The Instigator
Derrida
Pro (for)
Losing
24 Points
The Contender
Jziggy
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

There is no reason to believe in God

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/21/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,465 times Debate No: 2041
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (21)
Votes (17)

 

Derrida

Pro

My argument is basically this:

1) There is no evidence for the existence of God.
(Assumed premiss to be argued about during the debate)

2) If there is no evidence for the existence of x, then there is no reason to believe in the existence of x.
(I will put an argument forth in the next paragraph)

C) There is no reason to believe in God.
(From 1 and 2)

God is here defined as a personal, supernatural creator of the universe.

When I say that there is no evidence for the existence of God, I mean that there are neither any experiences or logical arguments that make the existence of God likely or probable. Experience is any information from the outside world that comes to us through our senses, and logical argumentation is anything that can be deduced from this experience or tautologies, statements that must be true even if we don't have any experience in relation to them. Thus, experiential evidence is of the kind:
- I am looking at a tree.
And tautologies are of the kind:
- 2+2=4
or
- Something exists or nothing exists.

Since "God exists" isn't a tautology, and assuming God's existence can't be deduced through experiential evidence or other tautological statements, then there is no reason to believe in God, thus entailing weak atheism: the position that belief in God's existence has not yet been shown to be reasonable.

If there is no evidence for the existence of God, then there is no reason to believe in God. This is because, if there is no evidence for a proposition, then there is at least as much evidence for the proposition's negation. So, if there is no evidence for leprechauns, (And don't fool yourself by thinking that no-one's looking: http://www.irelandseye.com...), and someone believes in them nonetheless, then it would be reasonable to ask why they don't disbelieve in leprechauns without evidence. Surely it is more rational to believe only in things that have evidence, in which case we would be able to supply a reason for not believing in the nonexistence of such entities.

Furthermore, surely there are a set of beliefs, all of them without evidence, which are contradictory. For instance, we have no evidence for either the belief that all leprechauns that exist have beards, or the belief that all leprechauns that exist are clean-shaven. Nonetheless, we cannot believe both of these propositions at once.

Thus, given that there is no evidence that God is likely to exist, there is no reason to believe in God.

I'll leave the matter of evidence to the con, allowing them to supply anything they would grant as evidential support.
Jziggy

Con

God (IPA: /ɡɒd/) most commonly refers to the deity worshiped by followers of monotheistic and monolatrist religions, whom they believe to be the creator and overseer of the universe.[1]

Theologians have ascribed a variety of attributes to the various conceptions of God. The most common among these include omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. God has also been conceived as being incorporeal, a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".[1] These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologian philosophers, including Augustine of Hippo,[2] Al-Ghazali,[3] and Maimonides.[2] Many notable medieval philosophers developed arguments for the existence of God,[4] attempting to wrestle with the apparent contradictions implied by many of these attributes. Philosophers have developed many arguments for and against the existence of God.
Contents
[hide]

* 1 Etymology and usage
* 2 Names of God
* 3 Conceptions of God
* 4 Existence of God
* 5 Theological approaches
o 5.1 Theism and Deism
* 6 History of monotheism
o 6.1 Monotheism and pantheism
o 6.2 Dystheism and nontheism
* 7 Scientific positions regarding God
* 8 Distribution of belief in God
* 9 References
* 10 Notes
* 11 External links

Etymology and usage

Main article: God (word)

The earliest written form of the Germanic word "god" comes from the 6th century Christian Codex Argenteus. The English word itself descends from the Proto-Germanic *ǥuđan. Most linguists agree that the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form *ǵhu-t�-m was based on the root *ǵhau(ə)-, which meant either "To call" or to "invoke."

The capitalized form "God" was first used in Ulfilas' Gothic translation of the New Testament, to represent the Greek Theos.

In the English language the capitalization continues to represent a distinction between monotheistic "God" and "gods" in polytheism.[5][6] In spite of significant differences between religions such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, the Bah�'� Faith, and Judaism, the term "God" remains an English translation common to all.

The name may signify any related or similar monotheistic deities, such as the early monotheism of Akhenaten and Zoroastrianism.

Names of God

Main article: Names of God

Conceptions of God can vary widely, but the word God in English and its counterparts in other languages are normally used for all of them, such as Latinate Deus, Greek Θεός, Slavic Bog, Sanskrit Ishvara, or Arabic Allah. The same holds for Hebrew El, but in Judaism, God is also given a proper name, Yahweh, harking back to the religion's henotheistic origins. God may also be given a proper name in monotheistic currents of Hinduism which emphasize the personal nature of God (Bhakti), mostly either of Shiva, Vishnu (or Krishna) or Shakti.

It is difficult to draw a line between proper names and epitheta of God, such as the names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, the 99 Names of God in the Qur'an and the various lists of thousand names of God in Hinduism.

Conceptions of God

Main article: Conceptions of God

Detail of Sistine Chapel fresco Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo (completed 1512).
Detail of Sistine Chapel fresco Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo (completed 1512).

Conceptions of God vary widely. Theologians and philosophers have studied countless conceptions of God since the dawn of civilization. The Abrahamic conceptions of God include the trinitarian view of Christians, the Kabbalistic definition of Jewish mysticism, and the Islamic concept of God. The dharmic religions differ in their view of the divine: views of God in Hinduism vary by region, sect, and caste from monotheistic to polytheistic; the view of God in Buddhism is almost non-theist. In modern times, some more abstract concepts have been developed, such as process theology and open theism. Conceptions of God held by individual believers vary so widely that there is no clear consensus on the nature of God.[7] The contemporaneous French philosopher Michel Henry has however proposed a phenomenological approach and definition of God as phenomenological essence of Life.[citation needed]

Existence of God

Main article: Existence of God

Many arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed and rejected by philosophers, theologians, and other thinkers. In philosophical terminology, such arguments concern schools of thought on the epistemology of the ontology of God.

There are many philosophical issues concerning the existence of God. Some definitions of God are so nonspecific that it is certain that something exists that meets the definition; while other definitions are apparently self-contradictory. Arguments for the existence of God typically include metaphysical, empirical, inductive, and subjective types. Arguments against the existence of God typically include empirical, deductive, and inductive types. Conclusions reached include: "God exists and this can be proven"; "God exists, but this cannot be proven or disproven" (theism in both cases); "God does not exist" (strong atheism); "God almost certainly does not exist"[8] (de facto atheism); and "no one knows whether God exists" (agnosticism). There are numerous variations on these positions.

A recent argument for the existence of God is intelligent design, which asserts that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."[9][10][11] It is a modern form of the traditional argument from design, modified to avoid specifying the nature or identity of the designer. Its primary proponents, all of whom are associated with the Discovery Institute,[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] believe the designer to be the Abrahamic God.[19]

Theological approaches

Main article: Theology

Theologians and philosophers have ascribed a number of attributes to God, including omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, perfect goodness, divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. God has been described as incorporeal, a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the greatest conceivable being existent.[1] These attributes were all claimed to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars, including St Augustine,[2] Al-Ghazali,[4] and Maimonides.[2]

Many medieval philosophers developed arguments for the existence of God,[4] while attempting to comprehend the precise implications of God's attributes. Reconciling some of those attributes generated important philosophical problems and debates. For example, God's omniscience implies that God knows how free agents will choose to act. If God does know this, their apparent free will might be illusory, or foreknowledge does not imply predestination; and if God does not know it, God is not omniscient.[20]

The last centuries of philosophy have seen vigorous questions regarding the arguments for God's existence raised by such philosophers as Immanuel Kant, David Hume and Antony Flew, although Kant held that the argument from morality was valid. The theist response has been either to contend, like Alvin Plantinga, that faith is "properly basic"; or to take, like Richard Swinburne, the evidentialist position.[21] Some theists agree that none of the arguments for God's existence are compelling, but argue that faith is not a product of reason, but requires risk. There would be no risk, they say, if the arguments for God's existence were as solid as the laws of logic, a position summed up by Pascal as: "The heart has reasons which reason knows not of."[22]
allow for the existen
Debate Round No. 1
Derrida

Pro

Oh dear...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

I find it almost impossible to reply to my opponent's opening statement, because neither has she herself written ANYTHING original, nor does she in fact argue for her position.

If this behavior reoccurs, then I will be forced to simply answer the most popular arguments for the existence of God in my last post.

For now, however, I will simply reaffirm my position and sum up my opening argument.

For the purposes of this debate, I am arguing from a weak atheistic position, that there is no reason to believe in the existence of God.

If belief in God without evidence is rational, then why isn't disbelief in God without evidence for such a position also rational, or even belief in such things as unicorns or the FSM?

It is my opponent's burden to put forth any arguments that make the existence of God more probable than its negation, and thus make theism a reasonable position to hold.

*Throws gauntlet to Jziggy*
Jziggy

Con

<>

Who said that disbelief in god wasn't also rational? I believe that both are(somewhat, in your case)

<>

Well, there are many reasons for this. The first is that 95% percent of people in the UK and USA (its about the same in most countries) said they believe in god, whereas well under 1% said they believed in unicrons. If this many more people believe something, there is certainly a greater chance of it being true or real
. Also, many people actually claime god has spoken to them. How many claim they have seen a unicron? Surely not many over one. This also points in the direction of the existence of god.

Another point I will make is when living things are so perfectly designed how can you doubt god? There is a use for everything; eyelashes to stop dust getting in your eyes, needles on cacti to stop animals eating them for their water. Do you believe something can be so perfect just by coincidence?

You have given reasons for not having to believe in god, but can you prove he doesn't exist? I await your response with a hint of excitement.
Debate Round No. 2
Derrida

Pro

Jziggy has, to her credit, largely taken the evidentialist route, deciding to off evidence for the existence of God.

"Who said that disbelief in god wasn't also rational? I believe that both are..."

If both positions are rational, then does that mean that someone can believe the two at once? Surely it is a contradiction to believe that "God probably exists", and also that "God probably doesn't exist". To believe in one neccessitates denial of the other, but how can we deny either without evidence?

"The first is that 95% percent of people in the UK and USA (its about the same in most countries) said they believe in god, whereas well under 1% said they believed in unicrons."

One percent sounds a little steep. Or perhaps I'm just optimistic about the state of society :-(

"If this many more people believe something, there is certainly a greater chance of it being true or real"

This depends on whether or not they believe for a good reason. If so, what are their reasons? If not, then surely it's possible that many people could believe something irrationally. I find such a widespread irrationality probable, given the mistakes of the past, and the innate ability for people to rationalize the beliefs they find comforting. Also, why do large groups of people believe that God has contradictory attributes? E.G. Christians believe that God sent down His son to absolve mankind of His sins, whilst Hindus believe that God (Brahman), did no such thing. Large groups of people disagree on a wide variety of subjects, and even then the majority has been known to be wrong.

"Also, many people actually claime god has spoken to them. How many claim they have seen a unicron? Surely not many over one. This also points in the direction of the existence of god."

Again, if such revelation is to be trusted, then why do so many people recieve contradictory revelations, from Jesus to Mohammed. If we do have a mystical sense that is specially made to interpret such religious experiences, then why do we find no evidence of it? Surely it is more reasonable to suggest that religious experience is a byproduct of our five fallible senses, and perfectly normal psychological states, of which we have evidence.

"Another point I will make is when living things are so perfectly designed how can you doubt god? There is a use for everything; eyelashes to stop dust getting in your eyes, needles on cacti to stop animals eating them for their water. Do you believe something can be so perfect just by coincidence?"

The "Argument to Design" is one of the most popular arguments for theism, but I fear, ultimately flawed.
Firstly, we have a natural explanation as to why animals are adapted to their surroundings in the Theory of Evolution by natural selection and mutation. Basically, over millions of years, the DNA of animals are passed on to their offspring, but sometimes this DNA harbors mutations, which in someway alter the properties of the animal. Sometimes, these mutations are beneficial, allowing the animal to better cope with its surroundings, giving it a better chance of surviving and reproducing. If it does reproduce, then its offspring will inherit the beneficial mutation. In this way, animals with beneficial mutations live on and have children, whilst the animals without these mutations die out. So species of animals amass these mutations until they are, as Prof. Richard Dawkins calls them, 'designoid', having the appearance of being designed, because they are "in tune" with their environments, whilst they are actuallty the product of chance and the laws of nature.

There is much evidence for evolution, both macro and micro. I will put forth two lines of evidence for evolution:

1) The fossil record. There are many transitional fossils marking the speciation of various groups of animals, such as dinosaurs to birds, human ancestry from old-earth primates, and fish to tetrapods:

http://www.talkorigins.org...

http://www.talkorigins.org...

http://www.talkorigins.org...

2) Nested hierarchies. Nested hierarchies are instances where properties of animals correlate with other properties, for instance, only animals with jaws have feathers. This is because a species of animals evolved jaws, and then split into a number of different species, some of which have feathers. That no species outside the ones with jaws didn't evolve feathers is evidence for the gradual evolution of one species into another. If this phenomenon didn't occur, then we wouldn't be able to map out the phylogenetic tree, and evolution would be thrown into doubt:

http://www.talkorigins.org...

Also, the design argument is an argumentum ad ignorantiam, an appeal to ignorance. This means that it unjustly rules out the possibility that we will one day have a scientific explanation for the way the universe is. We have reason to belief that this will happen, given that science has always ben found to solve those questions for which we didn't have an answer in the past, E.G. gravity, or the properties of fire.

Finally, I would argue that, because God also appears to be very complex and intelligent, given His ability to design our universe, that He also needs a designer, or at least an explanation as to how such a vast, intelligent, purposeful being could come about.

"You have given reasons for not having to believe in god, but can you prove he doesn't exist?"

Whilst this isn't a part of the official debate topic, I see no reason why there could not be a proof of God's nonexistence, given certain kinds or definitions of God. What would need to be shown would be that such a God's properties contradicted each other.

You've probably asked me this because, in my profile, I state that I am a "strong atheist", and believe that God probably doesn't exist. Depending on how much time I have in the future, I may resolve to debate something along the lines of "God Probably doesn't exist". But that is for another day.
Jziggy

Con

Jziggy forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Defenestrator 9 years ago
Defenestrator
Pascal's Wager doesn't account for the variances in religions including within Christianity itself. If one draws out Pascal's wager to include all possibilities it would be much more complex a scenario (I've tried when I was bored at work lol).
Posted by Lenfent 9 years ago
Lenfent
Pascal's Wager is the coward's way out.
Posted by friar_zero 9 years ago
friar_zero
I believe the point is that faith is a flawed reason for believing in god. The point myself and many non-theists make is that faith is not a good reason for believing their is a god. Every person does have a choice unto themselves concerning their religious belief and choose whatever criteria they wish to come to that belief. Belief being defined as the psychological state of accepting a proposition to be true. Faith is the belief in a proposition without evidence or in the face of contrary evidence and is not a rational reason for belief in a god claim. Also, I know of few atheists who have faith that there is no god. I for one make no statement to knowledge, but say there is insufficient proof for me to accept any god claim. The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim. On top of this, one of the factors that makes the god debate so tiring is that there is zero proof that god exists and zero proof he does not exist.
Posted by iadebater 9 years ago
iadebater
There is proof in the existance of God but no proof that he doesn't exist. Also LOOK UP PASCAL'S WAGER!!!
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
"Faith isn't a good enough reason to believe in God, because I could just as easily say that I have faith that God doesn't exist. Evidence has to come in somewhere, even if only in the form of an argument that faith in one proposition is justified over faith in its negation."

You can faith that God doesn't exist .. but it really an individual's own right to have their own beliefs and own reasons for believing in something or not believing. Faith is a reason. I believe you are wrong in saying faith is not a reason to believe in God. I believe in God. My reasoning is my Faith , to me that is enough reasoning. You can't prove in anyway God doesn't exist except that you have faith that he doesn't well I have one reason to believe He does exist and that is faith. Other than faith neither side has any evidence to whether God exists or not. Faith is a valid reason.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
"Faith isn't a good enough reason to believe in God, because I could just as easily say that I have faith that God doesn't exist. Evidence has to come in somewhere, even if only in the form of an argument that faith in one proposition is justified over faith in its negation."

You can faith that God doesn't exist .. but it really an individual's own right to have their own beliefs and own reasons for believing in something or not believing. Faith is a reason. I believe you are wrong in saying faith is not a reason to believe in God. I believe in God. My reasoning is my Faith , to me that is enough reasoning. You can't prove in anyway God doesn't exist except that you have faith that he doesn't well I have one reason to believe He does exist and that is faith. Other than faith neither side has any evidence to whether God exists or not. Faith is a valid reason.
Posted by friar_zero 9 years ago
friar_zero
Collster37,
The "laws of nature" is simply the term we use to describe the workings of the universe. There are no chiseled down laws, pun intended, but simply the observations of how natural forces interact. Adaptive DNA comes from survival. Earliest organisms that lacked adaptive DNA would have died off and those more prone to beneficial mutations would have survived.

I don't think you should be involved in these discussions because you have already conceded an impassible bias by saying that "...I refuse to believe that the world, and the physical laws of nature that govern it, were not designed." You have already said that debate with you is futile and you are not open to examining the evidence. If you are going to simply shut your eyes and plug your ears I recommend you go elsewhere for religious discourse.
Posted by rshortman 9 years ago
rshortman
Agreed. I know how incredibly unpopular intelligent design is but I can't help but to think it's the one option that makes the most sense.
Posted by Derrida 9 years ago
Derrida
"Where were the laws of nature fabricated from?
Where did that adaptive DNA originate from?

I am afraid that everything has to have an origin. And I refuse to believe that the world, and the physical laws of nature that govern it, were not designed."

Surely this misses the point. In voting for a position, you're supposed to weigh up the pro's arguments against the con's, and vice versa, and not be swayed by your own personal views.

You're coming up with arguments that the con was SUPPOSED to come up with. It isn't about the position you choose, but how the debaters back it up with support.
Posted by collster37 9 years ago
collster37
<<The "Argument to Design" is one of the most popular arguments for theism, but I fear, ultimately flawed.
Firstly, we have a natural explanation as to why animals are adapted to their surroundings in the Theory of Evolution by natural selection and mutation. Basically, over millions of years, the DNA of animals are passed on to their offspring, but sometimes this DNA harbors mutations, which in someway alter the properties of the animal. Sometimes, these mutations are beneficial, allowing the animal to better cope with its surroundings, giving it a better chance of surviving and reproducing. If it does reproduce, then its offspring will inherit the beneficial mutation. In this way, animals with beneficial mutations live on and have children, whilst the animals without these mutations die out. So species of animals amass these mutations until they are, as Prof. Richard Dawkins calls them, 'designoid', having the appearance of being designed, because they are "in tune" with their environments, whilst they are actuallty the product of chance and the laws of nature.>>

Where were the laws of nature fabricated from?
Where did that adaptive DNA originate from?

I am afraid that everything has to have an origin. And I refuse to believe that the world, and the physical laws of nature that govern it, were not designed.
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