The Instigator
qopel
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Would the World be better without Religion?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,396 times Debate No: 30473
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (3)

 

qopel

Pro

If the time and money used on Churches, were instead given to NASA, our world would be much more technologically advanced.

When you get sick, do you go to a doctor or just pray?
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

Opening Remarks

Pro should probably have burden of proof, as Pro and instigator.

Introduction

It would appear that Pro is affirming 'The world would be better without religion', a quite audacious stance to take. I can think of several angles by which I might negate, but for now I have decided to let Pro steer this debate. As of now, it does not appear that he has made any arguments, besides an assertion which cannot in good faith be counted. Despite that, I will address them in order that I might not be accused of dropping arguments.

Rebuttals

Contention 1. If the time and money used on Churches, were instead given to NASA, our world would be much more technologically advanced.

Reply to Contention 1. As I have already felt cause to point out, this is an unjustified assertion, although it may appear true at first sight. Despite that, it possesses more critical flaws than lack of substantiation, which I intend to point out.

Noting the resolution, 'Would the World be better without Religion', it is trivial to see that this contention is at best tenuously related. Pro supposes without warrant that money and time used on Churches can somehow be losslessly converted to NASA work, apparently ignoring the preferences most people have for retaining their money, and that the average parishoner/pastor isn't a rocket scientist. For this reason, the contention can hardly be counted in favor of affirmation.

Contention 2. When you get sick, do you go to a doctor or just pray?

Reply to Contention 2. For Pro's edification, when I get sick, I do nothing and hope the sickness just goes away. I'm still alive, so this method has been extremely successful for me so far.

Conclusion

I will permit my opponent to prepare his constructive case next round. I certainly hope that there is more to come
Debate Round No. 1
qopel

Pro

My opponent said, "Pro supposes without warrant that money and time used on Churches can somehow be losslessly converted to NASA work"

My argument was not about if money could be "losslessly" (sic), converted or not. My argument is, that the world would be a better place if religion didn't exist.

If religion never existed, the money received by Churches would not have been wasted on things like Bibles and candles. Since churches don't pay taxes, in theory, the government would have been able to collect more taxes from that money, had it been used for anything else. If the government has more tax money, it would be logical to assume that a government agency such as NASA, would have a better chance of being funded more by the extra money collected in taxes.

That being said, there are many other reasons why the world would be a better place without religion. They include, no holy wars, no witch burning, no opposition to science advancements due to religious objections (including stem cell research). No suicide bombings based on Religion. No war between Ireland and Northern Ireland. No war between Palestinians and Israel. No planes crashing into the Word Trade Center. No Spanish inquisition. I can go on...

Now as far as medicine is concerned: It is true that many illnesses, can be remedied by the human immune system alone. However, modern medicine has made major advances in more serious illnesses. These advances are not being used by certain people with deep religious convictions. Jehovah Witnesses, for example, will not go through blood transfusions, based on their religious beliefs. This can cause major consequences or even death. There have been documented cases of parents choosing to pray for their children over seeking modern medical attention.

Another reason why the world would b a better place without religion, is the better use of logic to make decisions. Humans make decisions based on what they believe. If what a person believes is based on faith, instead of evidence, the decisions based on those beliefs will be flawed. For example, a theist might believe that when they drive a car, God will protect them from an accident, no matter how careful or careless they are. This can result in them driving in a manor that isn't as safe, compared to how a person who drives believing that there are real consequences to driving without full attention given to the road.

I'd also like to point out that human rights would be better off without religion trying to ban gay marriage and legal abortions.

I look forward to see how my worthy opponent will attempt to dispute the above facts.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

Opening Remarks

I will only select a couple of lines at most from each of my opponent's arguments (ideally sufficient for identification purposes), so as not to waste my own characters. It should be noted that my opponent has provided no criterion for judging what would be 'better'.

Rebuttals

Contention 1. My argument is, that the world would be a better place if religion didn't exist.

Reply to Contention 1. I should hope so, seeing as that would appear the most direct route towards affirmation. However, the argument offered was 'If the time and money used on Churches, were instead given to NASA, our world would be much more technologically advanced.'. I attempted to take what I believed to be a charitable view, but should my opponent prefer, I could respond 'Agreed. What of it?'.

An issue I am taking with this contention is that Pro is focusing on only a small part of the picture at hand. While it is true that the Churches themselves are not taxed, the production of things purchased by the Churches (for example, the Bibles and candles mentioned by my opponent) produces tax in some fashion, whether by income tax for those involved in creation or sales tax for the actual sales of the items. They also contributes towards economic activity in a positive way. If we eliminate these institutions, we correspondingly eliminate demand for these items, eliminate the market for these items, and potentially reduce tax income. Unless Pro has some hard evidence in favor of his findings, there is no need to presume that no religion would somehow gain NASA extra funds.


Contention 2. There have been documented cases of parents choosing to pray for their children over seeking modern medical attention.

Reply to Contention 2. Were I in a slightly more devilish mood, I might inquire as to what grounds my opponent deems people surviving to be better for the world then them dying, but I shall refrain from that for the present. As I will argue in the later rebuttals of this argument, however, the less religious tend to compensate with newfound credence in supernatural affairs [1]. My opponent has provided no reason to believe that should these people become non-religious, they would suddenly have full confidence in modern medicine. After all, it didn't take a religious to conclude that vaccines cause autism [2].

Contention 3. That being said, there are many other reasons why the world would be a better place without religion.

Reply to Contention 3. As far as arguments go, I consider this one to be the most impossible to make, for the obvious reason that there is no way one can reasonably ascertain what the world would be like today without religion. Religion has impacted so many facets of life for such a long time, that it is nigh impossible to conceive of what the world would be like today had it never been, and it is certainly quite bold to claim that the world would be better.

It is functionally impossible to analyze the tornadoes caused by the wings of butterflies today, and such a task becomes even more monumental when one decides to apply it throughout all of history. My opponent's arguments on this contention amount to little more than appeals to emotion, as he has no way of telling if the world today would be better (or worse) if religion had not existed. Events do not occur in a vacuum, and the impacts of any of the things my opponent mentioned are nearly impossible to determine. Perhaps overall, they led to some positive facet of the world as we know it today coming to be. Perhaps not. I would argue that we cannot know, and this contention ought to be inadmissable.

Contention 4. Another reason why the world would b a better place without religion, is the better use of logic to make decisions.

Reply to Contention 4. There is no obvious reason to suppose this non-sequitur conclusion. It appears that my opponent would assume that every person would instantly become a paradigm of rationality were there no religions. This is unsubstantiated hypothesizing. It is just as possible that an atheist could believe that when they drive a car, they don't need to be too careful because they have mastered the art of car driving and haven't crashed yet (or something along those lines). That can have the exact same result as the scenario my opponent put forth, yet it requires no religions.

People supposing that God will bail them out of anything are behaving in a fairly irrational fashion to begin with, and there is no reason to assume that they will cease simply because they stop being religious. In fact, it has even been argued that the decline of traditional religious belief has led to increase in belief in pseudoscience and superstition [3].

Conclusion

I turn it over to my opponent.

Sources:
1. http://briefingroom.typepad.com...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://online.wsj.com...;
Debate Round No. 2
qopel

Pro

My opponent has made some very valid points.

Contention 1
I will admit that sales tax can have an affect as much as income tax can. I will, however make the
point that candles and Bibles don't make the world a better place, compared to electric lights
and science books. The free market will always sell what's in demand, and I'd rather see a world
that demands things that have greater value. Although I can't prove that NASA would actually have
more money without religion, I would at least hope that without religion, there would be a bigger demand for science.
If the 48% of those who don't accept the Big Bang, didn't have Creationism forced down their throats
at an early age, I wonder how many of them would be curious to know more about science facts.
I dare say it would be a significant amount.

Contention 2
My opponent said "I might inquire as to what grounds my opponent deems people surviving to be better
for the world then them dying". I would compare Mars, which has no provable life, to Earth, which
is full of life. Which world is better off?

My opponent said "My opponent has provided no reason to believe that should these people become
non-religious, they would suddenly have full confidence in modern medicine".
That is a false dichotomy.
I never would expect any skeptical thinker to have full confidence in anything.
Science is not always correct and it is far from perfect. However, a non-religious
person, would most likely eliminate the option of prayer, which has been proven
to be ineffective and a waste of time.

Contention 3
It's true that it would be impossible to say for sure what the outcome of things may
have been if things happened differently. However, the many horrific things that
have taken place in human history, due to religion can not be looked upon as
beneficial. For example, I'd like some evidence that mankind got any benefit
at all from witch burnings. We can look back in history and determine the benefits of
certain events. It's fair to say that science, having put a man on the moon,
benefited mankind and had we not gone there, mankind would not
have benefited from the event.

Contention 4
My opponent said "It appears that my opponent would assume that every person would instantly
become a paradigm of rationality were there no religions."
Again, my opponent is trying to use a false dichotomy. Of course, humans have emotions and don't always
use logic and reason. It's true that a driver who is overconfident can end up driving unsafe.
That has nothing to do with religious beliefs.

Conclusion:
Even though we can't eliminate all irrational
thoughts and behavior, the elimination of religious beliefs, based only on faith, would be
a giant step in the direction of reasonable thinking and behavior for mankind. That fact alone,
is proof that the world would be a better place without religion.

I want to thank my opponent ahead of time for responding and making a good argument.
I enjoyed it.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

Opening Remarks

My opponent has yet to provide some standard by which we might measure whether a given possible world is 'better' than another. As this is the last round, he is now unable to do so. This alone should secure a victory for me by default, because it renders him unable to prove a particular situation better than another.

Rebuttals

Contention 1. I will, however make the point that candles and Bibles don't make the world a better place, compared to electric lights and science books. The free market will always sell what's in demand, and I'd rather see a world that demands things that have greater value.

Reply to Contention 1. While my opponent would appear to prefer a world without religion, this contention does not directly support the idea that the world would be better without religion, as there is no criterion by which to measure something 'good', 'better', or 'best. While my opponent is free to 'hope that without religion, there would be a bigger demand for science', as he has failed to provide evidence supporting such claims, this contention cannot be seen as in affirmation of the resolution. Indeed, even were he able to show that, the lack of meaningful measuring stick would make it difficult to honestly say that bigger demands for science would be better.

Contention 2. I would compare Mars, which has no provable life, to Earth, which is full of life. Which world is better off?

Reply to Contention 2. It is difficult to tell, given our relative lack of knowledge concerning Mars. I would answer Earth, but that is nothing more than my personal opinion and is relatively inadmissable as an argument.

While my opponent remarks that they would eliminate the option of prayer, seeing as he already speaks confidently when he says that it has been proven ineffective, I do not see how he comes to the conclusion that someone who already ignores what he deems conclusive findings would be at all inclined to have any confidence in any practitioner of medicine, religion suddenly absent.

Contention 3. It's true that it would be impossible to say for sure what the outcome of things may have been if things happened differently.

Reply to Contention 3. I am not merely saying that it is impossible to say for sure, but that it is nearly (if not actually) impossible to even have a reasonable guess. My opponent has been unable to provide any evidence suggesting what the world would be like if those things had not taken place, and so he is clearly unable to show that anyone would actually be better off. It would certainly be very different, but there is no conclusive evidence either way.

Contention 4. This has nothing to do with religious beliefs.

Reply to Contention 4. As I pointed out, it has been found that the irreligious are more superstitious. I submit what I consider to be the relatively uncontroversial notion that someone who drives recklessly under the assumption that God will directly intervene and somehow save them should their life be imperiled is most probably behaving in an irrational fashion, unless God actually communicated to them His intentions to do exactly that. Barring such supernatural involvement, such a person would have already shown themselves scarcely aquainted with reason. Such a person is unlikely to become a logician should they become irreligious. Is it any better if they drive recklessly because a fortune teller they spoke to yesterday foretold they would not come to harm inside a vehicle?

Conclusion

Pro has failed to provide a standard by which we might determine if something is good or if something is bad, therefore on the most basic level there is no way for the resolution to be affirmed. In addition, he has similarly failed to supply evidence that would indicate what the world would be like without religion, which has the complicating effect of leaving us ignorant. As we neither have a way to tell what the world would be like without religion nor a metric for judging how good the possible world of which we know nothing would be, the resolution cannot be affirmed, and as such, I urge a vote for Con.

I thank my opponent for this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
I solemnly swear that henceforth I shall refrain from using the aforementioned word on DDO unless strictly necessary (as in describing the action of a vacuum-cleaner).

And it pretty much was. Granted, before the 20th century there simply wasn't the technological capacity for mass murder that evil people have at their disposal now, but both in proportion and in absolute terms, the 20th century has had the bloodiest conflicts and most repressive regimes. Mostly communist, some fascist, none theocracies. Which is not to say I espouse theocracy...or is it?

http://www.thedailybeast.com...

The Khan family had nothing on these guys. They just suck.... Damnit!
Posted by proglib 4 years ago
proglib
first, if I say I love you Trasgu, promise not to use the word "sucks", even by accident? :D LOL

Second, the 20th century was the bloodiest. love to see the reasoning behind that. [Not that I disagree, just that it is shall w say "debatable."] On a per capita basis I'm guessing [I use that word literally] that almost any century *before* the 20th was bloodier.
Posted by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
shucks, rather
Posted by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
Oh sucks
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
I love you Trasgu.
Posted by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
I guess that explains why the 20th century (the least religious) is also the bloodiest. All the nuns were throwing a fit.
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
Non violence and Non theism go together like Spider-Man underwear and a priests nose :)

2009 Global Peace Index.
Posted by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
Innocent witches? That's ridiculous!

Don't fool yourself, we're irresistible to you. You'll be back.
Posted by qopel 4 years ago
qopel
Theists: If I said the sky was blue, you would say it was red on Mars and I used the wrong interpretation of "sky". Then you'd go get some link to a BS website that would show the sky was green. If I came back with proof that it was, in fact, blue, you'd laugh and say I took it out of context. You don't care about truth. You care about how you can BS and twist things. I'm done with you.
Posted by qopel 4 years ago
qopel
Not when it comes to burning innocent people.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by proglib 4 years ago
proglib
qopelAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Total points awarded:20 
Reasons for voting decision: Voting quickly based on spelling and grammar. Will have to look more closely to vote arguments and sources.
Vote Placed by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
qopelAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I was about to award Con spelling and grammar, but you never know, perhaps when Pro mentioned driving cars in "a dangerous manor" he truly meant a huge, though perilous, house. Other than that, Con successfully argued Pro's case did not meet the burden of proof.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
qopelAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's points were complete assertions, unsourced and incoherent. Pro couldn't even advance a standard for morality by which we should judge religion, and so failed to fulfill his Burden of Proof on that level. Arguments to Con.