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General Discussion => Choose Your Own Topic => Topic started by: DiogenesOfSinope on February 26, 2017, 12:38:56 am

Title: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: DiogenesOfSinope on February 26, 2017, 12:38:56 am
So I've been debating on the cosmological arguments for the existence of God with an opponent/friend of mine.

We've recently hit a roadblock that neither of us can move away from. I have presented her with the typical 'Premise 1' of the cosmological argument (specifically, Leibniz's):

Quote
1. Whatever exists has an explanation for its existence, either through a cause or by its own necessity

Whilst debating 'Reality' (despite this entire debate actually being a debate on cosmology), my debate opponent does not accept my logical lines of argument or even citations are enough to accurately prove the nature of reality as we know it. She is claiming that she may or may not be hallucinating (be in a simulation or unknown other experience), therefore,  there is a chance that she is not experiencing reality in its true form. She postulates that reality outside of her consciousness is probably ultimately unknowable, and that therefore, Leibniz's first premise is unknowable since existence itself is unknowable.

Another example is me pointing out to her that an object in her room exists, to which she replied "But how do I know it does?" - it's from this debate tactic she employs that I find myself struggling to move on in the debate, befuddled by her logic.

Any others here experienced this or have advice on how we can both agree to the first premise of the cosmological argument?
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: igr on February 26, 2017, 01:32:14 am
You do realise that the Cosmological Arguments are incapable of proving anything?  In each Cosmological Argument there is pre-supposed at least one untested assumption, so any conclusion is necessarily conditional.  So whatever view of Reality you each posit can be expressed prior to the premise - you can run through the argument separately for each different view of Reality.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: lucious on February 26, 2017, 01:43:00 am
It's the abject and disingenuous skepticism I've drawn attention to in the past. Very typical tactic --they usually wind up in this abject skepticism and not even care, just doing anything to resist religion.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Jabberwock on February 26, 2017, 01:49:28 am
Ask her to borrow you $100 for ten minutes. When she demands it back, tell her it is as real as the rest of the universe it is part of. If she denies reality of it, you get to keep $100 (although you might lose a friend, but she does not believe you are real anyway).
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: bskeptic on February 26, 2017, 02:31:16 am
In the strict sense that's probably correct that you can't "know" such a premise.

But then, if you are just arguing for the *reasonableness* of theism, and not theism being 100% proved without any doubt, then I don't see a problem.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: kurros on February 26, 2017, 02:47:55 am
She's just going nuclear because she senses that there is something fishy about this premise but she can't pinpoint what. I agree with her on this, but she's taking the skepticism much further than she needs to or has any reason to.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: DiogenesOfSinope on February 26, 2017, 02:55:28 am
She's just going nuclear because she senses that there is something fishy about this premise but she can't pinpoint what. I agree with her on this, but she's taking the skepticism much further than she needs to or has any reason to.

She actually admitted to this. She admitted that due to the very nature of the debate topic, she has subscribed to some form of solipsism. That is to say, a subscription to a philosophy of thought that believes in only one's consciousness and not the objective world.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: lucious on February 26, 2017, 04:58:41 am
She's just going nuclear because she senses that there is something fishy about this premise but she can't pinpoint what. I agree with her on this, but she's taking the skepticism much further than she needs to or has any reason to.

She actually admitted to this. She admitted that due to the very nature of the debate topic, she has subscribed to some form of solipsism. That is to say, a subscription to a philosophy of thought that believes in only one's consciousness and not the objective world.

Take this as a sign of victory--she has essentially become so threatened by your argument that she's prepared to detonate a doomsday device and destroy reality before ceding.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Sanoy on February 26, 2017, 07:27:14 am
She doesn't actually believe the world is an illusion she just doesn't want the argument to lead where it does. I don't think pressing the argument would be best thing to do right now.

Instead talk to here about who God is, give her your testimony. She is afraid, give reasons why she should be excited and hopeful instead. The argument has already done what it's supposed to do. The argument doesn't turn people into Christians, it just opens the door for you to tell them about God.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Rostos on February 26, 2017, 08:08:07 am
She doesn't actually believe the world is an illusion she just doesn't want the argument to lead where it does. I don't think pressing the argument would be best thing to do right now.

Instead talk to here about who God is, give her your testimony. She is afraid, give reasons why she should be excited and hopeful instead. The argument has already done what it's supposed to do. The argument doesn't turn people into Christians, it just opens the door for you to tell them about God.

I dont get this....why would someone not want God to exist?

Do these people prefer death, no justice, never seeing loved ones again to eternal paradise, justice, seeing there loved ones again etc etc?

Now watch atheists here bring up hell. I mean, if you are worried about hell then accept Jesus as your saviour in your heart and pray daily.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Brian_G on February 26, 2017, 08:21:19 am
So I've been debating on the cosmological arguments for the existence of God with an opponent/friend of mine.

We've recently hit a roadblock that neither of us can move away from. I have presented her with the typical 'Premise 1' of the cosmological argument (specifically, Leibniz's):

Quote
1. Whatever exists has an explanation for its existence, either through a cause or by its own necessity

Whilst debating 'Reality' (despite this entire debate actually being a debate on cosmology), my debate opponent does not accept my logical lines of argument or even citations are enough to accurately prove the nature of reality as we know it. She is claiming that she may or may not be hallucinating (be in a simulation or unknown other experience), therefore,  there is a chance that she is not experiencing reality in its true form. She postulates that reality outside of her consciousness is probably ultimately unknowable, and that therefore, Leibniz's first premise is unknowable since existence itself is unknowable.

Another example is me pointing out to her that an object in her room exists, to which she replied "But how do I know it does?" - it's from this debate tactic she employs that I find myself struggling to move on in the debate, befuddled by her logic.

Any others here experienced this or have advice on how we can both agree to the first premise of the cosmological argument?

I'm pretty sure this is the correct lecture (I don't have time to check right now).  But, Feser explains how you can defend a version of the cosmological argument even if the person is skeptical about the external world.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAIHs5TJRqQ&t=2736s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAIHs5TJRqQ&t=2736s)
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Gordon Tubbs on February 26, 2017, 09:24:12 am
I think the fact that an objective external reality is indistinguishable from a simulated virtual reality is no mere inference that cannot be understated. Often, this inference is used to prop up skepticism of an external reality, but in fact, this inference gives way to an esoteric argument that needs to be brought to light:

Premise 1. If reality is a simulation, then it has a simulator.
Premise 2. If reality is a simulation, then it has a logical foundation to explain its existence.
Premise 3. If reality is a simulation, then it is grounded by an absolute reality which is logical.
Premise 4. If our objective external reality is indistinguishable from a simulation, then by the Law of Identity, our objective external reality must also have a simulator, a logical foundation for its existence, and is also grounded by an absolute reality which is logical.
Conclusion. That absolute reality is God.

I wrote an essay (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/choose-your-own-topic/searching-for-god-the-argument-his-existence-6037434.msg1275598151.html#msg1275598151) to flesh out this argument, if you're interested. I think it's a fairly strong argument for the existence of God vis-a-vis philosophy (not theism), because you can't knock down the first three premises without making other metaphysical claims.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Sanoy on February 26, 2017, 10:52:34 am
She doesn't actually believe the world is an illusion she just doesn't want the argument to lead where it does. I don't think pressing the argument would be best thing to do right now.

Instead talk to here about who God is, give her your testimony. She is afraid, give reasons why she should be excited and hopeful instead. The argument has already done what it's supposed to do. The argument doesn't turn people into Christians, it just opens the door for you to tell them about God.

I dont get this....why would someone not want God to exist?

Do these people prefer death, no justice, never seeing loved ones again to eternal paradise, justice, seeing there loved ones again etc etc?

Now watch atheists here bring up hell. I mean, if you are worried about hell then accept Jesus as your saviour in your heart and pray daily.

In some cases it is a shifting of who is in control, in others it is a shifting of what their new identity might entail, in others like huxley it was sexual liberation. She knows her parents exist and that she is not past eternal, she knows if she had a son she would not doubt his existence. She is willing to throw the whole world away rather than look down that road because she is afraid. She doesn't understand what's down that road because it hasn't been explained to her, all she knows is what she must leave behind.

______
These arguments of Dr Criags are not evangelism in themselves, they are tools to remove the roadblocks that are holding someone back. But she isn't restrained by a roadblock, she is fleeing from the argument to a world without existence.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Soren on February 26, 2017, 12:19:54 pm
She doesn't actually believe the world is an illusion she just doesn't want the argument to lead where it does. I don't think pressing the argument would be best thing to do right now.

Instead talk to here about who God is, give her your testimony. She is afraid, give reasons why she should be excited and hopeful instead. The argument has already done what it's supposed to do. The argument doesn't turn people into Christians, it just opens the door for you to tell them about God.

I dont get this....why would someone not want God to exist?

Do these people prefer death, no justice, never seeing loved ones again to eternal paradise, justice, seeing there loved ones again etc etc?

Now watch atheists here bring up hell. I mean, if you are worried about hell then accept Jesus as your saviour in your heart and pray daily.
Despite your attempt to preempt the argument, if you believe in a traditional Christian God who eternally damns those who don't believe in him, or who annihilates them, even if they ascertain truth as best they can and even if they do exactly what the are destined to do because of the way God creates them, then you believe in a moral monster that I fervently hope does not exist. I don't want someone telling me to enjoy eternal life with God while my Jewish wife, the best person I know, is eternally damned, and I sure don't want God to slip me something that stops me from mourning her fate while I enjoy heaven, as some here have suggested would happen.

Now, if universalism is true, or if being as good as one can and seeking the truth as best one can is sufficient for eternal life, then we're talking a different ball game.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Crash Test on February 26, 2017, 12:45:23 pm

Now, if universalism is true, or if being as good as one can and seeking the truth as best one can is sufficient for eternal life, then we're talking a different ball game.

Meh.  We're still talking about a being who let's children die by the millions in horrible ways of its own invention.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: bskeptic on February 26, 2017, 01:05:16 pm

Now, if universalism is true, or if being as good as one can and seeking the truth as best one can is sufficient for eternal life, then we're talking a different ball game.

Meh.  We're still talking about a being who let's children die by the millions in horrible ways of its own invention.


So you would rather there is no hope for those children?

And of course, under theism, there would be a good reason for God permitting suffering. Also, although no doubt there is plenty of suffering in the world including at the end of many lives, death itself would be something of an illusion with theism. Death would be a transition to a different type of life, or maybe another reincarnation in human life.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Sanoy on February 26, 2017, 01:40:18 pm
She doesn't actually believe the world is an illusion she just doesn't want the argument to lead where it does. I don't think pressing the argument would be best thing to do right now.

Instead talk to here about who God is, give her your testimony. She is afraid, give reasons why she should be excited and hopeful instead. The argument has already done what it's supposed to do. The argument doesn't turn people into Christians, it just opens the door for you to tell them about God.

I dont get this....why would someone not want God to exist?

Do these people prefer death, no justice, never seeing loved ones again to eternal paradise, justice, seeing there loved ones again etc etc?

Now watch atheists here bring up hell. I mean, if you are worried about hell then accept Jesus as your saviour in your heart and pray daily.
Despite your attempt to preempt the argument, if you believe in a traditional Christian God who eternally damns those who don't believe in him, or who annihilates them, even if they ascertain truth as best they can and even if they do exactly what the are destined to do because of the way God creates them, then you believe in a moral monster that I fervently hope does not exist. I don't want someone telling me to enjoy eternal life with God while my Jewish wife, the best person I know, is eternally damned, and I sure don't want God to slip me something that stops me from mourning her fate while I enjoy heaven, as some here have suggested would happen.

Now, if universalism is true, or if being as good as one can and seeking the truth as best one can is sufficient for eternal life, then we're talking a different ball game.

If I or any Christian fails to represent Christ to you, you will not die because of this. If you never heard of Christ  you would not die because of that. It is how you respond to the revelations that have been made to you whether you know it in your mind or not. If your wife is Jewish, then she already loves the Lord in faith, just as Abraham did. She just does not recognize the messiah has come. Salvation comes from the response of the heart not the knowledge in the brain.

If I am a terrible witness for Christ then reject me, but if there is any tug at your heart calling you to righteousness and mercy lean toward it, invite it in and let it lead you into the knowledge of Christ.

I do not know what ultimately comes to those who die without Christ but they will not be forgotten. It says we will be comforted (Rev 21:4) not that we will forget. But do not think that because your wife is Jewish that she will not go to heaven. Instead consider that she wants you there with her in heaven.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Nunovalente on February 26, 2017, 03:12:43 pm
How do we know anything exists?

The premise does draw on assumptions. I.e. Normal rational ones, like, things exist! And from what we know from our senses and understanding, they are caused. It draws on the universal human experience and ability.

If we apply the theory, it could be an illusion, then it should apply to everything. So let's be consistent!

Does she apply this same skepticism to everything else? I doubt it. But if not, why not?
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Rostos on February 26, 2017, 05:06:06 pm
She doesn't actually believe the world is an illusion she just doesn't want the argument to lead where it does. I don't think pressing the argument would be best thing to do right now.

Instead talk to here about who God is, give her your testimony. She is afraid, give reasons why she should be excited and hopeful instead. The argument has already done what it's supposed to do. The argument doesn't turn people into Christians, it just opens the door for you to tell them about God.

I dont get this....why would someone not want God to exist?

Do these people prefer death, no justice, never seeing loved ones again to eternal paradise, justice, seeing there loved ones again etc etc?

Now watch atheists here bring up hell. I mean, if you are worried about hell then accept Jesus as your saviour in your heart and pray daily.
Despite your attempt to preempt the argument, if you believe in a traditional Christian God who eternally damns those who don't believe in him, or who annihilates them, even if they ascertain truth as best they can and even if they do exactly what the are destined to do because of the way God creates them, then you believe in a moral monster that I fervently hope does not exist. I don't want someone telling me to enjoy eternal life with God while my Jewish wife, the best person I know, is eternally damned, and I sure don't want God to slip me something that stops me from mourning her fate while I enjoy heaven, as some here have suggested would happen.

Now, if universalism is true, or if being as good as one can and seeking the truth as best one can is sufficient for eternal life, then we're talking a different ball game.

An argument comes forward that someone finds very convincing, why panic and start to go into epistemic nihilism to avoid the truth?

Why not embrace it and see what you can to be saved? I mean, its not as if that if you find out God exists you then need to complete a PHD in nuclear physics (meaning you are not smart enough but in order to get to heaven you have pass such a torrid and difficult test)

Why not look into it further and if it continues to be convincing then accept Jesus? Pass the word around so your friends/family also get saved.

God is JUST,whoever is in hell, there are PERFECT reasons why they are in hell. There is no injustice which you seem to think there is.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Rostos on February 26, 2017, 05:06:59 pm

Now, if universalism is true, or if being as good as one can and seeking the truth as best one can is sufficient for eternal life, then we're talking a different ball game.

Meh.  We're still talking about a being who let's children die by the millions in horrible ways of its own invention.

Children dont die under Christianity, they just get removed from this temporal existence.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Bill McEnaney on February 27, 2017, 12:29:45 am

Now, if universalism is true, or if being as good as one can and seeking the truth as best one can is sufficient for eternal life, then we're talking a different ball game.

Meh.  We're still talking about a being who let's children die by the millions in horrible ways of its own invention.
Including partial-birth abortion and abortion where the doctor dismembers the baby?
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: HIJ on February 27, 2017, 01:12:35 am
I think the fact that an objective external reality is indistinguishable from a simulated virtual reality is no mere inference that cannot be understated. Often, this inference is used to prop up skepticism of an external reality, but in fact, this inference gives way to an esoteric argument that needs to be brought to light:

Premise 1. If reality is a simulation, then it has a simulator.
Premise 2. If reality is a simulation, then it has a logical foundation to explain its existence.
Premise 3. If reality is a simulation, then it is grounded by an absolute reality which is logical.
Premise 4. If our objective external reality is indistinguishable from a simulation, then by the Law of Identity, our objective external reality must also have a simulator, a logical foundation for its existence, and is also grounded by an absolute reality which is logical.
Conclusion. That absolute reality is God.

I wrote an essay (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/choose-your-own-topic/searching-for-god-the-argument-his-existence-6037434.msg1275598151.html#msg1275598151) to flesh out this argument, if you're interested. I think it's a fairly strong argument for the existence of God vis-a-vis philosophy (not theism), because you can't knock down the first three premises without making other metaphysical claims.

Has anyone pointed out yet that your conclusion does not follow from the premises? You need a premise that affirms the antecedent of P1-3, and that would get you a simulator, logical foundation, etc. Also, you need to specify what you mean by "indistinguishable" in P4 - is it epistemological or ontological? If the former, then the law of identity isn't going to help you, because a simulation and non-simulation are not identical by definition. Not saying it can't be done, but you have a few steps to make explicit.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: DiogenesOfSinope on February 27, 2017, 04:07:03 am
How do we know anything exists?

The premise does draw on assumptions. I.e. Normal rational ones, like, things exist! And from what we know from our senses and understanding, they are caused. It draws on the universal human experience and ability.

If we apply the theory, it could be an illusion, then it should apply to everything. So let's be consistent!

Does she apply this same skepticism to everything else? I doubt it. But if not, why not?

She does not. As I stated, she subscribed to the solipsist school when she suspected something awry in my/her own thinking.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Gordon Tubbs on February 27, 2017, 07:02:39 am
I think the fact that an objective external reality is indistinguishable from a simulated virtual reality is no mere inference that cannot be understated. Often, this inference is used to prop up skepticism of an external reality, but in fact, this inference gives way to an esoteric argument that needs to be brought to light:

Premise 1. If reality is a simulation, then it has a simulator.
Premise 2. If reality is a simulation, then it has a logical foundation to explain its existence.
Premise 3. If reality is a simulation, then it is grounded by an absolute reality which is logical.
Premise 4. If our objective external reality is indistinguishable from a simulation, then by the Law of Identity, our objective external reality must also have a simulator, a logical foundation for its existence, and is also grounded by an absolute reality which is logical.
Conclusion. That absolute reality is God.

I wrote an essay (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/choose-your-own-topic/searching-for-god-the-argument-his-existence-6037434.msg1275598151.html#msg1275598151) to flesh out this argument, if you're interested. I think it's a fairly strong argument for the existence of God vis-a-vis philosophy (not theism), because you can't knock down the first three premises without making other metaphysical claims.

Has anyone pointed out yet that your conclusion does not follow from the premises? You need a premise that affirms the antecedent of P1-3, and that would get you a simulator, logical foundation, etc. Also, you need to specify what you mean by "indistinguishable" in P4 - is it epistemological or ontological? If the former, then the law of identity isn't going to help you, because a simulation and non-simulation are not identical by definition. Not saying it can't be done, but you have a few steps to make explicit.

Oh for sure. I should have been a little more precise, because in the essay I don't use that argument wholly, rather it's initial premise of "the mere plausibility that physical reality is indistinguishable from a virtual one could not be the case if we did not think there wasn’t some fundamental design to reality itself (both simulations and physical objects obey rules)" that needs to be stated.

It's an implicit argument that comes from asking: "why do you think reality could be a simulation/illusion/hallucination?" Followed by: "how can you tell the difference between what is real and illusion if you don't know?" I think there are two responses that could undermine one's external world skepticism:

(1) I can't tell the difference.
(2) It's possible an illusion could be the case.

On accounting of (1), their doubts are defeated because if you can't tell the difference, whence the doubt? Why ask the question if you can't possibly know the answer to it? If you can't tell the difference between what is real and illusion, then it doesn't matter if you're actually sitting down on a chair or dreaming of sitting down on a chair. In both instances, you're sitting down on a chair. In this case, skepticism is defeated with pragmatism.

On accounting of (2), if you're asserting that possibility, you need an epistemic antecedent for illusions/simulations. This is where my argument comes in, because you can't have simulations without a simulator, or illusions without projectors, or hallucinations without minds. In each of those cases, you have a Contingency Problem to deal with.  If you pick the hallucinations + minds option, then you have to circle back to response (1)... which leads to pragmatism.
Title: Re: DEBATE: Difficulty arguing with my opponent
Post by: Skeptic on February 27, 2017, 03:00:24 pm

Now, if universalism is true, or if being as good as one can and seeking the truth as best one can is sufficient for eternal life, then we're talking a different ball game.

Meh.  We're still talking about a being who let's children die by the millions in horrible ways of its own invention.

Children dont die under Christianity, they just get removed from this temporal existence.

Well except for all the suffering parents and other loved ones of those children dying happen to go through.

Not to mention the suffering of the children themselves.