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The Contender
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3 Points

This House Believes that religion is more dangerous than science

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 571 times Debate No: 67001
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




The terrorist group al-Qaeda (and others) claim to fight "in the name of God". Now as Americans, we always believed that God was on our side, but with this conflict, we are essentially fighting a War on Religion. If the terrorists didn't use God as their justification, what would they be fighting against?


I accept your debate!

I will be arguing that science is NOT more dangerous than religion. My arguments will therefore seek to either prove that science is more dangerous than religion , or at least prove that religion is no more dangerous than science.

To see what we mean by dangerous, I will show you this definition of dangerous:

'Able or likely to cause harm or injury' (1)

So we can now see that we are debating whether religion is more able or likely to cause harm or injury than science.

In regards to being more able to cause harm, I would argue that science is far more able to cause harm simply because it is a very competent epistemological framework when geared towards developing harmful weapons. In contrast, religion is simply a mental worldview. No matter how vile a particular religious belief is, it cannot actually harm people without technology that has been developed through science.

I find there is a common atheist imagining of a secular utopia where the world will be at peace due to a lack of religion. However, this is misguided. The simple fact of the matter is that people will commit acts of violence in the name of any worldview, religious or not. Be it feminism, socialism, atheism or animal-rights activism. To suggest that religion is exclusively violence-inducing is naive.

Science, whilst being essentially amoral, can be used as a tool to increase the efficiency of those intent on causing harm. So whilst science is not inherently bad, it is dangerous by virtue of the fact that it is such a deadly tool in the wrong hands. Religion, on the other hand, admittedly can be used to justify abhorrent acts. But this is as far as it goes. Without science the damage of religious extremism is limited.

To conclude, both science and religion are fundamentally good in both intention and net-utility. However, in terms of danger, science is the worse of the two.

Debate Round No. 1


Yes, science can cause controlled harm. Agreed. Accidents, weapons, etc.

But religion is a much more personal matter to many people. People who have personal problems with other people, especially terrorists / extremists, tend to be much more violent. As you know, ISIS fighters (as well as other terrorist groups) fight "in the name of God". If they weren't "fighting for God", what would they be fighting for? And would it still be so intense (referring to the conflicts). If terrorists didn't have such a fierce calling (supposedly by God) would they buy thousands of weapons to fight the United States? Would they buy heavy explosives, missiles, and rockets? Would they consider that maybe their cause wasn't worth the billions they were spending?

I am not saying that religion is exclusively violence-induced, and agreed there is more than just religion, but for the purposes of this debate, we are discussing religion and religion only.


I agree that religion is a personal matter to people, but so are many other worldviews such as feminism or patriotism. The fact that it is religious does not accentuate a worldview's tendency to invoke violence. On the contrary, surely an religion that threatens eternal punishment for killing is going to be more likely to discourage violence?

Also, I would suggest that Islamic terrorists would be violent anyway; they are just using religion as justification. It seems like it is more culturally motivated against Western globalisation. The reason I suggest this is that these terrorists only really seem to be attacking the USA and its allies and not other non-Islamic countries. Surely if their terrorism was religiously motivated they would be against all non-Islamic countries equally? Yet we do not see Islamic terrorists bombing China or Brazil, despite them both being non-Islamic. To summarise, it does not seem to be the case that the motivation for ISIS and Al Qaeda is exclusively religious.

Even if ISIS was exclusively motivated by religion then that would not mean that religion is more dangerous than science, which is what this debate is about. I do not doubt that religion has caused harm in the past, all I am arguing is that science has caused more.
Debate Round No. 2


What about the Ku Klux Klan? Maybe there isn't so much collateral damage, but the emotional damage to billions of people is, in some cases, irreparable. Science is very enclosed and controlled, religion isn't as contained. Religions radicals cause so much harm to billions.

Again, science does cause harm, but not as much as religion, emotionally and collateral.


Whilst it is true that the Ku Klux Klan was formed of mainly protestant Christians, you have not given me any reason to suggest that the Ku Klux Klan was motivated by religion. It is not vacuous to suggest that the Ku Klux Klan or some variant thereof would have arisen in a secular society. Evidence to support this is that there have been many racist organisations that were not religious, such as Nazism and the EDL.

I also don't agree that science is universally enclosed and controlled, why then would North Korea have the ability to develop nuclear weapons?

To conclude the debate, in terms of my original definition of 'dangerous', that which is capable/likely to cause harm, science is both more capable and likely to cause harm because scientifically-developed technology can make harming people very easy to do.
Religion, on the other hand, in its extreme form can cause people to wish to cause harm, but this harm would be very limited if science was not there to provide the tools to cause it. You talk about emotional damage but you haven't really provided widespread evidence of religion causing emotional damage. Sure, some extremists may have cause isolated cases of emotional damage but this pales in comparison to the harm that has caused by science.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Benjamin_Manus 2 years ago
Yes, religion and science. But it does not include socialism, communism, etc.
Posted by dontdebateme 2 years ago
"but for the purposes of this debate, we are discussing religion and religion only." - Benjamin_Manus
Then why is your debate title "religion is more dangerous than science"??
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Good debate where both conveyed good conduct. spelling and grammar is also tied, and no sources were offered by either voters other than to strengthen definitions. Therefore the only points awarded in the debate are for most convincing argument, Con argued a much stronger case to Pro, Con pointed out that science can be used to cause harm by people who practice religion and by those who don't, citing that it is science that contributes mostly to the making of dangerous weapons, Essentially this ultimately wins the debate.