The Instigator
Truth_seeker
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
ergodicsum
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Is it logical to believe in God?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Truth_seeker
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 646 times Debate No: 45754
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

Truth_seeker

Pro

In this debate, i will present an argument for why it is logical to believe in God. First, i will define several terms:

God: Which God will i pick? Because there are so many deities in the world and not a clear definition of God and because the existence of any god hasn't been shown from a neutral standpoint, i will not choose a specific definition, i will leave it as a general term.

Experience: Any thought, knowledge, perception, feeling, awareness, sensation, or observation one has or receives in the mind

Spirit: conscious life within a person or animal that cannot be seen, tasted, smelled, or touched

Mind: The sum of conscious and unconscious mental activities

Reality: the sum of which exists and that which can be perceived through experience

Scientific Evidence: anything that can disprove or prove a Scientific theory or hypothesis

Skeptics will point out that there is no Scientific evidence that God exists, thus it cannot be concluded that he does exist, however there is a problem with this approach. Science in and of itself cannot make any conclusions of something there is no evidence for. God is a spirit, Science studies that which can be observed, thus God cannot be disproven since he is outside the boundaries of Science, but not outside the boundaries of reality. Science is focused on systemically knowing how the universe works, not proving or disproving the existence of something. Scientists assume that the universe is real, so it is based on a personal experience, not on evidence. To use Scientific evidence to prove that the universe exists would not only be misusing the context of the Scientific method, it would use circular reasoning.

We also cannot disprove or prove any experiences, thus it is only logical to resort to personal experiences to determine the existence of certain things or beings, namely God. This does not mean that we might as well believe in anything that is presented to us, unless we have an experience that cannot be fabricated by any human other than ourselves at will. If one were to have an experience with a particular God, the person who experienced it would come to the conclusion that a particular God exists.

Because of the experience with the God in particular such as Yahweh or a Hindu god, any act, speech, miracle, revelation, etc. the god does in your presence or in your mind confirms their existence, thus you would have to assume it's existence just as you would assume that the universe exists based on experience. If one were to question these experiences then you may as well question the existence of the universe itself.
ergodicsum

Con

First I will point out a few problems with Pro's definitions, then I will examine his argument.

Definitions:

God: Pro tries to trick us by making it seem like he is defining God for the purposes of the debate, but the only thing he tells us is that he is not going to pick a specific God. That is not a definition that we can use to debate with. What if someone defines God as energy, or goodness, or human intelligence? So in the rest of the debate keep in mind that his argument applies just as well to Allah, or Zeus, or Thor. Wherever "God" appears you can replace it with any God.

Experience: Pro defines experience as "Any thought, knowledge, perception, feeling, awareness, sensation, or observation one has or receives in the mind." I"m not sure why Pro thinks of a "thought" as an experience.

First, I suspect that Pro is not being precise in his language when adding "thought" as an experience. An example of a thought I can have is "God doesn't exist", which as the definition is written right now, would be classified as an experience. I want Pro to confirm that this is how he is defining experience, or be more clear on his definition.

The second problem is the addition of "knowledge" to experiences. How is he defining knowledge? I think that most people think of knowledge as being based on experiences, not as an experience itself. Sometimes we think we "know" something, but we are wrong about the nature of that thing. For example, some people of long ago would say "I know that the earth is flat." Based on how the definition is written, they had an experience that the earth was flat. I also want Pro to confirm that this is how he is defining experience or be more clear on his definition.

The third definition "Reality", I feel has a problem because of the way I understand "experience" to be defined. This might change depending on how Pro defines experience. For now, Pro defines Reality as "the sum of which exists and that which can be perceived through experience." If an experience can be a thought, then let"s say that I have a thought that involves something which doesn't exist. Because of how an experience is defined, this means I had experience that involves that thing. Then, because of the way that reality is defined, that thing which doesn't exist is included as part of reality. Which I think most people would agree that including things which don"t exist as part of reality is no logical.

I feel like the skeptical position as describes by Pro can be easily misconstrued. He writes:

"Skeptics will point out that there is no scientific evidence that God exists, thus it cannot be concluded that he does exist, however there is a problem with this approach. Science in and of itself cannot make any conclusions of something there is no evidence for."

I want to make sure that Pro understands that skeptics, don"t think that science proves that God doesn't exist (for some definitions of God). Science holds the position that we don"t know if God exists or not, and that is the position that skeptics hold.

Pro goes on to say:

"God is a spirit, Science studies that which can be observed, thus God cannot be disproven since he is outside the boundaries of Science, but not outside the boundaries of reality."

The position that skeptics hold is that science cannot disprove or prove the existence of God since most definitions are outside the boundaries of Science. I want Pro to verify that he understands this. Also, what I don"t understand about this is what Pro means by "the boundaries of reality." Can Pro be more specific about this?

Pro then makes a statement which is not true:

"Science is focused on systemically knowing how the universe works, not proving or disproving the existence of something."

In science statistics are used to determine if phenomena are real or not, phenomena include things as well as mechanisms. There are many examples of things which are shown to exist before scientists understand how they work. Before scientists come up with a model of how the universe works, they first have to know what exists in the universe and what doesn't exist. For example the Higgs boson was shown to exist: http://www.smithsonianmag.com.... Another example is science confirming the existence of dark matter and dark energy even though scientists still don"t understand what these things are, but science was used to determine if they exist or not.

Pro then continues with a claim that scientists assume that the universe exists without evidence, and that they base it on personal evidence. This is also false. Having thoughts, and experiences, even if those experiences don't accurately convey to us the true nature of the universe is evidence that a universe exists. Even if we are completely wrong about the nature of such universe. There are certain assumptions which are not proven scientifically in science, for example the assumption that the universe behaves in a predictable way. We cannot prove that scientifically. However, just because we assume certain philosophical ideas without evidence, doesn't mean that it is ok to accept any idea without evidence.

Also, I don"t understand what is the point of stating that science assumes that the universe exists, I don"t understand what it would mean to not assume that the universe exists. If someone says "I"m not sure if the universe exists or not", then how are they able to hold that thought? It would be a contradiction to think that the universe doesn't exist because the act of having that thought shows that something exists. How can you be having the thought, yet the universe not exist? Science assumes that something exists, but it doesn't assume how that existence works, or what is real or not in the existence.

The point is that any experience, it doesn't matter if the experience is real or not, shows that something exists. For example having an experience about the earth being flat, shows that the universe exists because something is having thoughts about earths and flatness. However, we can't conclude that because they had the thoughts, then the thoughts are real.

The essence of Pro"s argument seems to be the following:
1. Science assumes that the universe exists based on personal experience.
2. It is logical to believe something is real based on a personal experience.

If we start thinking that a personal experience is enough to make it logical to believe in something, then we reach logical contradictions. For example:

If someone comes to Pro and says that they had an experience that Yhawhe exists, according to Pro"s reasoning, it is logical for that person to believe that Yhawhe exists based on their personal experience. Then if someone else comes to him and says that they had an experience that showed them that Yhawhe doesn't exist, then that is also logical based on their personal experience. Hence we can get situations where two opposites are logical. They both can"t be right, someone must have had an experience which was false. But according to Pro since we can't disprove experiences, both are valid experiences and both beliefs are logical even thought they are opposite.

This is really the flaw with Pro"s argument, just because we have an experience that we think means X exists, doesn't mean we are right. In order for Pro"s argument to work all of our experiences would have to be true. However, people have contradictory experiences, and we cannot prove or disprove their experiences, but how can two contradictory concepts both be right?

Pro then says the following:
"If one were to question these experiences then you may as well question the existence of the universe itself."
This doesn't make any sense, because any "experience" shows that the universe exists, even false experiences. However, when talking about specific things which can exist. Our experiences of those things can be invalid.
Debate Round No. 1
Truth_seeker

Pro

Con claims there are several things wrong with my definitions:

God: He points out that God can take the form of energy or goodness or human intelligence. I agree, however, it has to be beyond human, this is how God is defined.

Experience: I defined experience in such a way to observe the natural world around us and God evidenced by my last paragraph. Con did not take into account the context of the word in which i used it.

When i say thought, i am referring to a realization or rationalization of that which exists. Based on the context of the word "experience", i am referring to the rationalization of God's existence in the last 2 paragraphs.

As I've stated earlier in the same paragraph, it should be known that while yes Science does grant us knowledge about what we can observe, it is not the only method which leads us to know everything about reality.

Statistics is not used to determine if phenomena is real or not. Statistics are used to make predictions and interpret the data of the observable world to understand phenomena. Con points out that the Higgs boson was shown to exist in order to prove that Science does determine whether natural things exist or not, however this conclusion is false since the Higgs boson is a specific kind of particle in physics. It has been assumed that physical matter exists, from that assumption, the atom is discovered, and then we reach a point where we are Scientifically investigating the Higgs boson. " Another example is science confirming the existence of dark matter and dark energy even though scientists still don"t understand what these things are, but science was used to determine if they exist or not." Once again, Con's line of reasoning hasn't changed. What is being studied is a specific kind of matter not observed before, it is already assumed that physical matter exists. "Why hasn't Con given us any Scientific investigations with titles such as "Do humans exist?" "Does reality exist?" It's simply because it is up to the philosopher to ponder on the questions of existence, not the Scientist.

"Having thoughts, and experiences, even if those experiences don't accurately convey to us the true nature of the universe is evidence that a universe exists." Con misuses the term Evidence. Scientific evidence is concerned with the study of how the universe works. What Con is doing is assuming that the universe exists, while trying to argue that Science can prove it's existence. Con admits that humans do have certain assumptions and ideas we simply accept without evidence, but argues that it doesn't mean that it's ok to accept any idea without evidence, however he has not shown which ideas we can or cannot accept. Science is the observation of the universe, but Science can only allow us to know about things we can observe, Con has not logically shown the ideas that Science cannot observe are non-existent or false.

Con first tries to argue that Science does not assume the universe exists, but then admits that Science does assume it's existence. ". "If someone says "I"m not sure if the universe exists or not", then how are they able to hold that thought? It would be a contradiction to think that the universe doesn't exist because the act of having that thought shows that something exists. How can you be having the thought, yet the universe not exist?" Not only does this argument rely on ignorance, it is also circular reasoning. You cannot prove that something does not exist nor can you show anywhere else other than yourself that you exist. Con is no longer using Science, he is now using an argument in Philosophy, a proposition by Rene Descartes known as "Cogito ergo sum."

Con writes "Science assumes that something exists, but it doesn't assume how that existence works, or what is real or not in the existence." This was my point earlier, however Con misrepresents my argument. Yes, Science can show some stated thoughts to be false so long as it is naturally observable, however it is not founded on a thought regarding how something in the universe works, it is based on an assumption that nature exists.

Con claims that based on my line of reasoning, we reach a logical contradiction and states the following:

"If someone comes to Pro and says that they had an experience that Yhawhe exists, according to Pro"s reasoning, it is logical for that person to believe that Yhawhe exists based on their personal experience. Then if someone else comes to him and says that they had an experience that showed them that Yhawhe doesn't exist, then that is also logical based on their personal experience. Hence we can get situations where two opposites are logical. They both can"t be right, someone must have had an experience which was false. But according to Pro since we can't disprove experiences, both are valid experiences and both beliefs are logical even thought they are opposite."

My position is that while you may be able to know if God exists based on experience, it is strictly personal. Con assumes that i will believe in someone's experience of Yahweh not existing when this isn't in my argument. I only had an experience of Yahweh existing, thus my conclusion is that he exists. I cannot show that he exists to anyone else objectively. While yes, both cannot be right, there is no way to know if one is wrong unless that person also has an experience demonstrating their logical reasoning to be flawed.

Con does not use my last statement in full context. This is what i wrote "Because of the experience with the God in particular such as Yahweh or a Hindu god, any act, speech, miracle, revelation, etc. the god does in your presence or in your mind confirms their existence, thus you would have to assume it's existence just as you would assume that the universe exists based on experience. If one were to question these experiences then you may as well question the existence of the universe itself."

He writes in response "This doesn't make any sense, because any "experience" shows that the universe exists, even false experiences. However, when talking about specific things which can exist. Our experiences of those things can be invalid." Con implies that my experiences with divine or extraordinary beings can be false, nevertheless a basis for assuming that the universe exists. How can we determine which specific things are false or invalid? Con gave no answer. How can we determine what things exist? By observation and experience, no Science can be applied to determine the existence of nature. We simply assume that anything we observe and experience exists.
ergodicsum

Con

ergodicsum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Truth_seeker

Pro

My position in this argument is to demonstrate that while this may work for each individual, these experiences may or may not be universal. An experience with the divine can happen or it was misinterpreted to have happened when it never happened. Science can sometimes be used to check the experience, but it is not always practical. For example, if a person hears the voice of Yahweh, there exists potentially 2 possibilities: It happened or it didn't happen. If you were to question it and come up with possible explanations using the Scientific method then you open yourself to even more possibilities of your claims being true or false. Mistakes such as biased studies, lack of expertise with Scientific research, ignorance of how Science works, etc. can potentially cause you to come to a wrong conclusion. Because a skeptic questions the experience of God, the alternative explanations used to explain God must also be questioned. What if you are wrong in your analysis of the experience? Taking the position "I don't know" isn't the best position, since you are not all knowing. Moreover, in the realm of what you can know, supposing that there are more possibilities of God existing than God being a fabrication, that would cause you to reach the conclusion that you are wrong. The difference between Science and say an amateur skeptic or Scientist is that when Science gives a possible explanation, it is still based on a mathematical model or an observation, while an amateur may simply rely on a misrepresentation of Scientific data or a hypothesis that isn't based on testable models. It's much harder to come up with an alternative explanation, let alone prove it, thus in some unique cases, it's best to take the simplest explanation: God exists.
ergodicsum

Con

ergodicsum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
SPENCERJOYAGE14
Truth_seekerergodicsumTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Josh_b 3 years ago
Josh_b
Truth_seekerergodicsumTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro really holds his own in this debate. Con seems to be upset that the personification of God is not mentioned rather than the proposed logic of belief. pro ties his point together well and cons arguments don't point to any alternative truth.