The Instigator
Ricky_Zahnd
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
KeytarHero
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Theism is fundamentally a danger to human society.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
KeytarHero
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/30/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,704 times Debate No: 20757
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (6)

 

Ricky_Zahnd

Pro

By engaging in this debate Con agrees to the following conditions:
1. theism = a literal belief in a creator god with some physical, tangible reality not necessarily expressible spacially.
2. the debate is not only that theism presents A danger, but that it is fundamentally more dangerous than it is beneficial - a bit more for con to work with.
3. no arguments on semantics.
4. established logical fallacies will be called and arguments containing them must be restated or dismissed.

Feel free to take a lead in the first round.
KeytarHero

Con

I would like to thank Pro for issuing this debate.

As he started the debate and is issuing an attack on Theism, he bears the burden of proof in this debate. I will make a brief opening argument describing how Theism, specifically Christianity (there are many Theistic philosophies and religions, but that is the one that I ascribe to) is not fundamentally more dangerous than it is beneficial to society. In order to win the debate, my opponent must show that Theism (the belief in a God or gods) does more harm than good.

Christianity is, at its heart, a religion of peace. Constantly through the Bible, we see that we are to love God, love our neighbor, and even love our enemies (Matthew 22:37-39, Matthew 5:43-44, et al). The Bible teaches that we are not to repay evil for evil (Romans 12:17). We are to live in peace with each other (2 Corinthians 13:11).

There have been bad people throughout history who have abused the Bible, which they supposedly believe. However, the belief system cannot be faulted if someone fails to follow it. One may call themselves a Christian or do evils in the name of God, but they are not following the tenets as laid out in the faith. Theism is not at fault for those who fail to live up to its ideals.

I look forward to Pro's response.
Debate Round No. 1
Ricky_Zahnd

Pro

I'd like to thank Con for accepting my challenge - and off we go.

C1: There is no reasonable justification for a person to believe in God.

Many religious people feel adamantly that this is not true, and use unusually crafted arguments to demonstrate this. None of those arguments stand up to logical scrutiny. In the interest of thoroughness I will attempt to brush the most commonly used of these arguments out of the way so that we might continue.

First, the principle of causality argument.

This argument posits that since no thing can come from nothing (heh), then there must be a creator [god]. [1] This argument is beset by a number of different logical fallacies – which is necessary, because it is used by people adopting a fallacious worldview that can only be justified by force, falsehood or fallacy (I'll get back to that later). The first fallacy befalling the religious principle of causality is the conjunction fallacy. [2] The conjunction fallacy occurs when an argument assumes that specific conditions are more probable than a single general one. The causality argument is guilty of this because the origin of the universe (if one must think about it that way, but we'll get back to that later) seems to be dependent on conditions related to those already explained by general relativity, simply pushed to the extremes of that theory. [3]This makes perfect sense, as the theory of relativity has been established and proven (within 0.002%) [4] based on the current condition of matter – which is vastly less extreme than the conditions of matter existing at the extremes of our own current universe (black holes for instance, are totally extreme), let alone the extremes that have existed at other times. To make the assumption that previous conditions, about which little are known, subscribed to rules totally divorced from this well established theory, is a little silly. As the classic medical saying goes, “an uncharacteristic manifestation of a common ailment is more probable than a characteristic manifestation of a rare one.” To make the leap beyond that, and assume that all laws of matter sprung into existence following a period of anarchic, lawless void at the hands of a unique, conscious being with no measurable effects on our current universe – is an assumption fully divorced from reason, and the precise definition of the conjunction fallacy. The principle of causality argument is also guilty of the appeal to probability fallacy. Both previously mentioned fallacies are formal fallacies, defined on Wikipedia as “an error in logic that can be seen in the argument's form without an understanding of the argument's content.” All fallacies of this kind are examples of non sequitur. [5]

Another religious argument presents that the universe is so astonishingly complex that it must have had an intelligent creator. Before pointing out the inherent fallacies here – I want to point out that any long series of random integers will present patterns of astonishing complexity to the observer, for the very reason that they are random. Now, the argument is essentially that anything sufficiently complex must have been created by an intelligent being; this is clearly another non sequitur. Like any non sequitur, it is self justifying, and has no logical link to its antecedent.

The last religious argument I'm going to address posits that since the world is perfectly accommodating to our species, it must have been created for us to inhabit. This argument contains both a false antecedent and a non-sequitur consequent. As for the false antecedent, the world is not perfectly accommodating to us. Yes, it is true, bananas fit our hands quite well and turn yellow when they are ripe [6], but this is not because humans need food. Bananas developed their unique characteristics over millennia of death and failure to propagate. They have developed the characteristics of being easy to eat because that is an excellent way of propagating seed – at least it was until humans developed waste treatment facilities. Likewise, humans have adapted to fit into a harsh and unforgiving world. Over many millennia our ancestors suffered and died because they did not possess the traits necessary to surmount their environmental challenges.[7] That does not sound “perfectly accommodating” to me.

It is my hope that, having hung these arguments out to dry, they may not be invoked in the debate to follow. If Con wishes to invoke them he has the burden of first disproving my criticisms.

Moving along.

C2: On human morality

Con has gifted to me the burden of proof in this debate, which I accept. In Con's opening argument, he suggests that there is some kind of balance between damage and benefit when it comes to theism. For this to be the case, however, there would have to be some kind of inherent benefit to believing in a god. There is not. Con seems to imply that love - and reflexively, morality - have something to do with theism or religion. For this to be true, morality would have to be dependent on a belief in god or adherence to a religion. In fact, morality has nothing to do with belief in god or even in a conceptual god itself. Would morality have to do with the god-given “soul”? If that were the case, non-human animals would fail to demonstrate moral influence, but they do not. [8] In fact, morality is as much a developed genetic trait as skin, scales or slime (as it were); morality is a simple reflection of kin selection (http://en.wikipedia.org...). As George price established:


This covariance equation effectively generates changes in trait occurrence in a given population. It also demonstrates effectively how altruism (i.e. morality) developed as an evolutionary trait in humans and other species. A fact one may see explained nicely here [9] In short, brotherly love and general morality developed because they advance a species' ability to propagate their genes. It's a bit more complex than “I won't attack you because you might attack me,” but – of course – so are we.

I'm running out of room, and in the interest of not springing any arguments on you late in the game, here's what will follow:

1. The necessary conditions for cooperation: class equivalence, moral and logical equivalence.

2. The dangers of subjective, egocentric belief – the threat of the “chosen.”

3. How do ideas become widely held? The function of the scientific establishment and global scientific cooperation.

C3: An egocentric worldview based on an illogical foundation is a danger to peace and cooperation.

Epistemological argument:

Holding a belief which cannot be demonstrated as true (except that one believes it) is a danger to society, and this can be demonstrated as follows.

  • In order to possess knowledge of any kind one must first possess concepts of truth and fact.
  • A concept of these terms can only exist within a universal standard of reasoned vetting, which must necessarily be based on universal terms of human perception: empiricism.
  • There can be no deviation from these terms in assessing the grounds for knowledge if any fact is ever to be known universally or agreed upon between peoples.
  • No terms or definition of 'truth' or 'fact' can exist which allows for the existence of god.
  • It is unreasonable to believe in something which cannot be established as true.
  • Not only is it therefore unreasonable to believe in god, but because of the need for universal, consistent terms in establishing truth, a belief in god disrupts the very basis of all terms of truth, resulting in an anarchic or, at best, inconsistent and inevitably hypocritical method of thought in the believer.
  • If common grounds of truth cannot be established between peoples, the door is opened for preferential treatment and supposedly moralistic abuses.
  • Therefore, theism is inherently a threat to human society.

My citations can be found on the comments page. I had to exclude them because they took up too many characters- sorry.

I eagerly await your response.

KeytarHero

Con

Again, I thank Pro for issuing this challenge.

Notice that Pro gave me the first opportunity to offer an argument, which I took, and then he completely ignored my arguments to make his own. So I push all of my opening arguments into the next round, that Theism does a lot of good in peoples' lives and leads them (if they would not already) to good as a society. Christianity is a religion of love and peace, and we are called to live in peace with each other and to help those less fortunate than ourselves. It is hard to understand how anyone would consider that to be a fundamental danger to society.

Now, it kind of pains me to do this but most of his arguments are largely irrelevant. I will respond to them now:

C1: There is no reasonable justification for a person to believe in God.

This is clearly false, especially since atheists are in the minority. [1] The vast majority of people identify with some sort of Theistic or Deistic religion. According to this gallup poll, atheists would have to tell 84% of the Earth's population they have no justification for their beliefs.

However, this debate is not about the existence for God so I will not respond to Pro's criticisms (which don't hold up to scrutiny, anyway). Since we only have two rounds and limited characters, it would only be wasting space.

C2: On human morality.

Here, Pro's argument is largely irrelevant. A God does not have to be real for believers to live in the way that God wants them to. Whether the Christian God exists or not is irrelevant to the way I choose to live my life. I believe that God exists (and there is good evidence to suggest that He does), therefore I will live my life in a way that pleases Him. If I didn't believe in God, I wouldn't necessary live my life in this way.

Pro so far has not fulfilled the burden of proof. He is simply trying to show that Christian morality has come about through Evolution, which isn't necessarily true. The reason I live my life by Christian morality is because I am a Christian and I believe God exists. While the argument from nature could be used to show why I wouldn't murder someone, it cannot be used to show why I would treat others better than myself. If my morality is nothing more than nature, I would never have a reason to keep my word, or help those less fortunate than myself, because it would be detrimental to me. Yet I freely choose to help others, sometimes even at detriment to myself. As C. S. Lewis has postulated, if our morality were simply due to "herd mentality," then the stronger impulse would always win out, which is does not. Sometimes people even risk their lives to help others, even strangers. [2]

C3: An egocentric worldview based on an illogical foundation is a danger to peace and cooperation.

Perhaps it's still early in the game, but Pro's argument fails superbly here. While we may not be able to prove a God exists empirically, beyond the shadow of a doubt, neither can we prove atheism. If Pro asserts that Theism is a fundamental danger to society because it cannot be proven, he must also reject atheism for the same reason. In fact, agnosticism and Theism are more honest positions than atheism. Let me explain.

In order to say there is no tea in China, I would have to scour every inch of China to make sure there was no tea there. But if I were to find one tea leaf, or one bag of Lipton, I would be proven wrong. In order for atheism to be true, one must be able to scour the entire universe and not find a single trace of God. This is simply impossible. Humans cannot scour every inch of the universe, certainly not at our present level of technology. However, only one piece of evidence for God is enough to disprove atheism and prove a God exists. Agnostics also take the more sensical position than atheism by simply saying we either don't know, or can't know a God exists. But atheism is the most brash position of all.

I will respond to the points of his argument.

"In order to possess knowledge of any kind one must first possess concepts of truth and fact."

I can get behind this.

"A concept of these terms can only exist within a universal standard of reasoned vetting, which must necessarily be based on universal terms of human perception: empiricism."

This is not completely true. For one thing, everyone has some concept of God. So under the terms of this point, we can conclude that a God exists because humans have some perception of God, even though we can't necessarily prove Him through the five senses. However, we do have eyewitness account of supernatural miracles, such as Jesus' resurrection (in the four Gospels). People have witnessed supernatural events.

Secondly, scientists are trying to prove things that we can't know actually exist, such as alternate dimensions and dark matter. Plus, atoms were once unknown and yet scientists were still able to prove exist. Then they thought there was nothing smaller than an atom yet one day they were able to split the atom and see what was inside. So not all things must be based on empiricism. If it were, most of what humanity has accomplished wouldn't be possible.
"There can be no deviation from these terms in assessing the grounds for knowledge if any fact is ever to be known universally or agreed upon between peoples."

This is clearly false. It was once universally accepted that the sun revolved around the Earth, yet folks like Copernicus and Galileo had the daunting task of changing the course of Astronomy as we knew it and causing us to adopt a heliocentric view of the galaxy. Scientific discoveries have to sometimes be made by "thinking outside the box."

"No terms or definition of 'truth' or 'fact' can exist which allows for the existence of god [sic]."

Again, this is clearly false. We can argue from design why the universe needs a designer. We know that things need to be designed by an intelligent being. People all through the history of humankind have accepted a belief in a god, so clearly there are terms or definitions of truth and fact which allows for the existence of God. To believe otherwise is effectively to bury your head in the sand.

"It is unreasonable to believe in something which cannot be established as true."

The existence of God can reasonably be established as true. It can't be empirically proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, but neither can the nonexistence of God.

"Not only is it therefore unreasonable to believe in god [sic]..."

This is a non sequitur. Believing in a God which cannot be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt does not disrupt the very basis of all terms of truth, and I don't believe you've shown how it can. Someone's belief in God, in most cases, makes them a better person, not a worse person. Even if they don't believe as you do, you haven't proven how believing in a God is a fundamental danger to society.

"If common grounds..."

Again, this doesn't follow. Belief in God leads most people to a great level of morality. Those who would abuse morality a religion teaches probably doesn't honestly follow that religion, they are attempting to use it to control others.

I'm not sure what preferential treatment you believe this would lead to.

"Therefore, theism is inherently a threat to human society."

You haven't adequately shown this. Simply having differing beliefs is not detrimental to society, it can actually help society because we all look at the universe in different ways. Humans were not all meant to be the same.

So far Pro's arguments have been largely irrelevant or simply don't follow from the premises. I look forward to the next round.

[1] http://www.gallup.com...;
[2] Lewis, Clive Staples, Mere Christianity, HarperCollins Books, pp. 9-10
Debate Round No. 2
Ricky_Zahnd

Pro

Thank for for your quick response!

I apologize for not putting my rebuttal at the fore, but I can assure you it is in there. You will notice it right under C2: "In Con's opening argument, he suggests..." I also apologize for not paraphrasing you directly, as that does always make it easier to notice, but you didn't seem to present any clear theses or logical progression in your opening statement - so I approached it with some vagueness. This time I will rebut first.


"Theism does a lot of good in peoples' lives and leads them to good ..." etc

This is exactly what I hoped to address under my morality condition. The "call" Con mentions is no different than that established within all humans, religious and secular, as well as many other species. It is the call of genetic imperative, and as such can not be credited to religious upbringing or training. I must refer back to my previous argument, and remind you that morality, peaceability and brotherly love have no causal relationship with theism.



As for your refutation of my C1:
"This is clearly false, especially since atheists are in the minority."

You present a fallacious rebuttal, which seems a shame as it is also your only citation published since Elvis Presley's first record. In fact, you yourself demonstrate the fallacious nature of this argument under your response to my C3, where you invoke the factually driven minority of 15th century heliocentrists (big props to my boy Copernicus). Clearly being less popular does not make you wrong. By the rules of this debate you must restate your argument in a way free of fallacy or be forced to abandon it - accepting the premise that there is no reasonable justification to believe in god.


On to C2. "A God does not have to be real for believers to live in the way that God wants them to."

This is obviously fallacious, as god would in fact have to be real for it/him to want anything. Following that, Con states:

"Whether the Christian God exists or not is irrelevant to the way I choose to live my life."


This is in fact exactly what I am arguing. You would still be you, just as good or bad as you are now, whether or not you believed in the great space ghost. After that Con suggests that evolution is not necessarily true, in direct opposition to an absolutely mind blowing amount of observational, experimental data. [2]


"While the argument from nature could be used to show why I wouldn't murder someone, it cannot be used to show why I would treat others better than myself."


Here Con demonstrates that he may not have read my argument very carefully at all. I will quote myself:

"This covariance equation... demonstrates effectively how altruism developed as an evolutionary trait...In short, brotherly love and general morality developed because they advance a species' ability to propagate their genes.It's a bit more complex than 'I won't attack you because you might attack me,' but – of course – so are we."

Looks like C.S. Lewis was wrong, but that's okay, he was still a great author.



Under C3, Con introduces the idea that atheism constitutes an absolutist belief system.

"While we may not be able to prove a God exists empirically, beyond the shadow of a doubt, neither can we prove atheism..." etc

In fact, atheism is the most reasonable position of all. Here's why: atheism posits that it doesn't make sense to hold anything as fact which cannot be demonstrated experimentally or observationally. This is an idea which Con himself seems poised to agree with in his refutation of my C3! He may himself be a nascent atheist with a poorly arranged data set. Unfortunately, Con uses another fallacy a few times in his refutation of my C3. To him, its the "tea in china" fallacy. To the rest of us, that's an onus probandi or an argument from ignorance.[3]As per the rules, Con must restate or abandon all arguments involving that fallacy. To wit, "In order to say there is no tea in China... (that whole pgh)."


To clarify, atheists do not believe that it is impossible that god exists; atheists believe that it is irrelevant.


On to the meat of my argument:

Con agrees with my first axiom.


Under Con's refutation of my second axiom, he implies that anything which humans have a concept of must be true. I'm not even going to bother explaining why this is fallacious. I would ask that he restate or abandon that argument. Con also implies that atom structure and dark matter are untestable hypotheses, which is simply false. [4]


Under Con's refutation of my third axiom, he suggests that Copernicus and Galileo were not interested in demonstrating their claims experimentally. In fact, experimental, empirical data is what separated them from the Papal geocentric astronomy.


Under Con's refutation of my fourth axiom, he employs another fallacy - one which I specifically went out of my way to strike from this debate early on. This is the implied creator argument which I demonstrated to be a nonsequitur. I would ask that he restate or abandon that refutation.


Under Con's refutation of my fifth axiom, he implies that things which cannot be proven false must be assumed true. This is again the onus probandi. Restate or abandon.


Con has claimed my sixth axiom to be a non sequitur. He failed to establish why that might be, however, claiming simply "believing in a God ... does not disrupt the very basis of all terms of truth, and I don't believe you've shown how it can. Someone's belief in God, in most cases, makes them a better person, not a worse person." My axioms themselves (combined with my C1 and C2) demonstrate this quite elegantly (hurm hurm), so I would ask simply that you review them.


As for Con's refutation of my seventh axiom, I would recommend that he reread my C2, on morality.


Now to wrap up my leftovers.


1. The necessary conditions for cooperation: class equivalence, moral and logical equivalence.


For cooperative morality to function, people must see themselves as being morally and logically equivalent. Non equivalence has been at the root or justification of every war. Ever. In order to achieve equivalence, we must all hold the same understanding of what establishes truths, as in my third axiom.


2. The dangers of subjective, egocentric belief – the threat of the “chosen.”


If any group establishes themselves to hold truths or inherent advantages over other groups, this forms a non equivalence. Theism inculcates a sense of being "chosen" in believers, which acts in this way exactly.


3. How do ideas become widely held? The function of the scientific establishment and global scientific cooperation.


Science is a wonderful tool! The scientific community is based around a set of guiding principles established in this colorful graphic: http://www.inventioninfo.info...

That methodology has combined with modern technology to birth the modern scientific community. People within that community are devoted to testing each others ideas over and over again in order to establish how likely it is that they are true! In experimental science, no idea is considered which cannot be tested experimentally to yield empirical results. The global scientific community has forged bonds which can hold even when their nations are at war! This is because the scientific method is a belief system that functions within the bounds of observational data, and forms a common class between everyone that shares it. That's everyone! Because we all have senses that we can use to experience the world.

In summation, my axioms still stand. Empiricism is the only reasonable perspective, and theism is a threat to that perspective, and, therefore, to cooperation and morality between peoples. Duly, theism is inherently a threat to society.


notes in comment again, sorry.


Important! When voting - please respect the rules set out in this debate! Any fallacious argument must be disregarded. As I do not have the privilege of landing the last blow, I will try to point out any fallacies that may be in Con's closing statement.

KeytarHero

Con

Again, thank you for issuing this challenge.

I did actually present an argument. My argument was that by believing in God, it causes many people to live better lives than if they didn't believe in atheists which, then, would also cause them to be better citizens. Therefore Theism is not a fundamental danger to society but can actually help society.

Regarding Pro's argument that morality is explained by Evolution and not by Theism, again, if it were simple "herd mentality" then the stronger impulse would always win out, but it doesn't. Many people risk their own lives to save the lives of others, people they know and even strangers. If our morality were governed by Evolution, then no one would inconvenience themselves to feed a starving person or give their lives to save someone else. In fact, Evolution would seem to indicate that we should have sex with as many people as we can to keep the species going, yet the Bible calls adultery a sin. We're only supposed to marry one person, which would go against evolutionary instinct. The Bible, and other religious texts, teach a morality which goes against human nature, such as having to abstain from sin rather than giving in to human instinct and just living however you want. Theism accounts for many people living better lives than they would, otherwise.

Now for Pro's contentions:

C1:

While being less popular does not make you wrong, necessarily, it does show that there are reasons to believe in something. If no one ever had a reason to believe in anything then they wouldn't believe in it. In fact, theologians and philosophers have been making arguments regarding the existence of God since before Jesus walked the Earth. In fact, in the book of Acts, Paul uses intellectual arguments to support the existence of God. He doesn't just use arguments from the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 17). Atheists may not be wrong just because they are in the minority, but all throughout time people have made reasoned, logical justifications for their belief in God.

C2:

First, I want to clear a misunderstand. I did not make the claim that Evolution is not true, I was saying his claim that Christian morality arose through Evolution was not necessarily true. After re-reading my argument, I can see how he would have misunderstood. My beliefs on Evolution are not on trial here, but even if Evolution can account for some sense of morality, it cannot account for all morality that Christian faith teaches, as I have already shown.
Second, yes, God would have to be real for him to want anything, but a God does not have to be real for me to believe in him. After all, many religious texts have been written by many conflicting versions of God or gods. So obviously not everyone is correct, but even the ones who worship false gods are worshiping gods that are not real, yet still following that "god's" morality. Clearly, a god does not have to be true for those who have faith in him to follow his teachings, whether teachings from a real god or teachings from someone claiming to have heard from a god who is not there.

And again, I choose to live my life according to the Bible because I believe in the Christian God. If morality were simply left up to Evolution, I would have no choice but to act upon my "evolutionary" instinct.

I did, in fact, read Pro's argument. If you're going to argue morality from Evolution, you can't just say "morality is complicated because humans are." Pro did not show how morality from Evolution can be more complicated than self-preservation morality aside from simply stating it and claiming it to be true. Look like C.S. Lewis wasn't wrong, and yes, he was a great author.

C3:

I have already shown how atheism is not a reasonable position. If we can show that God exists (as we can), all it takes it one evidence to prove it, as opposed to atheism in which you can't prove it, because you can't prove something doesn't exist unless you find something that completely contradicts it. Atheism is the "disbelief in God," so it makes no sense to say that atheists leave the possibility open they just don't believe it's worth pursuing. Some notable atheists were: One might wonder if Pro is really just agnostic with a poorly arranged data set.

As for pro's axioms:

I didn't say that whatever humans have a concept of must be true, I said that considering Pro's own axiom "a concept of these terms can only exist within a universal standard...must be based on universal terms of human perception," we can conclude that God exists because there is a universal standard by which to judge if one exists. For example, humans live and die. We are contingent beings because we have a beginning and we have an end. We cannot survive or exist on our own. There must be a Being that exists independent of itself (a Necessary Being) one that is not contingent on anything for its survival, one that has no beginning or no end for only a being greater than us and apart from us can create our race of beings, and the universe (which also has a beginning and end and must have a creator outside of itself, which is God.

Also, Pro did not respond to the scientific belief in alternate dimensions, or even parallel universes, which cannot be empirically tested but some scientists believe are there. [1]

As for his fourth axiom, I was simply addressing his argument that there can be no deviation from universally accepted terms in assessing the grounds for knowledge. It was once universally accepted that the sun revolved around the Earth but Copernicus and Galileo, through experimentation, proved them wrong.

As for his fifth axiom, I have already shown why terms or definition of "truth" or "fact" can exist which allows for the existence of God. People throughout history have been using their own human experiences to show how a God is necessary. I was not saying that which cannot be proven false must be assumed true. But that which cannot be proven false should not automatically be assumed false.
I stand by my argument, that Pro has not shown how Theism is a fundamental danger to society (or a danger at all). In fact, he doesn't even argue that God doesn't exist, merely that we can't know he exists, there's no way to prove it, so we shouldn't even try. But what if God does exist? If humanity is on a quest for knowledge and we dismiss God because we can't (at least yet) prove one exists, would this not be a fundamental danger to human society? We have been barking up the wrong galactic tree for thousands of years and will continue to do so for thousands more. Pro insinuates that believing wrong things simply because you can't prove the right ones is a fundamental danger to society. I reject this conclusion.

Now for his leftovers:

1. Again, Pro would say we should all agree on truth, even if these truths are actually false. Many people of many different faiths can agree with each other and do good in this community (for example, after a catastrophe the entire nation will band together to help those in need regardless of faith background).

2. Genuine Christians do not treat non-believers any worse than believers. We are all created by God, in His image, and so no one is any less valuable than anyone else.

3. This is not the only way in which ideas become widely held. Otherwise religions would not span the entire globe.

According to Pro's opening argument, he wasn't just trying to establish that Theism is a threat to society, but a fundamental threat to society. I have adequately shown that it is not. Pro would have us believe that all should believe the same thing, even if that thing is false, simply because we cannot prove the "truth" is correct. This seems much more of a threat to me. Many people are better people after finding "religion." In many ways, Theism is actually a friend to society, not an enemy.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ricky_Zahnd 5 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
badmutha - i was never trying to show that nasty people who do nasty things do so because of their beliefs. i think the conversation about motives is way too shifty to be legitimate. thats why i pushed aside the moral argument and tried to change the terms, e.g. "If common grounds of truth cannot be established between peoples, the door is opened for preferential treatment and supposedly moralistic abuses." So my major argument was that equality is important, and that establishing truth conditions is important for equality. if i had this one to do over i would try to make that more obvious - i think i underestimated how confusing my argument was.
Posted by BadMuthaHubbard 5 years ago
BadMuthaHubbard
Quoting Pro from Round 3:
"I must refer back to my previous argument, and remind you that morality, peaceability and brotherly love have no causal relationship with theism."

and:
"This is in fact exactly what I am arguing. You would still be you, just as good or bad as you are now, whether or not you believed in the great space ghost."

You refuted your own premise. It seems like he got you there. It was agreed you accepted the burden of proof, so you really didn't need to refute his claim to get his morality from his beliefs; you in fact were trying to show that people who do nasty things *do* do so because of their beliefs. But it is admittedly a huge burden of proof. Here you turned around and said the nice parts *don't* come from the beliefs. Didn't help.
Posted by Ricky_Zahnd 5 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
A single Vulcan tear.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
"double_r - it seems like you may not have read my debate very thoroughly. If you're interested, you might gain insight from another look."

I read your arguments as thoroughly as necessary to confidently say that Con won. In order for you to have won with your argument you would have needed to establish that belief in God is unreasonable. You did not do that and quite frankly that is an absurd notion which you really had no chance to establish in this debate. Con did not need to show that God was probable, only that belief in him was reasonable. He did that, so your argument at the very least falls to doubtful.

Con also made positive claims showing the benefits of believing in God. As I mentioned in my RFD was most notably that belief in God comes with an expectation of practicing morality. This leads many (like himself) to live their lives in ways they would not have done so before, which is directly connected to theism (unlike your alcoholics example). Based on this it is clear that Cons arguments outweighed yours, negating the resolution as you defined it in round 1.
Posted by Ricky_Zahnd 5 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
I stand by my 7 axioms as being conclusive. I imagine that it was not that he didn't notice or care, but that he DID notice that you could not counter my argument without employing further fallacy.
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
No. I didn't feel that Stephen_Hawking's vote was genuine. Someone pointed out that it was, and I accepted that.

I may have made fallacious arguments about God. But I wasn't trying to produce good ones. That wasn't the point. We weren't debating the existence of God, just whether belief in a God who may or may not exist poses a fundamental danger to society. You didn't prove it, and I pointed that out. Hawking voted purely on my use of "fallacious" arguments but didn't seem to care (or notice) that you had not sufficiently fulfilled your burden of proof.
Posted by Ricky_Zahnd 5 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
You violated the terms of this debate and I am so annoyed about it. For some reason I expected this website to be above the kind of partisan trolling that dominates the rest of the internet. That was my mistake. Why did you cross post this into the Debate Flooding forum though? Were you just trying to be obnoxious?
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Ricky, it's not appropriate to continue the debate in the comments section. Your resolution is that Theism is fundamentally a danger to human society. You didn't prove that it was and I pointed this out.
Posted by Ricky_Zahnd 5 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
"And again, I choose to live my life according to the Bible because I believe in the Christian God. If morality were simply left up to Evolution, I would have no choice but to act upon my "evolutionary" instinct."

yes, clearly the Swedes are horrible slavering animals. its a good thing we Americans aren't left to mere "evolutionary" instinct, otherwise we might do things like fund genocidal military dictatorships. wouldn't that be horrible.

"you can't just say "morality is complicated because humans are." Pro did not show how morality from Evolution can be more complicated than self-preservation morality aside from simply stating it and claiming it to be true."

here you've misquoted me and mischaracterized my argument. i made a claim and supported it with multiple citations and a mathematical proof. If that constitutes "simply stating it and claiming it to be true" I'll eat my shoes.

"Atheism is the "disbelief in God," so it makes no sense to say that atheists leave the possibility open they just don't believe it's worth pursuing."

not believing in god is different from "disbelie[ving]" in god - a perversion of the English language which implies that not having faith in something is the same as having faith in that thing's opposite. this is another fallacious argument.

"we can conclude that God exists because there is a universal standard by which to judge if one exists. For example, humans live and die. We are contingent beings because we have a beginning and we have an end. We cannot survive or exist on our own. There must be a Being that exists independent of itself (a Necessary Being) one that is not contingent on anything for its survival,"

this is an example of non sequitur. the argument appears to be that "observable reality functions based on specific characteristics that are requisite for anything to exist, therefore something that functions based on none of those characteristics must also exist." Brb, I have about a hundred sunglasses
Posted by Ricky_Zahnd 5 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
Seriously folks, this is absurd. In the agreed upon rules it states that ANY FALLACIOUS ARGUMENT MUST BE DISREGARDED. In Con's conclusion, he fails to reiterate any of the arguments I identified as fallacious. He should lose by default here. This is ridiculous.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by darceem 5 years ago
darceem
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Reasons for voting decision: Voting mostly for the sake of the point - neither presented a ruthlessly convincing argument.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro begins by claiming that theism “opens the door” for moralistic abuses, but never even attempts to establish that they actually cause this and his efforts to reach this conclusion were challenged very well by Con. Con also established benefits to society caused by theism which Pro did not adequately refute. Most notably the fact that although evolution may lead to some morality, the bible teaches morality at a much higher level. Cons arguments, even if accepted do not overcome this.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had poor arguments but in the end he emphasized how theism was not a FUNDAMENTAL danger to human society, which was enough to defeat the resolution.
Vote Placed by MasterKage 5 years ago
MasterKage
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Angelo's vote.
Vote Placed by Angelo 5 years ago
Angelo
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Reasons for voting decision: May I say I agree with previous vote?
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
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Reasons for voting decision: Keytar produced basically an argument of "how not to promote religion" with fallacies left right and centre.