The Instigator
debatingturtle
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
XimenBao
Con (against)
Winning
37 Points

If God doesn't exist, we should not show the evidence to the world.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 10 votes the winner is...
XimenBao
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,561 times Debate No: 10382
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (27)
Votes (10)

 

debatingturtle

Pro

This Debate will be about if we found evidence that proves god does not exist one hundred percent, no doubt about it, whether we should show it to the entire world or not. I am saying we should not. Do not go off topic and debate about whether he exists or not. This will be just about the impacts of withholding the info or giving out the info.

We should not do this because if we were to do so, it would profoundly impact everyone's spiritual lives. God gives people who believe in him a hope, if we took away everything people believe in, take away their hopes, people might go crazy, people might kill themselves, many bad things will happen. We should allow people to believe in whatever they want to believe in. if your atheist, fine. If your christian, fine. If your Hindu, fine. Whatever your religion, it gives you hope. We cannot strip away peoples hopes and faith.
XimenBao

Con

I would like to thank pro for providing a clever premise for debate.

Pro has defined neither "God/god" nor "should." I interpret "God" in light of the list of various religions, giving it the meaning of "supernatural being at the focus of any given religion." I interpret "should" as a word "used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency [1]." Thus, to negate the resolution, I must show that revealing the truth is either: binding in law or conscience [2], in conformity to what is socially acceptable in conduct or speech [3], or a means of achieving a particular end [4]. If I can demonstrate any of these things, I will have shown that we should reveal this information.

I will first offer two points of disagreement to pro's R1 argumentation (A1, A2), then offer arguments from obligation, propriety, and expediency (B1, B2, B3) in support of revealing the information.

A1.

Pro warns us of the consequences of stripping away people's faith with our knowledgeable arguments. I argue this is impossible. As the philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote, "It is the heart which experiences God, and not the reason. This, then, is faith: God felt by the heart, not by the reason. [5]"

Pro has asked not to let this debate focus on proving the existence of gods, and I will respect that. However, I invite the reader to look at the archives of debate.org, the current state of theological literature, and then to every religious writing and utterance back to when our earliest African ancestor wondered if there was any higher being watching over him. In your search, you will be unable to find a reasoned proof of any specific god.

You have to go no further than this website to see many reasoned, clever people make arguments for a god, but these clever people never try to argue for the god they actually believe in. They couch their arguments in terms of "first causes" and "ultimate realities," not actual personified deities that influence humanity according to their likes and dislikes.

If reason were capable of tearing down faith, it would be enough to point out that there is no evidence for the specific god of any belief system that can withstand the most rudimentary examination; and that would be that. They fact that this is not the case; that people reject following the evidence in favor of their beliefs, that they reject reason for faith; shows us that our new information would have no impact on people who operate on the basis of faith. Instead, faith dominates and reason would be whipped into service to find ways to reject our information, regardless of its factual value.

I recognize that some people's faith may be weak and they may be swayed by our hypothetical evidence. In those cases, I find it doubtful that their faith was important enough to them that its rejection would induce suicide or insanity.

This negates all of pro's harms as they all rely on the stripping away of faith.

A2.

If you reject the argument in A1, there is empirical evidence countering pro's harm claims.

Pro suggests that a lack of faith would correlate with higher suicide rates, doing bad things, and ‘going crazy.' However, a recent study shows that the less religious a nation is, the lower the suicide and murder rates are [6]. The study does not speak to mental health issues, but in light of established evidence favoring con in the two out of three cases where data is available, the burden of proof is clearly on pro to show that the unknown third case bucks the trend.

With this evidence, pro's harms are not only negated but turned. If we wish to lower suicide and murder rates, we should do everything we can to decrease faith in religion, not protect it.

B1.

Ironically, many religions would create a moral obligation to share this information if we had it. Limiting ourselves to Christianity and Hinduism as per pro's R1:

Leviticus 19:11: Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.

Job 27:4: My lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit.

Proverbs 6:16-17: These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood

Taittiriya Upanishad 1.11.1: Let your conduct be marked by truthfulness in word, deed, and thought.

Laws of Manu 4.138: One should speak the truth and speak it pleasingly; should not speak the truth in an unpleasant manner nor should one speak untruth because it is pleasing; this is the eternal law.

Mahabharata, Shanti Parva 329.13: It is always proper to speak the truth. It is better again to speak what is beneficial than to speak what is true. I hold that this is truth which is fraught with the greatest benefit to all creatures.

Clearly these religions create a moral obligation for us to tell the truth. Knowing that there is no god and not informing others is at best a lie of omission and certainly does not follow the commands to speak the truth and avoid deception. Even if you argue it is not a lie, it is still a deception. Thus there is a religious obligation to spread the information and so it should be done.

B2.

I do not know if pro is American, but as I am, and considerations of propriety demand a societal standard to compare an action against, I will use American society for my comparison.

Americans value free speech and the free exercise of religion. This is the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights and a concept held sacred in our society.

If we believe something to be incredibly important to us, it is our right to do so, and our society supports us. Something on the magnitude of a definitive disproof of gods would certainly be that important, thus it is proper to do so, thus we should do it.

B3.

Revealing the disproof of religion would be a means to an end. As discussed in A2, the less that religion influences a society, the less social problems there are. Thus, presenting believers with irrefutable evidence against the existence of their god may cause some of them to abandon their belief. As discussed in A1, only those not truly fervent are likely to be swayed, but that is still progress towards the goal. This meets the standard of expediency, thus we should reveal the information.

Conclusion.

You only have to accept one reason why we should reveal the information, the argument from obligation, propriety, or expediency. Any one satisfies overturning the resolution. Pro's listed harms for doing so are not only negated by argument, but turned through empirical example.

[1]http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2]http://m-w.com...
[3] http://m-w.com...
[4] http://m-w.com...
[5] http://www.quotationcollection.com...
[6] http://www.timesonline.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
debatingturtle

Pro

I thank Con for his time, I look forward to the rest of this debate.

I will now address each of his points:

A1.
Con asserts that peoples faith cannot be stripped from them, and if it is that is because their faith is "weak." But isn't it true people can be swayed and their thoughts changed? Just look at debate, the purpose of it is to persuade the judge to your way of thinking. If you provided irrefutable evidence that there is no such thing as God(s) then people's minds will be swayed. For example, successful missionaries swayed their listeners faith to Christianity. I admit that maybe the most stubborn religious people might not be swayed, but the majority of people will be swayed. This argument gives me access to my impacts.

Con also says that people will reject the information, people do not reject things that are put right into their faces, they might reject it for a short period of time but eventually be swayed. When Galileo proved that the earth wasn't flat and when Copernicus proved that our planet and the other planets in our solar system revolved around the sun, the theories were rejected for a time but then eventually were accepted. Even if some people completely rejected the evidence then my impacts will still happen to at least some people.

A2.
Con says that Country's without religion actually do better off, the problem with this argument is that it does not include what happens to the country if it starts off religiously and then becomes more non-religious. If a country was non-religious when it started off, then the sudden desertion of their "comfort blanket"( religion) would not have an impact upon them. So this evidence is irrelevant and cannot be considered for this resolution.

B1.
The Con claims that religion itself says that we have a moral obligation to tell the truth, this should not be considered in the evaluation of this round because if the hypothetical evidence proves that God does not exist then the religions themselves will be lying. So any moral obligation that they stated to tell the truth would be gone because they broke their own stated moral obligation.

B2.
The Con says we have a freedom of speech and we should tell people if it would be important to them. I answer with if this evidence hurts them then in this case "ignorance is bliss." If the people are ignorant of this evidence then it will hurt them far less than providing the evidence.

B3.
As stated before this evidence only deals with religions that have always been non-religious. It does not deal with countries that were first more on the religious side so you cannot be sure that this will actually benefit them. In this case the Con cannot prove that his example of America would indeed benefit from its change in faith. I mean if a country suddenly turns less religious its not as if criminals are going to stop murdering people. Plus, this study does not prove that the reason less religious countries indeed have a lesser crime rate than more religious countries is because of religion. There might be several other factors that contribute to this, like population. (And by the way, I am American, just in case you were wondering in your speech).

Conclusion

I have proved that all of Cons claims are wrong and you should indeed not reveal the information because it will cause the impacts as listed in my first speech. You take away the comfort of knowing that there is someone watching over you, stripping someone's faith will cause back lash. So therefore the impacts far outweigh whatever benefits we may have from giving this evidence to the people.
XimenBao

Con

I thank pro for a clear and thoughtful reply.

I would like to emphasize B1 as an easy voting point.

A1.

In light of pro's B1 argument I concede A1 completely and embrace the idea that presenting people with our evidence will change their mind.

A2.

I need to see a lot of support for the claim that the UK and other less-religious countries started off as non-religious. I confess to finding the claim absurd on its face [7][8]. Even were we to grant it, all we have is pro's speculation that our actions creating lower levels of religion would have different effects than the lower levels already observed.

The cited study shows that lower levels of religiousness match lower levels of social problems. This turns any harms pro claims, leaving the reader to count any credibility in the following arguments as a win for con.

B1.

Pro has made a much stronger case for my side than I had tried to, therefore I accept pro's interpretation and go on to examine the impacts. In pro's R2 B1 argument, s/he has stated that in our hypothetical all religious people are in contravention of their moral obligations and are thus immoral.

Having accepted pro's labeling of all religious people in the world as immoral, pro goes on to say that, once we possess this information, the religious will have lost any moral obligation to tell the truth.

Consider that 84% of the world's population is religious [9]. Honesty is vital to the banking industry [10], science and discovery [11], law and justice systems [12], and relationships [13]. With only 16% of the world's population remaining honest and moral, we are looking at a collapse of global finance, technological stagnation, the rise of oppression and corruption, and the beginning of a short and brutal existence in which no one can trust anyone. In this world of poverty, regression, and barbarism, war and chaos cannot be far behind.

This is a recipe for mass disaster, and in the age of nuclear weaponry, possible extinction as those in control succumb to the same fate as the rest of us. When faced with such looming horror, the only way to stop this would seem to be to deconvert as many of the religious as possible, since pro only asserts that the religious would lose all obligations toward honesty. Our only chance is to deconvert as many religious as possible, and hope that we can do so before it's too late.

Having ceded A1 to pro, sharing our ironclad proof is the best way to save us and now there's no downside to using it. Possible lack of hope among the religious does not compare against a global breakdown of society. Thus, following pro's argument in B2 to its logical conclusion, to prevent the destruction of human civilization we must share the information to promote non-religion and restore honesty and morality.

B2.

Pro appears to have misread my argument here. I said "If we believe something to be incredibly important to us" while pro has countered as if I had said "If we believe something to be incredibly important to them." As his counterargument only applied to the mistaken version, it is irrelevant.

Please extend my B2 argument from round 1.

B3.

I am amused by the concept of "religions that have always been non-religious," but do not think it advances pro's argument. Please refer to A2 for further discussion on this.

While I indeed cannot prove that America will become less violent if it sheds religion, nor that correlation equals causation in the case of Europe and Scandinavia, correlation never equals causation. We have to take correlation and decide what it means ourselves.

As Matthew Provonsha wrote on this study "Whether religion leads directly to dysfunctionality, or religions merely flourish in dysfunctional societies, neither conclusion from this study flatters religion. The first tells us that religion is a hindrance to the development of moral character, and the second that religion hinders progress by distracting us from our troubles (with imaginary solutions to real problems). [14]"

In either case, my B3 argument still meets the grounds for expediency: a means of achieving a particular end. Whether it actively helps lower social problems or merely creates an environment in which lower social problems are possible, it is still a means towards the goal. This is something pro did not address and thus remains as a voting point for con.

Conclusion.

While B2 and B3 remained largely unaddressed by pro's arguments and are still possible voting points for con, B1 is the clearest and easiest vote for con as such a vote prevents global collapse, stagnation, oppression, strife, warfare, and nuclear holocaust.

[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[8] http://www.google.com...
[9] http://www.adherents.com...
[10] http://chestofbooks.com...
[11] http://personal.ee.surrey.ac.uk...
[12] http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:cIa1OI_pK9YJ:bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/states/Iowa/01-2019.asp.html+importance+of+honesty+justice+system&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a
[13] http://www.helium.com...
[14] http://www.skeptic.com...
Debate Round No. 2
debatingturtle

Pro

I thank Con for clearing up some arguments for me

A1. conceded by both people.

A2.
Con says that lower levels of "religiousness" match lower levels of social problems. This is untrue because "Other prosperous democracies do not significantly exceed the U.S. in rates of nonviolent and in non-lethal violent crime, and are often lower in this regard."(1) And also from the same article it says "correlation does not mean causation. It could very well be that there is something else underlying this trend; the US is different enough from Europe where that's entirely possible." The study does not prove that religion does indeed hurt society.

B1.
Con says that religion hurts society because I said that people were immoral, I am not saying that if you are religious that you are immoral. I'm saying that you are accepting lies. And as I said before ignorance is bliss in this case. Also, if you do think that everyone who is religious is immoral cons impacts are completely non-unique. If indeed only 16 percent of the world remains moral then we should be seeing all of cons impacts, which we are not.

B2.
this is what Con said in B2 "If we believe something to be incredibly important to us, it is our right to do so, and our society supports us. Something on the magnitude of a definitive disproof of gods would certainly be that important, thus it is proper to do so, thus we should do it."

this is what I answered with "The Con says we have a freedom of speech and we should tell people if it would be important to them. I answer with if this evidence hurts them then in this case "ignorance is bliss." If the people are ignorant of this evidence then it will hurt them far less than providing the evidence."

What I am basically saying is it doesn't matter if it is important, what matters is the harms outweigh the benefits of giving society definitive disproof of gods. So this argument does apply. Con does not answer this, instead he says it doesn't apply then says "extend my b2 arguments." So we must assume that he concedes with this argument. B2 is out of the round.

B3.
well I made a typo when I said "religions that have always been non-religious," also con said "Whether religion leads directly to dysfunctionality, or religions merely flourish in dysfunctional societies, neither conclusion from this study flatters religion. The first tells us that religion is a hindrance to the development of moral character, and the second that religion hinders progress by distracting us from our troubles (with imaginary solutions to real problems). [14]"

The correlation does not prove this. In fact, Con pretty much beats this argument with a prior argument. Con was saying to the immoral argument that only sixteen percent of people in the world are not religious. That means that most countries in the world are more on the religious side. We can't make a correlation between the countries when so few countries are non-religious. If it was fifty fifty then we could make a correlation. But because it isn't, the study doesn't prove what Con says it does. Those conclusions can not be withdrawn from the correlation because there are to many other variables factoring into the equation. Like the number of countries that are more "non-religious" and the population in those countries. Also he does not met the grounds of expediency because it does not actively help lower social problems and it does not create a better environment. If I'm a murderer I would still murder whether I am religious or not, if I'm a rapist I would still rape people whether I'm religious or not.

Conclusion
I have adressed all of Cons arguments, B1 B2 and B3 are not voters. Con concedes that it is possible to strip away faith so you must accept my impacts listed in my first argument. They have a 100 percent probability, Con does not address that the impacts will happen instead he tries to turn it so you must accept my impacts. The harms outweigh whatever benefit we might have from not having religion. Vote Pro.

Sources:
(1) http://stupac2.blogspot.com...
XimenBao

Con

I thank pro for a fun debate.

A1.

Conceded.

A2.

Pro's arguments on this contention support my case rather than his. Pro points out that other prosperous democracies often have lower crime rates. Those are generally the other prosperous countries that have lower levels of religion. I reference Pro's own source for this. In fact, Pro's source goes beyond the arguments I've made previously and says that life expectancy also correlates with religion: the more religious a country, the lower the life expectancy. You can add that to the impacts.

Pro continues arguments relative to A2 in B3, and confuses the world of the status quo with the world of the hypothetical. Leaving that aside, Pro takes the fact that 84% of the world's population is religious and makes a distinction between religious and non-religious countries, saying that if so few people are non-religious, few countries must be non-religious, thus we cannot draw inferences from studies about the effect of religion in different countries.

This is a non-sequitor. Different countries have different numbers of religious people in them. No country is 100% religious or 100% non-religious. Nothing about that prevents us from looking at differences in societies that have different levels of religiousness.

I also find Pro's 50-50 standard unsupported and dismiss it. I also dismiss Pro's final tautology in B3, as murderers and rapists commit murder and rape by definition.

Pro repeated my quote by Provonsha, but he did not counter it. Provonsha recognized that correlation does not equal causation, so he pointed out that it is the case that either "religion leads directly to dysfunctionality, or religions merely flourish in dysfunctional societies." Pro did not directly address this interpretation, instead using the arguments countered above. Therefore I ask the reader to accept it, even if you do not personally agree.

B1.

Pro misremembers his previous argument. He stated in Round 2 B1 that in the world of our hypothetical, "any moral obligation that they [religious people] stated to tell the truth would be gone." Having accepted that, please extend my previous B1 arguments that follow the loss of morals to the collapse of society to nuclear war.

Pro's further objections here are a confusion of the status quo with the hypothetical world in which we possess a disproof of gods. No one has asserted that in the status quo religious people lack a moral obligation to tell the truth, thus it would not be expected to see impacts of that currently. We should only expect these impacts to happen in the hypothetical world of the resolution where I have accepted Pro's assertion that the religious would become immoral once we possess this information.

As a member of society, we have a moral obligation to prevent to prevent it from falling into chaos. Sharing the information is the only way to do so, given Pro's argumentation in Round 2. Thus we should share the information using the obligation definition of should.

B2.
I first remind Pro that while he has reinterpreted his previous argument to address my arguments in this section in round three, he failed to do so in round two, addressing instead an alternate version of my argument that I did not make. Thus it was entirely appropriate for me to point that out and request my earlier arguments on the topic be extended.

This section is arguing that we should share the information based on the meaning of should as "proper," that it is proper to share the information. American values declare it proper to tell unpleasant truths[1][2][3]. Thus we should share it, based on the meaning of should as "proper."

The harm debate will be briefly addressed in the conclusion.

B3.
Much of Pro's B3 response was a better fit to the A2 debate and is discussed there.

As noted before, the value of decreasing religion is most important in B1, as it creates the obligation that meaning of should requires. In this contention, we are concerned with should as expediency, whether revealing the information moves us towards a defined goal. Therefore the effects of that goal are gravy in this argument. As first stated in round 1, the goal is to reduce religion in society. With A1 conceded, there is mutual agreement that revealing this information will further that goal. Therefore we should reveal the information, where should is defined in terms of expediency.

Conclusion.

There are two ways to vote on this debate. First, you could vote on harms. Pro's harms from revealing the evidence such as loss of hope remain unsupported, unevidenced, and unquantified. My harms from not revealing the evidence rely on the studies cited by both pro and myself and include higher crime, shorter life, and assorted other antisocial maladies which are quantified in the various studies and links. At this point, Con is winning the harm debate. Once we add in the harms from B1, where the religious lose their sense of morality and send society spinning into a tailspin of destruction and doom, the harm debate swings even further in con's favor.

The second way to vote is on whether Con met the standards that something "should" be done: obligation, propriety, or expediency. You only have to agree with one to award a vote to con, a metric pro did not dispute. I believe that all three are valid reasons to vote con.

Between the harms debate and any of the three "should" debates, a vote for con is the best choice.

[1]http://olimu.com...
[2]http://www.tnr.com...
[3]http://www.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 3
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
Plus, I didn't lose my mind and/or kill myself when I found out Santa Claus wasn't real, and neither has anyone else.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
yes, it would free their minds and themselves from all the pointless restrictions of religion.
Posted by debatingturtle 7 years ago
debatingturtle
@atheistman, if someone's faith was just suddenly stripped from them, they just learned that everything that they believed in was 100 percent wrong, there would obviously be severe mental impacts. Now I might have exaggerated the impacts for the purpose of this debate, but it is obvious it would harm people who believe there is a god.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
Why would someone kill themself if they just realized that there is no afterlife?
Posted by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
@daniel_t: See, I thought he jumped the gun on that. While your interpretation makes sense, I read "if the hypothetical evidence proves that God does not exist then the religions themselves will be lying. So any moral obligation that they stated to tell the truth would be gone" as conditioning the loss of morality on the existence of the evidence, not its acceptance.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
@XimenBao: Yes, I think I can see what you were trying to do with B1, but I think it was a misinterpretation of Pro's argument. You seemed to take pro's argument as: God believers only tell the truth if God exists; however I interpreted his argument more like: God believers only tell the truth because they *believe* that God exists.

Many God believers that I have spoken to and heard in debates and other forums, have at least implied that if it weren't for their belief in God (whether it really exists or not,) they would lie, cheat, steal, and murder. For example:
Al Sharpton in
William Craig in
Dinesh D'Souza in
Posted by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
@daniel: Did what I tried to do with B1 not come through? And yeah, B3 was a cheap shot, but I always wanted to try it.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
Conduct: Tie.
Spelling and Grammar: Tie.

Reliable Sources: Con. The sources that Pro presented for argument A2 supported Cons argument.

I itemized my opinion on each argument below. I think it's important to note that as far as I can tell argument B3 (If it's a good thing, then we should do it,) is implied by all possible arguments for all debate topics.

Con tells me that if I vote Con for any one argument, then I have to vote Con for convincing arguments. Pro didn't dispute this so I have to vote Con.

Argument A1 - Pro.

Con conceded the argument.

Argument A2 - Con.

Both sides seemed to present sources that support Con's contention that less religious nations tend to be better places to live. (I realize that Pro wasn't saying that this, but his source did.) Both sides seem to accept that proving to people that God doesn't exist would tend to strip people of their religion.

Argument B1 - Pro

Con tells us that according to our religions we have a moral obligation to tell the truth.

Pro says that if religion is wrong about God, then "the religions themselves will be lying." This doesn't follow logically but it does seem to fit with the typical Christian's mindset. They routinely tell atheists that lying, cheating and stealing are acceptable behavior if God doesn't exist. It is only their belief in God that is holding them back.

Con never seemed to address this point.

Argument B2 - Pro

Con tells us that our tradition of "freedom of speech" means that people should speak about what they believe.

Pro's rebuttal seems to be that we also have the freedom to keep our mouths shut if we think our comments will hurt others.

Con interpreted Pro's rebuttal differently than I do. He felt it wasn't topical

Argument B3 - Con.

Con tell us that if it can be shown that telling people is a good thing, we should do it.

Pro tells us that it isn't a good thing, but doesn't deny that if it were good, we should do it.
Posted by nonentity 7 years ago
nonentity
Haven't actually read the debate (I know I probably should...) but I agree with Pro. Sadly, religion replaces the voice in people's head to not to bad things. Taking that away would be chaos!
Posted by debatingturtle 7 years ago
debatingturtle
Apua that hedge cat debate sucked, you know it. Neither of us understood what the resolution meant, I made it and I didn't understand what it was. We just started arguing whether cats take focus away from other things and that cat haters will attack us. Both of which were non-unique by the way.
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Vote Placed by debatingturtle 7 years ago
debatingturtle
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Vote Placed by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
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Vote Placed by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
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