The Instigator
Freeman
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Winning
49 Points

Reasonable and reasonably intelligent people should not debate with creationists.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/1/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,552 times Debate No: 9096
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (52)
Votes (10)

 

Freeman

Pro

Definitions

Engage- prosecute: carry out or participate in an activity; be involved in; "She pursued many activities"; "They engaged in a discussion"

Debate- the formal presentation of a stated proposition and the opposition to it (usually followed by a vote)

Creationism- the belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in their original form by a deity (often the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) or deities. ...

Reason- a rational motive for a belief or action

Waste- use inefficiently or inappropriately; "waste heat"; "waste a joke on an unappreciative audience"

Over the Brief period of time I've been on Debate.org I've noticed a rather unhealthy trend. People with as much as a college level understanding of evolution and natural selection are taking time out of their day to debate with creationists. This, to me, seems like a bad turn of events.

Here is what we now know about our world. The universe is far older, larger and more magnificent than either the Bible or Koran suggest. We know for a fact that the Universe is approximately 14 billion years old and that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Humans evolved from non-human ancestors along a continuum with all other forms of life on Earth. Many Christians will scoff at the notion of common ancestry by saying things like Evolution is only a theory and not a fact. Such sentiments are born out of a serious misunderstanding of the word theory when it is used in a scientific context. In science there are facts, which must be explained by reference to other facts. These larger explanatory models are theories. Gravity like evolution is a theory and a fact that is not likely to be overturned even if we were to witness a rock falling upwards. If you doubt that evolution is true then you may as well doubt that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The fact that there are some scientists who proclaim the failures of Darwinism does not in the slightest suggest that there is an actual debate in the scientific community on whether or not evolution is true.

Debating with creationists is a bad idea for the following reasons. It further legitimizes their position and causes uninformed people to think that there is an actual conflict of ideas when in reality this is not the case. Of course none of what I have just written should be an indication that I believe we shouldn't engage with creationists or even talk to them. We may choose to engage with creationists, holocaust deniers, flat earthers, or 911 conspiracy theorists but that does not mean we should legitimize their views by putting them before the alter of debate. By refusing to debate creationists we are denying them the important PR victory that they live for.

Sources

http://evolution.berkeley.edu...

http://www.scientificamerican.com...

Resolved, reasonable people shouldn't debate with creationists.
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank Freeman for challenging me to this debate, it's certainly a topic that isn't talked about so much.

First, let's set in place what we both agree on. We both agree that Creationism is a scientifically ludicrous notion, and that evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life; it's the foundation of contemporary biology. Only a diligent high school understanding of evolution can answer most objections, while the rest are just can be countered with a minimum of a few hours of online research. Likewise, the Big Bang theory is the best explanation for the development of our universe - objections are either philosophically lacking or scientifically misinformed. Seeing as we both believe Creationism is false, the only thing up for meaningful discussion is whether or not debating with creationists is a good idea.

The resolution states whether or not reasonable and reasonably intelligent people SHOULD not debate with creationists. My opponent states we shouldn't, I say we should. This is our main and only point of disagreement, so let's resolve this:

====================
PRO Claims: "[Debating with creationists] further legitimizes their position and causes uninformed people to think that there is an actual conflict of ideas when in reality this is not the case."
====================

I see my opponent shares the same sentiments of the esteemed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. While I respect him as an intellectual, I have to strongly disagree with this point.

I ask, for what purpose should be abandon intellectual discourse? My opponent is claiming that meaningful debate will further legitimize the creationist position, but for what reason? In fact, I'd reckon that a constant refutation of creationism will INVALIDATE their position amongst the population. One of the most important thing that can affect someone's life is their education, and if they are properly educated in the merits of evolution and the Big Bang -- many times via debates -- then they can come to a further understanding of the folly of creationism.

Look at it this way. Even if evolutionists make a concentrated effort not to debate with creationists, the creationists will see this as an opportunity. Websites like answeringenesis.com will sporadically grow and soon the amount of academic resources that can counter creationism will dwindle in comparison to creationist propaganda. Websites like talkorigins.org will be vacant, and thus the intellectual tide will lean towards creationism. If we don't respond to creationism, then it's propaganda will infect more people!

====================
Reasons we should debate with creationists
====================

There are some good reasons for debating with creationists, including the former point that it's not counterproductive but actually an asset in defusing creationism in the public mind:

- It helps the one who debates with a creationist know more about evolution/Big Bang
- It can change the creationist's mind
- Others can read the debate and hopefully be influenced by the evolutionist (if they debated well, which only comes by practice!)

====================
If you are already debating with a creationist, you shouldn't need to stop
====================

As I have shown before, debating with creationists will not further legitimize their position. So really, there is no harm in debating with creationists. And in fact, as I have shown yet again, debating with creationism can and does demonstrate that their position is INVALID by virtue of intellectual discourse.

The final push I want to make is the fact that people debate with creationists for different reasons. Many debate with them in hopes they change their mind, but this isn't always the case. For some it may just be fun to debate, while others like to tear away at arguments they fully know are false. Whatever the reason, if debating with creationists makes someone happy, then they should debate with creationists.

Not only is not counterproductive, but it can even also be fun.

====================
Conclusion
====================

As I have shown, debating with creationists can not only be intellectually stimulating but it can just be fun - or for many other purposes out there. The point is that there isn't anything demonstrably negative about debating with creationists; sure maybe a lone sheep here or there may think creationism is valid because it's being debated, but in the end most people won't think so. In fact, debating it can actually make more people NOT believe in creationism!
Debate Round No. 1
Freeman

Pro

Let me first start off by saying that The Skeptic and I are in complete understanding of what the resolution is and what our definitions are. However there does appear to be some confusion evidenced by some of the comments people have posted.

People like Francis Collins, Kenneth Miller, or Alister Mcgrath are not "creationists" even though they do think God created the universe. A creationist or as there better known "young earth creationists" are people that think all animals were created in their original forms by God. I know enough about Christianity to understand the diversity of thought on this issue. So now that that's out of the way lets hop into the real debate.

As I understand it you seem to be fixated on the idea that we should debate with creationists for the following reasons.

- Not debating with creationists could potentially be risky
- It helps the one who debates with a creationist to know more about evolution/Big Bang
- It can change the creationist's mind
- Others can read the debate and hopefully be influenced by the evolutionist (if they debated well, which only comes by practice!
- Debating with creationists can be "fun"

======
Case Pro
======

Your analysis of our situation, at least to me, seems wildly inaccurate. The notion that creationists would just become ascendant if we stopped debating them is unsubstantiated and the product of mere speculation. To my knowledge there are no serious debates in universities on whether or not Elvis is still alive. As it turns out whenever anyone expresses his or her belief that Elvis is still alive at a lecture, on a first date, or a job interview that person immediately gets shunned to the fringes of society. There need not be formal debate on the death of Elvis for this to occur. The only thing we need to do to put creationists in their proper place is to talk about evidence, science, reason, common sense and nonsense.

I harbor no fears about whether creationism will become ascendant if we stopped debating creationists. However I am concerned about our educational system. Many biology teachers never even mention evolution because of the religious lunacy of their students and their student's parents. This could be resolved if we were to simply renew our commitment to science as a nation.
http://www.sciencedaily.com...

If we choose to refine our own skill as debaters or proponents of science we need not debate with creationists or other rabble to accomplish this goal. We can talk to them in private or in public without putting their absurd beliefs on the pedestal of debate. We can also refine our skills by debating with other biologists. Either of these two options does not carry with it the heavy burden of legitimizing creationist propaganda. There is so much still unknown about our universe and there are sill so many interesting debates that haven't actually been resolved. Given that this is our condition it strikes me as odd that we should debate with people that have shown themselves to be incompetent over and over again. Why anyone would wish to debate literally pre Iron Age myths about the universe is beyond me.

The first problem we have is that our educational system and science curriculum aren't as robust as they could be. The second problem we have is that many things in science are deeply counterintuitive. Relativity, quantum mechanics, and evolution are three prime examples. When we as a species were emerging on the planes of the African savanna we had not evolved to contemplate what a million years would be like. And yet in order to understand natural selection we are required to grasp not only a million years but also billions of years. In order for us to understand these principles it requires that we have a fairly extensive understanding of science and the scientific process. This understanding is exceptionally difficult to translate successfully in a debate. Consequentially most creationists will not be fully capable of appreciating a proper critique of their superstition. Debating with a creationist on evolution is almost as futile as debating with a 5 year old on the principles of quantum mechanics. Sure there may be one or two child prodigies that are capable of understanding but more often than not such arguments will fall upon deaf ears.

I suppose its true that we may change some people's minds about creationism via debate but I don't think this is a strong contention. We could also accomplish this by advocating for reason generally. There are certain species of ignorance that cant stand up to the light of reason. If we were to shine a spotlight on the Bible or the Koran or Roswell conspiracy theories these ideas couldn't stand up. This is a far less odious and more reasonable alternative.

Your last major argument revolves around the utility claim that it can be fun to debate with creationists. I don't doubt that this is true but I think we should also put into perspective what is at stake when we choose to have "fun" for whatever reason. The fun we may be having with creationists still serves as a public relations victory for them. And as I have said earlier it legitimizes their position.

I watched a lecture Richard Dawkins gave at a University not that long ago. He said that he was actually offered 10,000 dollars to debate with Kirk Cameron and his little sidekick buddy. In case you didn't know Kirk Cameron is a creationist. I thought his reason for declining was pretty funny. He issued a statement to their office saying that he was too busy debating whether or not the Earth is flat.

All the best,
Freeman
TheSkeptic

Con

Yes, there are anti-creationists who are also religious. I am fully aware of that, and I apologize if my comments hinted that I didn't believe so. I simply used creationism in a broad term, and sometimes jump a little too far. However, this shouldn't be a concern since our focus is elsewhere - of whether or not debating with creationists is justified.

Since my opponent has so kindly listed my argument, I will respond to his counterarguments in the same linear pattern:

====================
Not debating with creationists could potentially be risky
====================

Just because there aren't any serious debates on Creationism in universities doesn't mean Creationism doesn't spread - these two contentions are entirely seperate. I agree that creationism is intellectual folly, but this doesn't mean we should simply ignore it. To do so would be intellectually tyranny. If someone were to confront me and tell me that they believe Elvis exists, then I'll gladly entertain their thought! I'd engage them in a debate right on the spot, and ask for their reasons why. To simply bat one's eyes and ignore them is counteractive to an intellectual community.

Creationism is spreading fast through other mediums. It's true that it has barely any traction among universities, but in public highschools and lower, it's getting quite rampant. The vast majority of Americans don't believe in evolution[1] because they've been told the "truth" of creationism when they are young without having a substantive counterargument from the sides of evolution. Sure, they were taught evolution in high school biology, but most people take that less seriously. Unless someone confronts them, they'll simply ignore the textbooks as being wrong - an unfortunate but common mistake.

====================
It helps the one who debates with a creationist to know more about evolution/Big Bang
====================

First of all, it seems my opponent is working on a slightly different definition of "debate". I define it as any exchange of arguments on the validity of a given topic, while he seems to define it as the same but in a publicized and promoted manner.

It's true that we can gain knowledge on evolution and the Big Bang via different methods. Talking with fellow evolutionists or professors can deeply increase our knowledge - but this isn't my point. While there are alternatives, the fact of the matter is that debating with creationists is educational itself. Even though debating with creationists may give some the impression that it's a legitimate position, we can simply point out during the debate that it isn't - and even list the amount of support. However, we shouldn't be afraid of people coming to believe that creationism is valid simply by virtue of it being debated. As I have argued, by effectively arguing against creationism infront of many people we can easily lower the amount of support.

A great way to change the minds of future supporters is to change the educational system - I have no qualms about that. However, this isn't the focus of this debate. A change in the educational system of America and a concentrated effort to combat creationism in the public view can drastically lower the support for creationism.

====================
It can change the creationist's mind
====================

It's much easier to convince a creationist that evolution/Big Bang is true than convincing them that their religion is irrational. The latter is a MUCH harder job, and it will hardly gain as much traction and reception from the general public.

It's kind of like politics - many times we just need to take some slow steps. I admit that part of my motive for debating creationists is to not only hope that they will stop with their foolish beliefs, but that this might influence their view on religion. In other words, debating with creationists could potentially open doubt in their hearts about religion and consequently lead them to deconvert!

To straight up confront them about the legitimacy of their religion is a daunting task doomed to failure - people in general just aren't receptive to such criticisms. It's a much more plausible route to chip away at their auxillary beliefs, and reach our way to the core belief - namely the belief in the existence of God.

====================
Others can read the debate and hopefully be influenced by the evolutionist
====================

====================
Debating with creationists can be "fun"
====================

I agree that this contention only works if it's shown that debating with creationists isn't harmful. Since this is the prime issue to be explicated, I'll leave this point on the sideline. Meaning that if my other arguments succeed, then this argument does so as well (since why would you prevent someone from engaging in an activity that is not only fun but not harmful?).

====================
Conclusion
====================

Debating with creationists is not only intellectually courteous, but it's beneficial. My arguments speak for themselves, I await my opponent's response.

---References---
1. http://www.cbsnews.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Freeman

Pro

Let me first thank my opponent once again for accepting my challenge.

=======
Case Con
=======

"If someone were to confront me and tell me that they believe Elvis exists, then I'll gladly entertain their thought! I'd engage them in a debate right on the spot, and ask for their reasons why. To simply bat one's eyes and ignore them is counteractive to an intellectual community."

My opponent seems to be confusing the terms engage and debate. This is unfortunate considering they are the first two definitions in my first round and I have not strayed from those definitions since. For those who have forgotten let me list them again.

Engage- prosecute: carry out or participate in an activity; be involved in; "She pursued many activities"; "They engaged in a discussion"

Debate- the formal presentation of a stated proposition and the opposition to it (usually followed by a vote)

Unless my opponent is so famous that he draws crowds of people whenever he speaks it is very unlikely he would "engage" in a "debate" shortly after he just met someone that believes Elvis is still alive. This type of conversation would be more aptly titled- a casual exchange of ideas- rather than a "debate". One does not debate in a completely informal setting. I am not now nor have I ever been opposed to speaking with creationists or Conspiracy theorists in an informal manner.

Claim #1
"Creationism is spreading fast through other mediums. It's true that it has barely any traction among universities, but in public highschools and lower, it's getting quite rampant. The vast majority of Americans don't believe in evolution[1] because they've been told the "truth" of creationism when they are young without having a substantive counterargument from the sides of evolution. Sure, they were taught evolution in high school biology, but most people take that less seriously. Unless someone confronts them, they'll simply ignore the textbooks as being wrong - an unfortunate but common mistake."

My opponent asserts that creationism is spreading in the United States. To claim that something is spreading is to claim that it is increasing compared to a previous relative state. So, unless he has hard statistical evidence to back up this claim I will continue to view this assertion as unsubstantiated. Anything that can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. One or two credible polls that charted American acceptance of evolution over time would be enough to settle this issue. It's true that many Americans don't accept evolution but to the best of my knowledge acceptance in evolution has remained more or less stagnant for the past 20 years or so. Even if belief in creationism were increasing it would not directly follow that debating with creationists is the best remedy for this problem.

Claim #2
"As I have argued, by effectively arguing against creationism in front of many people we can easily lower the amount of support."

I have never seen any evidence that would lead me to conclude that this is true. The approach your advocating is currently being employed as we speak and it hasn't made any noticeable differences in the overall acceptance of evolution in the United States.

Jerry Coyne had some good statistics in a lecture he gave that related to exactly what were talking about now. Unfortunately the resolution of the video isn't high enough for me to make out what the titles of those statistics were. But I will still post the lecture in case you're interested in seeing it.

=======
Case Pro
=======

The goal of intellectual discourse is not merely to get people to accept the truth of evolution (or any other scientific theory); the goal is to get them to value the principles of reasoning and educated discourse that now make acceptance of evolution obligatory. Disbelief in evolution is symptomatic of a larger problem; the problem is faith itself- conviction without reason, hope mistaken for knowledge, bad ideas protected from good ones, good ideas occluded by bad ones, wishful thinking elevated to the point of salivation etc.

Debates are only worth having if there are two legitimate sides to any issue. Did the stimulus package actually improve the economy? Is Sarah Palin qualified to run for president? Is infanticide morally acceptable? Was the war in Iraq justified? Is Christianity objectively likely to be true etc? Evolution can explain the diversity and complexity of life we see on Earth; creationism can't. Evolution by natural selection can explain why humans and Chimpanzees share 98% of their DNA. It also explains why nearly 99% of every species that has ever lived on Earth has gone extinct. These facts are exquisitely difficult to explain if one postulates that there may be a loving omnipotent hand that sculpted the Earths various animals.

Could you imagine someone like Richard Dawkins or Robert Trivers debating with someone like Kent Hovind? It would be a joke. Such a debate would be debauching to the very idea of intellectual discourse. It would constitute an academic disgrace on par with debating whether or not the Holocaust had ever taken place.

Here is one of my major concerns. Some biologists don't have the necessary public speaking skills to debate with certain creationists. Often times they get outmatched in terms of charisma and presentation style, which are completely irrelevant to whether or not their arguments are valid. Any person that is persuaded by peripheral issues like this may even leave one of these debates concluding that the creationist presented the more reasonable case. This has happened many times in the past and it will continue to happen in the future. All of this can be avoided simply by refusing to debate with them. Even if the debate were in print then other problems would still arise. Creationists, more often than not, don't have the necessary understanding of science to appreciate the debate. Consequentially the debate will fall on deaf ears.

Biologists and scientists generally, in my experience, aren't always the most charismatic people- Carl Sagan is a truly rare exception. It isn't really their fault. They just didn't go to school to become excellent public speakers.

Sources

http://www.scientificamerican.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for his fast and succinct response - it's been fun.

So it seems that I was about the definition of "debate" in this context. Instead of a simple exchange of arguments, it's the same thing except in a formal and presumably public manner. Taking this into account, I agree that examples of debating people on the street are irrelevant, and retract those arguments. However, this doesn't do much to remove from my position.

My opponent seems to ignore several of my argument, though I do grant they aren't as important. However, I'll list them again to remind the audience:

1. It helps the one who debates with a creationist to know more about evolution/Big Bang

It seems my opponent does nothing to refute this - he submits that in one form or another, debating with a creationist will usually grant one more knowledge on evolution and the Big Bang.

2. It can change the creationist's mind

He also presumably agrees to this, though what the success rate is neither of us can truly claim to know - though we can claim to know that it DOES happen.

3. Others can read the debate and hopefully be influenced by the evolutionist

An obvious trademark of public/formal debates is that it can be read/seen/heard by other people, thus influencing their ideas. If the creationists were to be allowed to constantly blab about their belief, then it would leave one side out of the discussion. It's like having only the Republicans speak on radio shows, TV's, and internet pages - eventually the public will start turning towards a particular side; this is the nature of information technology.

And now for the main meat of this debate:

====================
Not debating with creationists could potentially be risky
====================

My opponent argues that I should at least provide some statistical evidence that acceptance of evolution by Americans have been declining over the past 20 years. Fair enough, I can offer at least two sources[1][2].

"Over the last two decades, the percentage of Americans who are uncertain about the merits of evolutionary theory has increased from seven percent to twenty-one percent; a three fold increase."

The only change for the better is just the amount of people who OVERTLY reject evolution - however, they still reject in some shape or form. As you can see, Creationism is definitely on the rise, due to what the report says "poor understanding of biology, especially genetics, the politicization of science and the literal interpretation of the Bible by a small but vocal group of American Christians." As you can see, the politics involved with Creationism, coupled with religion and a poor understanding of biology, have lead to such an increase in anti-evolution.

This brings me to my next point, as to why debating with creationists can counter this.

====================
Debating with creationists can lead more people to believe in evolution
====================

My opponent states that the approach I'm advocating is currently being employed but hasn't made any noticeable difference. Perhaps this is so, but really we can't tell - since statistically speaking the numbers of people who reject evolution can be MUCH more, but through the debates it's only lessened. Since, unfortunately, the overall statistic is a negative correlation, we can't tell how much effect debating has done in numbers for us to see.

However, let's just think about it. Why in the world would NOT debating about it adversely affect the evolution side? I saw your video, but it did nothing but say the obvious - creationism is many times fueled with religious belief. In fact, the study I presented shows this as one of the common factors: religious fundamentalism.

Also, another major fact for the increase in creationism is politicization of it. Creationist pundits are bringing it to the political realm, where it can have larger effects (making public schools teach creationism alongside evolution) and larger attention (garner the attention of news channel, etc.). This spike in attention means more people will buy into creationism UNLESS there's an opposing side to it. For example, if it were just social conservatives constantly mouthing off their beliefs, with NO opposition, then eventually many of their beliefs will get accepted. This is the nature of politics - if there's no opposing side then the acceptance of creationism will become much more ridiculously easy.

We can't force every American adult right now to read high school biology again, but we can capture their attention by telling them the evolutionary side of the debate. If we allow the creationists to just constantly feed their own side, then we shouldn't be surprised at the average American's response.

====================
Conclusion
====================

My opponent states that the goal of intellectual discourse is not merely to "get people to accept the truth of evolution (or any other scientific theory); the goal is to get them to value the principles of reasoning and educated discourse that now make acceptance of evolution obligatory." And I COMPLETELY agree! But I ask of him - how would you have someone to value the principles of reasoning without convincing them of such? And how the hell else would you convince them besides using arguments? And what's a great place to host arguments but a debate?

I also find it intriguing you would say "debates are only worth having if there are two legitimate sides to any issue." Exactly what would make a side an issue? Because it seems complicated, or maybe if it's a new topic? You see, calling a debate legitimate or not is purely arbitrary; it's legitimate or not in the eyes of the beholder. I argue that any topic should be entertained if brought up, after all that is the attitude of a philosopher is it not?

My opponent's last criticism is a good one, but it's easily circumvented. For the biologists who aren't great rhetoricians, then an online debate will be just fine - as spoken words won't be such an issue. They can concentrate on the much more technical stuff, not get washed away by rhetoric, and hit points with pinpoint accuracy (in spoken debates, it's hard to keep track of every argument and every detail without a great memory). And if we keep up this "movement" of refuting creationism in the public eye, then no doubt we can garner several people who are adept at debating in person - such as Kenneth Miller.

Refuting the claims of creationists does not require a Ph.D. In fact, I'm sure if we got several people on this website to do it they'll probably do it justice (RoyLatham, Kleptin, etc.).

---References---
1. http://uprisingradio.org...
2. http://www.livescience.com...
Debate Round No. 3
52 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SirAntonyP 8 years ago
SirAntonyP
Fact is if you are religious you shouldn't be debating others beliefs, if you are so loving you should accept them for what they are and let your god decide what happens to them, or them come to god, the fact that you get so furious at people who do not believe may indicate that you have doubts yourself and are in denial.

Im so sick of seeing people who are supposed to be enlightened with religion that they use there religion as a excuse to do inexcusable things.
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
Our discussion about multiple universes and the like, as you have said, has reached an impasse at the normal point where I always reach an impasse with Christians: they typically insist that they have experienced their faith (although that's kind of an oxymoron) and that that experience is as worthwhile as any other first-hand experience. Other Christians probably hear about these "experiences" and want them for themselves... It's a lot like "The Emperor Wears No Clothes", actually... At any rate, it seems a bit redundant to remind them that anything that is not repeatable and demonstratable isn't reasonable. Just like people of most religions, among people who have seen ghosts, fortune tellers, and the heavily spiritual, you get to that point where they tell you that "your just not opening your mind enough" and that the reason I can't observe any evidence for their beliefs is that I am basically closed-minded and insensitive to the suddle energies and forces at work. I am not one of the chosen ones that gets to experience it. If I was more vain I probably would insist that I was a chosen one and then tried to experience something "higher" than myself... One of my best friends became spiritual after a whole lot of mushroom-eating and he is now a chosen one as well, unfortunately I wasn't strong enough to follow him down that path.
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
"I suppose that makes you impudent for denying Allah..."
"this is what we call the fallacy of consequences"

Really IT does this sort of debating actually work on people? You just start throwing random fallacies at them in an attempt to intimidate them or something? First of all you can't call yourself Christian and then act like you are somehow open to the concept of Allah being omnipotent instead of God. If there is a way to walk that line then please enlighten us. Second, I fail to see how my action of pointing out this troubling twist of logic to you is fallacious at all. Fallacy of consequences has to do with assigning truth to premises that fit your ideological needs. How exactly does that fit here?

"As much as it humors me to hear a Christian tell me he is ‘just working with the facts'"
"Argument from intimidation."

So telling me that I'm not worth your time isn't intimidation at all, but if I point out that Christians' beliefs are not based on fact then I am trying to intimidate. Christians declare that Jesus rose from the dead and committed all types of magical acts. This is not factual, and there is no logical fallacy in pointing this out. There is no fact involved in an omnipotent jealous God. You really don't want to address any of my arguments, you just want to turn your nose up to them and label them as fallacy because you can't defend against them.

"I can give you lessons"

Your mother should have given you lessons on how to respect other people in a conversation! Quite cavalier.
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
"That is what we call begging the question".

Since your so good at pointing out logical fallacies, what is the logical fallacy associated with calling someone impudent that doesn't believe in Christianity? Come on, IT, you can't sit there and say that your name-calling and emotional reactions don't warrant some kind of hypocritical status for yourself. You tell me I'm "impudent" and "not worth [your] time", and then sit back and label everything I say as fallacious. It's hard to find good debaters these days that can't have a civilized discussion without letting their vanity get the best of them.

So calling the Bible fictitious is "begging the question". I see why you would say that, as I am basically just assuming that it is fiction and then using that as a supporting premise to make an argument. Assumptions must be made in any argument, however. Since the Bible cannot be reconciled with enough proven events to make it viable in any type of meaningful discussion, I don't think it is a stretch to assume first that it is fiction and then only assume otherwise if it can be shown that it contains truth. Furthermore, there is a sort of epistemological slippery slope in the very nature of the logical fallacy because we couldn't have much of a dialogue at all without begging some questions. Human dialogue is not logically perfect, which is why it takes much conversation to whittle down inconsistencies in ideas. If it were, we would have much more of a utility for sentential logic in these discussions. Honestly, both of us have probably made many assumptions in this
dialogue already and if all we do is keep pointing them out then we will be both paralyzed.

I'm sorry that you didn't find my fish analogy relevant enough to warrant a response. Again, I don't think you had it in you to escape from it anyway ;)
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
theCall, I think the arguments by Pro were made with young earth creationism (YEC) in mind. Pro claimed it was a fact that the earth was 14 billion years old and that evolution was well established. That only conflicts with YEC, not with all creationism. But YEC was not made clear as the target, so your point is valid.
Posted by theCall 8 years ago
theCall
Newton was a Creationist, Galieo, Pascal... were all creationists and yet, they were all great scientists of the world, now will being Creationist make them become nonsense, ignorant people who can't know wrong and right?

If a being an atheist is qualified as "intelligent, reasonable" person, then all those scientists above included lots of pastors with great intelligence( Like Dr.King) would become insane and stupid because simply, their works just are not enough, they needed to become an Evolutionist, an atheist.

Earth itself was a thing, a subject, if without motivation or it's not a living creature, itself can't developed. Atheist use the reason that the universe, the planets and earth themselve are in a perfect shape, themselve are organized, that's not a very convincing argument, the Creationist can as well rebut that and say also: "God is powerful and created all things."

It's not that crazy to believe there's actually a God when you can believe human, dinosaurs came from some small plankton or micro creatures.
Posted by InquireTruth 8 years ago
InquireTruth
"So I am impudent now because I deny the validity of a work of fiction."

That is what we call begging the question. If you cannot make your point with employing a myriad of pejorative fallacies, then you are certainly not worth my time.

"I suppose that makes you impudent for denying Allah..."

When did I deny the existence of Allah? Moreover, this is what we call the fallacy of consequences. If I cannot accept my experiences as true, then you cannot reasonably accept your experiences as true – this, of course, means that you have to withhold belief as to whether or not physical reality actually exists.

"like we did with my fish analogy."

Your fish analogy was irrelevant. It does not address the point.

"As much as it humors me to hear a Christian tell me he is ‘just working with the facts'"

Argument from intimidation. Do you know how to construct an argument? PM me and I can give you lessons.

"You are correct in pointing out that I can't assume that there are infinite universes, but you either have to"

Having trouble reading too? Multiple universes =/= logically possible universes. Unless you can give some physical evidence for why our constants are constrained, then it is reasonable to employ the principle of indifference and assume that every logically possible universe was of equal probability.

"universes then you can't assume there aren't an infinite number"

It is demonstrably illogical to believe actual infinites could exist in reality.

"So if we are retreating to "just the facts", then all we have to work with is one universe."

One universe is a fact. There were many logically possible universes, also a fact.

Theistic reality is accepted on the same justificatory grounds that physical reality is accepted. I am completely reasonable to believe in that which I have experienced. Since you believe in physical reality based solely on experience, I am justified in believing in theistic reality based solely on experience.
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
"you... deny my experiences that make so clear to me the existence of what you so impudently deny"

So I am impudent now because I deny the validity of a work of fiction. I suppose that makes you impudent for denying Allah... I think you can see the rest of the way down that slippery slope. Of course you won't be able to defend against this statement so we'll just forget about it, like we did with my fish analogy. Don't worry IT, it never happened ;)

"My analysis is based on what we know"

As much as it humors me to hear a Christian tell me he is "just working with the facts", I have to say that you are not working with the facts at all. You are correct in pointing out that I can't assume that there are infinite universes, but you either have to

A) not bring up the metaphysical argument in the first place or

B) accept the fact that if you are going to discuss multiple universes then you can't assume there aren't an infinite number of them. Any non-infinite value you would give them would be so ridiculous and arbitrary that your whole analogy is laughable.

So if we are retreating to "just the facts", then all we have to work with is one universe. The laws of physics the way they are. Our only "educated" guess about universes is that there is at least one of them and that life is a natural occurence within it. The universe, if it was created, was apparently not created for life, as the entire thing is a completely inhospitable environment except for one planet, which is one out of about 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 likely planets in the cosmos. Oh yeah, and nowhere in the "facts" do we find anything about souls, heaven, Jesus, or the virgin Mary. We do find crusades, oppression, forced conversions, and immoral acts of the highest degrees among the historical "facts" about religion.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
"You are having fun with the analogy, not the point."

No, there is a stark difference between the two. Not only do we not have such access of knowledge about the universe (or perhaps possible universes to be more specific), but in the analogy a constant factor is that you are being brought before the firing squad. In other words, in either situation A where you get shot or situation B where you don't get shot, one similarity is that you brought before them. The default in the firing squad analogy is you existing, while the default for the universe is the opposite.
Posted by InquireTruth 8 years ago
InquireTruth
"So I can say that I'm not surprised that things aren't "incompatible" with our existence in an "obvious" fashion, but all of a sudden I am committing grave logical fallacy if I say I am not surprised that things are life-permitting?"

Actually, yes, it is intellectually unfortunate that you, the commander of all reason, cannot see the distinction.

"I think I understand your reasoning behind the marksman/red dot analogy, but let's clean it up a little. Let's say that every universe is a man being shot at by a team of well-trained marksmen. The man would die in almost every single case, but there is no reason to think that the number of chances that life had to develop is finite."

But we have reason to believe it was infinite? The point is that we only know of 1 universe, our own. We also know that our universe is one out of innumerable logically possible universes. We also know that out of those logically possible universes, VERY FEW (by orders of infinitesimals) of them are life-permitting. Yet we are here, all of the 100 trained marksmen missed, and we should not to be surprised? Balderdash.

: there is no reason to believe that life wouldn't adapt to any array of settings of physical constants.

And, of course, there is no reason to believe that it can. My analysis is based on what we know, your refutation is banking on what we do not know and have no evidence for – namely infinity and multiple universes.
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