The Instigator
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Losing
120 Points
The Contender
InquireTruth
Pro (for)
Winning
121 Points

The Following Arguments for the Existence of God are Valid - 1A

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/14/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,966 times Debate No: 5979
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (26)
Votes (40)

 

TheSkeptic

Con

Once again, I am deadbeat bored. So I decided to start another one of these! Note: the "1A" notation in the Topic title is simply for searching purposes.

[Definition - Existence]
http://dictionary.reference.com...
1. the state or fact of existing; being.

*NOTE* I am not debating whether or not a God exists in one's MIND, but rather in REALITY.

[Definition - Valid]
http://dictionary.reference.com...
1. sound; just; well-founded
2. Logic. (of an argument) so constructed that if the premises are jointly asserted, the conclusion cannot be denied without contradiction.

*NOTE* Stemming from the second definition, I don't intend for my opponent to create a syllogism. Simply put, my opponent needs to construct an argument of which I can't successfully defeat (of course, this is to the opinion of the voters).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is how the debate will play out:

Round 1: This is my Round 1 for clarifications and guidelines. For PRO, he/she will either state that his following arguments will affirm a specific god (i.e. Christian God, Muslim God, etc.) or a metaphysical supreme being. My opponent can list the attributes of the metaphysical supreme being in his Round 1 is he/she wishes. THEN, my opponent will LIST his/her ARGUMENTS with at least a brief EXPLANATION for both (I don't want just a line of titles).

Round 2 - 4: I will refute his/her arguments and it will go back and forth as such.

I hope we have a good debate!
InquireTruth

Pro

I affirm that God exists.

"My opponent can list the attributes of the metaphysical Supreme Being in his Round 1 is he/she wishes."
The only attribute that is relevant for debate is the attribute of existence.
-----------------------
Contention:

1. There is an old saying that I find to be particularly pertinent to my first argument: The man with an experience is not at the mercy of a man with an argument. If stood before a jury and gave my experiential testimony for the existence of God, is it equally as reasonable for you to come forward and give your experiential testimony for the nonexistence of God? Similarly, if I witnessed the murder of a man, and you did not, does your testimony really rebut my own? I dare say it does not!

"Logic. (of an argument) so constructed that if the premises are jointly asserted, the conclusion cannot be denied without contradiction."

God must exist for me to experience Him. If I experienced God but God does not exist, there is a contradiction. The logical conclusion is to believe that God exists. It would be absurd for me to deny the existence of pyrosis given my habitual experience of it. By the same reasoning, it would be equally absurd for me not to believe God exists.

This experience by itself may not be much, but consider the following statistics:

A recent survey showed that approximately 75% of youth (globally) believe in god and many contend that it was their experience that led them to such a belief (1).

The global statistics show that there are approximately 80.58% people who believe in god (this excludes Buddhism entirely given that it does not explicitly worship any deity, though most adherents probably do believe in a type of deity)(2). Your burden, therefore, is to rebut approximately 6.5 billion experiential testimonies for the experience of God.
This should suffice for now. My opponent has quite the burden – Godspeed!

1. http://www.csmonitor.com...
2. http://www.adherents.com...
Debate Round No. 1
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and I wish him the best of luck.

~Counterarguments~

1. Argument from religious experience

If I interpret it correctly, my opponent's main and only argument is the argument from religious experience. There are two versions of this argument. The stronger version is the one my opponent contends, that it is only possible to experience that which exists, and so that the phenomenon of religious experience demonstrates the existence of God. People experience God, therefore there must be a God [1] as demonstrated when he stated "God must exist for me to experience Him."

"If stood before a jury and gave my experiential testimony for the existence of God, is it equally as reasonable for you to come forward and give your experiential testimony for the nonexistence of God? Similarly, if I witnessed the murder of a man, and you did not, does your testimony really rebut my own? I dare say it does not!"

--> This analogy would not work, as I am not using the negative "principle of credulity" [2].

"...approximately 80.58% people who believe in god...is to rebut approximately 6.5 billion experiential testimonies..."

--> Well, technically that's wrong. Since there is only around 6.7 billion people living in the world [3]. But no matter, this is pure technicality.

I will now proceed to refute my opponent's argument in two points:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A. Reliability and Subjectivity of Experiences

It is very well known that the human brain is fallible in many ways, ranging from overgeneralizing patterns [4], to tricks of the eye, and even to hallucinations. So already, there are many people who's experiences can be accounted for by these three common factors. But you would obviously ask how the great majority of the world can be tricked by the eye, or hallucinate. Billions of people can't simply indulge in some mass hallucinations, and you're right. They aren't in some mass delusion of epic schizophrenia. However, what they are afflicted with is bias.

What makes believers gain faith in their religion is not based solely on experience, but based on experience with a religious view in their mind. Most would account personal experiences as finding their lost Yu-Gi-Oh card, or having their mom survive cancer. They attribute such experiences to their god, and with the fallibility of the human brain, this seems very convincing.

Experiences are not only unfalsifiable (since they can't be recreated or experimented with), but many times there could be many other factors or reasons for their situation. When someone explains an event of which there could only be a supernatural event, many times there is a fully natural explanation. By my opponent's same argument, he could feasibly validate the existence of ghosts, aliens, and many other pseudo scientific stuff. It is HIS burden to show how personal anecdotes can be used as scientific evidence. Quite a heavy load indeed.

B. Religions and gods that are Mutually Incompatiable

One problem with experiences is that they aren't selective: they can't help you decide WHICH god is the real one, since obviously the vast majority of deities are mutually exclusive. The god from Christianity can't be real whilst the god from Hinduism be real also. So if, stemming from my opponent's cited source [5], there are 2.1 billion Christians, and 1.5 billion Muslims, we already have a contradiction. Both of these religions can't be true, yet if we apply your argument then conceivably they can. Obviously there is a contradiction here, unless my opponent can demonstrate that one of these religions, or all of the many other religions, have entire FAKERS per religion. This, I would dare say, would be quite a task.

~Conclusion~

I have rebutted my opponent's only argument, and given two clear reasons why his argument from religious experience is NOT valid. I will save further arguments and points when the debate progresses, or stemming from my opponent's reply.

---References---
1. http://www.philosophyofreligion.info...
2. http://www.philosophyofreligion.info...
3. http://www.worldometers.info...
4. http://books.google.com...
5. http://www.adherents.com...
InquireTruth

Pro

This analogy would not work, as I am not using the negative "principle of credulity"

Well I most certainly would not expect my opponent to, especially after I have demonstrated its absurdity.

"Well, technically that's wrong. Since there is only around 6.7 billion people living in the world [3]. But no matter, this is pure technicality."

Both are approximations. Let us not digress.

"Billions of people can't simply indulge in some mass hallucinations, and you're right."

Then why bring it up?

"So already, there are many people who's experiences can be accounted for by these three common factors."

Which ones? And what method did you use to quantify this?

"However, what they are afflicted with is bias."

My opponent is amazing indeed! With keen precision he is able to deduce, without ever meeting any of them, the exact affliction of approximately 6.5 Billion separate and distinct individuals. Maybe soon my opponent will be able to diagnose cancer from a distance.
Now really, my opponent cannot merely wave a dead chicken over his keyboard and expect the readers to believe he has seriously considered the matter and found it wanting.

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

"What makes believers gain faith in their religion is not based solely on experience, but based on experience with a religious view in their mind. Most would account personal experiences as finding their lost Yu-Gi-Oh card, or having their mom survive cancer. They attribute such experiences to their god, and with the fallibility of the human brain, this seems very convincing."

My experience is certainly not anything like what my opponent has explained. In fact, all the experiences of my peers – the ones I am familiar with – are indeed much more than what my opponent has explained. Where then is my opponent getting this information? If my opponent is sitting on information that categorically states that "most" of god-believers are convinced through seemingly insubstantial experiences, why then does he not include the source? I can only wonder and hope that in his next round he will include the necessary data for substantiating this claim.

"Experiences are not only unfalsifiable (since they can't be recreated or experimented with), but many times there could be many other factors or reasons for their situation."

Merely because something cannot be replicated does not mean that it is not true. I use the Big Bang Theory and Macro evolution has examples – neither can be replicated. The fact of the matter is that you are claiming there are literally billions of disillusioned individuals who merely "think" they have experienced god yet you have offered no evidence for such a claim.

"When someone explains an event of which there could only be a supernatural event, many times there is a fully natural explanation."

We are not talking about a single situation. We are talking about 80.53% of the entire earth's population that all claim to have experienced god.

"By my opponent's same argument, he could feasibly validate the existence of ghosts, aliens, and many other pseudo scientific stuff. It is HIS burden to show how personal anecdotes can be used as scientific evidence. Quite a heavy load indeed."

This is the fallacy of consequences. Indeed, even if the claim was not fallacious, we are talking about a much larger population. Also, I need not show that personal anecdotes are scientific because I never claimed them to be SCIENTFIC evidence – not all evidence is scientific. I have experienced God. God must therefore exist. The conclusion cannot be denied without there being a contradiction. And is my opponent seriously asking me whether or not experience is reliable value for truth? The fact that we use testimony in our court systems frequently notwithstanding, it is experience that has led to most all scientific discoveries. Experience is one of the most fundamental tenets of knowledge. I dare say, if my opponent denies this it is most definitely he with the burden.

"B. Religions and gods that are Mutually Incompatible
One problem with experiences is that they aren't selective: they can't help you decide WHICH god is the real one, since obviously the vast majority of deities are mutually exclusive. The god from Christianity can't be real whilst the god from Hinduism be real also. So if, stemming from my opponent's cited source [5], there are 2.1 billion Christians, and 1.5 billion Muslims, we already have a contradiction."

The Christian and Muslim God is the Abrahamic God, there is no contradiction. Also there is no contradiction when referring to the basic notion of god either. Billions of people have experienced god, and it is only after people start to try to characterize that god that contradictions surface.

"Both of these religions can't be true, yet if we apply your argument then conceivably they can."

You are confusing religion with god.

"Obviously there is a contradiction here, unless my opponent can demonstrate that one of these religions, or all of the many other religions, have entire FAKERS per religion. This, I would dare say, would be quite a task.'

Experiencing god has nothing to do with religion.

~Conclusion~

I considered another argument, but this one is becoming robust. My opponent needs to understand that not all evidence is scientific and that my argument fits his definition of valid. That is, the conclusion cannot be denied without there being a contradiction. My opponent has not even gotten close to proving false 6.5 billion experiential testimonies. He cannot simply wave his hand over all 6.5 billion and expect us to believe that he has adequately rebutted anything. My contention still stands.
Debate Round No. 2
TheSkeptic

Con

"Which ones? And what method did you use to quantify this?"
----> If you were to read my previous round, I listed three factors for causing experiences. The human brain's susceptibility to overgeneralizing patterns, tricks of the eye/optical illusions/things of this sort, and even hallucinations. I did not state that this happened to EVERYONE, but that these would account at least for some. For the many OTHERS who didn't likely have experiences caused by these three factors, is when my following argument applied.

"My opponent is amazing indeed! With keen precision he is able to deduce, without ever meeting any of them, the exact affliction of approximately 6.5 Billion separate and distinct individuals. Maybe soon my opponent will be able to diagnose cancer from a distance."
----> Your sarcasm is appreciated. It is very well known that anecdotal evidence is not evidence for scientists. I will explain why with the following arguments.

~Counterarguments~

1. Anecdotal evidence

My point is that anecdotal evidence can not be passed as scientific evidence for many reasons. I will list them accordingly in an ABC format.

*A. Not falsifiable
Unless we had a time machine, there is no way for us to falsify personal experiences. When my opponent states "the Big Bang Theory and Macro evolution has examples �€" neither can be replicated." as the reason why these two theories are unfalsifiable, this is erroneous. For two reasons: a theory mustn't need to be replicated to be falsified. It's predictions are contentious of being falsified, and both of these theories definitely give predictions. Secondly, both evolution and the big bang theory can and have been replicated in some manner. Evolution by speciation in lab experiments [1], and the Big Bang with the Large Hadron Collider [2]. Unless my opponent is a classical justificationist, I would expect that many would agree falsification is a condition that needs to be met when considering what is scientific evidence.

*B Needs to be scientific evidence
It is very well known that anecdotes are not scientific evidence, as they can't be investigated through the scientific method. When my opponent states that not all evidence is scientific evidence, such as law, he is wrong when applying this argument. Courts of law use testimonies because of three reasons: individual cases are unique and different from the rest, people remember significant events more easily [5], and people are less likely to lie under perjury[6]. Even with these reasons, it is well known in court that eyewitness testimonies are many times unreliable, which is why law has mechanisms for verifying such testimonies[7]. Law determines the truth of individual cases, while science determines the truth of how the physical world works. This is why scientific evidence is needed.

2. Other problems with my opponent's argument

Besides anecdotal evidence being one of the major flaws in this argument from religious experience, using reductio ad absurdum I will show two other flaws with his argument.

"This is the fallacy of consequences."
----> Very untrue. I am not committing the appeal to consequences fallacy, but rather I am using the method of reductio ad absurdum [3]. This basically entails that if I assume your claim to be true, and come to an absurd (false/impossible) outcome, then by applying the law of non-contradiction this would make your claim wrong.

*A. Confirmation of other widely-believed/experienced claims
If my opponent states that large number of experiences validate a claim, then by applying this argument many claims involving UFO's, mythical monsters such as Bigfoot can all be validated. The only reason why pseudoscientific claims such as these have fewer claims is because the likely naturalistic explanation for these sightings are dependent on several confining factors. For example, the Bigfoot sightings can very well be attributed to certain animals, such as certain types of bears. So obviously, Bigfoot sightings wouldn't be find across the world, but mainly in forests of North America. Loch Ness sightings obviously take place in bodies of waters, which already limits the amount of sightings.

The experiences of God however, can take place practically anywhere. When dealing with a metaphysical being that has control over the world, it can very well be accounted for in many ways and situations people go through in their life. I will explain in further arguments about the role of subjective validation.

*B. Religions and gods that are Mutually Incompatible
"The Christian and Muslim God is the Abrahamic God, there is no contradiction. "
---->I doubt my opponent would say that the god of Christianity is the same as the god of Islam, in pertinence to teachings, attributes, and traditions. Besides, these are only 2 of 22 major religions. For the many other non-Abrahamic religions, the gods of each religion are obviously incompatible.

"Also there is no contradiction when referring to the basic notion of god either. Billions of people have experienced god, and it is only after people start to try to characterize that god that contradictions surface."
---->Billions of people have experienced god with a subjective validation, which is a form of cognitive bias[4]. For example, when confronted with two coincidences, a person with a belief system they have will attribute these coincidences to their beliefs. This is why I bring up examples of Yu-Gi-Oh cards being magically found. A perfectly naturalistic explanation of finding that Yu-Gi-Oh card is that someone may have found it, and placed it in a convenient place. However (as this is a real story from my friend), a Christian can attribute this to God helping him find his card. Thus the subjective validation effect.

If my opponent can show many people have experiences that actually explicitly reveal to them the correct god, then this will definitely be a hard task for me to tackle. However, as I would suspect, if he argues that people have experiences of a god, then this is much more likely answer. Because that's the thing, experiences are not explicit, and through subjective validation people use anecdotes as evidence.

The problem is that later on, people have experiences that they say confirms their own god. Obviously two or more of these gods can't exist at the same time, so which is it? If my opponent argues the first option, that people experience the explicit god, then this would defeat my argument, though he would have to somehow account for differing religions. However, if he were to argue that people would experience some god then later conclude into some religion, then that just shows how future experiences fall prey to the subjective validation effect.

*C. Reasons why so many people "experience god"

Many children are brought up, as is the tradition of religion, being taught a certain religion. Christianity is particularly widespread through some historic events, like Constantinople. When they are grown up at a young age being taught a certain belief system is true, they will believe it. And then yet again, they fall prey to subjective validation. When they have certain improbable or traumatic experiences, and survive it, they will no doubt attribute it to their religion and thus this will bolster their faith. From thereon it becomes an exponential virus, with people growing up, raising kids, teaching religion, more subjective validation effect - victims, and so on in this vicious circle.

~Conclusion~

I have accurately refuted all my opponent's point, showed why so many people have personal experiences, and explained the absurdity of this argument.

---References---
1. http://www.talkorigins.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://skepdic.com...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
InquireTruth

Pro

"listed three factors for causing experiences. The human brain's susceptibility to overgeneralizing patterns, tricks of the eye/optical illusions/things of this sort, and even hallucinations. I did not state that this happened to EVERYONE, but that these would account at least for some."

I was actually referring to the specific individuals my opponent is referring to you when he says that it accounts for some. Just because one can create an alternative does not make it so.

"Your sarcasm is appreciated. It is very well known that anecdotal evidence is not evidence for scientists. I will explain why with the following arguments."

I am not presenting a case to scientists. My burden is to merely show that my argument is VALID. According to your definitions, my argument is absolutely valid. I have experienced God, therefore God must exist. If God does not exist then there is a contradiction. This is an example of a valid argument. You have already confirmed that you do not have the available means to invalidate my experience, and therefore my argument. All your other points are merely tangential.

-----------------------
1. "Anecdotal evidence

My point is that anecdotal evidence can not be passed as scientific evidence for many reasons. I will list them accordingly in an ABC format."

I am very aware of the point my opponent wants to make, but it happens to be irrelevant. Evidence does not need to be scientific in order to be evidence (1).

A. My opponent's defense of Macro evolution and the BBT can be used to defend the very notion he negates - since he IS arguing that many people use experiences to confirm the inference of God. If God is taken as a theory, certainly experience OF him only helps to validate this theory. Let me again remind my opponent that not all evidence is scientific.

B. My opponent claims that evidence needs to be scientific. My opponent has not substantiated why such evidence needs to be scientific.

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

2. "Very untrue. I am not committing the appeal to consequences fallacy, but rather I am using the method of reductio ad absurdum [3]. This basically entails that if I assume your claim to be true, and come to an absurd (false/impossible) outcome, then by applying the law of non-contradiction this would make your claim wrong."

My opponent in a valiant attempt to defend his argument against fallacy has incorrectly labeled his reasoning has reductio ad absurdum (2). First of all, my opponent must show that there is a contradiction in my premise, which he has not. Secondly, ghosts, aliens, and the like have neither been proven impossible nor proven false. My opponent has indeed committed the fallacy of consequences – whether he think it true or not.
My opponent needs to remember that he needs to prove that my experience and remaining 6.5 billion experiences are invalid. God must exist in order for him to be experienced. God is experienced. Therefore God exists. How is this not a valid argument?

A. You are committing the fallacy of consequences again.

"The only reason why pseudoscientific claims such as these have fewer claims is because the likely naturalistic explanation for these sightings are dependent on several confining factors."

Yeah because UFO's are only found in New Mexico! Or does my opponent want to admit that UFO sightings are not as confined as he seems to "contend." Fallacy notwithstanding, all the things he mentions are an infinitesimal speck in comparison to the overwhelming global phenomenon of God experience.

B. The God of Christianity is the same God referred to in Islam – and I would contend the God of all religions. It is my conviction, however, that only one religion has the correct UNDERSTANDING of God. There is no contradiction when it comes to the basic notion of God. This point is a red herring.

"Billions of people have experienced god with a subjective validation, which is a form of cognitive bias[4]. For example, when confronted with two coincidences, a person with a belief system they have will attribute these coincidences to their beliefs. This is why I bring up examples of Yu-Gi-Oh cards being magically found. A perfectly naturalistic explanation of finding that Yu-Gi-Oh card is that someone may have found it, and placed it in a convenient place. However (as this is a real story from my friend), a Christian can attribute this to God helping him find his card. Thus the subjective validation effect."

My opponent has shown that subjective validation may be a part of one individuals belief system – that leaves billions more to go. Even still, however, his friend is merely confirming the theory of God through experience. My opponent has already stated that this is an appropriate way to confirm inferences. Also, the experiences that are more telling are those like Don Pipers, where he was pronounced dead at an accident and an hour later was prayed back to life by a Baptist minister(3). My opponent can create alternative explanations, but he cannot invalidate the claims because he has no means by which to do so.

"The problem is that later on, people have experiences that they say confirms their own god. Obviously two or more of these gods can't exist at the same time, so which is it? If my opponent argues the first option, that people experience the explicit god, then this would defeat my argument, though he would have to somehow account for differing religions. However, if he were to argue that people would experience some god then later conclude into some religion, then that just shows how future experiences fall prey to the subjective validation effect."

Let me create a helpful analogy that proves the absurdity of this reasoning. Three cavemen create fire. All three troglodytes start bickering over what to call the fire and what the exact color and heat of the fire is. My opponents reasoning would necessitate that we believe that fire does not exist because there are contradictions among the interpretations of those who experienced the fire. Such reasoning is absurd and fallacious.

c. "When they are grown up at a young age being taught a certain belief system is true, they will believe it."

This is not true at all (4). My opponent is still merely creating alternatives and hoping that they stick. He cannot just wave his hand and actually believe he has invalidated anything.

Conclusion:
My opponent has not proven my argument to be invalid. The majority of his argument is a mere tangential red herring. His definition of valid is "so constructed that if the premises are jointly asserted, the conclusion cannot be denied without contradiction." God must exist for me to experience him, I have experienced him, and therefore God exists. The conclusion cannot be denied when my premises are jointly asserted – this is the definition of a valid argument.
My opponent has not invalidated any of the 6.5 billion experiential testimonies for the existence of God. He has merely stated possible alternatives. Also, my opponent has admitted that he cannot invalidate any of the personal testimonies because he does not have the means to do so.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://exchristian.net...
Debate Round No. 3
TheSkeptic

Con

"I was actually referring to the specific individuals my opponent is referring to you when he says that it accounts for some. Just because one can create an alternative does not make it so."
----> We can both agree that there are cases of some people's experiences being warped by illusions, the fallibility of the brain, and things happening in their environment that may have tricked them (the night, a forest, etc.). However, I do realize that this would barely account for even a minority of the experiences and believers; this was just to certify that a few experiences are like hallucinations. The great majority of experiences is where my core argument tackles.

"I have experienced God, therefore God must exist."
----> False premise, you have yet to prove how instead of experiencing God, you experience what you perceive to be God or his workings. My opponent tries over and over to hit this point again, but it's obvious from the start that the main premise, that he is experiencing God, is what is at issue.

~Counterarguments~

1. Anecdotal Evidence

A. Falsifiability and Evolution/Big Bang
My opponent has digressed from my original point, which is about the falsifiability of anecdotal evidence. Of course, if he argues that scientific evidence mustn't be the criteria for proof, then of course falsifiability does not matter. But if I show scientific evidence to BE the only criteria, then falsifiability is definitely a point for my side.

"My opponent's defense of Macro evolution and the BBT can be used to defend the very notion he negates - since he IS arguing that many people use experiences to confirm the inference of God. If God is taken as a theory, certainly experience OF him only helps to validate this theory. Let me again remind my opponent that not all evidence is scientific."
----> This is wrong in many ways. First of all, how exactly did my defense of Evolution and the Big Bang have anything to do with experience? I stated examples of how they were replicated, and reasons for their falsifications. Note, that even if it is true that experiences are part of how we validate the theory of evolution and big bang, there are still OTHER pieces of evidence that support it. If we only had anecdotal evidence, then it will definitely not pass as scientific. As I've stated before, people do not experience GOD, but rather what they perceive/think is God. My opponent has yet to fulfill his burden of showing why people do not experience what they perceive to be God, but God himself.

B. Different types of evidence, and why scientific evidence is valid only
Using the same link my opponent used for evidence [1], I will lay out different types of evidence and show why only scientific evidence is suitable.

Law - figures out the truth of individual cases. Law can't be used, as my opponent so did, because even though it does use eyewitness testimonies, it's used for a much different reason. I listed three reasons in my previous round (one's that haven't been refuted). Besides those three, we can use DNA and forensics, and that's scientific. But DNA and fingerprints will always be the same, in the sense that we can use the same scientific techniques, and we have evidence to show how DNA can implicate a suspect. However, for most cases the crimes are different, as is the perpetrator and the situation. We don't have some scientific theory to explain every possible scenario for a robbery. Eyewitnesses' are used exactly for this; when science and reason can't fill in some gaps. Of course, as I've said in the previous round, eyewitness testimonies still go through mechanisms the court of law uses to test it's validity.

Software and Statistics - I think it's safe to say that both I and my opponent realize that the methods to (a) identify a software's version and (b) statistical inference is not relevant to this debate.

History - historians use the historical method [2] and primary/secondary sources. Once again, not relevant to the topic at hand. Note that while they do garner eyewitness accounts, its because (a) they don't have much else to work with many times, (b) the events described in eyewitness accounts that historians use are not ones pertaining supernatural events, for do you read in any history books the endeavors of a supernatural being?

Logic - not so much evidence, but it's definitely a way to argue for the validity of something. My opponent employs somewhat of a syllogism, with the following: "I experience God, therefore God must exist". Of course, the contention is that NO, you do not experience God, but what you experience what you perceive to be God. This is my opponent's burden to show otherwise.

Science - figures out how the physical world and natural phenomena works. I would say scientific evidence is the best suited in relevance to this topic. If my opponent insists on some other criteria, then he has yet to show which one.

2. Other flaws with my opponent's argument

A. Reductio ad absurdum

My opponent has a grave misunderstanding of the appeal to consequences fallacy. An appeal to consequences fallacy is when one asserts the truth claim of a premise by based on it's consequences. If P, then Q will occur. Q is undesirable. Therefore, P is false [3].

As you can see, my argument has nothing to do with that. My usage of reductio ad absurdum still stands, because I'm not saying "if your argument is true, it will validate X, and X is undesirable, therefore your argument is false". Instead, what I've been stating all along, is that "if your argument is true, it will validate X, but we know X is not true, therefore your argument is false". There is a clear difference between these two concepts.

My argument still stands. Any rational scientist will tell you that anecdotal evidence for UFO's and Bigfoot is farce, and until real evidence comes along, these argument should be thrown away. Similarly so should we treat my opponent's argument from religious experience. ALSO, my point that pseudo scientific claims have fewer claims because the naturalistic explanations to them confine them to certain places still stands. You can claim to have an experience with God EVERYWHERE, ANYTIME, ANYWAY. With Bigfoot for example, most experiences take place in North American forests, because most likely the sightings are of bears or many other types of animals.

B. Conflict of religions

I'd hate to this, but I will drop this point. My character limit restricts me from spelling out my argument. However, I will make two things clear: that (a) he has yet to show how the experiences of those people are of a god, and not what they perceive to be a god, and (b) that he has yet to refute my claim that subjective validation is the cause for many of these personal experiences people cite as evidence.

C. Young children

Showing a site of ex-Christians does nothing for my opponent. Of course, not 100% of all children that are taught religion early will become religious, but many will [4].

D. Caveman analogy

This analogy fails in many ways. First of all, we know fire exists by evidence independent of anecdotes. Also, I would not state their clashing interpretations disproves the existence of fire, but fails to PROVE there is a fire. Finally, people who experience a god don't SEE him, they interpret events.

~Conclusion~

My opponent's argument fails in two ways. He fails to show how people who experience god aren't actually experiencing what they PERCEIVE to be god, and he fails to show what other type of evidence we should consider when evaluating his argument.

---References---
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://books.google.com...
InquireTruth

Pro

A great debate this has turned out to be.

I will start by listing the points that my opponent did not refute:

1. My argument (or syllogism) is, by definition, a valid one. That is, God must exist in order to experience him. I have experienced God. Therefore God exists. When the premises are jointly asserted the conclusion cannot be denied! This fulfills the burden of the resolution – a valid argument. My opponent needed to show that the conclusion does not logically follow from the premises, and he did not (1).

2. "False premise, you have yet to prove how instead of experiencing God, you experience what you perceive to be God or his workings. My opponent tries over and over to hit this point again, but it's obvious from the start that the main premise, that he is experiencing God, is what is at issue."

I have hit this point over and over again because it is the center of the debate and my opponent is not addressing it. It was my burden to create a valid argument, and it is my opponent's burden to invalidate it. His confusion notwithstanding, he calls the premise false without ever proving it so. Indeed, he already admits that he cannot prove it false because it is not falsifiable! If a man states that while in the woods he heard a man screaming, I could create the alternative that perhaps he mistook the mating call of a wild moose for a screaming man. My creation of an alternative explanation does not prove his claim false; it proves I can create an alternative.

Even IF one of my premises were false, which neither have been proven to be, it would not matter. Validity is a property of the argument's FORM and has nothing to do with its truth value (2).

My argument is valid and my premises have not been proven false.

~Points that do not need to be refuted by I will anyways~

A. Falsifiability and Evolution/Big Bang
"Of course, if he argues that scientific evidence mustn't be the criteria for proof, then of course falsifiability does not matter."

Here is the number one definition of Proof from the American Heritage Dictionary and Dictionary.com:

1. The evidence or argument that compels the mind to accept an assertion as true.
2. evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth.

Proof, by definition, does not need to be scientific.

"This is wrong in many ways. First of all, how exactly did my defense of Evolution and the Big Bang have anything to do with experience? I stated examples of how they were replicated, and reasons for their falsifications."

Because they make inferences about the past and seek to confirm those inferences using past and present data. If a person makes the "inference" of God in their life, they use their experiences as evidence to confirm their God theory.

"I've stated before, people do not experience GOD, but rather what they perceive/think is God. My opponent has yet to fulfill his burden of showing why people do not experience what they perceive to be God, but God himself."

As I have already stated, my burden was to create a valid argument. It was my opponent's burden to invalidate it. God experience happens with such an alarming regularity by a dominating majority of the global population. My opponent has not proven any of these experiences to be false and he certainly has not proven that my argument is not valid – Which was his burden!

B. Different types of evidence, and why scientific evidence is valid only

My opponent tries to show that the only acceptable form of evidence is scientific. Dictionary.com, the first definition, states that evidence is

1. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.

This is not limited to scientific data. My opponent tries to argue that logic is not really evidence. It most definitely is evidence when we use the traditional definition of evidence.

"Of course, the contention is that NO, you do not experience God, but what you experience what you perceive to be God. This is my opponent's burden to show otherwise."

My burden is not to prove that they do not experience something else, it is present a valid argument. My opponent has a very heavy burden and is now trying to shift it onto my shoulders. He did not prove that my experience was a mere false perception; therefore HIS burden of falsifying the premises is unfulfilled.
--------------------------------
A. Reductio ad absurdum
"An appeal to consequences fallacy is when one asserts the truth claim of a premise by based on it's consequences. If P, then Q will occur. Q is undesirable. Therefore, P is false [3]."

Which is precisely what my opponent did.

"Instead, what I've been stating all along, is that "if your argument is true, it will validate X, but we know X is not true, therefore your argument is false". There is a clear difference between these two concepts."

My opponent is egregiously wrong here precisely because we do not "know" X to be false. Therefore he IS essentially saying that because X is undesirable therefore your argument is wrong. Even still, it is improper comparison because he is using very small minorities of people, when I am dealing with vast majority of the global population.

"My argument still stands. Any rational scientist will tell you that anecdotal evidence for UFO's and Bigfoot is farce, and until real evidence comes along, these argument should be thrown away."

argumentum ad verecundiam

B. conflict of religions
"he has yet to show how the experiences of those people are of a god, and not what they perceive to be a god, and (b) that he has yet to refute my claim that subjective validation is the cause for many of these personal experiences people cite as evidence."

My opponent has made claims without proof. I need not try to disprove his claim, it is his job to disprove mine. It was my job to make a valid argument – which I did – and it was his job to invalidate it, which he did not.

C. Young Children
I have already shown that the vast majority of youth believe because of their experiences (3), their upbringing notwithstanding.

D. Caveman analogy
The analogy shows that people can EXPERIENCE the same PHENEMONON and come out with different interpretations. That was the point. So your conflict between religions is a moot point.

--Conclusion—

My opponent did not refute the most fundamental points! My argument is absolutely a valid argument and he never invalidated it. I fulfilled the burden of the resolution and my opponent did not succeed in any proper refutation. He tried to show that one of my premises was false, which he both failed to do and failed to understand that it would not matter anyways.

Thanks for reading!

Sources:
1. http://philosophy.hku.hk...
2. http://www.jimpryor.net...
3. http://www.csmonitor.com...
Debate Round No. 4
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheSkeptic 3 years ago
TheSkeptic
And the same sentiment right back at you - we should have another go at this argument (or others if you prefer) some time. I'm hoping we can restrict our focus enough to adequately examine at least on point, darn the character limits.
Posted by InquireTruth 3 years ago
InquireTruth
"Irrespective of whether you found my arguments "far and above", I'm sure we agree on the fact that I did better in this debate than the gay marriage one (albeit getting into meta-ethics is probably far too lengthy in the context of gay marriage)."

Absolutely. TheSkeptic, I think you did a GREAT job in this debate, don't let my cynicism fool you. I just think her far and above claim is simple epistemic bias.
Posted by TheSkeptic 3 years ago
TheSkeptic
"Disagreed."

Irrespective of whether you found my arguments "far and above", I'm sure we agree on the fact that I did better in this debate than the gay marriage one (albeit getting into meta-ethics is probably far too lengthy in the context of gay marriage).
Posted by InquireTruth 3 years ago
InquireTruth
"Agreed."

Disagreed.
Posted by TheSkeptic 3 years ago
TheSkeptic
"Unlike the gay marriage debate, Skeptic's arguments were far and above Inquire's."

Agreed.
Posted by Yvette 3 years ago
Yvette
Unlike the gay marriage debate, Skeptic's arguments were far and above Inquire's.
Posted by HazelMystic 4 years ago
HazelMystic
It's pretty ballsy to promote the syllogism you did as fact, and especially when your premises are so weak...just plug in ANY supernatural being, and a whole cavalcade of Specteres, Goblins, and Ghouls can be "proven". Do you have the right to tell others that their experience of a rival God is invalid? No you don't. You have not, and CAN NOT prove your case. Furthermore: arguing against the very laws of nature doesn't promote your case; it hinders it more; you are effectively cutting off the branch to which you sit when you do that.
Posted by InquireTruth 4 years ago
InquireTruth
:The problem with revelatory experiences, which you seem to be relying on (and let's suppose every theist has had one - or at least most have), is that there has never been a confirmed case to review on.

But that is precisely my point. By what means can one test the reliability of a revelatory experience if it is an experience that is not a property of physical reality? All experiences unilaterally rely upon the assumed reliability of the framework in which they take place. Physical experiences unilaterally rely upon the assumed reliability of our physical perceptions and physical reality itself. Similarly, though I will admit some overlap, theistic experiences unilaterally rely upon the assumed reliability of theistic reality and theistic perceptions. By trying to test these revelatory experiences using physical reality you are taking them out of the framework for which they exist.

Can you prove physical reality or the reliability of our physical perceptions without begging the question? This is, in essence, what you are asking me to do with theistic experience.
Posted by TheSkeptic 4 years ago
TheSkeptic
And these revelatory experiences are absolutely unreliable to base your argument on. If you seek to establish the existence of a metaphysical being, then to rely on experiences is unsuitable - and yes, a common experience is one that is a product of theistic belief, which I'm sure you know is HIGHLY common.

The problem with revelatory experiences, which you seem to be relying on (and let's suppose every theist has had one - or at least most have), is that there has never been a confirmed case to review on. Are you telling me that the revelatory experiences of several billion people has never once found it's way to being scientifically documented? Or at least verified in some way?

Like I said before, if I were to respond to your syllogism then it would be premise 1 I would be attacking - that you experienced God. You are experiencing what you THINK is God, or whatever manifestations he is supposedly using.
Posted by InquireTruth 4 years ago
InquireTruth
@ Skeptic

Obviously I don't think there ARE compelling reasons to discount theistic experience. Or even experiences that manifest within physical perceptions (eg. Miraculous healings). The experiences that you suggest are more the product of the beliefs than vice versa. I'm talking about revelatory experiences that produce belief. Like I've said before, it is like trying to explain a 3 dimensional concept to a person limited to 2 dimensions.
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