The Instigator
irreverent_god
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Ameliamk1
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The only honest view of the god debate is Agnosticism.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 734 times Debate No: 52587
Debate Rounds (5)
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irreverent_god

Pro

The proposition is really quite simple:

While the debate surrounding the existence of any god, and humanity's propensity for formulating religions around such a perceived existence is an highly emotional debate, it is of little (if any) significance in human endeavor.

Only religion and its proponents claim to speak on behalf of any deity, perceived or otherwise, and demand that lives be structured in accordance with religious philosophy and tenets. Not one religion has ever put forth a single shred of evidence for the existence of any god, nor has any been discovered.

On the converse, this does not preclude the existence of some form of 'supreme being,' simply because we have not yet come in contact with it, or discovered a path to it. While I am adamantly opposed to religion or allowing religion any influence in legislation or policy, I cannot preclude the possibility of the existence of some form of supreme being. However, this is not because of the questions that may, at present, appear to be unanswerable. This is solely and exclusively because we, as a species, have not acquired enough information to make an assertion in either direction.

The default position is disbelief, until a convincing reason for believing/disbelieving can be proposed, but the only rational answer to the question, at present, would be neutrality. I am offering believers and non-believers alike the opportunity to offer a valid reason why belief in any deity should be either in the affirmative or the negative.

Rules:
Five rounds:
1 - Acceptance, with stated premise and basis.
2 - Opening arguments for/against
3 - Rebuttal to opening arguments
4 - Second round rebuttal and further evidence (optional)
5 - Conclusion and summary.

No emotional arguments:
Feelings are not evidence, and emotional impact is not sought. Religion is irrelevant, and dogma is meaningless. Holy manuscripts, of any kind, will only be accepted as evidential if there is a conclusive connection made to substantive reality and supportable with fact. I am interested in discussing the merit of belief (one way or the other).
Ameliamk1

Con

I accept this debate, on a topic that interests me greatly.

To clarify, my position will be that both side of the argument are legitimate, and indeed honest views.

Argument Summaries

On the atheist side, the side I personally subscribe to, the belief that there is no evidence, and no ulterior reason to believe in a God immediately requires it be an honest opinion. The default position for that which we have no proof of is disbelief, not absolute neutrality or apathy. If someone were to say that they had discovered a unicorn, and yet was able to supply no form of evidence to support their claim, one must not believe it; otherwise, one would have to be neutral on every single thing that could possibly exist in the imagination. Simply because something cannot be disproved, as complete falsification of anything is logically impossible, does not mean it must be placed on even footing with the possibility of its existence. On the most basic level, everyone must be agnostic about everything, but in the order of maintaining our sanity, one must set on a position, even if it need not be permanent.

For theists, deists and the religious, while many believe what they do on faith, others are persuaded by the arguments. (Ontological, Cosmological, and so on) While they can be quite easily argued against, in simple form they are arguments, and capable of forming some support for the opinion of the religious. Therefore, they conclude that it is likely that a God exists, based on the evidence.

My opponent's proposition in this discussion stems on the misconception that neither side in the conflict possesses any ammunition. That is false. There is "evidence" to be confirmed or denied, and logically proofs for which there is much contest over. Whether these are valid or not is a topic for a different debate. When there is evidence to be had, people may, completely intellectually honestly, hold an opinion on it.

Perhaps I overdid the summary a little bit, but there is my position. Over to my opponent for opening statements.
Debate Round No. 1
irreverent_god

Pro

Thank you, Ameliamk1, for a thoughtful response. Please allow me to open by fully clarifying my position, and offering the reasons for my stance:

First, I am (obviously) Agnostic, with respect to the existence of a god.
Next, I am anti-theist, with respect to religion (opposed to theocracy). I am opposed to all religions I have ever encountered. I find them to be intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically carcinogenic. I further find them to be socially stunting, in their implementation. I fully oppose any and all legislation based on any religious 'morality.' I fully oppose any and all religious influence in our public education. I oppose any and all lobbying of our (American) government by any religious institution.

Now, on to my position on the existence of god, and its reasoning:

I went to the extreme negative end of the 'god debate' pendulum, for a number of years. However, having rethought my position, I've discovered that I had excluded too many possibilities, based on the ridiculousness of only that which, heretofore, has been offered. Thinking only logically, I compared many critical elements of decision-making, and found that my position was too 'hard-lined,' in order to be fully rational.
When a scientist sets out to investigate something, he/she must do so with an open-ended acceptance of what they might find. There can be expectations, and there can be projections (hypotheses). What there cannot be, if there is to be actual discovery, is intellectual dishonesty. This is where I run into the wall, moving into the realm of atheism... I have to be intellectually honest enough to evaluate my position, after having examined the evidence available, but also understand that that I may not even be aware of the existence of some evidence.
While I fully agree with portions of my opponent's introductory statement, I cannot make assertions of definitive existence/non-existence with full intellectual honesty (In keeping with the rules I outlined, I will not rebut anything, in this round). Like my opponent, I fully reject every single 'god' that any person or group of people has ever presented. From Yaweh/Jehova to Allah to Vishnu and on up the line to the first superstition of Pompeii's volcano god. It is clear that these gods were invented by humans, and have no substantial credibility, based on a shred of evidence for any assertion made by the followers of a single one of them. However, this does not mean that there is not some form of supreme being that is not contingent on human stupidstition (intentional), that is not defined by disingenuous 'holy' manuscript(s). That I have not encountered something does not preclude its existence. Further, that I have not encountered even EVIDENCE of something also does not preclude its existence.
Consider, for a moment, that we are speaking not of a god, but of an element that is stable, at the level of the man-made element (for example) Ununoctium. It is unlikely that we would find a stable deposit of this element, occurring naturally, anywhere in our solar system. However, the fact that we understand as much as we do about not only the nature of atoms, but the existence of other forces that would have appeared 'godly' to generations past, means that there may be conditions under which this 'man-made' element can exist, naturally. The fact that there is no evidence of this element being forged in the heart of a black hole, rather than in the heart of a blue super-giant star does not mean that this cannot be the case. The periodic table, as currently represented by our understanding, is by no means limited to its current state. Our understanding and available data is not the 'end-all, be-all' of reality; only of our reality, at present. It is the same refusal to eliminate a scientific possibility that has led me to the conclusion that I cannot RATIONALLY dismiss the possibility of the existence of other things.
While I also agree that absence of evidence IS evidence of absence, the absent evidence is only evidence of the absence of those gods that have been defined by humankind. Until the discovery of the heavier elements, there was absence of evidence of their existence. The discovery of these elements was PROOF that absence of evidence is not PROOF of absence. It is only when something has been proved, that an assertion of its factuality can be made.
Is it rational to assert that there is a god? No. Since there is no valid evidence to even suggest a god, the religious continue to search for grounds on which to infer a god. I must note, at this point, that any time that something is used to infer the existence of a god, it is always the god in which they (the individual making the inference) believes. It could not, in their estimation, be any other god. It is this, I believe, that swings people into the realm of atheism, rather than remaining in the realm of agnosticism. While I completely deny and reject every single god that has ever been presented/defined/described/asserted/worshipped by any group of humankind, this rejection is not a valid preclusion for the existence of any god.
This brings me to the final point I would like to make, for this opening statement. Much of what is discussed, here, depends greatly upon the definition of any 'god' being discussed. For the purposes of clarity, I would like to define that which I would accept (assuming having been presented with evidence of such) as a 'god':

1) A being not bound by the limitations of the laws of physics, as we understand them. This being, in order to merit the title of 'god,' would have to possess the ability to not only suspend, but alter/change the laws of physics, as we understand them.
2) A being not bound by the limitations of space and time. This being would have to be able to exist in more than one place, simultaneously, and be able to be perceived by those of us who are bound by this limitation, in conjunction.
3) A being fully capable of displaying the ability to create life. In addition to being able to suspend the laws of physics as we understand them, the ability to give life (not just reproduce, as in nature). To be able to animate organic material would, indeed, require abilities/properties that could be described by no word or concept other than 'god.'

Does such an entity exist? To my knowledge, no. To every one's knowledge, no. However, can the words, "...to my knowledge..." be rationally be removed from a reasonable answer? No. To answer the question of the existence of this entity with an unequivocal and unqualified "Yes" or "No" has, as a prerequisite, definitive knowledge of the factuality and veracity of the response. In order to have actual knowledge of the factuality of a response in one direction or the other, I would be required to have been able to submit something to a test. The agnostic position is the only position that fully recognizes the factual and evidential limitations of one's knowledge and experiential contact. I know so very little, about so very much, and I simply cannot rationally bring myself to state or assert that there is no 'god.' I can only state that the gods we (humanity) have been been presented heretofore, cannot rationally exist. I leave the adamant presumption of knowledge of things outside of my experience (and really, all of humanity) to those who just 'know' that their god exists, and requires worship.
Ameliamk1

Con

I thank my opponent for his well-put and well thought our response.

Now, we come to an interesting juncture in this debate. It seems that my opponent and I hold almost identical positions: we hold ourselves as anti-theists and atheists who perceive no convincing reason to believe in a theistic or deistic deity. However, what a person of that opinion must consider themselves is the point of our disagreement, and I hold that atheism is the proper definition for this state.

Defined: Atheist vs. Agnostic

Since both debaters have so far neglected to present a definition for agnosticism, here it is:

"The belief that there can be no proof either that God exists or that God does not exist." (1)

I use the secondary definition, as the first, strict meaning of agnosticism holds that evidence for or against God not only hasn't been found, but indeed cannot possibly exist. While this is for lenient, it would appear that it does not quite correlate with Pro's view. Instead, Pro sees his agnosticism as the inability to come to terms on either side, and so retains a neutral posture.

Now this ought to be compared to the definition of atheism, which is classically phrased "One who denies or disbelieves the existence of God" (2) Quite an extreme statement as well, I nevertheless see much more wiggle room to alter one's opinion. For me, and for most atheists, we would not say that God cannot exist, or that He absolutely does not, but instead that it is unlikely, and no attestation has yet been presented. Non-believers for the most part deny God in the sense that we reject that idea that the God hypothesis has been in any way confirmed or supported. The atheistic tenant does not mandate that God does not exist, but instead that He probably doesn't.

Allow me to provide an example. Imagine, if you will, that you arrive home one day, and your little brother informs you that an elephant just walked around your house. You walk throughout the house to assess the damage, but find none; no doors off their hinges, so broken or upturned tables, no dented walls, and no giant imprints into the floor. No evidence at all. Is it impossible that an elephant walked through your house? Probably not, but the fact that the claim goes unsupported requires one to find it so unlikely that disbelief is the only sensible reaction. Similarly, while the possibility of a deity will always remain, science has rendered the possibility so improbable that it should not be thought true, making atheism the proper view, much less an "honest" view.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Is there no evidence against God?

Part of my opponent's case, and one of his contentions, is that there is no positive evidence against God, and there may never be. He is correct in that a negative can never be proven beyond a doubt, but in kind with the elephant example, not only is their a lack of evidence, but missing evidence where evidence should be: that is to say, where signs of God should show up instead displays only scientific explanation according to the Universe's mechanical field.

For example, were there a deity, wouldn't we not have a theory about the beginning of the Universe, well backed-up by evidence? The proof of the Big Bang is not infallible, but impressive, and replaces superstition as an account of existence. (3) The same goes for abiogenesis, evolution, and the multiverse theory, and all of them mark the God hypothesis as increasingly unlikely.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, one will always be able to postulate a God into the Universe. My opponent does so, suggesting that such a being would operate outside the bounds of space, time, and known physics. I must ask him: is this likely? Likely enough to merit neutrality? I would submit that no, the explanations humanity possesses are much grander and infinitely more probable than the presence of a God, and unless that particular superstition presents, as Carl Sagan said, "extraordinary evidence", it should not be believed, nor pursued.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Both my adversary and I agree on that God isn't very likely. So why is he an agnostic? I enter that if you hold the position that the very real information known about how the Universe works is placed on equal ground with, or only a little more likely than, a deity for which there is no evidence, you may be an agnostic. But if you contend what my opponent and I do, you are an atheist. Atheism does not require any kind of certainty, it requires a single position.

Before I turn this debate over to my opponent, I would remind readers that my opponent not only has to prove that agnosticism is superior to atheism, but is also saddled with his self-appointed necessity to prove that atheism is not an "honest opinion". (I assume he means intellectual honesty)

With that said, over to my adversary.

(1) http://dictionary.search.yahoo.com...=
(2) http://dictionary.search.yahoo.com...=
(3) http://www.talkorigins.org...
Debate Round No. 2
irreverent_god

Pro

As this is the opening of the first rebuttal round, I will address statements (some incorrect) by my opponent, and rebut them. The first is a misstatement:

**Pro sees his agnosticism as the inability to come to terms on either side, and so retains a neutral posture.**

This is inaccurate . I do not see my agnosticism as the inability to come to terms with anything. I'm fully able (and prepared) to come to terms with either side (theism/atheism). However, my stance is born of the fact that there is too much that we (humanity) still do not know, having never ventured outside of our own solar system... While we posit that the same physical laws exist throughout the universe we can see, our direct exposure is limited to what amounts to less than a spec of dust, compared to the reality of an universe too vast for us to do anything more than speculate. This, in itself, speaks out loudly against any god that has ever been proposed. The possibility that I leave open is the one for the existence of an entity that has not been born of any idiotic 'holy' manuscript. There is no doubt in my mind that not one of the 'revelations' ever claimed could have been born of any divinity. The trivial 100K-250K or so years that humanity has been around on this planet is insufficient time to draw an affirmative or negative conclusion.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines atheism as follows:

a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
b : the doctrine that there is no deity
<http://www.merriam-webster.com...;

The fact is that the disbelief in a deity, not any deity specifically, is premature. Humankind simply has not come to know enough to make that statement. Further, there is 'wiggle room,' no matter what position is taken. Even reversing direction is permissible, so long as it is a conclusion drawn from honest thought. Therefore, '...the atheistic tenant...' does indeed mandate that god does not exist, by definition.

As for the example of the little brother's claim leaves many unaccounted variables:

1) How old is the little brother?
2) Is he prone to flights of fancy (superstition), or is he simply limited in his knowledge and grasp of reality/information?
3) Is the little brother fully aware of what an elephant is, or has he confused it with some other creature, small enough to fit through a standard door?
4) Could he have been speaking of a mechanical toy elephant? Was his statement investigated in that light?

Of course, so much is assumed by a fully aware reader that none of these (among other clarifying possibilities) are considered. By the same token, I must ask (in reference to the god debate), have all questions been asked, and has all avaialble information and data been received/examined. Clearly, having 'all available' data with respect to the god debate would make one omniscient... Also, once again, it is important that I reiterate that the absolute rejection and denial is absolutely the correct course of action with respect to any and all claims of revelation ever made to date. I simply recognize that I don't know enough to state, unequivocally, that there is nothing possible that is not yet known.

Next, we have an inaccurate/incomplete derivation from the elephant example:

**but in kind with the elephant example, not only is their a lack of evidence, but missing evidence where evidence should be:**

Again, this only applies to gods that have been proposed. I have already fully rejected all of those, and my opponent has rehashed proof against those claims, when none is necessary. The non-existence of those definitions has already been accepted.

**For example, were there a deity, wouldn't we not have a theory about the beginning of the Universe, well backed-up by evidence?*

If I understand my opponent's point, correctly, this intimates that the existence of some form of supreme entity would preclude the BBT. This is not necessarily correct. The existence of such a being does not necessarily preclude the BBT (beginning of the universe). The two could absolutely be absolutely correct, and are not mutually exclusive. Again, mutual exclusivity between all previously proposed gods and real science is not in question. I am only questioning the honesty of removing the possibility of the existence of something that has not yet even been posited.

**The same goes for abiogenesis, evolution, and the multiverse theory, and all of them mark the God hypothesis as increasingly unlikely.**

And all of the same rebuttals apply. All previous gods are hereby rejected. This does not (and cannot) preclude the discovery of something by future humans (assuming our technological adolescence does not destroy us).

**Despite all the evidence to the contrary, one will always be able to postulate a God into the Universe. My opponent does so, suggesting that such a being would operate outside the bounds of space, time, and known physics. I must ask him: is this likely?**

Here, I must call shenanigans! My opponent has introduced something close to a straw dummy, here. I have not postulated any god. Neither have I accepted any. However, if entities (sentient, self aware) can exist in this dimension, can we honestly assume that this is the only dimension posited that is capable of supporting life? While scientists have posited multiple dimensions, no thought has been introduced as to what a sentient being might be like, while inhabiting another dimension. While human life is the only sentient life we have encountered in our own vast universe, its existence lies within the four dimensions we are currently capable of recognizing, contacting, observing, and identifying. Does that automatically mean that life is impossible in any of the others that have been mathmatically posited? Thus, I must reply to my opponent, twice(?). However, I must complete my opponent's question, prior to answering:
A) Is this likely (in our dimension)? No. It is not likely.
B) Is this likely (in all possible dimensions)? My response to this one is the only honest answer possible (just as with the speculation of 'god'): I don't know. No one does.

**...unless that particular superstition presents, as Carl Sagan said, "extraordinary evidence", it should not be believed, nor pursued.**

Again, I am in full agreement. What I am positing is not superstition, but the possibility of an entity that is fully in keeping with the scientific realities our scientists have come to understand and have passed on to us. While I am not an extraordinary scientist, I am fully able to grasp the concepts posited by our current great minds (Tyson, Harris, Krauss, Dawkins, etc.). I trust in their intellectual honesty, when pursuing knowledge. I further agree that no 'god' should be pursued. However, there is (absolutely) nothing wrong with the occasional pondering. After all, isn't it the pondering performed by Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and all of our truly great thinking predecessors that have helped us to abolish stupidstitious religious nonsense, in the first place?

**I enter that if you hold the position that the very real information known about how the Universe works is placed on equal ground with, or only a little more likely than, a deity for which there is no evidence, you may be an agnostic.**

This statement made by my opponent appears a bit misleading. While obviously a thinker, and one with which I share (apparently) all but one position, I have to disagree with this. I have never place anything for which there is no evidence 'on equal ground' with that for which we have real evidence. Doing so is the intellectually carcinogenic endeavor of the 'creation science' lunatics seeking to infect our future generations' minds with the filth of religious nonsense. I have only posited the possibility of the existence of something outside of the confines of our currently limited contact, experience, or even our grasp. My opponent's statement would only be accurate if one who is willing to make the assessment that I have, indeed, placed those two vastly different realities in equal esteem. I have not, and never will.

**...my opponent not only has to prove that agnosticism is superior to atheism, but is also saddled with his self-appointed necessity to prove that atheism is not an "honest opinion".(I assume he means intellectual honesty)**

I must, once again, call shenanigans! Unfortunately, this debate tactic is (I believe) beneath my opponent, and I am quite sadly disappointed that it was employed. I do not need to prove agnosticism superior to atheism, and offering any edict to the audience any set of necessities for 'victory' is the type of move I would have expected from William Lane Craig (WLC vs. C Hitchens); not my esteemed opponent. While the onus is, indeed, on me to prove that agnosticism is the only honest view, I was not speaking of intellectual honesty (assumption incorrect). In my opening address, I stated that I once held the same position as my opponent. Even when I held that position, I considered myself intellectually honest. One may absolutely be intellectually hones, and incorrect. Even an intellectually honest individual is capable or error or oversight. This, specifically, is what made me come to realize that, if I was to be honest, I had to let go of the limitations of consideration I had placed upon myself, inadvertently. The one reason that I view Agnosticism as more honest than atheism, is because it takes into consideration the very fact of the vast amount of information that is assumed. Just as with the elephant analogy, too much must be assumed (for which there is no evidence, in either direction), to be anything other than Agnostic. With respect to a great many things, assuming is always the more dangerous road to take. Even if a god does exist, it cannot be assumed that such an entity would require (or even desire) worship. The possibility simply cannot be honestly ruled out. It is the position of Atheism that it already has been. This is, indeed, less honest than Agnosticism.
Ameliamk1

Con

I thank my opponent for his lucid rebuttals.

Upon reviewing the debate, I noticed a demanding hole that must be filled. God has not been defined. Now, the exact meaning of what a God would be is ambiguous, but researching it best yields "A being of supernatural powers or attributes". (1) My opponent may disagree with this if he likes, but in order to create the Universe and its inhabitants, this deity must indeed exist outside the known realms of space and time, places that we do not know exist.

What is an atheist?

Providing a definition for the term atheism, my opponent might have done well to also look up "disbelief", instead of simply insinuating that it barred any chance of variation or oscillation.

Disbelief n. Refusal or reluctance to believe. (Dictionary.com) (2)

It is of course up to the reader, but I see no reason why either of the words "refusal" or "reluctance" implies anything close to absolute, unequivocal subscription to atheism. In fact, this being what atheism is defined as matches impeccably with my opponent's views. The correct terminology for one who doubts the God hypothesis, and sees no evidence to support, is not agnostic.

God of the Gaps

Now, my adversary and I seem in even greater agreement then I previously imagined; we both not only agree that God is not especially likely, but that a God almost certainly could not exist within the known Universe. Pro calls our section of existence "a speck of dust", an apt description. However, what we have been able to discern extends far, far beyond, to the beginning of the Universe, to the creation of the planets, and even to the random coagulation of those first amino acids. Everyday, our scientific knowledge grows, and we are aware of even more that we do not know as a species. So, I must ask the question: why must we postulate a supernatural being where none is needed to fulfill our understanding?

While this seem irrelevant, Pro seems to be grasping the same straws as many theists and deists I've debated, making excuses, and cop-outs for how God could still be a reality. The fact that there have been no signs of him yet, even as our
understanding of our world grows, lends against such an entity. Allow me to get to the point. Humanity will never, ever know everything there is to know, nor will we ever be able to preclude the existence of a God. And atheists certainly don't. But to place a God in the few possible gaps which He may occupy suggests neither theism, deism, or agnosticism. Until more evidence is uncovered, the processes of the Universe will continue to be discovered, and everyday, the possibility of a deity becomes more and more improbable, as it is now. Simply because the Big Bang Theory and the God hypothesis are not totally mutually exclusive, does not render the chance even remotely more probable.This is not agnosticism.

The elephant example is a paragon of this phenomenon. My opponent's response to the story is to ask a series of inane questions that completely miss the moral, I suppose you could call it, of the story. Perhaps this little brother mistook something else for an elephant, or maybe meant a mechanical creature or other more metaphorical meaning, but this does not alter the fact that no elephant walked through the house. It is, by direct interpretation false, even if something else by meant by it. Comparatively, it could be argued that God exists in a metaphysical sense, or even a naturalistic sense, but this does not effect the conclusion: the evidence does not support the statement.

I apologize for the brevity of this response, and I am quite well occupied with school. However, I will conclude by saying that it seems to me Atheism does not exclude a deity, nor does theism guarantee it exists (although it wishes to), and their textbook definitions carry that out. In order for my opponent to prove atheism "dishonest", he would have to show that the possibility of God's existence and non-existence reside on equivalent, or essentially equivalent levels. Otherwise, he should profess atheism, not agnosticism.

Best of luck to my opponent in the comings rounds.

(1) http://dictionary.search.yahoo.com...=
(2) http://dictionary.search.yahoo.com...=
Debate Round No. 3
irreverent_god

Pro


**Upon reviewing the debate, I noticed a demanding hole that must be filled. God has not been defined. Now, the exact meaning of what a God would be is ambiguous, but researching it best yields "A being of supernatural powers or attributes". (1) My opponent may disagree with this if he likes, but in order to create the Universe and its inhabitants, this deity must indeed exist outside the known realms of space and time, places that we do not know exist.**


I defined that which would be acceted from my perspective, in Round 1. Here they are, for clarity:

1) A being not bound by the limitations of the laws of physics, as we understand them. This being, in order to merit the title of 'god,' would have to possess the ability to not only suspend, but alter/change the laws of physics, as we understand them.
2) A being not bound by the limitations of space and time. This being would have to be able to exist in more than one place, simultaneously, and be able to be perceived by those of us who are bound by this limitation, in conjunction.
3) A being fully capable of displaying the ability to create life. In addition to being able to suspend the laws of physics as we understand them, the ability to give life (not just reproduce, as in nature). To be able to animate organic material would, indeed, require abilities/properties that could be described by no word or concept other than 'god.'

I do not disagree with my opponent, on his definition. Personally, I don't see that such an entity could be possible, in our space-time, either. It seems that we are in agreement, here.

**What is an atheist?**

Given that entry 'b' of the dictionary appears to be an unequivocal statement, it must be stated that the splitting of hairs will be the ultimate result of our debate. However, it's these splitting of hairs that are the actual point of the proposal. Whether or not a perspective can be changed is not the issue. It's the perspective one holds that is the subject of the debate, upon its inception. Making the statement that there is no god is equally concrete as the statement that there is. It is an assertion. Neither statement can be made, though the con is more accurate with respect to gods that have been asserted. If the only question involved was regarding gods that have been purported, I would, indeed, be an atheist. Thus, this discussion will ultimately boil down to whether my opponent state, unequivocally, that there is no god.

**Providing a definition for the term atheism, my opponent might have done well to also look up "disbelief", instead of simply insinuating that it barred any chance of variation or oscillation.**

Again, variation or oscillation is not in question, here. This proposal was not made with respect to locking anyone into their first estimation. Else, I would still be locked into being an atheist.

**The correct terminology for one who doubts the God hypothesis, and sees no evidence to support, is not agnostic.**

I disagree. Frankly, I don't even grant the existence of any god that humanity has ever put forth the grace of an hypothesis. I see all of them as a delusion, so far. All are based on ridiculous manuscripts, make completely ignorant and fallacious assertions, and claim sole and exclusive dominion over the realm of morality as a direct correlation to their obviously invented and inane gods. However, Merriam-Webster defines agnostic as follows:

: a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not

: a person who does not believe or is unsure of something

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Dictionary dot com defines it a little differently:
1.

a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature ofthings are unknown and
unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.
disbeliever, nonbeliever, unbeliever; doubter,
skeptic, secularist, empiricist; heathen, heretic, infidel,
pagan.
2.
a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study.
3.
a person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic: Socrates was an agnostic on thesubject of immortality.
adjective
4.
of or pertaining to agnostics or their doctrines, attitudes, or beliefs.
5.
asserting the uncertainty of all claims to knowledge.
6.
holding neither of two opposing positions: If you take an agnostic view of technology, then it becomesclear that your decisions to
implement one solution or another should be driven by need.

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com...;

It would seem that the authoritative and accepted definitions of agnostic would tend to disprove my opponent's assertion on agnosticism.

**However, what we have been able to discern extends far, far beyond, to the beginning of the Universe, to the creation of the planets, and even to the random coagulation of those first amino acids. Everyday, our scientific knowledge grows, and we are aware of even more that we do not know as a species. So, I must ask the question: why must we postulate a supernatural being where none is needed to fulfill our understanding?**

While what we have been able to ascertain upholds the belief that we both accept, I must correct my opponent, one more time. I have not postulated any god. I agree that no god is needed, in order to complete any understanding of our universe. This misconception may come down to a misunderstanding of the word "postulate" (v), on the part of my opponent:

1.
to ask, demand, or claim.
2.
to claim or assume the existence or truth of, especially as a basis for reasoning or arguing.
3.
to assume without proof, or as self-evident; take for granted.
4.
Mathematics, Logic. to assume as a postulate.

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com...

In fact, I have not even inferred any god. I have only inferred a possibility, based on a current lack of information and lack of contact with the vast majority of our own universe, let alone other possible dimensions...

**Pro seems to be grasping the same straws as many theists and deists I've debated, making excuses, and cop-outs for how God could still be a reality.**

Again, incorrect. I am not grasping, but recognizing my own ignorance. I am stating my own lack of experience and contact with even our own universe, let alone anything outside of it.

**...nor will we ever be able to preclude the existence of a God. And atheists certainly don't.**

Actually, yes, atheism does preclude the existence of a god, by textbook definition. Perhaps my opponent holds a different definition in mind for what atheism truly is. Additionally, I may have been remiss in not having included the accepted, textbook definitions of both atheism and agnosticism, in the initial proposal... In any debate I undertake, I try not to deviate from accepted definitions of words. In language and communication, words are concepts in and of themselves. Each concept being conveyed requires that both sides of a discussion have the same understanding of a concept in mind, when using the same word. I sincerely hope that my opponent understands that I am, in no way, attempting to put forth any hypothesis for a god. I wish only to demonstrate that to state, unequivocally, that there is no god is a fallible statement which cannot be made honestly, taking into consideration what we do not yet know.

**My opponent's response to the story is to ask a series of inane questions that completely miss the moral, I suppose you could call it, of the story.**

That the questions posed are inane is a given. They are ridiculous minutiae, and are in no way intended to support the child's assertion of the elephant. However, the fact that the reader assumes answers to these questions, without even posing them, is the same mistake that is made, when asserting the atheist position that there
is no god. It is still, after all, an assertion.

**it could be argued that God exists in a metaphysical sense**

I honestly would not argue anything, in any metaphysical sense. When one gets into any 'abstract' sense, anything goes (so to speak)... Meanings are lost, and nothing of any substance can really be ascertained, since anything can become an 'abstraction' and given a new definition or description. The metaphysical, in this sense, is meaningless to any discussion of any import to the physical world in which humanity exists. I exist. Of that much I am certain, and I won't let another relegate me to existence in the confines of the imagination or 'dream' of another. I am physical, and I live in a physical, natural world of reality.

**I will conclude by saying that it seems to me Atheism does not exclude a deity**

I have to disagree, here. Atheism, by definition, absolutely does exclude a deity. It is agnosticism, that does not. In this sense, therefore, my opponent arguing that they are not excluding a deity removes him from the ranks of atheists, and places him firmly among the ranks of agnostics. If my opponent is willing to join us, he will be accepted with open arms (especially since we seem to agree on everything but the definition of atheism, anyway).

I will conclude with this: Inasmuch as I find the entire idea of a god both unnecessary and unwarranted, my opinion does not dictate reality. I have to admit that those things that I don't know vastly outnumber those things that I do. My not being aware of something does not preclude its existence. For this fact, alone, I must stand firmly within the confines of agnosticism.
Ameliamk1

Con

Ameliamk1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
irreverent_god

Pro

It appears that my opponent has forfeited the rebuttal, on the last round. Since I can't say whether this was due to time constraints (based on schedule comments) or because of being unaware, or for any other reason, I cannot judge the merits of any missing argument. In the interests of fairness, I will forgoe this entry, and await my opponent's latest rebuttal, if any is to be forthcoming. I will simply close my argument with what has been stated, and await my opponent. If my opponent sees fit, and has the time, he may post one last rebuttal, and close. Anything left unaddressed, at that time, will have to stand unto its own.

Ameliamk1, the floor is yours.
Ameliamk1

Con

Ameliamk1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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