The Instigator
Crede
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
CosmicAlfonzo
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

The Human Predicament

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
CosmicAlfonzo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/15/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,494 times Debate No: 18353
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (70)
Votes (5)

 

Crede

Pro

This debate is challenged to CosmicAlfonzo as he offered his Con position in a forum thread. If CosmicAlfonzo for some reason cannot accept this challenge I’ll be glad to debate this with anybody.

Objective happiness must be based on something objective. Moreover objective meaning, value, and purpose are the areas to contrive objective happiness. These, in order to be objective, would have to be transcendent from man, external from our subjective parameters pushed onto these ideas, and therefore come from God. So under this thought an Atheist could not be objectively happy if he were consistent with the idea that God does not exist. Or he could at some level lie about his worldview (making his worldview inconsistent) in order to be objectively happy in relation to real meaning, value and purpose. This is what has been titled “The Human Predicament.”

The Human Predicament:
Man cannot live consistently and happily as though life were ultimately without meaning, value, or purpose. If we try to live consistently within the atheistic worldview, we shall find ourselves profoundly unhappy. In instead if we manage to live happily, it is only by giving lie to our worldview.

This will be a purely intellectual and logical debate. I don’t appreciate, and feel that swearing and personal attacks subtract from the search of higher understanding in these issues so please don’t.

Quotes or listed sources are not necessary, but if you wish to add them they would add to your case. You can list them in the debate or on the comments section…your choice.

The debate will consist of 5 rounds. 8000 characters will be permitted for each round. The rounds will be structured as follows:

Round 1:
Acceptance. If you accept this challenge you are agreeing to the structure I am identifying in this round. You will be taking the Con position to the truth of the human predicament. No arguments presented here, just your acceptance.

Round 2:
Both will be presenting their side’s initial argument.

Round 3:
Attacking the opposition’s initial argument and further establishing their own.

Round 4:
Attacking the opposition’s defense of his argument, and attacking any new evidence presented.

Round 5:
Attacking the opposition’s defense of his arguments again, and attacking any new evidence provided in round 4. NO NEW EVIDENCE CAN BE GIVEN IN THIS ROUND. Bringing in a new line of evidence not previously identified is not allowed in this round due to the inability of the opposition to refute it. Finally you can finish this round with your conclusion.

Good luck Con!
CosmicAlfonzo

Con

I accept the debate.

I would however like to make clear what an "atheistic worldview" is, as this could be used to describe many possible different worldviews, some of which actually do prescribe meaning, value, or purpose. These things are not intrinsic to an "atheistic worldview".

An atheistic worldview is any worldview that results from the lack of belief in the theistic conception of "God", which is the traditional idea of a personal, yet external creator that reveals itself through divine revelation and is usually considered worthy of worship. This would not include the pantheist conception of God, where God is equated with the universe. This would also not be equated with the deist conception of God which declares that an external God created the universe, and then left it as is without any type of interference. This would also not be equated with the idea that God is "actuality", though a theistic worldview might also claim this among other things.

I myself take the "Ignostic" stance when it comes to the existence of God, but am considered to be an atheist. I will primarily be debating from the "absurdist" position, which postulates that objective meaning, value, and purpose are inherently unknowable, and that said qualities are subjective and relative in nature. So, it could be said that I am arguing from a position that does not believe in a "meaning, value, or purpose", but I am by no means a nihilist.

I understand the structure of the debate, and hope to have an engaging discussion about this particular viewpoint.
Debate Round No. 1
Crede

Pro

Opening Argument
This round is specifically my opening argument and nothing else as agreed to in the first round. In this round I will not be responding to Con’s introduction in the first round. I will address such issues in the following rounds.

Introduction
The Human Predicament I think is a fantastic way of describing the absurdity of life without God. For everybody reading this that is not a Theist, please leave your emotion behind and follow the logic that I will present and then decide if there is truth to this claim or not. I understand that saying if you are not a Theist than you cannot be objectively happy or consistent in your worldview can be offensive. So please read this debate from a purely logical unbiased view and listen to the argument I will present with an open mind.

Defining objective meaning, value, and purpose
First off what do I mean when I’m talking about objective happiness? Like I stated before objective happiness must be based on objective realities. Objective realities such as objective meaning, value, and purpose will generate objective happiness.

Meaning
Objective meaning would be a sense of worth that cannot be taken away by point of views due to it being objective. The worth would be measured or dictated by God for it to be objective. Therefore objective happiness in relation to meaning would be your acknowledgment that you are a creation of God, and therefore your life has objective meaning.

Value
Objective value would be based on the sliding scale of good and evil, and where one can reside on that scale. The presence of objective morals that could come from God would then dictate an objective moral standard creating what is called good and evil. Therefore objective value would come from the acknowledgement of ones position on this scale of objective morality. Objective happiness in relation to value would then be if you found yourself on the side of good rather than evil. I am not saying that one cannot be happy here if they prefer evil, but the fact remains that it is their happiness with the position they have attained on the objective moral landscape that justifies their happiness to be objective.

Purpose
Objective purpose would be from acknowledging the purpose dictated to you by God. Whether you are working toward your purpose, or have already achieved your purpose does not matter. The knowledge that you had, or have an objective purpose for your life lets you then base your happiness on that objective purpose.

Why is the ability to be objectively happy contingent on the existence of God?
Objectivity by definition means that it is unchanging regardless of position, point of view, or opinion. God provides us with this objectivity. The Theist’s God is unchanging regardless of anything else in the physical, and the metaphysical world. God is external from man and the creator of man. Due to us being his creation he can dictate what our objective meaning, value, and purposes are. Our impressions and self-proclaimed notions of what these three ideas actually mean is irrelevant, because God created us with these in mind prior to our creation. We can have subjective ideas pertaining to these ideas and have relative happiness, but when speaking in the realm of objectivity our opinions hold no water.

What this debate is not
This debate is not about the existence of God. This debate is simply stating that if God is true, then objective happiness can be achieved. Therefore the opposite would be implied that if Atheism is true then objective happiness cannot be achieved. For all we know God might not exist and Con’s position of Agnosticism or Atheism could be true. However this is irrelevant in that we are not debating the existence of God. We are debating that an Atheist cannot have objective happiness if he wants to remain consistent with his worldview. So whether you believe in God or not is of no consequence in this debate, because God is not the conclusion of the argument, but an Atheist being locked into the Human Predicament is.

Opening arguments conclusion
Without God we do not have an objective foundation for meaning, value, and purpose. Therefore we do not have the ability to have objective happiness. This is not to say one can’t be happy, but his/her happiness without God will be subjective in that there is no external dictator, and even more relevant, no entity that created us with these concepts in mind for our existence to give us the truth behind them. If an Atheist chooses to be objectively happy, it is only possible that he lie about his worldview, and at some level of consciousness except God. If he does this he is no longer consistent with his worldview of Atheism and has personified what we call “The Human Predicament.”

Thank you CosmicAlfonzo for accepting this debate and good luck!
CosmicAlfonzo

Con

The Human Predicament

Pro states that the human predicament is this.. Man cannot be happy if life is ultimately without meaning, value, or purpose. Because Pro believes that an atheistic worldview leads to the inevitable conclusion that life has no meaning, value, or purpose, it is impossible for an atheist to be happy.

Pro's position as I understand it, is this..

(Premise 1) To be happy, man needs to have objective meaning, value or purpose
(Premise 2) An atheist does not have objective meaning, value or purpose
(Conclusion) An atheist can not be happy

Premise 1 is completely false. Happiness is not contingent on meaning, value, or purpose.

Happiness is contingent on one's ability to accept reality for the way it is, and to embrace it. Absurdism deals directly with this issue. This is fundamentally an epistemelogical issue.

If the question is asked, "What is the meaning of life?", this question is absurd, because it is impossible to answer. "Meaning" in itself is a human construct, and can't be anything other than relative. There can't be an objective "meaning" in the human sense, because everything simply is what it is. Things simply are, there is no meaning behind any of it. Meaning, as humans tend to think of it, can not be objectively discerned. The question, "What is the meaning of life?" is as nonsensical a question as "What is the meaning of this rock?".

Meaning, value, and purpose are all fundamentally unknowable. Despite this, people may still BELIEVE that they have an objective meaning, value, or purpose. An absurdist understands that any meaning, value, or purpose they place on life is a fabrication of the mind, it is just play. This is not a position of lying to oneself, as Pro might think. It is a form of self awareness, a humility where one doesn't place the phantoms of their mind on an elevated pedestal. An absurdist does not take these things seriously, as they are aware that it is just a game.

At the same time, I would argue that objectively measuring happiness is not possible, as happiness itself is a subjective opinion of one's current mind state.

I am an atheist. I do not believe that I have an objective meaning, value, or purpose. I am happy, and I don't see how Pro can tell me that I am not.
Debate Round No. 2
Crede

Pro

Thanks Con for your response. However it seems that most of what you said actually goes to prove the human predicament rather than disprove it.

Refuting Con’s Argument
First if we are to use your structured argument, we would have to rewrite the first premise. As I stated earlier one can be happy in an Atheistic worldview, however his happiness is purely subjective as it is based upon subjective realities. Also I stated that one does not have to be on one particular side of the objective scale to contrive objective happiness, rather has to understand that the objective scale according to meaning, value, and purpose exist and can then base his happiness from it. So the first premise should read as follows:

To be objectively happy, man needs to contrive it from objective meaning, value or purpose.

Con even admits, and it is a breath of fresh air to hear an Atheist admit, that there is no such thing as objective meaning, value or purpose. The only fault in this contention is that it presupposes that Atheism is true. This contention is also logically equivalent to my overall conclusion:

- If Atheism is true and God does not exist, then objective meaning, value, and purpose do not exit.

Logical equivalent:

- If Atheism is not true and God does exist, then objective meaning, value, and purpose do exist.

So as I stated in round 1, this debate is not on whether or not God exists. So we have to take out the presupposition that God does or does not exist and consider both sides. If God does exist then we do have a good foundation for objective meaning, value, and purpose on which we can contrive our objective happiness from. Now on the other side of the argument, on the side of the Atheist, it doesn’t matter if God exists or not. According to Atheism there is no such thing as objective meaning, value, and purpose, which Con admits, and therefore has no foundation for having objective happiness. This is partially proving the truth behind the human predicament.

Con further illustrates this point by writing the following:
Happiness is contingent on one's ability to accept reality for the way it is, and to embrace it.
For one this has nothing to do with objective happiness. In fact it is a perfect description of subjective happiness. I want Con, and the voter here to fully understand that I am NOT saying an Atheist cannot be happy, but I am saying that his happiness is subjective and has no objective foundation.

Con’s next assertion can be summed up with his final statement of rhetorical questions. Con wrote “The question, "What is the meaning of life?" is as nonsensical a question as "What is the meaning of this rock?".” Again this is presupposing truth behind Atheism and has nothing to do with proving that an Atheist can be objectively happy. In fact the rest of Con’s entire argument is in relation to his presupposition that Atheism is true, and that objective meaning, value, and purpose cannot only not be known, but that they don’t exist entirely.

In conclusion of my attack on Con’s opening argument, I would have to point out the presupposition that Atheism is true is what Con is holding as his defense against the human predicament. In fact it’s not really a defense at all, but is more of an assertion that the question of being objectively happy is overall absurd because of his beliefs on the existence of such realities to be not real. Luckily I’m not arguing if the human predicament is an absurd or non-absurd discussion, rather I’m arguing that under the Atheist’s worldview one cannot be objectively happy. Therefore for an Atheist to be objectively happy (as in to base his happiness on an objective foundation which can be provided if God exists) then he must at some level of consciousness become inconsistent with his worldview.

Refuting Other Worldviews Under Atheism
Now addressing some other issues Con brought up. Con showed how other worldviews could be summed up under the idea of Atheism.

Pantheism: This is the worldview that everything, the entire universe, is God. This would not be able to provide us with objective meaning, value, and purpose because it is apart of the reality that we experience. It would make God not external, and not the creator of existence enabling Him to dictate meaning, value, and purpose. It takes an external creator of the universe to attribute such objective realities.

Deism: This worldview says God created everything and then left and has no further intervention with his creation. This worldview would be hard to find the existence of objective meaning, value, and purpose as well due to God being so external, that he has absolutely nothing anymore to do with this reality. So without God to actively give us the foundation of objective realities we again could not be objectively happy.

What’s So Important About Being Objectively Happy?
Why would an Atheist even want to be inconsistent with his worldview to be objectively happy? What would be an Atheist’s motives for this inconsistent behavior? Under the Atheistic worldview one does not believe that objective meaning, value, and purpose exist. They would then believe that these ideas are subjective and ultimately without justification. Eventually it seems probable that the Atheist would realize that he was alone, and that everybody is alone, and that nothing really has any worth at all objectively. He would realize eventually that life itself is objectively worthless and without any value at all. It would be just as good if nothing EVER existed, because it would be objectively equivalent in terms of worth compared to life. This can cause a profound unhappiness in the Atheist. This sometimes causes Atheist’s to be inconsistent with their worldview in order to escape the enormous looming monster of what a subjective life means. Or what we see more commonly is that Atheist’s refuse to acknowledge that their ideas of meaning, value, and purpose are subjective. So overall the discussion of the human predicament is not what is absurd, but under the Atheistic worldview life itself is the absurdity.


Round 3 Conclusion
So overall I believe that Con has not knowingly supported the truth behind the human predicament. Simply asserting his presupposition of Atheism, and that asserting that objective metaphysical realities exist is absurd, does nothing to show how the human predicament is a false contention. Con admits that an Atheist’s happiness is subjective. If you then take away his claim of Atheism being true, you would then get the logical equivalent that if God exists, objective happiness can exist. The human predicament is therefore a strong look into the philosophical paradox that presents itself to the Atheist.

A Message to Everyone
First off what I’m about to say has absolutely nothing to do with winning this debate but is a message to those who understand this human predicament. This is purely a statement of my own assertion and can be stricken out of the overall debate. If you are an Atheist, or hold any worldview that denies God, and you feel the profound objective unhappiness that can present itself in your life, then I invite you to consider God. He is not only the source of life and all of existence, but gives us the foundation to know where we are in the world in relation to worth. You can then rejoice in the happiness that you would then have objectively. Without going to far into the area of preaching, I just wanted to conclude that hope is real, and attainable.
CosmicAlfonzo

Con

An Attempt To Make Perfectly Clear

We are debating whether or not you can be happy while having an atheistic worldview(which has been defined as the lack of belief in the theistic conception of God), and I fully understand this. This is not a debate about whether or not the atheistic position is true, or the theistic position is true. We are talking about worldviews and beliefs here, and though my opponant claims to understand objectivity, I'm not certain that he does. While it was made pretty clear that objectivity is what is true regardless of human opinion, Pro is somehow twisting this into an argument that assumes a worldview to be true if believed. As he said, this is not a debate over the existence of God, and this is not a debate over whether or not objective meaning, value, or purpose exist if a worldview is true. This is irrelevent. I am not assuming an atheistic worldview in my arguments.

We are talking about whether or not an atheist can be happy or not if they are consistant in their unbelief. Pro states that one can not be happy without meaning, value, or purpose. He claims that these things are required to be happy. While there are atheistic world views that are consistant, and DO believe in these things, I'm going to defend the harder position. In my opinion, it is more suited to refuiting Pro's argument.

Meaning, Value, and Purpose

Meaning, value, and purpose as my opponant thinks of them are all subjective assessments by nature.

Meaning is a concept that is purely human. It is a perception, a box that we place around reality. If you take a painting of a fruit basket, a human might look at it, and say, "It is a fruit basket". This could be considered "meaning". Truthfully, it is not a fruit basket, it is a painting. If you want to get completely objective, it is not a painting at all, it simply is(and this can't be described in words). The point is, meaning is derived from a subjective mindset. It is a human invention that can only be "objective" from a relative standpoint. This is not total objectivity. This is measuring without taking into account the tool you are using to measure. Pro states, "..objective happiness in relation to meaning would be your acknowledgment that you are a creation of God, and therefore your life has objective meaning". What does this even mean? Our meaning is to exist? Our meaning is that we are a creation of God? How does this sort of "realization" bring happiness? What about this is so different than what any one following any other worldview might believe? What is more comforting about being created by an intelligent being than say, being created by the effects of chaos? I don't understand how believing in this sort of thing could have an effect on someone's happiness.

Value is a concept that is purely human, and almost by definition can't be totally objective. Value is determined by comparing something to something else. Like meaning, it can only be "objective" from a relative standpoint. Pro describes value as being something based on a sliding scale of objective morality, "good" and "evil". How can something be completely objective if we are still dealing with the patently relativistic concepts of "good" and "evil"? On that note, none of this is measurable. How can this possibly effect someone's happiness? If I'm an "evil" man according to this "objective" moral landscape, and I'm happy in this life, is God going to tell me that I was unhappy? I will touch more on happiness a little bit later...

Purpose is a concept that is purely human, and my arguments against it are pretty much the same as my arguments against meaning. Pro states the a knowledge of one's "objective" purpose makes them happy. How can anyone possibly have a knowledge their objective purpose? If "God" told them this, how could they be so sure that their own thoughts are not God? How could they be so sure they aren't hallucinating? In the end, isn't this all entirely subjective? It's not about whether you actually have an objective purpose, it is whether or not you BELIEVE that you have an objective purpose. You can believe in things all you want, but it will still have no bearing on objective truth.

The existence of these concepts as being objective is not absurd because they don't exist on the objective level. It has more to do with the fact that they don't appear to exist, there is really no basis to believe they exist, and if they do exist, it is utterly impossible to know with any degree of certainty that can be considered even remotely rational.

Happiness Is A Purely Subjective Assessment Of One's Mental State

If there is a way to measure happiness objectively, even from a relative standpoint, I do not believe that Pro's idea of how to measure happiness is even remotely feasible or even accurate. Even the theistic God's system of measuring "objective happiness" would be subjective from his vantage point based on these parameters. The closest we could probably come to measuring objective happiness is by measuring dopamine(or whatever other chemicals in the brain effect happiness) in the brain.. Even then, this would not be completely accurate, because happiness in itself is an abstract. Happiness is entirely a subjective experience.

I must reiterate that I am an atheist who does not believe in objective meaning, value, or purpose. I am happy. Who is going to tell me otherwise? I do not have to believe in these things to be happy. The fact that Pro believes that these things are necessary to believe in to be happy is a reflection of his own state of mind than anything.

Absurdist Relevance

The absurdist philosophy deals directly with the apparent lack of meaning in the world.

There are 3 options when faced with a grapple with the absurd.

To excape reality(suicide)

To make the leap of faith necessary to follow religion(regarded as being "philosophical suicide")

To accept and embrace the absurd, and live on despite of it. Some people are incapable of accepting the apparent lack of meaning, and yes, they do become miserable. However, when one learns to accept their epistemlogical limitations, and can learn to live with the mystery, there is a great freedom, peace, and happiness.

As I said earlier, and continue to assert.. Happiness is contingent on one's ability to accept reality for the way it is, and to embrace it. An awareness of what we can and can not know is part of accepting reality.

Now this said, I am by no means tying happiness to either a theistic or atheistic worldview. I am of opinion that both theists and atheists can be happy. I am of the opinion that both theists and atheists can be unhappy. The question of whether someone believes in the theistic concept of God is not intrinsically relevant to happiness.
Debate Round No. 3
Crede

Pro

Thank you Con for your response.

God exists, maybe not, does it matter?
Objective happiness Con states, is unattainable for several reasons. Reasons like how happiness cannot be measured except by measuring certain chemicals in a person, but even then it is still just measuring a subjective response. Another reason being objective realities like meaning, value, and purpose are all completely subjective concepts making happiness based on them also subjective. The question here is if all this is true…If all Con’s assertions here are absolutely true does it change the outcome of the human predicament. I say no it doesn’t.

The reason a Theistic God is used is because it is the only God that can hypothetically attribute objective meaning, value, and purpose to this world / universe. The reason the Theist’s God can do this is like I said before; he is external from space-time (all of our physical existence), and he was the creator of everything. This might be totally false, God could possibly not exist at all, and in fact, let’s assume for a minute that God is absolutely false, proven to not exist, and universally accepted to be non-existent. We now have nothing that can possibly, hypothetically, potentially, or even remotely give us objective realities. God has to exist, or at least POSSIBLY exist for someone to latch onto an idea of objective meaning, value, and purpose. God might be totally non-existent making a persons grasp onto these objective realities actually subjective, which is fine, but has made them inconsistent with a worldview of Atheism.

No God
So like I said before, let us assume God is for sure false in his existence, but someone still holds onto him because he desires to have objective meaning, value, and purpose. This person now states he has objective happiness because he is basing it off of objective realities given by God. Now the problem is God doesn’t exist, so everybody knows that his happiness is actually subjective. However, he is the only person that can say he has objective happiness, even though it is subjective, because he is basing it on a logically sound explanation of why there could be objective realities. Even though it is false in this story, he is basing his happiness off of the only reason ever given by man kind to logically justify objective meaning, value, and happiness. Without God, like in this story, everybody has subjective happiness and there is no escape from it. There is absolutely no ultimate worth to anyone’s life and if someone contrives happiness in it, it is purely subjective in nature due to it being based on subjective ideas of worth.

Now to step away from the story and move back to reality. God doesn’t have to exist to put your faith in him. Your happiness might still be subjective, but because you are basing your happiness on something that possibly exists you have the only logical explanation to have objective happiness. You have the only reason, false or not, that someone could use to escape the subjective nature of ones life, even if it is purely only in their mind. This is the Human Predicament, this is the lie that one must give to one self in order to escape the subjective worth, or the objective pointlessness of their life if an Atheist.

The Absurdist
Con gives us 3 options here to deal with “the apparent lack of meaning in the world.”

1. To escape reality (suicide)

I’d have to say this would be better stated to escape the known reality and plunge into the next.

2. To make the leap of faith necessary to follow religion (regarded as being "philosophical suicide").

This is purely religion bashing here and uncalled for. “Philosophical suicide?” This is just an ad hominem (emotionally based) argument and holds absolutely no intellectual ground. I could equally say that religion, or more personally Christianity, is philosophical enlightenment. Whether Con or Pro is false here would require an entirely new debate so I ask the debater to throw option 2 out the window.

3. To accept and embrace the absurd, and live on despite of it.

This is a valid option for the Atheist. To acknowledge the ultimately worthlessness of existence, but live on anyway as though it didn’t matter. This however doesn’t take away from the human predicament. Here one is admitting that their happiness is subjective, and can take comfort in that. But again, their comfort is subjective, their happiness is subjective, their peace, and their freedom is subjective, and everything that they think they are or are worth is completely subjective. If they ever choose to have something more they have to lie to their worldview and believe in God.

I hope everybody understands that I’m not saying an Atheist can’t be happy. However, if they personally can’t handle the subjective nature of it anymore, if they have to believe in something at some level that they don’t even think really exists, and if it does in actuality exist or not, to attain an objective relevance to their existence, then they have like I said before, personified the Human Predicament.
CosmicAlfonzo

Con

Refutation of Pro's Fourth Round Argument

Objective happiness as I state is an absurdity because happiness As Webster Merriam-Webster defines happiness, it is..

"A state of well-being and contentment, or a pleasurable/satisfying experience"(1)

Happiness is by definition a subjective evaluation. It doesn't matter how much someone convinces themselves that a God is what laid down these parameters for "objective" happiness, this does not make it objective. Even if a God were to lay down these parameters, it STILL wouldn't be totally objective. Authority has little to do with objectivity, and something can not be totally objective if it is still using relativistic concepts. Objectively, there are not labels, there are no decals, there are no comparisons. What you are mistaking for total objectivity is as I've said, Objectivity from a Relative Standpoint.

Just about anything can be objective from a relative standpoint. Try altering the measuring stick. Is it a yard, or is it 0.9144 meters? Is the music dissonant or does it have complex harmony? You are fast when compared to a turtle, but you are slow when compared to a race car. These are not completely objective measurements, because to make these measurements, we have to compare something to something else. Objectively, something can only be "as is". To make sense of the world, we as human beings are forced to be objective from a relative standpoint. However, these are still human phantoms, they are boxes. They are grids that we overlay on top of our reality.

A theist can very well use what they have decided to be "God" as a measuring stick, but it doesn't change the fact that it isn't objective. Under your system, a Theist has no way of knowing that they are happy. They would have to hear "God's" opinion on whether they were happy or not. There is no such thing as objective happiness, and this debate isn't about whether or not there is objective happiness. I find that pushing the debate into that direction is fundamentally dishonest.

This debate is about the truth of this statement.

"The Human Predicament:
Man cannot live consistently and happily as though life were ultimately without meaning, value, or purpose. If we try to live consistently within the atheistic worldview, we shall find ourselves profoundly unhappy. In instead if we manage to live happily, it is only by giving lie to our worldview."

I have already stated that I do not believe that life ultimately has meaning, value, or purpose, and that I am happy. I have also made clear how the concepts of objective(ultimate) meaning, value, and purpose are absurd. I have also stated that I am considered an atheist, and that there are many atheists who DO believe in these things. The "human predicament" as you state it, implies that an atheist CAN NOT live as though life has meaning, value, or purpose if they are consistant in their beliefs. This is false. Many Buddhists(an atheistic religion) believe that life has meaning, value, and purpose. Many other atheistic philosophies understand that these concepts are entirely subjective, and they create their own meaning, value, and purpose. Playing the human game is not a sign of inconsistancy either.

This debate is not about whether or not there is objective happiness, it is a debate about whether or not someone can be happy without meaning, value, and purpose, and it is about whether or not someone who does not believe in the Theistic conception of God can be happy.

I have made my case.

Clarifications on the Absurd

The claim that "Making the leap of faith necessary to follow a religion" is not an emotionally based "ad-hominem". If you are letting someone else speak for what you believe in matters of personal philosophy, you have commited philosophical suicide.

Describing a lack of OBJECTIVE meaning, value, or purpose as acknowledging the "worthlessness" of existence is fundamentally misleading. You don't understand, there is no worth, and there is no worthlessness. There just is. These words are a reflection of a certain mindstate, not of actuality. While there is no objective value, it would be a lie to say that we as subjective creatures in this world do not value things.

This is all simply a matter of personal honesty.

Once Again, Belief and Objectivity

Deluding oneself into believing one has objective relevance to their existence does not magically grant them objective relevance. Objectivity is often times described as "What is true independent of human opinion". Believing in objective happiness does not mean that there is objective happiness.
Debate Round No. 4
Crede

Pro

Sorry for the late response, and thank you for yours Cosmic.

Well it seems to me that we are mainly arguing over semantics here. If you think that I’ve only been arguing about relative happiness then I’d like to refer you to round 1, in my opening definition of objective happiness, and see there how the objective happiness I was talking about there would be the form of happiness I would be defending. This is why I started round 1 with my definition of objective happiness so no one would be confused at what I meant when the words profoundly unhappy came up in the human predicament.

I feel that most of the points to be made regarding this subject have been made on my part. I will just summarize them so one can recap on my arguments.

- I have shown how objective happiness can only come from objective measures of worth, or better stated as objective meaning, value, and purpose.
- I have shown how God can provide these objective realities.
- I have shown how only a Theistic God can provide these objective realities thereby making them unattainable to the Atheist.
- I have shown that the actual existence of God or objective realities, don’t need to exist for one to become entrapped in the human predicament. I have stated that the Theistic God is the only God that could even hypothetically dictate objective meaning, value, and purpose by being external from our reality, and the creator of it.
- I have shown that the question of what is objective meaning, value, and purpose are not what is absurd, but how under the Atheistic worldview, life itself is the absurdity. There is no ultimate meaning, value, and purpose making everything we do and think objectively worthless.
- And lastly I have shown how when an Atheist is confronted with this predicament, he has a means of escape by excepting the idea of God, even if at some sub-level of consciousness.

To make clear I’m not saying Cosmic, or any other individual, Theist or not, can’t be happy. To fully understand the Human Predicament you have to understand what objective happiness is, and then you would realize that the Atheist’s happiness is actually, and relatively subjective. Even if the Theist is wrong about the existence of God, this would only make his actual happiness subjective, but his relative happiness under objective concepts in his mind gives justification to call his happiness objective. The Atheist here still must say his happiness is completely subjective under both categories.

I hope the voter enjoyed this debate as I know I have. Thank you CosmicAlfonzo for your engaging arguments and rebuttals. I look forward to future debates with you hopefully in subjects of like material.

Good luck!
CosmicAlfonzo

Con

No, this is not an argument over semantics. There is no argument here, this is fact. There is no such thing as "objective happiness", as by definition it is a word that describes a subjective assessment of a state. Measuring "objective happiness" is as absurd as measuring "objective beauty".

There is no argument that objectivity is what is true despite human opinion, yet you still, despite saying otherwise, assume that a belief in something makes it true. The belief or lack of belief in a god is irrelevant to happiness or even objective happiness, whether or not god exists or not. A belief or lack of belief in objective happiness has ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING on whether or not someone is objectively happy. This is not a debate over the existence of god, and we are not assuming the existence or non-existence of god in this debate. We are not assuming the existence of objective happiness. The existence of the theistic god is unknowable, and so is whether or not this god even deals with absurd things like "objective happiness".

To recap my arguments...

-I have shown that the very idea of "objective happiness" is an absurdity, as happiness is a subjective evaluation of a mindstate.
-I pointed out that this is a debate over what someone believes, not the truth of these beliefs, and that objectivity stands independent from what one believes.
-I have demonstrated that I am both consistent in my lack of belief in a theistic god, and have asserted that I am at the very least, subjectively happy.
-I have pointed out that it would be ridiculous for someone to believe they were happy in this life, only to be told that they were not happy by god(who is the only one who can know if you are happy)
-I have shown that what my opponent considers to be objective is actually "objective from a relative standpoint", and relies on far too many subjective evaluations that are impossible to measure.

To conclude, I personally find pro's position to be fundamentally presumptuous, and offensively ignorant. We are dealing with absurdities. This debate is nonsensical. Contrary to what pro thinks, this is not because I am assuming an atheist position, it is because I am looking at this from an epistemological perspective. This is a debate over whether or not someone who does not believe in god can be happy. This is not a debate over whether or not objective happiness is possible if a god exists. This not a debate that assume a person's belief system is true if it is believed.

This is a debate over whether or not someone who does not believe in god can be happy. My opponent's attempt to turn this into something else is fundamentally misleading. This debate is over the truth of what Pro claims to be the "human predicament".

"Man cannot live consistently and happily as though life were ultimately without meaning, value, or purpose. If we try to live consistently within the atheistic worldview, we shall find ourselves profoundly unhappy."
Debate Round No. 5
70 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Innoman wrote:
: Secondly, proving that happiness among faithful can be demonstrated in number of divorces,
: drug alcohol abuse, physical abuse, etc. These are objective measurements that are behavior
: based and there are trends in them in accord with happiness.

Don't forget to count prison sentences and child molestation. They're more common among the faithful.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Alphonso wrote:
: I don't think that I'm being arrogant when I say that Pro's position is not only patently
: ridiculous, but offensively ignorant and fundamentally dishonest.

I don't think the personal attack is called for. I don't think Crede has a case, but I see no reason to assume he's lying rather than just confused. We should nurture him along like we would a little brother.

But, if you really think he's lying, then you should just quit interacting with him. You can post once to let him know why you're blocking him, and then just quit. There's no excuse for post after post of insults.

: If you actually took the time to read through the debate, I would appreciate the vote, because it
: doesn't look like this debate has gotten any real votes yet.

Unwarranted personal attack against bystanders. Classy.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Alphonso wrote:
: I don't think that I'm being arrogant when I say that Pro's position is not only patently
: ridiculous, but offensively ignorant and fundamentally dishonest.

I don't think the personal attack is called for. I don't think Crede has a case, but I see no reason to assume he's lying rather than just confused. We should nurture him along like we would a little brother.

But, if you really think he's lying, then you should just quit interacting with him. You can post once to let him know why you're blocking him, and then just quit. There's no excuse for post after post of insults.

: If you actually took the time to read through the debate, I would appreciate the vote, because it
: doesn't look like this debate has gotten any real votes yet.

Unwarranted personal attack against bystanders. Classy.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Crede wrote:
: So Cosmic, it seems that we have grounds to have one of several new interesting debates.
: If you ever desire to debate on these issues let me know.

I'm available if you want to go again on this issue. My relevant beliefs:

- The existence of god doesn't affect objectivity. That is, if we can't be objectively happy without god, then we can't be objectively happy with god either; and if we can be objectively happy with god, then we can also be objectively happy without god.

- "Objective happiness" isn't obviously desirable in any case. The less it is like regular happiness, the less interesting it is. Since you obviously aren't talking about happiness, you ought to reduce confusion by calling it something like, "the objective X-factor."
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
RFD-Great debate. Both debaters did a good job and it was hard deciding who won. There seemed to be some confusion as to what was being debated. Con says" This is a debate over whether or not someone who does not believe in god can be happy. My opponent's attempt to turn this into something else is fundamentally misleading." But pro states that "one can be happy in an Atheistic worldview, however his happiness is purely subjective" So pro was not arguing that atheists could not be happy but that their happiness was subjective. But con said the debate was about whether an atheist can be happy.
Overall it was easier for me to follow cons arguments. I liked cons argument that it would be absurd to ask anyone what the meaning of life is because it would be impossible to answer. Pro argued that if God did not exist there would be nothing to give us objective realities. Con did you some ad hominem attacks in round 3 despite his denial of it. I was left feeling cons arguments were better.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Crede, I didn't agree with either of you. I'd like to be Con if you want to do this again against a completely different defense.
Posted by Crede 5 years ago
Crede
No, I think your absolutely wrong about the intent of the debate. I'll let the voters decide.
Posted by CosmicAlfonzo 5 years ago
CosmicAlfonzo
I from the start understood that this was a debate about beliefs, not actuality.

The purpose of me explaining the absurdist philosophy was to show that an atheist can be both consistent in their beliefs and happiness.

Believing in objective happiness does not make you objectively happy. Belief has no bearing on actuality.

Objective Happiness is an absurdity. If objectivity is what is true regardless of human opinion, how can you say that someone who does not believe in objective happiness can't be objectively happy?

How can you accuse me of having an argument based on the fact that there is no objective happiness when you are doing the complete opposite?

This entire debate is about something subjective, and by turning it into a debate over objectivity, you've muddied the waters tremendously.

Objectively an atheist can be subjectively happy. Objectively, a theist can be subjectively happy. That is as close as you are going to get to "objective happiness".

You do not need objective meaning, value, or purpose to be happy. This is false. If you do, and like I said, there ARE happy atheists who are consistent in their beliefs who have these things. There are happy atheists who are consistent in their beliefs and do NOT believe in this things.

The predicament is false, that isn't the real predicament. The predicament is that people think they need to have meaning, value, and purpose in order to be happy. The solution to the predicament is to realize that this is not true. It is no different than someone who thinks they need money to be happy. The later is vain, the former is fundamentally egotistical.
Posted by Crede 5 years ago
Crede
The problem with that though Cosmic, and it is partly my fault for not clearly stating the resolution, is that I gave a definition of the happiness I was talking about in regards to the statement of the human predicament, which is the definition it is assuming. That happiness being objective happiness. Your argument was completely based on there being no such thing as objective happiness, and my argument hinged on the fact that it wouldn't matter if there was or not, but rather having a reason to think that it could possibly exist giving an escape of the predicament. IN MY OPINION you completely missed the point of my argument and resorted to just insulting me. However regardless of my opinion, I will let the reader decide for himself in stead of trying to persuade them in voting into a certain direction.
Posted by CosmicAlfonzo 5 years ago
CosmicAlfonzo
This debate is about the truth of this statement..

"Man cannot live consistently and happily as though life were ultimately without meaning, value, or purpose. If we try to live consistently within the atheistic worldview, we shall find ourselves profoundly unhappy. In instead if we manage to live happily, it is only by giving lie to our worldview."

The weakness of this resolution has been made apparent. When it comes to what this debate is actually about, I clearly won, and the only thing keeping you from voting(despite your admittance) is your bias towards my opponent's position.

Vote or don't vote, I couldn't care less about humility, it isn't relevant to me.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
CredeCosmicAlfonzoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments (66th comment).
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
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Reasons for voting decision: Grammar point because key sentences had no apparent meaning. Con refuted Pro's major contention. The heart of the debate was Pro's contention that, "Man cannot live consistently and happily as though life were ultimately without meaning, value, or purpose. If we try to live consistently within the atheistic worldview, we shall find ourselves profoundly unhappy. In instead if we manage to live happily, it is only by giving lie to our worldview." Con explained that this isn't true.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering dappleshade's vote which was based entirely on personal opinion. RFD was required, but none was given. UPDATE - As RFD is now provided in the comments, I am removing my counter.
Vote Placed by FREEDO 5 years ago
FREEDO
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Reasons for voting decision: I LOL at this debate. The whole thing was pretty incoherent. Still, Con was more effective by properly defending the notion that meaning, value and purpose can only be assessed subjectively, that there is no way to objectively measure happiness and whole idea of a difference between "objective happiness" and "subjective happiness" is pretty absurd. Also, Pro's notion that the existence of a God would imply objective meaning and the non-existence of God would not is a complete non-sequitur.
Vote Placed by dappleshade 5 years ago
dappleshade
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Reasons for voting decision: That was an awesome debate. I read a New Scientist article recently discussing how and why the religious, of any kind, were better off emotionally. In my atheism I accept that emulating an imaginary objective meaning based on chosen and instinctual values is essential for mental health despite it's lack of subjectivity in an essential and philosophical sense.