The Instigator
Eris
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
inspyre
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

People do not have the right to an absolute "freedom of belief"

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/8/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,278 times Debate No: 9630
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (34)
Votes (5)

 

Eris

Pro

It is my contention that human beings should not be allowed to exercise the right to absolute "freedom of belief", contrary to the popular opinions of most individuals. Indeed I would instead assert that there are certain beliefs within the spectrum of possibility that - as human beings - we should actively discourage from being supported or defended by our peers; namely those beliefs which survive without, and despite, scientifically verifiable evidence.

It should be noted that this is a purely philosophical argument based upon moral grounds, and I have not intended to spark debate concerning fascism, socialism, communism, anything regarding the novel 1984, or Glenn Beck conspiracy theories. It should also be noted that this thread of inquiry is not addressing taboo ideas - ideas which are held in belief and practice, albeit conspicuously; but rather that certain ideas should not be allowed to simply exist or propagate.

The crux of my argument therefore relies upon three principles founded upon a common moral thread:

1) Certain beliefs should not be held because they encourage / facilitate unnecessary or avoidable violence

Evidence for this can be found among any number of religious conflicts. As these beliefs allow for the more efficient justification of harm to another human being who does not hold / recognize those same unverifiable beliefs, they should be discouraged as readily as possible from being held or practiced. E.g. You do not have the right to kill your neighbor, enslave his wife, and convert his children because he cannot "hear" the same supernatural voice you can. Furthermore, you have even less of right to believe in that for which there is no scientific, verifiable, or logical evidence to support. (See God/Gods/Flying Spaghetti Monster/ Quetzalcoatl etc.)

Conclusion: You do not have the right to believe an idea without verifiable, objective evidence. You have even less of a right to act on those said unverifiable beliefs.

2) Certain beliefs should not be held because they prevent the collective and beneficial progress of the human species.

Evidence for this can be found in within the modern scientific community. A most simplistic example would begin with the fact that some 200 years The Germ Theory of Disease replaced the Theory of Spontaneous Generation. Any scientist who continues to believe the Theory of Spontaneous Generation in the face of approximately 200 years of verifiable scientific evidence should be actively discouraged from doing so, and should be removed from any position of authority. Generalizing this example, just as the scientific community would not allow a Geographer to continue to believe that the world is flat; society has the moral imperative and intrinsic right to prevent human beings from holding such antiquated beliefs.

Conclusion: You do not have the right to believe in something for which there is incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.

3) Certain beliefs should not be held because they encourage intrinsically dangerous and reckless behavior by the human species.

It should be noted here that by "reckless" I am addressing not so much acts traditionally referred to as "reckless" like bungee jumping or skydiving, but rather beliefs which ignore the consequences of our behavior as a species in the long term; such as religious attitudes towards birth control. Indeed, the absolute opposition to birth control by most modern religions is not only medieval in terms of ultimate goals (more babies = more churches = more dominant religion), but also reckless when viewed alongside the continued existence of the human species. If we continue to reproduce exponentially, our planet will reach its relative carrying capacity and will be unable to support further life; thereby causing extinctions of less dominant life forms; in turn causing morally unjustifiable and preventable deaths of dominant life forms (Read: Humans)

Conclusion: You do not have the right to believe in an idea which promotes clearly and unabashedly dangerous behavior that threatens the general well being of the human species.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd like to finish by summarizing my thoughts in a relatively concise statement: You do not have the right to believe in an idea without objective, verifiable evidence; you do not have the right to believe in antiquated ideas in spite of such evidence to the contrary; and you do not have the right to believe in ideas or behaviors which threaten the common welfare of the human species.

Thank you.
inspyre

Con

I want to open my first argument by stating that I share my opponent's disdain for ignorance and the resulting breeding ground it creates for manipulation, abuse, and violence. I believe that promoting a culture where people are as informed about life and the universe as possible is critical to our evolution as a species and the growth of our collective wisdom. Where I differ from my opponent is in his conclusion that:

A.People should not be allowed to exercise the RIGHT to "absolute freedom of belief"
B.Humans should only believe in things that can be scientifically verifiable.

Before I start with my opening arguments, let me state that although I agree with the sentiment that my opponent has expressed, I find it dangerous for any human being to judge what beliefs are justifiable and what beliefs are "dangerous". Each individual can only know truth in the way they have perceived it. At no point in time can we know for sure that we know everything possible to evaluate complete and absolute truth. Such an assumption applied to science, for example, would stifle a hypothesis before it could be tested simply because it is not deemed a justifiable hypothesis. I don't see how that can allow humans to progress.

THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF BELIEF

Fundamentally, every human has the right to believe, even if only silently, what they wish. The human mind collects information from the senses and processes them into observations, which are in turn filtered into beliefs, values, and convictions. We are both limited to and enhanced by the data we receive. It is by reasoning, both internally and with others that we sort out our processing and build points of reference for properly interpreting the information. But, there lies one proverbial wrench in the gears, and that is the issue of choice. Choice creates opinion from observation, so that we not only interpret the action, but what it "means". This meaning becomes our belief, and can differ between two people with the exact same experience. But, who is without choice that can judge inerrantly which evaluation is "illegal"?

SCIENTIFIC PROOF AS A BASIS FOR TRUTH

First, let me say that I am a FIRM believer in the scientific process. I believe that it is the best way to investigate all universal and in-process truths. The problem with science is that it lacks the ability to subjectively and inerrantly piece together past events, although it claims to have that power. Ultimately, the closest we can come to a "fact" is a theory, which is in itself an evaluative assumption, or most popularly known as a BELIEF.

For example, if I have a conversation with someone and make a statement about the color of a wall, that event has happened in the past. Without recording the event and replying into the present, there is no certain way to scientifically evaluate the event. We can only surmise the truth from subjective accounts that may be flawed. So, when I state that I used the word RED and the listener argues that I used the word BLUE, we are stuck. At the point the only option is to honor all beliefs and move forward to a new conclusion, or allow the wrong one to show itself by executing on all of the decisions that are based on the belief. We will either find out the belief was true, untrue, or unimportant.
Beliefs about heaven are a great example. How can one make an assumption while still alive? Any belief either way is a belief nonetheless. Both can have serious implications. At the end of the day, the decision and all resulting decisions are personal and irreconcilable. Who has the right to believe what they believe? Both.

IGNORANCE, RESPONSIBILITY, AND FAITH

The issue is not one of scientific verification, but of due diligence. If a human being assumes a belief system in spite of clear data and observations available to him, this is "reckless" faith. As individual who would base their entire life on such ideals could be very dangerous or, just as bad, could just head the wrong direction with their lives. Humans should therefore insist on some type of a due diligence process before they assimilate to a system of belief. This would accommodate the inability to scientifically prove many things that are true (like a past event or conversation), but would allow folks to verify the details that contributed to the original observation.

That being said, this can only be elected by the individual. People always act on what they believe, whether they know it or not. We all act on assumptions. You drive because you believe that it is safe to. You work because of your belief about life if you didn't. You stay married because you have faith in the one you are married to. These things can't be substantiated, and are subject to being questioned. But, ultimately, people will always act according to how they perceive the world – their belief system and their core values.

CONCLUSION

Therefore, not only do I believe that humans should maintain the right to open their hearts and believe what they know to be true to the best of their knowledge, but also that that making it illegal to express it will only serve to oppress that belief and help it into extremism and martyrdom. For those beliefs that lead to negative and destructive expression, we have a legal system to punish the acts and debate/dialogue to change the ideals if possible.
Debate Round No. 1
Eris

Pro

Just for the sake of clarity I'm going to respond to your argument on a line-by-line basis.

"I believe that promoting a culture where people are as informed about life and the universe as possible is critical to our evolution as a species and the growth of our collective wisdom. Where I differ from my opponent is in his conclusion that:

B. Humans should only believe in things that can be scientifically verifiable."

When you say that you believe in a culture where "people are as informed about life and the universe as possible", I'm curious as to how you would suggest we do that in any manner other than by believing only in things that are scientifically verifiable. I think both you and I could agree that if one were to believe in the existence of dragons, one would not be very "informed" about life or the nature of our universe. In turn it logically follows to say that belief in things that cannot be scientifically verified is not an "informed" belief in the slightest. Realizing this, my point still stands: Humans have the right to believe only in that which they can prove with objective evidence. They do not have the right to believe in fairy tales, especially when those same tales actively promote killing fans of other fairy tales.

"Before I start with my opening arguments, let me state that although I agree with the sentiment that my opponent has expressed, I find it dangerous for any human being to judge what beliefs are justifiable and what beliefs are 'dangerous'."

I sincerely doubt that you believe the statement you wrote. Take for an instance a man who believes it is his moral prerogative to impregnate as many women - by force if necessary - in order to ensure the survival of his genes. Now you and I both would "judge" this man's beliefs as dangerous because they clearly and unabashedly are. And again, it would follow my previous statements to say that this man should not be encouraged to hold these beliefs. They should be actively confronted and the behavior should be curtailed. Indeed what is truly dangerous in this case is not the "judging" of another's behavior, but rather the lack that judgment in the first place. By taking such a moral relativist position, you are in effect justifying this man's beliefs because you have stated no one has the right to tell him he is wrong - which is not only an intrinsically illogical statement, but a rather selfish one too.

"Each individual can only know truth in the way they have perceived it. At no point in time can we know for sure that we know everything possible to evaluate complete and absolute truth. Such an assumption applied to science, for example, would stifle a hypothesis before it could be tested simply because it is not deemed a justifiable hypothesis."

I don't recall arguing that we need "know everything possible to evaluate complete and absolute truth". Furthermore, the scientific analogy is rather flawed because any valid hypothesis would first rely upon a series of objective observations. One wouldn't create a hypothesis about the nature of the universe, and then throw in the idea of God "just because" it might be true. We can know only that which we observe, to speculate further is to be completely illogical and unscientific - something we don't have the right to do.

"Fundamentally, every human has the right to believe, even if only silently, what they wish."

Do I have the right to believe that I can murder someone and receive 72 virgins as a reward? No. Do I have the right to believe that if I see one homosexual man with another that I should stone them to death where they lie? No.

There are limits to what we can believe in. These limits should be enforced even if it makes you uncomfortable. To defend your right to believe anything you want defends any one of the rights I just listed as well as a myriad of other monstrous ideas - which in of itself is a patently selfish exercise.

"It is by reasoning, both internally and with others that we sort out our processing and build points of reference for properly interpreting the information. But, there lies one proverbial wrench in the gears, and that is the issue of choice."

Choice has nothing to do with this argument. If you "choose" to believe in something for which you have no evidence, I will then "choose" to remove any amount of influence you have over my life. I will "choose" to prevent you from voting, from holding public office, or in any manner affecting my life with the consequences of your insistence to hold unfounded beliefs.

"First, let me say that I am a FIRM believer in the scientific process...The problem with science is that it lacks the ability to subjectively and inerrantly piece together past events, although it claims to have that power."

It would seem, having read this last passage, that you are in fact not a "FIRM" believer in the scientific process. If you were, you would understand that science does indeed "have the ability to piece together past events". For instance, the Dinosaurs, roman Civilization, any aspect of Cosmology (It is in fact a "looking" into the past), etc. Our understanding of each of these "past events" was "pieced" together by the scientific process. To say that it does not have the ability to make accurate conjectures of past events is ignorant of the fundamental ideas behind science.

"For example, if I have a conversation with someone and make a statement about the color of a wall, that event has happened in the past. Without recording the event and replying into the present, there is no certain way to scientifically evaluate the event."

You walk back into the room and look at the wall. That would be "scientific".

"We can only surmise the truth from subjective accounts that may be flawed."

I'm not willing to indulge arguments that treat the scientific process as subjective.

"Beliefs about heaven are a great example. How can one make an assumption while still alive? Any belief either way is a belief nonetheless. Both can have serious implications."

One can make an assumption based upon evidence. As I have never seen heaven, nor has anyone else, neither of us still has the right to believe it exists. And you are quite right about a belief in heaven having serious implications. If I believe that after I martyr myself and kill 100 innocent people, I will continue to exist in some form in a "heaven" - I will be much more likely to do so - perhaps even eager to. If on the other hand I realize that this life is finite and terminates at some temporal point, I am much less likely to kill myself or anyone else for fear that they might do the same.

"The issue is not one of scientific verification, but of due diligence. If a human being assumes a belief system in spite of clear data and observations available to him, this is "reckless" faith."

You are now arguing my point.

"Humans should therefore insist on some type of a due diligence process before they assimilate to a system of belief. This would accommodate the inability to scientifically prove many things that are true (like a past event or conversation), but would allow folks to verify the details that contributed to the original observation."

This "due diligence" you speak of is commonly known as evidence. The "verifying" of details is again known as "experimentation". You seem to agree with me on many points of my argument, and yet you use euphemisms to deflect the point that you cannot accept - a point which you already seem to believe: People do not have the right to believe anything they want.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conclusion: I refuted the arguments my opponent presented, and have yet been offered a convincing and logical alternative to my original conjecture. I look forward to my opponent's response to both the original arguments, and the ones presented here.
inspyre

Con

Thank you to my opponent for an engaging volley. He is obviously very passionate about this subject, as am I. I will also attempt to provide a line-by-line rebuttal.

My opponent has illustrated a huge problem with his argument. He uses the example of believing in dragons, making the assumption that no such ancient animal existed, nor could have existed simply because there is not yet proof of this. Indeed many things that we now know today were only suspicions at one time, including the thought that animals like giant squids, giant octopuses, and other creates of lore were actually found with modern tools. As the sciences advance, we are finding many things that people long ago disregarded, especially in the case of archeology. Scientific revelation is only as good as present discoveries. There is much still to explore and much still to validate. Until then, it is people who are passionate in their hunches and convictions that world tirelessly to prove what they believe to be true, but do not have the current scientific evidence to do so.

That being said, my point as to people being as informed as possible is a valid one. Many people believe in things that they do not even understand let alone be fully knowledgeable about. They ignorantly subscribe to things and are nothing like what they claim to believe. These, in my opinion, are the real dangers of society.

"I sincerely doubt that you believe the statement you wrote. Take for an instance a man who believes it is his moral prerogative to impregnate as many women - by force if necessary - in order to ensure the survival of his genes. Now you and I both would "judge" this man's beliefs as dangerous because they clearly and unabashedly are..."

I am far from a moral relativist. I believe most things have a clear path to wrong and right. But, what I do oppose is people deciding FOR ME what is right and wrong. This type of censorship and stripping of civil liberties have always led to excesses, both by religious zealots and aethistic communist governments. What makes the world great is that we HAVE the freedom to explore when it comes to faith and perspective. It's outside-the-box perspectives that led to Christopher Columbus taking a chance at either sailing the world, or falling off its edge. It was all just a hunch, and not a very popular one. But, if he had been censored - and others WERE - history would have been different.

"I don't recall arguing that we need "know everything possible to evaluate complete and absolute truth". Furthermore, the scientific analogy is rather flawed because any valid hypothesis would first rely upon a series of objective observations..."

My point was that when people like my opponent are the ones deciding what is "scientifically verifiable", science fails. Science and faith both thrive in environments where the mind is open to believe and imagine. It's conviction that makes people keep looking for a cure for AIDS, because they just "know" its out there. There is no evidence of this, but they believe it to be true. This fuels the chase.

"Do I have the right to believe that I can murder someone and receive 72 virgins as a reward? No. Do I have the right to believe that if I see one homosexual man with another that I should stone them to death where they lie? No."

Actually, you DO havet hat right. And you have the right to believe things that are even more evil and detestable. Everyone does at some point. They develope prejudices and biases, sort of like what my opponent has towards people of faith. But, those biases must also be challenged and action must be taken to reconcile the world around you. The fact of the matter is that while one person challenges the viability of one belief, the opposite site is challenging theirs. This is the place of debate. We grow through winning AND losing them.

"There are limits to what we can believe in. These limits should be enforced even if it makes you uncomfortable. To defend your right to believe anything you want defends any one of the rights I just listed as well as a myriad of other monstrous ideas..."

Human beings ARE selfish. This is why my opponent insists on his definition of justification. And I honor that. But, how pompus is it to say that because one has never seen evidence of something himself, something that someone else believes IS justifiable is not true? Again, reasoning, debate, and dialogue are important for people to find a place of agreement.

"Choice has nothing to do with this argument..."

But, alas, choice DOES matter. At the end of the day, two people with the exact same evidence often do come to different conclusions. Which one of the two have the right to impose on the other? Who makes that decision? Each CHOSE to go a different route than the other. Which choice was right?

"It would seem, having read this last passage, that you are in fact not a "FIRM" believer in the scientific process. If you were, you would understand that science does indeed "have the ability to piece together past events". For instance, the Dinosaurs..."

I think that the above statement is a bit naive as to what science actually offers us. Science can only piece together the evidence it is presented with. Nothing in the past is completely verifiable. There are many theories about Dinosaurs, for example, that are complete and utter guesses and beliefs, not verifiable fact. In fact, almost nothing we "know" about Dinosaurs can be scientifically verified. It's all assumptions based on pieces of evidence. Nothing more. The rest is all just educated guesswork, but guesswork nonetheless.

"You walk back into the room and look at the wall. That would be "scientific"."

:) Of course life is always that simple, right? Of course my example assumed that you could not do that. You missed my point. The point was that when evidence cannot be found, only testimony (like in a court of law) is available to us. We then have to choose who we believe is right.

"I'm not willing to indulge arguments that treat the scientific process as subjective."

Then my opponent is in denial of the reality of the scientific process. To elevate the scientific process to anything more than highly educated evaluation and conclusion is to make a religion out of it.

"One can make an assumption based upon evidence. As I have never seen heaven, nor has anyone else, neither of us still has the right to believe it exists..."

Again, my opponent shows his bais. You cannot disbelieve something simply because you have not seen it. You have never seen a dodo bird, but it existed. The default position is NONbelief, not DISbelief. Otherwise, you are a cynic, which by nature hinders you from seeing things even if the best of evidence is presented to you. If your default position is -1, then you are blind to everything you have yet to experience. If you are truly objective, you would maintain NONbelief until either belief or DISbelief is logical.

"'The issue is not one of scientific verification, but of due diligence. If a human being assumes a belief system in spite of clear data and observations available to him, this is "reckless" faith.'

You are now arguing my point."

No, actually I am reiterating MY point that scientific verification is not always possible. Where it is not possible - as in many cases - a human can only do the best he can to gather evidence and testimony to make a decision. Sometimes that decision is to stay in nonbelief.

"This "due diligence" you speak of is commonly known as evidence. The "verifying" of details is again known as "experimentation"..."

Due diligence is not only about hard evidence. It is about evaluations, conclusions, testimony, and keeping an open mind. Experimentation is a great way to test a hypothesis. But, sometimes experimentation does not have context in an argument. You cannot experiment to see if someone called you a jerk. You can only gather the testimony of others.
Debate Round No. 2
Eris

Pro

Continuing the previous format:

"My opponent has illustrated a huge problem with his argument. He uses the example of believing in dragons, making the assumption that no such ancient animal existed, nor could have existed simply because there is not yet proof of this."

This is not an assumption, as assumptions are "logical" inferences formed without objective evidence. This is a scientific fact, and in this case my scientific evidence is a decisive lack of evidence supporting a "dragon's" existence. Because there have been no fossils of "dragons" found, nor have there been fossils found even remotely resembling "dragons" among contemporary organisms of the era, I have no right in believing they exist - barring discovery itself. Therefore, my point still stands: I cannot believe things just because they might be true - there must be a foundation upon which my beliefs can be supported and defended.

" Many people believe in things that they do not even understand let alone be fully knowledgeable about. They ignorantly subscribe to things and are nothing like what they claim to believe. "

You are deliberately clouding the issue here: I am not arguing that people shouldn't believe in what they don't understand; I am arguing that people cannot believe in things for which they have no evidence. There is a distinct and pervasive difference between ignorance of a mechanism, and belief in one for which there is no objective evidence.

"I am far from a moral relativist. I believe most things have a clear path to wrong and right. But, what I do oppose is people deciding FOR ME what is right and wrong."

This is the same justification my hypothetical rapist would offer once you or I condemned his actions. By taking this position you are indeed espousing the view of a moral relativist by saying no one can judge the beliefs of another person. Where you and I seem to differ is that I believe it is wrong to rape people and I will actively prevent anyone from holding that view point. You, in order to logically stay consistent, must defend this rapist's right to continue assaulting women because no one has the "right" to "censor" his beliefs. As you can see, this is an absurd position, one which I very much doubt you subscribe to. Therefore, my point still stands. Beliefs that are dangerous, unfounded, and unprovable cannot be allowed to propagate; furthermore, they should be condemned by means necessary until extinction.

"My point was that when people like my opponent are the ones deciding what is "scientifically verifiable", science fails. Science and faith both thrive in environments where the mind is open to believe and imagine. It's conviction that makes people keep looking for a cure for AIDS, because they just "know" its out there. There is no evidence of this, but they believe it to be true. This fuels the chase."

This quote demonstrates your utter lack of understanding concerning the scientific process. People do not "decide" what is scientifically verifiable. To suggest so is a logical contradiction: if people "decided" what was verifiable, it would be subjective and no longer "verifiable". As for your example concerning AIDS, there are almost innumerable scientific journals who would disagree with your assertion that there is "no evidence a cure for AIDS is possible" and I would rather not waste space citing them.

"But, how pompus is it to say that because one has never seen evidence of something himself, something that someone else believes IS justifiable is not true? Again, reasoning, debate, and dialogue are important for people to find a place of agreement."

It is not "pompous" to demand evidence for the claims someone makes. If you claim the world is flat, I would like to see some evidence. If you claim that all black people are genetically inferior, I would also like to see some evidence. If you claim there is a supernatural being who is omnipotent and intimately concerned with whether or not I eat shellfish (Leviticus), I would most certainly like to see that evidence. And as you can see, your earlier claim of my "bias" towards people of faith is unfounded - I simply make it abide by the same rules I apply to every other aspect of human discourse. It is not biased of me to practice equanimity between disciplines.

"At the end of the day, two people with the exact same evidence often do come to different conclusions. "

I would like an accurate and honest example of what you wrote here.

" Nothing in the past is completely verifiable"

Yes it is. For you to make this claim is absolutely ridiculous. Dinosaurs existed. This was "proved" by science. Dinosaurs also lived in the past. This is "proved" by science. Therefore, using our skills of logic, we must assume that there were beings that existed before our time named Dinosaurs, and that this fact was "proved" by science. Debating this point further is a waste of time. If you cannot accept the ability of science to operate in "past" times than you have already conceded this debate on the grounds of debating the most primordial of facts.

"Then my opponent is in denial of the reality of the scientific process. To elevate the scientific process to anything more than highly educated evaluation and conclusion is to make a religion out of it."

I'm assuming here that your euphemism of "Highly educated evaluation" actually means "Not only does all available evidence support, but there is also no contrary evidence to, the hypothesis." Again your use of euphemisms here does nothing to further your argument. And furthermore, the semantic argument you are using has not disproved any of my original points, nor any of the additional points I have raised in rounds #2 and #3.

"Again, my opponent shows his bais. You cannot disbelieve something simply because you have not seen it. You have never seen a dodo bird, but it existed."

Again you are intentionally clouding the issue I am arguing. Because I have not physically "seen" a Dodo bird does not mean there is no evidence for its' existence. This is a point you must concede, not only for this debate to continue, but for you to gain a better understanding of what "evidence" actually is.

"No, actually I am reiterating MY point that scientific verification is not always possible"

Scientific verification is only not possible for those things which are unscientific. Those things which are unscientific, or those things which have no evidence or moral / logical foundation, are things which we should not be allowed to believe in.

Due diligence is not only about hard evidence. It is about evaluations, conclusions, testimony, and keeping an open mind. Experimentation is a great way to test a hypothesis. But, sometimes experimentation does not have context in an argument. You cannot experiment to see if someone called you a jerk. You can only gather the testimony of others.

"Evaluations", "Conclusions", and "Testimonies" are all aspects of the scientific process. I don't understand why you continue to argue this point. You need these things - as well as several others - in varying degrees in order to believe in something, as these things allow you to prove your point to others objectively (i.e. scientifically).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conclusion: I have again refuted each of my opponents points, and he has yet to refute a single original contention of mine, but also any of the other points I have brought up. I also look forward to a response more willing to depart from the semantics of the failing argument and address the fundamental issues at hand.
inspyre

Con

My opponent believes strongly that he has effectively refuted the arguments presented. However, his stance seems to only be supported by the "shooing" away of insights and facts that contradict him, claiming that they are simply ways ot sidestepping on my part. Let's get into some detail.

THE DEFAULT POSITION FOR REASONING

Belief is a strange thing. It requires one to gather available information and process that into a view congruent to what you are presented with. Each individual will take different measures in varying degrees in order to validated their views. For many, belief is a constant struggle, as they work hard to reconcile evaluations with situations that seem to defy their beliefs daily. It is an evolution of concepts, ideas, and viewpoint, as we kaleidoscope what we know in search of what we don't know.

Therefore, the default position for any viewpoint is one of ignorance until evidence is presented to sway one into "negative" belief or "positive" belief. This is the crux of this debate. My opponent values the scientific method to a point that it seems as if he believes it is infallible. In reality, no process is foolproof. Many modern breakthroughs, especially in the fields of particle physics and biotechnology, have spit in the face of past scientific theory, proving theories wrong that great men before us died strictly believing. The bottom line is that everyone uses faith at some point and invests their belief in things that cannot fully be substantiated. It is because we begin to see evidence unfolding and have a talent to convince ourselves of "truths" even when they are not.

THE EVIDENCE FOR FAITH

What qualifies as evidence in science? First, observation and gather of data is conducted to provide and informed picture of the landscape one is pondering. They allows us to form hypothesis that can be tested in the most objective way possible. These tests, which are commonly referred to as experiments, give us the opprtunity to validate or invalidate the original hypothesis, with care taken as to not taint the results and mistakenly rule out a perfectly good suspicion. If the hypothesis is proven enough, it is elevated to the status of a theory.

Faith is formulated in much the same way. One observes the world around him and gathers data to provide an informed picture of the landscape. The hypothesis of, say Intelligent Design, is fomulated. In testing this theory, we observe and verify uncanny complexities in the universe around us that carries somewhat of a recurring signature. We do not know who the creator is, but arrive theories of what or whom could have possibly been responsible for organized chaos around us. At the SAME EXACT time, others are formulated opposite theories and testing those as well. We come together at a point of dialogue and debate to compare notes and uncover truth. The best debate is, indeed, one that you lose.

For many people, the beliefs have come from years of exposure to the world that is around them. Their experiences, victories, defeats, compulsions, and desires all constantly clashing forcing them to find a way to stay anchored. Our core values are those anchors. They come from our own observation, experimentation, and theory-making that seems very right to us, even when others see it as foolish or dangerous.

However, I have seen few authentic beliefs are dangerous in and of themselves. Many times, it is not the beliefs themselves, but auxiliary motivations that cause the harm. Ignorance of being used by religious leaders, believing something simply to combat the opposite belief that hurt you, etc. are all wrong reasons to claim belief. It is really selfishness and NONbelief that forces people to take madness into their own hands.

BELIEFS OF THE RAPISTS AND MURDERS

My opponent continues to bring the supposed "beliefs" of rapists and murders disregarding the fact that the notion to hurt another human being has little to do with belief at all. There is something much deeper that causes people to bomb, torture, and rape others. It's a NEED - and COMPULSION - that many times defies the very beliefs of the people doing the harm. So, you are attacking the wrong piece of the person with your argument. CORE VALUES and, more importantly, SENTIMENTS are more dangerous than any single belief. They make people who belief in a transcendant love slaughter people on their way to Jerusalem.

VERIFYING THE PAST

My opponent also makes statements such as "This is a scientific fact, and in this case my scientific evidence is a decisive lack of evidence supporting a 'dragon's' existence." So, he states that his EVIDENCE is a LACK of evidence, which would be thrown out of any courtroom and scientific discussion. At best, one can only KNOW what one has evidence for. But, one certainly can BELIEVE and even HOPE for things that one is waiting to discover. As for dragons, the fact is that every ancient civilization has stories about them. There are legends, cave drawings, and so much more that point to SOME sort of beast that terrorized peoplem, even if that creature looks nothing like what we think of a dragon looking like.

In order to believe what my opponent beliefs, you have to subscribe to the belief that everything in life can be scientifically verified. From a conversation you had yesterday to whether or not King Arthor really did have a round table. Yet, if that was true, that forums like debate.org would not exist. It is the fact that we CANNOT foresically prove everything that arguments, wars, and debates happen. Science really is one of the best tools mankind has to analyze and try to make sense of the work around us. But, faith and beliefs thrive in a places where science is not capable making clear cases. That is WHY faith and belief steps in.

You would also be forced to discredit what a person believes IS valid evidence for their beliefs, such as personal experiences, historical indicators, and the sheer mass of individuals who claim the same. The reality is that many beliefs CAN be discredited because people are too egotistical to change their faith even when they know if is flawed. But, to remove the rights of people to make the necessary journey to the other side is to fight ignorance with intolerance, which is exactly what concepts communism have failed at achieving. Thank God (or Science) for that!
Debate Round No. 3
Eris

Pro

Continuing the previous format, with a conclusion and summary at the end:

"However, his stance seems to only be supported by the "shooing" away of insights and facts that contradict him, claiming that they are simply ways ot sidestepping on my part."

Again with the euphemisms and semantics. And in the first paragraph no less. This "shooing" away of your "insights" is commonly known as refuting. As you have both acknowledged that I did indeed "Shoo" away all your points, and that you are indeed "sidestepping" my questions, one can only ask where might be your direct responses to any of the original claims I have made? Furthermore, of the countless examples I have provided, you have ignored all the ones you cannot even begin to disprove, and abandoned the ones you can no longer logically defend. It should be rather clear to all that your argument is a rather flaky one at best.

"Therefore, the default position for any viewpoint is one of ignorance until evidence is presented to sway one into "negative" belief or "positive" belief."

You cannot use "therefore" unless you have written a logically coherent statement preceding this one. To assume that you have done so is rather misleading. In addition to your presumption of logical evolution, you also have made a rather significant mistake in your reasoning. The default position for a belief is not ignorance - otherwise you wouldn't be able to hold the belief in the first place because you would have no idea what you actually are "believing" in. Therefore, the default position of belief is "non-belief" as you would say, at least until proven otherwise by verifiable evidence to the contrary.

"Many modern breakthroughs, especially in the fields of particle physics and biotechnology, have spit in the face of past scientific theory,"

I never argued that point. It seems a rather common tactic of yours to argue a point of view I don't hold, and than fault me for it. Of course modern scientific breakthroughs challenge past assertions. But that does not mean that the modern breakthroughs did not have scientific evidence which supported a paradigm shift. Furthermore, I would like you to provide a single example of a modern scientific breakthrough that was a result of faith, and not foundational evidence. I think since this is the last round and I won't be able to respond, that I'll just concede that point for you.

"Faith is formulated in much the same way. One observes the world around him and gathers data to provide an informed picture of the landscape."

Do not compare "faith" and the scientific method as analogous. It is a ridiculous argument to make as they are diametrically opposed systems of thinking. Faith states that there are some things for which belief in of itself is evidence of truth or reality. Science does not indulge this logical fallacy and demands evidence for every claim we make. The two systems are by no means equal. Neither does faith, by its nature alone, provide you justification for believing in whatever you want. You cannot have faith in those things for which there is no evidence - to do so is simply an exercise in futility and human antiquity.

"The hypothesis of, say Intelligent Design, is fomulated"

Your ignorance of the scientific method is clear. Intelligent Design is not a hypothesis. It cannot be tested. It cannot be observed. It is not repeatable. Your argument that faith allows us to believe whatever we want is clearly and unabashedly failing in this context.

"However, I have seen few authentic beliefs are dangerous in and of themselves ... It is really selfishness and NONbelief that forces people to take madness into their own hands."

If anyone can make sense of this paragraph I applaud them. You simultaneously say some beliefs are dangerous, but that it's actually non-belief that causes them to act out violently and not the actual belief itself. Do you see the logical acrobatics you are doing to try and support your argument? It's an absurd exercise to watch.

"My opponent continues to bring the supposed "beliefs" of rapists and murders disregarding the fact that the notion to hurt another human being has little to do with belief at all."

I beg to differ. Actions are determined by beliefs. To rape someone is to have the belief that you have a right to do so. This is a fact you cannot hope to refute.

"So, you are attacking the wrong piece of the person with your argument. CORE VALUES and, more importantly, SENTIMENTS are more dangerous than any single belief."

What exactly is the difference between a "core value" and a belief? Nothing? Right. Semantics.

"So, he states that his EVIDENCE is a LACK of evidence, which would be thrown out of any courtroom and scientific discussion."

Your ignorance of the mechanisms of science again rears its head. In many cases, the lack of evidence is a more powerful evidence for a hypothesis than evidence itself. Take for instance the "ether" experiment. I won't quote it here because doing a little research might help you out.

"In order to believe what my opponent beliefs, you have to subscribe to the belief that everything in life can be scientifically verified"

No. What I am arguing is only those things that can be scientifically verified should be believed in. Furthermore, even some things which are scientifically verifiable should not be believed in because they cause collective harm to the human species - a morally unjustifiable act. This is a point you are not allowed to distort. Please don't continue to try and change the frame of the debate and my position in it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summary: My opponent not only didn't refute any of my original contentions, but barely even addressed them. He instead chose to use semantic arguments - which often contradicted themselves - in an effort to prove his point. In addition, there are several key issues I would like to address in detail:

1) My opponent extensively used euphemisms and semantics in order to "prove" his point. This is not acceptable debating style, nor does it win him any points on the logic scale.
2) My opponent deliberately and continuously clouded the issue by asserting view points to the Pro without quotation or evidence. As such, many of his arguments - in addition to being logically incoherent - were unfounded.
3) Finally, my opponent regularly avoided addressing any of the points I offered in refutation, and blatantly ignored those points for which he clearly had no response.

For these reasons, as well as the validity of my own contentions, I urge a vote for the Pro.
inspyre

Con

My opponent truly feels that his simple disregarding of logic and reasoning is called "refuting". Sadly, regardless of his feelings, it is not. His initial argument, that people do not have the right to absolute freedom to believe whatever they want was neither adequately argued, nor were my numerous examples of such a mindset being dangerous and ignorant dispelled in any way.

Each of his main points were carefully answered and refuted only to be disregarded and never addressed directly by him. He failed to properly define what is truly "scientifically verifiable" and failed to prove that every belief and viewpoint can be scientifically proven, such as past events and eyewitness testimoney, which is the basis for most beliefs, specifically religious ones.

He argues from a position of cynicism rather than objective truth, comparing the beliefs of most people to that of rapists, even claiming that they do not believe their actions to be wrong. This demonstrates a deep lack of understanding when it comes to human nature and psychological processes.

He attributes science that proves previous theories false to "paradigm shift" and, essentially, changes in what is true from the time of the last theory. He uses science as the ultimate measuring stick even when it lacks the precision to call the idea truth.

He refuses to acknowledge that the decision to believe something, for many people, goes through much the same process as scientific theories. It is based on observations, data gathering, testing, evaluation, documentation, and continual observation. Of course there are many who simple take faith at its word, as there are those that do the same for science. But, although the instruments of measurement are different, the process in the eyes of a believer is the same.

He has also displayed a lack of understanding when it comes to faith, believing that people simply wake up and believe crazy things. He also believes that everyone who acts irrationally is truly following their faith, although their own faiths contradict the dangerous behavior that are practicing. My point about that being a sign of a LACK of belief or faith in their religion falls on beaf ears.

He explains that actions are determined by belief. Again, such a narrow and baseless statement can be refuted many different ways. Actions are the result of judgement, compulsion, addiction, pride, greed, anger, jealousy, envy, joy, etc. - even when those things CONFLICT the belief of an individual. Many people of faith struggle because they know what they believe, but find that their actions are hard to bring into alignment with that belief. When those two things meet, we see the rare individual who has disciplined their actions to match their belief or values.

He states that there is no difference between a core value (a subconscious basis for decision making) and a belief (a conscious choice to subscribe to a value SYSTEM). Again, those two things seldom match in a person. It is the process of discipleship that attempts to brings those things together.

And, again, you cannot submit as evidence to your argument a LACK of evidence, which is my opponents basis for disbelieving and suggesting the removal of a person's right to believe what THEY have experienced or witnessed. He then states that only those things which can be scientifically proven can be believed, which rules our testimony and the word of witnesses. This idea would be quite surprising to those who work within the judicial system and depend of the word of eyewitnesses to make judgements.

I urge you to vote CON on this issue. It is the right of each individual to believe as he or she feels best to explain the world around them and the purpose of their own lives. But, it is the duty of each individual to apply common sense and continually evaluate the truthfulness of those beliefs, being willing to change them if verifiable evidence conflicts those beliefs. until then, we can do the best job we can at due diligence.
Debate Round No. 4
34 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
Rights: "Rights are entitlements (not) to perform certain actions or be in certain states, or entitlements that others (not) perform certain actions or be in certain states."

Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy.

It would seem that you, rather than I, are the one with unconventional beliefs regarding the definition of "rights". Furthermore, I can list several things that you might believe in having not ever read anything you've written about the topic. For instance, I might assume you are against the "right" of some people to molest children. You also might be against the "right" of some people to rape, murder, and pillage. You are trying the same argument my opponent tried, and one that is patently false: "Actions determine beliefs." It is quite the opposite situation in fact, as belief that you "posses" the right to do something enables you to 'act' on that belief.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Eris, No doubt you thought you explained it, but your explanation made no sense to me. sithe conventional definition of "rights" only pertains to enforcing the ability to do things, you must have a new and unique definition of "rights" -- and hence I am back to trying to figure out what that is. The only way you can figure out what I believe is from my actions, in this case from reading what I've written. The conventional right of free speech pertains to the acts of speaking or writing, not to unexpressed thinking. In debates people often pretend to believe things which they do not actually believe. Your argument seems to apply to what people are thinking.

Philosophical debates have a significant hurdle in the semantics. That's an interesting aspect of them.
Posted by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
I thought I explained it rather clearly that people believe in many things that are "unlikely". As for your assertion that the "right to believe" applies to government, I disagree as only individuals have "rights" - as such it is the responsibility of the community to prevent belief in certain things that are dangerous / illogical. Furthermore, your assertion that "only actions can be perceived by outsiders not beliefs" is patently false. For instance, I know several of your beliefs, and yet have never seen you "act" on them.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
I never understood what Pro meant by a "right to believe" as differentiated from "ought to believe." Obviously we ought not believe things that are unlikely or false, but no one ever believes something which they also believe to be false. so one would think that a "right to believe" must pertain to government, or somebody, deciding what beliefs are valid and then somehow enforcing that judgment. However, only actions can be perceived by outsiders not beliefs. The ensuing debate never cleared this up. Con pressed it adequately. Pro has the burden of proof, which includes making a sensible resolution, so it goes to Con.
Posted by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
Sorry for being hasty there, but at 2 hours left on the last round I just wanted to make sure.

You also did a great job. Thanks for the debate.
Posted by inspyre 7 years ago
inspyre
Not at all. I was a bit busy this Saturday, but was anxious to get back and post my final argument. You were a formidable opponent. Great job!
Posted by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
inspyre,

I really hope you don't forfeit this last round. It was a good debate and I'd like to finish it out in style.
Posted by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
*Write. Thought I fixed that one.
Posted by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
1) "Then, according to your definition of conspiracy, any time two people get together to end something (subvert), they are conspiring."

True. That's why you can get prosecuted for "conspiring" to commit a crime - aka "subverting the law". I thought that was rather obvious.

Furthermore this is simply a non-sequitur: "In fact, Beck is working to undermine Barry's work and he has others assisting, he is a conspirator. Therefore, you must be a conspiracy nut for believig that." My belief that Beck invents and participates in conspiracies does not make me a "conspiracy nut". Resorting to ad hominem attacks is again a rather shallow tactic.

"You shouldn't argue that science should dictate beliefs. You should argue that your baseless opinion should be the standard."

You should spend more time proof reading what you right. Of course I'm going to argue my opinion. That's an utterly stupid remark to make. And for someone who couldn't "get past my first paragraph", it would seem your rather well informed about my debate...

2) Your expectation that I find a quote where Beck says: "Hey guys, I believe in conspiracies" is not a logical demand. I have provided you countless examples of Beck making unfounded claims and illogical inferences. If you cannot connect the dots without a blatant admission from Beck, you are much more juvenile than I thought.

4) "It could have been over with a single quote, but you can't seem to do it. You couldn't even give amy evidence to support that your beck opinion was at al informed prior to this exchange."

I have given you evidence. You have chosen to ignore most of it in favor of making absurd demands. Any objective observer would agree that I have offered much more evidence than you have to support my opinion.

5) "It's tough to lose when you think you're so smart, isn't it?"

That's rather ironic coming from you of all people.
Posted by simpleton 7 years ago
simpleton
1) summary: competing dictionaries specify secrecy. Your dictionary specifies secrecy in the root. Yet you're sticking to it.

Then, according to your definition of conspiracy, any time two people get together to end something (subvert), they are conspiring. In fact, Beck is working to undermine Barry's work and he has others assisting, he is a conspirator. Therefore, you must be a conspiracy nut for believig that.

With your definition, if we're good citizens who are helping feed the hungry, we're actors in a conspiracy against hunger and anyone that recognizes that we're fighting hunger is a conspiracy nut.

You shouldn't argue that science should dictate beliefs. You should argue that your baseless opinion should be the standard.

2) where's the affirmation? No more lies, Eris.

3) you made a non sequiter conditional argument. I cited why it was irrelevant. But of should have been or.

4) Lucky I'm con. Burden of proof that beck's a conspiracy nut is on you. But I think it's not happening. It could have been over with a single quote, but you can't seem to do it. You couldn't even give amy evidence to support that your beck opinion was at al informed prior to this exchange.

5) you sling the fallacies so expertly, I thought it was an act and that it demonstrated the intelligence to infer what 5 was referring. Sorry.

Context. That's important.

It's tough to lose when you think you're so smart, isn't it? It's your ego. Everyone has one. That's why thought regulating is bad. Right and wrong doesn't dictate the beliefs, but the ego of those in power.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by shadow835 6 years ago
shadow835
ErisinspyreTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
ErisinspyreTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
ErisinspyreTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by silntwaves 7 years ago
silntwaves
ErisinspyreTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:14 
Vote Placed by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
ErisinspyreTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70