The Instigator
Bible2000
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
Envisage
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

It is unreasonable to not believe in God.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,170 times Debate No: 65322
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (17)
Votes (2)

 

Bible2000

Pro

I will be debating it is unreasonable to not believe in God. Here are some definitions:

Reasonable - Logical or rational

Atheist - A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God.

Round 1 is only acceptance. ONLY ACCEPT IF YOU ARE ATHEIST. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
Bible2000

Pro

It is unreasonable to not believe in God because we have plenty of evidence pointing towards the truth that there is a creator. Those who deny this truth are devoid of rational thinking and reason, which is why atheism is considered a mental illness.

1) The complexity of our planet and universe points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.

The list of examples of God's design are endless, but I will just talk about the size of the Earth, its distance from the sun, and its distance from the moon.

The Earth's size and corresponding gravity holds a skinny layer of principally good ol' atomic number 7 (nitrogen) and oxygen gases, extending approximately 50 miles above the Earth's surface. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, just like Jupiter. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, just like the planet Mercury. Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain human, animal, and plant life.

The Earth is located at the precise distance from the sun. If the Earth were any closer, we would burn up. If the Earth were any further away, we would all freeze. Even a fractional variance in the Earth's position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. It is extraordinary how the Earth keeps its perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.

The moon is the precise size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull as well. It creates essential ocean movements and waves so the waters do not stagnate, and yet the massive bodies of water are restrained from spilling over the continents.

2) The universe had a start. What caused it?

We know the universe had a start. Many scientists are convinced our universe began with the Big Bang. I have no problem accepting this, since the Bible actually talks MANY times about the expansion of the universe. However, a question remains. The Big Bang had a beginning. What caused the Big Bang to begin? Surely such an explosion would require a decrease of entropy. Entropy is the unavailability of thermal energy that is transformed into mechanical work. This is what we call order. But, according to the second law of thermodynamics, entropy tends to increase. If the availability of thermal energy is constantly decreasing, how can there ever be enough to even cause the Big Bang? And how could this explosion, which you feel happened randomly by chance without a creator, create such an orderly universe? Think about it. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules. What is even more surprising is that it abides by rules of mathematics! Here are two interesting quotes to think about:

“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is so comprehensible.” - Albert Einstein

“Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.” - Richard Feynman


3) Complex meaningful information doesn't just write its self.


If you saw "John 1800" on a rock, you would come to the most reasonable conclusion that the writing had an intelligent mind as its source. Why? Because complex meaningful information doesn't just write its self! Information can be encoded in many forms such as letters of the alphabet, braille, or musical notes. Information is information no matter where it is found or what the medium may be. For this reason, I debate it is unreasonable to make an exception when the information is inside of a cell; especially when this information, the DNA language, is infinitely much more complex and meaningful than a writing on a rock.


4) We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.


The fact that we are having this debate is evidence of this. What is it about atheists that you would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that you don't believe even exists! Caring for the poor delusional people? Or perhaps, could you be curious to see if I can convince you otherwise? This is part of a quest, you are trying to be free from the question of God. If you could give conclusive proof to believers that they are wrong, then there is no reason to debate, and you would be free to go about with your life. But that's just not going to happen. We were created to want to learn about God and worship him, and the evidence is in the extraordinary design. In fact, it is scientifically proven that those who do not have faith, is because their brain is not functioning properly. Yes, atheism is a mental illness. Consider the following facts:

Atheists are deeply depressed.

Atheists have the higher suicide rate out of any belief system.

Atheists suffer from social anxiety and negative perception (confidence issues).

Atheists have an irrational hatred and obsession with religion leading to more social problems.

There are no mental health benefits of atheism. It is completely lacking of rational thinking and reason.


Here are my sources:

onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2008.00520.x/abstract (The Association of Suicide Rates with Individual-Level Suicide Attitudes: A Cross-National Analysis)

iasp.info/pdf/papers/Bertolote.pdf (A global perspective in the epidemiology of suicide)

pub.uni-bielefeld.de/publication/2050070 (Atheists, Agnostics, and Apostates)

link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10943-011-9541-1# (Psychological Distress Among Religious Nonbelievers: A Systematic Review)






















Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

Skepticism is rational

Rejecting claims that are absent evidence or reasons for accepting them is a rational, and the only rational stance to take. We do not need to wait for evidence of non-existence, or non-truth to assume a claim is false first.

I will demonstrate such by reducio ad absurdum, that is to accept positive claims (such as those for asserting existence) are true, or more likely true than false a priori. To give a colloquial example, it is more likely true than false that there is a teapot in existence a specific location around Mars.

A: All positive claims are more likely true than false (Assumption)

Then we need to consider what such an assumption would entail. It would mean we could make a list of every single logically possible claim that can be conceived, and label them “more likely true than false” at first sight. Here I can insert these all as premises:

1) Therefore, claim A is more likely true than false
2) Therefore, claim B is more likely true than false
3) Therefore, claim C is more likely true than false
Infinity) Therefore, claim “…” is more likely true than false

What we also need to consider though, is that claims don’t occur in a vacuum, they exist within our reality, within our universe. At the very least they exist conceptually, and hence subject to logical laws, it also means that the concept that is real cannot contradict anything in reality. For every positive claim, there are an infinite number of mutually exclusive claims, for example a teapot at Cartesian location (x,y,z) around Mars means there cannot be also be a kettle at Cartesian location (x,y,z) around Mars, nor anything and everything else physical.

Therefore, we know that the assumption “all positive claims are more likely true than false” is a false one.

To complete the argument:

A: All positive claims are more likely true than false (Assumption)
P1) If ‘A’ is true, then at least one positive claim is more likely true than false
P2) If one positive claim is more likely true than false, then another positive claim is more likely false than true
P3) If one positive claim is more likely false than true, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false
C) If positive claims are more likely true than false, then not all positive claims are more likely true than false. ‘A’ entails a contradiction; therefore ‘A’ is false.

Via. reducio ad absurdum, the notion that we should accept all claims more likely true than false is dispelled. This does not entail from scepticism, which assumes all claims are more likely false than true. In fact, scepticism is the *only* position which does not run into variations of the argument I have just presented, since claims of non-existence doesn’t entail anything that can contradict any positive claims.

It’s for this reason why mathematical proofs are sceptical until the logical progression can be shown. Why scientific papers are most frequently rejected, and why any claim in academia is rejected until sufficient evidence is given for its positive truth. It establishes the burden of proof, which on scepticism is always on the one with the positive claim. In this case, the God hypothesis.

Application of Skepticism to God

There is no singular definition of ‘God’, but most would agree at the very least it would have the following attributes:

Omnipotence
Omniscience
Intelligence
Free Will
Causal Agency
Creator of the universe

There are a plethora of other attributes, but they are unnecessary for my argument. It is little in despite there can only ever be one omnipotence, and one omniscience, and one creator of the universe. These are *exclusive* claims to God, and God only. It follows logically then that to assert a being with the above six attributes to be true is to assert:

  1. 1. The positive claim of anything else having omnipotence is false
  2. 2. The positive claim of anything else having omniscience is false
  3. 3. The positive claim of anything else creating the universe is false


As such we already see where scepticism comes in, because we have no reason
a priori to think any of these 3 claims are any more likely than the ‘God’ claim of six attributes is to be false. Moreover, the definition of God I provided is much more complex than the simple contradictory claims I made (omnipotence omniscience, universal creation), which runs into Occam’s Razor.

Therefore, from what I have argued so far, it is not unreasonable to not believe in God. No more unreasonable to not believe in God’s existence than it is to not believe in any other mythological claim (Leprechauns, Santa Claus, etc).

Rebuttals:

Teleological Arguments

Pro attempts a teleological fine tuning argument, of the sort. Note that his argument, formally, appears to be the following:

P1) If the Earth were not designed, then life would not exist
P2) Life exists
C) The Earth was designed

Obviously, my bone of contention is going to be with P1.

He attempts to argue for P1 by asserting that life would most likely be impossible without delicately balanced variables (which would require ‘balancing’ by an intelligent designer). However in making this argument he consequently must also assert the following:

  1. 1. He knows *all* the ways in which life could arise (chemically, physically, etc)
  2. 2. He knows *all* conditions (without design) possible the universe
  3. 3. He (therefore) knows that *none* of the conditions possible (without design) within the universe would allow for life

Given that life as far as we understand, is a complex, convoluted self-replicating system with the ability to adapt over generations, it is hard to see how all possible ways this is physically possible have been assessed yet. This includes all the possible ways such a system could arise which resemble nothing like life that is extant on Earth today, for *anything* which is capable of asking the question “How am I here” would indeed do so, and we would be left in the same position that Pro asserts we are in.

Life on Earth, is plastic to a plethora of environments, from the frigid -70oC environment of Antarctica to the oxygen, and light and oxygen deprived boiling environment of hydrothermal vents.[1] Given that on just our planet, life (which is just one of many possible ways it would be) is rather plastic, then its requirement for the fine tuning Pro presented (atmosphere, oxygen content, heating cycles) seems frivolous.

Furthermore, according to Murphy’s law can possibly happen, will eventually happen. So, even if any life requires a fine balancing of conditions and variables, then given enough ‘attempts’, we will eventually run into the right circumstances for some form of life to arise.

Note that there are roughly 10^24 stars (ten with twenty three 0’s after it) in the universe, with a comparable number of planets.[2] Greater than the number of grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. To assert that chance probably couldn’t cause life on one of them seems… frivolous.

Pro’s other teleological argument from ‘complex meaningful information’ runs into serious problems since:

  1. 1. ‘Complex meaningful information’ is undefined
  2. 2. An objective means for determine what would constitute complex meaningful information is non-existent


Absent these, we cannot make any claims about the nature of ‘complex meaningful information’, nor can we assert that life contains it.

Pro asserts for example that we can deduce “John 1800” on a rock most likely has an intelligent source. However, Pro’s implication that we deduce it has an intelligent source *because* it is complex meaningful information is unsubstantiated.

The considerations that Pro ignores is:

  1. 1. We know humans exist
  2. 2. We know the things humans generally create (e.g. the English language, English words and numerals)
  3. 3. We know the things that non-humans (including natural processes) generally don’t make

If for example we visited another planet, and saw a rough “John 1800” ‘carving’ on the rock, then we would be much more hard-pressed to assume it is of an intelligent source. The same applies to life.

Cosmological Argument

Assuming the universe had a start with the Big Bang, why should that cause be most likely God?

First, Pro presents a false dichotomy:

God or Random Chance

He ignores all other possible solutions, such as metaphysical necessity, underlying physical principles, physical reality being eternal despite the universe having a beginning, etc.

I am not advocating for any of these, only demonstrating how easy it is to break the dichotomy with other unsupported assumptions (such as the God hypothesis).

Even assuming that without God we only have random chance (which is false), so what? IF universes can appear to exist via. random chance, then according to Murphy’s Law, some MUST arise via. it. Pro can appeal to the mystery of why the universe, and nature tends to follow natural laws, but that is not an argument for God.

Note that nature is fundamentally, to some degree rather random and indeterminate, as quantum mechanics dominates at small scales. However this strange, rather random behaviour resolves to ordered, macroscopic behaviour at larger scales, and Newton’s Classical laws arise from the world of quantum mechanics, despite being fundamentally different.

Pro may argue that we don’t know if QM in indeed random or indeterminate, but that would miss the point, since indeterministic and genuinely random interpretations of QM give exactly the same predictions of reality as other interpretations, thereby is at the very least is compatible with reality we observe if it was true.[3]

References

  1. 1. http://www.pnas.org...
  2. 2. http://phl.upr.edu...
  3. 3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Bible2000

Pro

Thank you, Con.

Is skepticism rational?

We need water to live. But drinking excessively results in water intoxication. Why do I mention this?

Skepticism, according to RationalWiki, is, "the art of constantly questioning and doubting claims and assertions". There is nothing wrong with a little questioning. But when you do it constantly, it becomes ridiculously irrational to the point that a true skeptic will doubt of his own existence, since he also questions that there is even such thing as valid evidence.

Con's assumption that, "all claims are more likely false than true" is false. The absurdity of the assumption becomes evident when you make contradictory claims. Let's consider the claims, "God exists" and "God does not exist". Either God exists or he doesn't. Both claims cannot be true. If it is more likely that God exists, it is less likely that he doesn't exist. But, if it is more likely that God does not exist, it is less likely that he does exist. According to Con's assumption, it is more likely false that God exists and, at the same time, it is more likely false that he doesn't exist.

Those who seek for the truth will not find it through skepticism, which questions if there is even such thing as truth. Any intellectually honest person will not reject the possibilities, but will come to the best conclusion based on what they can observe. Is God the best conclusion? To answer that, we must first understand what God is.

Necessary attributes of God

God could not be limited by time or space, characteristics of our physical universe. In other words, he is spiritual rather than material, had no beginning, and will have no end. Which God is the true God? That question is irrelevant to this debate. However, if the true God was the Christian God, the Bible does not even mention those “omni” adjectives, and they are not appropriate descriptive words for God since part of his absolute perfection is the perfect balance of his qualities.

Counter Arguments

P1) If it is reasonable to believe in God it is unreasonable to not believe in God.

P2) It is reasonable to believe in God.

C) It is unreasonable to not believe in God.

My first argument:

P1) If the Earth is intelligently designed, it had an intelligent designer.

P2) That intelligent designer is God.

P3) The Earth is intelligently designed.

C) It is reasonable to believe in God.

Unintelligent random chance simply does not result in intelligent design. The probabilities of an Earth that is at the precise distance from the sun at all times, although it is revolving at a speed of 67,000 mph, being the result of unintelligent random chance are already infinitesimal. That it would result in an Earth constantly rotating on its axis for billions of years allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day is virtually impossible.

My second argument:

P1) If universe follows laws, it must have a law giver.

P2) That law giver is God.

P3) The universe follows laws that allow us to stay alive.

C1) It is reasonable to believe in God.

If the universe did not have a creator, it was the result of random chance. How exactly this unintelligent random chance could have resulted in our universe is irrelevant.

What happens at the Quantum level is irrelevant as well since it is that “randomness” which results in order at a larger scale. Understand that order is the availability of thermal energy that is transformed into mechanical works and that the reason we can’t fully understand QM is because it results from a different kind of matter, dark matter. A kind of matter we can’t see, yet scientists know it must be there to account for the gravity that holds galaxies together. If the only matter in the universe was matter we could directly detect, the galaxies we observe would not have had enough matter to have ever been formed and would fly apart because they wouldn't have enough matter to create a strong enough gravitational force to hold themselves together. While that gravity is keeping the galaxies together, there is also an anti-gravity force that scientists call, dark energy. They know it must be there because not only is the universe expanding, but this expansion is also accelerating. It is extraordinary how these gravity and anti-gravity forces work together to preserve the universe and the life in it. Could dark matter and dark energy be two states of the same dark "thing"? Perhaps that matter we do not see is God's active power in action, the holy spirit that the Bible describes in the first chapter of Genesis. The Bible talks many times about the expansion of the Earth.

My third argument:

P1) Complex meaningful information is the result of an intelligent mind.

P2) The DNA is a meaningful and complex language that allows us to stay alive. Far more meaningful and complex than any human writing.

P3) DNA is the result of an intelligent mind.

P4) That intelligent mind is God.

C) It is reasonable to believe in God.

A writing on a rock would be considered “complex meaningful information” if it is complex (has more than one letter), and meaningful (the order the letters are in has meaning). The DNA language consists of four letter words (complex) that result in the proteins we need for life (meaningful).

My fourth argument:

P1) If God exists, he created the brain.

P2) If anyone who’s brains functions properly wants to learn about God and worship him, then God must be constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.

P3) Those who’s brains function properly seek for God.

C) It is reasonable to believe in God.

Conclusion

P1) If it is reasonable to believe in God it is unreasonable to not believe in God.

P2) It is reasonable to believe in God.

C) It is unreasonable to not believe in God.

Thank you, Con. I eagerly await your response.

Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

Scepticism is Rational

Pro strawmans my position by attacking a notion of scepticism I did not put forth. I was very explicit with my definition and take on a position of scepticism, which is to reject all positive claims a priori fro they are more likely false than true. So while Pro is welcome to attack RationalWiki’s definition, he would be doing do in a manner which does not address the position and arguments I explicitly put forth. Thus, a strawman, a misrepresentation.

I never made the claim that "all claims are more likely false than true", instead what I deduced was that “not all positive claims are more likely true than false”, and I defined positive claims as positive existential claims (which is how it’s relevant to this debate). Of course, the deduction that “not all positive claims are more likely true than false” is an epistemological one, rather than a metaphysical one, and hence it is not making a claim about the way reality is, but about the most rational way to believe.

It is clear that Pro concedes my deduction “not all positive claims are more likely true than false”, since he never contested any of the premises of the argument, or the logical progression. He only argues about the application of this to the claim that ‘God exists’.

Con's assumption that, is false. The absurdity of the assumption becomes evident when you make contradictory claims. Let's consider the claims, "God exists" and "God does not exist". Either God exists or he doesn't. Both claims cannot be true. If it is more likely that God exists, it is less likely that he doesn't exist. But, if it is more likely that God does not exist, it is less likely that he does exist. According to Con's assumption, it is more likely false that God exists and, at the same time, it is more likely false that he doesn't exist.

Application of Scepticism to God

First we need to understand exactly why positive existential claims are very different to negative existential claims. I tried to explain this in the previous round but Pro ignored it.

In the previous round I argued that assuming that God is more likely to exist than not *necessarily entails* that *every other claim* to some entity that possesses omnipotence, or omniscience, or creator or cause to the universe is false. Be it an intelligent entity (such as another pseudo-deity), or a non-intelligent entity (such as some natural cause for the universe). Assuming the one positive claim that God exists is likely in turn assumes each and every one of these contradictory positive claims to be false.

Therefore, IF we have no more reason to believe that the God claim to be true than we have to believe any of the *each and every one of the contradictory claims* to be true, then assuming God to be more likely is unsound and a case of special pleading. We have no more reason to believe a teapot in a specific location near Mars than we do a teacup, a bowling ball, etc. although they are mutually exclusive claims.

The key difference with the epistemological claim that “God is more likely to *not* exist than to exist” is that this latter claim doesn’t entail anything. There is one and only one claim which it can possible contradict, and that is the claim that “God is more likely to exist than not”. God not existing doesn’t physically constrain anything else from occurring, and hence it cannot possible contradict anything else. Nothing contradicts nothing.

As such, without positive reasons to accept God’s existance to be more likely, then our stance should be one of both scepticism, but also the stronger claim that that “God is more likely to not exist than to exist”.

Cognitivism

Pro attempts to circumvent this later by arguing that God is not omnipotence, or omniscient, or the creator. Instead that God is just ‘absolute perfection’.

However, in doing so he makes the entire concept of God meaningless, since ‘absolute perfection’ is necessarily a subjective statement, since ‘absolute perfection’ needs a standard by which it is to be perfect. A perfect square for example, has a well-defined definition of having four equal perpendicular sides, and the closer something is to that definition, the more perfect a square it is.

For God though, ‘absolute perfection’ lacks such a definition, and hence is necessarily meaningless. God is about as meaningful as Fod. Quite clearly, it is irrational to believe in Fod, since it’s meaningless, by the same measure it is irrational to believe in God (as Pro defined it last round), since the term is meaningless.

Pro presents 4 logical arguments for God last round, consequently ignoring all my rebuttals in the previous round.

First Argument

Pro ignores all my previous rebuttals to this. Hence I extend my arguments here.

Second Argument

I only intend to challenge the assumption:

“If the universe follows laws it has a law giver”

While the euphemism is nice, but why should this be the case. Pro necessarily assumes that natural laws are prescriptive, but in science the natural laws are simply descriptive of generalised behaviour (since science is an inductive exercise.

An excellent example of laws arising without prescription is indeed the second law of thermodynamics, which is an entirely statistical phenomenoa. There are just ‘more ways it could be messy than tidy’, which is essentially the entire ‘driving force’ of the second law.[1]

No overarching law-giver is required here, as it’s simply an emergent statistical phenomenoa. Given that this law is one of the biggest drivers of events that occur within the universe, it follows that demonstrating this very fundamental law of physics requires no law-giver is a huge hole in Pro’s hypothesis.

Third argument

I already addressed this argument in detail in the previous round. Pro has ignored my response so I extend arguments.

Forth argument

Pro fails to positively support any of his premises, hence the argument is just a bald assertion. The argument isn’t even logically (and hence deductively) valid, the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises.

My brain for one, doesn’t seek God, and I am pretty sure it functions no less correctly than most people’s. Does that mean pro’s argument is debunked>

References

  1. 1. http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
Bible2000

Pro

Thanks, Con.

Is skepticism rational?

I apologize for not seeing that Con was only referring to “all positive claims”. However, he did also say, “This does not entail from skepticism, which assumes all claims are more likely false than true.”

Any intellectually honest person will not reject other possibilities, but will come to the best conclusion based on what they can observe. If you saw a writing on a rock, you would come to the most reasonable conclusion that the writing had an intelligent human’s mind as its source. Why? According to Con, because:

1. We know humans exist.

2. We know the things humans generally create, such as letters and numbers.

3. We know the things that non-humans (including natural processes) generally don’t make.

His first reason is already flawed, since it’s a positive claim. According to Con’s reasoning, it is more likely false than true that humans exist. He may argue that his first premise is not a claim, but a fact. But that’s an invalid argument since he is making another positive claim that is more likely false than truth. If you still can’t see what’s wrong with skepticism, that just shows how correctly your brain is really functioning.

Necessary attributes of God

In the previous round I did not argue that God is not the creator. I simply argued that “omni” attributes are not necessary attributes of God, nor are they in the Bible. I personally do not believe those words are accurate descriptive words of the Bible God, which is why I briefly mentioned absolute perfection. The Hebrew and Greek Bible words translated “perfect” often mean “complete,” “mature,” or “faultless” according to standards set by an authority. But God IS the authority, if he exists, so he would be the only being with absolute perfection. Any other perfection would be relative; it would have to do with God’s purpose for his creation.

First Argument

In the previous round, Con misunderstood my argument. That is why I clarified that rather than arguing life would not exist without design, I was arguing that if there is design, there is a designer.

Second Argument

Con claims no law-giver is required because scientific laws simply describe what we see. But what we see is there for a reason. We see a lawgiver gives laws. Why do you assume it is any different in nature? Let’s use a little bit of skepticism. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules. It is more likely false than true that such an orderly and complex universe that follows these laws that allow us to stay alive would be the result of a random explosion.

Third Argument

Con argued my third argument is invalid because “complex meaningful information” is undefined. But I clearly showed that is not the case in the previous round. I extend arguments.

Fourth Argument

(BEGINNING OF QUOTE) So which is the smart party, here? Is it the atheists, who live short, selfish, stunted little lives – often childless – before they approach hopeless death in despair, and their worthless corpses are chucked in a trench (or, if they are wrong, they go to Hell)? Or is it the believers, who live longer, happier, healthier, more generous lives, and who have more kids, and who go to their quietus with ritual dignity, expecting to be greeted by a smiling and benevolent God?

Obviously, it’s the believers who are smarter. Anyone who thinks otherwise is mentally ill.

And I mean that literally: the evidence today implies that atheism is a form of mental illness. And this is because science is showing that the human mind is hard-wired for faith: we have, as a species, evolved to believe, which is one crucial reason why believers are happier – religious people have all their faculties intact, they are fully functioning humans.

Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands. (END OF QUOTE)

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk...

I personally do not believe in hell, but that link makes a very good point. Who is really smarter, the believer that lives a better healthier life and is expecting to benefit from the blessings God has to offer, or the atheist that lives a meaningless life now and, that if wrong, will not have the better eternal and truly happy life in the future that God offers? We have evolved, or in other words, we were created to believe in God. If your brain does not seek God, it is not functioning correctly. This is a scientific fact. Remember the sources I gave in round one? Here they are again:

onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2008.00520.x/abstract (The Association of Suicide Rates with Individual-Level Suicide Attitudes: A Cross-National Analysis)


iasp.info/pdf/papers/Bertolote.pdf (A global perspective in the epidemiology of suicide)


pub.uni-bielefeld.de/publication/2050070 (Atheists, Agnostics, and Apostates)


link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10943-011-9541-1# (Psychological Distress Among Religious Nonbelievers: A Systematic Review)

Envisage

Con

Thanks, Pro.

Skepticism

Forgive my lazy language, it is true however, that the same argument does not apply to scepticism, which takes a prior stance of “all positive claims being more likely false than true”.

Pro seems to ignore what I explicitly stated, which is that this argument only seeks to establish a prior position. It is the position of belief one would rationally take if each and every argument for God failed. Or if the evidence for God is very weak. Pro attempts a reducio by claiming it would lead to us not accepting the existance of humans.

Guess what, Pro is right!

If one did not have reasons to accept the existence of Human beings, then one would rightly reject their existence. If somebody had never seen a human, or evidence of a human’s existance ever, then the prior epistemological stance of non-existacne of humans would apply. The same would apply to any of the infinite other possible definitions of life-forms.

Similarly there are philosophers who really do reject the ontological existence of humans, which is why solipsism, idealism, etc. are ontologies that persist (and they reject the existence of all of physical reality). Precisely because they do not believe the positive claim of the material world can actually be substantiated.

In any case Pro makes no effort to actually refute my logical argument here, and hence the conclusion of the prior stance follows.

Application of Skepticism to God

Pro is still lacking a meaningful definition of God (more on this later), but he does agree that at the very least God is the creator of the universe. Given THAT much to be the case, the application of scepticism is still easy to apply, since this necessarily entails that every single other possible positive claim for the creation of the universe (be it an intelligent, or personal cause, or an impersonal cause) is false.

If we do not have positive reasons to accept that a God as Pro has defined him to have created the universe over any other possible explanation, then we should assume our prior stance of improbability.

God is meaningless

This is now a positive argument against God’s existence. As I asserted in the previous round, to assert that a ‘Fod’ exists is logically unsound, since the word ‘Fod’ has no meaningful content. Meaningless terms cannot refer to anything that does or does not exist in reality, as they do not even form coherent concepts which can be related to reality.

Pro attempted to define ‘God’ in two different ways:

  1. 1. “Absolute Perfection”
  2. 2. “complete,” “mature,” or “faultless” according to standards set by an authority”

I already argued in the previous round that the first definition is meaningless, since perfection is necessarily a subjective statement. Similarly “complete,” “mature,” or “faultless” are also entirely, and necessarily subjective statements. How can one be complete, if we don’t have ‘complete’ defined, also complete with respect to what>. Completeness always refers to some real concept, such as a complete chair, a complete debate, a complete journey. With these we have some notion of what we are measuring, but God is necessarily objective, which causes the word “complete” to lose all of its meaning.

The exact same points apply to “mature” and “faultless”, which are necessarily subjective terms.

Hence, Pro’s definition of God simply begs the question. There are only 2 ways in which Pro can try to affirm a coherent definition of God in terms of “perfection”.

  1. 1. To appeal to a standard that is God, or within God
  2. 2. To appeal to a standard external to God

#2 fails because it strongly implies that God is contingent on an external standard, which contradict’s God’s own nature as Pro has presented so far. #1 also fails because it just begs the question, and also means the term remain’s meaningless. It would be akin to me saying “I am myself”, which is perfectly true, but doesn’t mean “I” is any more meaningful, and certainly doesn’t allow one to make content claims as to what I am.

Similarly, even if Pro could break out of this dilemma, he still suffers from the fact that Pro cannot make ANY content claims about what God is, including his personality (if he even has one), if God is even intelligent or conscious, if God is potent, let alone impotent, or has any causal agency, etc.

Given that God is a completely meaningless term as presented by Pro, we should reject such a being’s existence out of hand because of such. None of the arguments presented so far can hope to prove God’s existence if we have no concept of what we would expect if God even did exist.

Pro’s Four Arguments

Because of cognitive reasons, all these arguments fail before we even look at any of the premises because ‘God’ is a meaningless term. If ‘God’ is a meaningless term, then Pro cannot hope to prove any of the premises true.

Ergo IF one accepts my argument for non-cognitivism, or the argument that “God” is meaningless, then this effectively undermines all of Pro’s arguments, and hence the debate should be awarded to myself.

First Argument

This argument hinges upon the following premise:

“P3) The Earth is intelligently designed.”

Which Pro has given no reasons to accept as true.

Moreover, Pro has not defined God to have any designing capability or agency, so it’s not obvious how God could be the designer even if life was intelligently designed (challenging P1). I argued in P1 that arguing from fine tuning that the Earth is designed is unsound because of the assumptions Pro makes (the ways in which any life could arise, the conditions that are possible for the universe to adopt, and the number of ‘trials’ or ‘attempts’ that are available to satisfy these conditions.

Moreover this isn’t even a criterea to determine ‘design’, but rather to determine improbability of physical means. However if Pro wants to use probability calculations for such, then he needs to first demonstrate that the God hypothesis is even possible, let alone more probable than natural means. I daresay this will be a futile exercise.

Second Argument

Pro simply re-asserts his original argument here and ignores my rebuttal, especially on emergent phenomena. The physical laws we have describe nature, they do not prescribe it.


Consequently there are a plethora of reasons why emergent descriptive laws result without the need for a law-giver. If there WAS any law giver, then it was us, Humans! These laws only exist because we use them to describe the behaviour of physical reality. They are no more representative of a ‘law giver’ than the fact a concept of a tree exist is evidence of a ‘tree-concept giver’. Pro simply gets things backwards here.

Pro can make the claim that any universe is more likely than not follow any form of physical laws. As a matter of fact I remain agnostic on this, it may or may not be true. Even if it was true, and I would happily concede it would be, it doesn’t demonstrate anything beyond that, since Pro has not demonstrated any significance to this fact. Given that everything that we know about life is that it requires physical laws in order to exist, then this argument would likely fail due to the anthropic principle, which states that we would only ever find ourselves in a universe capable of giving rise to us, the observer.

IF it was necessary for a “law-abiding” universe for observers to exist, then even if such universes were unlikely, the universes that do have laws would eventually be the ones that give rise to us.

Third Argument

This is Pro’s definition

“A writing on a rock would be considered “complex meaningful information” if it is complex (has more than one letter), and meaningful (the order the letters are in has meaning).

In this case, good luck to Pro in demonstrating that DNA has any “meaning” (what does it mean for it to have meaning). “Meaning” is an entirely subjective term and as such makes for a weak argument at best.


By this definition any random oligomeric molecule with differing monomers (such as a random polypeptide sequence) would constitute “complex meaningful information”, and even these can occur naturally.[1]

Fourth Argument

This argument hinges on the premise:

P3) Those who’s brains function properly seek for God.”

Note that this has the implicit assertion that anyone who’s brain that doesn’t seek God is not functioning correctly. Which Pro is trying to affirm.

Let us assime that everything Pro asserts here is 100% true. It is a fact that atheists generally are selfish, live stunted lives, suffer from despair, and die younger.

Even if we assumed ALL of this to be true, it doesn’t even begin to demonstrate the the “atheist’s brain isn’t working correctly”. In fact, the very notion that atheists are capable of experiencing such emotions is abundant evidence that their brains ARE working correctly, for it could be argues that brains that do not work correctly may not experience all these emotions.

If an atheist brain were not capable of experiencing negative emotions, stress, desires, selfishness, then that would be very good evidence that the atheist brains generally are not working correctly. Pro is asserting the exact opposite.

Whether or not theists live happier lives is irrelevant to the correct function of the brain. I could concede very readily that theists are generally happier, but that does not prove what Pro wants it to prove. Equally unsupported explanations such as “theists live in blissful ignorance of the harsh truth of reality”, or “theism is the opiate of reality” would themselves be equally valid ways of arguing theism is a “mental illness”. But just that, unsupported.

References

  1. 1. http://www.researchgate.net...
Debate Round No. 4
Bible2000

Pro

Skepticism

"We have enough reasons to accept the existence of human beings" is also a positive claim which, according to skepticism, is more likely true than false.

God is meaningless

God is not meaningless. Perfection is what is complete according to the standards set by the ultimate authority, which is God. There is no higher authority. Therefore, according to his own standards, he is the only being with absolute perfection, and the rest of his creation has a relative perfection which has to do with the purpose for his creation. If this is too complex for your atheist brain to understand, we can just get rid of this as a necessary attribute of God. I can simply say God is just the creator. It just seemed reasonable that if he is the highest authority, perfection is completeness according to his standards. And, according to his standards, he is absolutely perfect, completely faultless.

First Argument

I have given sufficient examples of the Earth's intelligent design in round 1. I can show you the evidence, but I can't force you to think rationally.

Second Argument

The universe follows laws, and you can't deny that. Yes, we use names to identify laws we observe in nature, but there they were, before we ever named them. The water cycle is just one example. Interestingly, the water cycle was not fully understood until about 30 B.C. by the Roman engineer arcus Vitruvius. But every aspect of the water cycle was fully revealed to mankind in 1600 B.C.! The Bible's description is in perfect harmony with modern science (Ecclesiastes 1:6-7; 11:3; Job 26:8; Amos 9:6).

Third Argument

The nucleotides of deoxyribonucleic acid are complimentary, which means that if you recognize the bases on one aspect of the ladder, you'll always tell what the bases on the opposite aspect are going to be. And the "letters", or nucleotides, can be combined in many ways to form “sentences”, or instructions that direct replication and other processes within the cell.

Information is information no matter where it is found or what the medium may be. The difference is that a child could write “John 1800.” But only a superhuman mind could write the code of life. In fact, the complexity of biology continues to grow with every new discovery.

Fourth Argument

"In fact, the very notion that atheists are capable of experiencing such emotions is abundant evidence that their brains ARE working correctly"

Um, no. We are all capable of experiencing such emotions at times. Atheists just do it in excess, which is why most live miserable short lives. It's scientifically proven. We "evolved", or were created, to believe in God. And when you sincerely consider the evidence, how complex and orderly the universe is designed, even how complex and orderly each of our cells is designed, how can you not believe in God? Because your brain is not functioning correctly. Any correctly functioning brain seeks to follow God because he persues us, he is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him, and because any person that is not devoid of rational thinking will not ignore what is right in front of them.

Thank you, Con. This has been a wonderful debate. I look forward to reading your conclusion soon.




Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro. Time to wrap up!

Skepticism is rational

Pro essentially concedes that God has a low prior probability of existing. I did acknowledge that this can be rendered irrelevant if Pro gives porivive reasons for believing God exists. I believe that Pro has not been successful in providing *any* positive reasons to accept God’s existence, ergo my prior probability applies, and hence voters should vote Con.

Pro’s argument that this would entail that human beings would most likely not exist implicitly concedes my argument. It is indeed true we should reject the notion human beings exist unless we have positive reasons to believe they do exist. Indeed we do have those reasons.


God is meaningless

I presented Pro a dilemma on the standard by which something is perfect, and Pro clearly grabs the second horn:


“ Perfection is what is complete according to the standards set by the ultimate authority, which is God.”

This concedes that God’s standard is internal, which in turn is:

  1. 1. Question begging
  2. 2. Gives no content claims to what ‘perfection’ is

Based on this alone, voters should vote Con. Since Pro lacks a meaningful definition of God. Pro might as well be arguing for ‘Fod’ and we would be left with exactly the same problems.

Ultimate perfection does not even entail that God is the creator of the universe, or has any causal agency. Moreover it doesn’t even entail that God is intelligent or conscious and aware. Therefore each and every one of Pro’s arguments for God necessarily fail before they even get out of the blocks.

“I can simply say God is just the creator.”

No, you can’t. Because you need to demonstrate ‘absolute perfection’ actually includes a creator aspect. However this is impossible since Pro has set God as the standard for God. God begs the question.

First Argument

Pro drops my arguments here. Moreover Pro has yet to demonstrate God is even possible, which renders Pro’s argument moot (as demonstrated last round).

Second Argument

Pro ignores my anthropic principle argument, and fails to justify P1, that natural laws require a law-giver. He also ignores my argument from emergent laws from purely statistical phenomenoa (entropy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics).

Ergo, he concedes this argument.

Pro appeals to the Bible, but I have no idea how this is relevant to God since the God of the Bible is different to how Pro defined God in this debate. The concepts are different.


Third Argument

Pro fails to come up with an objective determination of ‘meaningful’, which Pro’s argument mandates. Pro ignores that random polymers would also be classified as ‘complex meaningful information’ by the ‘definition’ he has given which itself doesn’t require any intelligence to form.

Pro asserts that DNA contains ‘sentences’, but gives no reason to believe this, nor does he demonstrate that this means that DNA objectively has ‘meaning’. The only language within DNA is one we apply subjectively to it.

Fourth Argument

Pro’s entire argument rests upon the assumption:

“We "evolved", or were created, to believe in God”

Which is a rather exceptional claims, which has not been supported in any way. Pro has not demonstrates that increased depression etc. is a result of an incorrectly functioning brain (assuming that atheists actually do experience higher levels of these), and Pro ignores my naturalistic explanations for these.

Hence, Pro drops his forth and final argument.

Conclusion

Pro fails to affirm any one of his arguments, and God remains a meaningless concept to boot. Ergo one should vote Con based on this alone.

Thanks for a fun debate.

Debate Round No. 5
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
You wasted that round...
Posted by Bible2000 2 years ago
Bible2000
Good, wouldn't want the debate to be too easy. :D
Posted by LuciaB 2 years ago
LuciaB
Bible2000 is about to receive a blast session. Does he realize he's speaking to someone in the science field?
Posted by Bible2000 2 years ago
Bible2000
Sorry, I meant it talks many times about the expansion of the universe.
Posted by Bible2000 2 years ago
Bible2000
@Senpai-Chan

Interesting that you mention dark matter and dark energy. I did some research, and it's something interesting to think about.

Scientists don't know nor can they see what exactly dark matter is. Yet, they know it must be there to account for the gravity that holds galaxies together. If the only matter in the universe was matter we could directly detect, the galaxies we observe would not have had enough matter to have ever been formed and would fly apart because they wouldn't have enough matter to create a strong enough gravitational force to hold themselves together.

Dark energy, on the other hand, must exist due to the rate of expansion we observe for our universe. Not only is the universe expanding, but this expansion is also accelerating.

Could dark matter and dark energy be two states of the same dark "thing"? Perhaps that matter we do not see is God's active power in action, the holy spirit that the Bible describes in the first chapter of Genesis. The Bible talks many times about the expansion of the Earth.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
missmedic
rocks?
Posted by Senpai-Chan 2 years ago
Senpai-Chan
You should research "Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy"
Posted by Bible2000 2 years ago
Bible2000
Any intellectually honest person will not reject other possibilities, but will come to the best conclusion based on what they can observe. You've probably never seen a meaningful writing on a rock ("John 1800 for example). If one day you did see it, would you reason, "I didn't see who wrote this and, additionally, I've never seen writing in rocks, so I don't know how the writing got there."? Of course not! You don't reject the possibility that an alien wrote it, or that it simply happened by erosion. But be honest, what is the most reasonable conclusion? That a human made the writing on the rock. Anyone who is not devoid of rational thinking and logic will come to that conclusion.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
missmedic
Any intellectually honest person will admit that he does not know how the universe came to exists. Scientists, of course, readily admit there ignorance on this point. Religious believers do not. Wish full thinking will not make something true, and the great thing about science is its true whether you believe in it or not. Scientist don't pretend to know things they don't know, the religious do this often and call it faith. If one had sufficient evidence to warrant belief in a particular claim, then one wouldn"t believe the claim on the basis of faith. "Faith" is the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway. Faith is a unreliable path to knowledge. When someone claims to have supernatural knowledge, or the ability to gain knowledge in a way that others are unable to, their claims cannot be considered valid.
Posted by Bible2000 2 years ago
Bible2000
@missmedic

Belief in God does not reject the idea that the universe was not designed by an intelligent creator. It simply accepts the most logical conclusion based on what we can observe. Atheists question so much that they ignore the simple evidence that is right in front of them, and give credit to random chance for the fine-tuning of the universe when there is absolutely no evidence supporting their claim! Ask yourself sincerely, could unintelligent random chance really result in, for instance, an Earth that is the precise distance from the sun at all times (although it is revolving at a speed of 67,000 mph) and constantly rotating on is axis allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day? You think this is not valid evidence for God? Alright. But what valid evidence do you have suggesting that it all just happened randomly by chance? Think about it, who is really coming to the most reasonable conclusion?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Commondebator 2 years ago
Commondebator
Bible2000EnvisageTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: I found Con's argument more convincing, and he refuted the majority of pro's points correctly. Pro kept giving the assumption that complexity means creator, and I did not find his argument that convincing. Good job con
Vote Placed by Gabe1e 2 years ago
Gabe1e
Bible2000EnvisageTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments and Sources to Con, but I caught a few errors in grammar, so grammar to Pro, but overall, Con won. Good job.