The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)

Existence of God

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/19/2019 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 663 times Debate No: 121392
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (17)
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I though I would start a debate on an easy topic: The existence of God.


Focus on Thomas Aquinas's Five Ways.

No new arguments in the final round, And no rebuttal in the first round.

Explain your votes thoroughly, Not a strict rule but a preference.

List of the Arguments

You may choose one of the five to argue against or all five, It hardly matters to me, But articulate which you choose to argue against in the first round along with your theological disposition.

1. The argument from metaphysical motion;
2. The argument from efficient causation;
3. The the argument from contingency;
4. The argument from degrees of being;
5. The argument from final causality ("teleological argument").


"http://www. Vorpal. Us/2007/10/the-five-ways-of-st-thomas-aquinas-are-all-dead-ends/"
Aquinas" First Way : Argument from Motion
which proceeds:

Nothing can move itself.
If every object in motion had a mover, Then the first object in motion needed a mover.
This first mover is the Unmoved Mover, Called God.
The Aristotelian worldview was based upon the concept that things have an intrinsic identity. One of the natures of this identity was its motion through the aether or quintessence. Aristotle"s motion is assumes that there must be an "unmoved mover". Aquinas takes this to be God.

Newton"s physics placed all things in a Cartesian aether, So that they moved with respect to the aether as envisioned by Aristotle and St Thomas. This was shown to be false by the Michelson-Morley Experiment. The experiment demonstrated that the speed of light is not influenced by motion of the earth through the "Aether", But is constant for all observers. The experiment finally and thoroughly disproved the long held belief that space is a fixed substrate for existance. We learned from this experiment that motion is not an intrinsic nature a thing.

Until Einstein developed the theory of special relativity it was hard to explain the results of the Michelson-Morley Experiment. Relativity reconciled the experimental results of the Michelson-Morley Experiment with a theory that made sense.

Unfortunately for St. Thomas, Relativity means that motion is no longer a property of one thing. Motion is a property of at least two "things", The observer and the object. There can be no "unmoved mover" since all motion is now known to be relative to the observer, And not to some unmoving reference.

The premise of the First Way originates from the concept of a single body and its motion relative to a fixed reference. The logic of the First Way is based upon a false premise. Saint Aquinis" First Way proves nothing because it leads from an incorrect initial premise.

Aquinas" Second Way: Causation Of Existence
which proceeds:

There exists things that are caused (created) by other things.
Nothing can be the cause of itself (nothing can create itself. )
There can not be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist.
Therefore, There must be an uncaused first cause called God.
Once again the Aristotelian worldview is all that St. Thomas Aquinas had to work with. We have since learned that matter is continually formed as particles and antiparticles, And continually annihilated when a particle meets an antiparticle. There are no things that are caused or created by other things. Stuff only changes in form and there is nothing being "caused to exist", St. Thomas"s premise here is simply irrelevant.

The remaining artifact to explain is the Big Bang: How did our universe come into existence in the first place? Is it the action of the Demiurge, The action of Abraham"s God, Or just the spitum of some black hole in another universe? In each case Aquinas" argument fails to answer the question: What caused the DemiUrge, God, Or the black hole to exist. If the answer is simply: "but it is turtles all the way down", Then what is special about the top turtle compared with all the others beneath?

There are alternative possibilities to the big bang " that the universe is resonant " going through expansion back to the big crunch, Which starts it all over again; that the Big Bang theory is incorrect " our universe has no beginning; or there is some eternal guy in robes and a beard twisting the knobs of the universe machine. The point is that St. Thomas" argument has no footing in reality.

Aquinis" Third Way: Contingent and Necessary Objects
which proceeds:

Contingent beings are caused.
Not every being can be contingent.
There must exist a being which is necessary to cause contingent beings.
This necessary being is God.
This argument is similar to the second: There must be an initial being that started everything. Unfortunately, This argument is tautological " it goes round and round without end, Like the turtles comment above.

The premise that some being caused the universe does not mean that that being is not a contingent being. The Gnostic Demiurge myth confounds this argument.

In this myth, The Demiurge, Also known as Yaldabaoth was the son of Sophia. He was a kind of monster, And Sophia ashamed of giving birth to such a monster, Placed him on a throne wrapped in a cloud. The Demiurge, Unable to see his mother, Or any other being, Concluded that he was alone, Having no knowledge of the "superior" levels of existence above him.

When the Demiurge created the universe, The beings on earth also believed that Yaldabaoth was not a contingent being, As that was the best information available. It might have also been what ws presented by their "god". Even if "god" and the creations believe that the "god" is not a contingent being, That does not mean that it is so.

Some Gnostic philosophers (notably Marcion of Sinope and the Sethians) identify the evil Demiurge as Yahweh, The God of the Old Testament, The creator of the universe, According to Christian doctrine. That this being, St. Thomas"s God, Is believed by some of the creations (the Gnostic Christians) to be a contingent being further weakens his argument.

St. Thomas assumes that the universe was created, And hence contingent. The Big Bang theory, The present dominant theory of the universe states that it has a clear beginning about 15 Billion years ago. This theory predicts an end of the Universe in either the Big Rip or the Big Crunch " kind of an "unbang". This fits the concept that our universe was created. The Big Bang theory under the standard model says that something caused the Big Bang and therefore it is contingent.
String theory with supersymmetry includes the possibility that the universe is immortal. If the big crunch scenario is the actual end play, When the universe "crunches" it does not disappear. It simply bangs again into a new universe as the old one crunches to the dimension of the planck length. The new universe is indistinguishable from the one that just crunched. If the universe is truly eternal, And just goes through cycles of Bang, Expansion, Contraction, Crunch->Bang, Then it is manifest that the universe itself is not a contingent entity.

Fourth Way: The Argument From Degrees And Perfection
which proceeds:

Objects have properties to greater or lesser extents.
If an object has a property to a lesser extent, Then there exists some other object that has the property to the maximum possible degree.
So there is an entity that has all properties to the maximum possible degree.
Hence God exists.
The concept of perfection and extent is rather elusive. Let us take the case of one of the simplest of things " a material, The element Uranium. Lets look at what is meant by purifying or making its properties of greater extent. With this example we will probe the Aristotelian concept of extent.

If Aristotle knew that Uranium was an element of material " not divisible without disturbing its essence, He would characterize pure Uranium as not "Said-of" or "Present-in" any other substance: a Primary Substance.

Uranium comes as one of various ores. Pitchblende is one of these ores consisting of various uranium oxides along with thorium, Radon, Lead and tiny amounts of technetium, Usually in oxides. This is an example of the element mixed and of lesser extent.

Pitchblende, From German, Means "black and mixed metals" " an uneconomical ore. The idea is that this ore is not valuable, Of low extent of value, And was originally tossed aside. Mixed as it is with other materials and oxidized it is of little value.

It is possible to refine the ore to metallic uranium with the use of heat which reduces the oxides to metallic elemental uranium. A number of processes may be used separate out the thorium, Radon, Lead and technetium, And perhaps isolate and purify these materials from the ore also.

Metallic uranium originally had a substantial value as a colorant for glass and pottery, With selected oxides providing beautiful red and orange colors. People still collect Fiestaware and Uranium Glass that was colored with Uranium. The density of uranium and its mechanical strength see uranium used as keels for ships, Gyroscopes, Projectiles, Armor and other applications for dense strong materials. Chemically purifying uranium clearly makes the uranium more valuable and useful, And hence of greater extent.

If one were to collect a block of material that contained only uranium atoms, (chemically pure) it would still not be uniform, Because uranium comes in several isotopes. The chemical properties of all the isotopes are identical, But the number of neutrons in the nucleus of the atoms differ. This little difference between U-235 and U-238 (and the other less common isotopes) cause critical differences in the radioactive characteristics of the atoms. Pure Uranium metal would at this finer level not be the Primary Substance of greatest extent, But remain flawed and only of greater extent.

U-235, When bombarded by a Neutron with the correct speed undergoes fission, Breaking into Rubidium-90 and Cesium-143, And releasing three neutrons and a lot of energy. This can be a process to generate power or make a bomb. Removing some of the U-238 from metallic Uranium increases the percentage of U-235 in the remaining material from 1% to 3 to 10%. The resulting material is called enriched Uranium. The "waste" material is much nearly pure U-238, Known as depleted Uranium, Clearly more pure in extent.

Although enriched Uranium is more thoroughly mixed it is considered more valuable because it can be used to generate power and make bombs. This makes it both dangerous and prized, Even though its extent is reduced from chemically purified Uranium. The enriched Uranium is not a Primary Substance, Even though is greatly sought after.

Rest of argument in comments section.
Debate Round No. 1


Firstly, I will state to anyone looking in on this debate; these are arguments for a God, Aquinas goes on to justify the Christian attributes of God later in his Summa Theologica.

Secondly, Rebuttals weren’t for the first round (rules).

Since you’ve ignored my rules, And I have no position to refute myself, I will instead dedicate this round entirely to the defense of the Five ways.

1. The argument from metaphysical motion

a. ) On misconceptions and strawmen: He is referring to metaphysical motion in this argument – definable as ‘movement’ from actuality to potentiality.

b. ) This topic is not about aristotilean physics; this is about Aquinas’s logical arguments.

Quote: “Motion is a property of at least two "things", The observer and the object. There can be no "unmoved mover" since all motion is now known to be relative to the observer, And not to some unmoving reference. ”

This is measurement of ‘velocity, ’ or a modern measurement of speed, Not ‘motion’ in the way Thomas construed it. “Motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. ”

Even though this is off-topic and not relevant to the 1st argument: We do not change the velocity by observing it and relatively measuring it. We only change our abstract method of measurement.

Quote: “The premise of the First Way originates from the concept of a single body and its motion relative to a fixed reference.

The first way is a posteriori argument, Assuming Einstein’s theory is true, It still wouldn’t invalidate the first premise.

2. The argument from efficient causation

On misconceptions and strawmen: This argument has little to nothing to do with the Big Bang, It’s simply a non-sequitor. He is not talking about a first cause of the universe; in fact, He denied that you could show the beginning of the universe through philosophy alone.

In this argument he is referring to an essentially-ordered series (example, A chain of turning gears).

Existence > existence > essence > existence …

(In simplest terms, Essence is potentiality, Existence is actuality).

Quote: “There are no things that are caused or created by other things. Stuff only changes in form and there is nothing being "caused to exist"

His argument was that an infinite regress is logically impossible, Change is a form of cause.

3. The argument from contingency

Contingent for Aquinas: Can either exist or not exist; trees, People, Etc. (matter takes on form, Then loses its form)

Necessary for Aquinas: Permanent existence, Might still be dependent. (matter itself)

Being for Aquinas: That which exists.

Quote: “Thomas assumes that the universe was created, And hence contingent. ”

In the third argument he presupposes the opposite, That the universe is infinite. It also, Once again, Has little to do with the big bang.

4. The argument from degrees of being

Kindly reduce your arguments to the gist, I don’t need to learn the background, I just want the argument.

It would do good to keep in mind Plato’s forms here, Though Thomas wasn’t a Platonist it’s good for perspective.

If you attempt to draw a triangle, It will not be THE triangle, As it will not be maximully perfect. No matter what you do, You cannot draw a perfect triangle. Likewise, A dog is not the perfect dog, It may have a spot or genetic defect, A hair might be in the wrong place or it’s breath might stink.

The perfect archetype is the cause of every imperfect being/thing, Therefore, There must be something that is perfect in all regards to be the cause of all being.

5. The argument from final causality

Most of your refutation was rambling about the nature of the mind, Which isn’t as relevant as you may believe. It doesn’t at all contradict his point, You said: “If an infant human does not possess a significant mind, But an adult does, Then there is a process by which the mind develops. This is a process wherein information and experience cooperatively work to form sentience. ”

You’re describing a process instigated by intelligence (the mother).

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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 5
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by oalks 3 years ago
You only have 11 hours to post an argument, Just letting you know.
Posted by oalks 3 years ago
Being: something, Instead of nothing.

Degrees of being

Hierarchical organization (what we refer to God as being maximally perfect in every regard).
Posted by oalks 3 years ago
The more direct ways (not summarized/edited), Which I will use in my arguments: http://web. Mnstate. Edu/gracyk/courses/web%20publishing/aquinasFiveWays. Htm

The below are meant to be a more accessible format, More easily understandable for people who have never read Aquinas.
Posted by oalks 3 years ago
The First Way: Argument from Motion

Our senses prove that some things are in motion.

Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion.

Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion.

Nothing can be at once in both actuality and potentiality in the same respect (i. E. , If both actual and potential, It is actual in one respect and potential in another).

Therefore nothing can move itself.

Therefore each thing in motion is moved by something else.

The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.

Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, Put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
Posted by oalks 3 years ago
The Second Way: Argument from Efficient Causes

We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world.

Nothing exists prior to itself.

Therefore nothing [in the world of things we perceive] is the efficient cause of itself.

If a previous efficient cause does not exist, Neither does the thing that results (the effect).

Therefore if the first thing in a series does not exist, Nothing in the series exists.

If the series of efficient causes extends ad infinitum into the past, For then there would be no things existing now.

That is plainly false (i. E. , There are things existing now that came about through efficient causes).

Therefore efficient causes do not extend ad infinitum into the past.

Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, To which everyone gives the name of God.
Posted by oalks 3 years ago
The Third Way: Argument from Possibility and Necessity (Reductio argument)

We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, That come into being and go out of being i. E. , Contingent beings.

Assume that every being is a contingent being.

For each contingent being, There is a time it does not exist.

Therefore it is impossible for these always to exist.

Therefore there could have been a time when no things existed.

Therefore at that time there would have been nothing to bring the currently existing contingent beings into existence.

Therefore, Nothing would be in existence now.

We have reached an absurd result from assuming that every being is a contingent being.

Therefore not every being is a contingent being.

Therefore some being exists of its own necessity, And does not receive its existence from another being, But rather causes them. This all men speak of as God.
Posted by oalks 3 years ago
The Fourth Way: Argument from Gradation of Being

There is a gradation to be found in things: some are better or worse than others.

Predications of degree require reference to the "uttermost" case (e. G. , A thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest).

The maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus.

Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, Goodness, And every other perfection; and this we call God.
Posted by oalks 3 years ago
The Fifth Way: Argument from Design

We see that natural bodies work toward some goal, And do not do so by chance.

Most natural things lack knowledge.

But as an arrow reaches its target because it is directed by an archer, What lacks intelligence achieves goals by being directed by something intelligence.

Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.
Posted by AKmath2 3 years ago
Yes, For a large debate. I answered every one of Thomas Aquinas' 5 ways.
Posted by oalks 3 years ago
That is a large amount of characters.
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