The Instigator
nonprophet
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
Valtin
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

Atheism is the default position.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
Valtin
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/18/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,204 times Debate No: 52399
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (83)
Votes (8)

 

nonprophet

Pro



First round is for acceptance only.

For this debate, it must be accepted that the definition of Atheism is "The Lack of the Belief in a God".
Valtin

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
nonprophet

Pro

Atheism is the lack of a belief in a god. The moment we are born, we have no beliefs at all. All babies are born Atheists.
That's why it's the default position. The only way to be a Theist is to learn what a God is and choose to believe in it.
That means you must BECOME a Theist from the default position of being an Atheist.
Nobody is born a Theist.
If you lose your faith in a God, you automatically (without having to choose to) go back to the default position
of being an Atheist.

It's that simple.
Valtin

Con

My argument is basic, that Theism is default, not Atheism.

"Atheism is the lack of a belief in a god. The moment we are born, we have no beliefs at all. All babies are born Atheists.
That's why it's the default position. The only way to be a Theist is to learn what a God is and choose to believe in it.
That means you must BECOME a Theist from the default position of being an Atheist. Nobody is born a Theist.If you lose your faith in a God, you automatically (without having to choose to) go back to the default position of being an Atheist."

Pro is saying that we are born not believing in God, which is wrong, because children are born believing that there is a God:

"Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford's Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose.

He says that young children have faith even when they have not been taught about it by family or at school, and argues that even those raised alone on a desert island would come to believe in God.

"The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children's minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose," [1]

Ofcourse new borns are not developed to think about things or what to believe, they are ignorant sort, another quote that supports my contention:

"Dr Olivera Petrovich told a University of Western Sydney conference on the psychology of religion that even preschool children constructed theological concepts as part of their understanding of the physical world.

Pyschologists have debated whether belief in God or atheism was the natural human state. According to Dr Petrovich, an expert in psychology of religion, belief in God is not taught but develops naturally.

She told The Age yesterday that belief in God emerged as a result of other psychological development connected with understanding causation.

It was hard-wired into the human psyche, but it was important not to build too much into the concept of God. "It's the concept of God as creator, primarily," she said. Dr Petrovich said her findings were based on several studies, particularly one of Japanese children aged four to six, and another of 400 British children aged five to seven from seven different faiths.

"Atheism is definitely an acquired position," she said." [2]

It is natural to believe in God:

"A three-year international research project, directed by two academics at the University of Oxford, finds that humans have natural tendencies to believe in gods and an afterlife.

The £1.9 million project involved 57 researchers who conducted over 40 separate studies in 20 countries representing a diverse range of cultures. The studies (both analytical and empirical) conclude that humans are predisposed to believe in gods and an afterlife, and that both theology and atheism are reasoned responses to what is a basic impulse of the human mind." [3]

We conclude that Pro's claim is false and Atheism is not the default position, but Theism is.

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk...

[2] http://www.theage.com.au...

[3] http://www.ox.ac.uk...

Debate Round No. 2
nonprophet

Pro

I want to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

My opponent makes the claim "children are born believing that there is a God"
His assertion is based on a quote:
Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford's Centre for Anthropology
and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being
because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose.

A predisposition is not based on evidence.
"Young people" are not babies. An assumption doesn't mean it's true. An assumption without evidence
can be dismissed without evidence.

My opponent then goes on to say,
"He says that young children have faith even when they have not been taught about
it by family or at school, and argues that even those raised alone on a desert island
would come to believe in God.

That doesn't make theism the default position. They don't START OUT as theists.
They "would come to believe in God" at a later time. They start out as atheists.


My opponent then proves me right by saying

"Ofcourse (sic) new borns are not developed to think about things or what to believe"
That means new borns can't possibly be theists, because they aren't developed enough to
believe anything!

My opponent then continues to provide evidence that atheism IS the default position!
"even preschool children constructed theological concepts
as part of their understanding of the physical world"
That proves, again that they started out as atheists first, before they "constructed theological concepts"

"belief in God is not taught but develops naturally"
Once again...the belief in god "develops naturally", AFTER one is already an atheist.

More quotes from my opponent:
"It was hard-wired into the human psyche, but it was important not to build too much into the concept of God.
"It's the concept of God as creator, primarily,""

The thing that is "hard wired" into the human psyche, is NOT the concept of god. It's the concept of creation.
When a human sees something with design (like a watch or an airplane) they know from experience
that it was created. However, complexity alone doesn't constitute design, since natural occurring things can also be complex.
Children often confuse complexity with design, so they falsely assume complex things such as trees must have a creator.
This false "creator" is what they label "god".


"A three-year international research project, directed by two academics at the University of Oxford,
finds that humans have natural tendencies to believe in gods and an afterlife."

Believing something doesn't make it true. It's wishful thinking.
It can also be said that "humans have natural tendencies to believe they can win the lottery",
based on how many play the lottery despite the odds of winning.


I'm sorry, but my opponent has failed to provide evidence that proves his claim that
"children are born believing that there is a God"
He did provide evidence that children develop beliefs about god in later life, after they are already atheists.
He also admitted that babies can't be born theists, due to the fact that
"new borns are not developed to think about things or what to believe".

The default position is the position you begin with. My opponent made a clear case that
we begin as atheists and then develop into theists.

NOTE: I did not provide sources, since the sources provided by my opponent actually proved my position that atheism is, in fact, the default position.
Valtin

Con

Rebuttal 1:

If a default position is to be defined as the natural state of things: then I would direct Pro's attention to the historical fact that all clans or races in recorded history had different marks of complex theology. This would imply that Humanity supernatural deity could be hard wired in human genes. Hamer, Dean (2005). The God Gene: How Faith Is Hard wired Into Our Genes. If this were the instance, then Atheism is not the default position but a position that goes against the genes one is born with.

Your conclusion is that Atheism is a default position.
Your premise leading to that conclusion is "Babies are born with a lack of believe in God"
My contention is the premise is false. Babies are born with with a brain. The brain has structures and chemical signals that adults interpret as "religious experiences" Babies have these structures and chemicals in their brain and therefore indicate that they believe in God. Babies are theist by default.

My example of the brain structures does not lead to impossible for anyone to be atheist. Just like babies have the natural default position to poop and pee on themselves, but they grow up and make a decision to use the bathroom. Then the analogy would follow is that Atheism is a conscious decision made.

Therefore in conclusion Theism is the default position not Islam, Christendom, Hinduism,etc.
Debate Round No. 3
83 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
nonprophet
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
@Saska I challenged you to reasonable debate the premise.
Posted by Saska 2 years ago
Saska
@Mhykiel

What is fallacious and ignorant about the premise? I find that to be a standard response from people who have no rebuttal but do not wish to concede the argument. Prove me wrong.
Posted by Saska 2 years ago
Saska
As I said earlier, many different definitions have been provided... many born out of assumptions that are not true for all atheists.

"disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods."
(https://www.google.ca...)

"Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods."
(http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...)

"rejection of belief in God or gods"
(http://www.collinsdictionary.com...)

For every definition you provide to support your claim, I can offer one to counter it. Using online definitions is not sufficient to prove your claim. Which is why I explained how the word is derived and how the definition works, based on the rules of the english language. Any assumptions added beyond it being a lack of belief in god(s) are purely incorrect.
Posted by Valtin 2 years ago
Valtin
@Nonprophet Here is how it goes:
Atheist: "One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods." (http://www.thefreedictionary.com...)

Atheism: " a disbelief in the existence of deity " (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

You have played tricks and witchcraft! you deceitful fox!
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
nonprophet
@Mhykiel Saska gets it, why can't you?
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
@ nonprophet I understand the burden of proof. Something asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

@saska The premise is a fallacious argument of ignorance
Posted by Saska 2 years ago
Saska
@Mhykiel

If a baby doesn't have a belief then he/she has a lack of belief. There is no middle ground. Theism states you have a belief, atheism states that you don't. If you don't know what you belief, you do not have a belief. There was no sufficient proof given to show that babies are born believing.
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
nonprophet
"One of the votes you got was from a guy using his definition of Atheist and not the one you established in your debate."

Then I don't deserve to lose.
Posted by nonprophet 2 years ago
nonprophet
@Mhykiel Then you don't understand "burden of proof"
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by ZMowlcher 2 years ago
ZMowlcher
nonprophetValtinTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument was superb. I've seen documentaries showing that very young children have a predisposition for theism. Pro kept repeating that because they (infants and young children) aren't born with the knowledge of religion, makes them atheistic, which has been proven false by multiple studies across the globe.
Vote Placed by oculus_de_logica 2 years ago
oculus_de_logica
nonprophetValtinTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had only a single argument, mostly semantic related. Con provided with evidence that humans tend to default to theism when left to their own opinion as infants, signalling that theism is not taught and thus is the default position. Pro didn't add to his case in the second round and mostly reworded his initial argument and tried to divert con's case back at him by playing more semantics but provided no counter-evidence trough studies that atheism is the default position outside definition: con made a stronger, more researched case, which is where the sources came in. Even if I agree with pro in principle, I wasn't convinced by his case.
Vote Placed by TrustmeImlying 2 years ago
TrustmeImlying
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Reasons for voting decision: Both provided interesting points, however at the end of the conversation, one must consider the definition accepted in the beginning. PRO wins by atheist... I mean default.
Vote Placed by SNP1 2 years ago
SNP1
nonprophetValtinTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro provided evidence that atheism is the default position, Con used many logical fallacies.
Vote Placed by IslamAhmadiyya 2 years ago
IslamAhmadiyya
nonprophetValtinTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I had this thought in my head once before, but Con's arguments reinforced my standing, and I've read Con's sources in the past from somewhere else, the fact that babies are born with an innate natural instinct per say, to believe in some supreme being that has given them some purpose, if they were stranded on an island or of the sort. I do believe the fact that we humans are born believing in some sort of God because children are imaginative unlike adults, and they think about many things, including the universe etc, so logically they themselves come up with the conclusion themselves that everything that exists has some creator, so they do believe that a 'God' has created the entire universe. It all remains like that until influences from different viewpoints begin to affect their ideology as they grow older. Regarding the debate, Pro didn't seem to refute all of Con's points in my opinion, so my vote goes for Con. Good short debate.
Vote Placed by Kreakin 2 years ago
Kreakin
nonprophetValtinTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments clearly won out here. There is no way a newborn can be a Theist without the concept which they would clearly not have as Pro sucessfully argued. Con's sources are not really much help to his case, however as Pro did not use any they are the most reliable.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 2 years ago
Chrysippus
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by NiamC 2 years ago
NiamC
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Reasons for voting decision: Both arguments were enjoyable to read but I felt that cons was more structured