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Debate Score:131
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atypican(4874) pic



Can your atheism withstand scrutiny?

In this debate I will attempt to expose the logical inconsistency of "naive atheism". I believe it is the most common form of atheism.

 

In order to begin this challenge start by answering this first question:

Is there a description of god that you find acceptable?


“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.” ~ Thomas Paine

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3 points

Does anything "not exist" to you? I'm assuming that there is nothing that you would say doesn't exist because you would say it all exists as a metaphor or in someones mind etc etc etc. Therefore, it is completely pointless to you for anyone in the world to say "x does not exist" you're always going to call them 'naive' and feel that they're missing some superior point. However, the fact is that what atheists mean when they say "I don't believe in the existence of God" is that they don't believe in the tangible God. I don't believe this makes them stupid, uneducated nor naive. They are just using the word 'exist' in the most pragmatic way.

Your way of using the word 'exist', in which I can't identify anything that doesn't exist, is not pragmatic at all.

1 point

Does anything "not exist" to you?

No. To say that there ARE THINGS that are not, is as self-contradictory a statement as they come.

I'm assuming that there is nothing that you would say doesn't exist because you would say it all exists as a metaphor or in someones mind etc etc etc.

Reality only consists of real things that exist. I know of no realm besides reality in which there are nonexistent or unreal things. Call me crazy.

Therefore, it is completely pointless to you for anyone in the world to say "x does not exist" you're always going to call them 'naive' and feel that they're missing some superior point.

I feel SO understood! I chose the word naive specifically to provoke. There is plenty of naivety to go around, and I don't think we'll be running out any time soon.

However, the fact is that what atheists mean when they say "I don't believe in the existence of God" is that they don't believe in the tangible God.

That actually helps illustrate my point. No one believes language is tangible either, yet if one were to seriously say "I don't believe language really exists", wouldn't that be a hoot?

I don't believe this makes them stupid, uneducated nor naive. They are just using the word 'exist' in the most pragmatic way.

I don't seriously mean to belittle anyone. But you kinda hafta jab a little to get people fired up enough to join the controversy. I have no doubt that I too am naive regarding many things, but I am not going to apologize for feeling like I have a valuable perspective to share on this subject.

The position that: There ARE things that ARE NOT cannot stand in light of the law of non-contradiction. If we want to talk intelligently about something not existing, we need to say where it does not exist at.

Your way of using the word 'exist', in which I can't identify anything that doesn't exist, is not pragmatic at all.

I can prove you wrong about that. Make a statement about something that you and practically everyone else on earth would agree doesn't exist.

Atrag(5553) Disputed
1 point

That actually helps illustrate my point. No one believes language is tangible either, yet if one were to seriously say "I don't believe language really exists", wouldn't that be a hoot?

Yes but it is clear when we use the term 'language' that we refer to it in its intangible form: it is an abstract concept. If we talk about something that is generally regarding as a physical being, such as God, it is acceptable to say that we don't agree in the existence of God and for it to be understood as the existence of the physical being.

If we want to talk intelligently about something not existing, we need to say where it does not exist as.

I think it is usually implied in the context.

I'm not sure I agree with your approach to this. It is interesting in what form God exists in society and what its purpose, if any, is. I'd like to debate topics on that. However, I think it is sufficient for an atheist to say that they don't believe in the existence of a tangible God, without further justification. The study of the way God exists would seem superfluous for many atheists because it doesn't effect their lives. I don't feel they need to understand how God effects society and how he exists in fiction etc etc in order to justify that they are an atheist. To me, it is like saying that an atheist who doesn't believe in vampires is naive in not investigating the history of how vampires have come to exist in popular culture.

I can prove you wrong about that. Make a statement about something that you and practically everyone else on earth would agree doesn't exist.

Child: "There is a monster in my wardrobe"

Father: "No, monsters don't exist"

Student: "'I'm going to get an A++ in my exam!"

Teacher: "No, you're not. The highest grade is A+. A++ doesn't exist"

1 point

Is there a description of god that you find acceptable?

No.

1 point

Do you agree that for a term to have legitimate meaning, that there must be something either tangible (like an object) or intangible (like an abstract concept or ideal) that the term refers to?

Coldfire(1014) Clarified
1 point

Do you agree that for a term to have legitimate meaning, that there must be something either tangible (like an object) or intangible (like an abstract concept or ideal) that the term refers to?

I agree. The term “god” would require a point of reference in order to have a legitimate meaning.

When asked “do you believe in god?”

The proper response should be “what do you mean by “god?””

Thus far no such definition of the term that I’m aware of has been provided which would warrant belief in a god’s or gods’ existence apart from a concept in a mind.

Is there a description of god that you find acceptable?

A hypothetical non-human intelligence credited as 1) the creator of all known life and 2) the ultimate arbiter of morality.

One of a group of hypothetical non-human intelligences credited as a whole with the same.

1 point

Do you think that god (like other hypotheses) is created by humans?

Not precisely. The concept of god I started with was itself hypothetical. That hypothesis would be created by humans, in the same way that hypotheses regarding, say, the big bang are created by humans. If the big bang did occur, it was not created/caused by humans. Same deal with god; if a god or gods do exist, s/he or they were not created by humans. The hypotheses regarding both, however, are human constructs.

Put more simply:

god (hypothesis) - created by man

big bang (hypothesis) - created by man

big bang (event) - if true, not created/caused by man, merely described

god (entity) - if true, not created by man, merely described

1 point

That sir, in my opinion, is a better crafted definition of the monotheist's god than what the major dictionaries have. I have to give you credit

How can I mount an assault on naive atheism with such carefully crafted statements? :)

Can you think of any possible benefits attributable to our serious entertaining of such hypothesis?

Well, it's important to state ones position clearly, and doing so generally requires careful crafting. I've had a lot of issues in the past here with being misunderstood or misinterpreted due to my wording, and I like to think I've improved in that regard :)

As far as benefits to entertaining such a hypothesis- religion seems to be a deeply seated issue for many, including many who identify as atheist. This hypothesis has spurned scientific research both by those attempting to confirm creationism and those attempting to refute it. Those examples of research that were performed correctly have assisted us in uncovering new information and insights, and I don't believe that anybody can deny that.

The best thing about the scientific method, in my opinion, is that new perspectives, new angles on investigation, and just having more minds scrutinizing a given subject are all beneficial in their own way. That aside, one must also note that the majority of the worlds population is a member of one religion or another; even if we are individually adamantly opposed to adopting such a hypothesis, there is certainly something to be said for entertaining it just for the sake of the masses, all other benefits aside.

That, and I believe that the ability to entertain an idea without necessarily adopting it is in and of itself beneficial to our ability to think critically.

1 point

Indeed I do ...

God IS love ...

God IS the creator of all life ...

God OWNS / rules and fills his creation ... yet God is Seperate from his creation

God owes man NOTHING but invites man to the next level of life - eternal life ...

God WILL ultimately make all things right ...

more on God ....... http://dadmansabode.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=751#p751

atypican(4874) Disputed
2 points

This debate is for ME to scrutinize the beliefs of self-identifying atheists. I would be happy to scrutinize your theology in a different debate if you are interested.

1 point

Is there a description of God that you find acceptable?

What do you mean? Playing it seems more to be playing semantics. I consider God to be a deity that has supreme power over the universe/forces but that is my personal definition the actual definition is the following.

1. (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.

2. (in certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

I personally am wondering what you mean by the question first.

atypican(4874) Disputed
1 point

This debate is for ME to scrutinize the beliefs of self-identifying atheists. I would be happy to scrutinize your theology in a different debate if you are interested.

1 point

Are you okay with theists and deists joining in the conversation?

Is there a description of god that you find acceptable?

Uh... not really. If I do not believe in god(s), any description of a god sounds completely ridiculous to me. There are definitions of a god though...

1 point

Do you have a belief about whether god is man-made or man is god-made?

Um... I guess I believe god is man-made.

1 point

God is whatever the believer understands it to be. I have yet to encounter one single definition of god that has any credible basis for rational support.

1 point

God is whatever the believer understands it to be.

Even if the believer understands god as a being that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, in spite of the logical impossibility of such a being in light of the existence of evil?

I have yet to encounter one single definition of god that has any credible basis for rational support.

Do you agree that for a term (like "god" for example) to have valid meaning, that there must be something either tangible (like an object) or intangible (like an abstract concept or ideal) that the term refers to?

Jace(5161) Clarified
1 point

Even if the believer understands god as a being that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, in spite of the logical impossibility of such a being in light of the existence of evil?

Yes. God is only demonstrable as an idea. I see no reason to exclude any one definition in preference of another since each is as unfounded as the next.

Do you agree that for a term (like "god" for example) to have valid meaning, that there must be something either tangible (like an object) or intangible (like an abstract concept or ideal) that the term refers to?

That depends entirely upon what you construe "valid" to mean. I think that the term should reference something, obviously, but specifically what I am less particular on so long as it is at least loosely referential to the common understanding of the term.

1 point

Which god? There are so many different gods which have really varied characteristics. There are mythological beings from other cultures that we have translated into gods, and those we have not. Is a kami a god? Is a Buddha a god? Are any of the old gods from polytheistic pagan religions gods? Or are we focused only on the Abrahamic description of God? I accept the descriptions of these gods as a part of a society's culture: a very important part.

1 point

Which god?

I leave that up to you. The question rephrased: Do you think any god has ever been described truthfully?

There are so many different gods which have really varied characteristics.

Do you understand that this means that you believe there are many gods?

There are mythological beings from other cultures that we have translated into gods, and those we have not.

Are there true statements that can or have been made about any of these (mythological beings) gods?

Is a kami a god? Is a Buddha a god? Are any of the old gods from polytheistic pagan religions gods? Or are we focused only on the Abrahamic description of God?

To answer these questions I would have to know what qualifies a being as a god. Can you tell me how to distinguish between beings who are or are not gods?

I accept the descriptions of these gods as a part of a society's culture: a very important part.

Sure me too.

Would you agree that for there to be an accurate description of any god then there must be a god to be accurately described?

1 point

I think that, because there are so many ideas of what a god is, there are different types and descriptions of gods. So there cannot be one description of the word, but many. It would probably take a lot of study and commitment to accurately lay out most of these definitions. As religion is a very personal subject, everyone sees the divine in a different light. My own opinion on the subject is a mish-mash mess of constantly colliding opinions, ideas, research and the like. I think there could be some true definitions, but I can't say for sure although I don't want to give up completely and say that an answer can't be found.

Things to swear at: using a tiny smartphone and alliteration.d be some true

1 point

I am curious to try this out. I am not sure what is meant by the term "naive atheism," but I am an atheist who finds most other atheists to be equally irrational as those they vigorously (but unskillfully) criticize. I want to submit myself to your scrutiny. First, a clarifying question. Can you help me understand what you mean by "acceptable" in your first question?

1 point

Can you help me understand what you mean by "acceptable" in your first question?

Find acceptable = deem valid, truthful, or adequate. ie, you have no serious objections concerning the quality of the description.

Swryght(161) Clarified
2 points

My position on the true nature of "God" is that it is a name for a feature of human consciousness which is usually projected outward onto mythology. Specifically, it is a construct representing the highest part of our being, that becomes manifest when a person becomes psychologically whole. It is a metaphorical, psychological reality which has often been mistaken for an ontological reality. Therefore I am an atheist in the literal sense, but I think the concept of God arises inevitably in the human mind and serves an adaptive function.

1 point

Are you ever genuinely embarrassed to admit you are atheist?

Swryght(161) Clarified
2 points

Yes! As soon as one utters that word today, the character that comes to mind is a condescending, sneering, pretentious, and fragile being who puts down thesists as a way of feeling better about him/herself. The internet is replete with these types, specifically because anonymity affords one the freedom to be vile and cruel. Even worse, these folks usually lack basic thinking skills. Rather than defeating their opponents on rational grounds, they usually rely on the same appeals to authority and ad hominem attacks typical theists use when they discuss religion. Their poster-boy is the late Christopher Hitchens, whose demeaning tone they adopt while abandoning his redeeming wit and brilliance. My biggest problem with "New Atheists" of his ilk, by the way, is their tendency to attack religion only on literalist grounds, ignoring any social, psychological or spiritual value of religion that might be retained or even improved upon. This video is a great example where Hitchens and Harris go up against some actually sophisticated religious thinkers. Rabbi Bradley Artson Shavit states several times that he agrees with every attack Harris and Hitchens make, but presents some interesting and unconventional counterpoints. Predictably, his perspective is drowned in vicious point-scoring rhetoric.

Hitchens and Harris vs. Rabbis

I suppose if I were to suspend my desire to have a meaningful conversation about the subject, I could temporarily allow the speaker to provide any old definition they please and then tell them whether I believe this item exists as described.

But sooner or later, I'll run into some dude who claims his left boot is God.

In this instance I can say that I do certainly believe that his left boot exists, provided he can present it to me in a reasonable fashion.

But as soon as I get back to my stubborn nature of preferring statements that make sense, I'm going to have to ask him what it is about this particular left boot that makes it worthy being called God. I have a left boot too, but it is not, to the best of knowledge a deity. So, unless this person demonstrates that this boot has created reality, is omni-something, or at least some for of supernatural, I feel inclined to say:

I believe your left boot exists, but I do not believe that it is God. Therefore, I do not believe in your definition of God.

So...every time someone has presented a concept of God that supposedly demonstrates properties that are worthy of being considered a diety, I find it to be a non-demonstrable entity that I do not believe in. When people try to rebrand God to fit an item that I know exists, I only believe that it is what it is demonstrated to be, and not worthy of being elevated to Godly status.

Energy, which has probably always existed and is the only thing we could qualify as eternal, as well as being behind all movement, form, interaction, thought and will be the life and death of reality, this is the closest thing to "God" that I know....except energy has never demonstrated inherent will or personality. Without these features, we are wasting a perfectly good and descriptive word like "God" as a synonym for "energy". People can play that game if they want, but I still don't believe in God.

1 point

An entity would have to be omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent to be correctly called god, according to how you understand the word god right?

MuckaMcCaw(1968) Clarified
1 point

Actually no. Those ARE commonly included in the package and I find numerous issues with them when presented. But I would not actually consider them requisite.

Omnipotence is impossible in the materiel realm. But one can conceive of an 'almighty" being simply being the most powerful being as opposed to ALL-Powerful.

Same could be said for omniscience.

Omnibenevolence is a) something CLEARLY not supported by scripture and b) kind of a screwy-ass concept when you get right down to it. I'm not sure that is a trait desirable in a deity, honestly.

So, I CAN accept a god that does not have these traits, although a proposed deity would still likely be extremely powerful and intelligent.

I cannot, however, separate God from some sort of persona and will to action. To me, this might be the only thing missing from energy (or, alternately, the universe/reality) that keeps it from fulfilling the criteria of Godhood. But that missing element has deeply important ramifications to the conversation, so it cannot be overlooked, in my opinion.

1 point

Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain- the start of living organisms from non-living matter.

The universe has not always existed. It had a start, called the Big-Bang...what caused that? Scientists have no explanations for the sudden explosion of light and matter.

Gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee will get cold, Earth rotates in the same 24 hours, speed of light is the same. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules. Then why is the universe so orderly, so reliable? This is a mystery...a kind of miracle.

Every cell of our body contains a detailed instruction code like any other computer program. A computer program is developed by humans, then who develops the code for cells? There is essentially someone intentionally constructing it.

Jesus Christ said, "I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand".

MuckaMcCaw(1968) Disputed
3 points

Although you have veered pretty far from the intended purpose of this debate and there are plenty more appropriate debates for this argument, since I found this here loaded with inaccuracies...

Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l 01101.html

http://faculty.education.illinois.edu/g-cziko/wm/05.html

We actually have examples of both systems in every stage of development in modern organisms, so we look at any given one and determine if moving to the next step would be biologically impossible by making gradual incremental changes, and as yet, there is no reason to assume it is, even considering the various independent evolutionary lines being observed.

the start of living organisms from non-living matter.

This is true on a technicality. The thing is, you actually got it right when you said "mutations and changes from and within existing organisms." Biological evolution requires life to already exist and it technically doesn't matter how it got here for the theory to still stand on its own merits. Even if God created life in the first place, the evidence STILL points to the variety in life arising due to natural selection.

What you are referring to is abiogenesis. And while this field is newer, harder and more contentious than evolution itself, plausible explanations ARE being offered, and labs around the world are working to determine which of these explanations fits within the conditions of ancient Earth, which itself is a complicated scenario to evaluate.

But simple organic molecules are abundant in nature, the laws of chemistry and physics favor complex forms under the appropriate environmental circumstances and natural selection can guide any item that can reproduce itself, regardless of whether it is alive or not. Speaking from a universal standpoint, there are a huge list of conditions that can foster this, and to say it is impossible, you would have to prove that NONE of those conditions existed ANYWHERE on Earth during the first 1.8 BILLION years or so.

Scientists have no explanations for the sudden explosion of light and matter.

That is an outright lie.

Chaotic inflation, quantum tunneling, string collision and more. while none of these can be properly demonstrated to be "Proof" as yet, they have mathematical backing and hold logically based on our current, limited, understanding of the universe. These are two advantages these hypothesis have over God.

Besides, not having an answer yet is no more evidence of God than saying "Somebody took one of my cookies. I bet it was an Elf!"

There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules.

That depends on what caused the quantum fluctuation within the singularity. You can't make an assessment of necessity until you know the nature of what you are talking about.

Every cell of our body contains a detailed instruction code like any other computer program. A computer program is developed by humans, then who develops the code for cells?

There is a difference between data and information, and "code" was never the most accurate description of DNA. Computer codes operate through electronic impulses and mathematics, genetic codes operate through chemistry. Chemical reactions happen when the environment fosters them. Cause-and-effect is required, a will to action is not.

who develops the code for cells?

The environment. Not a who, a set of consistent rules.

1 point

Is there a description of god that you find acceptable?

A social construct that evolved as a remedy for life's big problems: my life has no purpose (to go to heaven), I want to kill the guy in the neighbouring cave with my rock (I won't because I fear hell) , all my children are dying of the flu (no, God is recalling them to be his angels) etc.

1 point

You are describing god too realistically. You are attempting to talk about what god really is. This is not characteristic of naive atheism.

Atrag(5553) Disputed
1 point

what is a naive atheist then?

1 point

Yes, certain kinds of theisms are possible.  

1 point

Would you consider anyone who accepts any statements about god as being true to be a type of theist?

Is there a description of god that you find acceptable?

An image, idol, animal, or other object worshiped as divine or symbolizing a god.

1 point

Would changing the word "worshiped" to "regarded" change the meaning of your response in any significant way?

No, I was using "worshiped" in a broader sense.

1 point

Easy question. I find the deist god to be acceptable. He/She made the universe and did nothing afterwards. Most realistic.

mystar(11) Disputed
1 point

My description would be a human creation to explain things we didn't know.