A few weeks ago, I was sent a copy of the Inflation-Deflation debate in ebook format. Having finished the first QUANTUM MORTIS novel, about which more later today, I thought it might be useful to put the 2011 PZ Myers Memorial Debate on the existence of gods in ebook format as well so I could review it preparatory to an eventual return to it.
I glanced at it on a train the other day, and since I’d almost completely forgotten how it proceeded, – was it really more than two years ago?!? – I was surprised at how interesting I found it to be. So yesterday I got in touch Dominic to see if he’d be interesting in continuing the debate and if he had any objections to my publishing it as an ebook once it is complete. He was more than happy to agree to a return to the engagement, and so we intend to do so before the end of the year.
I am already working on my next installment, to which Dominic will write a response and both will be published here simultaneously. I’d like to know if Alex, Markku, and Scott are willing to return to their respective roles as Agnostic Judge, Christian Judge, and Atheist Judge; also, I’d very much appreciate it if Alex would send me his complete notes as all I’d posted here was his abbreviated summaries.
If you’re not familiar with the debate or, like me, don’t remember exactly how it went, you might like to read through it again in preparation for our return to the lists. So, here are the links as well as how it began with my first entry:
ON THE EXISTENCE OF GODS
In order to make the case that the weight of the available evidence and logic is more supportive of the existence of gods than of their nonexistence, it is necessary to define the two terms. In making my case for the existence of gods, I am relying upon the definitions of “evidence” and “logic” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary. I am utilizing the term “evidence” in a sense that encompasses all three of the primary definitions provided.
1.Available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.
2.Information drawn from personal testimony, a document, or a material object, used to establish facts in a legal investigation or admissible as testimony in a law court.
3.Signs or indications of something.
1.reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity
There is a vast quantity of extant documentary and testimonial evidence providing indications that gods exist. This evidence dates from the earliest written records to current testimonials from living individuals. While it is true that the quality of this evidence varies considerably, it cannot simply be dismissed out of hand anymore than one can conclude Gaius Julius Caesar did not exist because one cannot see him on television today. Each and every case demands its own careful examination before it can be dismissed, and such examination has never been done in the overwhelming majority of cases.
For example, there are many documented cases of confirmed fraud in published scientific papers. If we apply the same reasoning to published scientific papers that some wish to apply to documentary evidence of gods, we have no choice but to conclude that all science is fraudulent. But this is absurd, as we know that at least some science is not fraudulent. Therefore, if one is willing to accept the validity of published scientific papers that one has not been able to verify are not fraudulent, one must similarly accept the validity of documentary evidence for the existence of gods that one has not examined and determined to merit dismissal for one reason or another.