The Instigator
FathomTheDeep
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
NiqashMotawadi3
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

It takes more faith to be an Atheist than a Christian

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
NiqashMotawadi3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,503 times Debate No: 44198
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (3)

 

FathomTheDeep

Pro


Often people have the question: is there proof that God exists? Yet isn't it true that the same people who don't believe in God, already believe in something which nobody can see?



Well, all of us believe in something we have never physically seen. I am talking about belief in the origin of mankind and the world around us. We weren't there to see what happened in the distant past.



From a very young age we are conditioned as children to believe in a story made-up about 150 years ago by a man who was qualified in theology. Of course the man is Charles Darwin and he introduced the theory Evolution.



We now have the benefit of 150 years of scientific investigation and progress since then. And what proof has been found? What is the evidence?



It is asserted that human ancestors evolved from apes and became primitive grunting hunter-gatherers. And are the bone fragments of 'Lucy' the evidence for such a "human prehistory"? Where are the transitional fossils and the missing link, they should have been found by now, right? If you look into it, you may find that all the best candidates for the missing link are dubious bone fragments.



So when will they find a convincing fossil of a creature in a transitional evolutionary form? If one isn't found soon, shouldn't people change their beliefs?



Isn't there convincing tangible evidence for evolution? Has someone really observed it in the lab? In the field? Are you sure? How do you know?



Sir Richard Dawkins has not been able to give a clear example of a mutation that led to an increase of information in the genome, and nor has an example been forthcoming from any scientist. Some convoluted explanations have been forthcoming, yet surely these are hardly proof.



In any case, unless time travel becomes possible, we can only make observations and measurements here and now in the present, and from such observations we can extrapolate or theorise about what happened in the past. But there is no way to confirm it, as we cannot do an experiment on the past. Hence we can say that we all have faith-based belief about history.



If we want to know what happened in the past, it would surely be grossly negligent to ignore eyewitness accounts recorded by those who were actually there and saw what happened.



And from history, we do have eyewitness accounts about Jesus of Nazareth, which corroborate his resurrection from death. Secular historians at least agree that he was a real man from a real time in real history. And these same eyewitness accounts also provide his family history, which can be traced with earlier records back to King David, and ultimately back to the first man Adam, created by God. So at which point in the 77 generations from Adam to Jesus does the record fail?



Let us consider. Which of these two beliefs would require more faith?



1. Atheistic evolution, which we know for sure was made-up by a man.



OR



2. The resurrection of Jesus, as testified by eyewitnesses and foretold in prophesies.




Note: For the purpose of this debate, let's define "faith" as trust or confidence in someone or something. (I got this definition from Google).

NiqashMotawadi3

Con

INTRODUCTION

I would like to thank Pro for starting this interesting debate. Pro's burden of proof consists of proving that atheism itself requires more faith than Christianity, while I will argue against this motion and show that Christianity requires more faith than atheism, but after I offer my rebuttal to Pro's arguments.

REBUTTAL

Pro asks, "Yet isn't it true that the same people who don't believe in God, already believe in something which nobody can see?"

Rebuttal: Pro here commits a loaded question fallacy that implies that atheists don't believe in God because they can't see Him. Truth of the matter, atheists lack belief in God because they argue that there is no empirical evidence or good arguments for His existence.

Pro argues, "From a very young age we are conditioned as children to believe in a story made-up about 150 years ago by a man who was qualified in theology. Of course the man is Charles Darwin and he introduced the theory Evolution."

Rebuttal: You don't have to be an atheist to accept the theory of evolution, so I don't see how this is something against atheism. It seems to me that Pro is committing a fallacy of equivocation between the word "atheist" and the word "evolutionist." Furthermore, the theory of evolution is one of the most supported scientific theories in biology. I don't see how that particular theory is a bedtime story, to be honest.

Pro claims, "It is asserted that human ancestors evolved from apes and became primitive grunting hunter-gatherers. And are the bone fragments of 'Lucy' the evidence for such a "human prehistory"? Where are the transitional fossils and the missing link, they should have been found by now, right? If you look into it, you may find that all the best candidates for the missing link are dubious bone fragments. "

Rebuttal: According to the Smithsonian National Institution for Natural History, "From skeletons to teeth, early human fossils have been found of more than 6,000 individuals. With the rapid pace of new discoveries every year, this impressive sample means that even though some early human species are only represented by one or a few fossils, others are represented by thousands of fossils[1]." This sounds like a massive collection of fossils with complete and detailed fossils, not "dubious bone fragments."

Pro argues, "In any case, unless time travel becomes possible, we can only make observations and measurements here and now in the present, and from such observations we can extrapolate or theorise about what happened in the past. But there is no way to confirm it, as we cannot do an experiment on the past. Hence we can say that we all have faith-based belief about history."

Rebuttal: Pro seems to miss an elemental point in epistemology which is called "studying the traces." If a murder occurs, it is not true that we cannot confirm it if we are not there. If Pro is talking about certainty, well, of course, we never have full certainty, but neither do we have full certainty if we observed the event as we could be hallucinating, for example. While it is true that we never have full certainty, that does not at all imply that accusing a murderer with conclusive evidence is equivalent to having a dogmatic, superstitious belief with no empirical evidence whatsoever. It seems apparent that certainty and reasonableness vary in degrees between what is supported by good evidence and what remains unsupported.

Pro claims, "Sir Richard Dawkins has not been able to give a clear example of a mutation that led to an increase of information in the genome, and nor has an example been forthcoming from any scientist. Some convoluted explanations have been forthcoming, yet surely these are hardly proof."

Rebuttal: I take it that Pro is not familiar with academic researches and experiments that show the exact opposite of what Pro claims. According to (Zhang et al. 2002), RNASE1B mutated from RNASE1 having an increase in genetic material[2]. According to (Brown et al. 1998), parts of yeast, after 450 generations, mutated further with an increase in genetic material[3]. According to (Adami et al. 2000) and (Schneider 2000), the process of mutation and selection is generally observed to increase information and complexity [4,5].

Pro argues, "And from history, we do have eyewitness accounts about Jesus of Nazareth, which corroborate his resurrection from death."

Rebuttal: Eyewitness accounts are supporting evidence when we're dealing with normal claims, not with spectacular claims such as rising from the dead. To draw further on this, suppose my friend told you that he saw me smoking yesterday. This is a normal claim so you might accept his testimony. Now suppose he continued and said that a man nearby shot me ten times in the head, and after a few minutes of being dead, I rose up and smiled and asked him to do it again. Would you really accept an eye-witness testimony at this point? In conclusion, spectacular claims need more than eyewitness testimonies. There are also thousands of stories carried down by hundreds of so-called "eyewitnesses" in other religions like Sikhism, where you have a Guru that is sliced in half and yet able to recite poetry from his two sliced halves. Nevertheless, such eyewitness testimonies do not suffice in establishing those events as historic or even well-supported.

Pro remarks, "And these same eyewitness accounts also provide his family history, which can be traced with earlier records back to King David, and ultimately back to the first man Adam, created by God. So at which point in the 77 generations from Adam to Jesus does the record fail?"

Rebuttal: The genealogy of Jesus is different in each gospel, explicitly contradictory and clearly incomplete, which makes it plausible that the genealogies were based on made-up names and the names of historic figures used in a desperate attempt to link Jesus to King David (to fulfill the Jewish literal convention to Messianic prophecies) and back to Adam(who we doubt even existed). According to many Biblical scholars, such genealogies are blatant fabrications[6].

MY CASE

I'm an agnostic atheist and I don't find myself with many unsupported assumptions such as those spectacular claims and assumptions in the Christian faith. I have some faith in the empirical method, but that's about it. I lack belief in angels, demons, gods, prophecies, resurrections, godly interventions, miracles, ultimate purposes and judgment days. Instead of believing in spectacular claims with little or no evidence, I suspend my judgment and remain undecided although I'm practically an atheist. How again is that being faithful?

CITATIONS

[1] humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species

[2] Zhang, J., Y.-P. Zhang and H. F. Rosenberg, 2002. Adaptive evolution of a duplicated pancreatic ribonuclease gene in a leaf-eating monkey. Nature Genetics 30: 411-415. See also: Univ. of Michigan, 2002, How gene duplication helps in adapting to changing environments.

[3] Brown, C. J., K. M. Todd and R. F. Rosenzweig, 1998. Multiple duplications of yeast hexose transport genes in response to selection in a glucose-limited environment. Molecular Biology and Evolution 15(8): 931-942.

[4] Adami, C., C. Ofria and T. C. Collier, 2000. Evolution of biological complexity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 97(9): 4463-4468.

[5] Schneider, T. D., 2000. Evolution of biological information. Nucleic Acids Research 28(14): 2794-2799. http://www-lecb.ncifcrf.gov...

[6] R. T. France, The Gospel According to Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary (Eerdmans, 1985) page 71.

Debate Round No. 1
FathomTheDeep

Pro


I thank Con for accepting this debate and offering evidence. Con’s burden of proof consists of proving that belief in Jesus’ resurrection requires more faith than belief in atheistic evolution. Here I aim to focus on evidence. "Faith" I defined in my opening argument.



REBUTTAL


Con claims, "Pro here commits a loaded question fallacy that implies that atheists don't believe in God because they can't see Him."


Rebuttal: My actual implication is affirmed and clarified in my next sentences after the question, so it is NOT a loaded question fallacy as I did provide justification which con has not refuted.



Con argues, "It seems to me that Pro is committing a fallacy of equivocation between the word "atheist" and the word "evolutionist.""


Rebuttal: I completely agree that atheists are not necessarily evolutionists. Con then affirms that evolution is "most supported" and Con has not identified any alternative to evolution in which atheists believe, nor does it seem that Con has disputed my assumption that all of us believe something about the origin of mankind. Can we put a figure on the percentage of atheists who are evolutionists I wonder? Would it be around 99% perhaps? By accepting this debate Con would have noted that I specifically asked that we compare "1. Atheistic evolution" with "2. The resurrection of Jesus".



Con stated, "the theory of evolution is one of the most supported scientific theories"


Rebuttal: Here Con has chosen to appeal to majority sentiment. Therefore, Con commits a fallacy of consensus.



Con quotes the Smithsonian website emphasizing the numbers of fossils, "From skeletons to teeth, early human fossils have been found of more than 6,000 individuals. With the rapid pace of new discoveries every year, this impressive sample means that even though some early human species are only represented by one or a few fossils, others are represented by thousands of fossils" (Con’s emphasis)


Rebuttal: My original argument is that the best candidates for the missing link, such as 'Lucy', are made up of bone fragments that are dubious at best. Con has not identified any specific candidate, but instead refers to 1000s of specimens as stated on the Smithsonian website. Incidentally, the very first specimen listed there is actually 'Lucy', and the photograph clearly shows the stark contrast between the actual fragmented bones and the remainder of the skeleton which has been made up, either fabricated or rendered (by people) for display. See the specimen yourself on this link: http://humanorigins.si.edu...



Con remarks, "This sounds like a massive collection of fossils with complete and detailed fossils, not "dubious bone fragments.""


Rebuttal: I completely agree with Con that it sounds like this. Yet inspection of the specimens reveals that the fossils are overwhelmingly comprised of reconstructed bone fragments, which could certainly have come from fully human or fully ape skeletons. So in response to my question about transitional fossils Con has relied on some "sounds like" evidence. Confidence and trust in “sounds like” evidence amounts to faith. I wonder if we can have this same level of faith in this explanation from the exact same page of the pro-evolution Smithsonian website:


"While the existence of a human evolutionary family tree is not in question, its size and shape – the number of branches representing different genera and species, and the connections among them – are much debated by researchers and further confounded by a fossil record that only offers fragmented look at the ancient past." [ref-1] (emphasis added)



Con alleges, "I take it that Pro is not familiar with academic researches [SIC] and experiments that show the exact opposite of what Pro claims. According to (Zhang et al. 2002), RNASE1B mutated from RNASE1 having an increase in genetic material[2]. According to (Brown et al. 1998), parts of yeast, after 450 generations, mutated further with an increase in genetic material[3]. According to (Adami et al. 2000) and (Schneider 2000), the process of mutation and selection is generally observed to increase information and complexity [4,5]." (emphasis added)


Rebuttal: I take it that Con is not familiar with any of the four academic papers cited, because the papers do NOT ever refer to a specific observed "increase in genetic material". Incidentally, a simple Google search reveals a webpage which cites all of these sources in an order and manner curiously reminiscent of what Con has written, yet what con states certainly seems to be a deceptive and deliberate misrepresentation of the original. Compare what Con stated with what the webpage actually states:


"A mechanism that is likely to be particularly common for adding information is gene duplication, in which a long stretch of DNA is copied, followed by point mutations that change one or both of the copies. Genetic sequencing has revealed several instances in which this is likely the origin of some proteins. For example: …


• RNASE1, a gene for a pancreatic enzyme, was duplicated, and in langur monkeys one of the copies mutated into RNASE1B, which works better in the more acidic small intestine of the langur. (Zhang et al. 2002)


• Yeast was put in a medium with very little sugar. After 450 generations, hexose transport genes had duplicated several times, and some of the duplicated versions had mutated further. (Brown et al. 1998) ...


The process of mutation and selection is observed to increase information and complexity in simulations (Adami et al. 2000; Schneider 2000)." [ref-2] (emphasis added)


So we can see here that nowhere does it say that there was a specific observed increase of information, other than in simulations. If Con's evidence for evolution was to find this webpage and manipulate what it states, then such falsified evidence needs no further consideration.



Con claims, "The genealogy of Jesus is different in each gospel, explicitly contradictory and clearly incomplete, which makes it plausible that the genealogies were based on made-up names and the names of historic figures used in a desperate attempt to link Jesus to King David... According to many Biblical scholars, such genealogies are blatant fabrications[6]."


Rebuttal: Con's cited source here does not support these claims at all. Nowhere in the book does it say the genealogies are blatant fabrications, nor does it say the genealogy is "clearly incomplete". Rather, the author argues the exact opposite. Please consider what it actually says:


"That either Matthew or Luke simply invented the names he records is neither consistent with their known concern for detail, nor is there any obvious motive for it...


…probable explanation of the difference [between Matthew and Luke] is that while Luke records the actual physical genealogy of Joseph, Matthew records the line of succession to the throne, the 'official' genealogy. This would not necessarily pass from father to son, but would remain within the family. (The verb he uses for beget (gennao) is used of a relationship which is not genetic in 1 Cor. 4:15; Phm. 10, and the same metaphor was used in the relationship between a Rabbinic teacher and his pupil. Cf. also Ps. 2:7)" [ref-3]


As this source argues that the different genealogies complement each other, how is that "explicitly contradictory"? I ask Con, are you sure this is the source you intended to cite? Please be careful not to cite the wrong source or misrepresent sources.



Con explains, "I don't find myself with many unsupported assumptions such as those spectacular claims and assumptions in the Christian faith."


Rebuttal: Here Con makes the assumption that there are many unsupported assumptions in the Christian faith, but apparently Con has made this assumption without supporting it which would make it a fallacy of begging the question.



CITATIONS


[ref-1] same as Con’s cited source [1]


[ref-2] http://www.talkorigins.org...


[ref-3] page 72 of Con’s cited source [6]


NiqashMotawadi3

Con

DISCLAIMER

To win this debate, Pro was expected to prove that atheists have more faith than Christians, but instead he tried to shift the goal-posts, while quote-mining and misrepresenting sources.

Resolution

I accepted the debate based on the resolution: "It takes more faith to be an Atheist than a Christian." Pro's title is supposed to represent the resolution, unless Pro specifies that the title doesn't represent the resolution and presents the actual resolution he wants to debate. There was no clear clarification that he was providing "atheistic evolution verses Jesus' resurrection" as a resolution, since he didn't claim that the title is not the resolution, or use the terms "full resolution" or "resolution" in Round 1, but instead he provided it like another argument, much like his argument that "atheists only believe things they see." Therefore, it is reasonable for me to assume that the resolution of the debate is "It takes more faith to be an Atheist than a Christian." Moreover, If Pro insists on debating another resolution, he should concede this debate and start another one where his resolution is clearly defined.

Misrepresenting citations

Pro quoted-mined and argued about his Talk Origins citation: "So we can see here that nowhere does it say that there was a specific observed increase of information, other than in simulations."

The part Pro left out :

"Some mutations add information to a genome; some subtract it. Creationists get by with this claim only by leaving the term "information" undefined, impossibly vague, or constantly shifting. By any reasonable definition, increases in information have been observed to evolve. We have observed the evolution of

Increased genetic variety in a population (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)

Increased genetic materiall (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)

Novel genetic material (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)

Novel genetically-regulated abilities (Prijambada et al. 1995)"

Pro has obviously lied when he claimed that his citation says nothing about an increase in information by simply ignoring 80% of the text and scrolling down to a paragraph that speaks of a different aspect (how simulations also confirm that). Here is the link (http://www.talkorigins.org...).

--

Pro quote-minded from the source on Genealogies,

Rebuttal 1: I simply searched and found an author, whom I don't agree with, but who addresses Biblical scholars who reject the genealogies of Jesus, and therefore I included his citation for the fact that he mentions their existence, and not because I adopt his ideas and arguments. Examples of such scholars would be the biblical scholar Robert H. Gundry considers the series of unknown names in Matthew connecting Joseph's grandfather to Zerubbabel as an outright fabrication, produced by collecting and modifying various names from 1 Chronicles[1], and the biblical scholar Barbara Sivertsen considers Luke’s genealogy to be invented out of oral traditions[2]. Some biblical scholars reject not one but both genealogies as opposed to the scholars above. For instance, the biblical scholar Bart Ehrman claims,

"

For centuries scholars have recognized that the birth narratives of the New Testament are historically problematic... To start with, they both give genealogies of Jesus’ father, Joseph (it’s an interesting question why they do so, since in neither account is Jesus a blood relative of Joseph), but they are different genealogies... It is not that one is a genealogy of Mary and the other of Joseph. Both Gospel authors are crystal clear: they are giving Joseph’s genealogy[3].

"

Therefore, Ehrman admits that the genealogies are contradictory and historically problematic. He has also critqued both on his website[4,5]. Furthermore, asking what "motive" could Matthew an Luke have to fabricate a genealogy is treating them from the start as disciples and leaving out the possibility that they could be frauds who are simply spreading legends .

MY CASE FOR EVOLUTION

* I couldn't present three other sections because of the character-space, so I'm just presenting two.

Chromosome two

In laymen terms, our ape cousins and ancestors have 24 pairs of chromosome while humans have 23. The missing pair of chromosome in humans is because two apes chromosomes fused together into one[6], which shows strong evidence for evolution as it shows how our pairs of chromosomes changed along the evolutionary path. In other words, we wouldn't have fused ape chromosomes if we didn't evolve from apes.




Fossil record

Lucy's set is relatively incomplete, but every bone fragment in Lucy falls perfectly in the time frame of evolutionary change, and so the whole set of fossils shows exactly how species evolved, given that we're speaking of thousands of records, and not just Lucy's. Moreover, the Australopithecus Sediba (shown below) also shows that we're not just dealing with "dubious bone fragments" but some sets which are almost complete in describing one symmetrical side of the bone structure. It's odd that Pro would undermine years of scientific research published on academic websites and just reject the fossil record as "dubious bone fragments" when we have species like the American horse which have almost complete transional fossils[7].




Australopithecus Sediba. The white region is plastic modeling, but as we can see his right-side is mostly covered, knowing that bone-structure is symmetric and most of the skull, shoulders, waist and right arm are preserved.


DROPPED ARGUMENTS

Pro dropped many of his original arguments in Round 1:

1- Atheists only believe in things they see.

2- Atheists have more faith than Christians. [The resolution of the debate itself].

3- Evolution happened years ago, so it can never be confirmed to have happened.

4- The genealogy of Jesus is right at every point. [Baseless assertion and controversial point in Biblical Scholarship]

SUMMARY

Pro used his previous round to avoid his burden of proof and use blatant fabrications to attack my academic citations. I defended my academic citations by showing that Talk Origins said exactly what I was saying, and I showed that Pro was simply misunderstanding my citation on the biblical scholars.

Pro, so far, has used a red herring (Darwinian evolution) in an attempt to establish that atheism requires more faith than Christianity. I await an actual argument based on the original resolution or a concession of this debate.

CITATIONS

[1] Robert H. Gundry (1982), Matthew: A Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art, Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans. Retrieved from Wikipedia(http://en.wikipedia.org...).

[2] Barbara Sivertsen (2005), "New testament genealogies and the families of Mary and Joseph". Retrieved from Wikipedia(http://en.wikipedia.org...).

[3] What do we really know about Jesus - Bart Ehrman . Retrieved from (http://www.agnostic-library.com...)

[4] ehrmanblog.org/matthews-genealogy/

[5] ehrmanblog.org/lukes-genealogy-2/

[6] Specifically quoting, "We conclude that the locus cloned in cosmids c8.1 and c29B is the relic of an ancient telomere-telomere fusion and marks the point at which two ancestral ape chromosomes fused to give rise to human chromosome 2." Retrieved from the US National Library of Medicine(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...).

[7] chem.tufts.edu/science/evolution/horseevolution.htm
Debate Round No. 2
FathomTheDeep

Pro

In this debate we are considering whether it takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian. The terms “atheist” and “Christian” specifically refer to people, as distinct from atheism itself or Christianity itself.

While atheism itself does not demand belief in evolution, both atheists and Christians, as people, do place trust and confidence in their respective belief about the origin of mankind and our surroundings. In this debate about trust and confidence, it is therefore relevant to compare these respective beliefs, and I thank Con for participating in discussion of evolution so far.

Here I offer some final rebuttal and my case.

REBUTTAL

The talkorigins.org source states, “Creationists get by with this claim only by leaving the term "information" undefined, impossibly vague, or constantly shifting.”

Rebuttal: “Creationists actually have a very robust definition of information (see "In the Beginning was Information") and it is the evolutionists who want to make information more vague... Gitt defines information beyond this statistical level, dealing with syntax (structure), semantics (meaning), pragmatics (intended action) and apobetics (intended result). DNA encompasses all five levels, and mutation while it can add 'static' does not add information.”[ref-4]

Con alleged, “Pro has obviously lied when he claimed that his citation says nothing about an increase in information by simply ignoring 80% of the text and scrolling down to a paragraph that speaks of a different aspect”

Rebuttal: I trust any careful examination of this allegation will find it to be baseless. It is NOT a lie, nor is it quote-mining. I did NOT claim that my citation says nothing about an increase in information. Rather, I pointed to the specific part of the http://www.talkorigins.org... webpage which demonstrates that Con has clearly misrepresented the four academic papers cited in round-1.

MY CASE

Eyewitness evidence is being reported to us every day in the news media across the world. When we ‘Google it’, the information we find is based upon the observations and findings of people. In recent history we also have the benefit of eyewitness evidence recorded in the form of images or video, and such images usually rely on the witnesses to provide the date, context and location. Recorded eyewitness evidence forms the best information we have about what happened in events like September 11 or World War 2.

Con asked if we would believe a self-professed recipient of 10 headshots whom we can see is alive. With this scenario Con is appealing to extremes (a fallacy), so of course I would not accept this friend’s testimony on face-value alone. If there were 500 other people who separately testify to seeing the incident as described by this friend, then it would certainly warrant much closer consideration. It would also help if this friend could show 20 scars from the bullet holes where each of the 10 bullets entered and exited his head. In the case of Jesus, his death was by public execution, over 500 later saw him alive at the same time and his scars were clearly tangible.[ref-5]

Mere analysis of inanimate material found at or near the location of past event/s can provide some indication about what happened, but it often provides only piecemeal information and it must be considered along with any purported eyewitness evidence. In court a judge or jury errs to simply ignore or disregard corroborating testimony from the people who were there and saw what happened. It must be considered. Christians have considered the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and resurrection, and place trust and confidence in them. Atheists who haven’t considered the gospels demonstrate trust and confidence that they’re false. Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but we must realise that faith is being exercised.

Reliability of the independently-written gospels has been scrutinised by numerous legal and historical experts, including in this article http://creation.com... as well as the book written by former atheist (now Christian) and legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel, called The Case for Christ. (http://www.amazon.com... ).

Jesus’ followers abandoned and denied him to be executed. Yet they then had such a radical transformation that they started his Church and endured torture and execution for refusing to renounce their testimony. The Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University and author of Treatise on the Law of Evidence, Dr Simon Greenleaf, came to this conclusion:

"it was impossible that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not Jesus Christ actually risen from the dead." (emphasis added) [ref-6]

Meanwhile the purported eyewitness evidence for evolution is based upon genetic mutations akin to deleting a letter from a sentence represent more information.[ref-7] To believe that such mutations represent eyewitness evidence of evolution, requires a stretch of confidence and trust, and therefore a stretch of faith.


“SPECTACULAR CLAIMS REQUIRE SPECTACULAR EVIDENCE”

When Darwin introduced the theory of evolution it was a spectacular claim for the culture at the time. The idea of something being spectacular is subjective. If there is a higher threshold of evidence required for the "spectacular" claims of Christianity, that same threshold would mutually apply to evolutionary claims. For any atheists to whom it doesn’t, they surely commit a fallacy of inconsistent comparison.

I thank Con for identifying missing link candidate Australopithecus sediba and including its picture. The author of the study into this specimen is paleoanthropologist Lee Berger. Leading paleoanthropologist (and Evolutionist) Tim White has blasted Berger’s subsequent book, The Official Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind, labelling it as “in many ways worse than useless, given the astonishing density of errors and misleading statements”. White added that it showed a disturbing “pattern of fabrication”.[ref-8] (emphasis added)

I have argued in this debate that the best evidence on which atheists rely, is made up. We know that the best "missing link" specimens are plastic with some incomplete bone fragments.

The pro-evolution Smithsonian Institute itself admits that the fossil record only offers a fragmented look at the past. Take note that the “fragmented look”, is an observation made in the present.

So should we base our core beliefs about life and death on what some mere pieces of bone look like according to some people who are not eyewitnesses, who disagree with other experts, and do not know for certain?

Sir Isaac Newton observed:

“Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.”

For the spectacular claims of atheism, would the plastic skeletons be among its idols?

To trust and have confidence in unquestionably fabricated evidence, amounts to extreme faith. For the atheists who go one step further and actually fabricate the evidence to support their belief, this demonstrates the most extreme level of faith.


CITATIONS

[ref-4] http://www.creationconversations.com...

[ref-5] John 20:27 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

[ref-6] Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, p.29

[ref-7] http://creationwiki.org...(Talk.Origins)

[ref-8] http://www.theaustralian.com.au...

NiqashMotawadi3

Con

DISCLAIMER

Pro's performance in this this debate was disappointing.

1- In his resolution, Pro claimed that it requires more faith to be an atheist than a Christian, but the only argument Pro provided was an argument against evolution, when atheism doesn't necessarily require evolution and when many Christians accept the theory of evolution, which means that Pro's main argument was a red herring fallacy that didn't satisfy his burden of proof. If Pro wanted to attack atheism through evolution, he should have specified how atheism inherently has evolution as a doctrine. This was not done.

2- Pro ignored most of the arguments I made, although that could reflect negatively on his conduct as he only used about half of his character-space.

3- Pro built most of his arguments on non-trusted citations(e.g CreationWiki, Creation.com) and on false appeals to authority (e.g Walter Gitt) .

I will try to address every falsehood in this final round, although I've already won this debate, given that Pro refused to defend his resolution.

REBUTTAL

Spectacular claims need spectacular evidence

Pro argues that evolution is a spectacular claim.

Rebuttal: Evolution is a scientific theory which does not contain any spectacular claims, but is based on the natural mechanisms. Pro has failed to identify what is spectacular about evolution throughout this debate.

Pro continues, " In court a judge or jury errs to simply ignore or disregard corroborating testimony from the people who were there and saw what happened. It must be considered. Christians have considered the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and resurrection, and place trust and confidence in them."

Rebuttal: Pro obviously makes a fallacy of equivocation between modern-day eye witnesses accounts and "non-trusted accounts of eye witnesses" received from "historically-problematic ancient scriptures," as Dr. Ehrman would call them. Pro has also refused to answer why I should accept his "historically-problematic accounts of eye witnesses" and reject the non-trusted accounts of eye witnesses from a Sikhi who speaks about Gurus performing unbelievable miracles?

Pro continues, "Reliability of the independently-written gospels has been scrutinized by numerous legal and historical experts, including in this article http://creation.com...;

Rebuttal: Pro continues with non-trusted, biased sources that support a "minority view" in Biblical scholarship that says that the Bible is reliable, ignoring citations from biblical scholars such as Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Robert McNair Price, Dr. Robert E. Van Voorst [1] and many others.

Pro remarks, "Con asked if we would believe a self-professed recipient of 10 headshots whom we can see is alive. With this scenario Con is appealing to extremes (a fallacy), so of course I would not accept this friend’s testimony on face-value alone. "

Rebuttal: This was a comparison between Jesus' resurrection and a real-life, eye-witness testimony of someone being shot, dying and then rising up again. I don't see how that is appealing to any extremes. If anything, this was to make it clear that Jesus' resurrection is a spectacular claim that needs more than eye-witness testimonies. That is to say, Jesus being dead for three days and rising up is itself extreme. Throughout this debate, Pro didn't even manage to provide "reliable" eye witness testimonies, or ones that we are certain of their existence, to begin with, hence his support for Jesus' resurrection requires more faith than what is narrated above, but he argues using a Double Standard that he won't accept what happened above based on the eye witness testimony.

Evidence for evolution - Increase in genetic information

In Round 2, I showed that my citation clearly specified that mutations add and decrease information, and not only that, but gave academic studies that were directly concerned with the addition and removal of genetic information because of mutations:

1- Increased genetic variety in a population. (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)

2- Increased genetic material. (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)

3- Novel genetic material. (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)

Pro responded, "Gitt defines information beyond this statistical level, dealing with syntax (structure), semantics (meaning), pragmatics (intended action) and apobetics (intended result). DNA encompasses all five levels, and mutation while it can add 'static' does not add information[ref-4]."

Rebuttal: The citation "ref-4" that Pro offered doesn't mention the name "Gitt." Hence, I looked up this unknown person to realize that he was Walter Gitt, a German engineer and a young Earth creationist, and therefore not an authority on genetics or even biology, for that matter. Needless to say, Pro made a false appeal to authority, as the author is not an authority on the subject, to counter almost eight peer-reviewed papers on genetics which speak about increases in genetic information.

Evidence for evolution - Chromosome two argument

[Pro completely ignored this argument]




Evidence for evolution - American horse transition fossils

[Pro completely ignored this argument]

I offered an academic citation(chem.tufts.edu/science/evolution/horseevolution.htm) showing that our fossil record of the American horse is almost complete. Pro completely ignored this argument and went ahead and claimed that evolution is based on plastic bones.

Evidence for evolution - Australopithecus Sediba

Pro's non-trusted citation spoke of an argument between Tim D. White and Lee Berger, although it suspiciously didn't give any citations. After further investigation, I discovered that it was just a fabrication by a young-earth Creationist who works for The Australian Magazine (which is not even a scientific magazine).

According to the Nature magazine, the argument was only on whether the fossil belongs to a species that could be called homo or not[2]. There is no mention of any attacks on the authenticity of the bones themselves, and hence I wholeheartedly reject the non-trusted account of Tim White's reaction.

Evidence for evolution - bone-fragments and the evolutionary tree

[Pro completely ignored this argument]

I argued that although we have fragments, we can see that those fragments, perfectly and in an ordered manner, record the evolution of species, and that we don't find any conflicts in the evolutionary record.

It is apparent to me that Pro is not familiar with the inductive, scientific method which builds on many fragments to induce a scientific theory that best explains them, but seems to suggest the concept of a "scientific proof" which doesn't exist in science. This summarizes our whole debate and Pro's defense of creationism...




SUMMARY

Throughout this debate, I showed that evolution is supported with overwhelming evidence by arguments from DNA (chromosome 2), increase of genetic material and the fossil-record.

Pro, on the other hand, supported his Christian faith with non-trusted websites, unable to defend any of the unsupported claims of Christianity from resurrection, miracles, global floods, talking snakes, magical fruits, judgment days, revelations and what have you.


Nevertheless, the debate is about atheism verses Christianity and not classical creationism (which many Christians reject) and evolution (which is not a perquisite for atheism). Pro waisted our time arguing against atheism by attacking evolution, which makes no sense as the theory of evolution is supported by both atheists and Christians.

I thank Pro for starting this debate
It was at least interesting.

CITATIONS

[1] http://www.tms.edu...

[2] http://www.nature.com...
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Magic8000 2 years ago
Magic8000
Pro"s entire argument is claiming atheists don"t believe in God because they can"t see him. This is a bad argument because Con can just say he doesn"t accept that type of epistemology. Which is what he did. He pointed out it"s a loaded question.Pro never justified that atheists never neccecarily have to hold this type of epistemology. This means Con has won right off the bat. Pro then goes onto to say evolution is believed in without proper observational evidence. Con shows evolution is supported by genetic evidence. Pro responded by saying they didn"t increase genetic material. Con points out problems with the New Testament"s genealogies. Pro argues that his source supports him instead of Con.

Con showed Pro committed a texas sharpshooter fallacy in quote mining from talk origins. Con said how citing a website doesn"t mean he adopts his views and went on to provide justification for his claim about genealogies. He then goes to provide evidence of evolution and points out the dropped arguments. Pro talks about the reliability of eyewitness accounts. Pro also said he only pointed out Con misused the talk origins source. He then went onto define information.

Con showed how he didn"t misuse his sources. Pointed out Pro"s equivocation of modern day eyewitness accounts to historical eyewitness accounts. He points out Pro"s sources are unreliable and in the minority. Con used invalid authorities. Con pointed out that Pro dropped just about all of his arguments for evolution. Chromosomal fusion and all but one fossil claim was ignored. His rebuttal to the Australopithecus Sediba was untrusted and fabricated by a non-scientific magazine

Pro dropped arguments, based his entire argument on some non-necessary atheistic epistemology, used weak arguments to support eyewitness accounts and used unreliable sources. Arguments and sources goto Con.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
There's an unclear clause in that, sorry: Con showed *that PRO was doing* dishonest quote-mining. Sorry.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
I'm very disappointed in this debate, specifically on Pro's rather dishonest attempt to shift the goalposts. Pro attempted to shift this debate into something that was neither fair nor sensical (as Con notes, there are Christians who believe in evolution). That wasn't the resolution. If Pro wanted a debate on evolution, he could have had one. He chose not to, so all of hte evolution stuff was irrelevant. Pro gave no support of the ACTUAL resolution, focusing on arguments tangential to it--and even on those arguments, Con showed a dishonest quote-mining. Pro failed to make solid arguments even for his shifted goalposts.

Arguments to Con for the fact that Pro never supported his case, but also for Con making hte better evolution case. Conduct to Con because Pro was dishonest. Sourcing to Con for having more, and more reliable sources, particularly ones that are from sources with which he disagrees but that are generally more on "Pro's" side, and for not trying to cherry-pick.

S&G seemed equal enough, I suppose.

As always, happy to clarify anything in this RFD.
Posted by NiqashMotawadi3 2 years ago
NiqashMotawadi3
@kingcripple

Except that your friend repeated an argument I refuted from Round one (argument from eye testimonies), which he supported with Christian non-trusted sources (CreationWiki), giving me the citations like Halloween candy, and going against the quote he himself quoted by accepting the spectacular claims of Christianity.

Not to mention that he has not argued against atheism, but evolution, and so loses the whole debate as the resolution is for atheists, not evolutionists.

Yet it is funny that you claimed to be biased from the start by saying that you agree with his resolution before I posted my rounds. I'll guess I defeat you in a debate after this one like I've been defeating your Christian friend here in every round, and will surely win you as I'll win this debate by flying colors.
Posted by kingcripple 2 years ago
kingcripple
FathomTheDeep blew me away with the Carl Sagen quote, which is used frequently by atheists. Way to use their own weapon against them. Sold me on that one quote alone. That is exactly what I would have said as well
Posted by FathomTheDeep 2 years ago
FathomTheDeep
Thanks for your advice kingcripple. I notice all my font is smaller than Con's and the line spacing is completely out of whack. Not too sure how to correct this. I will try post my new round from a different browser.

By using the smaller font it was certainly not my intention to be deceptive or misleading or some kind of trickery.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
missmedic
IT looks to me that NiqashMotawadi3 beat FathomTheDeep like a drum in the first round. I will check back when its time to vote.
Posted by kingcripple 2 years ago
kingcripple
To be completely fair, while that definition IS there, it is in a very small font. smaller than the rest of your argument. Two things need to be pointed out here out of fairness to your opponent and readers. The definition should be stated at the beginning of your argument and not the bottom, and second, it should be in the same size font. Neither of those qualifications are met.

Now I understand that sometimes we forget to post these things up front or even at all, but having it it in a suspiciously smaller font, is strange

All this is coming from someone who agrees with your initial premise, so it's something to strongly consider
Posted by FathomTheDeep 2 years ago
FathomTheDeep
...That definition of faith is noted at the bottom of my opening-round argument.
Posted by FathomTheDeep 2 years ago
FathomTheDeep
The two comments so far raise issue of the definition of faith.

Note: For the purpose of this debate, let's define "faith" as trust or confidence in someone or something. (I got this definition from Google).

By accepting the debate, Con should form arguments around this definition.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Magic8000 2 years ago
Magic8000
FathomTheDeepNiqashMotawadi3Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by kingcripple 2 years ago
kingcripple
FathomTheDeepNiqashMotawadi3Tied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro started off really shaky. Citing very little sources at all, so source points go to Con. However, I didn't see Con touch on Pro's reversing Carl Sagen quote. It could equally be said that said quote could be used to argue either side. Con didn't touch on this at all. I would be convinced that Pro had better conduct, however conduct was close enough still, to warrent a tie.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
FathomTheDeepNiqashMotawadi3Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.