The Instigator
Benshapiro
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
PatrickTheWise
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

An atheist must agree that our organs exist for no reason

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 621 times Debate No: 72891
Debate Rounds (3)
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Benshapiro

Pro

Organs: tissues composed of cells in our bodies that perform functions.

For example: an atheist can't say that the reason we have a heart is to circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Reason: "a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event." Or in other words, a means towards an end.

The debate is over whether organs exist for any reason on a factual level.

First round is for acceptance.
PatrickTheWise

Con

I accept the role of con wherein my premise is: an atheist can say that the reason we, humans, have organs for a reason.
Debate Round No. 1
Benshapiro

Pro

I'll make my case as succinct as possible.

Atheism rejects or is non-acceptant of the premise "God exists".

"God" is reasonably defined as the supreme, conscious agent that masterminded existence.

So atheism necessarily entails that there is no consciousness that masterminded existence. If this is true, the only means for action is inherent randomness or unembodied natural laws. Anything that is unembodied or random cannot be a means towards any end. If this is true, any result of those processes happened for no reason. Therefore, since organs would be a result of those processes, they could not have resulted for any reason. Remember, per round 1, I said that "this debate is over whether organs exist for any reason on a factual level". We can't consider our own self-prescribed reasons for why our organs exist.

The development of organs occurred through a lengthy process of evolutionary pressures acting on natural selection. The question is: did these pressures or changes occur *in order to promote the survival of the organism*? If atheism is true, the answer to the question is "no" because it's a logical impossibility. Evolution is a natural, unembodied process. Any unembodied process can't be a means toward an end (of surviva). It's just a process with a result. So if we posit that organs exist in order to aid in the survival of a species, we're presupposing that evolution occurs towards that end. This would be logically impossible since evolution is just an unembodied process devoid of goals or objectives or intent.

What if "reason" is just defined as the means by which something occurs?

For example, the "reason" there are craters on the moon is because asteroids collided with its surface. This is a common misuse of the word "reason" if we're staying true to the meaning behind the word. Another example of a commonly misused word is "why". Asking "why is the sky blue?" is an incoherent question to ask if atheism is true. Asking *why* is to ask for what reason or for what purpose. What is really meant by that question is "*how* is the sky blue?".

Per round 1 I said that this debate concerns whether our organs exist for any reason on a factual level. Since everything that occurs in nature is inherently a means without an end, our organs exist for no reason as well.

Remember, reason is defined as "a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event." Everything that occurs in nature is undefined. There are no defined "actions" or "events" on an ontological level. Whatever "action" or "event" occurs in nature is a dynamic process with no defined outcome. In other words, everything that naturally occurs by an unembodied process cannot have ends. A reason is only a means towards an end. Therefore everything that occurs by an unembodied process cannot occur for any reason. Organs are the result of an unembodied process. Therefore organs exist for no reason (on a factual level).
PatrickTheWise

Con

Thank you for your timely response!

I will first list through your positive and normative statements in the following format:

1. "Quotation as a reference to a question at issue, may be paraphrased"
1.a. Refutation
1.b. refutation or argument
1.c. etc.

The body of my response begins here:

1. "Anything that is random cannot be a means towards any end"
1.a. This seems to be an assertion that without a creator, there is no INHERENT purpose to existence. It however doesn't preclude the assertion of a self-validated purpose ascribed by an intelligent mind held by a human. The key here is the usage of the word inherent, meaning that human beings were brought into existence for a purpose. This is an assumption and the burden to validate this statement would require the evidence that a Deity exists. I would state that this premise is flawed in this regard.

2. " whether our organs exist for any reason on a factual level"
2.a. We can demonstrate that our organs indeed exist within the scope of our perception of reality. This makes the existence factual.
2.b. The reason of their existence would be to sustain the organism that claims ownership to these organs. This seems to be evident regardless of the existence of an INHERENT purpose of life.

3. "We cannot consider our own self-prescribed reasons..."
3.a. Why not? If we require a divine purpose in the explanation of why our organs exists then we would see debates over the purpose of organs based on a persons religious affiliation. We do not see this, what we see is a scientific consensus over the purpose of a specific organ's.

4. "Did these pressure or changes occur in order to promote the survival of the organism?"
4.a. Yes, with reservation. If we agree that evolution produced the human species through a process of natural selection over millions of years, we can suggest that the 'initial' life forms would have developed these not as a means of survival but as a means of enhanced adaptation. Basically as a means of increasing the capabilities and fitness to continue to reproduce.

5. "If atheism is true"
5.a. Atheism cannot be true because atheism is a lack of a claim to religion. This illustrates that the Pro has a misconception about the nature of what they are debating. It could be conceptually falsified through the presentation of factual evidence that a deity exists, until then atheism is just a lack of belief.

6. "Evolution is a natural and unembodied process..."
6.a. the term unembodied is being used here to mean that there is no organization to the function of evolution. While there is no physical or metaphysical orchestrator behind the path that evolution has followed. It is a process that follows 'rules' such as Darwinian Fitness and Natural selection, therefor we cannot say that evolution is "Random". All we can really posit is that evolution is not constructed.

7."Evolution cannot be the means towards an end."
7.a. This is misuse of terminology with intent to mislead. Sophistry.

8. "Evolution is just a process with a result... a process devoid of goals or objectives"
8. The statement means, evolution just happens. We can suppose this however, we then must also posit that goals, logic, knowledge, and reason are all human constructs from sentient intelligence. The reason that you are looking for cannot exist outside of humanity, only within. You are trying to define terms in a universal way, when universe does not in fact maintain the capabilities of cognition to recognize what reason is. This means that your statements, premises, and arguments are non sequitur fallacies.

9. "misuse of the words 'reason and why'"
9.a. Words are a human construct used to further individual human intelligence, their utility only makes sense within the context of human existence. Your premise is flawed because you are asking for an explanation of human existence from human perception devoid of human perception. This is impossible.

10. "How is the sky blue?"
10.a. How and why are both just phrasings of inquiry from the human perspective.

11. "everything that occurs in nature is inherently a means without a end."
11.a. End is being misused, you are using end to mean "final goal" instead of "purpose". The purpose of our organs is to fulfill the essential life giving functionality that enables our species to continue.
11.b. another key flaw in your premise is that with your usage of the term "end" you are requiring an Inherent meaning for the existence of organs to accomplish a goal in the future, time having a conclusive endpoint is also a human construct of perception. Your argument is just completely structurally flawed. Remember this: Reason, goals, existence, and inherent are all philosophical terms created by humanity. You cannot define them outside of humanity, ergo our argument must take place within humanity. While we can say that evolution just occurs, if you insinuate that there is no reason, you are removing the conceptual understanding of what evolution even is and even denying its existence because it is a theory of reason.

12."Everything that occurs in nature is undefined"
12.a. I can debunk this assertion in three lines:
Nature is everything that physically exists.
I physically exist as a part of nature.
I just defined something in nature.

I assert that the original premise of this argument was inclusive of the term Atheist/atheism for no reason. I must also assert that the Pro's argumentation is completely conjecture and assertion. We know that organs exist to support the life of a life form to produce that life forms capability to reproduce. Just in this factual, positive statement we have the subject, Organs, fulfilling a functionality, support life form, for a reason, to ensure reproduction.
The only course of argument that the Pro has is to remove the standard usage of the terms and attempt to apply a spectrum of meaning outside of human usage. This is impossible to do because we cannot assume that the Pro has the capability to produce a perspective outside of human existence because we can posit that he/she has only ever been human.
Debate Round No. 2
Benshapiro

Pro

Thanks for putting up a good defense con.

My definition of "reason" went undisputed. Per round 1: "Reason - a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event.' Or in other words, a means towards an end."

Rule per round 1: "This debate is over whether organs exist for any reason on a factual level."

"Anything that is random cannot be a means towards any end"

"Without a creator there is no INHERENT purpose but this doesn't preclude self-validated purposes by sentient beings. In order to argue that there is an inherent purpose we must first require evidence of a deity.

(1) self-prescribed reasons are irrelevant as I noted in round 1 unless those reasons are fact-based. This debate is over whether organs exist for any reason on a *factual level*. Here is the definition of factual: "concerned with what is actually the case rather than interpretations of or reactions to it." Since evolution is an unembodied process devoid of objectives or goals, and since our organs are an unintended result of that process, it cannot possibly be the case that our organs are a means towards any end. A reason is a means towards an end. So factually, our organs cannot exist for any reason. It is true by the law of identity (one of the three laws of logic) that something cannot be a means towards an end while simultaneously being a means without an end.

(2) The claim being made is that if atheism is true, it must follow that our organs exist for no reason (factually). There is no BoP to validate anything other than that claim.

"Whether our ogans exist for any reason on a factual level"

"Since organs exist within the scope our perception of reality this makes their existence factual. The reason for their existence is to sustain the organism and is evident regardless of any inherent purpose of life.

(1) the issue is not over whether organs exist within our perception of reality. The issue is whether there is a factual *reason* for why our organs exist. Facts aren't dependent on human perception. Would the laws of logic still have factual existence in the absence of all human sentience? Of course.

(2) The second is statement is just an assertion of what appears to be the case. What appears to be the case is not always factual. It appears to be the case that the earth is flat but obviously that isn't true. Logically, it is impossible for organs to exist for the reason of sustaining the organism because it violates the law of identity. An unembodied process *by definition* cannot be a means towards any end. Including an end to sustain the survival of an organism.

Subject: "we cannot consider our own self-prescribed reasons"

"Why not? If organs required a divine purpose we'd see debates over the purpose of organs based on a persons religious affiliation. We don't see this, what we see is a scientific consensus over the purpose of specific organs."

(1) Religious affiliation would have nothing to do with it anyway. Either organs are a means towards an end or they aren't. In order to be a means towards an end this requires organs to exist for a sentient purpose. If it is true that there is absence of sentient purpose for anything naturally occurring (atheism) then the only means for anything naturally occurring are unembodied natural processes that cannot produce anything for any reason or purpose. Again, our self-prescribed reasons are only valid if factual for this debate. I could say that the reason that the sun exists is to make me happy. Of course, that isn't a factual reason.

(2) consensus on any issue has nothing to do with truth value. Facts are only things that have definitive truth value. It was once a consensus that the earth was flat.

"Did these changes occur in order to promote the survival of the organism?

"Yes, with reservation. Initial life forms would've developed these changes not as a means of survival but as a means of enhanced adaptation.

(1) Again, you're giving an unembodied process a goal, an end, a purpose, or means towards an end for doing what it does. Evolution is a process with a result. There's no means towards any end by the very definition of what it means to be an unembodied natural process. Your assigning a purpose to something that results in the tendency of more species surviving rather than less. Everything that lives also dies. We could just as easily say that the purpose of anything that lives is to die. That wouldn't be true, however.

"if atheism is true"

Atheism is a lack of a claim to religion. It could be falsified through factual evidence that a deity exist, until then atheism is just a lack of belief.

(1) Note: IF atheism *is true* (there is truly absence of any deity) then anything naturally occurring could not be a means towards any end. Con validates this point in his first post by stating that inherent purpose (of anything) depends on the existence of a deity as an actual state of affairs.

"Evolution is a natural and unembodied process"

"There is no orchestrator for the path of evolution but it's a process that follows 'rules' such as Darwinian Fitness and Natural selection, therefore we cannot say that is "random". All we can posit is that it's not constructed.

(1) Our consistent observations of natural processes don't consign them to following "rules".

(2) I didn't say that evolution was "random" I said that it was unembodied. It's impossible for an unembodied process to be a means towards an end.

"Evolution cannot be a means towards an end"

"This is a misuse of terminology with intent to mislead"

(1) My opponent states that it's misleading as a bare assertion. There's nothing to rebut here.

"Evolution is a process with a result... devoid of goals or objectives"

We can suppose this however then must also posit that goals, logic, knowledge, and reason are all human constructs from sentient intelligence.

(1) In absence of all human sentience, would the laws of logic still be true (exist as an actual state of affairs)? Of course. Something could not simultaneously be alive and dead at the same time just because no human sentience exists. In absence of all human sentience, could a monkey eat a banana as a means for satisying hunger (for a reason or goal)? Of course. This falsifies your premise. If you're claiming that all human perceptions of reality are illusory then you would lose the debate by default. This would automatically entail that all human perceptions for why organs exist (for any reason) is not an actual state of affairs.

"misuse of the words 'reason and why"

"Words are a human construct that further intelligence and only make sense within the context of human existence. Your premise is flawed because it asks for an explanation of human existence devoid of human perception. This is impossible."

Then human perceptions are not an actual state of affairs and you lose the debate by default. Remember, you are siding with the claim that organs have reasons for existing *as an actual state of affairs* (factually). You'll have to dig yourself out of that one.

"everything that occurs in nature is inherently a means without an end"

End is being misused as "final goal" instead of purpose. The purpose of our organs is to sustain an organism. [Reasons are also human constructs, falsifying your argument].

Unembodied processes cannot occur for any purpose either... If reasons are human constructs that aren't an actual state of affairs this would make *you* lose the debate, not me. I'm arguing that organs don't exist for any reason (as an actual state of affairs) if atheism is true.

"Everything that naturally occurs is undefined"

"nature is everything that physically exists
I physically exist as part of nature
I just defined something in nature"

Physical structures, such as organs, and the human body are naturally occurring. Mental concepts are not.

I'm out of space and this is my last round but everything has been covered. Thanks for the debate!
PatrickTheWise

Con

"Mental concepts are not naturally occurring."

This is just an example of the sophistry that occurs throughout your argument. While mental concepts are not tangible in a physical sense, they are naturally occurring because they occur within nature in the brains of humans or other intelligent beings.

Again a point that is never responded to and is the most paramount of this argument is that REASON is a concept developed within the context of the human mind, it does not exist without the human perception.

The only concept that your assertions hang on is that organs must hold their own sentience in order for them to have a reason to exists. Since you have never been an organ you cannot say that they do not hold sentience. Your assumptions require facts, you assertions require facts.

To answer your original question: As an atheist, I CAN say my organs exists for a reason, that reason is to keep me alive.
Debate Round No. 3
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