A.L.: Second Rebuttal


Second Rebuttal

Before I begin, I hope that the readers are aware that a debate is about arguments, not rhetoric. As I will show, my opponent's rebuttal was mere rhetoric and he offered no substantial arguments for his position or against mine.

First Contention

My first contention was that there are no good reasons to believe in atheism. For this contention, I also gave the "problem of atheism," which is that in a naturalistic worldview, one cannot trust his cognitive faculties. My opponent agrees: "I for one agree with you that if Atheism is correct then I cannot completely trust my cognitive faculties." But that just shows you how inconsistent and incoherent my opponent is. He is trying to argue against the existence of God, yet his cognitive faculties are not reliable. If they are not reliable, then why should we believe anything he says?

He says: "Regardless, we cannot trust our cognitive faculties if religion is correct either, for the same reasons." But this just shows his ignorance on the argument. If God exists and He created our minds in such a way that it will lead to truth, then we can trust our cognitive faculties. If atheism is true, then we cannot, as my opponent admitted. [1]

My opponent also dodged Michael Ruse's statement by simply saying that I should not put any words in his mouth. But what the quote showed was that there is no Darwinian or scientific answer to why we have thinking ability. Since my opponent already agreed that if atheism is true, then our cognitive faculties are not reliable, he has shown that atheism is weak and self-defeating.

Evolution

As I said, evolution does not negate the existence of God. In response, my opponent said: "I'm not sure if my opponent is aware of this but the above is a statement and not an argument. An argument requires evidence, or at least an explanation as to why this god that we cannot hear, see or interact in any gratifying way with is necessary." But he has to prove that evolution negates the existence of an Intelligent Designer, not me. All I have to do is to show that it is not logically contradictory for God to exist and evolution to exist. My opponent has not proven that they are at all contradictory. As long as they are compatible, then they can co-exist.

In fact, my opponent says: "It is of course possible, as long as we still have questions it will be possible, but probable it is not." Notice how he uses the word possible, but in his title, it says: "Evolution and it's impossible co-existence with the Christian God." Notice the self-contradiction my opponent has made. First, he says that it is possible that a designer can co-exist with evolution, but he then says that evolution is impossible with God. I do not know which position he is taking, but it is probably because his cognitive faculties are not working properly.

Since my opponent said that it is possible that God and evolution may exist, then evolution does not negate God. [2]

Second Contention

My second contention is that there are good reasons to believe in the Christian God. I offered positive arguments for this.

Metaphysical Arguments: Thomistic Argument

My opponent says: "Contrary to your defense, the Thomistic argument is not a 'here and now' argument as it requires that we go back to the beginning of time for it to have any point at all." This, however, just proves that my opponent has no idea what the Thomistic argument is. For those who know Aquinas' argument well, one knows that Aquinas is not speaking about causes in time, but in terms of rational sufficiency. Even if (notice the word if) the universe was eternal, Aquinas' argument would still hold since it still needs a cause for the universe here-and-now existence. My opponent pretended he refuted this by saying:

"First of all this is not a fact, it is an assumption that a self-existing being must exist. And secondly the god that is concluded from this unsubstantiated argument is far more likely to be random energy fluctuations with no purpose what-so-ever than an old man with a white beard, sitting upon high judging every little thing we mortals do."

However, my opponent did not address my argument on how contingent beings need a necessary being. I would suggest that readers refer back to my opening statement to see how little my opponent interacted with it. [3]

Kalam Cosmological Argument

My opponent says: "So in accepting the existence of evolution which is able to account for all phenomena on earth and the visible universe, then it seems the whole argument for God's existence is that he was necessary for creating the universe." This does not interact with the argument at all since my argument was that the universe had a beginning. Evolution presupposed the big bang and the big bang shows that the universe began to exist. [4]

Intelligent Design: Principle of Finality

My opponent says: "In the first sentence my opponent says I should prove that agents do not act toward an end; and in the second says I should prove that agents act towards an end. Perhaps my opponent should make up his mind what he wants me to prove, because these two requests are contradictory." This was a response to my statement: "This does not at all prove that agents do not act toward an end. This does not show that the eye is made for seeing, the ear for hearing, etc."

Notice how my opponent fails to comprehend basic elementary statements. For those who have not passed the 3rd grade in order to understand such simple statements, let me explain what I said. What I said was that his argument does not prove that agents do not act toward an end. And then my second statement shows that his argument is not sufficient to explain why things like eyes see, ears hear, etc.

My opponent says: "This I think is admittance of defeat, as we are arguing about how things happened. And my opponent has just said that evolution shows how things happened. The reason why they happened is not under debate." Yes, they are under debate. The principle of finality shows that the reason for why things are the way they are is because there is an intelligent designer. [5]

On Unity

My opponent agrees that "to understand unity within separate entities requires an intelligent mind." What he needs to realize is that before there were human beings, there was still unity in the universe. For example, the hydrogen-oxygen ratio was still 2:1. Both are ordered to each other in order to form our universe. This applies to chemical valences to all basic elements. So it is true that there are "interconnected, interlocking, dynamic systems" in our universe. [6] But again, only Intelligence is capable of grasping the extension of the multiple into a unity of conception. [7]

On Abstract Objects

On this argument, my opponent responds: "Why can they [abstract objects] not just be there?" The answer is simply that an abstract object by its nature is conceived in a mind. [8]

My opponent says: "If a tree fell in the forest and no one heard it, did it make a sound? Apparently not according to my opponent, in fact, according to my opponent the tree does not even exist until someone sees it. This is speculative at best and, however perplexing, is not a proof for God."

This, however, is irrelevant since trees are physical objects, not abstract objects.

Scientific Evidence

My opponent says: "I've proven that even within one universe there are infinite possibilities for life, through time, divisions of time and divisions of space." But he fails to interact with my argument that we can, in William Craig's words, "stipulate some appropriately fine-grained standard of deviation, so that only a finite number of universes are designatable within a finite area." We can simply, like Dr. Ross, calculate dependency factors, longevity requirements, the 75 necessary parameters, and the maximum possible numbers of planets in the universe and still conclude that there needed to be an intelligent design.

On the issue of DNA, my opponent brings up genetic algorithms again. But this does not refute my argument since genetic algorithms do not produce actual specified complexity. Dr. William Dembski noted: "But what is the relevant evolutionary algorithm that drives chemical evolution? No convincing answer has been given to date." (see "Explaining Specified Complexity")

DNA, as scientists have realized, contains information. Not only does it contain any kind of information, it also contains complex specified information. In other words, it is complex and it conforms to an independent pattern. An intelligent cause can explain complex specified information, but we do not have any naturalistic mechanism which can explain it. Manfred Eigen says, "Our task is to find an algorithm, a natural law that leads to the origin of information" (see Steps Towards Life). Therefore it is more plausible to believe that there is an intelligent Cause. [9]

Moral Argument

My opponent believes in moral relativism. He did not, however, read my article "Moral Relativism Refuted." He does not try to prove moral relativism, but simply assumes it. He says:

"Osama Bin Laden certainly didn't think it was wrong, he was going to great risk to do something he thought was good enough to justify that risk. And there are certainly some victims of American oppression who might have not been so clear on the rights and wrongs regarding the attack."

My opponent, however, assumes that Bin Laden cannot be wrong in his thinking. Simply saying that people disagree on what they think what is right and wrong, (and therefore) right and wrong is relative is illogical.

As for the argument for moral absolutism, my argument is follows:

Premise 1: If morality is not objective, then moral argument is meaningless.
Premise 2: Moral argument is meaningful.
Conclusion: Morality is objective.

Premise 1 is, I believe, a commonsensical premise. When a basketball player argues with the referee, they are both referring to a rule that applies to both of them. If they both have their own rules, then to argue "That was not a foul" is meaningless since both have different meanings for a "foul." Now let's take that to the moral sphere. If morality is simply what people think it is, then that too will make moral arguments meaningless. For example:

Person A believes that "abortion is wrong." Person B believes "abortion is right." What is the definition of "right and wrong"? Imagine if there were no objective right and wrong. Imagine if "right and wrong" simply means the person's view (or the culture's view. Instead of "person A," one can replace it with "Culture A"). This means that for Person A, his position is "I do not accept abortion." For Person B, "I accept abortion." Now let's imagine a scenario where they will debate.

Person A: Abortion is wrong.
Person B: No it is not. A woman has the right to choose. Abortion is okay.

But remember that "right and wrong" simply means "I don't accept" or "I accept." So we can reiterate the conversation as:

Person A: I do not accept abortion.
Person B: I accept abortion. A woman has the right to choose. I accept abortion.

Now if the argument continues, it would mean:

Person A: I do not accept abortion.
Person B: I accept abortion.

And again:

Person A: I do not accept abortion.
Person B: I accept abortion.

Imagine if Person A says Person B is wrong and vice versa:

Person A: You do not accept abortion.
Person B: You accept abortion.

But this is ridiculous. When we say things like "You are wrong," we are not simply speaking what he accepts or not accepts, but his view itself (on abortion) is wrong. When we say that another person is wrong, we are speaking about the object of his belief.

This leads us to the second premise where it means that moral argument is meaningful. We are really speaking of the object of our beliefs, not merely what we accept or not. Therefore morality is objective.

Resurrection of Christ

My opponent wanted an "extraordinary" proof. I asked what he meant by "extraordinary" and he said "something that isn't ordinary." But that just begs the question. What exactly does he mean by "not ordinary"?

Also, I have argued that from the historical evidence, Jesus rose from the dead. He did not dispute any of the facts. So we can conclude from the historical evidence, Jesus did rise from the dead.

Existential Argument

He says: "Happiness is absolutely essential to evolution, and the desire for which is essential to our survival." Of course, this is not a scientific statement. Nowhere does it say that happiness is something "essential" to evolution. The single cell organism did not try to be "happy." My opponent is engaging in evolution-of-the-gaps. When he does not have any support or does not understand where something is, he simply uses evolution as though it was his only resort. But there is nothing in Darwinism itself which says that happiness is essential to evolution. If happiness is essential to evolution, then every organism and animal ought to have a desire for happiness in some way. But an organism cannot be happy. It has no emotions. We still do not have any alternatives to the position that God inserted the desire to happiness in us.

Conclusion

As my opponent admitted, in a naturalist worldview, our cognitive faculties are not reliable. He needs to, in some way, justify his statements in this debate why we should trust it in some way. Why exactly should we believe the arguments he presented?

As for the Christian position, I have presented arguments which remain to be defeated.

A.L.

Words: 3000 approx


Notes

[1] Some may object by saying, "We sometimes need truth to survive. For example, the truth that sex brings about production is a necessary knowledge so that the human species can survive." This, however, begs the question. Why should we trust that belief? For example, if calculators came from unintelligent chance, should we trust it when we hit "2+2="? We hold calculators reliable because we know that they were created by intelligent causes like human beings and we would believe they are unreliable if unintelligent causes like a wind blew the pieces together. In other words, if evolutionary theory through natural selection is true, then our cognitive faculties are not reliable. If it is not reliable, then how do we know naturalism is true? Naturalism is self-defeating.

[2] Again, if one is to say that evolution negates God, he cannot simply say it is more probable that evolution negates God, but that it is impossible for God and evolution to co-exist. My opponent has not given us any evidence or argument for that. He also said: "If Design is unnecessary and there is no evidence for it then it has no credibility. It is of course possible, as long as we still have questions it will be possible, but probable it is not." Of course, I deny that design is "unnecessary" and my opponent has not proven that it is unnecessary either.

[3] I find it funny how my opponent is ignorant on the principle of causality as well as the principle of sufficient reason. The fact that he thinks that the Thomistic argument is not a here-and-now cause argument shows that he does not know anything about what the argument is talking about. He dodged A.E. Taylor's as well as Plantinga's as well as my arguments of why non-self-existing beings require a self-existing being.

[4] My opponent says: "So when my opponent says that I have not addressed the second premise this is also false, as I have shown that the second premise contradicts the first premise." Now, I have not seen any evidence on how the second premise contradicts the first premise. What is a contradiction between "whatever begins to exist has a cause" and "the universe began to exist"? Again, he has to show that those two premises are impossible. He has not done so. As for my argument, it is not a contradiction simply because the first premise has a different subject than the second premise. What would contradict the first premise would be "whatever begins to exist does not have a cause." Now, that is not the second premise is it? My opponent simply does not know what a contradiction means. Also be aware that I gave arguments for both of the premises which he did not interact with.

[5] My opponent also fails to interact with the quote from Garrigou-Lagrange which tries to explain why agents acting toward an end requires a cognitive being.

[6] It would be helpful if readers refer back to my opening where I quoted Ronald Tacelli on this matter.

[7] On this point, see Fulton J. Sheen's quote.

[8] Also see atheist philosopher Quentin Smith's "The Conceptualist Argument for the Existence of God."

[9] The main problem with the evolutionary algorithm is that it increases the probability of targeting the sequence and therefore decreases its complexity. Again, quoting Dembski: "In general, then, evolutionary algorithms generate not true complexity but only the appearance of complexity. And since they cannot generate complexity, they cannot generate specified complexity either." (from "Explaining Specified Complexity"). Also see "Evolution's Logic of Credulity: An Unfettered Response to Allen Orr"

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