The Instigator
Feyerabend
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Fkkize
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Atheism is a non-stance.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Fkkize
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 976 times Debate No: 77356
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (1)

 

Feyerabend

Pro

Con to open.
Format no set round structure rebut or propose as you like.
Athiesm Read new Atheist the belief that the proposition 'There is a God' is False'.
Fkkize

Con

Welcome people of DDO! In this debate I will defend the view that atheism is an active stance. The difference between stance and non-stance seems to be analogous to the difference between belief and lack of belief, hence I am going to treat it as such.

My opponent starts out by attempting to affirm the resolution with the following.
"the belief that the proposition 'There is a God' is False'."
However this does not affirm the resolution (atheism is a non-stance) in any way. Let me demonstrate why.
If I say 'rabbits exist' then this translates into Ex(Rx) => There exists an x, such that x is a rabbit. The negation of the proposition 'rabbits exist' translates into ~Ex(Rx) => It is not the case that there exists an x, such that x is a rabbit.
The same applies to the existence of God:
'God exists' is true => Ex(Gx) => There exists an x, such that x is a God.
'God does not exist' is true or 'God exists' is false => ~Ex(Gx) => It is not the case that there exists an x, such that x is a God.
To say, as my opponent does, that 'There is a God' is False' is equivalent to say 'God does not exist'. Hence Pro's opening statement does not affirm the resolution at all.

But let me focus a little more on the resolution or more precisely let me focus on what it means to have a stance.

Stance: A position or point of view | general emotional or intellectual attitude (1)

If atheism would be a non-stance, then an atheist would be, per definition, someone without an attitude towards the existence of God. But this is blatantly false and ridiculous. Neither stones nor newborns nor my table have an attitude towards the existence of God. Claiming all these things are atheists is absurd.
Moreover I and most if not all other atheists do have a specific attitude towards the existence of God. No atheist and especially not the new atheists are in a neutral state of mind when dealing with theistic questions.
Sure many new atheists claim to simply to lack a belief in God or as Pro puts it, have no stance, but this diametrically opposed to their expressed opinions.

Let's recap. We have seen a stance to be a doxastic attitude. Many claim it is impossible to "prove a negative" and that therefore no conclusive argument against the existence of God can be made. God then is like a teapot orbiting the sun.
In this case I suggest a kind of Russellian agnosticism:
"As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods."(2)
(Own emphasis on the highlighted part, because Russell basically negates the resolution.)

It is important to distinguish the views. If one does not think he is able to provide a conclusive argument, then he is not an atheist, he is an agnostic. We can of course attempt to redefine terms, but there is no point in redefining atheism in a way that simply replaces another already existing term.
Especially since not only Russell, but also the rest of professional philosophers agree with me:
"‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God"(3)

Sources
(1) http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
(2) Bertrand Russell 1947, Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic?
(3) http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
Feyerabend

Pro

To clarify, I maintain that atheism as a position in philosophy is a non-stance a distinction without a difference. This because the evidence is the same for both sides; no new evidence can or would be sufficient to establish the case in favour of one or the other.

In terms of commitment, it is not clear that the two views are even incommensurate. Christianity can be seen as the product of an ancient move toward atheism, the denial of causal powers to whimsically motivated pantheons of gods. Both Judaism and Christianity faced censure for atheism; Israel traces itself to a rejection of the Egyptian religion.

New atheism as Con has pointed out appears committed to some form of metaphysical naturalism. I thank him for identifying just what it is I so hatSe about atheism in its new form.

New atheism needs metaphysical naturalism this to establish a view in which science holds sway over religion or non-religion and can import religion at a theological level into the domain of science.

For the new atheism henceforth Metaphysical Naturalist Atheism MNA, it is not enough that the proposition "There is a God", be regarded as unscientific and false it must be false scientifically.

I leave it to Con to decide whether to proceed in this direction or to develop the dispute in another way.

Fkkize

Con

My opponent starts out by clarifying what he is arguing for. He states atheism is a non-stance, "because the evidence is the same for both sides; no new evidence can or would be sufficient to establish the case in favour of one or the other"
However there are several problems with this claim.
1) Pro mentions the new atheists. If anyone of them actually believed this to be an in principle unanswerable question then any big opposition they express towards religious agendas would ultimately be unjustified.
One cannot on one hand argue the question is open and noone really knows what's up, but one the other hand complain about religious atrocities. If the issue about God's existence can't be settled, so can't the issue of the divine commands of a malicious God. Perhaps the crusades are justified after all, who knows?

2) To justify this claim my opponent not only has to show every single argument for the existence of God to be unsound, he also has to show every single argument against the existence of God to be unsound.
The problem of evil seems to be a good example of the latter category and I would like my opponent to demonstrate why this argument fails.

3) In my opening statement I have argued for why atheism is a stance. I can grant the question to be unanswerable, as Pro suggests, however this does not affirm the resolution at all. If anything it would mean that every atheist (and theist) is wrong. My opponent did not properly address my arguments and it seems to me that the undecidability does not prove his claim, but begs for redefining 'atheism'.

I have not pointed out that new atheists are committed to metaphysical naturalism. New atheism is not even a real philosophical position, atheism is. Moreover I highly doubt most new atheists are interested enough in the philosophy behind atheism to know what metaphysical naturalism is. Anyone who read Dawkins' chapter on natural theology in The God Delusion probably recognizes the general philosophical ignorance, common among new atheists.
What I have said or at least intended to say is that metaphysical naturalism is the idea that philosophy should be based on our best empirical theories.
The fact that he hates metaphysical naturalism is neither a philosophical rigorous argument nor relevant to this debate.

A proper metaphysical naturalist is most likely not a new atheist or at least argues in a completely different fashion then one and equating new atheism with metaphysical naturalism is a mistake. An easy to check out example of this is the youtuber Gary Edwards (1). He not only is a naturalist, he also is an atheist in the sense I advocate.

The God hypothesis is scientifically inadequate regardless of one's sympathy for metaphysical naturalism.
"Methodological naturalists see philosophy and science as engaged in essentially the same enterprise, pursuing similar ends and using similar methods."(2)
The opposing view would then be that philosophy and science are disjoint in their methods, which does not make the God hypothesis any less scientifically inadequate.
One can accept this discontinuity of methodology and still accept this in addition to purely philosophical arguments against the existence of God.

I am not sure what direction my opponent is talking about.

(1) https://www.youtube.com...
(2) http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Feyerabend

Pro

I will accept that it is possible that most atheists do not get into materialist metaphyics and so do not hold a materialist correspondence theory of truth. Metaphysical materialism is of little interest to me. I am a stuff monist, believing in both bricks, magnetism and numbers constants even.
Con is perfectly correct in his observation that it is possible to deny the existence of 'God' without meeting the charge of being committed to the existence of something which you then deny the existence. Russell is right that at least in first order logic we are not committed to the use of 'existence' as a predicate.
Indeed it is not clear that we can meaningfully use existence as a predicate; say for example that some things exist and some things don't . This is a point that I happily cede to traditional atheism.
I merely question whether the stance they take is a real stance since if it is not predicative but quantitative then it neither asserts nor denies anything about anything.
You can't treat existence in a non-predicative way at one moment and then borrow it back later as a predicate at a later point, without openness to the charge of fallacy.
New atheism as far as I can tell is probabilistic methodological atheism although it is often argued for in a style that comes across as dyed in the wool correspondence truth theory. In countries where religion is less prevalent it is difficult to understand how real the participants take these issues to be. In countries where discotheques bands and even Mexican food to be awesome it is natural to treat all arguments as being about ultimate facts.
The scientism of the Popperian variety which is ostensibly the basis of Dawkins' position is not replete with such hard facts.
Contemporary Science makes essential use not only of of probabilities but orders of probaility. This makes it very difficult decide what the meaning of "God exists with a probability of 0.00001 -.000001 might mean. It certainly seems to allow the existence of God relative to some modalities or possible worlds. The content however is mysterious no answer to the question of what two minimally different possible worlds one with a God the other sans God would be like. If they would be phenomenologically identical what would the import of 'There is no God be' Why might it not be that the one with a God is less religious.

Cons second point the about substantive nature of the statement 'God exists' is doxastic. Religious beliefs have consequences, people commit acts they would otherwise consider unethical in support of their beliefs.

The initial problem with this stance is of course that if there is no God there is nothing for people to have beliefs about, wars over soccer matches make more sense since, at least there are National teams to support. Strictly speaking that should be an end to the matter. Swift parodies the European wars of religion as a dispute over which end of the boiled egg one should crack at breakfast. No God then no belief in God, no belief in God no doxastic cause.

Dawkins does not claim that God is to blame for war he claims that belief in God is responsible for religion which is responsible for war. It is an ambiguous and controversial area in theology whether we can know God. The ineffability of the divine as it were gets in the way. Atheist religions take this reasoning to the extreme maintaining that we live in a world that is ultimately unfathomable from our own perspective in any way. Buddhism and to extent Jainism being prominent examples. It is difficult work out what Ancient Egyptian Religion believed in, its gods seems to represent aspects of reality that we recognise today motherhood, death , law, wisdom, fate. Judaeo-Christianity a transcendent but sometimes imminent God. Within these a great many variant epistemology especially persist. Arguing against religions is like arguing against a Hydra.

A general scepticism about what one is taught or told and a willingness to base one actions and behaviour on well validated beliefs is a trait to be encouraged, privileged hidden and externally unverifiable facts are generally to be distrusted. A clear case is the Jewish belief that God confers land rights. I can always be argued that this is not what Jews absolutely believe that you can be a Jew without a commitment to Zionism etc.

This has to be taken in a context where most nationals would maintain a right to a homeland and where the claim for an inalienable right can be freely substituted for God-given right. There are certainly atheist Jews who maintain they have the right to a homeland as a homogenous people.

The causal role of beliefs is genuinely handled by counter-factual or modal logic.
if a beliefs F1,F2,F3 then a would D do P,Q,R. .
It is certainly the case that beliefs have consequences on the whole if someone believes there is a bomb in his house then he leaves his house. (Unless as some do, we deny the existence of beliefs, as opposed to intentional stances.)
The atheist claim here is that the belief 'There is a God' leads to deviation from the actions we would otherwise commit ceteris paribus. The real question however is whether religious beliefs differ from other beliefs, Is the belief 'There is a God' more directly involved as a causes bellum than 'my country right or wrong' patriotism, honour communism belief in the right to self-preservation, social Darwinism (Darwin's son was a leading Eugenesist' for persons and nations nations, belief in the right to maximise national wealth....
Is it possible that religious beliefs good or bad have no real effect on the behaviour of religious groups. Was Martin McGuiness fighting for catholics as believers or for catholics from a sectarian view.
Fkkize

Con

Materialism is an antiquated term. I think what Pro means is either physicalism or naturalism, however, I completely fail to see the connection to the correspondence theory. A naturalist is not committed to it.
I never made a connection between Russell and existence as a predicate. In fact, I never talked about predicating existence.
Atheists do deny that God exists. I have written a fairly lengthy paragraph explaining why atheism is a stance and accordingly denies God's existence.

My opponent proceeds by confusing probability and modality. That aside, if no current date whatsoever suggests a divine mind to be a likely explanation for any phenomena in this world, then the God hypothesis remains scientifically inadequate, which suffices for the new atheist's claim.

Afterwards Pro claims "if there is no God there is nothing for people to have beliefs about", but that is not true. I don't believe that unicorns exist. Do unicorns have to exist or me to have this belief? No, I only need to have some concept of what an unicorn or God is to hold a doxastic attitude towards any statement about them.

Unfortunately the rest of his rebuttal has nothing to do with whether or not atheism is a stance and he is incorrect when he claims the nature of beliefs to be handled by modal logic. I'd like to see a citation for this.
My arguments from last round have at best been implicitly touched upon and the claims I wanted my opponent to substantiate remain baseless.
Debate Round No. 3
Feyerabend

Pro

With regard to the previous arguments I am mystified by the line Con is taken and his inference to the necessity to simultaneously provide a refutation of each and every proof for or against 'God exists' in order to show my point to be valid. I thinks a sample survey of proofs and disproofs shows that this cannot be done.If a proof were to be given of God through reference to facts about the physical world it would indicate either a mistake in the proof, or unsoundness in the logic itself. Logic is concerned with the conservation of truth, it is not intended to be productive in the sense that it provides grounds for the extension of its domain.
Logic is a means of working out tu adop the consequences of what we already know or newly discover.
It is not possible or desirable that a valid logic when applied to a set A prove anything about a disjoint set B.
for a logic covering a domain D=[a,b,c] it should not be possible to formulate proofs about a domain B-[f,g,h} unless the two are both proper subsets of a super-domain AB which forms the domain of predication.
The proofs of logic are relative to a domain.To fall under a predicate P is to belong to a proper subset of a domain for which P holds.

Materialism is not an antiquated term for physicalism. You can be a materialist without being a physicalist, but not the other way round. Basically physicalism is a refinement of materialism it posits only a material reality but allows for description of that reality in terms of immaterial predicates over immaterial objects such as causes, effects, probability, energy etc provided a supervenience relationship holds between the theoretical entities, predicates and the material elements such that any change in our material description of matter is reflected at the theoretical level. There is no general agreement about the precise definition of this supervenience relationship strictly therefore. Physicalism is a construction in progress.
Semantics is a theory of meaning, theorists of meaning generally equate the content of a statement with whatever needs to be the case for its truth conditions to be met,
So for example 'I am in the UK' conveys that the sate of things is such that I am in the UK.
From a materialist atheist point of view the Atheist viewpoint is that talk about God is balderdash, having nothing to do with the world of science or the world at large.

Proofs of God

1) Folk proofs these range from Madonna statues weeping blood, images of Jesus on digestive biscuits through, aversions of terrible calamities (you should see what happened to the next village) to angels appearing at battlefields ( A commonly held belief at the Somme), The content of these being just that something was seen felt or heard and no more. These proofs fall to the principal of
simplest or most economic explanation. This being a real principle on a physicalist view. Such proofs fail because you can't ground new ontologies on a single biscuit. . Most religious 'proofs' of this kind tend fall on grounds of availability of alternative explanations.
2) Ontological Proofs seek to derive the existence of God from the concept of God much in the way as we do mathematical induction. A number has a successor so their are an infinity of numbers.
0,S(0),SS(0) being equivalent to 0,1,2 and so on. In Anselm's version that than which no greater can be conceived must exist otherwise a greater thing could be imagined that being in reality.
This argument falls on number of grounds. Most importantly it lacks a rung passed which a concept must be considered as having instantiation in reality.In this case in I inability is there any differ receive between imagining something in reality. Do we imagine things as though they are note real,how can the mode of imagination have anything to with instantiation.
Descartes run basically the same argument and so does Godel, No argument has yet passed muster, There are logics which support Ontological generations. But many, I think rightly,
would discount their soundness on that basis alone. It is also possible that
3) First Mover, Aquinas. One of the core tenets of science is that everything has a cause It is possible to argue from this that the whole of the universe has a first cause. The theist then claims that this first cause is God and God is extra-universal, Hence there is a God. In the design view we can get further evidence of a divine plan by observing the intricacies of the universe, they have all the marks of an intelligent creator. Hence there is a God. If this argument worlds at all it leads nowhere towards to a God of faith. We can account for apparent order by noting that is part of the role of science and people in general to find order in chaos so they can make predictions about and to some extent control reality.While this argument may succeed with a physicalism it is not clear it would be readily accepted by more hard-going materialist.The content of the argument if accepted there is material causation and the universe was caused.
4) Argument from evil. This is the argument is the reverse of the the theist teleological argument the universe if it is designed shows evidence of a faulty design or evil design both of which are incompatible with a God of faith. The force of this argument is whether or not you believe in a creator, whatever formed the world created an imperfect world which contains evil. Strictly this is not against the notion of a creator God but a denial of the religious attributes that can be applied to a nominal first cause.

Traditional Atheism then concerns the statements of science the ontology of science. The purely logical proofs may be seen either as an attempt to extend the ontology and face the challenge of reasoning outside of their domain, note this is not the case for unicorns or even Greek Gods, which could be a
rgued for or against within the ontological categories of a biology we might even be able to bio engineer a unicorn. The resolution of such matters being obfuscated only by happenstance and the difficulties of mounting an adequate and exhaustive search. 'God' does not conceptually belong to within the realm of observables and it is difficult to see what physical facts observations follow from the statement God exists as opposed to the statement God does not exist. What establishes the supervenience of a putative God over the world of observable matter. Without such a relation the statement that God does or does not exist has no content. It asserts nothing at all about the states of affairs that do or will persist in the world.
New atheists however that statements like 'God Exists' are scientifically provable. From which it follows that they have content. Ontologically this seems to be a denial of Materialism. If God could possibly exist then there can be entities which are not physical in the sense that they are not material and do not satisfy the supervenience relationship. What most puzzles me is how Dawkins and Dennett a highly regarded can even being to argue that God is possible. Con thinks this is down to a confused confutation on my part of probability and possibility. On a simple view of probability it is intuitively obvious that is if something is impossible it has a probability of 0. If something must happen, is certain certain to happen then it has a probability 1. But where do you begin assigning probality to a statement about the existence of things in an alternative domain.
In summary my claim is that statements of a domain D[f1,,,,,,,fn ] and a second disjoint domain D# [g1,,,,,,,,,,,,,,gn] in a logic applied to D a state Ex( x=g] is meaningless.
Fkkize

Con

My opponent is puzzled as to why I would require him to refute most if not all arguments for an against the existence of God. I would like to remind him of what he said in round two:
"because the evidence is the same for both sides; no new evidence can or would be sufficient to establish the case in favour of one or the other"
This claim needs justification and accordingly I asked him to refute the problem of evil. That would have been justification by way of example to me.
...

Materialism is indeed an antiquated term, nowhere in contemporary literature are you going to find someone describing or defending materialism. Physicalism includes a broad spectrum of differing views. As I understand it, physicalism is the view that in principle everything about the world can be described by an ideal physics. If magic could be described by certain laws, then a physicalist could even believe in magic.
So no, a physicalist does not, contrary to a materialist, hold that everything is matter.
Pro argues atheistic materialists reject the idea of God, since it does not conform with science. This however is an a posteriori insight and has nothing to do with his prior talk about materialism.

Proofs of God

1) I agree with me regarding the falsity of such proofs. He hints at the law of parsimony, which does not refute this kind of argument by any means, it just places the onus on the side making the less simple claim. It is a general principle of metaontology not only atheistic physicalists.

3) A physicalist by no means thinks this argument is successful. Physicalists, materialists, idealists and dualists of all sorts can accept or reject the argument for various reasons, completely disconnected form these particular stances. For example the philosophy of time or eternalism to be more precise gives good reason to reject the argument. Eternalism is compatible with all the above listed stances.

4) The argument from evil is most certainly not an argument against a nominal first cause. The argument can be constructed generis paribus for a great variety of deities, as long as they are defined as allpowerfull, allknowing and allgood.

Traditional atheism has been around longer than anything we would recognize as the scientific method. 'Atheism' originates from the ancient Greek word 'atheos', meaning "godless" or "without a god"(1)

Whatever it is new atheists claim exactly and whether or not it is consistent has no bearing on this debate. This paragraph does not affirm "Atheism is a non-stance." by any means.

(1) https://en.wiktionary.org...
Debate Round No. 4
Feyerabend

Pro

With regard to the previous arguments I am mystified by the line Con is taken and his inference to the necessity to simultaneously provide a refutation of each and every proof for or against 'God exists' in order to show my point to be valid. I thinks a sample survey of proofs and disproofs shows that this cannot be done.If a proof were to be given of God through reference to facts about the physical world it would indicate either a mistake in the proof, or unsoundness in the logic itself. Logic is concerned with the conservation of truth, it is not intended to be productive in the sense that it provides grounds for the extension of its domain.
Logic is a means of working out tu adop the consequences of what we already know or newly discover.
It is not possible or desirable that a valid logic when applied to a set A prove anything about a disjoint set B.
for a logic covering a domain D=[a,b,c] it should not be possible to formulate proofs about a domain B-[f,g,h} unless the two are both proper subsets of a super-domain AB which forms the domain of predication.
The proofs of logic are relative to a domain.To fall under a predicate P is to belong to a proper subset of a domain for which P holds.

Materialism is not an antiquated term for physicalism. You can be a materialist without being a physicalist, but not the other way round. Basically physicalism is a refinement of materialism it posits only a material reality but allows for description of that reality in terms of immaterial predicates over immaterial objects such as causes, effects, probability, energy etc provided a supervenience relationship holds between the theoretical entities, predicates and the material elements such that any change in our material description of matter is reflected at the theoretical level. There is no general agreement about the precise definition of this supervenience relationship strictly therefore. Physicalism is a construction in progress.
Semantics is a theory of meaning, theorists of meaning generally equate the content of a statement with whatever needs to be the case for its truth conditions to be met,
So for example 'I am in the UK' conveys that the sate of things is such that I am in the UK.
From a materialist atheist point of view the Atheist viewpoint is that talk about God is balderdash, having nothing to do with the world of science or the world at large.

Proofs of God

1) Folk proofs these range from Madonna statues weeping blood, images of Jesus on digestive biscuits through, aversions of terrible calamities (you should see what happened to the next village) to angels appearing at battlefields ( A commonly held belief at the Somme), The content of these being just that something was seen felt or heard and no more. These proofs fall to the principal of
simplest or most economic explanation. This being a real principle on a physicalist view. Such proofs fail because you can't ground new ontologies on a single biscuit. . Most religious 'proofs' of this kind tend fall on grounds of availability of alternative explanations.
2) Ontological Proofs seek to derive the existence of God from the concept of God much in the way as we do mathematical induction. A number has a successor so their are an infinity of numbers.
0,S(0),SS(0) being equivalent to 0,1,2 and so on. In Anselm's version that than which no greater can be conceived must exist otherwise a greater thing could be imagined that being in reality.
This argument falls on number of grounds. Most importantly it lacks a rung passed which a concept must be considered as having instantiation in reality.In this case in I inability is there any differ receive between imagining something in reality. Do we imagine things as though they are note real,how can the mode of imagination have anything to with instantiation.
Descartes run basically the same argument and so does Godel, No argument has yet passed muster, There are logics which support Ontological generations. But many, I think rightly,
would discount their soundness on that basis alone. It is also possible that
3) First Mover, Aquinas. One of the core tenets of science is that everything has a cause It is possible to argue from this that the whole of the universe has a first cause. The theist then claims that this first cause is God and God is extra-universal, Hence there is a God. In the design view we can get further evidence of a divine plan by observing the intricacies of the universe, they have all the marks of an intelligent creator. Hence there is a God. If this argument worlds at all it leads nowhere towards to a God of faith. We can account for apparent order by noting that is part of the role of science and people in general to find order in chaos so they can make predictions about and to some extent control reality.While this argument may succeed with a physicalism it is not clear it would be readily accepted by more hard-going materialist.The content of the argument if accepted there is material causation and the universe was caused.
4) Argument from evil. This is the argument is the reverse of the the theist teleological argument the universe if it is designed shows evidence of a faulty design or evil design both of which are incompatible with a God of faith. The force of this argument is whether or not you believe in a creator, whatever formed the world created an imperfect world which contains evil. Strictly this is not against the notion of a creator God but a denial of the religious attributes that can be applied to a nominal first cause.

Traditional Atheism then concerns the statements of science the ontology of science. The purely logical proofs may be seen either as an attempt to extend the ontology and face the challenge of reasoning outside of their domain, note this is not the case for unicorns or even Greek Gods, which could be a
rgued for or against within the ontological categories of a biology we might even be able to bio engineer a unicorn. The resolution of such matters being obfuscated only by happenstance and the difficulties of mounting an adequate and exhaustive search. 'God' does not conceptually belong to within the realm of observables and it is difficult to see what physical facts observations follow from the statement God exists as opposed to the statement God does not exist. What establishes the supervenience of a putative God over the world of observable matter. Without such a relation the statement that God does or does not exist has no content. It asserts nothing at all about the states of affairs that do or will persist in the world.
New atheists however that statements like 'God Exists' are scientifically provable. From which it follows that they have content. Ontologically this seems to be a denial of Materialism. If God could possibly exist then there can be entities which are not physical in the sense that they are not material and do not satisfy the supervenience relationship. What most puzzles me is how Dawkins and Dennett a highly regarded can even being to argue that God is possible. Con thinks this is down to a confused confutation on my part of probability and possibility. On a simple view of probability it is intuitively obvious that is if something is impossible it has a probability of 0. If something must happen, is certain certain to happen then it has a probability 1. But where do you begin assigning probality to a statement about the existence of things in an alternative domain.
In summary my claim is that statements of a domain D[f1,,,,,,,fn ] and a second disjoint domain D# [g1,,,,,,,,,,,,,,gn] in a logic applied to D a state Ex( x=g] is meaningless.
Fkkize

Con

My opponent copied and pasted his rebuttal from last round, thus I extend all my points.
Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Feyerabend 1 year ago
Feyerabend
If you treat 'There is a God' As an assertion to be assessed on probabilistic grounds you face a modal problem.
The semantics for probability assignments follow a modal (Possible worlds) mode.
From The statement ' 'The proposition there is a God', has probability 1bring an object a probability of '.00000001.' Into a logical domain. A quick flip on the ontological argument take the idea that a God that is God in 2 possible is greater than a God that exists in only one possible world and that a God that exists in every possible world is greater than a God that exists in only n possible worlds then we get to the idea that God must exist in all possible Worlds and hence in by necessity in this one. This argument can be made for any modal system where probabilities other than 0 and 1 are employed.
Posted by Feyerabend 1 year ago
Feyerabend
Probabilities over existents for the moment we are dealing with talking about god at all assigning probabilities for the existence of God have to be built in something (Happy to debate this). This is not intended to be a God Exists does not exist, in fairness it ascribes the statement There is a god the status of a non-stance. Not to hold that view would commit me to the position that there is a real meaning to either assertion.
Posted by evangambit 1 year ago
evangambit
Atheism is, typically, the belief that "P(supernatural deity) < .01" or, alternatively, P("supernatural deity) > .99 (or whatever threshold you want). Such claims are certainly stances and require their own evidence to support them. I can claim there is no nitrogen in the air, but that doesn't mean it's a "non-stance".

What makes Atheism different that most beliefs is that the theory "god exists" has no predictive power and is not falsifiable. But this doesn't make the Atheist claim a non-stance (it just means they're making a claim that is supported by probability theory).

TL;DR Any claim of probability is a stance.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
Is Asantaism a non-stance?
Posted by missmedic 1 year ago
missmedic
yeeyuen7
I was using faith in the context of religious belief, not as a substitution for "hope or trust". It was not my intention to imply otherwise, nor was I trying to disparage the use of the word in the context of "hope or trust".
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
atheism=belief to the contrary
Posted by yeeyuen7 1 year ago
yeeyuen7
@missmedic Thats the viewpoint im taking after as well! You summed it up really well, living for learning instead of simply accepting. I would not be so swift and stern to decry faith as having no virtue or value though, human beings will always require some essence of faith in relationships and fulfilling their emotional capacity. Its the mutual faith between my loved ones and social interactions that stave depression away as I mine for answers to the deeper questions in life.
Posted by Fkkize 1 year ago
Fkkize
"Yes and metaphysical naturalism seems to be a bad choice of position."
How so?

"You can be an atheist without adopting this viewpoint."
Of course, however one would be missing out on some fairly strong weapons in his arsenal. The naturalist believes philosophy should be based on what our best emirical theries have to say. This would then apply to the God question as well, giving you a great edge.
Posted by Feyerabend 1 year ago
Feyerabend
Yes and metaphysical naturalism seems to be a bad choice of position. You can be an atheist without adopting this viewpoint.
Posted by missmedic 1 year ago
missmedic
Faith is not an adequate or reasonable defense of any belief or belief system which purports to have any empirical connection to the reality which we all share. Faith is also an unreliable and irrational basis for singling out one religion and claiming that it is true while all other religions, as well as any competing secular philosophies, are false.
Faith required that you believe despite an absence of expected evidence or despite the presence of conflicting evidence.
But how do we detect lies?
Through the absence of expected evidence or the presence of conflicting evidence. The very things that faith demanded we disregard. The most rational and sensible position is to simply withhold belief and remain an atheist.
Faith has no value.
Faith is not a virtue.
From the objective perspective, rationality is a virtue because it permits me to ground my thinking on reality, which is more conductive to the pursuit of my goals than fantasy. For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Philocat 1 year ago
Philocat
FeyerabendFkkizeTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: 'Stance' was defined by Con and implicitly accepted by Pro (he didn't dispute it), so Pro's definition of 'stance' formed the basis for this debate. Pro failed to prove that atheism isn't actually a point of view, and that atheists actually have no attitude towards the matter of God's existence. Con demonstrate how this is not the case by presenting a thorough analysis of the concept of atheism. Pro largely dropped Con's arguments and effectively forfeited round 5 by just c/ping his round 4 text. Therefore, Con gets the points for arguments as he upheld the burden of proof whilst Pro did not. Con also gets S&G, since he had near-perfect spelling and grammar whilst Con made frequent typos, spelling and grammatical errors that actually made his arguments quite difficult to read.