gal. 4:8; Isa. 44:14-20; Isa. 45:21; John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:4; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17). Although the Bible speaks about angels, demons, beasts and saints and so forth, nowhere does it describe them as deity. Mankind worships other gods, but it is sinful precisely because they are by nature not gods, as the Scriptures consistently state. "I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God," the Lord declares to his prophet Isaiah. "Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one" (Isa. 44:6-8).

Saerules presented what she considered to be the three strongest arguments for proving that the God of Christian theism is an impossible being by reason of logical contradictions, yet none of them succeeded in making her case because they involved attributes or operations that do not correspond to God as affirmed by the Scriptures and orthodox Christian doctrine. First, the "omniscience vs. omnipotence" argument failed because God is not temporally bounded; second, the "unconditional love" argument failed because although both P and ¬P are asserted as true at the same time, it is not in the same respect; third, the "jealousy" argument failed because the act of worshiping an idol does not make it a real deity.

----------
1,200 words



NOTES:

[1] Dubray, Charles. "Actus Purus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. Web; Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1981. Part 1, Questions 2-11. Web.

[2] Heitzig, Lenya. Live Intimately. Paris, ON: David C. Cook Publishing, 2008. pg. 50. Print.

[3] Spurgeon, Charles H. "Gem #55." Spurgeon's Gems. New York: Sheldon & Company, 1859. Print.

[4] Propitiation is that by which the just wrath of God is satisfied, whereby "it becomes consistent with his character and government to pardon and bless the sinner. The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to exercise his love towards sinners. … Christ is 'the propitiation' because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations he expiated our guilt." (Easton, Matthew G. Illustrated Bible Dictionary. 3rd ed. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2005. Print.)
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when
called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
(Oscar Wilde)
#5
RE: The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
Response to Arcanus's opening statements:

To perform the loaded question fallacy, the question must assume that the respondent has acted in a certain way. "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Is the classic example of the loaded question fallacy... and you will notice that it assumes that you beat your wife. "Can God create a rock he cannot lift?" Does not assume anything, and therefore is not a loaded question. Put simply: "Can God create a rock he cannot lift?" is asking if such an action is possible... "Have you stopped beating your wife?" is assuming the action has been done. That is why the question of "Can God create a rock he cannot lift" does not commit the loaded question fallacy. It is a question that is used for one purpose alone: to demonstrate that omnipotence is in itself a logical contradiction.

One might demonstrate the logical contradiction of omnipotence with a different question such as, “What could any omnipotent power create more powerful that itself?” Again the question only calls to mind the logical absurdity of the proposition contained in the concept of omnipotence. And that is the only agenda philosophers had in constructing the question “Can god create a rock he cannot lift.”

Lastly, philosophers only use the word 'God' in their question... because they know that since omnipotence is a logical impossibility, then so is any power, including a god, that is claimed to be omnipotent. Therefore omnipotence remains a logical contradiction, and the omnipotent attribute of the Christian god is likewise impossible.


Another show of where these 'omni's of the Christian god fail:

1. From Gospel, we know that the Christian god is all-powerful - he can do all things which are logically possible.
2a. It is an action "to be" something." (If it were not, we could say that god could not choose how to be, which would be a limitation on 1)
3b. It is an action "to be" ... a god who hates its creations.
4. From Gospel, we know that the Christian god is all-loving.
5. From 1 and 4, we know that the Christian god is all-powerful and all-loving.
6. IF 5 is true, THEN 3b is false. IF 3b is false, THEN 1 is false. IF 1 is false, THEN 5 is false.

Considering that you spent three paragraphs mislabeling the rock argument a fallacy... there is nothing more I can respond to Smile

Edit: added italics to Have and Can for emphasis.
Please give me a home where cloud buffalo roam
Where the dear and the strangers can play
Where sometimes is heard a discouraging word
But the skies are not stormy all day
#6
RE: The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
Rebuttal Against Responses
by Arcanus

25 September 2009

In her most recent response, Saerules attempted to prove that the rock-too-heavy rhetorical device is not fallacious, but unfortunately it seems she neither understands the nature of the Loaded Question fallacy nor sees the fallacy being committed by this particular question. As Saerules correctly identified, in order for this particular fallacy to be committed there ought to be some internal feature that begs the question. (This is not necessarily true, but true often enough that we can work with it here in this discussion.)

But she incorrectly asserts that the rock-too-heavy rhetorical device “does not assume anything,” which she hopes to support by pointing to the auxiliary verb “can.” What she does not seem to recognize is that this fails to disprove the fallacy because (i) it is still 'loaded' with two or more questions and (ii) it is the hidden question that commits the fallacy by making a contentious assumption. Although it is legitimate to ask questions about what God can create—the obvious first question—it is illegitimate [1] to assume that an Immovable Object is logically possible when the question itself regards whether or not an Irresistible Force is logically possible—the hidden second question—since the two phenomena are mutually exclusive.

So how does it contain multiple questions? And how is the fallacy committed? Consider two illustrative examples first. There is the familiar and classic example, “Have you stopped beating your spouse?” As the student of philosophy is typically shown, there are actually two questions being asked here. The first is, “Have you beaten your spouse?” The second is, “If so, have you stopped?” As we can see, the latter is the obvious question being asked while the former is the hidden question not being asked. It qualifies as a Loaded Question because it involves (i.e., is 'loaded' with) two or more questions, and it commits the question-begging fallacy by assuming the truth of spousal abuse in a question about spousal abuse.

Another example question would be, “Where did you put the cookies you stole?” Here there are actually three questions being asked: (i) “Did you steal the cookies?” (ii) “If so, did you put them somewhere?” and (iii) “If not, did you eat them?” The second is the obvious question being asked, while the first is the hidden question not being asked and producing the fallacy by assuming the truth of cookie theft in a question about cookie theft. (The third question exists tacitly if the answer is “nowhere” to the loaded question or “no” to the obvious question).

Understanding this, now consider the question, “Can God create a rock he cannot lift?” Within this single question about omnipotence there are actually two questions being asked: (i) “Can God create some rock?” (ii) “Can God fail to lift some rock?” On the one hand, that is how it is a Loaded Question; it involves or is 'loaded' with more than one question. The former question is the obvious one being asked, while the latter question is the hidden one not being asked. On the other hand, that is how it is fallacious; by virtue of assuming that God is not omnipotent within a question about whether or not God is omnipotent, which it does by assuming that an Immovable Object is logically possible (“a rock he cannot lift”) when the question itself is about whether or not an Irresistible Force is logically possible. As I said in my Opening Statements, “by presupposing as possible the existence of the former one has necessarily denied as impossible the existence of the latter” and thereby “commits the question-begging fallacy.”

As for the additional question she asked (about an omnipotent power creating something “more powerful than itself”), what she is doing is probing a tautology, for her question is asking, “Can something be more powerful than all-powerful?” Well, no—by definition. If she were so foolish as to think this somehow disproves omnipotence, I would direct her attention back to my Opening Statements where I had already addressed that sort of angle; that is, if she thinks that true omnipotence should be able to overwhelm even the logically impossible, her entire position in this debate would self-destruct: “To suggest that nothing is impossible if given sufficient power” (in this case, omnipotence) “is to deny that real contradictions exist; in other words, if the impossible could become possible or actual simply by applying sufficient power to it, then it was never impossible to begin with but merely difficult. However, it should be obvious that this tosses the entire argument out the window. One who makes such an argument accidentally proves too much: if neither logic nor real contradictions exist, well then, the very objection one started out with vanishes (that God cannot exist in virtue of logical contradictions).”

And as for her closing six-point argument, it did not prove any logical contradictions in God. If it succeeded at proving anything at all, it is that God does not indiscriminately love his creatures universally—which the Bible already admits, particularly in those passages that describe the wrath of God against unrepentant sinners living in obdurate rebellion against him.

----------
871 words



NOTES:

[1] As defined in the context of logic (q.v. “not in accordance with the principles of valid inference”; see entry at Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. Web. Accessed 24 Sep. 2009).
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when
called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
(Oscar Wilde)
#7
RE: The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
NOTICE:
BY MUTUAL AGREEMENT AT THE REQUEST OF SAERULES,
the Formal Debate is terminated, effective immediately.

By mutual consent achieved through private correspondence, Saerules has expressed considerable frustration with the form and rules of formal debate. From this experience she realized that she had not really understood the nature and impact of debate guidelines. For example, she asked about the propriety of raising new arguments near the close of the debate, as we currently are, and I informed her that it would be bad form because it denies me the opportunity to respond to them. I can certainly appreciate and respect her lack of experience with formal debate, her frustration at constraints imposed by ethical debate form, and her desire for a more informal setting, so by no means do I hold this against her, nor do I think this reflects badly upon her in any way. Furthermore, it is my own request to you, as members of our AtheistForums.org community, that you likewise do not view this as reflecting badly upon her. It was her lack of experience with formal debate, not any weakness of her arguments, that motivated this request to transition into a more informal setting, so that she could have more liberties at exploring the strengths of her arguments. I think she ought to be applauded for the courage of her convictions in agreeing to debate them and her ability to articulate them in the face of inexperience. I certainly appreciate her efforts and tenacity and look forward to exploring her arguments in a more informal setting, which will begin now.

It was established from the outset that, upon completion of the four debate rounds, "the participants will open themselves up to questions, if there are any, from members who followed the debate." That still stands. If you have any questions for either Saerules or myself, strictly relevant to the arguments presented in the formal debate, you may ask them now. You are limited to three succinct questions and one follow-up round. Although Saerules and I will continue debating informally, priority will be given to those outside questions.



Edits:

Added PDF copy of formal debate.


Attached Files
.pdf   Debate_Saerules-Arcanus_Sep2009.pdf (Size: 123.08 KB / Downloads: 267)
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when
called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
(Oscar Wilde)
#8
RE: The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
The first thing I would like to do, is clarify what a loaded question is... and discuss the question seen below. After we have found a common ground on these points, then I would like to move on to other topics we have raised Smile


"Can God create a rock that he cannot lift?" is not two questions: it is a preposition.

preposition |ˌprepəˈzi sh ən|
noun Grammar
a word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause, as in “the man on the platform,” “she arrived after dinner,” “what did you do it for?”

Basically, a prepositional phrase modifies the definition of the preceding noun. In "Can God create a rock that he cannot lift"... the noun is 'rock', and 'he cannot lift' is a prepositional phrase "That" serves as a conjunction between the modifier and the object.

prepositional phrase
noun
a modifying phrase consisting of a preposition and its object.

Examples of this follow ([ b ]=noun, [ i ]=prepositional phrase.

"Can I build a house that I cannot live in?" (Notice, this is not asking "Can I build a house", If so: "can I live in it?"... this is specifically asking: Could you build such a house? (specifically, one that you cannot live in. The answer is either "certainly... I can build such a house (IE: a doll house)." or "I cannot build a house that I cannot live in."

"Can God build a house located on a beach?" (Notice, this is not simply asking if God can build a house... it is asking if he can build one located on a beach. A prepositional phrase can be summed up like so: a few words that change the meaning of the proceeding word.

"Can God create a rock that he cannot lift?" (Notice, this is asking if 'God' can create a rock... specifically: a rock that he cannot lift. If he can make such a rock: a second question could be asked of him... "Can he lift that rock?". It is from this point, that one can see that omnipotence is impossible.

A parallel question can be easily asked in: "Can God create an unliftable rock?"... which is assuming no more than "Can God create a blue rock?". The question has suggested nothing about omnipotence to begin with, it has simply asked if God can create this rock. These questions are not presuming any action... they are a valid, and sound, questions.

Indeed, I can ask a question like: "Where have you hidden the treasure you stole from me?"... and you will find that I am simply asking, "Where have you hidden the the treasure?", specifically the treasure that you stole from me. One may be tempted to answer one question in multiple ways, and then claim that the question was asking more than it was: but do not be fooled... the question asked but one thing, and it may be an invalid question (the action of hiding stolen treasure may or may not have taken place)... but it was alone one question.


As to the 'loaded question's definition itself: We cannot be sure that everyone is on the same page when we refer to "sky"... the definition varies person by person. When people say "god", this gets even more confusing and convoluted.

In this way, all questions asked to another... are loaded. We have to presuppose that everyone is on the same page... when people read books at different speeds (Many have not even learned to read). If a question is 'loaded' simply because it presupposes something... then all of our questions have become loaded.

Even the most fundamental '1 = 1', presupposes what '1' is. It presupposes that 1 is equal to itself... it presupposes what equality is. I don't know how anything can be simpler than the basis of reason... but if a loaded question is fallacy because of presupposition, then it follows to reason that all of reason is fallacy (if the loaded question is truly a fallacy). This is because all of our knowledge is the assumption that we are right... all our evidence is from chance circumstance... and all of our logic is presupposed from the moment it is justified...

Simply, the loaded question is, as you would define it (two or more questions + hidden question that commits the fallacy by making a contentious assumption): to invalidate all questions. For every question... in fact, every rational statement: assumes something. Every word I write could be controversial, and defined differently by another. Also, there is no question that is asking two questions... because then it is not one question... but two questions.

If a loaded question is to mean anything at all, and still apply to "Have you stopped beating your wife?": It would only be to assume within the question that something has been done. A question like "Have you stopped beating your wife?" could be valid or invalid... if the action has occurred: it is valid. If the action has not occurred: invalid. The question's validity does not lie in asking two questions... The question's validity lies in whether the action has been done, or not. I therefore cannot accept the established definition without more evidence of why it is correct, as it ignores what makes the question fundamentally right or wrong... and has assumed answers as a part of the question.

But we are discussing language here... debating fancy words and varied definitions brings us little wisdom. However, it is these lingual rules which we must agree upon... for we are conveying our ideas in the form of language.
Please give me a home where cloud buffalo roam
Where the dear and the strangers can play
Where sometimes is heard a discouraging word
But the skies are not stormy all day
#9
RE: The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
I find it especially revealing, and perhaps others do as well, that when identifying how a Loaded Question is to be understood and when such is fallacious, my argument cited from and was supported by (i) a peer-reviewed philosophical journal and (ii) an encyclopedic reference that were both directly relevant to and explained the Loaded Question fallacy. You, on the other hand, provided what amounts to your own personal definition that neither cited from nor was supported by any relevant sources whatever; the only source you did cite from was an English dictionary (defining the usage of "preposition" and "prepositional phrase") with neither entry making even the vaguest reference to fallacies, much less the Loaded Question fallacy. I know, because I looked. These irrelevant entries were cited simply as support for your already forgone conclusion. Had you chosen to formulate your argument from sources that relevantly discuss the Loaded Question fallacy, you would have no doubt quickly discovered that your forgone conclusion was in error.

Consider another reference, the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which describes this fallacy [1] as a question that is framed in a way "that some controversial presupposition is made by the wording of the question." It then provides an example which you can observe if you wish, and then explains how it is a Loaded Question: "[It] unfairly presumes the controversial claim that the policy really is a waste of money. The fallacy of complex question is a form of begging the question." See also the article on "Complex Question" by Lee C. Archie at Lander Univerity. [2] (If you have checked the references I provided, then you know that Complex Question, Loaded Question, and plurium interrogationum all refer to the same thing.) Here are two more references that support my argument, one of which is another peer-reviewed source. Since I have already explained this fallacy twice (first in my Opening Statements and then in my Rebuttal Against Responses), I will not do so again here. I will simply refer you to my previous explanations, plus the four sources I have now cited, and ask you to respond directly to them—and to support your counter-argument with references that specifically address this fallacy.

Why am I directing you two my two previous arguments? Because if you will not directly address the arguments I already raised, what reason do I have to think you would address a third one? So please address the arguments I have raised. If you think I am incorrect, cite with a quotation which part you think is incorrect, explain how it is incorrect, and support your counter-argument with independently verifiable evidence relevant to the Loaded Question fallacy.



Notes:

[1] Dowden, Bradley. "Fallacies: Complex Question." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. University of Tenessee, Martin, 20 June 2009. Web. Accessed 28 Sep. 2009.
[link]

[2] Archie, Lee C. "Complex Question." Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic. Lander University, 18 Aug. 2009. Web. Accessed 28 Sep. 2009.
[link]
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when
called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
(Oscar Wilde)
#10
RE: The attributes of the Christian God exhibit logical contradictions.
You are assuming that the peer-reviewed philosophical journal is absolutely correct... but to do so is to argue from establishment, which is an assumption that establishment is correct. I have always made it clear that I do not accept things just because others accept them... I must justify correctness for myself.

I did address the points you raised... in particular: I addressed how "Can God create a rock that he cannot lift?" is not a loaded question, nor indeed fallacious in any way. I could ask the equivalent of myself: "Can I create a rock that I cannot lift?"... it is as valid a question as they come... and you have yet to refute my arguments in any reasonable way. I read your previous arguments, and I responded to them. I supported what I said with a dictionary, because definitions are often debated (like the definition of a loaded question)... and you have not yet shown me how the definition of a prepositional phase is incorrect. Also notable... I have shown that all of language is presupposed... which would be to invalidate all language if presupposition of definition is fallacy.

I think you are incorrect, I showed how i thought you were incorrect, and you have yet to respond with how you are not incorrect. You note those you copy off of... but almost every statement of mine is my own. My entire last post was original work... and it was in response to your first point (and your defense of that point). I have shown what made "Have you stopped beating your wife?" valid or invalid, and how a single question is just that: one question... I am waiting on your response to such points Smile If you want me to quote you so much, I suppose I could edit your quotes into my response... though I don't see what impact it makes Smile

As for independent support of my arguments? I have a pizza, Arcanus... I have a pizza. My independent support is a pizza, and the evidence is delicious. Smile
Please give me a home where cloud buffalo roam
Where the dear and the strangers can play
Where sometimes is heard a discouraging word
But the skies are not stormy all day



Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  [ARCHIVED] - A Discussion of the "All-Powerful" Nature of Gods Tiberius 5 3897 October 11, 2009 at 12:21 am
Last Post: Secularone
  [ARCHIVED] - Evidence Vs Faith Edwardo Piet 82 24637 September 20, 2009 at 5:52 pm
Last Post: Edwardo Piet
  [ARCHIVED] - God(s), Science & Evidence leo-rcc 2 3545 May 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm
Last Post: fr0d0
  [ARCHIVED] - Creation vs. Evolution Ashlyn 70 25882 April 6, 2009 at 4:16 am
Last Post: Darwinian



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)