The Instigator
Obnoxious_Ninja
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Mikal
Con (against)
Winning
22 Points

The Idea of Heaven, Hell, and God is Irrational

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Mikal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/15/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,383 times Debate No: 42419
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (5)

 

Obnoxious_Ninja

Pro

When I say "Heaven, Hell, and God", I refer to religion in general, and not just a specific one. Before we start, however, I would like to clear some definitions:

Heaven: A place regarded in various religions as the abode of God (or the gods) and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky. (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...)

Hell: A place regarded in various religions as a spiritual realm of evil and suffering, often traditionally depicted as a place of perpetual fire beneath the earth where the wicked are punished after death. (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...)

God: (In Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being. (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...)

Irrational: Not logical or reasonable. (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...)

The first round is acceptance, along with any needed clarification.
Debate Round No. 1
Obnoxious_Ninja

Pro

Excellent! I look forward to an interesting debate!

I consider religion as irrational because it can not back itself with repeatable, collectable and falsifiable information. The most cited evidence for religion comes from their own religious text, which neither the subcribers of that belief, nor have any third parties been able to prove the most significant and definitive portions of the aforementioned religious text (for example, no one argues with certain wars accounted in the Christian bible, but the obvious question of god's existence remains).

When I say repeatable, collectable, and falsifiable, I am referencing prayer/meditation. Prayer, while widely practiced in most religions, has yet to show any amount of collectable data, or any manifested effects directly rooted from the prayer itself. Those who claim thzt prayer has had fantastic effects have not emperically backed their arguments, and so their "research" can not be trusted or used in any respectable scientific community.

The idea that there is an omniscient, omnipotent, and eternal being poses many problems with both fundamental logic and observed data:
1) There has been no peer-reviewed, scientifically backed paper that proves the existence of an almighty deity
2) Why is it that an omniscient being is surprised by human actions?
3) Why would an omnipotent being, that created everything, care about what we eat on sunday, how we dress on monday, or how often we pray to it?

Furthermore, why would any rational being support a deity that has commited murder on a global scale, that condones things that we would consider immoral (slavery, abuse of women, removal of their rights, etc.).

I wish to add that the last piece was a reference directly to christianity specifically.
Mikal

Con

The resolution of this debate is simple enough.

Resolution - Religion is irrational. This includes most branches of religion specifically Christianity.

God - a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people : one of various spirits or beings worshiped in some religions[1]. Also by pros definition we can see that this is strictly related to Christianity in his mind.

Irrational - marked by a lack of accord with reason our sound judgement. [2]

Simply enough he is claiming that believing in a God is not reasonable or is lacking sound judgement, or irrational.

Note : This is not a debate about whether or not Christianity is true but that the belief of a deity that oversees the universe is lacking reason.

reason - fair and sensible[3]


Deism

So lets approach this logically. Deism is one belief that can offer a logical explanation for a God. It still appeals to a God whom created the universe, but does not go as far as Christianity with the claim that he meddles in every day affairs. This is an appeal to Theistic Evolution and intelligent design on a deist level

Evolution

The first major point we must acknowledge is that God and evolution are compatible.

Theistic Evolution - The belief that God guided evolution

I am not stating this is an empirical scientific source but simply showing it is rational for some people to believe in it. This is essentially saying the probability of evolution occurring due to random variations and mutations in almost impossible within the realm of logic in some ways. It would take a complete "miracle" excuse the pun, for it to occur.

"Assume that, at each mutational step, there is equally as much chance for it to be good as bad. Thus, the probability for the success of each mutation is assumed to be one out of two, or one-half. Elementary statistical theory shows that the probability of 200 successive mutations being successful is then (½)200, or one chance out of 1060. The number 1060, if written out, would be "one" followed by sixty "zeros." In other words, the chance that a 200-component organism could be formed by mutation and natural selection is less than one chance out of a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion. Lest anyone think that a 200-part system is unreasonably complex, it should be noted that even a one-celled plant or animal may have millions of molecular "parts."[5]


Morality

An appeal to God is also an appeal to morality. If you assign an objective object such as God to be the source of morality, it solves the problem of what is right and wrong. Essentially what makes killing for fun wrong or right? If there are objective truths that we acknowledge, then there has to be a way we can gauge it. God is a perfect example and expatiation for morality.

If anything this is the home run point for religion and theism. Belief in a God is the perfect explanation for why people accept universal truths.



Intelligent design.

This is an argument that even Steven Hawking acknowledged. It in short states that if the expansion rate of the universe changed by 1 part in one hundred thousand million million one second after the big bang, life would not be possible (you can see why I did not type the number out, it would have taken up the entire debate). There are also other constants that are the same way. If you change the gravitational force in the universe by 1 part in 10 to the 40, we would not exist. Again I will not type this out numerically due to space, and I could not keep track of the 0s. I will give you a mathematical comparison. If you were to take an aircraft carrier that weighs 110,000 tons and were to change the weight by less than the trillionth of the weight of an electron, we would not exist. Remember this is constant. This is not a onetime dice roll. These are physical properties within the universe now, that are constant. If at one point anything changes, the universe will cease to exist. If this does not point toward the universe be fine-tuned I do not know what else can[6]

I believe the exact quote from him is

" If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in 100 thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed before it ever reached its present size"[7][8]


Specified Complexity.

Simple and short argument. We are pattern seeking creatures. If you are walking along the beach and see "HELLO" written in the sand, you are logically going to assume that someone wrote this. You are not going to assume the formation and time of the tide made this happen by chance. You are not going to assume something blew up and made this message appear. You are going to assume someone wrote it and that it was left there by an intelligent being.

You can automatically see where I am going with this.

Anthony Flew a former well known atheist and front liner of the atheist movement recently converted to Christianity. This is due to his own research.


He found that one single cell can carry more data than all of the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica put together.

After he converted and found this out for himself he said this

“It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”


In Closing

While believing in a God may not be empirical or factual, it is not safe to call it illogical. Using some of the previous points that I have mentioned (leaving out many more points), we can clearly see why a majority of people believe in a theistic/deistic God. It can explain the way the universe was formed, explain the impossible chances of evolution and the constants within our universe, and even explain how and why we exist.

Why there may not be merit to this argument, it is safe to assume that it is logical.

Again it may not be accurate or correct, but it is a rational belief and a competing theory for why we exist.







[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[3] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[4] http://www.reasons.org...
[5] http://www.icr.org...
[6] http://www.hawking.org.uk...
[7] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...
[8] Steven Hawkings, A brief history of time
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
Obnoxious_Ninja

Pro

I apologize for the delayed response, but I had to go to school.

I would like to point out that the example of Christianity was only an example, and I had not intended for it to become the center of the debate (not that it is now, just that Con tried to remind us). In the entirety of this round, though, I do cite specifically Christian texts. I do this only because I am most familiar with this view as a former Christian.

I fail to see how your mentioning of deism relates to the topic of the irrationality of religion. Yes, deism makes more logical sense than many other religions from a logical standpoint, but it still proposes the existence of a divine and omnipotent being. That alone is the source of its irrational nature. The belief in a being whose presence cannot be seen, felt, touched, heard, smelt, or projected through some widely accepted model of the universe is not relevant to the current age, nor should it be treated as such. I call it irrational because the belief in something without any quantitative or qualitative observations is not conducive of a logical mindset, and so cannot be considered rational.

The possibility of the genesis of life from non-living things (which I assume you mean by "evolution") is statistically small, yes, but certain laboratory experiments have managed to produce life from basic components that are believed to be a part of the primordial soup that Earth once was [1]. Though the chances of such an event may be small, it does not make it impossible, nor does it imply the existence of a divine being. I will also cite the evident mutualistic symbiosis between the mitochondria [2], and the rest of an animal cell. It is believed to originate from a symbiotic relationship between two organisms (the mitochondria, and the host cell), which evolved to become a single organism. If you take the mitochondria outside of the cell, it remains stable and can support itself indefinitely.

While a divine being such as the Christian God may provide a moral compass, it does not make it an objectively "correct" compass. If you examine certain passages of the Bible, you will see that their God condones slavery [3], the abuse of women [4], and the genocide of an entire civilization [5]. Based on these passages, the omniscient and all loving God described by religion is not as happy as what was once thought. These passages prove that a universal truth of morality is only achievable through religion by cherry-picking the information, and there is no credible truth in a method such as that.

If the universe had developed with flying spaghetti monsters running rampant, we would use that as an argument to justify the perfection of the universe. There is a theory for multiple dimensions referred to as "M-Theory", which states (at a very basic level) that there are multiple dimensions outside of our own (obviously, the third) that could potentially support external universes. Some scenarios derived from M-Theory postulate that our very own universe was created by the collision of two already existing universes. Though I"m sure you've heard it before, there is something called the mediocrity principle, and it "" simply states that you aren't special." [6]. Though its original application was for the seemingly rare and perfect conditions for life on Earth, I will use it here to state that this universe is really nothing special, and should not be treated as if a divine creature of infinite knowledge created it.

What you are referring to sounds very similar to irreducible complexity, though I may be mistaken. This sounds very close to an argument from design, so I shall treat it as such.

When you see the words "HELLO" written on a beach, it can be assumed that someone created because of past experiences. In the past, we have seen people write something similar, we have done it ourselves, and so the only logical assumption would be that someone else made it. We subconsciously developed a working model of what likely caused the event, and followed it. The difference with intelligent design is that there is no previously made working model of how we exist to back it. The closest we have are theories such as evolution and abiogenesis (biopoiesis). We have not previously seen a god create an organism, so what compels you to assume that our life was created by it (rhetorical)?

In conclusion, believing in a god or gods is both irrational and illogical because the beliefs are not established from any observable, testable data, and it has not in the past managed to support itself in a scientific environment. It is not in agreement with observed data, and it does not improve the life of the believer from an objective health or psychological standpoint.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
[3] http://www.biblegateway.com...
[4] http://www.biblegateway.com...
[5] http://www.biblegateway.com...
[6] http://www.edge.org...
Mikal

Con

Rebuttal 1

"I fail to see how your mentioning of deism relates to the topic of the irrationality of religion"

It is a pivotal part in determining whether the belief of a God is rational. The irrational part about Christianity, Islam, and other such religions is that God is involved in the affairs of main. He plays a part in everything and watches every action you do. Everything is predestined and his will. Deism negates this. It is a way to explain the start of the universe and the issues with probability and complexity while leaving out the fact that God meddles in our every day affairs.

Rebuttal 2

"I call it irrational because the belief in something without any quantitative or qualitative observations is not conductive of a logical mindset, and so cannot be considered rational"

This is all in perception. A lot of people would argue the fact that God is testing our faith, and leaves signs. Miracles that happen without any scientific explanation. Cancer being healed, and people whom are blind seeing. This still happens in the modern era as well. The issue with this is that science has no explanation for some of the events that occur. Does that make the cause God? That is very debatable and the answer is probably no. Until there is some empirical evidence to support issues like this and why the occur, or why people experience things in the way they do a belief in God can be considered a working model and quite rational.

Rebuttal 3

God fits with no working model in the universe

I would argue that he can fit with any working model we have. The idea of a God is compatible with evolution, the big bang, and even explains how this occurred when the probability is 1 to the 100 thousandth. Granted any variable can be inserted in the place of God and be just as logical, but to claim it is illogical the burden is on you to show that there is no God. Without being able to disprove the existence of something, it is hard to say it is "not rational". It may be not likely, but people can arrive at the idea of a God rationally.

Rebuttal 4

The chances of evolution are small, but it could still happen.

I want pro to re read my argument from the prior round because it was dropped. Sure it could happen but lets look at this again. The first thing is the chance of life after the big bang. As Steven Hawking said

" If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in 100 thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed before it ever reached its present size" [1]

This is almost a mathematical impossibility. This is in fact a one time dice roll that was needed for the events in the big bang to occur, and when they occurred the situation had to perfect. If the expansion rate changed, just by a margin life as we know it would not exist.

Even outside of it occurring once, this is now a constant variable within the universe. If the gravitational force of the universe is changed by a margin, we still do not exist. If the earth were to shift one centimeter in either direction and alter its course around the sun, we could not exist. If the earth was not rotating properly on its axis, we could not live because it would be to hot or to gold. These are constant variables that are always at play, and that can not change. At any point if they change, earth would not exist or not be inhabitable.

Logically you could assume that one of these variable would change or could change in the past billions of years, yet it has not. Life is still on earth and meets our requirements.

While God may not be the best explanation for this, it is a logical one and definitely a rational one to some people. It explains away, how and why we exist and why we are able to exist .


Rebuttal 4

Morality

It can be objectively correct, we just would not be aware of Gods definition of good. God condoned slavery, murder, etc to accomplish a goal he had planned. We would not be judging morality based on what we think is moral, but what is objectively correct would be determined by Gods will. Therefore everything God commanded would be morally correct.

Basically we have no idea what right and wrong is by Gods standard. Our idea of what is just and his idea of what is just would be two different things. So he would be an absolute answer to morality in that sense.

Rebuttal 5

Theories

If you want to adapt a theory that is fine as well, but you must accept that it is just as illogical as God in some cases. There are so many theories that attempt to explain the cause of the universe and most of them are no where near empirical. Anywhere from the M theory as you mentioned to the string theory. Some theories even claiming there are alternative realities and that we are projections of another universe.

Almost all of these could be considered illogical or irrational within some context. However if one has evidence to support a theory and arrives at it logically ,it is in fact rational. This can also be used to justify God in a rational way.

Rebuttal 6

Complexity.

This does not require much of a response. Pro seems fixated on the idea that God does not present any working models for the universe. This is false. It is easy to develop a working model for God and how the universe began and this has been done multiple times, but it goes beyond that. God is compatible with every working model that we have in most cases. The idea and definition of God could change somewhat, but the idea of a supreme being can co exist with almost every working model out at the moment. While it may not be accurate or correct to tie the two theories together, that does not change the fact that they are not mutually exclusive.


In Closing

I have shown how believing in the idea of a God can be rational, how the idea of a God is compatible with all the working theories out right now, and also how God provides and answer for morality and mathematical impossibilities that exist.

While there may not be any empirical evidence to support the concept of a God , there is also not empirical evidence to support most of the working theories that are presently out such as the M theory and string theory. It is just that, a "theory" based off of research, evidence, and study. Just as the theories are rational theories , the idea and concept of a God can also be rational.



[1] Steven Hawking A brief history of time










Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by DudeStop 3 years ago
DudeStop
Devils Advocate?
Posted by debatinghoe123 3 years ago
debatinghoe123
Lol
Posted by debatinghoe123 3 years ago
debatinghoe123
Lol
Posted by Obnoxious_Ninja 3 years ago
Obnoxious_Ninja
Why was round three skipped? Sorry, this is my first debate, so I don't fully know what happens when, and why.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by gordonjames 3 years ago
gordonjames
Obnoxious_NinjaMikalTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con did a better job of debating. Pro did not seem to understand deism.
Vote Placed by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
Obnoxious_NinjaMikalTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Fascinating debate. The resolution is about the rationality of religion. Pro must prove religion to be irrational, and I don't think he did this. Pro showed that there is a rational argument for atheism (re: evolution, morality, HELLO, etc.) But, simply because there is a rationale for atheism, does not mean there is no logical argument for religion. Con makes a good case that life/the universe were so unlikely to occur that it is possible (or logical to assume) that someone helped things along. This is a case where there are two competing, rational alternative theories. However, because I find both theories to be rational, I also find that Pro failed to uphold his BOP. Therefore, args go Con. Great Debate!
Vote Placed by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
Obnoxious_NinjaMikalTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I must say I'm shocked to see Mikal arguing on Religions side here. For sources, I couldn't respect many of Pro's sources. Theists using anti-religious sites to back themselves is simply too common now, and those sites hold no merit in a debate. Con used quite a few good quality sources from R2. As for Arguments, many of Pros were made up of fallacies, such as explaining that God can't exist because of a lack of evidence (which is a fallacy, and separate but similar fallacy that was made just for when that argument is used against God, because you can't gather that kind of evidence.) Con's arguments successfully refuted all of Pro's, and stood against his fallacious arguments. Spelling and Grammar where the same, as was conduct.
Vote Placed by Romanii 3 years ago
Romanii
Obnoxious_NinjaMikalTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Sources to Con because Pro used sources like Wikipedia and Biblegateway (the Bible is not representative of God as a whole). Arguments to Con because he pointed out several reasons why someone would be able to logically believe in God, and Pro was not able to effectively counter them.
Vote Placed by Josh_b 3 years ago
Josh_b
Obnoxious_NinjaMikalTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Rationality is present with Con. some sort of unresolved dilemma is with Pro. Con stayed on topic and was able to give sound reasoning for a belief in God.