The Instigator
Illumination
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Grape
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

The meaning of life

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/27/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,412 times Debate No: 10992
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (2)

 

Illumination

Pro

My beginning argument is short and sweet.
Many people have debated for centuries over the meaning of life. Every religion has its own unique point of view and ideas about the meaning of life, however I myself have come to a discovery that I have yet to have ever heard before.
I heard it in a dream and, to me, it makes perfect sense...
"The meaning of life is to give life meaning."
No matter who created us, we were created for a reason. there was meaning to our creation, and obviously it is so much more than continuing a daily repeat of our common schedule. Wake up, eat breakfast, have coffee, go to work, work, eat lunch, go back to work, come home, eat dinner, watch tv, take a shower, go to bed. And the next day the same, and the next day the same, and so on.
Any religion's ideas about the meaning of life can easily go back to this simple sentence...
"The meaning of life is to give life meaning."
Grape

Con

Thanks to my opponent and I look forward to a good debate. The meaning of life is always an interesting topic for debate as it seems each individual brings a unique perspective to the table. The main focus of my argument for this round is that my opponent's arguments are comprised largely of unsupported prepositions.

"Now matter who created us, we were created for a reason."

This presupposes:
1. We were created by a creator (or group of creators) which the word 'who' refers to.
2. Said group or individual had a reason for the act of creation.

My opponent has not provided us with a reason to believe either of these statements is true. Considering that, these claims cannot be used as evidence for anything, let alone something as profound as the meaning of life.

"There was a meaning to our creation, and obviously it is so much more than continuing a daily repeat of our common schedule..." (she goes on to provide an example of a routine, but obviously I'm not going to dispute that)

This presupposes:
1. Again, that there was a reason for our (alleged) creation
2. That it is 'obvious' that there is more to life than repeating a daily schedule

This statement also implies that the alternative to my opponent's definition of the meaning of life is that the meaning of life is to repeat a routine schedule. I fail to see how the fact that the meaning of life is not to repeat a routine schedule increases the validity of any other claim as being the meaning of life. I contend neither that the meaning of life is to give life meaning nor that it is to repeat a common schedule.

"Any religion's ideas about the meaning of life can easily go back to this simple sentence..."

My opponent has not proven that it is true that 'any' religion's ideas support her resolution. In any case, many people (including myself) do not subscribe to any religion so this argument would not apply to them. Seeing as these people are alive, the meaning of life would obviously have to apply to them.

But the core problem with the resolution is this: What argument can be provided that will cause one to believe, through evidence and logical reasoning, that the resolution is true? If I simply do not accept that life has any meaning at all, what evidence can be provided that would prove otherwise? In order to argue that something is the meaning of life, it first must be successfully argued that there is a meaning of life at all. Even if such an argument were to be successful, uncertain statements about an alleged creator and condemnation of daily routines hardly serve as adequate evidence for proving with certainly what that meaning of life would be.
Debate Round No. 1
Illumination

Pro

And thank you, my opponent, and I too look for a good debate.
You bring up good points; points that I'm sure anyone who is reading this could easily wonder.
First off, you say that by stating "No matter who created us, we were created for a reason." meaning that I presuppose that we were created by a creator, and that that creator had a reason for creating us.
However, I did not exactly say that the creator had them self had a reason to create us, only that there was a reason. I could just as easily refer back to the common belief that "everything happens for a reason", whether it be known to us or not- which in itself could be a whole other debate.
Also, perhaps it would be better if I worded it such as "No matter who (or what) created us, there was a reason/purpose- known or not- for that creation."
Also, you say that such is invalid evidence to support my conclusion.
However, that is simply a matter of opinion. we could just as easily be debating over whether or not God himself exists and neither could propose as 'perfect' evidence, even if we used the Bible itself.

Also, you say that I presuppose "That it is 'obvious' that there is more to life than repeating a daily schedule".
However, that's not exactly what I mean.
You see, the daily routine itself could play a huge part in giving our lives meaning, I simply mean that it is not the only thing in itself giving meaning to our lives, but rather playing a role in the meaning.
And so it is obvious that the alternative to my definition of the meaning of life is not at all to repeat a daily schedule. However, once again, the alternative to the meaning of life could be an entire different debate.

And you mentioned my saying that "Any religion's ideas about the meaning of life can easily go back to this simple sentence..." and feel that I did not provide support for that resolution. Well, here is an example of what I mean. In Christianity, the meaning of life is to fulfill the purpose God has set out for you/the path of life he wants you to take. Which, quite easily, is a way of saying that each individual has their own meaning to their life, which, if there were no people, there would be no purpose/meaning to life, therefore living is giving life meaning.

And now for the 'core problem.' You ask "What argument can be provided that will cause one to believe, through evidence and logical reasoning, that the resolution is true?"
Well, I could easily ask you "what argument can be provided that will cause one to believe, through evidence and logical reasoning, that the resolution is not true?"
Grape

Con

Thanks to my opponent for clearing up a few things as we never had established definitions and there were a few points that obviously could have been taken different ways.

C1: By creator, I had assumed a conscious actor which creates things, with a reason/purpose. However, even if this definition is expanded to include random forces, it doesn't support the point that there is a meaning of life. My opponent refers to what she claims is the 'common belief' that "everything happens for a reason." Therefore there must be some reason or purpose to our existence. I disagree. Why should we believe that everything must happen for a reason? Radioactive decay seems to occur for absolutely no reason at all. (1) Gravity seems to occur for absolutely no reason at all. No one seems to have any trouble accepting the fact that there is no greater meaning behind the inexplicable force that pulls objects together. The statement offered may support the resolution, but there is no reason to believe it is true.

C2: So my opponent is in fact arguing that a daily schedule provides some but not all of the meaning in life. This has nothing to do with the resolution that "The meaning of life is to give life meaning."

C3: The scope of my opponent's argument seems to have shrunk from any religion to just Christianity. The majority of the world's population does not believe in Christianity. In any case, the meaning of life in Christianity as you describe it does not match the resolution. It is not easy to see how they are the same. They are clearly two different sentences with distinctly different meanings, neither of which follows logically from the other.

C4: If there were no life, there would be no meaning to life. It does not logically follow that since there is life, there must be a meaning to life. The fact that something exists does not automatically mean it has a purpose or meaning, let alone a purpose or meaning that can be known and defined.

C5: My opponent does not seem to understand how the burden of proof works. She has claimed knowledge of a metaphysical truth of profound importance. Am I to automatically accept it as true simply because I cannot find evidence to the contrary? No. If there is no evidence supporting something's existence and no evidence supporting it's nonexistence, it is assumed that it does not exist. Nonexistent things don't go around leaving evidence of their own nonexistence. This also applies to abstract ideas, such as the resolution of this debate.

Conclusion:

My opponent has still not given us a reason to believe that the resolution is true. There is a high burden of proof when proposing that a certain metaphysical statement is true. My opponent has provided no credible evidence whatsoever that would indicate that a meaning of life even exists, let alone that it is specifically what she has proposed. It is not enough to simply say, "There is a meaning to life because there is a meaning to everything. Therefore the meaning to life is ________." There is no reason to accept any of that is true. Unless there is solid factual evidence that logically supports a claim, then said claim can simply be rejected. This is true not only of the resolution but also of any metaphysical arguments supporting it.
Debate Round No. 2
Illumination

Pro

(In reply to C1)
My opponent, you say you assumed a conscious actor which creates things. assuming can be a debater's worst enemy, I must say. You also say that my expanding my definition of creator does not support the point that there is a meaning of life. If you truly believe that, why did you take the time to question me on it if you feel my answer would not matter anyway? And perhaps you are right, perhaps it does not support my point, however it is an important detail that cannot be taken away without causing a large hole in this debate, which- I'm sure- if I had left out, you would have brought up the fact that I left it out just as you now bring it up saying it is no support. You also say gravity occurs for no reason, however without gravity I find it hard to imagine us being able to have this debate. Also, gravity is irrelevant to our debate, and does little to support your opinion.
" The statement offered may support the resolution, but there is no reason to believe it is true."
And, might I ask, what valid and supportable reason is there to believe it is not?

(In reply to C2)
Once again my opponent points out that another of my defences have nothing to do with my resolution, and once again I ask that if it had nothing to do with my resolution, why bother to take the time to challenge me on it during round one? I am sorry, opponent, but you are getting a bit repetitive in your actions.
And, once again, though my mention of the daily routine is not my point, it is an important piece of information that I feel our readers must keep in mind.

(In reply to C3)
The scope of my argument has not shrunk from any religion to only Christianity, I had simply used that religion as an example, which I am sure I stated. Before I even mentioned Christianity I was sure to say "Well, here is an example of what I mean." Really, my opponent, you must pay closer attention.
I also ask that you please explain how my two sentences relating the Christian belief to that of mine do not 'follow logically'.

(In reply to C4)
" If there were no life, there would be no meaning to life. It does not logically follow that since there is life, there must be a meaning to life."
Perhaps you are paying attention!
You seem to have discovered my point.
If there were no life, there would be no meaning to life, but there is indeed life- therefore there is a meaning to life. It's as simple as that; how is that possibly illogical?

(In reply to C5)
"If there is no evidence supporting something's existence and no evidence supporting it's nonexistence, it is assumed that it does not exist. Nonexistent things don't go around leaving evidence of their own nonexistence. This also applies to abstract ideas, such as the resolution of this debate."
And yet (once again, for example. I repeat, 'example.') the Bible was written, therefore is there not proof of God?
People fall in love, even though love is simply an abstract idea, but we both know love exists, do we not?
"Unless there is solid factual evidence that logically supports a claim, then said claim can simply be rejected. This is true not only of the resolution but also of any metaphysical arguments supporting it."
I could easily say the same of you supporting the opposite of my argument. You have no 'factual evidence' that my conclusion is untrue, therefore do you agree that your claim should simply be rejected?

Conclusion:
My opponent has still not given us a reason to believe that the resolution is not true. My opponent has, so far, been rather repetitive and a bit hypocritical. If you wish to debate with me, please pay closer attention to what I say and what you reply. I understand it can be difficult at times, but I ask that you please consider what you say and how to say it before it is actually said.
Thank you.
Grape

Con

C1: My opponent asks why I take the time to question a point if I do not feel it supports the resolution. The reason I do is because silence is consent, by ignoring this point I would have been agreed with it. Also, I fail to see why I my opponent assumed I would have brought up the possibility of a creator is I am arguing against a meaning of life. However, during this discourse my opponent revealed a critical misunderstanding of reality that explains much of this debate:

"You also say gravity occurs for no reason, however without gravity I find it hard to imagine us being able to have this debate."

Just because we are able to have this debate because of gravity does not mean that our debate is the reason for gravity. If A implies B, B does not imply A. This is a logical error called Affirming the Consequent (1). I only brought up gravity to explain that some things happen for no reason, but it seems to have revealed that my opponent does not understand cause and effect. This will be relevant to the debate later on.

The only reason I said this may support the resolution is that if we were created by a creator, there would be some justification for believing there was a meaning to life. However, it is not my responsibility to disprove this. It is not my responsibility to seek out evidence for the nonexistence of every nonexistent entity my opponent proposes if no evidence is offered in support of its existence.

C2: Again, silence is consent. If my opponent finds that fact that I dismiss irrevelevant arguments as irrevelevant than perhaps she should not offer them. As Con, I must address each argument and explain why it is either invalid or does not support the resolution. Bear in mind that this method of arguing was successful as my opponent conceded both of these points.

C3: The meaning of life in Christianity, as my opponent described it, is to follow the path that God has laid out. The resolution is that the meaning of life is to give life meaning. These are two different meanings to life that do not relate. In any case, something is not true because a religion says it is true unless you prove said religion to be true. My opponent has not demonstrated how the world's religions support the resolution.

C4: I am offended that my opponent asserts I was not paying attention. I have understand that statement perfectly and I did not discover the point, I knew what it was an I completely contradicted it.

" If there were no life, there would be no meaning to life. It does not logically follow that since there is life, there must be a meaning to life."
Perhaps you are paying attention!
You seem to have discovered my point.
If there were no life, there would be no meaning to life, but there is indeed life- therefore there is a meaning to life. It's as simple as that; how is that possibly illogical

Let:
L = life
M = meaning of life

My opponent's argument:
1. not L implies not M
2. L
3. therefore M

This is in exactly the same logical mistake as before (1). We do not know that there is a meaning to life on the basis that life life didn't exist there would be no meaning. What my opponent is attempted to argue works like this:

Suppose I decide not to build a house. If I don't build a house, the house could not be painted. Therefore, if I were to build the house it would have been painted. It denies the possibility that I could, for whatever reason, not paint the house I built. It is extremely illogical to assume that any trait a thing lacks if it does not exist, it must then possess if it does exist.

C5-1: The Bible being written is not proof of God any more than the Lord of the Rings is proof of Frodo. Love on the other hand exists tangibly as a behavioral phenomenon which we can clearly see exists. There is no evidence for the existence of God so therefore I reject it in the same way I reject your theory about the meaning of life. Love on the other hand is not an abstract idea, it definitely exists.

C5-2: My opponent contends that I need evidence to support the opposite of her resolution. I have not proposed an alternative. I am assuming that the meaning of life is nothing, that it does not exist. If I do not know what is in a box and I have no prior knowledge, context, or information, I assume it is empty. Why? Because the chances that my random assumption of what is in it is correct is extremely small. Subsequently, because I don't know what the meaning of life is, I assume there is none. How can the burden of proof be on me to proof nothing? What evidence would exist to prove nothing? I think the fact that there is no evidence would support the conclusion that there is nothing to believe it. In essence, the lack of evidence is my evidence.

Conclusion:

My opponent's first two of my opponent's arguments were not relevant. My opponent's religion argument does not agree with the resolution. In any case, my opponent has assumed that religion is universally accepted as the truth, which it is not. My opponents attempt at using logic to prove that there is a meaning to life was logically incorrect. Still, this would not have proven what the specific meaning of life was. Furthermore, my opponent still does not understand the burden of proof despite my generous attempts to explain it. One cannot simply proclaim the meaning of life an expect all others to agree if they cannot find evidence specifically disproving it. The lack of evidence IS evidence.

I do not appreciate being told that I did not pay attention to what I have reading. I have been generous toward my opponent in repeatedly trying to explain the burden of proof so my opponent can perhaps offer a proper argument. I do not look forward to another response asking me to find some evidence that specifically shows that the meaning of life is not to give life meaning. The universe is not going to spontaneously spat out information telling us everything that ISN'T the meaning of life. I could say the meaning of life is fried chicken and there isn't one shred of evidence against it, but there's not way it could be proven. Would anyone accept that as the meaning of life? Of course not, if something really is the meaning there should be evidence. However, my opponent has offered none.

Sources:
(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...

I also forget to cite a source explaining radical decay before, which is why there is a random (1) in my response. Here it is:

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Illumination

Pro

Illumination forfeited this round.
Grape

Con

My opponent has forfeited this round. All arguments extended.
Debate Round No. 4
Illumination

Pro

Illumination forfeited this round.
Grape

Con

My opponent has forfeited again. All arguments extended. Con vote strongly urged.
Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Illumination 7 years ago
Illumination
I am sorry I was unable to reply and at the moment I do not have time, however I am not giving up.
Hopefully I will be able to reply tomorrow.
Thank you and again sorry.
Posted by ThebigB 7 years ago
ThebigB
I must apologize for Illumination. She had some family matters to deal with and had to forfeit the round.
Posted by hndalama 7 years ago
hndalama
very interesting debate to read. can't wait for pro's reply
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
(Nihilism isn't a theory.)
(The Superman basically IS nihilism.)
Posted by ThebigB 7 years ago
ThebigB
Grape. You could use Nietzsche's theory of nihilism. You could also use his theory of the Overman in this debate to contend with Illumination a little more for here terms.

Just giving a little bit of friendly advice.
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
This is not a debate. This is a disillusionment.

From pure logic, Illumination loses (obviously). From excitement, he wins. So, that's why it's not a debate. It shouldn't have been one.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
"Pay attention everyone, the below is what we refer to as a cop-out :)"
You merely say this so you do not feel the need to refute. I know guys like you, Skeptic.

"But I would agree the paradox of the stone isn't the best argument that can be mounted against theism."
Obviously.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Pay attention everyone, the below is what we refer to as a cop-out :)

But I would agree the paradox of the stone isn't the best argument that can be mounted against theism.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
The paradox of the stone does not disprove God.

God is out of our reason and understanding; thus, we cannot comprehend His true nature and make up a paradox that only applies to what we know.
Posted by Grape 7 years ago
Grape
Okay I put in a few reference markers and then forgot to add my sources in at the end because I'm an idiot like that. Will just add my sources from rounds one and two in with round three.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Kenostic 7 years ago
Kenostic
IlluminationGrapeTied
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Vote Placed by ThebigB 7 years ago
ThebigB
IlluminationGrapeTied
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