The Instigator
Axiom
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TheOrator
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

All Humans Have Faith In Something (Atheists, Theists and Everyone Else)

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
TheOrator
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/25/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,256 times Debate No: 24867
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (3)

 

Axiom

Pro

Atheists, Theists and anyone in between all have faith in some great truth. For Christians it is God. For some atheists it is the existence of physical laws and gravity without origin. In the end, I contend, that everything comes back to a belief that you cannot prove and is equally faith-based.
Some Atheists call Theists irrational or foolish. Some Theists say the same thing about Atheists. I agree with both. If believing in something you can't prove is 'irrational' then we, as humans, are all equally irrational.

I look forward to the debate.



TheOrator

Con

Looks fun, I'll accept.

Framework:
As the con, I will be arguing against Pro's statement that "Atheists, Theists and anyone in between all have faith in some great truth"[1]. My opponnent will have the burden of proof in the round to prove that as a an atheist, I have faith in some great truth. As he states that all humans have faith in a greater truth, his inability to prove that I have faith in a greater power will result in a failure in his burden of proof, and he will lose the debate.[3]

As my opponent has not provided any definitions, I will list the definitions for the round.
Faith: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence[2]
Truth: A statement proven to be or accepted as true[4]
I tried to find a definition for "greater", but it took me to a list of DnD powers and something to do with cities. If the Pro cannot provide a suitable definition, we'll just rely on the connotation.
Connotation: An idea or meaning suggested by or associated with a word or thing [5]

As the pro, I'll allow him to make the opening arguments. Here's looking forward to a good debate :)
Works cited:
1.) http://www.debate.org...
2.) http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
3.) http://rationalwiki.org...
4.) http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
5.) http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Axiom

Pro


I accept your definitions. I will assume your use of the word 'greater power' is an issue of semantics rather than an attempt to change the intention of the debate.



Firstly, what is faith? As you have defined it, faith is belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. So you would claim that believing in God is faith because there is no empirical evidence for his existence. My claim isn't that Atheists believe in some all-powerful creator, but that they have to have faith to even start their world view.


For example, let's take one of the most common arguments between Christians, a type of Theist, and Atheists:


Origin of everything: (What or who created the universe?)


Christians say: God. Who created God? No one, he was always there. (We've arrived at an axiom that is consistent with the Munchhausen theory of axiomatic reasoning.) God was always there? But there's no tangible proof, there's no empirical evidence so it is a belief based in faith.


Atheists say: "The most commonly held view is that the universe was once a gravitational singularity, which expanded extremely rapidly from its hot and dense state." Where did the gravitational singularity come from? "While this expansion is well-modeled by the Big Bang theory, the origins of the singularity remains one of the unsolved problems in physics." No proof for the origin of the gravitational singularity? No evidence for the causation of energy dispersal? Once again: a belief based in faith. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)


So essentially, at its core, Christians have faith that a God exists, Muslims believe Allah exists and caused the creation of Earth, Atheists believe that gravitational singularity existed. Or some believe the universe always existed or there are other theories, but the one thing they all have in common is that something or some force or some material existed (Some theories even state that larger universes existed) but they cannot even hypothesize how. And even if they do hypothesize, there is no tangible proof or evidence suggesting how this is possible. God as an unexplainable force is a theory in the same way that 0+0=Universe is a theory. Both are based in faith in some greater truth. Both are based in the belief that something existed prior to matter or prior to the universe or that something has always existed (Which goes against natural law.) (Ie. Richard Dawkins presupposes gravity.)



The Munchhausen Trilemma


The second point I want to make is that, at the end of the day, we all revert to faith in reasoning. "The Munchhausen Trilemma is a philosophical term coined to stress the purported impossibility to prove any truth even in the fields of logic and mathematics." (http://en.wikipedia.org...)


(Here is the Trilemma as explained on wikipedia:)


If we ask of any knowledge: "How do I know that it's true?", we may provide proof; yet that same question can be asked of the proof, and any subsequent proof. The Münchhausen Trilemma is that we have only three options when providing proof in this situation:



  • The circular argument, in which theory and proof support each other (i.e. we repeat ourselves at some point)

  • The regressive argument, in which each proof requires a further proof, ad infinitum (i.e. we just keep giving proofs, presumably forever)

  • The axiomatic argument, which rests on accepted precepts (i.e. we reach some bedrock assumption or certainty)


The first two forms of argument were discounted by Greek Thinkers as weak. Let's address the strongest form: the third.


So think of a child always asking 'why.' In the end people answer 'because I say so,' or 'that's just the way it is,' or "it's life." Try that with any claim of truth. Just continue to ask the question 'why.' In the end you'll find that you cannot prove anything. All comes down to some presupposition or core belief. All comes down to a faith-based greater truth that has no logical proof nor reasonable explanation. It just is.


These principles apply to Atheists and Christians. Buddhists and Muslims. They are principles of logic and common thought, not religion. So in the end, having faith isn't a spiritual conundrum. It is a human one.



Practical examples of other things Atheists have faith in:

If God exists, you will see evidence of his existence. We do not see evidence of his existence, therefore he does not exist. (Presupposition is the first sentence.)

Logic reveals truth. (Faith that there is 'truth' faith that logic is the right way to determine truth. Faith in truth and logic.) (If you pressupose their isn't truth, then your faith is in the statement 'there isn't truth.'


TheOrator

Con

My use of the word "greater power" came from how you described the issue in your first round.

I'll address my opponent's relevant arguements as they appear in the argument, but my cases will like be much, much smaller simply because my opponent will be working to actively prove something while I will simply be working to negate it. I'd just like to state in advance that smaller arguments are not made due to rudeness.

Once again, I'll remind the audience that my opponent will have to actively prove that I, as an atheist, place faith in a greater power because the failure to do so results in the disproving of the fact that "all" humans place faith in a greater power.

Origin of everything:
As I'm an atheist, I will move straight to the section pertaining to me. Althought it is true that the gravitational singularity theory is a theory that is accepted by many atheists, but unfortunately my opponent commits a hasty generalization fallacy[1]. He does this by showing a theory beleived in by some atheists, and then assumed that this proves his resolution correct because all atheists believe in it. This is false. I do not believe in gravitational singularity theory for the same reason that I don't believe in God, because I can't find sufficient proof for its existence. The same goes for the Big Bang or Infinate Universe or other universal creation theories. I simply realize that I can't prove it, will likely never know the answer in my lifetime, and I move on. Because the origin of everything argument does not apply to me, this does not prove the resolution true.

The Munchausen Trilemma:
That's an interesting theory, and one that I hadn't researched before, but there is one fundamental flaw in how it connects to the resolution: the definition of faith. I hate to use a semantical argument, but the Munchausen Trilemma is not an argument that proves the definition states that faith is "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence". Just because the Munchausen Trilemma argument states that you cannot be 100% certain that anything is proven, this proof is still based on logical proof and evidence. So simply stating the blanket statement that "You can't prove anythiing" does not mean "you have faith in everything". In order for this argument to work, my opponent must first use a specific instance that I believe in and prove that I use faith to believe in it. Otherwise, this argument does not pertain to the resolution.

Other things Atheists have faith in:
God's existence: The fallacy my opponent commits here is not that we beleive god exists, is that we lack belief that he exists. An Atheist does not actively believe that God doesn't exist, he simply does not believe that he does exist. Therefor, this is not an issue of holding faith, but rather an issue of not holding faith, and so it is not a valid argument.
Logic Reveals Truth: My opponent seems to be grasping at straws at this point. Faith is simply the beleif in something without logical backing or evidnece, using logic to hold a belief is not exercising faith. My opponent attempts to break down logic into saying you have to believe in it, but he's simply trivializing the issue to the point where it is not an accurate arguement. We know logic to lead to truth because using correct logic has been proven to lead to the correct conclusions in the past. This is using evidence, not faith.

My opponent has failed to prove that I place faith in a higher power, and so he has failed to uphold his burden of proof.


Works Cited:
1.) http://www.nizkor.org...;
Debate Round No. 2
Axiom

Pro

I thank my opponent for some interesting rebuttals.


How I defined my argument in the first round, "Atheists, Theists and anyone in between all have faith in some great truth. For Christians it is God. For some atheists it is the existence of physical laws and gravity without origin. In the end, I contend, that everything comes back to a belief that you cannot prove and is equally faith-based."


The concession my opponent made in the first round: "I tried to find a definition for "greater", but it took me to a list of DnD powers and something to do with cities. If the Pro cannot provide a suitable definition, we'll just rely on the connotation."


I never used the word 'power' I used the word 'truth.' I proceeded to explain and also dismiss his use of the term 'greater power' (which contextually implies something radically different to the intention of the debate.)


I said "I will assume your use of the word 'greater power' is an issue of semantics rather than an attempt to change the intention of the debate."


My opponent found the above quote rude, when I was trying to avoid what we have now: a debate of semantics. Let me clarify that the definition of "greater power" pertains to: military, the game dungeons and dragons, the belief in a god. (wikipedia.org) I am avoiding any attempt to equate my argument with atheists believing in the likeness of a 'god.' As my intention is to simply equate one faith-based truth with another faith based truth of equal proportions (or that is equally 'great.' I.e. A great truth.)


I will refute my opponent's rebuttals below.


Origin of Everything


Firstly, I did not commit a hasty generalization fallacy. Not all Christians believe that God created the world. Many believe he created a separate universe and then the Big Bang Theory resulted from the 'cosmic soup' he made. I simply, as stated in the debate, provided a single example. With Atheism I also provided one example, 'the belief in gravitational singularity.' I clarified my intention with the sentenced: "So essentially, at its core, Christians have faith that a God exists, Muslims believe Allah exists and caused the creation of Earth, Atheists believe that gravitational singularity existed. Or some believe the universe always existed or there are other theories, but the one thing they all have in common is that something or some force or some material existed (Some theories even state that larger universes existed) but they cannot even hypothesize how. And even if they do hypothesize, there is no tangible proof or evidence suggesting how this is possible."


I state that there are other views an Atheist may hold. It is true that I avoided the religious belief of 'ignorance.' Simply saying "I don't know," to any question asked. But that proves my point exactly. Ignorance itself is tribute to the point I'm making. We have faith that it doesn't matter we don't have the answers. We have faith that the presuppositions and axioms we've already adopted are sufficient to explain the world even without knowing the 'whole picture.'


Let me clarify that I am not stating all Atheists claim they believe in gravitational singularity (as I clearly stated as such in my argument and provided separate examples of potential beliefs.) I am stating that they all believe in something preceding the "big bang." And if they claim ignorance, I claim that is perhaps the greatest step of faith one can make. Because it is a matter of axiomatic reasoning. If I ask enough questions and we get to the fundamental building block of 'your' atheistic belief system, we may arrive at the issue of creationism. Your answer is 'I don't know how the universe started' therefore I say your belief in co-existing enzymes, the big bang, or whatever theory you hope to claim, is based in faith without tangible proof. A great truth you accept as true without proof.


Perhaps my favorite quote in my opponent's debate that I feel offers this debate to me is, "The same goes for the Big Bang or Infinate Universe or other universal creation theories. I simply realize that I can't prove it, will likely never know the answer in my lifetime, and I move on."


He states 'he cannot prove it' (faith that it doesn't matter or pertain to him) and will likely never know the answer. He basically says 'He can't prove the origin, so he doesn't know how it happened, but he believes it did anyway." That is the purest definition of faith.



Munchausen Trilemma


Myopponent's flaw in his interpretation of the Trilemma is, "the Munchausen Trilemma argument states that you cannot be 100% certain that anything is proven."


That isn't what the Trilemma states. It states that you cannot be AT ALL certain of anything. All comes back to proof. I am not disputing the existence of evidence or proofs in the process of the Trilemma, but when you arrive at the root question of 'why is it true' the answer will be 'Because it is.' A faith-based statement. (The other two forms of proofs are found fundamentally weak by Greek skeptics and in their definition fall in a 'faith category' by presupposing rational law and without being able to provide further truth--with faith in the process.)


So once again, my opponent hasn't refuted my argument supporting the Trilemma, he has misinterpreted it or misunderstood the implications.


"So simply stating the blanket statement that "You can't prove anythiing" does not mean "you have faith in everything". In order for this argument to work, my opponent must first use a specific instance that I believe in and prove that I use faith to believe in it. Otherwise, this argument does not pertain to the resolution."


My opponent has contradicted himself. We have defined faith as above. I would say that 'if you can't prove anything' then yes, you do have faith in everything. And as for proving that you use faith, see above.



Other Proofs


My opponent is engaging in semantics. An atheist does not 'believe god exists.' Let's reword the statement as "If the Big Bang Theory was true, we will see evidence of its truth. There is evidence of its truth, so it is true." In that case it makes the same point, that atheists put faith in the higher concept of logic. Or faith in the power of human thought. Or faith in empirical senses. Or faith in something. Once again I am not going to spell out the question/answer section here because I do not know my opponent's answers. But simply ask the question "Why do I believe this" continually. And you will eventually reach a 'because it is' (faith) statement. Or engage in circular reasoning and ad infinitum.


Same argument applies for both points.


"My opponent attempts to break down logic into saying you have to believe in it, but he's simply trivializing the issue to the point where it is not an accurate arguement. We know logic to lead to truth because using correct logic has been proven to lead to the correct conclusions in the past."


Unfortunately my opponent is not the judge on what is 'an accurate argument.' I find it a very relevant debate strategy. Because in my opponent's next sentence he once again proves my point by engaging an axiom (which was the point I was making in the first place.) His axiom is that truth is the correct conclusion. Because it is correct. Why? Because it is. (Faith.) (This chain of questioning could go on for years, but the result is inevitably the same.)


I have upheld my burden of proof and my opponent has failed to refute my arguments. Vote Pro.

TheOrator

Con


I'll respond to my opponent's arguments as they appear in the round, consisting of italicized sections, then underlined sections within the italicized sections for easier reading.

Greater Definition:

Oh, sorry about that. I'm just normally used to saying greater power rather than greater truth, but Greater Truth is definately what we're debating over. Sorry for any misconceptions. I'd also like to say that I don't find anything my opponent brought up rude or insulting.

Origin of Everything:

Hasty Generalization Fallacy:
My opponent did indeed commit this by assuming that one theory some Atheists believe in shows that all Atheists believe in something. His goal in the round is to prove that I believe in a greater truth (he never refuted this), and as I don't hold belief in any theory as to how the universe was created, he has not fulfilled his Burden of Proof. My opponent states that not holding faith in how the Universe was created shows that I hold faith that it doesn't matter. However, not only is this a false statement (I never stated I didn't care, nor do I hold faith in this fact, I simply state that I accept the fact that I may not know in my lifetime), he is misunderstanding the concept of faith. Lacking faith is not the same as having faith by any means due to the definition of the word, and so his arguments in how I view the creation of the universe or my lack of faith in God are irrelevant. Therefore, his statement that " And if they claim ignorance, I claim that is perhaps the greatest step of faith one can make." is completely illogical as this is not an act of faith, it's a lack of it.

Creationism V Evolutionism:
My opponent states "If I ask enough questions and we get to the fundamental building block of 'your' atheistic belief system, we may arrive at the issue of creationism. Your answer is 'I don't know how the universe started' therefore I say your belief in co-existing enzymes, the big bang, or whatever theory you hope to claim, is based in faith without tangible proof. A great truth you accept as true without proof" However, this statement is fundamentally flawed due to two points.
1. Lack of Faith: My opponent states that because I admit I don't know how the universe was created, then everything else I know is based on faith.
1a.) My unknowing of the universe is, as I stated earlier, a lack of faith. In order to hold faith in an issue about it, I would first have to believe in an issue about it. As I don't believe in any theories, I do not hold faith in any theories.
1b.) I know the fact that I don't hold faith in any theories, but that's not an issue of faith, that's a simple fact based on evidence. Check out the definition of faith, which I've restated repeatedly throughout the round.
2. Evolutionism is based on evidence: The second problem that arises from my opponent's argument is that faith is belief in something without logical or evidencial proof. Because there is actual materialistic proof behind evolution (which is what I believe in as far as how humans got here), my argument is not based on faith and so I don't believe in it based on faith [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Lack of Faith:
My opponent states "He states 'he cannot prove it' (faith that it doesn't matter or pertain to him) and will likely never know the answer. He basically says 'He can't prove the origin, so he doesn't know how it happened, but he believes it did anyway." That is the purest definition of faith." Once again, there are two reasons why this is wrong.
1.) Misinterperetation. My opponent states that I have "faith that it doesn't matter or pertain to [me]", however this is false. I know that how the universe came into existence is very important, and I know that it pertains to me simply because I live in the universe. What I actually said was "I simply realize that I can't prove it, will likely never know the answer in my lifetime, and I move on." nothing in that sentence says that I don't care, it simply shows that I know I cannot prove it.
2.) Belief in the Universe. My opponent makes a quite clever relation between how I don't know how the universe came into existence to how people don't know how God came into existence and simply have faith, but he's forgetting one simple fact. I exist. I know exist, I have materialistic evidence of this fact. I also know that if i exist, then I must exist in something, there is also materialistic evidence of this fact. I don't mean to turn this into an existential debate, but I know that the unvierse exists simply because we have evidence all around us, and according to the accepted definition of faith, that means I don't hold it due to faith.

Munchausen Trilemma:
"Myopponent's flaw in his interpretation of the Trilemma is, "the Munchausen Trilemma argument states that you cannot be 100% certain that anything is proven" That isn't what the Trilemma states. It states that you cannot be AT ALL certain of anything. All comes back to proof. I am not disputing the existence of evidence or proofs in the process of the Trilemma, but when you arrive at the root question of 'why is it true' the answer will be 'Because it is.' A faith-based statement." The flaw in this is because, as I stated in the last round and went unrefuted, unless my opponent brings up a specific instance where this is actually correct, we can't simply assume it. Never in the round has my opponent proven that I explain something by saying "because it does", and so we cannot assume this theory is correct. If anything, we have directly proven it wrong.

As my opponent has not shown any instance as to why this theory is correct, it has been proven wrong due to failure to uphold its Burden of Proof and cannot be held in the round.

Other Truths:
"My opponent is engaging in semantics. An atheist does not 'believe god exists.' Let's reword the statement as "If the Big Bang Theory was true, we will see evidence of its truth. There is evidence of its truth, so it is true." In that case it makes the same point, that atheists put faith in the higher concept of logic."
1.) It's true that I'm enganging in semantics due to the definition of the word (I'm well aware of the irony), but that's because what my opponent is talking about IS NOT FAITH. Therefore, I was not commiting what is the commonly known semantical argument (one that is over-trivialized and under-important), but rather showing how my opponent is arguing over something that in no way proves faith.
2.) This is simply going back to my point which goes unrefuted, we have evidence that correct logic leads to the right answer. This evidence proves that something that is logical is likely to be true. Therefore, we are not placing faith in logic.

The unquoted points my opponent makes in that paragraph are either refuted in the above point "2.)" or in the refutation of the Munchausen trilemma.

"Unfortunately my opponent is not the judge on what is 'an accurate argument.' I find it a very relevant debate strategy."
It doesnt' matter what you find it, it is still unaccurate (refer to my arguments against the Munchausen Trilemma for arguments against over-trivializing everything to faith, I'm running out of characters :P)
" His axiom is that truth is the correct conclusion. Because it is correct. Why? Because it is. (Faith.)"
This goes back to my earlier arguments. I don't believe in logic simply because it's logic, but because logic has been proven to be true empiracally.

My opponent has not once proven that I hold belief in something. This directly disproves the fact that "all" humans hold faith in something, and so my opponent has lost the debate. Vote Con :)

Works Cited:
1.)http://shop.skeptic.com...
2.) http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
3.) http://teachthemscience.org...
4.) http://www.talkorigins.org...
5.) http://www.nyu.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by WarEagle 4 years ago
WarEagle
@TheOrator
I live in Auburn... lots of um 'round these here parts. WAR DAMN EAGLE !!!!
Posted by TheOrator 4 years ago
TheOrator
@Wareagle
Nice to see another Auburn fan here. It's hard enough to find one in Alabama, let alone on websites with people from out of state.
Posted by WarEagle 4 years ago
WarEagle
Good debate, but... I'm agnostic (don't have enough proof either way). I do not have faith in any "great truth", but I do have faith my daughter loves me, can't prove that either. I don't think believing in something you can't prove is always 'irrational'. Can't vote (3 Completed Debates Required to Vote) but leaning CON.
Posted by Axiom 4 years ago
Axiom
My opponent is a worthy adversary and it'd be a shame to let this debate go unresolved.
Posted by Axiom 4 years ago
Axiom
Hopefully some people will come to vote at the end of this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
AxiomTheOratorTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro lost by defining "faith" strictly in the religious sense of belief in a "greater truth." Con argued that it is possible not to assign a greater truth, but rather to leave "greater" issues unresolved and to operate based upon what's empirically observed. Con might have added the argument that an atheists beliefs are subject to being overturned rather easily with new evidence, whereas religious beliefs are usually immune to evidence.
Vote Placed by TheHitchslap 4 years ago
TheHitchslap
AxiomTheOratorTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Sources to con due to his case using actual evidence AND an objective form of measurements within the debate. Con wins due to him LACKING faith as per definition, even Pro showed ambiguity within atheistic beliefs thus making CON's case stronger with definitions saving him. He does not believe the big bang happened he THINKS it happened big difference and thats what won him the debate here.
Vote Placed by Magicr 4 years ago
Magicr
AxiomTheOratorTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was able to prove that his declaration of "I don't know" is not faith because faith is belief in something and his belief is in nothing and that the beliefs that he does have are backed up by some proof so they are not faith. Interesting debate.