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The Contender
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In an Atheistic World, the American Concept of Inalienable Rights is Based on Sound Reasoning

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/11/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,725 times Debate No: 29089
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (38)
Votes (1)




Full Topic: The resolution states, “In an atheistic world, the American concept of inalienable rights is based on sound reasoning”. That is to say, that in the absence of deities or a higher power, the concept that life, liberty, and property are universally inalienable is based on sound reasoning. The key words for this debate are:

"inalienable", or unable to be taken away. Although these rights can be abused, humans will always have the right to life, liberty and property.

"universally", I.e. the right to life, for example, is not bound by the political boundaries, racial boundaries, or socio-economic boundaries that encompass our world.

Burden of Proof:
B.O.P is with Pro for this discussion.

As Con, I will be examining Pro’s claims and determine if they are sound.

Structure of the Debate:

R1: Pro gives thesis and opening argument.

R2: Arguments continue to be presented, keeping your previously stated thesis in mind. Cross-examination commences.*
Direct rebuttals can be made.

R3: More arguments presented, direct rebuttals can be made.

R4. Closing remarks, direct rebuttals can be made.
No new evidence/sources may be presented.

*Note: cross-examination is a series of five (5) questions, located at the end of your argument and directed to your opponent, that must be answered by your opponent's next response (not necessarily next round). If you are unable to answer these questions, a valid reason must be submitted.



Thanks to my opponent for presenting this debate.

I would like to start off by presenting some definitions of my own. Aethism is the rejection of the belief of deties instead of an absent one.

Next, when he says "inalienable" it means Unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor. And since this is in America, the possesor will have to be the American government.

C 1. Equality
Aetheist believe that there is no god, and therefore turn to look towards scientific means to justify their existence on this earth. Science then reninforces that we all are one human being capable of living one life, just as everyone else. Since there is no set social status, made by religion, we all are made equal, and die equal. Because of this they have certain standard of human rights which can not be taken away. As explains, the more religious you are the more you may ground your generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns. While being aetheist gives you the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not. Because of the more compassion, they therefore believe more in the power of eachindivual, deeming inalienable rights.

C2. One Life
Under the concepts of aetheism, aethists accept the fact that there is one life, the life that we live on earth. They believe that there is no existence after death, or reincarnations of sorts. This means, that because this is our one life, it is the sort of heaven that religious people strive for. We have been bred so far, just like how religious people try to good in order to achieve heaven. We are born into this world/heaven, and because it is temporary, it provides the basis for the fact that each moment in every indivual live's is invaluable, because once finished, it will be done forever. Not only that, it means that the quality of life is important too, becuase if we live an inhumane world with no undeniable rights, then we can maintain a rigidity of rights to allow everyone basic necesseties. Because of this, it once again allows for the sound reasoning for inalienable righs.

C3. Smarter
Science Daily says that religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see "the hands of God" at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. "Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid," says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. "So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists." and so , more intelligent people are statistically significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history

C4. Empiricism
As described by pscyocology today. More than 1,500 distinct cultures throughout the world documented in The Encyclopedia of World Cultures, only 19 contain any reference to atheism. Not only do these 19 cultures exist far outside of our ancestral home in the African savanna, but all 19 of them without an exception are former Communist societies. Because they are communists, that means that they all have the reasoning to believing in the inalienable right to the sharing of money, wealth, and social stature, (all htough that may be a bad inalianable right)

As for the cross-examination, I think its kind of hard to do cross-examination when you have really presented your case. I look forward to this debate because I really like this issue. Thanks for debating.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank you for accepting the debate. I'll make quick work of this.

The Universality of Rights

Within the third paragraph Pro immediately drops the universality of rights by saying that “the possesor [sic] will have to be the American government.” If rights are restricted to the political lines on the map, they aren’t universal. On this point, Pro has failed immediately to uphold the definition given in R1.

The Government Giveth And Taketh Away

If our rights are owned by individual governments, then it is immediately questionable if these rights are inalienable. If our liberty can be “possessed” or given by government, then it must be accepted that government is justified to (1) define rights, (2) take away those rights.

In light of this, the middle-east’s shari’a law is justified to disallow women a right to fair trial, and immunity to cruel and unusual punishment; Germany’s Nazi party was justified in authorizing the holocaust; Europe’s Inquisition was merely the government exercising their rightful jurisdiction; the global enslavement of the African race, and countless other atrocities are all justified under Pro’s theory.

Even if it is accepted that government can only give, instead of take -- although I see nothing stopping them -- absurd conclusions can still be drawn from the simple fact that governments aren’t eternal and new ones may emerge.

Let’s imagine the primitive government first established on earth. If it is permitted that government is the possessor of our rights, then this new government, free from any predecessors, may define them the way it sees fit. Let’s say this government has a thing for pedophilia and considers it a right that all its inhabitants may “enjoy.” As our children are being taken away for the enjoyment of the government goons, we’ll cry out in rage. Nevertheless, no sympathy may be found for us as, according to Pro, the government is perfectly entitled to define Liberty. This new government is not taking away any rights because, as this government is the first, rights could not have existed before it.

Government Is Not Eternal

This leads me to my second point, what if there’s no government? There was a time before this institution was established. Did humans have a right to life then? Logic tells us yes, as we intuitively consider our rights inalienable, but Pro’s theory answers with a resounding “No”. In light of this and the points I made above, we must conclude that Pro’s theory does not allow our rights to be “inalienable” as it is dependent on the will and existence of government.

The Asserted Consequences of Atheism

Although it is fascinating that atheists believe in equality and one life, it has zero relevance to the debate. The primary question is, “Are such beliefs based on sound reasoning?” As I have shown above, they aren’t. So far, in an atheistic world, your rights are limited to the lines on a map and are alienable in the absence of government. That’s not living up to the American concept of universal, inalienable rights.


Q1: In what way does government posses our rights?

Q2: You say, “
the possessor [of our rights] will have to be the American government”. In all the foundational documents of our country, where does it say this ?

Q3: You say that, on atheism, “we all are made equal”. How can you correlate this with the principles of Natural Selection, which implies that inequality exists?

Q4: In the complete absence of government, do we have any rights?

Q5: If so, why? and where do these rights come from?



Thanks for the quick reply. First on my opponents

The Universality of Rights

When I say the American government, it is made in the resolution that the "American concept" of american rights. Now I was proving my point by saying that the "American" government regulates and mediates these rights as it is made up by the people. Nowhere does he mention the word universal in the resolution. We have to be as specific as the resolution, otherwise it kills debate.

Now on the Government Giveth and Taketh Away

The government is simply the mediator and implements our rights. Now, when they took away the rights of women, and the Nazi party, it was the people in charge that took it away. However in our democratic country of America, we make our own rules and we vote. There is no justification for the government to take away or implement rights among us, unless we ourselves, as citizens choose to.

Once again, the idea and the rights are made by citizens, but however they are simply implemented by the government. If the people do not want these rights, then it will eventually be taken away.

And democracy is key to prevent extinction

Open, democratic decision-making will be an essential component of any successful strategy. The fundamental importance of democratic decision-making means that our strategies must not focus on legislative battles. Clearly, we must contend for the full power of government to be harnessed toward achieving our goals,. The focus of our strategies must be on building organisations that involve people and, in that process, finding new allies. The power to govern would naturally flow from those efforts. This question of democracy is not trivial. It is deep. And it deeply divides the environmental movement, or rather movements. Experts. In the modern era, open democratic decision-making is essential to survival. Only by informing people, and trusting their decisions, can we survive as a human society. Our technologies are now too complex and too powerful to be left solely in the hands of a few experts. If they are allowed to make decisions behind closed doors, small groups of experts can make fatal errors. . Secrecy in government and corporate decision-making continues to threaten the well-being of everyone on the planet as new technologies are deployed at an accelerating pace after inadequate consideration of their effects. Open, democratic decision-making is no longer a luxury. In the modern world, it is a necessity for human survival.

Now on the government is not eternal

The government is eternal. It is so embedded into our current day society, that it will be hard to take. It is the inevitable nature of mankind to form some type of governemnt. Even if we fall into a nuclear war, once the war is finished, some form of government will remain. Just because the government comes into play, it doesn't mean that they "own" the rights, however they get to manage the implementation of it, and the government is key to hold our society together.

Now on to the asserted consequences of Atheism

I am saying that when you say sound reasoning, you are saying that aethists should have sound reasoning to believe in the existence of universal rights. Basically leading to aethists should believe in the existence of universal rights. All my points to why aetheism does lead to the beleiving of inalinable rights go untested.

Now overall
, we are debating that the American Concept of Inalienable Rights is Based on Sound Reasoning in an aethistic world. This means, if one person is an atheist, then his or her belief in the american concept of inalienable rights is justified. Focusing on a small and irrelevant aspect of my argument, the government, is drawing attention away from the topic. An aetheistic world does not have to have a government. I am simply stating how having a government(in the current day world) the inalineable rights are implemented. By drawing away from this topic, you are killing my and the reader's time, and you should focus back on topic. Drawing away to make a cheap-shot attack on my governmental claims, and completely dropping the topic, you have completely annihlated the value and the reason I joined this debate.


Aq1:The government does not posses our rights, but right now, they have the ability to implement policies, acts, etc. to bakc up thoose rights.

Aq2:You state this in your resolution. The american concept of inaleniable rights.

Aq3: Natural selection is an adaptary trait into how animals survive, however I am focusing on the fact that we are all born on to this earth, and we will all die from this earth, and that will be true for all of us. This means, we have the same limitations. Also atheism is better than christianity and the hundreds and thousands of theocracies that have committed warfare, genocide, terrorism, mass torture, religious indoctrination and countless other unspeakable acts in the name of religion. No war

Aq4: Without the government, we will have rights, however it will be hard to mantain. We need someone to mediate this rights, because other people's "inaleniable rights" may be potentially harmful because a maniac may believe harmful things., so we need a fair democratic government with the citizen's in power(which the current day America has) to implement theese rights.

Aq5:The rights come from the people

Now mine Q1; ARe religious people's unaleniable rights based on sound reasoning?

Q2: How does aethism tie so much into government that you had to base the whole previous round on attacking that?

Q3: Once a government has been implemented into a society, is there not one in that society now?(I'm not asking if the goverment has fallen, because many nations have changed govnerment, I'm asking if t'hey have implemented a government before, do they not have a government now?)
Debate Round No. 2


Crito forfeited this round.


My opponent conceded
Debate Round No. 3


Crito forfeited this round.


areddy12434 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
38 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by areddy12434 5 years ago
Crito, why are you a conservative?
Posted by bladerunner060 5 years ago

While you may feel you have established how rights, in general, could exist in a theistic framework (I still disagree, but regardless), you have not answered how you know THESE rights, the American concepts of inalienable rights, exist in your theistic framework. I could just as easily respond to your question with the answer "Through reason we reach an understanding of moral laws, which are inalienable because they are the most basic laws which do not conflict with their own principles." It...sort of answers the question, but not really.
Posted by Crito 5 years ago
Now, I would like to hear your theory on the existence of inalienable, universal rights in the absence of God.
Posted by Crito 5 years ago

Your first paragraph isn't in contradiction to anything I have said.

Your second paragraph merely echoes me in affirming the descriptive power of a cheeseburger is just as good as the descriptive power of the universe. However, the cheeseburger is limited in its descriptive range (not the quality of its descriptions), the universe being the assumed superlative. You can't explain the entirety of the universe with a cheeseburger. There could be an entity more fit for duty, however, the universe is the best I got.

I suppose I could use mathematics? You can't explain the entirety of mathematics by drawing a square on the chalk board. Although the square contains many mathematical proofs, and these proofs are descriptively the same as the rest, the square remains unfit for the burden.

Linguistically, it is hard to draw an analogy between something that is descriptive and something that is prescriptive. The relationship between a cheeseburger and the universe, government and God, isn't the best. Nevertheless, I hope I made my point.
Posted by bladerunner060 5 years ago

What you are saying, though, makes no sense.

Bear in mind that the "laws of physics" are found in the "objective nature of the universe" only inductively. That is to say, we have discovered consistency, and assume it to be uniform throughout the universe because there is no reason not to. It is not as though we can say the universe has DEEMED that a rock falls @ speed that increases 32f/s/s, but rather that that's just what happens every time; we have know way of knowing WHY that is (well, there are gravitational laws, so we can go one more step, but I think my point is clear). We are simply describing the actions within a system when we talk about the laws of physics.

A cheeseburger exemplifies the laws of physics it is capable of doing exactly as well as the whole universe; a law is a law that applies uniformly. The only reason the universe is "better" is because it contains ALL the cheeseburgers.

"The universe" only "grounds" the laws of physics because everything inside of it follows them consistently; arguing the situations are identical for god is to argue for a pantheism that removes any personal aspect from god and says we are all a part of him, since we are all a part of the universe.
Posted by Crito 5 years ago
"You claim to question "everything" and perhaps one fine day you'll question the existence of your god."

That day has already passed.

"Yet, you have still failed to question the illogical reasoning that the obedience to a supreme authority represents the founding principle of liberty."

Our liberties do not flow from obedience to God. Those who are not obedient, as I am commonly found to be, are still endowed with the right to life, property, and liberty.

Our liberties are found in the objective nature of God -- just as the laws of physics are found in the objective nature of our universe. If God is to be the superlative in our minds (the greatest good, the greatest power, etc.), then this necessitates Him being prime grounding for our liberty. Think about it. We wouldn't ground the laws of physics in a cheeseburger, because the nature of the cheeseburger cannot describe the entirety of the laws; only the universe seems fit to do this. In the same way, we wouldn't ground liberty in government, or humankind because the nature of these entities are unfit to prescribe the universality and magnitude of liberty.

Although the nature of the cheeseburger includes many of the laws of nature, it is not the best grounding. In the same way, although the nature of humankind and government facilitate many of the laws of liberty, they are not the best grounding -- by definition, God is.
Posted by bladerunner060 5 years ago

Defending the principles of liberty is a long process. I feel it would be more helpful to understand your framework (which you seem to feel is well-grounded) so that I can explain my framework in light of that. In other words, I need to understand why you think there's a difference before I explain what I feel the grounding is.
Posted by Grantmac18 5 years ago

The first quote very clearly did not support my point and yet it never occurred to you why I had chosen it. Obviously, I could have chosen any other quote from Jefferson which would have been much less kind to God. Yes, even some from "libtard" sites; surely, of which, Fox and Friends has provided you with a lengthy list. You claim to question "everything" and perhaps one fine day you'll question the existence of your god. Yet, you have still failed to question the illogical reasoning that the obedience to a supreme authority represents the founding principle of liberty. Thus, I have no reason to believe you're anything but an arrogant 17 year old high school student. Here is one more quote, my dear friend, just for you.

"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
-Oscar Wilde
Perhaps you'll regale me with the importance of being earnest.
Posted by Crito 5 years ago
"To answer your question about how they'd be present in an atheistic model, I need to understand how you think they're present in a theistic model"

I don't follow your logic -- which leads to an infinite regress. I could conversely say, to answer your question about how they'd be present in a theistic model, I need to understand how you think they're present in an atheistic model, and so on, and so on.
Posted by Crito 5 years ago

I enjoy the fact that you give us a string of Jefferson quotes, while ignoring the rest of the names on the list. Locke ain't good enough for you? Or can you not mine quotes from him?

"The god who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them"

1). If only you read the documents you're obtaining these quotes from. This quote stems from Jefferson's essay A Summary View of the Rights of British America, in which he makes clear that the encroachments of the British crown are encroachments "upon those rights which God and the laws have given equally and independently to all." Doesn't look like Jefferson supports your thesis.

2). The original document capitalizes the "G" in "God". Stop mining quotes from Libtard sites.

"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

1). I, as a Christian, affirm the truth found in this quote. Question everything, indeed.

"And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter."

1). Congratulations! Jefferson didn't believe in the Trinity, may I refer you to Unitarianism?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: A forfeit, after all that?