The Instigator
MikeNH
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
Installgentoo
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Atheism is Directly Responsible for an Atrocity

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
MikeNH
Started: 11/21/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 324 times Debate No: 40997
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

MikeNH

Con

The proposition up for debate is that atheism is directly responsible for any single atrocity in history.

The following definitions were chosen/found/created in order to facility a clear discussion, and MUST BE adhered to. Any attempt to redefine, alter, or otherwise refuse these definitions will result in the forfeiture of the debate:

Responsible - chargeable with being the cause of some action or event, usually followed by 'for', and is demonstrated to have been both a necessary and sufficient condition for that action or event's occurrence.

Necessary Condition - A necessary condition for some state of affairs S is a condition that must be satisfied in order for S to obtain. (4)

Sufficient Condition - A sufficient condition for some state of affairs S is a condition that, if satisfied, guarantees that S obtains. (4)

Atheism - the lack of belief in the proposition that god(s) exist, (derived from 'a', meaning 'without', and theism, meaning the belief that god(s) exist), as opposed to and distinct from the positive belief that god(s) do not exist. (1) (2)

Atrocity - an extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence or injury. (3)


The burden of proof lies on pro to demonstrate that atheism, as defined, is directly responsible for any single well-known atrocity in history.

In the first round Pro must agree to the terms set forth, and must chose a SINGLE well-known atrocity throughout history for which he/she believes that atheism was directly responsible for, but any arguments will not be presented until the second round.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://www.prefixsuffix.com...
(3) https://www.google.com...
(4) http://philosophy.wisc.edu...
Installgentoo

Pro

I agree to the terms of this argument.

My example of an atheist atrocity is the Holodomor.
Debate Round No. 1
MikeNH

Con

Thanks for accepting the debate. As Pro has accepted the rules, definitions, and the burden of proof, I await his specific arguments related to the Holodomor and why Atheism was directly responsible for it.

Pro could come up with ANY historical event that occurred, and even if he were to come up with some historical event where a person said clearly they were an atheist and then stated clearly they committed some atrocity directly because of their lack of belief that god(s) exists, this can easily be demonstrated to not have actually been the direct cause because we do not act based on what we don't believe, we act on what we DO believe.

==========================Main Argument======================

In every historical atrocity scenario I've come across, it is always extremely clear that even if the perpetrator was an atheist, there were other beliefs that lead them to commit those actions, whether it was fascism, racism, nationalism, totalitarianism, national socialism, etc, and at most their being an atheist was a piece of their overall worldview/ideology, and at least is as inconsequently as them also being male or having a mustache. In the case of Stalin, the guy that most people consider responsible for the Holodomor, he may very well have been an atheist, he may very well have believed that removing religion from society was a good thing, but you simply cannot logically say that the simple fact that he did not hold the belief that god(s) exist, in other words he was not a theist, is the reason WHY he did or believed those things, or that not being a theist was directly responsible for them.

You might be able to demonstrate that his atheism was a necessary condition in his belief that religion should be removed from society, but you couldn't demonstrate that it was a sufficient condition. In order to demonstrate causality, which you agreed in the beginning of the debate, you MUST demonstrate that atheism is BOTH a necessary and sufficient condition under which the Holodomor happened.

My argument is easily demonstrated with the following analogy:
  1. Stalin was a murderer
  2. Buddhism is a religion that preaches nonviolence
  3. Being a Buddhist and believing its tenants are true, is directly responsible for preventing people from being violent
  4. Stalin was not a Buddhist
  5. If Stalin was a Buddhist that would have prevented him from murdering people.
  6. Therefore, not being a Buddhist is directly responsible for him being a murderer
Put in this light, the claim that someone not being a theist is directly responsible for some action they've committed is simply absurd. Substitute theist above for Buddhist, and you'll see the fallacy. Using this logic necessarily entails that we accept all of the other things Stalin isn't (presumably) as directly responsible for his actions. (We can both agree the following are simply educated guesses...) He isn't a flat earther, he isn't a vegetarian, he isn't a lesbian, he isn't a scientologist, he isn't an Olympic sprinter, and he isn't a chimney sweeper. NONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT HE ISN'T are responsible for any of his actions. Saying someone is an atheist is NOTHING MORE than saying they are not a theist.

I think I've made a pretty straightforward case that not being something cannot be directly responsible for an action. At most some actions or worldviews might require that you not be something, like being a lesbian requires you not be male, which demonstrates that it is a necessary condition, but you would need to demonstrate why not being a male is a sufficient condition for being a lesbian, which is obviously ridiculous.

It is what we DO believe that causes us to act - and atheism, by the definitions we BOTH agreed upon, is NOT a belief, therefore it cannot cause us to act. In this light whatever Stalin isn't is not and cannot be directly responsible or the cause of his actions. The things that he DOES believe are true are the causes of those actions, not the infinite number of things he DOESN'T believe are true.

In order to win this debate, Pro needs to demonstrate that not being a theist (atheism) was a NECESSARY AND SUFFICIENT condition for the Holodomor.

==============================================================

I look forward to your first arguments!
Installgentoo

Pro

It seems to me that Con has fundamentally misunderstood what "atheism" means. His original definition does not fully state his position on this, so I should tell him where he is goofing up in his statement of the beliefs of atheists.

When you say you are an atheist, you are making a statement about God. Now that statement has a burden of proof (equal to the theist's statement "there is a God") which I do not believe that anyone can fulfil. Just because there is no evidence of God existingin the Universe, doesn't mean one can affirm a non-belief in God. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Therefore, atheism is a knowedge claim. It's not just not believing, but a leap of faith without evidence. Atheism is a positive belief statement, this cannot be denied considering how little we know about the universe.

Now there are many signs that religious leaders were targeted in various Communist atrocities in the latter-half of the 20th century in Soviet lands. Ordinary people with a strong faith in religion were targeted too. This was, I believe, due to the fact they believed in a power higher than the Soviet leaders who ruled over them at that time. There are many historical documents that suggest this, even though some were destroyed by the Communists when they were losing their empire. Without militant atheism large sections of society would not have been exterminated. Atheism is responsible for many of the atrocities in the Holodomor.
Debate Round No. 2
MikeNH

Con

===================Response #1=====================

"It seems to me that Con has fundamentally misunderstood what "atheism" means. His original definition does not fully state his position on this, so I should tell him where he is goofing up in his statement of the beliefs of atheists."

How Can you accept the rules of a debate, one of which being that you must accept the definitions provided so a clear and concise discussion can be had, and have your first response be that I've misunderstood the definition of terms. My definition EXACTLY states my position on this - which is exactly why I made it EXTREMELY clear to define all important terms here without ambiguity, and REQUIRE the acceptance of these definitions in order to accept the debate.

You then refer to "the beliefs of atheists" which is nonsensical in this discussion. As explained in my very clear and simple second round argument, saying something as fatuous as "the beliefs of atheists" is akin to saying "the beliefs of women" or "the beliefs of blondes." Atheism is not a worldview, it's not a knowledge claim, its not a dogma, it has no tenants, it says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about a person other than they are not a theist.

==================================================


===================Response #2======================

"When you say you are an atheist, you are making a statement about God. Now that statement has a burden of proof (equal to the theist's statement "there is a God") which I do not believe that anyone can fulfil. Just because there is no evidence of God existingin the Universe, doesn't mean one can affirm a non-belief in God. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Therefore, atheism is a knowedge claim. It's not just not believing, but a leap of faith without evidence. Atheism is a positive belief statement, this cannot be denied considering how little we know about the universe."

You have blatantly disregarded the rules set forth in this debate:

'The following definitions were chosen/found/created in order to facility a clear discussion, and MUST BE adhered to. Any attempt to redefine, alter, or otherwise refuse these definitions will result in the forfeiture of the debate'

The reason why I defined atheism as I did, is there are varying types/definitions of atheism that people use, and these discussions become muddled and impossible because people argue about different concepts but use the same terms. I made the definitions as they are and made this debate contingent upon them in order to prevent exactly this issue. There's 'strong atheism', 'weak atheism', 'anti-theism', 'gnostic atheism', 'agnostic atheism', 'non theism', and the list goes on. The ONLY common denominator is the fact that ALL types of atheists are without the belief that god exists. That is the broadest sense of atheism, which I want to discuss. (1)

The following video explains exactly the reason why I used the definitions as I did, and demonstrates the problems that arise when people don't agree on terms when having these discussions:

https://www.youtube.com...

Atheism/theism are positions regarding BELIEF, agnosticism/gnosticism are positions regarding KNOWLEDGE. Saying that atheism is a knowledge claim demonstrates a fundamental epistemological misunderstanding.

==================================================

===================Response #3======================

"Now there are many signs that religious leaders were targeted in various Communist atrocities in the latter-half of the 20th century in Soviet lands. Ordinary people with a strong faith in religion were targeted too. This was, I believe, due to the fact they believed in a power higher than the Soviet leaders who ruled over them at that time. There are many historical documents that suggest this, even though some were destroyed by the Communists when they were losing their empire. Without militant atheism large sections of society would not have been exterminated. Atheism is responsible for many of the atrocities in the Holodomor."

Aside from breaking the rules set forth in this debate, that you agreed to, you just made a handful of assertions without any references or justification. If you don't accept the terms of the debate, you have subsequently forfeited.

Unfortunately, you haven't even presenting anything for me to argue against, other than misunderstanding and unsubstantiated assertions. If you want to change your mind and accept the terms of this debate, you MUST demonstrate that atheism, as defined, is a necessary and sufficient condition for the Holodomor.

==================================================

(1) http://atheism.about.com...

Installgentoo

Pro

Con is special pleading for atheism being literally defined , no-one claims that other words should be literally defined according to their etymological roots.

No-one can prove this type of "atheism" held by no-one, ever, caused an atrocity. I am quitting this debate. OP is being unreasonable.
Debate Round No. 3
MikeNH

Con

"Con is special pleading for atheism being literally defined , no-one claims that other words should be literally defined according to their etymological roots.

No-one can prove this type of "atheism" held by no-one, ever, caused an atrocity. I am quitting this debate. OP is being unreasonable."


I am in no way being unreasonable. You are absolutely at fault for accepting this debate, wherein rules and definitions were clearly provided, seemingly without actually taking the time to read them. I even made my definition EXTRA clear, by adding an additional line at the end

Atheism - the lack of belief in the proposition that god(s) exist, (derived from 'a', meaning 'without', and theism, meaning the belief that god(s) exist), as opposed to and distinct from the positive belief that god(s) do not exist.

Next time, read the rules and actually take a moment to consider the definitions before you accept a debate.

I will rest my case unless you'd like to present further arguments.
Installgentoo

Pro

I have no argument to make. Con's definition of atheism is wrong and he did not explain it in a way that anyone would know what he was talking about earlier in the debate.

My opponents arguments are based on a logical fallacy, so I won't be arguing against them.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by btwinch 4 months ago
btwinch
Hitler was Roman Catholic, if this is the topic we're on.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by mrsatan 4 months ago
mrsatan
MikeNHInstallgentooTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 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:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Con for Pro playing semantics after extremely clear definitions by Con (I don't consider this reason to award all 7 points). Cons arguments were stronger, and Pro had BoP which was not met. Killing people because they believe in or worship God is anti-theism, not atheism.