The Instigator
mightbenihilism
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
1Credo
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Taoism is the One True Religon

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
1Credo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/9/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,235 times Debate No: 62982
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (3)

 

mightbenihilism

Pro

Taoism is the One True Religion, as defined solely by the Holy Scriptures of the Tao-teh-ching, the Chuang-tzu and the Lieh-tzu. (This is to distinguish Philosophical Taoism from Popular Taoism. The former is perfect. The latter is imperfect). Or, if "is" is too strong a word for you, "is most likely" will be better.

Points of my argument:

1. These books are infallibly correct.
2. These books possess all that is good in other religions, and none of what is bad (like offensive violence, char-broiling in hell, etc.)
3. If Taoism is not true, in fact, then there is no possibility for using logic and reason, for logic and reason already assume the existence of the Great and Mysterious Tao. Even those unacquainted with the Three Holy Scriptures of Taoism use the Tao without being aware of it. Therefore, Taoism is the Mother Truth of all human thought.
4. Nicholas Cage is a Taoist.
5. Haikus are neat.

If you need clarification on any of these points, please ask in comment section.

The opponent must show that the claims of 1-5 are logically inconsistent, factually incorrect, or contain implications that a decent human being could not live with or be proud to acknowledge. I agree that there is no actual proof Taoism is true --- I simply argue that it is the most likely religion of being true, provided you stick the Three Holy Scriptures. The opponent may address her or his arguments or rebuttle against these points in round one. My rebutta-buttle will occur in round three, and so on and so on. Please no "Taoism is a philosophy, not a religion, maaan" arguments. This isn't the 60s. Get a job.

This is a serious debate, so hit with your best shot!

https://www.youtube.com...
1Credo

Con

1. Acceptance

I accept. I'd like to thank my opponent for creating this debate. I look forward to a good discussion on the topic at hand!

2. Burden of Proof

I'd like to note that my opponent is responsible for shouldering the full burden of proof in this debate. In order to win the debate, he must prove that "Taoism is the One True Religion". I wish my opponent the best of luck.

3. Rebuttal

"The opponent must show that the claims of 1-5 are logically inconsistent, factually incorrect, or contain implications that a decent human being could not live with or be proud to acknowledge."

I will begin by responding to my opponents five points regarding Taoism, then I will move on to presenting my own arguments against the claim that "Taoism is the One True Religion".

1. These books are infallibly correct.

What reason has my opponent given to think that any books are infallibly correct? This is a mere assertion without any hint of justification.

2. These books possess all that is good in other religions, and none of what is bad (like offensive violence, char-broiling in hell, etc.)

Again, this is a very strong claim. My opponent asserts that these books contain "all that is good" and none of "what is bad". These kinds of assertions also require some kind of warrant. Furthermore, my opponent has not shown what "good" or "bad" is. What reason have we been given to think that "char-broiling in hell" is a bad thing? Are the teachings of other religions found in the books of Taoism inherently good, or are they good simply because they are found in the books of Taoism? If they are inherently good, I would ask my opponent to elaborate on just how he came to know exactly what is "good" and what is "bad". If they are good only because they are found in the books of Taoism, then we have been presented with circular reasoning.

3. If Taoism is not true, in fact, then there is no possibility for using logic and reason, for logic and reason already assume the
existence of the Great and Mysterious Tao. Even those unacquainted with the Three Holy Scriptures of Taoism use the Tao without being aware of it. Therefore, Taoism is the Mother Truth of all human thought.

This is false. Logic and reason in no way assume the existence of Tao. If my opponent really believes this, then once again I ask him to bring forward his evidence. Logic and reason exist independent of Taoism. Taoism was formed in 550 B.C. This means that there have been over 197,000 years of human existence without Taoism. If Taoism really is the "mother truth of all human thought" then it seems that my opponent believes humans were not capable of even thinking for over 197,000 years.

http://www.patheos.com...

4. Nicholas Cage is a Taoist.

If anything, this would only serve as evidence against Taoism (sorry, I couldn't help it).

This is, of course, not real evidence. Nicholas Cage does not prove Taoism true any more than Tom Cruise proves scientology true.

5. Haikus are neat.

No disagreement here, but I'd just point out that this too does not serve as any kind of evidence to support the idea that "Taoism is the One True Religion".

4. Arguments

1. Cosmology of Taoism

In the cosmology of Taoism, it is believed that the universe continually recreates itself. But the very idea of something creating itself is clearly incoherent.

Taoism also holds that the "five elements" (wood, fire, metal, water, and earth) are the origin of all things. However, wood is only about 400 million years old. This means that there have been over 13 billion years of universal existence without wood. As such, we have no reason to believe that wood is something from which "all other things" come about.

http://taoism.about.com...

2. The gods and spirits of Taoism

Taoism is a religion full of both gods and spirits. However, there is not a shred of evidence to support the idea of the existence of any Taoist gods and/or spirits. This seems to me to be a case of absence of evidence being evidence of absence. I invite my opponent to bring forth his evidence.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...

I will bring forward further arguments in a later round if necessary. It should be remembered that even if I were not able to bring forward a single argument against Taoism (which I have already done) it is still the responsibility of my opponent to prove Taoism true.

5. Summary

I have refuted each of my opponents' five points which attempted to prove Taoism to be the "One True Religion". As there stands not a single reason to think Taoism is true, my opponent has all of his work ahead of him in order to shoulder the burden of proof in showing that "Taoism is the One True Religion".

6. Sources
http://www.patheos.com...
http://taoism.about.com...
http://www.bbc.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
mightbenihilism

Pro

My response to the Con's points:

1. Noted.

2. Proofs only exist in mathematics. However, there is persuasive evidence that would lead to the conclusion that Taoism is the One True Religion. To summarize, in an ethical sense, it is pro personal and civic peace, limited-government, self-reliance, and strength-through-adaptability. It supports these without imposing celibacy on anyone, dietary restrictions, or insisting on certain dogmas. It is against extremism, offensive warfare, coercive government and destabilizing emotions. In a metaphysical sense, it doesn't emphasize personal Gods and is indifferent to their existence, and views a fuzzy and indefinite kind of "mother Nature" as the source of all things (more properly, the Mother OF mother-nature).

Besides, didn't I say in my prefatory statement "Or, if 'is' is too strong a word for you, 'is most likely' will be better"? This means, at the most, that Taoism (Daojia) is the most persuasive and consistent religion.

3.1 - The three books mentioned are infallibly correct because they are without moral or logical error, when viewed as a whole. Obviously, to establish this I would need to comment on every passage and cross-reference it with every other pertinent passage. To do so is beyond the scope of the debate --- however, I will say that the Con cannot provide any convincing logical or moral errors in them.

3.2 - The Con asks what reason we have to believe char-broiling in hell is a bad thing. On this basis, the Con implies that the worst thing possible - infinite torture - is something we require a sound foundation to call "bad". What is this sound foundation? If the Con is a theist, he must say God. If the Con is an atheist, he must say naturally occurring, biological empathy. Either way, neither the theist nor the atheist can explain this "sound foundation" in perfect detail, and, therefore, there is an element of mystery to it. This "mystery" is exactly how the Tao-teh-ching defines the Tao: "Tao is the mysterious secret of the universe" (TTC, 62). What Taoism does that other religions do not is that they derive *positive connotations* from this mystery. Thus there is no theology, theodicy, or adherence to a system of absolute logic. All systems of thought necessarily rest upon a self-evident mystery, and this self-evident mystery is none other than the Tao.

3.3 - I hope the Con knows something of presuppositional apologetics as they are found in Reformed (Calvinist theology). Essentially, their arguments for the Trinitarian, Reformed conception of God are my same arguments for the Tao, so do a little homework before reply, especially in regard to the "impossibility of the contrary." A very simple explanation is this:

Atheist: You need logic and evidence to justify your claim.
Theist: What justifies logic?
Atheist: Logic justifies logic.
Theist: That's circular reason.
Atheist: Observation justifies logic.
Theist: What justifies observation?

The argument continues. Either you posit an infinite regress or you hit a wall. That wall is the Tao. It is not a personal God, however, because the universe a reflection of the Tao, and the universe is totally indifferent. Prayers go unanswered. We howl at heaven, hoping for a cookie, but no cookie comes. Ergo, we must be as self-sufficient and indifferent as the universe is --- without, however, being malicious --- if we want to secure a modicum of inner peace. And we should encourage self-sufficiency among the citizens of our country, and more non-interference in our government so it gets off our backs.

The Con makes a mistake in saying "Taoism was formed in 550 B.C.". The Tao-teh-ching may have been written then, but Taoism is primoridal truth. The Three Holy and Wonderful Books of Taoism are simply the best earliest examples of people putting this truth on paper. To give an corresponding example, the Australian school of economics didn't invent the superiority of a free, competitive market, with limited government inteference. It existed *prior* to the founding of the school. The school simply described its ideas in a particularly penetrating and eloquent way.

Will the Con say he avoids all circular reasoning? If not, he cannot argue against the Absolute and Self-evident Supremacy of Taoism because it uses circular reasoning. If so, I will grill him on this point.

3.4 - It is true that Nicholas Cage being a Taoist is not "real evidence", and, to be fair, I am not aware that Nicholas Cage self-identifies as a Taoist. However, not all Taoists need to self-identify. Before the Tao-teh-ching, most Taoists were rugged cave-people. I am willing to throw out this argument, however. In fact, I just wanted to give a shout-out to Nicholas Cage in case he is reading this, because I like him (despite what anyone says). I think his movies are neat and I will watch anything he's in and find enjoyment in it.

3.5 - Noted.

4.1 Cosmology: The Con would do well to consult the books I mentioned. Here is a brief account of Taoist cosmology:

"Out of Tao, One is born;
Out of One, Two;
Out of Two, Three;
Out of Three, the created universe." - (TTC, 42)

Clearly, this does not mean "the universe continually recreates itself". The Tao, here, refers to the uncaused principle anterior to the cosmos from which the cosmos is born. Even then, the cosmos is born of mathematical regularity, which is itself demonstrative of a breaking in the superessential symmetry of a pre-existent equilibrium (a zeroic plenum in which all contraries are implicately balanced).

As to the "five element" theory, "wood" is simply a general and ancient term to imply those principles which are inherently indicative of plant life (and, by association, animal life). That means a greater order of macro-symmetry than is present in inorganic compounds, the ability to change over time through following a genetic pattern, to persist and flourish through external nourishment, etc. It was the best term they could come up with, and it is fascinating that they saw the principle of plant-like growth as being a fundamental property of existence. But even here, Taoism is not equivalent to the five-element or five-phases theory. This was a SEPARATE PHILOSOPHICAL SCHOOL. Taoism made reference to it as part of a common Chinese heritage, but it also did so with Confucian ideas, the ideas of the "Hundred Schools of Thought", etc. If the Apostle Paul did not need to be a Greek Pagan to quote a line from a Greek Pagan poem (Acts 17:28) a Taoist Sage need not be a member of the Wu Xing school to refer to their ideas in a measuredly positive manner.

4.2 - The Con seems like a good fellow. So I feel a little bit guilty about what I'm going to say, so please don't take it personal, Con. Sometimes it's necessary to make an example of innocent people as a lesson to the would-be villains out there:

In this refutation, the Con shows that either:

A. he did not read my prefatory paragraph
B. he is intentionally deceptive
C. he has poor memory
D. or he realizes that he cannot win using fair and honest tactics and, ergo, must resort to specious lies

I am going to assume A or C, because I think he's ok. However, a lot of debaters on this website are definitely B or D.

I said in my prefatory statement: "Taoism is the One True Religion, as defined solely by the Holy Scriptures of the Tao-teh-ching, the Chuang-tzu and the Lieh-tzu. (This is to distinguish Philosophical Taoism from Popular Taoism. The former is perfect. The latter is imperfect)." The Con, in describing Gods and Spirits, is describing "Popular Taoism." A simple look at a Wikipedia page on Taoism describes the difference between Daojia and Daojiao. Daojia is Philosophical Taoism. I would hope that, at the very least, my debators in the future at least take the time to read over a Wikipedia page before they start wanting to go HAM on the debating floor.

Daojia only accepts the Tao-teh-ching, Chuang-tzu and Lieh-tzu as authoritative. When these books refer to Gods and Spirits, it is done in a tongue-in-cheek way. Daojiao, which accepts all sorts of weird and crazy things, is not Daojia.

To use an example from the Con's own religious beliefs, Daojia is like Roman Catholicism as understood by a learned member of the Catholic clergy. Daojiao is like religious syncreticism as found in parts of Africa and Latin America, where native Gods are associated with Catholic Saints, magic rituals are performed for them, etc. They may use Catholic terminology, but their witchcraft is totally unlike actual Catholicism.

5. The Con says, "there is not a single reason to think Taoism is true", yet the opponent, being a Libertarian, already agrees with Taoist principles in terms of a minarchist, pro-freedom government. The teachings of Jesus, too, like humility, sincerity, integrity, peacefulness, joyfulness, etc. are all aspects present in Taoism, so if he agrees with Jesus, he also agrees with Taoism on these points. He may differ with Taoism in that Taoism posits an impersonal absolute which does not interfere in history or in people's individual lives, but I'm willing to bet the Con is more of a Taoist than he even realizes.

To reiterate, Taoism may be summarized as:

1. There is an uncaused, impersonal, mysterious absolute that caused all things.
2. It lacks a numerically consistent definition like "oneness", "threeness", "manynenss"
3. Living in harmony with it by emulating its simplicity, patience, etc. results in a more stable, pleasurable and efficient life.
4. The best government is non-interventionist
5. We should not live in fear of the supernatural, and our attitude towards death should be one of quiet --- if not cheerful --- acceptance.
5 again. Nicholas Cage is a good actor and his filmography has many classics in it.
7. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is way under-rated.
1Credo

Con

1. Burden of Proof

If my opponent is not willing or able to fulfill the burden of proof, it seems to me that he should have made a much more modest claim. The assertion that "Taoism is the One True Religion" is one without any warrant and so it requires my opponent to carry the burden of proof.

2. Rebuttal

In my opening argument, I refuted each of my opponents arguments (listed in numerical order below) in favor of his claim that "Taoism is the One True Religion". Let's take a look at what my opponent has to say about each refutation:

1. These books are infallibly correct.

In my refutation of this argument, I explained to my opponent that he cannot merely assert this without any justification and expect anyone to take it to be true. Here is my opponent's response:

"The three books mentioned are infallibly correct because they are without moral or logical error"

I will neither agree nor disagree with my opponent's assertion that the books of Taoism are without moral or logical error, because that is not relevant to this argument. Even if I were to grant that each of these books were without moral or logical error, this would do nothing to show that they are true. My opponent still has all of his work ahead of him in showing that the books are infallibly correct.

For example, consider this statement:
"Last week I donated $50 to a charity organization."
This statement is without moral or logical error. However, it is false. Last week, I did not donate $50 to a charity organization. In the very same way, even if my opponent's claim that the books of Taoism are without moral and logical error (which I don't for a moment concede they are) this does nothing to show that the books themselves are infallibly correct. This argument remains refuted.

2. These books possess all that is good in other religions, and none of what is bad (like offensive violence, char-broiling in hell, etc.)

In my refutation of this argument, I pointed out that this again is an unwarranted assertion made by my opponent. Furthermore, I asked my opponent to show what "good" and "bad" are, as these terms are certainly not universally agreed upon. Finally, I presented my opponent with a dilemma: If they are inherently good, I would ask my opponent to elaborate on just how he came to know exactly what is "good" and what is "bad". If they are good only because they are found in the books of Taoism, then we have been presented with circular reasoning. In my opponent's response, he provided no justification for his claim and he failed to give an answer to the dilemma I posed. This argument remains refuted.

3. If Taoism is not true, in fact, then there is no possibility for using logic and reason, for logic and reason already assume the
existence of the Great and Mysterious Tao. Even those unacquainted with the Three Holy Scriptures of Taoism use the Tao without being aware of it. Therefore, Taoism is the Mother Truth of all human thought.

In my refutation of this argument, I noted that logic and reason are independent of Taoism. Furthermore, I pointed out that Taoism only originated within the last 3,000 years, meaning that if my opponent's argument is correct then humanity has gone 197,000 years without the ability to even think. In my opponent's response, he gave no reason to think that "If Taoism is not true, in fact, then there is no possibility for using logic and reason, for logic and reason already assume the existence of the Great and Mysterious Tao." My opponent then goes on to argue that Taoism was not formed in 550 B.C. When I say that Taoism was formed in 550 B.C., I do not mean to say that "Tao" originated in 550 B.C. as my opponent seems to misunderstand. Rather, I mean to say that the religion itself was established in that time period. Here are three independent sources that show Taoism originated in 550 B.C. or sooner:

http://www.patheos.com...
http://www.bbc.co.uk...
http://www.taoism.net...

This argument remains refuted.

4. Nicholas Cage is a Taoist.

In my refutation of this argument, I pointed out that Nicholas Cage does not prove Taoism true any more than Tom Cruise proves scientology true. My opponent concedes this argument in his response:

"It is true that Nicholas Cage being a Taoist is not "real evidence", and, to be fair, I am not aware that Nicholas Cage self-identifies as a Taoist... I am willing to throw out this argument, however. In fact, I just wanted to give a shout-out to Nicholas Cage in case he is reading this, because I like him"

This argument remains refuted.

5. Haikus are neat.

In my refutation of this argument, I merely said that though I agree Haikus are neat, this does not serve as any sort of evidence in favor of Taoism being "the one true religion". My opponent seems to concede this argument as well.

This argument remains refuted.

3. Summary

I have refuted each of my opponent's five points which attempted to prove Taoism to be the "One True Religion". As there stands not a single reason to think Taoism is true, my opponent has all of his work ahead of him in order to shoulder the burden of proof in showing that "Taoism is the One True Religion".

4. Sources
http://www.patheos.com...
http://www.bbc.co.uk...
http://www.taoism.net...
Debate Round No. 2
mightbenihilism

Pro

The Con has made a great misstep.

He argues from one position that he later implicitly refutes.

Paraphrasing him, he says, "You have not PROVEN Taoism."

This assumes Taoism can be proven, or that anything can be proven. Proof implies an absolute, necessary, self-evident authority. I say this authority is the Tao itself. The Con says, "nu-uh."

He then brings about the issue of good and evil. "How do you know what good and evil even is? What's your authority?"

And I ask, "What proves proof? What thing, beyond proof itself, makes proof justifiable as an article upon which human thought should be reasonably based?"

Good and evil can be self-evident. They must be other-evident. Being other-evident, the "other" must either be itself self-evident, or other-evident. Eventually, the Con must concede that a self-evident thing necessarily exists. But if he agrees that it exists, it proves itself. If it proves itself, I do not need to refer to anything beyond it to prove it.

Or said a different way:

If "proof" is justified of itself, it is circular.
If "proof" is justified from something else, either an infinite regress results or we hit a wall at something unproven.

Tao means "way" or "path", just as Logos means "word" or "speech". I should have assumed the Con didn't know what "Tao" meant, but anyway, "logic" cannot have existed independently of the Tao or its following (Taoism), because Taoism is the "way" or "path" that things follow in an orderly manner, mirroring and inclining to the pre-cosmic equilibrial symmetry, for that equilibrium that was anterior to the cosmos is nonetheless mirrored and relfected in the cosmos itself, despite the rupture to its symmetry which occurred. Ergo, logic, when sound, always seeks equilibrium, and this equilibrium is none other than the Tao. Logic seeks itself.

This is what Taoism, itself, defines as the Tao. The idea of Taoism is that we eventually hit a wall, and that wall is beautiful. Let us live by that wall. Ultimately, the trajectory of all thought and perception converges and is annihilated in the Incomprehensible. This Incomprehensible is *precisely* the Tao. Where your theories end, the Tao begins.

This is superior to every system of thought that does not admit, ultimately, of a primordial mystery. However, it is superior even to those systems of thought which acknowledge a primordial mystery (such as theism), for though they say there is a primordial mystery, they then clothe it with the crude human language of "jealousy", "wrath", "make sure you don't go to the bathroom near me", as is found in the Bible and Qur'an.

A good article on the potential for the ultimate unjustifiability of the cosmos is found here:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...

The Con probably won't read it, just like he didn't read anything on presuppositional apologetics.

Anyway, here is where it gets interesting:

To quote the TTC, chapter 40:

yǒu shēng y" w"
Existence is born from a vacuum

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

To quote the first two paragraphs:

A vacuum might seem like empty space, but scientists have discovered a new way to seemingly get something from that nothingness, such as light. And the finding could ultimately help scientists build incredibly powerful quantum computers or shed light on the earliest moments in the universe's history.

Quantum physics explains that there are limits to how precisely one can know the properties of the most basic units of matter"for instance, one can never absolutely know a particle's position and momentum at the same time. One bizarre consequence of this uncertainty is that a vacuum is never completely empty, but instead buzzes with so-called 'virtual particles' that constantly wink into and out of existence.

Thus Taoism anticipated the findings of modern quantum physics in 2,600 B.C. This does not prove Taoism is true, but it does suggest that they were on to something.

And note that Taoism does not say, like some atheist philosophers due, that the Tao is not intelligent. It transcends both intelligence and non-intelligence. However, that our current universe arose out of a rupture in the symmetry of quantum particles flashing and roiling in a vacuum is a moderately defensible conclusion at present, and it is found in the Tao teh ching. The word "w"" stands for emptiness, nihility, nothingness, etc. Yet the Son of God, Lao-tzu, realized that in this vacuum of nothingness there was the potential for being to arise. He saw past the seeming nihility into the full plenum of true zeroity.

He knew.

For the Con to refute this, he must explain how someone came up with the idea that a vacuum is filled with what instigates existence WITHOUT being the aid of modern technology.

The Con will no doubt say, "You didn't reply to my refutations", but he should do well and consider that he may be wrong in this claim before he makes and consider that I have perhaps made it in a way far more elegant, subtle and refined than he is used to. Read it over, Con. Consider how my central refutation of logic's non-circularity does counter your arguments.

And, my dear readers, note that the Con, in his rebuttle to this, will not be able to exonerate the essential paradoxes of reason. And his inability, in fact, proves that there is a grander, over-arching and necessary mystery --- and to acknowledge this, and live in accord with it to the best of one's capacity, is, I say, the one true religion. If the Taoist shoe fits, the Taoist duck quacks.
1Credo

Con

1. Rebuttal

My opponent admits that he is not able to prove his original assertion that "Taoism is the One True Religion". As I stated in the previous round, my opponent should have made a more modest claim, such as "Taoism is most likely the true religion", to begin with. As it seems he has now changed his position from trying to show that "Taoism is the One True Religion" to something like "There is evidence that Taoism might be the one true religion", we can move on and look at the arguments. However, it should be noted that my opponent is still responsible for carrying the burden of proof in showing that there is evidence to believe that Taoism is the one true religion. So far, my opponent has failed to carry this burden of proof.

Next, my opponent admits that he does not have an answer to the dilemma I posed regarding his knowledge of what is "good" and what is "evil". He simply changes the topic and begins asking questions about proof. I am not asking for proof of anything, a simple answer will do. I urge my opponent to come up with an answer for the dilemma I presented in the opening round.

My opponent continues to assert that logic and thought cannot exist independently of Taoism:

"logic" cannot have existed independently of the Tao or its following (Taoism)"

When I asked my opponent how this could be possible when Taoism has only been in existence for less than 3,000 years, he was unable to provide an answer. If my opponent is correct, then it would follow that logic and thought have existed for less than 3,000 years. This, of course, is trivially false.

2. Summary

It seems as though my opponent's predispositions cloud his judgement, as he has thus far been unable to recognize the obvious falsities within his very own arguments. At the beginning of the debate, my opponent provided 5 arguments to support his position that "Taoism is the One True Religion". He then posed this challenge:

"The opponent must show that the claims of 1-5 are logically inconsistent, factually incorrect, or contain implications that a decent human being could not live with or be proud to acknowledge."

I successfully refuted each of my opponent's five arguments, and so it follows that there is not one good reason to believe that Taoism is true, much less any reason to believe that "Taoism is the One True Religion" as my opponent originally asserted. My opponent conceded two of his arguments in the last round, and he has not even attempted to defend the remaining three arguments in this round. Surely my opponent is able to recognize that there is no good reason to believe that "Taoism is the One True Religion".
Debate Round No. 3
mightbenihilism

Pro

Concession speech:

Well, I didn't want to write this without getting more clarification from Con in the comment section, but that didn't happen.

I in no way defend my claims successfully, so the Con should win on that point alone, but the Con could've done a more interesting job, for sure. The Con repeatedly demonstrated that he either didn't read my statements, didn't understand them or chose to ignore them. I looked at some of the Con's other debates and it seems like this is a recurring pattern. PLUS it looks like the Con had barely any encounter with Taoism before the debate and did a quick Google search to get a handle on it, which explains two of his misinformed arguments, and the Con seems to act like "Tao" means "Tao teh ching".

Here's a list of Con's mistakes:

A. Con hinged a lot of the tone of his rebuttal on the "headline" without taking into account the qualifying statement. In the comment section he later acknowledged this. He either did not read my prefatory statement, chose to ignore it, or didn't understand it. I invite the Con to explain which it was in his closing statement.

B. Con didn't even argue against the system I was advocating. He demonstrated he wasn't aware of the difference between Philosophical Taoism (Daojia) and Popular or Folk Taoism (Daojiao). He either did not read my opening statement, chose to ignore them, or he wasn't astute enough to comprehend the meaning of my written words. I invite the Con to explain which it was.

C. Con didn't attempt to counter my "proof" of the TTC's anticipation of modern cosmologies. (Evidence of my 1st proposition) No acknowledgment it was even made. (It's a questionable and all-too-fuzzy statement, for sure, but some actual questioning of it on part of the Con would've been nice).

D. Con didn't respond to my demonstration that logic requires an independent basis, and Taoism identifies the concept "Tao" as this basis (a basis which needs no grounding in other basiseses). (Evidence of 3rd proposition) I know that the Con is capable of understanding my point, as he said in another debate: "However, it seems to me that we are all perfectly reasonable in trusting our physical senses, as it is a sort of properly basic belief (a belief which needs no grounding in other beliefs.) In the very same way, trusting our moral senses as reliable is a properly basic belief."

E. If value judgments require a foundation, I claimed that the Tao was a necessary condition for them. (Evidence of propositions 2 and 3). See D.

F. Con also wrote, "When I asked my opponent how this could be possible when Taoism has only been in existence for less than 3,000 years, he was unable to provide an answer. If my opponent is correct, then it would follow that logic and thought have existed for less than 3,000 years. This, of course, is trivially false."

If he was at all knowledgeable about Taoism, he'd know that Taoism referred continually to ancient ancestors which go back to the beginnings of humanity, and I clearly identified smelly, belligerent "cave-Palins" as Taoists because they followed the (philosophical principle of the) Tao. How does Con's statement demonstrate he either read my statement or comprehended it if he did read it? He insisted on the fact that "Taoism has only been in existence for less than 3,000 years", which none of the books I cited as authorities on Taoism claim, nor which I claimed. This is like saying that there was no God because no one wrote a book about him until Moses (or whoever). Something can obviously exist before its been written down. Take Bigfoot, for example.

I've assigned letters to each of these for the Con to be able to refer to them, point by point. I invite him to give his side of it.

If I were to do it over again, I'd have focused predominantly on the cosmological proofs I presented, and been a bit more clear on defining the Tao as a basis for logic at the outset.

Here's the kind of arguments I was looking for:

1. Taoism says nature is ultimately indifferent, then speaks about nature's "benevolence." If we look at the natural world, rape, murder, disease, etc. all occur in not only among people, but among animals. Most every animal will die in pain. Should we really model ourselves on this nature? Even the Tao teh ching says some things no reasonable person could accept, like:

"Nature is unkind:
It treats the creation like sacrificial straw-dogs.
The Sage is unkind:
He treats the people like sacrificial straw-dogs." (5) (NOTE: He'd only have to have read the first five tiny chapters of the pivotal text of Taoism to be able to refute my claims of Taoist goodness)

2. Taoism encourages naivete and moral confusion:

"The good ones I declare good;
The bad ones I also declare good.
That is the goodness of Virtue.
The honest ones I believe;
The liars I also believe;
That is the faith of Virtue." (49)

Have fun with calling criminals heroes and believing liars. . .

etcetera etcetera

Anyway, Con deserves some extra points for saying "this argument remains refuted" in reference to Nicholas Cage. lol
1Credo

Con

Conclusion

I would like to thank my opponent for creating and participating in this debate. I enjoyed getting to learn more about Taoism.

As my opponent conceded in the last round, I do not have much to add to what I have already said. However, I would like to address the "list of my mistakes" that my opponent created:

A. You'll find that in this debate, my opponent seemed to offer two similar resolutions. I understand that my opponent mistakenly left his resolution out of the headline, and I took this into consideration when giving my arguments. This does not make much of a difference, however, due to the fact that my opponent was unable to provide good reasoning and argument to think that either of his resolutions were true. In any case, he was unable to carry the burden of proof that went along with the claims he made. The accusation that I did either did not read or ignored my opponent's prefatory statement is completely false. As I have already stated, my opponent did not give any warrant for any of the claims that were made by him in this debate.

B. As Con, my job in this debate was to refute my opponent's arguments, and that is exactly what I did. I'm indifferent to whether it was philosophical or popular Taoism that I was arguing against. The point is that it was my opponent's arguments which I was refuting, so any refutation I made would have been against the specific type of Taoism that my opponent was arguing in favor of. I see no issue here. So, rather than me not being "astute enough to comprehend" my opponent's words, my explanation would simply be that it was my opponent, if anyone, who failed to distinguish what he was arguing for. As I said, all of my refutations were based solely on my opponent's arguments, not on any misunderstanding between different types of Taoism.

C. I don't recall a "proof" ever being offered. However, my opponent readily admits that "it's a questionable and all-too-fuzzy statement" so it seems to me that there is no issue here.

D. I responded to this assertion several times throughout the course of the debate. You'll recall that I gave evidence (in the form of various independent sources) that Taoism is less than 3,000 years old, and from this I showed that it is absurd to think of Taoism as an independent basis for logic, for this would imply logic itself is less than 3,000 years old. My opponent then demonstrates his lack of understanding of the concept of a properly basic belief and attempts to claim Taoism as a properly basic belief. As this debate is already over and my opponent does not have any more rounds to respond, I will not go into detail in addressing properly basic beliefs and why Taoism couldn't be considered one. However, if my opponent has questions about this I invite him to message me and I will gladly explain it.

E. Again, my opponent fails to recognize that Taoism, being less than 3,000 years old, cannot stand as a basis for anything that is older than 3,000 years old (i.e. logic and moral values). My opponent, to be correct, would first need to show that logic and moral values are less than 3,000 years old. This is, of course, false, but even if my opponent were able to show this, he would still have all of his work ahead of him in showing that Taoism was the one true basis for logic and morality.

F. Here, my opponent seems to deny the age of Taoism. Recall that I provided three independent sources in the second round which verified that Taoism is less than 3,000 years old. I invite my opponent and any readers to take a look at these sources and/or research the matter on their own. My opponent then somehow finds a way to compare Taoism to Bigfoot, which I won't event attempt to respond to.

My opponent concludes by providing his own arguments (or arguments he thinks I ought to have given) against Taoism, which I suppose is alright as he has already conceded.

In conclusion, then, my opponent gave five arguments in support of his claim at the beginning of the debate. I refuted each of these five arguments. My opponent ultimately conceded the debate, and as such we can reasonably conclude that Taoism is not the one true religion.

Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
mightbenihilism
As to the cited rule text text, I think it is strong, but it isn't sufficient to nullify the reasonable usage of the opening statement to qualify the statement of resolution. A case in point, I could say, "There is no proof of Sasquatch" and, in my opening statement, clarify that, by "proof", I mean "there is no physical evidence for Sasquatch, and the anecdotal evidence is not enough to overpower the lack of physical evidence." The two statements mean the same thing, provided they are used to mutually interpret each other. In the same way, the crux of my argument on logic is that, unless we are speaking of math, "is" is philosophically synonymous with "is most likely". I have yet to see an argument that convinced me that there is most likely an "is" that is more likely than "most likely", in other domains than math.
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
mightbenihilism
Another question for 1Credo:

You stated in your debate "Reasonably Morals are Subjective"

"However, it seems to me that we are all perfectly reasonable in trusting our physical senses, as it is a sort of properly basic belief (a belief which needs no grounding in other beliefs.) In the very same way, trusting our moral senses as reliable is a properly basic belief. Any argument against the reliability of our moral senses can be countered with a parallel argument against our physical senses."

A "belief which needs no grounding in other beliefs" is exactly what I'm talking about when it comes to a necessary, self-evident substratum (ground) from which to derive other positions. Taoism, in speaking of the Tao as the pre-cosmic ground of being, necessarily defines itself as a system which acknowledges this principle as the regulative principle of life in both the sense of giving positive ethical imperatives and the guiding and natural law of things. The same exact statement could be made of the Trinity, for instance, for without the inherent properties of the Trinity --- one might argue --- there isn't a basis for any thought. All thought necessarily presumes a Trinity and a universe of which the Trinity is the self-evident author. Or, at least Reformed theologians seem to suppose so (and I'm enchanted, at present, with this line of argumentation).

So, to be clear, have you changed your position on "properly basic beliefs" since starting this debate or are you simply contending that my arguments for necessary conditions upon which all logic, evidence, etc. is based are simply being demonstrated in a less than optimal way?

P.S. I'll keep my headlines more fine-tuned in the future, and less flashly.
Posted by 1Credo 2 years ago
1Credo
Yes, I'd be happy to. Take a look at post #3:

http://www.debate.org...

"This is your resolution or topic of the debate"

The debate topic is always assumed to be the resolution. However, as you have pointed out that you do not intend to defend the statement in your headline, I have accepted that you will be defending the alternative statement you presented. Again, this does not absolve you from the burden of proof. You are still responsible for providing evidence and reason to warrant whatever claim you choose to make.
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
mightbenihilism
When I start a debate, I didn't see "resolution", but "topic". So my topic is "Taoism is the One True Religion" which is qualified by my prefatory statement that "is likely to be more true" is "better". I may be in error about this, but can you show me on the site rules where the topic must depict the headline, irregardless of later qualifications made in the opening remarks?

A case in point demonstrating my understanding, I started a debate on the topic of transubstantiation, being in the Con category. I didn't title my topic "transubstantiation is untrue". I have seen others on the site do it and figured it was acceptable. Also, I think I've seen many make qualifying statements as to their topic headline, and there seems to be a general consensus this is acceptable. It is necessary to define the terms, and, obviously, the topic box isn't the most ideal place to do that.
Posted by 1Credo 2 years ago
1Credo
No, because when I said "You should have made a more modest claim" I mean that you should have made a more modest claim in your headline. The headline is the resolution.
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
mightbenihilism
So do you retract that "you should have made a more modest claim" because I indeed did make a more modest claim qualifying my initial, attention-grabbing headline?
Posted by 1Credo 2 years ago
1Credo
If what you're asking is:

Is "Taoism is most likely the One True Religion" a more modest statement than "Taoism is the One True Religion"?

Then I would of course say yes. However, as I have said, neither claim absolves you from carrying the burden of proof. Anytime a knowledge claim is made, you must justify your claim with evidence and reason. As you have been unable to do so in this debate, it really doesn't matter which assertion you defend, as neither are warranted.
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
mightbenihilism
Also, "In your last argument, it seemed that you were arguing against the idea of coming to conclusions through logic and evidence. If that is your belief, then this is not the debate format for you. You are free to believe anything you like without reasoning, but when you make the sort of claims you have made in this debate, you must be able to provide evidence and reason if you would like others to consider that those claims are true."

I thought I made my position clear that reason, logic, evidence, etc. requires a self-evident, transrational, translogical and transevidentiary substratum which, nonetheless, serves as an observably necessary condition for reason, logic, and evidence to have mechanically sound function (in lieu of thought). Presuppositionalism isn't "I presuppose, therefore" but "presupposition is a necessary condition to any positive proposition". Whether or not that presupposition is itself sound depends on whether it is:

a. demonstrably evident in the nature of the positive propositions themselves
b. not internally contradictory or inconsistent with itself, as a presupposition
c. not externally in a state of contradiction or inconsistency with propositions derived from it

This isn't fool-proof, of course, but I would also argue that, aside from mathematics, there are no such things as absolutely and irrefutably verifiable models for disparate pieces of data. They can be incredibly likely to be sound and accurate --- so much so that we may colloquially say they are "proven beyond a reasonable doubt" --- but they can never reach the level of consistency as exhibited by a self-defined system like mathematics, and this, in itself, is another demonstration of the necessity of a self-evident, absolute substratum as the basis for all subsequent propositions --- for, the contrary is untenable.
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
mightbenihilism
1Credo, let's break this sentence down:

"Or, if 'is' is too strong a word for you, 'is most likely' will be better."
"Or" means I am phrasing my argument in a different way.
"if 'is' is too strong a word for you" means that if the reader finds my initial, supreme proclamation to be intellectually, morally or spiritually distasteful and/or unfounded (i.e. too strong, too strident, too bold), then:
"is most likely will be better" means that the statement "is most likely" is qualifies and tempers the initial assertion, just like Jesus saying "hate your parents" is tempered by his statements to "honor your parents". The two statements cannot be taken in isolation from each other.

Let me know if you concede this point. This isn't part of the debate, obviously, but I need some clarity on this particular issue to how to procede. Issues of evidence, etc. will be dealt with later. Stick to this one, central thing for now, if you would.
Posted by 1Credo 2 years ago
1Credo
As I stated in my last argument, you should have made a more modest claim. For example, you could have said: "There is evidence to believe that Taoism is true" or "Taoism is more likely to be true than any other religion".

That being said, even changing your assertion does not absolve you from carrying the burden of proof. Any time you make a knowledge claim, you are required to shoulder at least some portion of the burden of proof by providing evidence and argument in order to support your claim.

So, even if you change your claim, it would not change our debate because you have thus far failed to bring forward any evidence or sound argument in favor of Taoism being true.

In your last argument, it seemed that you were arguing against the idea of coming to conclusions through logic and evidence. If that is your belief, then this is not the debate format for you. You are free to believe anything you like without reasoning, but when you make the sort of claims you have made in this debate, you must be able to provide evidence and reason if you would like others to consider that those claims are true.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
mightbenihilism1CredoTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded the debate in the last round.
Vote Placed by NoMagic 2 years ago
NoMagic
mightbenihilism1CredoTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Both had strong arguments. The Pro side did site a page from the TTC that states "existence is born from a vacuum." That appears to be where science is pointing, it is also in line with my own thinks on "nothing." For this reason I give Pro a slight nod in the debate, concerning arguments.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
mightbenihilism1CredoTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: pro concedes.