The Instigator
Bob_Gneu
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points
The Contender
victordr
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points

The Bible is sufficient evidence for the belief in Chrisitanity

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Con Tied Pro
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision - Required
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,688 times Debate No: 15575
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (46)
Votes (6)

 

Bob_Gneu

Con

In a recent discussion with a theist It was argued that the bible is sufficient evidence for the belief in the Christian god. It is difficult for me to understand why, but the reasons given for its sufficiency are that it is God's inspired word, and without error.

My position is that we do not know that this book is actually God's inspired word, and there are plenty of errors to be found in its pages, so in what way can that lead to sufficiency. The bible is chock full of contradictions and moral problems. To argue that the bible is not sufficient I put forth a parallel argument.

Choose any of the World War II films, books or other media. All of them are used to tell stories about the time period and for whatever its worth, each dramatizes certain aspects of their experiences (and some make them up out of whole cloth). Even if you were to be oblivious to this fact, you surely wouldn't expect to draw a line from World War II occurred, therefore these books are true, nor would you be able to draw a connection the other direction (The Wizard of Oz is real because Kansas exists).
victordr

Pro

I think that people that believe in the Bible are right.

I will de-construct the Con case now.

First, Con speaks about multiple errors in the Bible. I would need some examples (preferably 2 so the debate won't become unclear).

Second, even if (i.e. in case the first argument fails, this one must be rebutted too) there were errors in the Bible, this is not a reason for people not to believe in it. Let's just say that nothing is perfect. Science made mistakes, but it didn't count since it gave correct predictions on average. There are numerous other examples of objects that fail but we still trust them. For example, my clock alarm fails but I don't throw away my watch. If my computer gives a blue screen of death I don't throw it away. The point is that we don't work on absolute values. Rather we use "satisficing" [1] results. Bearing this in mind let's look at the Bible. Does it explain the universe to a non-specialist? Yes. Does it explain it well? No. Can numerous people use it? YES, because it is sufficient for their level of knowledge. Nothing stops a person from learning in better detail about the universe if (s)he wants to become an astronaut, but the Bible is sufficient for somebody who will harvest the land for all his life. Not everybody needs a PHD in physics; it would be a waste of time and resources. Therefore, the Bible is EFFICIENT and satisfices the level of knowledge needed for a large proportion of the population. It is therefore sufficient for that part of population, taking into account their level of knowledge and the time they have to invest in knowledge.

Third, Con seems to assume that humans are rational beings and that they should act accordingly. Both ideas are false. Humans are not rational. As multiple game theory experiments show, they act rather irrational in many circumstances [2]. This is not necessary a bad thing, since we survived so far. We make multiple decisions based on other things than logic. For example what I eat is not determined by logic, rather by subjectivity. As a healthy person it is just fine to eat according to appetite and not to what nutritionists say. It is therefore clear that humans are not rational (not even scientists) and this is ok. Based on this people can chose to believe in the Bible just like they chose to have bacon instead of cheese.

Being irrational is what makes us different from machines. If we would be always rational we would fail miserably. See for example the Buridan's donkey paradox [3] or the prisoner dilemma [4].

Believing in God because of the Bible doesn't always need ignorance. Lots of intelligent people believe in the Bible and find new meaning in it. See for example The Last Question by Isaac Asimov. [5]

Lastly, there is a problem of "sufficient evidence". I will ask Con to state what is sufficient. As stated above. Nothing is sure, but we manage with it pretty good. The bible is pretty good as basis for belief. Think about all the things we take for granted with weaker evidence: we believe that air contains nitrogen because we learn it in school. When we first look at this is seems that it is ok but it is not. We could verify that air contains nitrogen, but we don't actually do it. We just believe what the teacher tells us. Why do we do this as rational beings? For two reasons: we have too little time, we tend to trust things that look ok and work ok. The bible looks ok and it was good enough for 2000 years. It seems like a rational choice to believe in it. 2000 years and billions of people. We buy shampoo for a lot less...

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.multivax.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Bob_Gneu

Con

I will acknowledge the request regarding errors in the bible, but I don’t want to muddy the waters herein too heavily. For the purposes of this argument I will be using the King James Version (KJV), and there are two classifications of error I will point to:

Contradiction
2nd Kings 8:26 – “Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign”
2nd Chronicles 22:2 – “Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign”

Classification Error
Leviticus 11:20-21 – “All fowls that creep, going upon all four”
Fowls do not creep, on all four. The closest are the flightless birds which are still only on two legs.

There are refutations of the classification error I have put forth arguing that this was a mistranslation meant for insects, but it has not been corrected even in the later editions of the KJV. In either case, contradictions are not the base of the debate, so it is not necessary to go into them here.

“Sufficient” is defined by a quantity that can fulfill a need or requirement but without being abundant; enough or ample, and I put it to my opponent that not only is the bible insufficient evidence for anything short of believing the bible exists and has words it. The purpose of this debate is not to use hand wavy feel good arguments for why it’s okay for people to skip math class and believe in god because they are destined for a menial labor job, it is to discuss the sufficiency of the bible in regards to supporting ones beliefs. Since you are saying that it does, I would like to understand why and am looking for a well-reasoned argument for it. It needs to be shown that the bible is able to support the Christian beliefs in and of itself.

We have not yet defined the Christian beliefs. Per the fundamentalist belief structure (A) a Christian must believe in 1) the inerrancy of the bible, 2) the literal nature of its accounts, 3) the virgin birth of the Christ, 4) his resurrection and 5) the atonement for our sins. Even if I ignore the last three, the bible is part of the first two, and if you use the bible as your evidence to believe in the bible you are using circular reasoning.

Re: ”Nothing is perfect”
That is not entirely true. The fundamentalist belief structure holds the bible to be inerrant and as such flawless and perfect. It is also a popular position to hold god as being a perfect being, and if the bible is his inspired word it doesn’t really make sense for him to allow his perfect dictation to be muddled over the last 2000 years. Scholars state that the bible has gone through many phases of revision and editing, to correct for cultural norms and just through mistaken copies. Ex. Asherah (B). Even if you believe that original copies exist, the Christian bible has undoubtedly been translated from Hebrew to Greek to English, and not necessarily in that order (C).

Re: Science works on average
The things science may have been incorrect about are irrelevant and moreover, wrong. Science is, by definition, a repeatable and self-correcting process by which we unearth facts and figures about the nature of our cosmos. Scientists may put forth arguments or positions, but they do not become part of the body of science without scrutiny and insight.

Re: Popularity & Tradition
Your position up to now seems to hinge on two fallacies, an appeal to tradition and an appeal to popularity. Just because the bible “worked” in the past does not mean that it works. “Does it explain the universe to a non-specialist,” no. It attempts to, but that does not answer the sufficiency argument in the slightest. I am not a specialist, and even in my youth, I never found the bible to be sufficient evidence of anything, apart from what I have already shared. It doesn’t matter if the number of people is 1 or a million; its ability to be used is both irrelevant and non-consequential.

Re: A lack of rationality in humans
I would agree with my opponent except for one issue – from my opponents example “what I eat is not determined by logic, rather by subjectivity.” When was the last time you saw someone eating a boat, or drain cleaner. In spite of the statement that humans are not rational, they have the ability to reason what is and is not food. Even the donkey paradox is actually a misapplication, because a reasoning being would simply reason that it is more important to make a choice than to die.

Re: Intelligence
Appealing to intelligent people does not mean anything significant herein, because the intelligent people do not believe in Christianity strictly because of the bible, and it would be an error to believe as much. I read through that Asimov story and I’m not sure how that fits into your argument. Would you mind expanding that thought a bit?

Re: Study habits
In my science classes we were taught not to take anything for granted, including the contents of the air we breathe. It is common practice in all of my mathematics courses to rely only on what has already been proven, and occasionally taking half steps into lemmas before attempting a proof. There are of course things and times that we take things at face value (as when I see someone running away from something I will likely think about whether I should be running as well) but I would like to hear more about what it is that allows the leap from accepting something at face value and accepting something as important as your religious views at face value.

A) http://en.wikipedia.org...
B) http://news.discovery.com...
C) http://www.greatsite.com...
victordr

Pro

Thanks for the contradictions provided from a translation of the Bible. The word translation is essential here.
Re: Contradictions
I would have expected some life-challenging paradoxes. I must do with these two contradictions. Bear in mind that these are from a translated Bible. Also remember that the Bible is not the word of God, rather man's interpretation of it. Man is prone to errors. Now to the "errors"
A) Guessing the age of a king is not actually that easy and it is not mentioned that God said that that was the age. So a human estimated that age. I urge Con and the readers to try to guess people's ages on this site and then determine if the error is justified.
http://howoldareyou.net...
B) Nitpicking - people won't abandon their faith on the basis of the number of legs of fowls. Con can pick another example OR people can vote for Con on the basis of this sub argument...
Furthermore, these errors do not make the whole bible void.
Re: Sufficient
I love Con's definition: "can fulfill a need or requirement without being abundant". The Bible fulfills two needs:
need for hope
need for social order
It has done this rather good.
Re: Christian beliefs
I don't understand why Con insists on factual claims of the Bible. It is not as if God told people: fowls crawls on all fours. The Bible is about moral beliefs. It is not like engineers use it to calculate the value of pi. Nobody does that. So Con's assumptions are not valid.
Re: "Nothing is perfect" vs "Fundamentalist belief"
Many of the Christians are not fundamentalists. I see no reason for me to have to defend fundamentalism.
Re: Science
Since you accept that science can correct its statements, then the Bible can also be updated. It is only fair not to use double standards.
Re: Popularity
Again double standards. There is no reason to believe in 1+1=2 more than in "Thou shall not steal". Axioms, as the foundation of science and logic are things you just believe in.
There is no ad populum/ad traditionem here. Rather a trial on error of the bible. The Bible was tested by history and it is tested by this debate. It will evolve, but the essence will remain. I believe that that is what happens in science also.
Re: Rationality
I was merely pointing out the limits of logic. In life we use more than logic to survive. The paradoxes (not refuted by Con) illustrated just that. Empirically and from experience it still seems ok to believe in the Bible.
Re: Intelligence
The Bible is complex enough to be given new meaning by intelligent people. The story shows just that.
Re: Study habits??
See above about axioms.

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 2
Bob_Gneu

Con

An interesting response indeed, Please note one key sentence offered up by my opponent: “Bear in mind that these are from a translated Bible. Also remember that the Bible is not the word of God, rather man's interpretation of it. Man is prone to errors.” This statement invalidates any further argument that can be made, because if the bible is not only an interpretation (implying it is incorrect) and man’s interpretation of god’s word (implying it is incorrect) how can it be useful to use it as a sole piece of evidence for the belief in the Christian god.

That said, I would like to walk through the key elements that my opponent has offered up:

While the two examples I chose of errors in the bible are simple at face value, they are far from as simple as this is implying.

Re: Age
this is not as simple as “guessing the age of a king” these are the books that are held in high regard and have a religion building off of them. No single person proof read the original authors work and made a change to correct a full 20 year difference in an estimate of a figure that can surely be researched? Not only does that support my position, that the bible is not only not factual it is an insufficient piece of evidence for the belief in much of anything.

Re: Nitpicking
you are partially correct, but the problem is still that it has not been corrected, and the KJV of the bible was authored/translated/published in the 1600s, leaving plenty of time for corrections to be made. The only interpretation is that the bible has not been corrected, on purpose. If you would like further examples of issues within the bible please feel free to let me know, I can post a few in the comments for your viewing pleasure, or you can do some googling. The information is out there, and not terribly far from your finger-tips, pleading ignorance is disingenuous.

Re: Sufficiency
When sufficiency is discussed, it is done in context. The context of here is “the bible is sufficient evidence for the belief in Christianity,” which clearly defines what is needed. This is not a discussion about the benefits of the bible or who has found it warm or appreciates its authorship, it is about whether it constitutes “a quantity [of evidence] that can fulfill a need or requirement [to believe in christianity] but without being abundant; enough or ample [evidence to believe in Christianity],” which by Pros own admittance of it being a translated interpretation of the actual word of god, it is not. Arguing that the bible is sufficient for hope or social order is not at all what we are talking about.

This argument about sufficiency may have glossed over a second less obvious aspect which I alluded to in my previous response: the bible has to be shown to have met the minimum bar for evidence. Even if you are willing to make the leap that the bible is evidence for believing in the Christian god, it does not constitute sufficient evidence for it, as it requires more than itself (Ex. Experience/Personal accounts).

Re: Factual Nature of the Bible
If a form of evidence is not factual, what good is it? No person alive would stand behind a belief in Peter Pan in never-land, or the existence of Narnia because we know that the books based around those characters and settings are fictional (fictional means fabricated; formed by the imagination[1]). Holding a book to be more than a story is an extraordinary claim and needs to be justified.

I am focused on the factual nature for the same reason, and while you may assert the morality aspect of the bibles purpose I will be willing to argue the morality of the bible with you in a separate debate. This discussion is about understanding the evidentiary nature of the bible.

Re: Fundamentalism & Christian beliefs
If you do not agree with the beliefs I have posted please feel free to define your own. It was simply a first attempt to get a set of definitions into play that we can point to. I have found that many Christians seem to hold many different (and often contrary) positions, so it is difficult to nail down what it means to be a Christian.
It is funny that you bring up PI here, because another of the issues within the bible is its definition.

First Kings 7:23:
“And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about […] and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.” [2]

Re: Double Standards
I absolutely support revision of the bible, the problem is that it does not self-correct. Interpretations are provided of the word of the bible, because the words themselves are held to be sacred, or gospel if you will. Revising the bible would lead to better outcomes, I agree and I alluded to them in mentioning editing and revision for cultural corrections, but there has not been a significant revision to the bible in a very long time. While it may be an interpretation, but the KJV is a very popular source of biblical citation, which has not been updated in any significant way (save the “new” KJV, which has been updated but not very well IMO – another debate).

Science is a self-corrective process, and even when it is wrong the process is built around revision, correction and repeatability. No matter how you feel about the comparison between these two, the bible does not have this feature.

When it comes to your position on axioms, you are again incorrect. The scientific world is built on not taking anything for granted, and looks for proofs. Your own example (1+1=2) is actually something that goes back to the Principia Mathematica. [3] [4]

Re: Rationality
In no way is this simply a trial on the error of the bible, as you assert. The purpose is to discuss the sufficiency of using the bible as evidence for believing in Christianity. While I accept that we use more than logic to survive, the important aspect is that the things we use beyond that are not random, they are rooted in reason and logic.

Re: Intelligence & Study Habits
New meaning does not address the sufficiency argument, whether it comes from intelligent people or not, and your views on axioms I don’t understand how that applies to the argument either.

1.http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
2.http://www.abarim-publications.com...
3.http://mathforum.org...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...

victordr

Pro

Since the debate is closing to an end I will begin to crystallize the main issues of this debate.

Please note that Con expects to debate against a fundamentalist Christian. He is atempting a straw-man as I will further prove. Once this argument is dispoved all of Con's arguemnts fail.

RE: Definition of Chrisians & Factual truth of the Bible
In fact, based on Galup [1] and a national religion survey[2], more than 60% of americans do not take the bible literaly. These studies also show that their perception of God and religion has changed slowly over time. This shows that my Christian view is more prevalent, and thus more relevant to the debate than Con's. Fundamentalist Christians, although fun, are a straw man for this debate. The studies also show that almost 20% of americans think that the bible is ONLY about moral precepts and fables (while the others think it is inspired by the word of God).
Based on this vision of Christianity, it becomes apparent that Con's factual „errors" of the Bible are not relevant to this debate. Even if they were relevant, Con has only managed to prove that we have to correct the age of the King to be (40+20)/2=30. Or, for better precision, a mean weighted by the frequency of kings of 20 and kings of 40 in that period. Either way it does not change the essence of the book.

RE: Corection of the Bible and Double Standards
I realize now that the main error of Con is that he makes no distinction between church and religion. The church is an institution with privileges. It must therefore be conservatory in order to keep it's privileges. However, religion and faith are social phenomena. This means that they evolve. People use the Bible's principles to find answers to new problems and use new evidence to correct their factual beliefs and, in some cases, even their moral beliefs. The Bible remains for most of them a guiding light.
For example, the Bible says nothing about cloning, but a Christian could use principles from the Bible to guide his/hers decision (e.g. don't kill).
On this issue science Con states that it is a self correcting process. So is religion. It is not honest to deny this quality to religion because it was baked by some fundamentalists. I would be fair to deny this opportunity to religion, especially when people are beginning to view the Bible in a different way. If we were to apply Con's standards on science, we should have given it up a long time ago. Some of the ideas scientists had were just crazy, but they corrected. Religion corrected some MAJOR errors too: the earth is in the centre of the universe. There were many people that began to believe that the Sun was in the centre of the solar system. After some time and some burning of heretics the Church (which was defined as being slower) finally accepted this too. Come to think about it the hate of some scientists towards religion is motivated by the attitude of the Church, but it is not also justified. People did not have the same attitude towards science as the Church had.

RE: Satisficing NOT sufficient
Con assumed that I did a typo when I said satisficing. I did not. This is a well established scientific concept that assumes that any gain in information costs time. My argument referred to people with lower education. Therefore from their perspective it is satisficing to believe in God based only on the literal interpretation of the Bible. Although this is not rational, many of our decisions are not rational. Rational is not enough. Intuition is also needed to obtain satisficing results and survive. The purpose of humans is to survive and evolve (as pointed in the above argument) not to stay in a permanent stale-mate of rational dilemma. Where rationality fails humans use intuition and satisficing results. This is not random as Con states, because random would mean random results in the lives of Christians. The belief in the Bible produced rather positive results. However, Con asks if the Bible is sufficient evidence for the belief in God. As I pointed out the standard of evidence must be appreciated taking into account the time we have to examine the evidence. If I set a standard of evidence for gravitation (e.g. 10^10^10^10 experiments – more than atoms in the universe and more than the age of the universe in seconds) that is too high, I may be rigorous but not pragmatic. I will never walk on the moon because I have to test gravitation the entire life of the Universe to prove that it is true. The same goes for the Bible, an uneducated person may use its entire life trying to correlate the Bible with other ancient documents and with scientific knowledge, but it is actually not rational to do that. The person would be better of using a small number of tests of the Bible (time, social effects, moral principles, etc.) and its intuition and go on his/her life. Paradoxically, it is rational not to be rational.

RE: Intuition and Fundamentals
As shown by the logical paradoxes in my initial argument (which were again overlooked by Con), rational thinking is not sufficient for surviving and taking decisions.
It is ironic that the proof for 1+1=2 is based on the Peano Postulates (axioms)[4]. Axioms are statements in science we take for granted. With no axioms there would be no science. We can simplify some axioms to more basic axioms, but we can't discard them altogether . In the end all we have is the test of results of certain models.

So I urge voters to judge the Bible using the same standards as they use for science even if this is an uncommon requirement from a Christian. Secondly, I urge voters to reconsider that the majority of Christians are fundamentalists. Time changes and Christians != Church.
Vote Pro.

[1] http://www.gallup.com...
[2] http://b27.cc.trincoll.edu...
[3] http://science.discovery.com...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Bob_Gneu

Con

Following the last quote, “Bear in mind that these are from a translated Bible. Also remember that the Bible is not the word of God, rather man's interpretation of it. Man is prone to errors,” my opponent states “Based on Galup and a national religion survey, more than 60% of americans do not take the bible literaly.” This is of course added to my case, because in spite of the lack of accepting the literal nature of the bible many of those who are included in the 60% are likely Christian, and thus have found more than the bible to believe in christianity.

Con expects to debate a fundamentalist
This is an unnecessary statement. I have not once alluded to you being a fundamentalist or directing the conversation toward any such thing. I have only expected a reasoned and reasonable debate. You may have found yourself hung up on the term fundamentalist in the definition of what a Christian believes, but as I stated in the previous response – “If you do not agree with the beliefs I have posted please feel free to define your own.” Since this has not been done, I guess the only thing I can do is accept that you don’t agree with the definition of being a Christian until you define it yourself. Regardless, you should agree that the bible is not a sufficient form of evidence to hold the Christian beliefs (whatever those are).

Lack of taking the bible literally, Morals & Fables
If taking the bible is not meant to be taken as factual, what good is it as a form of evidence? A film, “Inglourious basterds” portrayed a set of events where a small Jewish-American group of soldiers rose up against the Nazis and took to scalping as a form of putting the Third Reich in its place. This did not happen, in spite of the fact that Nazi’s Jews and many of the characters from the film actually existed. Clearly this film cannot be used as evidence for anything beyond the film having been written, and apparently you agree with that. Your thoughts on the matter are non-consequential, though – it is your job to be arguing the Pro side of this debate, and as such you need to address the sufficiency argument.

Prevalent Christian view?
This debate is not about any prevalent Christian view. The topic is the sufficiency claim put forth by a theist, which has yet to be shown to be correct or founded. This is a non-sequitur and only clouds the issue being discussed.

Bible is about moral precepts
That has nothing to do with sufficiency as evidence either.

Re: Church, Religion, and double standards…
I am not entirely sure what this is coming up for, because it has nothing to do with the sufficiency argument. I would like to suggest a more direct route be provided so I can understand what you think this has to do with the bible being used as a form of sufficient evidence for the belief in the Christian god.

Re: Satisficing NOT sufficient, rationality, intuition and fundamentals
I did not assume any such thing, as when you provided the link I was quick to go look it up as well. This term is not in any way what is being discussed, and even if you accept that the bible is satisficing evidence for the beliefs in question, that is not the topic of this debate. Rationality, intuition and axioms are also quite far away from the topic.

The last four sections are all examples of the Pro side changing the debate to be about something that it was never intended to be. This is not a discussion about the moral concepts, turpitude or lack of factual nature of the bible. This is a discussion about the fact that you cannot turn to the bible as a sufficient form of evidence to believe in the Christian god. This is not a discussion about science, axioms or paradox, because those do not apply to the bible; this is not a discussion about contradiction within the bible, because those, alone, do not address the sufficiency claim. I hope that in the next round my opponent will be more willing to put forth some more substantial arguments for the Pro position.
victordr

Pro

As this is the fourth round, I will further crystallize the case and disprove Con's arguments.

First, I will address an idea referring to the motive for believing in God for many Christians. Con states that (I will rephrase for clarity):
A)Because many of the 60% that don't take the Bible literally are Christians
B)And they do not take the bible literally
A&B-> C they MUST have another reason for believing in God.
This is a big non sequitur. Nothing shows that if a person doesn't take the Bible literally (s)he is must rely on further evidence to believe in God. Jesus spoke in many fables, yet people believe in what he preaches.

Furthermore, Con keeps saying that Christians must have other reasons to believe in God, but provides no evidence for this.

The fact is that my definition stands as more relevant than Con's since Con asked for a definition, then failed to refute it.

RE: Fundamentalist and fundamental
Con asked to debate on:"The Bible is sufficient reason to believe in God". We then debated over factual errors from the Bible. Con spoke about fundamental beliefs of the Bible which I proved to be a straw man (see Galup survey). Con keeps speaking about the fundamental beliefs of the Bible (of which I gave at least one example e.g. Do not kill) while at the same time giving examples about insignificant aspects from the Bible. It has so far been demonstrated that most of people do not take the Bible literally and that my fundamental christian beliefs ar different from the ones pointed out by Con (e.g. imortallity of the soul, do not kill etc.)

RE: Literally and fables
Con asks what good is something that is not to be taken literally.
Firstly, if people accept the moral values of the Bible (do not lie, do not steal, do not kill etc.) they can find the Bible as evidence for God. First the person sees that he has moral beliefs. Then (s)he sees that this moral beliefs are immutable and further searches for reason for this. One comes to two possible answers: evolution and a Creator. Evolution does not explain why all people accept these moral values, yet some don't obey them. If moral values are the best evolution trait, then in a number of generations all immoral people should have disappeared. If immoral values are the best evolution trait, then all moral people should have been extinct. This does not mean that evolution is wrong; it just means that a fairly rational person needs more than evolution to explain moral values. A Creator explains why we have these moral values in us, but some decide not to live by them.

Secondly, the comparison with "Inglorious Basterds" (nice movie) is not fair. There are many fables that explain the beginning of the world. They are not "factual" but they offer evidence for who deciphers them. The following story illustrates that:
A wise man was asked to dictate to scribes how the world began. So he started:
"At the beginning there was a singularity which began expanding. Approximately 10−37 seconds into the expansion, a phase transition caused a cosmic inflation, […] This resulted in the predominance of matter over antimatter in the present Universe."
At this point the scribes were very angry and said:
-Listen, is there much more of this story? because we are using a lot of papyrus.
-About 13 Billion years.
-???? We need a shorter story with more accessible words…
- Ok. I will start over. In the beginning there was nothing….
This shows that fables, when read properly, can explain a lot of the factual reality.

RE: Christian view and moral precepts
I addressed these issues above.

RE: Double standards + paradoxes and axioms
Con said that some errors in the Bible should disprove it as a whole and void it as evidence for believing in God. I just asked the voters to use the same standard applied to science on the Bible to see that it is not voided. It just needs minor corrections. The Bible only fails I we take it literally as a whole and assume that most of Christians are from the middle ages. Once we go past this, the Bible remains sufficient evidence for believing in God.
OR more simply put:
1)Using the same high Con standards on science and logic they fail miserably
2)This is unacceptable since we can't manage without them (see previous round about what is sufficient evidence and what is satisficing)
3)We must reject such high standards
This is reasoning by modus tolens [1].

Con fails to address three points that I have made.
Firstly, I challenged voters to take a decision that uses logic but that is beyond logic (i.e. uses more than logic). Since Con did not address this idea, voters should use my method.
Secondly, I further showed scientific evidence for why using this method is rational (see previous round on rationality of being irrational). Con had no response to this either.
Thirdly, Con states that paradoxes and axioms are not part of this debate. Why? I showed by paradoxes that science fails too and by axioms that science has a fundamental core that we have to believe in order for it to work. The Bible is much like science from this perspective. Using the same standards to judge the merits of the Bible we should accept it as sufficient evidence for the belief in God if we want to be intellectually honest. This further strengthens my case as an auxiliary argument for the argument of double standards.

Please note that this is not a debate about semantics. This is a debate about the method for taking decisions and about the standards we use.

Vote pro.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
Bob_Gneu

Con

As we come to a close it is good to look back and see where we have been. In the context of this debate the only place we haven’t actually gone is into the discussion about the topic, and that is pretty disappointing. While I have done what I could to address topics in a clear and logical way, my opponent seems to have mistaken my responses at times. For that I apologize, I only wish that he had taken the time to get clarification before making an unfounded assumption.

This debate is about the bible being used as sufficient evidence to believe in Christianity, and it would have been good to define what “Christian beliefs” are, as well as what “sufficient” means. In round two of this debate, both were defined and the only thing put forth in refutation was an assertion that I was creating a straw man by defining the fundamental beliefs of a Christian per Wikipedia, and that my definition of “sufficient” was a redefinition to avoid satificing, also known as the moving of a goal post. No better definition has been provided for what Christian beliefs are, nor was the term satisficing accepted, as it was not “sufficient”. Throughout the debate I attempted to gain further insight into the arguments being put forth by pro in vain, but here is my understanding, to paraphrase the key elements of this debate:

The Christian god is not interested in perfection, or the maintenance of his man dictated message as it passes around the globe and is translated. The book is intended to be read as a set of fables and moral teachings, and little more, because that is how the majority of the believers find it useful. Given that you are talking to a “non-specialist” classed person he will find the bible satisfying and sufficient evidence because it is useful for guidance, on the whole. This is primarily because we don’t apply logic and reason to our everyday lives, as is evidenced by a paradoxical situation where we are in between and equidistant from two food sources. This is where logic breaks down. Waiting for science is not pragmatic, since it has such high standards.

As you can likely see, this discussion only pokes holes in the Pro position. It implies the bible has a loose disregard for factuality and my opponent puts forth “fable” in its stead.

Fable: fabrication; a deliberately false or improbable account; a short moral story; legend; a story about mythical or supernatural beings or events.

This is about the only thing that my opponent and I agree upon. I will draw upon two quotes from earlier posts to this debate.

“An interesting response indeed, Please note one key sentence offered up by my opponent: “Bear in mind that these are from a translated Bible. Also remember that the Bible is not the word of God, rather man's interpretation of it. Man is prone to errors.” This statement invalidates any further argument that can be made, because if the bible is not only an interpretation (implying it is incorrect) and man’s interpretation of god’s word (implying it is incorrect) how can it be useful to use it as a sole piece of evidence for the belief in the Christian god.”

“Following the last quote, “Bear in mind that these are from a translated Bible. Also remember that the Bible is not the word of God, rather man's interpretation of it. Man is prone to errors,” my opponent states “Based on Galup and a national religion survey, more than 60% of americans do not take the bible literaly.” This is of course added to my case, because in spite of the lack of accepting the literal nature of the bible many of those who are included in the 60% are likely Christian, and thus have found more than the bible to believe in christianity.”

In the response to these two arguments my opponent puts forth “Jesus spoke in fable, yet people believe in what he preaches. Furthermore, Con keeps saying that Christians must have other reasons to believe in God, but provides no evidence for this.” I will point my opponent to a website called X-Evolutionist.com [1]. If My opponent requests more examples of Christians looking at more than the bible for their beliefs founding I will gladly show him further citations, as in Lee Strobels “Case For” books for instance where the arguments are from historical context supporting the bible, “logic” and emotional appeals, to name a few. There are no fables that are accepted into evidence, beyond testimonials of one god or another. Even something as widely taught as Santa Claus being real is subject to scrutiny and disappointment as one grows older. I will even go as far as to say that my opponent is not a Christian who believes it strictly because of the Bible and its contents. Moreover, studies are showing that there are increasing numbers of people who are biblically illiterate [2]. While my opponent does not believe the bible is literally true, in 2002 “28% of Americans [believed the] bible [was the] actual word of god” [3], and in 2007 “1/3 of Americans [believed] the bible [was] literally true” [4], from two gallup polls. It stands to reason that if you believe a book is literally true then you must have reason for it other than the book itself, be that personal experiences, historical evidence or your own brew of logical form.

My opponent has been unable to support his case, and has put forth only peripherally related discussion. He has asserted that his “beyond logic” decision process is the only road because I didn’t respond to it; that this method of decision making is rational, in spite of being “beyond logic”; that issues with science are related to this topic, and that when the standards used within science are asserted on the bible the bible comes out on top of whatever evidentiary bar is chosen. These things do little more cloud the issue and make excuses for a statement that has not yet been shared directly, but it is implied by this “beyond logic” position. One must have faith in order to believe in the Christian teachings, and that is available with or without the bible.

Oh, and if my opponent says you should vote Pro, don’t listen to him. You should vote Con.

1)http://x-evolutionist.com...
2)http://wiki.answers.com...
3)http://www.gallup.com...
4)http://www.gallup.com...
victordr

Pro

Hi. I also appreciate a good debate and I did my best so this one in good too.

In order for a debate to be good, both opponents have to speak about the same thing. As much as I hate definitions, they help a debate be clear and fair. For an extreme example, see what happens if we define Christianity as: the belief in sacrificing infants. The debate would not be very fair or relevant. In this debate, Con was a little more subtle, but the effects of his definition remain the same – literally believing in the Bible is such a non-sense that it becomes a straw-man for this debate; Con confuses Church and religion. On the other hand I put forth a definition that reflects the view of the majority of Americans – Con accepted this proof and tried to circumvent it by assuming auxiliary reasons for the belief in God. While he brought evidence that some people have auxiliary motives to believe in God, he did not show that they were the majority. Furthermore, he did this in the last round so I will stop debating this issue here since in the last round no new arguments should be brought forth.

If language is for communication then it must address the many. My definition of the Bible – fables and moral teachings – stands.

Sufficient
If we accept the above definition then the debate comes down to proving the Bible is sufficient. On this point I have showed that logic is not enough as an instrument. Con then brought forth a definition of sufficient –

"Sufficient" is defined by a quantity that can fulfill a need or requirement but without being abundant; enough or ample

that was actually quite close to mine. When I showed that the Bible fulfils this definition, Con changed this definition (by adding words) – THIS is called moving the goal post:

a quantity [of evidence] that can fulfill a need or requirement [to believe in Christianity] but without being abundant; enough or ample [evidence to believe in Christianity],

However, not even this definition does much to help Con's case, as my method proves the Bible to fulfill this last definition too. I stated that we must manage in reality with less than perfect information. I then presented the „satisficing" theory and applied to the Bible. Con had two options: disprove the theory OR show that it does not apply to the Bible. He relied exclusively on one of his definitions of sufficient. I have proved that this is a rational theory to apply because it fits the purpose of dealing with reality. To this point it is proven that:
A)We have little to no knowledge about some fundamental things (Creation, answer to life and everything (it is not 42) etc.)
B)We have to lower our standards in order to achieve a useful result in a reasonable time
C)The Bible (see definitions above) offers good answers these questions

Given A, B and C we can accept the Bible as sufficient evidence for the belief in God (actually Christianity from the title, but God from Con's responses – THIS is called shifting the debate) without being irrational.

Double standards (Science vs. Bible)
All I have asked for is for the same treatment as science. Con stated that this is irrelevant for the debate. I have showed in rounds 2, 3 and 4 that this is relevant. If Con argues for the scientific method than he must believe it is valid for some reason. Whatever the reason, this means that Con's position makes science relevant to this debate. Once I showed that even for statements like 1+1=2 one must believe in axioms/postulates, Con ignored this area asserting that it is irrelevant. Why did he debate it in the first place if it is irrelevant? I only became irrelevant once Con had no more answers.
Applying the same standards we see that:
1 one must BELIEVE in axioms in order for Science to work – just like the Bible
2 one does not dismiss Science once it finds errors in it rather corrects it – just like the peoples views on the Bible (see Galup survey that Con accepted as proof)
From 1 and 2 it stands clear that in order to be intellectually honest we must accept the same treatment for the Bible and:
1 not dismiss it for minor errors
2 allow it (or peoples interpretation of it, if the Church is so stubborn) to evolve

Therefore I should win this debate because I demonstrated a fair definition and applied it to the Bible. I used the satisficing theory and showed that the Bible satisfies this criteria. The argument about double standards which con failed to address further supports the satisficing argument by defending the Bible.

Voters
I am sure that for many voters my position is rather strange in defending the Bible as fundament for belief. I am also sure that many of the voters disagree with my position and would be able to bring very strong arguments against it.
But this is another debate.
In this debate Con failed to bring strong arguments against my case.
Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 5
46 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Bob_Gneu 6 years ago
Bob_Gneu
=) There is no anger on my part.

Disappointment maybe, but no anger. I hope that next time you are able to articulate yourself better so out communcation doesn't land on different paths.
Posted by victordr 6 years ago
victordr
I hope you are not mad or something. This is not personal.
I really enjoyed the mock debate you did about people on this site being retarded.
The problem could lie in
my position being too strange
or we had a comunication problem..
Posted by Bob_Gneu 6 years ago
Bob_Gneu
=
I don't think this is a debate about semantics at all. I just wish you did a better job of explaining how/why your responses matter in this debate, because i don't see it. I guess this debate has gone on long enough. Ill have my response up today and we can let the voters decide in a few days.

Thank you for the twelve question marks, i will likely need them for another debate in the future.

=)
Posted by victordr 6 years ago
victordr
1 Sufficient. You gave a def and than changed it when i showed that the bible satisfies it.
2 It is a storry i once heard. I couldn't find it on the net.
3 It just proves the value of interpretation
4 Something I saw as common to some debates.
5 ???
6 ????
7 ?????
Fell free to exploit these last three points.
Hope this clarifies this.
Posted by victordr 6 years ago
victordr
Ok. I will further clarify.
It is as simple as this:
1 Standards
I ask for the same standard used for science to be used for the Bible.
In this view the Bible is sufficient proof.
This further relates to:
a) not invalidating all the Bible for "factual errors"
b) a sane amount of evidence that is applicable in real life to real humans
we convict people for a lot less...
2 Logic
As you noted I use logic, but I am not confined to it. My method goes further than that. It is not a subjective matter. It is a matter of efficency.
Let's look at the traveling sales-man problem:
Your method: look for the minimum path. follow minimum path.
My method: look for a heuristic path. follow heuristic path.
T(your method): t(calculation)+t(path)
T(my method) : t(calculation)+t(path)
In the vast majority of cases my path would be 25% longer
However your computing timpe would grow exponentialy for a large number of locations.
Therefore my method of bounded rationality works better and is sufficient for solving real life problems.

So to beat me you need to:
Disprove my logic arguments
AND
Disprove my empiric (or however you wish to call them) arguments
Or you can show that I am not allowed to use such arguments.

Hope I clarified these problems... I am in my lunch break and I don't think I will acces the site before your time expires.

I realy wish this debate won't become a debate about semantics.

This is rather strange. A debate in comments.
Posted by Bob_Gneu 6 years ago
Bob_Gneu
@victordr
Please bear with me, i hope this is going to cover it all =) I want to understand your position before i move on. Feel free to ask me questions if these questions are unclear.

5) Why do you think I didn't address your rationally irrational statement?
Round 2 - Re: A lack of rationality in humans
Round 3 - Re: Rationality
Round 3 - Re: Intelligence & Study Habits
Round 4 - Re: Satisficing NOT sufficient, rationality, intuition and fundamentals
6) How do you make the leap from (This is my method) to (con has not addressed this idea thus you must use it)?
7) How is it rational to simply assert that people are irrational, and how did I not respond to that (see #5)
Re: Paradoxes & Axioms
What do they have to do with the sufficiency of the bible as evidence in the belief in Christianity? Science only plays a peripheral role here, as it is the method by which we test claims (through evidence). What role does showing failures, paradoxes or axioms play in science, when this discussion is about the sufficiency of the bible in the belief in Christianity?
Posted by Bob_Gneu 6 years ago
Bob_Gneu
@victordr
=) an interesting statement indeed.

I will ask you a few questions for clarification here before i respond since we are on the last round:

1) Which definition did i ask for and not refute?
2) How do you decipher the big bang theory from "In the beginning there was nothing…." and where did you get this uncited quote from?
3) How does that illustrate the significance of fables in truth telling?
4) Is "Vote Pro" a common signature to debates here? Is that not implied by the fact that you post for pro?

And one last thing i need for my response: MT (as cited on the page you linked) is used in deductive (or classical) logic, and is of the for If P then Q; Not Q therefore Not P.

"1)Using the same high Con standards on science and logic they fail miserably
2)This is unacceptable since we can't manage without them (see previous round about what is sufficient evidence and what is satisficing)
3)We must reject such high standards"

Your argument is not of this form, and is a subjective (opinion based) statement that you are free to make. Taking 2 and 3 as your premises, and ignoring the soundness of your argument here, you can fit it into the MT form as follows:

if (we must have high standards) then (we can manage the burden of showing biblical evidence is satisficing).
(we cannot manage the burden of showing biblical evidence is satisficing).
(we must not have high standards)

Unfortunately the premises here are still subjective and i don't accept them.
"In instances of modus tollens we assume as premises that p → q is true and q is false. There is only one line of the truth table - the fourth line - which satisfies these two conditions. In this line, p is false. Therefore, in every instance in which p → q is true and q is false, p must also be false."[http://en.wikipedia.org...]

This debate is not about satisficing evidence, it is about sufficiency.
Would you mind expanding on what you are trying to say
Posted by victordr 6 years ago
victordr
Hey. You have good arguments in the comments. Why don't you use them in the debate? (no irony intended, but you have more comments than arguments against my case)
Semantics are not a trivial matter since a "definition" usualy hides arguments. So it is actualy all about arguments.
I am not making an ad populum argument.... I have tried to explain this scientific method of decision making in 3 rounds. It uses logic but it is beyond logic. I am using a different paradigm for deciding truth.
I am serious about this debate but you seem to ignore what i am saying... I have tryied to rephrase what i am saying in order for it to be more clear for this round. That is all I can do.
The voters will decide.
Posted by Bob_Gneu 6 years ago
Bob_Gneu
Thank you for your thoughts on the matter, I had not been appraised of such things and have been correcting my style since i began, i will note this as well. Three cheers for semantics.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
The discussion at hand is what you put in the resolution: The Bible is sufficient evidence for the belief in Chrisitanity

If you do not clarify the boundaries or content of what that debate is about in your opening post, your opponent is free to do so. If you read the debate I just challenged you to, you will see how carefully I defined the parameters to keep us from going astray. On this site... that is the burden of the instigator.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by maninorange 6 years ago
maninorange
Bob_GneuvictordrTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I don't feel as though Bob altered the definition of sufficiency. Ideally, the definition would have been posted in the beginning, but even when presented, it was simple and specific. Victor showed that the Bible was "sufficient" in the sense that it is enough to make some people believe. However, when this is based on fallacious reasoning, it doesn't make the Bible sufficient for that belief... it just makes you irrational.
Vote Placed by mb852 6 years ago
mb852
Bob_GneuvictordrTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Agree
Vote Placed by IamZero 6 years ago
IamZero
Bob_GneuvictordrTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's "inconsistencies" were not thought out.
Vote Placed by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
Bob_GneuvictordrTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had better arguments and refuted the pro. In addition, he also used reliable sources.
Vote Placed by anarcholibertyman 6 years ago
anarcholibertyman
Bob_GneuvictordrTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro said that the Bible was not immune to human error which makes it hard to believe that it's right about all of the important stuff.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 6 years ago
socialpinko
Bob_GneuvictordrTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: //Bear in mind that these are from a translated Bible. Also remember that the Bible is not the word of God, rather man's interpretation of it. Man is prone to errors. Now to the "errors"//. This was Pro's mistake. In order to win the debate Pro was supposed to have shown that the Bible by itself is sufficient evidence for Christianity. He however completely invalidates this claim when he says that the Bible is just as prone to human error as any other book.