The Instigator
Rob
Pro (for)
Winning
99 Points
The Contender
james94
Con (against)
Losing
48 Points

There is most likely no life after death

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 32,051 times Debate No: 193
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (51)
Votes (45)

 

Rob

Pro

My argument is simple: there isn't sufficient evidence to believe in an afterlife, so we ought not to.

The idea of an afterlife dates back to antiquated notions of a "vital spark", "spirit", or similar nonmaterial substance or energy which was supposedly responsible for animating living things. Modern science has shown that life operates through complex chemical reactions, and does not need an extra vitalistic "thing" in order to function. Bacteria do not seem to need souls in order to move about; nor do venus flytraps, jellyfish, squirrels, golden retrievers, or humans. Rather, our bodies move and function through physical processes.

Per this process-based view of life, the idea of an afterlife (i.e., some place for the "spirit" to go after the body it inhabits has shut down) is similarly antiquated. When a computer ceases functioning, we do not imagine that its software is spirited away to some heavenly programming paradise; we see no problem with the idea of that software simply "blooping" out of existence, so we should likewise have no problem with the idea of the mind ceasing to exist when its "hardware," the brain, stops functioning.

Our lives seems, then, to be limited to how long our bodies continue functioning. It would be foolish to rely upon some imagined "bonus round" of living in some otherworld, especially when doing so causes us to forget how precious, fleeting, and beautiful the real world is. Lacking a reason to assume that we are immortal, we ought to live this life to the fullest rather than ungratefully throwing it away just because it's flawed.
james94

Con

In response to what you propose ,if what you say is true than Jesus would never have been born as a human male.

If there is no life after death then here is a question ? why do people see what they call ghosts or spirits? Aren't these just figments of our imagination? I don't think so. We as humans after we die we lose 1half ounce of weight which is our spirit leaving our bodies to go to heaven or somewhere else also known as limbo to wait for the final judgement day.

Scientifically it is proven that there are written documents such as the Bible and scrolls which tell us that there is an afterlife even if there are those which do not believe this to be true. The scrolls had to be translated into english from early aramaic which is dated back to 2000 years ago.
Debate Round No. 1
Rob

Pro

I don't see what the birth of a 1st-century Palestinian Jew has to do with the nature of life. Besides which, we can't place history (or alleged history), which is ultimately just hearsay, above biology, which has reproducible experimental evidence, in reliability. It would be like trusting your uncle over trusting your eyes.

People see ghosts and spirits for the same reason we see faces in the moon, figures in constellations and clouds: we are hardwired to perceive agents even where there are none, to ascribe human traits to inanimate objects. Hence someone indistinctly seeing a trail of smoke or a shadow or even just a vague outline in the corner of their eye will frequently jump first to suspect that it's a person of some sort. When it turns out not to be a person after all, ghosts and spirits are appealed to in order to explain the initial eerie sensation of a "presence," when in reality the psychological phenomenon is quite mundane, and perfectly natural.

"We as humans after we die we lose 1half ounce of weight which is our spirit leaving our bodies" - And where is that spirit located? What is it made of? How does it interact with the rest of our bodies? Since it has mass, it must be made of atoms, molecules--what elements or particles constitute it? Why hasn't it ever been detected in hundreds of years of in-depth research?

I suppose I should stop teasing you. Your claim is erroneous, and based on a single study made by a fanatical Christian named Duncan MacDougall a century ago. His results have never been reproduced, and are not accepted by modern science due to the methodological shortcomings of MacDougall's experiment: his sample size was too small, his results were contradictory, and his endeavor was biased. In fact, if you didn't seem serious, I'd think you were making a joke by referencing his ridiculous "soul-weighing" experiment, as even most modern Christians view that silliness as nothing but a source of humor. See http://www.snopes.com... and http://en.wikipedia.org...

"to go to heaven or somewhere else" - And where is Heaven? If the soul has mass, it must be a physical substance, which means that Heaven is likewise located in the physical universe. Where? :)

"Scientifically it is proven that there are written documents such as the Bible and scrolls which tell us that there is an afterlife" - Certainly. They also tell us that Neptune is the god of the sea. What's your point? Mythology does not outweigh biology in reliability. Generally speaking, the fact that a document is old makes it less reliable, not more reliable.
james94

Con

Where do you get off claiming that there is no life after death ? Do you know where the soul goes after it leaves the body after we die ? I don't think anyone can explain that . We as humans try to find answers to these kind of questions.

The Bible has given us an indepth look at what we find is the true word of Jesus and God. John who was one of the 12 apostles saw for himself what we did not see he saw Jesus after he came back from being dead to show us that there is life after death.

There is scientific evidence that the garments that Jesus wore back then cured a man of leprocy and thus told the world that he existed 2000 years before our time . There are missionaries who are trying to let the world know that there is life after death. Do you think that divine intervention is real?

So if your claim is real what is next nothing?

Science has proven that there were patricles on these garments that can not be explained away . Leading scientists of the world have done extensive research on these garments. As evidence I propose that there is life after death .

You asked where Heaven was well look at our universe and you will find where, and what Heaven is. The vatican has the original documents which scientists and researchers have seen and authenticated they are proof that spirits and souls do exist.This is also an unknown energy we cannot explain but now know exists.
Debate Round No. 2
Rob

Pro

Read my Round-1 argument. I established there that the science does not currently acknowledge the existence of a soul; if you wish to introduce one, you will need to provide strong evidence for it first. Without a soul, there is no reason to believe that we will continue to live even after all our organic processes have ceased.

The very idea that we are alive because we have some sort of soul, or spirit, or vital spark, or magical energy flowing through us is based on the mistaken assumption that life, or consciousness, is impossible without some special "extra thing" added. But this is not what we observe in nature, either in biology or in the rest of the physical world: the notion of mystical "essences" inhabiting things in order to give them their qualities is thousands of years old, and woefully lacking in actual hard evidence.

To speak of the soul as a scientific, real-world explanation for phenomena is as absurd as appealing to the heart's capacity for reasoning or emotion, in a non-metaphoric sense. The idea that there is some magical soul hiding in us, like the idea that the heart is the seat of reason or feeling, is an ancient relic with no explanatory value and no supporting evidence.

We already know what structure in the body houses the mind (including the self, a psychological construct that is often equated with "the soul"): the brain. We know that activity in the brain correlates with activity in the mind, and see no evidence that the mind can continue operating once the brain has died. The fact that we _want_ to continue living after our brain dies doesn't mean that we actually do, I'm afraid.

Appealing to the Bible is a dead-end for you, because observation trumps history, where the two conflict. No matter how reliable an authority seems to be, he can never trump the observable world: even if the most reliable, intelligent, well-researched scientist in the world claimed that rain is made of gumdrops, or that we have souls, or that unicorns once existed, we couldn't take him at his word without hard evidence. In the same way, no matter how credible the authors of the Gospel might be (and I see no reason to believe they are much more credible than any other cultists willing to give their lives for a cause), it is irrational to allow mere human claims to define your beliefs more than the observable world around you. People are fallible (even people claiming to speak for God!); the world is not.

As for the "garments" you refer to, I don't even know what argument you're trying to make there. The fact that clothes existed 2,000 years ago proves that we have souls? Um? Unless the "particles" you speak of were soul-particles, I think you're missing the point. Jesus could very well be the greatest and most wonderful person who ever lived, and none of that would provide evidence for the existence of souls. It's simply a non sequitur.

Anyway, I've looked at our universe, and I don't see Heaven. C'mon, don't be coy, gimme a clue? :) And where are these "documents" you speak of, what are their contents? And what is this "unknown energy" you speak of (and what does it have to do with souls)? Simply using the word "scientists" over and over again without actually citing any peer-reviewed papers or names seems suspiciously like hand-waving....
james94

Con

I find that there is life after death due to the fact that it was documented in the Bible and in the scrolls of Jesus time. Also due to extensive research we as humans have found evidence showing these things.

As to the garments that Jesus wore back then , yes they were authenticated by researchers and world renowned scientists, they confirmed that the garments are real and the particles are Jesus sweat and blood from that time.

The soul or spark, or energy as you put it does exist but is not a tangible thing ,but something that we know exists. Here is a question for you ?

If the soul does not exist then why do people have Out Of Body Experiences or why is there astral travel can you explain that scientifically ? Probably not .

That just goes to show you that there is life after death .

Let me ask you this mr. Everything Scientific . Is it documented that there is not life after death? Again I ask what makes you such an authority on this subject?

I have also concluded that you are not very knowlegable about this topic, but I also know that what I cannot see does not mean that it does not exist . For example the soul or spark. The soul or spark is the light that burns deep within us.

As to what you know you obviously do not know what I am refering to well here it is . The spark that I am talking about is the soul that makes you what or who you are . As to Heaven it is right here on earth but we cannot see it .

Although we as humans cannot see it but we believe in the existance of it, which is pretty open minded if you ask me. Does that mean that it is not there if we cannot see it? No it just means that we need to open our minds up some more to these concepts.
Debate Round No. 3
51 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Tatarize 4 years ago
Tatarize
We have made life in the lab. Craig Venter made headlines last year with it.
Posted by Tatarize 4 years ago
Tatarize
Mom2aka, we haven't Craig Venter did it last year. The age of designer life has already begun.
Posted by Mom2aka 4 years ago
Mom2aka
If there wasn't some magic spark, flow of energy, or soul to living things, why have we failed to create life in the laboratory? Why do we have a moral code that transcends time and culture that is sometimes contrary to evolutionary survival? Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes forms. We are greater than the sum of our parts because even the most basic lifeforms possess something science cannot replicate.

And BTW, before anyone points to recent life creating scientist - they didn't create life from scratch....Excerpt from interview

Did you create new life?
Venter: We created a new cell. It's alive. But we didn't create life from scratch.
Posted by Mom2aka 4 years ago
Mom2aka
If there wasn't some magic spark, flow of energy, or soul to living things, why have we failed to create life in the laboratory? Why do we have a moral code that transcends time and culture that is sometimes contrary to evolutionary survival? Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes forms. We are greater than the sum of our parts because even the most basic lifeforms possess something science cannot replicate.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Do you have evidence that the bible isn't a poorly written work of fiction?
Posted by james94 9 years ago
james94
ROB you did ignore this and their is proof that there is life after death.Read the bible to understand.
Posted by Rob 9 years ago
Rob
"After all no evidence means we ought not to believe that the accuser killed anybody." - This is an absurd argument. If there's no evidence that someone killed someone else, then of course we shouldn't simply assume that he's a murderer! And if there is sufficient evidence, then we are obligated by scientific reasoning to conclude that the person is a murderer, and by our love and compassion for our fellow human beings (which depends neither upon scientific fact nor upon theological wish-fulfillment) to do everything in our power to prevent that from happening again.

"The lack of evidence does not prove or disprove that the facts should be believed in or not." - This line is nonsensical; again, no one is discussing "proof" per se, since science is probabilistic. And of course we shouldn't just believe in anything regardless of the facts; if we did so it would mean not just the end of science, but the end of society, of art, of progress, of beauty, of humanity.

"Rather the lack of information means the person must search more." - In a sense, yes. But we can't actively search equally for every possibility that lacks evidence simultaneously: there are an infinite number of possibilities lacking evidence. It therefore makes the most sense to focus on the more plausible propositions, the ones with at least a little basis in evidence, albeit while indeed keeping an open mind even to implausible possibilities.

Also, again, note that I never said otherwise anywhere in any of my posts. My argument was "There is most likely no life after death", not "We should ignore even the possibility that there might be a life after death".
Posted by Rob 9 years ago
Rob
"For all given purpose, who cares? After all, without an after-life," - Here's your error. You assume that there are no "consequences" if there is no afterlife: there are, they are just finite consequences, in this world. Someone who chooses to do good will tend to live a happier life by far than someone who harms others; it is in the best interest both of individuals and of communities and society in general to cooperate and help one another. Bringing archaic metaphysical speculation into the mix just complicates and confuses ethical issues.

In reality, an after-life demeans the meaning and importance of this life much more than a lack of one does: if there is an after-life, then this life is just "practice" and has no real significance. We might as well just cut to the chase and kill ourselves so we can see what happens next. On the other hand, if there is no afterlife, then this fleeting life of ours is precious beyond imagining, and we must not squander it if there is anything in it that we love or cherish.

"In the end, if we look at math and science as the only means by which we determine absolutes" - Strawman. When did I say such a thing? And what do you even mean by "absolutes"?

"there are no consequences in a relative world." - Of course there are. If you think that getting shot or murdered is not a consequence, then your nihilistic, life-demeaning afterlife fantasy has really distorted your sense of reality, if not destroyed it. This is the danger of assuming an afterlife: you lose perspective. An obsession with God's love can make one forgot the beauty of another human being's love; an obsession with doing right to get into the next world can make one forget to do right for its own sake; an obsession with infinite consequences makes one forget the finite; an obsession with the end of life and what might come after can make one forgot that life's value is in the living of it, not in dying. The journey, not the destination, is what should matter.
Posted by Rob 9 years ago
Rob
"Well what is truth? Evolution? Wrong. Remember it's still a theory?" - So is gravitational theory. So is plate tectonic theory. So is the germ theory of disease. Are you going to stop taking medicine because the idea that it has any curative properties is just a theory? Of course not. I've already explained quite clearly that in science, a theory is a well-supported explanatory model for a range of phenomena; it is in many ways a "superfact", an overarching unifier of disparate facts that would otherwise have little to no scientific significance.

You're confusing the scientific meaning of "theory" with the colloquial meaning; in science, to call something "just a theory" makes exactly as much sense as calling something "just a fact".

And if by "truth" you mean that you're looking for certitude, you'll never find that in science or in any other empirical endeavor. But if you're looking for near-certitude, evolutionary theory, germ theory, etc. are about as close as you can possibly get.

"Did you ever see gravity or for that matter love?" - Gravity, love, and evolution are not physical "things", so this question is nonsensical; you can see gravity, love, and evolution in the sense that you can see their effects on the physical world. (Though love is the odd man out from those three, because its "effects" are primarily psychological rather than directly physical; this means that it falls into the "soft sciences".)

"Well then, what's to believe about anything?" - I don't believe in evolution, gravity, or love because I can see some substance called "evolution," some object called "gravity," some thing called "love." I believe in them because they all have significant supporting evidence (particularly evolution, which has much more evidence than modern gravitational theory, and obviously than a psychological phenomenon like love). Science is not restricted to directly observing an object; it also means drawing highly plausible inferences from observations.
Posted by Rob 9 years ago
Rob
"Rob's argument has a fallacy based upon his first line." - There isn't any fallacy in my first line, you're just assuming too much about my beliefs because you apparently aren't familiar with the reconcilability of commonsensical epistemology with commonsensical ethics.

"I am presuming since I do not know his thoughts that he assumes that just because there is not enough evidence we ought not believe it." - Sure. Do you believe in leprechauns? Magical invisible flying cats? No? Then you agree with me, at least in most cases; my treatment of phenomena is perhaps just a bit more consistent.

"Science is not the end all testor of all truth." - Where, exactly, did I claim that it was?

"How many times has science got it wrong?" - Now _here_ is a beautiful example of a fallacy. "Science has gotten it wrong before, ergo science should not be what we use to evaluate evidence." Every knowledge-gathering endeavor has gotten things wrong before. What distinguishes science from most of them is that it is self-correcting: the reason you even know about all the things that scientists have been mistaken about is because _other_ scientists have fixed their errors! Science is cumulative knowledge: it claims neither certitude nor inerrancy, but nothing more than a humble, intellectually rigorous testing-and-explaining-and-retesting approach to learning about the world.

"Most of science if anything were based upon the accidental discoveries that human just happened to stumble upon." - That's only partly true. Three points: (1) this is a non sequitur, and doesn't support your general claim that science "gets it wrong" a lot; (2) many of these "accidental" discoveries were made by dedicated, highly-trained researchers doing important work in their field; and (3) most of science is actually mundane field work, not the sorts of dramatic, revolutionary, "accidental" discoveries that get the most headlines. Ordinary science is generally methodical, painstaking, and quite dull.
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