The Instigator
attrition
Pro (for)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
Vi_Veri
Con (against)
Winning
47 Points

Agnosticism is more appropriate than Atheism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,364 times Debate No: 3781
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (64)
Votes (20)

 

attrition

Pro

Definitions:

Agnosticism: One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God or not.

Atheism: Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.

It is safe to say that no one has ever proven or dis-proven the existence of God. Therefore, atheism is just another faith of a sort, in the final non-existence of a super natural being. The evidence doesn't support the existence, therefore God doesn't exist. Agnostics are more truthful, we don't have support of the evidence either way, but we'll keep an open mind. I might even go as far as saying that various religious groups conception of God doesn't exist, but that can't prove that a god of unknown origins doesn't exist.

Prove to me, that I should be an atheist over an agnostic.
Vi_Veri

Con

Vi_Veri forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 1
attrition

Pro

That's really annoying Vi Veri. Im not going to even bother responding if you do eventual post an argument. On to the next debate...
Vi_Veri

Con

All an atheist has to do is prove that god is not necessary for the universe to exist in order to prove he doesn't exist. If you can prove god mathematically wrong, logically wrong, or scientifically un-necessary, he doesn't need to exist.

First to be able to do so, we must define god. Without god having a definition, you can not "believe" or "disbelieve" in him because you wouldn't know exactly what you are making claims about.

To make it simple, we give god these traits:

(a) perfect
(b) immutable
(c) transcendent
(d) nonphysical
(e) omniscient
(f) omnipresent
(g) personal
(h) free
(i) all-loving
(j) all-just
(k) all-merciful
(1) the creator of the universe

All we need to do is prove that these traits contradict one another.

Here is an easy one we can prove:

""The Transcendence-vs.-Omnipresence Argument

Here the incompatibility is between properties (c) and (f). The argument may be formulated as follows:

1. If God exists, then he is transcendent (i.e., outside space and time).

2. If God exists, then he is omnipresent.

3. To be transcendent, a being cannot exist anywhere in space.

4. To be omnipresent, a being must exist everywhere in space.

5. Hence, it is impossible for a transcendent being to be omnipresent (from 3 and 4).

6. Therefore, it is impossible for God to exist (from 1, 2, and 5).

The usual place at which this argument is attacked is premise 3. It is claimed that to transcend space does not entail being totally outside space. A being could be partly inside space and partly outside. Consider the Flatland analogy: a three-dimensional object transcends Flatland, and yet it exists within the Flatland dimensions (as well as outside). So, God could be like that. He exists within space (and, indeed, everywhere in space!) but he also exists outside space, the latter feature being what warrants calling him "transcendent."

My only objection here is that the Flatland analogy does not quite make the idea of transcendence intelligible. We understand perfectly well how a three-dimensional object might "transcend" Flatland while still being (partly) within it. However, this is still talking about objects in space. To try to extend the analogy so as to talk about something that is "outside space as well as within it" is unsuccessful. That is something that we are totally unable to comprehend. In the end, the very concept of transcendence that is appealed to here is incoherent. This illustrates the point that defenses against incompatible-properties arguments may very well lead to incoherence or other objections to theism.""

- Argument by Theodore M. Drange in Philo Volume 1, Number 2, article "Incompatible-Properties Arguments: A Survey" Look up the article for multiple proofs such at this one.

Secondly, because it is possible to prove an unrestricted negative (saying there isn't a way is performing just that, an unrestricted negative) then we can say "God does not exist anywhere" and find proof.

"Parmenides realized over 2,500 years ago that anything that involves a logical contradiction cannot exist. We know that there are no married bachelors, no square circles, and no largest number because these notions are self-contradictory. They violate the most fundamental law of logic-the law of noncontradiction-which says that nothing can both have a property and lack it at the same time. So one way to prove a universal negative is to show that the notion of a thing is inconsistent.

To prove that God does not exist, then, one only has to demonstrate that the concept of God is inconsistent. Traditional theism defines God as a supreme being-a being than which none greater can be conceived, as St. Anselm would have it. We know, however, that there is no supreme number . because such a notion involves a logical contradiction. Every number is such that the number 1 can be added to it. If there were a supreme number, it would be such that the number 1 can and cannot be added to it, and that's impossible. Many believe that the notion of a supreme being is just as incoherent as the notion of a supreme number.

Theists, of course, will claim that, properly understood, there is no contradiction. What if they're right? What if it's logically possible for the God of traditional theism to exist? Does that mean that one cannot prove that he does not exist? No, for in order to prove that something does not exist, one need not show that it is logically impossible. One need only show is that it is epistemically unnecessary-that it is not required to explain anything. Science has proven the non-existence of many things in this way, such as phlogiston, the luminiferous ether, and the planet Vulcan. Scientific proofs, unlike logical proofs, do not establish their conclusions beyond any possibility of doubt. But they are proofs nonetheless, for they establish their conclusions beyond a reasonable doubt and that is all that is needed to justify them."
- Philo

So all that is needed is to show that god is inconsistent, illogical, contradictory, or not necessary. I'm sure, as I have pointed out above, there are people who have disproved god. It's just if people are willing to swallow it or not.
Debate Round No. 2
attrition

Pro

You know, I said I wasn't going to reply to a post..but seeing as how you cheated death and all, I figured I would give it a shot.

I am sort of amazed at how you so matter of factly put God in a nice little box called your definition. How you so conveniently try to frame God in a way that fits some pre-supposed version of what you (and admittedly many others) perceive God as. Although, I must say it did seem like you copy/pasted some previous essay. I will give you examples by which I disagree with you definition. Some I believe to be accurate most I don't.

(a) perfect- Absolutely. As much as I am or you are. Anything that isn't perfect is only made that way by the definition by which humanity places a value upon something. Are butterflies perfect? Rainbows? Mold? Is nature perfect?

(b) immutable: In other words un-changing. I think god could certainly change. If you believe in evolution, or if you agree that the Universe is expanding or perhaps you believe in the big bang. If as something as grand as the Universe has changed/ is changing why can't God.

(c) transcendent: This is what the dictionary says about transcendence;
1.going beyond ordinary limits; surpassing; exceeding.
2.superior or supreme.
3.Theology. (of the Deity) transcending the universe, time, etc.
a.Scholasticism. above all possible modes of the infinite.
b.Kantianism. transcending experience; not realizable in human experience.

I give trancendence a maybe, depending on which definition you would prefer. Outside the Universe? Begs the question, does the Universe have a container? Is it wholly empty? Beyond normal space? It's not hard to imagine that there are possibilities of space beyond what we typically see. Physics' multi-dimension theory. Outside time? Remember Einstein's theory? Space and time are relative.
(d) nonphysical: God absolutely can not be non-physical. Even if god exists beyond current understanding of physics, god existence does not and cannot break the laws of of physics.
(e) omniscient: All knowing. I don't believe this to be an accurate necessity for god to have. Even if the spark of the Universe was initiated by god, I don't think God knows or would care to know what everyone in the universe had for breakfast. Perhaps god could find out, but those are two different concepts. Also, omniscience implies a certain level of consciousness that god may or may not have.
(f) omnipresent: I would say this is an accurate requirement of god
(g) personal: Absolutely not. Although there may be a personal connection to god in the same way nature is a personal connection, it is not a requirement that we can converse and ask personal favors of God.
(h) free: I'm not sure what you mean by 'free'.
(i) all-loving: This is simply one quality put on God by humanity. We could easily replace this with jealous, vengeful or spiteful.
(j) all-just: Another human quality put to God that implies that God requires a certain order to his creation or that God has rules we must follow in order to be judged and rewarded or punished accordingly.
(k) all-merciful. Once again showing mercy would require that God has a rule book by which to judge such matters. I dismiss that allegation.
(1) the creator of the universe: Perhaps. Just as likely the Universe formed and then God became into existence. Even further, perhaps God is and/or is of the Universe.

I whole heartedly don't agree with that definition. That is 'A' definition, not 'THE' definition. Perhaps in the traditional theist perspective, that definition works, but Vi Veri, you are debating an Agnostic here. Why would you think i would prescribe to such irrational personifications to God that traditional theists represent. I have shown you definition to be flawed so the rest of you argument is negated.

The subject by which God may exist is so vast that one debate or even one book could not encompass it's entirety. Below are a few examples of where we may look to find God:

Like Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Quantum Physics reveals the Universe to be a single gigantic field of energy in which matter is just a 'slowed down' form of energy. Further, Quantum Physics has discovered that matter/energy does not exist with any certainty in definite places, but rather shows 'tendencies' to exist. (i.e. the 'Uncertainty Principle') Even more intriguing is the notion that the existence of an observer is fundamental to the existence of the Universe - a concept known as 'The Observer Effect' - implying that the Universe is a product of consciousness. (i.e. the Mind of God)

(ME: In other words Quantum physics experimentation is showing that nothing may exist without some observer, with some level of consciousness, observing it. Perhaps the Universe couldn't exist without the Ultimate Consciousness, GOD)

Quantum Physicist, Dr David Bohm goes further in his book 'The Implicate Order' in which he states that "primary physical laws cannot be discovered by a science that attempts to break the world into its parts."

Yet this is the exact methodology of contemporary Western science which still taught in most of our educational institutions today.

Bohm writes of an "implicate enfolded order" which exists in an un-manifested state and which is the foundation upon which all manifest reality rests. Bohm calls this manifest reality "the explicate unfolded order". Bohm goes on to say "parts are seen to be in immediate connection, in which their dynamical relationships depend in an irreducible way on the state of the whole system . . . Thus, one is led to a new notion of unbroken wholeness which denies the classical idea of analyzability of the world into separately and independently existent parts.

As American physicist, Barbara Brennan, states in her book 'The Hands of Light':
"Through experiments over the past few decades physicists have discovered matter to be completely mutable into other particles or energy and vice-versa and on a subatomic level, matter does not exist with certainty in definite places, but rather shows 'tendencies' to exist. Quantum physics is beginning to realize that the Universe appears to be a dynamic web of interconnected and inseparable energy patterns. If the universe is indeed composed of such a web, there is logically no such thing as a part. This implies we are not separated parts of a whole but rather we are the Whole.

As Nick Herbert in his book 'Quantum Reality' puts it, "Whatever the math does on paper, the quantum stuff does in the outside world.":
The 'rules' of the Universe seem to change reflect the 'maths'. In other words, the mathematical formulas that were initially developed to describe the behavior of universe turn out to govern the behavior of the universe. Thus, if the maths is manipulated to produce some absurd result, the matter and energy somehow changes to behave in exactly that absurd manner to reflect the formula!

The recent findings of Quantum Physics about the universe being made up of an "interconnected unbroken wholeness", examples of Non-Locality phenomena (Bells Theorem) and the 'Observer Effect' implying that consciousness underlies all reality, has striking parallels with the ancient Esoteric concept that all reality is the manifestation of an infinite Singularity (creative principle) which I (Alex Paterson) choose to call Source, and most others call God. However, none of this is surprising to those who have experienced the 'Oneness' associated with some sort of deep spiritual experience or holotropic state.
In conclusion, atheism requires a level of faith that, as a skeptical agnostic I am not ready to take. Perhaps one day science will show us that no form of higher consciousness exists and our consciousness simply melts away in to oblivion. So long as the jury is out on the subject, agnosticism is more appropriate than atheism
Vi_Veri

Con

Here is why your entire argument doesn't matter, attrition.

A. You are giving god a definition yourself. I will then have to disprove "your" god or in other words a Spinoza god.

B. If you dont give something a proper definition, it can not be "proven" or "disproven" or even debated. It does not exist if it is not defined in Philosophy.

So, I have disproven god. I have disproven the Christian god. Therefore, I am atheist towards the Christian god. You can keep throwing gods at me, attrition, and they probably wont work very well. But that's all you're doing, creating gods to fit into the new discoveries scientists have made.

We dont know where thunder comes from... give it to a god because it is unexplained... Now we know it is not a god. I can give you multiple examples like this. God is just a substitute until an actual law of nature is discovered by us.

If you'd like, attrition, the invisible pink unicorn has just as much evidence as your idea of what a god might be. Unfortunately, it is not real (nor is it necessary, as I stated in my post above) to exist.

There isn't much of an argument I can make against someone who wants to think up their own definition on things just for it to exist. I'm sure I could show you many ways in which the universe can exist without a god (and does work without a god).

So, when you can establish just what god is, then we can talk if someone can believe in it or not. You can not believe or disbelieve something that doesn't have a definition, though.

And that, attrition, is why I'm atheist and why atheism is above agnostic thought. Because atheists work on real things, real evidence. Agnostics work on the thought "We'll never know" because they never give things a true definition or think up things that haven't been established.

They are the science fiction of ontology, and atheists are the science.

And that, my friends, is my fever filled, strep throat, final argument.
Debate Round No. 3
64 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Chaotiklown 8 years ago
Chaotiklown
Entropy is Chaos. But regardless of how high the measure of entropy is, it is always correctable, in theory, is it not? A drastic change can tilt the table...
Posted by Geekis_Khan 8 years ago
Geekis_Khan
It's possible, of course. But entropy is also a very viable theory. :)
Posted by Chaotiklown 8 years ago
Chaotiklown
Interesting. But as society gets more and more connected and networked all the time, I think a good system might be possible in the future.

We have pretty much mastered all of our basic instincts- now survival needs to be taken to the next level, on a global stage... Religion that looks down on the possibility of improvement isn't good at all.

We can learn from past mistakes. The future is never hopeless. Being Atheist, I would imagine you're not into the whole "doomed before we start" idea... Am I right? I'd also imagine you're familiar with the attributes of Chaos Theory? Underlying order is possible, is it not?
Posted by Geekis_Khan 8 years ago
Geekis_Khan
Ah, but you see, if the nature of man is imperfect, and every religion is man-made, then what is every religion?

The point is that every system of rules that man tries to put up to regulate humanity, whether it be through religion or government, ultimately doesn't serve its purpose.

At least, that's how I'd debate it. :)
Posted by Chaotiklown 8 years ago
Chaotiklown
Yep, I agree...

let's all just assume an apocalypse(like most religions)- neglect the real problems in the world, watch MTV drama, and let the world continue drop into this hell you speak of:-) Wow, I feel so relaxingly lethargic!

(New debate idea- fix things or ignore them?)
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
A religionless world is synonymous to Hell on Earth.
-->Religion vs. No religions <-- that would be a hotter debate :D
Posted by snicker_911 8 years ago
snicker_911
Well, in my opinion, it did work. :) And religion is very important.
Posted by Chaotiklown 8 years ago
Chaotiklown
I say religion doesn't matter in the first place. Believe what you want, but there are more important things to worry about than where we came from, or the "meaning" of life. The focus should be where we're going. Mankind needs a greater goal, and if anything, religion distracts people from that... Hmm.... Separation of church and state, sounds like another hot debate!
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
That's the typical Theist/Atheist debate.
Posted by Geekis_Khan 8 years ago
Geekis_Khan
No... It didn't work... That was the entire point of this... I don't even care anymore!
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Vi_Veri
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