The Instigator
baggins
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
twsurber
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

If God does not exist, then life is purposeless

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
twsurber
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,012 times Debate No: 16570
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (6)

 

baggins

Pro

==Definitions==

God: The Supreme, Most Merciful, Most Beneficent Lord of universe as envisioned in major religions.

exist: To have actual being; be real

purposeless: Lacking a purpose; meaningless or aimless

== NOTE ==

I believe God exists and life has a purpose. However that is not the subject of this debate. In this debate we will assume that God does not exist and imagine the implications.

No semantic or syntactic argument. Burden of proof is shared. We agree to debate in good faith.

== Introduction ==

If God does not exist, then life on earth is just a random result of a random process. There is not special meaning to life. We are just some chemicals which happens to undergo some kind of process for a 70-80 years. What we do, or do not do does not matter much in this scenario.

Of course, one particular person or community may artificially choose some purpose. The choice may be to enjoy life as much as possible. They may choose to reproduce as much as possible. They may dedicate life to understanding the universe. They might decide to exterminate some other civilization. They may kill themselves by collectively committing suicide. Or blow up the whole planet with nukes.

None of this really means anything. There is no purpose to life.

twsurber

Con

OBSERVATIONS:
1. My opponent cited no sources.

2. The definition of God offered by my opponent is too subjective. While we most likely know who (which G-d) he probably meant, the ambiguity leaves room for speculation even without a squirrel case or semantical case.

3. I challenge the 2nd part of the proposed definition of purposeless, namely meaningless or aimless.

4. I accept the definition presented for exist, and the first part of the definition of purposeless and submit the following definitions of my own:

Purpose:
1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
6. to set as an aim, intention, or goal for oneself.
8. to resolve (to do something): He purposed to change his way of life radically.
Source: http://dictionary.reference.com...

Life:
1. the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.
1b : a state of living characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction
Source: http://dictionary.reference.com...

Motivation:
1. The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
Source: Wikipedia - Dictionary.com - Answers.com - Merriam-Webster

Sign Posting
I didn't catch the 2000 character limit therefore I will only address tag lines in this round

OPP Case Taglines
1. I disagree that life is a random process
2. Individuals do have motivations
3. Athiests that do not accept any God still have purposes in their lives
4. My opponent has contradicted himself on two occasions.
a. "doesn't matter much" much implies some, thus it does matter
b. "choose some purpose" implies there IS purpose

My Case Taglines
1. Basic human needs
2. Goals & Vision statements
3. By what standard?
Debate Round No. 1
baggins

Pro

I. Redefinition

1. Any definitions posted in opening round are part of the argument. Con cannot be allowed to redefine all the terms.

2. In case your arguments rely on definitions - they are semantic in nature - and are not allowed in this debate.

3. I did not provide a source, as I did not find it necessary. My definitions are from [1]. I have defined God on my own.

4. My opponent makes a vague statement that my definitions leave room for ambiguity. If he wants to debate using that he is welcome. The voters will decide whether his arguments are valid and non-semantic. If he decides not to use that, his suggestions are irrelevant.

5. I accept my opponents definition of life. Motivation does not appear anywhere in resolution. My opponent has defined 'Purpose' while the resolution states 'Purposeless'.

II. Word Limit

Debating within limits is a skill. You had the choice to accept or reject the debate. You have 2000 more characters to argue your case. It is not considered correct in debates to introduce new arguments in final round.

III. Taglines

I can only guess the arguments from 'taglines'. I look forward to coherent arguments from my opponent in next round so that I may rebut them properly in my final round.

IV. My argument

Actually most atheist admit that their is no special meaning (purpose or goal) for the universe (and the life it contains). One of the most notorious and pathetic atheist, Richard Dawkins states[2]:

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.

Needless to say, he is speaking with his usual assumption that God does not exist.

[1] www.thefreedictionary.com
[2] http://www.positiveatheism.org...
twsurber

Con

I.
1. Nor can pro define all the terms w/o challenge
2. Definitions cannot be one sided
3. Sources are a voting criteria
4. n/a
5. Motivation is relevant to purpose.

II. concur

III. my case below

IV. Opponent's case.
1. My opponent states "most athiests" most is not "all" which the resolution implies. Since some do, Con wins this point.
2. The quote offered as a contention contains the word "if" which is inconclusive, therefore this contention is unsubstantiated speculation at best which renders it inadmissable as evidence.
3. As my opponent stated, no new evidence shall be admissable in the final round, thus; with this sole contention defeated, he can rebut my case in the 3rd round, but has no case of his own the balance of this debate.

My opponent dropped all of my tagline topics from round 1, therefore they stand undisputed.
-Life is not a random process
-Individuals do have motivations which define purpose
-Some athiests that do not accept a G-d do have purpose in their lives
-My opponent did not appeal his contradictions that I cited.

My case
Tag 1 There are basic human needs. A human purposes to meet these needs out of instinct and necessity. Maslow identified: physiological, safety, love & belonging, esteem, self actualization, and self transcendence.
http://en.wikipedia.org...'s_hierarchy_of_needs As these have to be met, a human MUST purpose to meet them in order to sustain life.

Tag 2 Entrepreneurs, companies, schools, corporations, and many other organizations are ran by human beings. They all have goals, vision statements, and mission statements. These 3 quests are purpose, or reason for the former's endeavors. Thus purpose, not purposeless.

U.S. military doctrine states that activities be defined in purpose, direction, and motivation. As the U.S. military, composed of human beings, has a world wide presence, it has a purpose, thus not purposeless.

Tag 3: As there was no specific criterion that means ANY purpose is acceptable
Debate Round No. 2
baggins

Pro

==Rebuttals==

1. Most, much, some: Con tries to misuse expressions. When I say 'Most atheists' he jumps and says 'MOST, not ALL'. He does not bother to provide a counter-example. Had I said 'atheists' instead of 'most atheists' he would be left without an argument - even though qualitatively, nothing has changed. This kind of argument is clearly semantic in nature, which is against rule of this debate. Such arguments should be ignored. This might be a conduct violation as well.

2. IF: Con wants to reject Dawkins testimony based on an 'if'. A quick look statements confirms that 'if' has not been used as a conditional specifier. A wrong semantic argument.

3. Con 'taglines' that life is not a random process. He has not explained it. He has not shown its relevance to this debate.

4. No standard: My opponent admits there is no specific criterion or standard for life. This means all purpose are equally meaningless because they can never be objectively evaluated.

It is natural that atheists will choose some artificial purpose to lead life. This is perfectly OK. However, as I had explained in OP, none of this purpose can be considered as purpose for life itself. To win this debate, the Con should have proved that one of this purpose is so crucial that it should be considered a purpose for life itself. He has failed completely in doing that.

5. Human needs: Con does not explain why sustaining 'human life' is a valid purpose for life. Why not collective suicide? Since both of them are contradictory, and equally applicable, it means both of them are not real purpose of life.

6. Entrepreneurs, companies, schools, corporations, military: Con has not shown that any of these purpose is having any meaning in life. This means that these are artificial purposes which are not relevant to this debate.

Con has conceded that no 'specific criteria' exists for judging life. This means he admits that life has no specific purpose. The resolution is affirmed.

VOTE PRO
twsurber

Con

Thanks to my opponent.

Rebuttals & Rebuild

1. Misuse of expressions. The resolution clearly means ALL. Most is many, but not all. This is not a semantical argument, it is a valid quantitive argument.

2. Dawkins quote. He in fact used the word "if". If is a lack of certainty or a hypothetical, NOT a definite.

3. Pro introduced the term random process also w/o explaination. People do not just wander around aimlessly, people plan and execute daily happenings and functions with an end result in mind. That is a purpose. They do so to fulfill vital human needs, thus NOT purposeless.

4. While some purposes may seem meaningless to the uninvolved, they are critical to those specifically involved. In this instance, it is my opponent who is playing the semantical strawman. My intent was to convey that since no criterion was established by PRO to the measurement of purpose, then ANY recognized purpose is acceptable for the purpose of this debate. Any recognized purpose is more than NO purpose at all and equals a purpose in life. My very offering of a clarification serves a purpose.

5. People MUST eat and drink. They eat or drink for the purpose of satisfying hunger or thirst. Both the process of eating and drinking are both vital and purposeful for the sustainment of life.

6. The purpose of a company is to produce a good or service which fills its place in supply and demand. Said functions are done by human beings with the purpose of fulfilling a lifetime goal or a human need, or even a human luxury.

VOTER ISSUES:
1. Pro has no specific case of his own, only unsubstantiated rebuttals to mine.

2. I have demonstrated examples of human functions that are vital for the purpose of life.

3. People who do not accept a God do strive to achieve personal & social goals. This effort equals purpose which brings joy and satisfaction to their lives. It is what they live for. It is important to them, thus it is purposeful.

Vote CON
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
too much on voter's rights and less on the actual, very interesting resolution
Posted by baggins 6 years ago
baggins
@ Everyone

Thanks for your votes. Don't worry if you are voting against me. Vote you see fit. I will not get disheartened and I have no intention of taking 'revenge'. When I started this debate, I was not very sure how I will approach it. I was just thinking of a small entertaining discussion...
Posted by Dimmitri.C 6 years ago
Dimmitri.C
Baggins,

I think if you defined the purpose you were arguing in favour of as objective in this debate then you would have established a tenable position.
Posted by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
Same as what Vardas said baggins, i don't want you to lose confidence, but that was a pretty lazy approach considering you were pro.
Posted by vardas0antras 6 years ago
vardas0antras
Sorry Baggins for voting against you twice. I genuinely enjoy your presence here and wish the best, but I put justice before everything. Hopefully, someday you'll be a great debater for whom I will vote.
Posted by twsurber 6 years ago
twsurber
Good contest Baggins! This was much more challenging than I originally anticipated. Congrats on a fine effort! Thomas
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by mecap 6 years ago
mecap
bagginstwsurberTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had a much stronger argument when it comes to demonstrating that life has a purpose. Pro did not demonstrate that God is not an artificial purpose in itself.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
bagginstwsurberTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro disclaimed semantics, but tried to maintain a special definition of "purpose" separate from the dictionary definition that Con sustained.
Vote Placed by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
bagginstwsurberTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro cannot win by only rebutting Con, but must argue for the resolution.
Vote Placed by vardas0antras 6 years ago
vardas0antras
bagginstwsurberTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: (Intro) Short, interesting debate. As a Theist I believe that God is the giver of purpose but not the type of purpose that Pro defined, more specifically: "aimless". (Aguments) Due to the definition provided by Pro, his opponent: Con, clearly wins on this argument: "Entrepreneurs, companies, schools, corporations, military".
Vote Placed by OMGJustinBieber 6 years ago
OMGJustinBieber
bagginstwsurberTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con spent much too much time nitpicking at minor points, arguing semantics, and failed to provide a strong counter to Pro's main argument.
Vote Placed by Rockylightning 6 years ago
Rockylightning
bagginstwsurberTied
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Reasons for voting decision: All tied. I thought con proved the argument of having purpose in daily life very clearly and thoroughly.