The Instigator
Tatarize
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
jason_hendirx
Con (against)
Winning
38 Points

Evolution is not part of atheism.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/8/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,304 times Debate No: 5680
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (10)

 

Tatarize

Pro

Despite common claims that evolution is simply preaching atheism, this is not the case. Evolution is a well established and evidenced theory which explains the progression, form, organization, and distribution of all the life on this planet without the need of any outside forces. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in God. There were plenty of atheists before Darwinian evolution became widely known and easily properly understood as the mechanism for the design of life.

While there is some congruity between having a firm and robust theory which allows us to understand all life on the planet without needing to genuflect to God and not believing in God. They are completely different.

Ken Miller: Ken Miller is a theist and a world class biologist who fully understands evolution.

Raelians: Raelians are a religious group who believe that aliens created Earth and the life on this planet. They don't believe in God and thus are atheists while they believe in creationisms and often deny the basic science behind evolution.

Without overlap between the two it seems remarkably hard to show that evolution is part of atheism. Further, atheism is only a lack of belief in God giving it a total of 0 claims needing to be accepted by all atheists for them to be atheists. With zero claims and evolution being one claim, it's once again a nearly impossible argument to make.
jason_hendirx

Con

I would like to thank Tatarize for starting this debate.

Atheism as an ideological and intellectual atom does not include evolution. This is true. But nothing can be considered as an intellectual atom within the bounds of reasonable debate, for to do so is to accept an idea without proof or context, to exclude all questions of "why" or "how." Therefore, it is folly to do so for an idea that is as essential to reason as atheism.

What is this context that atheism resides in? First, one must consider the ideas that lead to atheism. For the most public supporters of atheism, this idea is simply the lack of proof for any supernatural phenomena. There is no proof of spirits or ghosts. It is simple, and perhaps logically necessary, to expand this to include the Holy Ghost/Spirit. In other words, it is a profound respect for strict empiricism that leads to atheism for the VAST majority of "believers".

What this love of empiricism implies regarding the origin of species is evolution, which encompasses natural selection and mutation. These are the only things that could cause speciation in a world without ghosts and aliens with invisible evolution lasers. Empiricism implies atheism; it also implies evolution. Both atheism and evolution find their origins in the same idea. They are part of the exact same philosophical phylum.

As for your use of theistic scientists like Ken Miller, I would argue that their faith is so unimportant to their beliefs regarding physical reality that one could say it doesn't exist at all. Every theistic scientist would rather cut out his tongue than cite the Bible/Koran/Tao Te Ching in one of his published papers. Their "spirituality" is utterly divorced from their professional lives because they believe, quite rightfully, that their spiritual beliefs do not deserve nearly the same level of respect as their empirical observations. One could almost say that they hope for rather than believe in their God.

And regarding the Raelians, their beliefs are as Judeo-Christian as a belief system can get without including the Holy Trinity. They believe that the "elohim", the generic Hebrew term for gods, created the Earth, except they were really powerful aliens instead of gods. Their belief system attempts to explain and justify another belief system (Judeo-Christian mythology) that atheists reject completely. This is probably calculated to recruit Christians, but that is a topic for another time. Because the belief system of Raelians is founded on a very non-atheistic one, Raelians are not atheists.
Debate Round No. 1
Tatarize

Pro

My opponent in his opening suggests primarily that atheism is empiricism and empiricists tend to agree with evolution. However, many atheists are not empiricists and many others are not evolutionists and many others are solipsists and nihilists and Buddhists and creationists. Whereas theists are often swayed by the evidence and believe in evolution. In fact, within the United States there are more theists who believe in evolution than there are atheists in general. While evidence might support atheism as well as evolution, it also supports such conclusions as heliocentricity.

Why should evolution be considered a part of atheism and heliocentricty not? Further, some people become atheists after the loss of a loved one. Darwin himself didn't abandon notions of a benevolent God until the tragic death of his daughter. I have known people who lost their faith after being abused by preachers or beaten by parents, or who simply figured it out by analogy to Santa Claus. Why then isn't tragedy, child abuse and Santa Claus part of atheism? Further, Comparative religions and knowledge of the Greek and Roman gods provide strong analogies for children to resist being compelled by similar messages of Christian evangelism so why aren't the Greco-roman gods atheistic?

How does anything my opponent offer make evolution a part of atheism?

---------------------

--"Atheism as an ideological and intellectual atom does not include evolution. This is true."

I thank my opponent for conceding. That went well. Anything good on TV?

-- "But nothing can be considered as an intellectual atom within the bounds of reasonable debate, for to do so is to accept an idea without proof or context, to exclude all questions of "why" or "how." Therefore, it is folly to do so for an idea that is as essential to reason as atheism."

What? My opponent conceded and then tries to rehash something about "intellectual atom"s? Evolution is a scientifically supported thesis explaining the life on this planet and the arrangement of that life. Whereas atheism is the lack of belief in god(s). There's no folly of context or exclusions of why.

-- "What is this context that atheism resides in? First, one must consider the ideas that lead to atheism. For the most public supporters of atheism, this idea is simply the lack of proof for any supernatural phenomena."

Naturalistic materialism is not the same as atheism. I know atheists who believe in ghosts. I know others who believe in astrology.

-- "There is no proof of spirits or ghosts. It is simple, and perhaps logically necessary, to expand this to include the Holy Ghost/Spirit. In other words, it is a profound respect for strict empiricism that leads to atheism for the VAST majority of "believers".

I've known a large number of atheists over the years and most of them don't work backwards. They don't start from strict empiricism and then excludes gods and the divine. Rather they start from a point of non-belief and then move towards unbelief as the invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. None of which has a bearing on evolution.

--"What this love of empiricism implies regarding the origin of species is evolution, which encompasses natural selection and mutation. These are the only things that could cause speciation in a world without ghosts and aliens with invisible evolution lasers. Empiricism implies atheism; it also implies evolution. Both atheism and evolution find their origins in the same idea. They are part of the exact same philosophical phylum."

My opponent is confusing empiricism and science. Empiricism suggests that there should be some modicum of evidence before things are accepted whereas science suggests we should accept theories which properly explain the evidence. While I might be able to concede that atheism and evolution both properly reflect reality and empiricism asks that we only accept those things which are properly reflected in reality, I cannot therefore conclude that the two are the same. We aren't talking about things going hand in hand or "same philosophical phylum" we are debating whether evolution is a part of atheism itself. This is not accurate.

-- "As for your use of theistic scientists like Ken Miller, I would argue that their faith is so unimportant to their beliefs regarding physical reality that one could say it doesn't exist at all. Every theistic scientist would rather cut out his tongue than cite the Bible/Koran/Tao Te Ching in one of his published papers."

Off the top of my head the Gilbert/Zevit 2001 paper "Os Penis, Congenial lack thereof" makes very good and educated citations to the Bible. In fact, having read the paper itself I am very much inclined to believe that their position is likely correct.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

It isn't that citing the Bible is strictly forbidden but that citing the Bible is usually unhelpful.

--"Their "spirituality" is utterly divorced from their professional lives because they believe, quite rightfully, that their spiritual beliefs do not deserve nearly the same level of respect as their empirical observations. One could almost say that they hope for rather than believe in their God."

I think you are being callous and dismissing the sincere beliefs of others to make a point. There are a vast number of Catholics who accept the accepted church position that evolution does not contradict their scriptures and happily accept the propensity of scientific data.

--"And regarding the Raelians, their beliefs are as Judeo-Christian as a belief system can get without including the Holy Trinity. They believe that the "elohim", the generic Hebrew term for gods, created the Earth, except they were really powerful aliens instead of gods."

That simply goes to their underlying religious claims. It doesn't negate the fact that they are atheists and they are creationists. They certainly accept that the Elohim created the Earth as it says in Genesis (yes it says the gods created the Earth in the Bible).

--"Their belief system attempts to explain and justify another belief system (Judeo-Christian mythology) that atheists reject completely."

Atheists don't reject it completely as the Raelians are atheists and they seem to fully accept it.

--"This is probably calculated to recruit Christians, but that is a topic for another time. Because the belief system of Raelians is founded on a very non-atheistic one, Raelians are not atheists."

The only thing which is non-atheistic is something which is theistic. The Raelians don't believe in any gods and thus are atheists. Speculations of their motives aside, they disagree with evolution and are clearly atheistic.
jason_hendirx

Con

You know what? I really can't do this anymore. I forfeit.
Debate Round No. 2
Tatarize

Pro

My opponent forfeited. He wasn't doing well anyhow.

I thank him for his effort.
jason_hendirx

Con

speeding up the process
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Conduct? Pro. Con forfeited.
Spelling and Grammar? Tie.
Convincing Argument? Pro. Con's rebuttals were pretty good, but due to the forfeit, he was never able to flesh it out.
Sources? Tie. Given the logical nature of the debate, sources were not absolutely necessary.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
I forfeit. I really can't do this anymore. Sorry... or not, if it doesn't really bother you.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
I pick up the gauntlet that you have so carelessly thrown to the ground and, donning it, lift it to the heavens with a heathen yell!
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Darwin actually lost his faith after the death of his daughter and didn't really believe in a benevolent God for a long time. Although, he was certainly a believer in his youth he might very well have easily made his way into the definition of atheism in his later years. He would never have said so publicly because he certainly didn't want to hurt his wife.

The earliest evolution would not be at the cellular level but rather the precellular level. While it's obvious that cells evolved and going from a slightly nucleic cell to a nucleic cell is a step in the right direction especially with multicellurism on the horizon is an advancement there's still the evolution of basic bacteria (not just our current forms of bacteria but their precursors) and the sum of RNA life prior to DNA to consider. Things would have been evolving for millions of years before we had anything we'd call a cell. The creationist argument about flagellum isn't that it can't survive on it's own but rather they don't see a gradual method of evolution for the organelle. Scientists do; there's a good deal of papers on the evolution of the flagellum. -- however starting from cells is far too complicated we need to start from the most basic of replicating molecules.
Posted by lxgoalmjc 8 years ago
lxgoalmjc
The earliest evolution would have began at the cellular level which the theory of endosymbiosis supports. It simply states that all parts of eukaryotic cells (cells with nuclei) were once prokaryotic cells (cells without nuclei) that insinuated themselves within other cells and took on a specific function. The theories proof lies within the fact that most of the inner workings of eukaryotes could in face survive on their own. The Mitochondria for example has its own DNA. Creationists actually use this to their advantage because the only part of the cell that actually would not be able to survive on its own would be the nano motors. There is no theory to how it formed leaving creationists pointing the finger at God.
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
Lightkeeper
You can't possibly argue that evolution is not part of atheism because Darwin happened to be a believer.
Evolution is a scientific theory. Scientific theories are not licensed to their creators. They do not depend in their qualities on their creators' intentions.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
"Darwin believed in God therefore Con loses?
Hmmm.... errrrr...... ehhhhrrmmmmm....
Non sequeta?"

No, it's very relevant. If Darwin believed in God, he wouldn't be the Richard Dawkins of the 19th century, so evolution was intended to be compatible with Christianity.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
This is just going to result in a definition war, like the previous ones. Pro will claim atheism is simply a non-belief in God, which makes it a sub-category of a greater philosophy. For instance, naturalism necessitates atheism but atheism does not necessitate naturalism. Con will claim the atheism, as it is practically understood, is a rejection of the supernatural. Is that what Tatarize is looking to debate? The definition of atheism?
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
Lightkeeper
Darwin believed in God therefore Con loses?
Hmmm.... errrrr...... ehhhhrrmmmmm....
Non sequeta?
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Darwin believed in God. Ergo Con loses.
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