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The reason a theist can never win a debate against an atheist is quiet simple actually
in Religion

By DeeDee 234 Pts
Burden of proof (also known as onus probandi in Latin) is the obligation on somebody presenting a new idea (a claim) to provide evidence to support its truth (a warrant). Once evidence has been presented, it is up to any opposing "side" to prove the evidence presented is not adequate. Burdens of proof are key to having logically valid statements: if claims were accepted without warrants, then every claim could simultaneously be claimed to be true.
Zombieguy1987Plaffelvohfen



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  • searsear 101 Pts
    The victor in any debate can be strongly influenced by the debate resolve.
    The implication of the topic title is that the resolve is about the existence of a supernatural deity. But it needn't be.

    Such debate resolve could for example instead be: "Whether or not there is a supernatural deity, does regular practice of religion benefit those that regularly practice it?"
    A theist might well "win" such a debate by taking the affirmative.

    But they're overlapping bell-curves. The happiest atheist or agnostic is likely to be happier than the saddest religionist.

    Winning such debate is not determinative. If the atheist lost the debate, that wouldn't prove there is a supernatural deity.
    PlaffelvohfenZombieguy1987
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1276 Pts
    It is a bit more complicated than that. The concept of "burden of proof" has a few different, mutually exclusive interpretations.

    Take your interpretation: someone presenting a new idea has to provide evidence to support it. But this "new idea" is new relative to the existing predominant ideas - which, in themselves, are not necessarily reasonable.
    What was the case in the Middle Ages, when the church ran everything in Europe? The predominant idea was that the god existed - theism. If someone claimed that perhaps the god did not exist, then the church members would say, "Provide the proof that the god does not exist." Since such a proof is impossible to provide, the church would declare that someone a heretic, based exactly on burden of proof.

    I define the "burden of proof" differently. I define it as the necessity to provide evidence for a non-null hypothesis. Now, what the null hypothesis must be is, to an extend, debatable - but in general, it must obey the Occam's Razor principle, that is it must be as concise as possible and to make as few assumptions as possible to explain the observations around us.

    This definition is very well illustrated by the Russell's Teapot mental experiment. Suppose someone claims that there is a teapot flying around Mars. We obviously cannot verify it to either be true or false. What is the problem here? This teapot idea is absolutely unnecessary to describe the world as we know it; it does not add anything of value to our understanding of the world, it only clutters the space of hypotheses. Hence, unless the proof of such a teapot existing is provided, this hypothesis should be discarded.

    It is the same with god. We can describe the observations down to incredible precision based on our advances in rigorous science. There is absolutely no benefit of including some supernatural being in our models, that work just fine without it. The null hypothesis is that such a being does not exist, hence the burden of proof is on those who claim otherwise.

    The problem is, not everyone agrees that the null hypothesis is what science claims. Many people disagree with science and see it as unnecessary. They think, "If the hypothesis of god's existence explains everything (and it kind of does, when you can explain anything away with 'god did it'), then what is the point of scientific hypotheses?" As such, there is no debate to be had between such people and others, because they operate on completely different sets of assumptions.
    Zombieguy1987
  • @sear

    I disagree, what defines a theist is the existential belief in a God, a revealed, omniscient, omnipotent and omni-benevolent entity,...That belief then expresses itself through religion, remember we're talking about what defines Theism, not about hypothetical benefits of any practice... That would be a whole new debate and one that wouldn't concern atheism at all because "practices" do not deal directly with the existence or non-existence of "god"... 

    The belief in a God, is the only issue that atheism directly deals with... Other ideas may be contingent to this belief but Atheism can't be said to deal with those.
    Zombieguy1987
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 183 Pts
    edited March 2
    The Atheist makes absolutely no claim by himself, his position is that the burden of proof for the Theistic claim, hasn't been met. So since atheism doesn't claim anything, he cannot have the burden of proof...

    It's funny how the word "atheist" itself got into our vocabulary as “atheist” is a term that we do not need, in the same way that we don’t need a word for someone who rejects astrology. We simply do not call people “non-astrologers.” All we need are words like “reason” and “evidence” and “common sense” and “BS” to put astrologers in their place, and so it should be with religion.
    Dee
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • searsear 101 Pts
    "It is the same with god. We can describe the observations down to incredible precision based on our advances in rigorous science." MC

    Yours is the counter-argument to Pascal's Wager *.

    "what defines a theist is the existential belief in a God, a revealed, omniscient, omnipotent and omni-benevolent entity,...That belief then expresses itself through religion" Pv

    For some. But their theological error does not invalidate my undeniable truth / proof.

    "The belief in a God, is the only issue that atheism directly deals with..." Pv

    In the negative perhaps.
     I'm not wild about the notion of defining myself in the negative.
     Atheists define themselves according to what they do not believe.
     Agnostics simply confess their ignorance.

     * PASCAL's WAGER: If there is a punitive god, professing faith entitles eternal sanctuary. If not, having professed such faith has no eternal penalty. Pascal's metaphysical cost / benefit analysis concludes: faith merits over atheism in the proportion eternity towers over a single lifetime.

    PlaffelvohfenZombieguy1987Dee
  • @sear
    But their theological error does not invalidate my undeniable truth / proof
    Atheists define themselves according to what they do not believe.

    Zombieguy1987Dee
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • I'm not going to weigh in on this particular debate but I am happy to see this site begin to take up the more structured styles of debate under the rules the greeks envisioned
    PlaffelvohfenZombieguy1987Dee
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1276 Pts
    edited March 2
    @sear

    Pascal's Wager is a logical fallacy. It assumes one specific outcome for the believers and one specific outcome for non-believers, leaving out the continuum of other possible outcomes.

    It is possible, for example, that if the god exists, then he punishes all believers for being so easy to manipulate, while rewarding all non-believers for thinking for themselves. Or maybe the god only rewards believers of one very marginal (perhaps even non-existent in the modern world) religion, mildly punishes non-believers and severely punishes followers of other religions. Or maybe there is a group of gods, who play dice every time a human dies to determine who gets to decide the human's fate, and all the gods have different systems of values and different ideas on what should be rewarded/punished and how.

    I take the Occam's Razor principle and think that since we have no evidence of anything happening after one's death, other than their brain and body decaying - then there is no reason to assume that this is not how the world actually works.
    Zombieguy1987PlaffelvohfenDee
  • searsear 101 Pts
    MC,
    As I prefer to say, Pascal's Wager isn't an argument for belief. It's an argument for hypocrisy, and a contemptuous one at that. For it implies that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent supernatural deity can be so easily duped.

    "... no man shall be blamed for reasoning in the maintenance of his own religion." Thomas More (1478 - July 6, 1535 @ age 57) NOTE: Canonized by the Roman Catholic church 1935; Saint More?

    "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, 10 Aug. 1787.

    "Believe nothing, No matter where you read it, Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it, Unless it agrees with your own reason  And your own common sense." Buddha

    "When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." Stephen Roberts

    MayCaesar
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1276 Pts
    @sear

    Thomas Jefferson's quote is completely on the mark! Again, he makes the mistake of assuming that he knows what the god, if exists, is like - but it makes sense to say that a real god would not care much for arbitrary gestures and would be interested much more in who the individual is as a person.
  • searsear 101 Pts
    MC > TJ

    Yes. TJ knew a thing or two. As my cyber-friend Crane observed about religions: "God" is portrayed as omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and short of cash." Crane

    Millennia ago, when a human life expectancy may have been only a few decades, Immortality may have seemed appealing. To me it seems an absolute horror. Difficult for me to imagine how a sane mind (in our own image & likeness) wouldn't go insane.

    Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?” ― Epicurus (341-270BC)
    The vivid downside to Pascal's Wager:
    it seeks to intimidate the unwary into squandering their brief time on Earth, religiously devoting it to a lie, in promise of an eternal reward that never comes. It's difficult for me to not perceive that as Devil's work.

    I try to live well, do right by others. If that alone is not enough to avoid eternal torment, then I'd find it difficult to worship in life the reason it isn't.
    "Born again types think I'm going to Hell. I think Hell is spending eternity with someone like them. Guess that means we're going to the same place." shiftless2

  • DeeDee 234 Pts
    @WordsMatter

    Well said and wouldn’t that be wonderful 
    Plaffelvohfen
  • DeeDee 234 Pts
    @MayCaesar

    Interesting piece. A theist muddies the water by introducing a mystery (god ) to explain another mystery , the honest and intellectually valid answer to such questions is “ for now we do not know “
    Plaffelvohfen
  • ethang5ethang5 88 Pts
    The simple and correct rule is that whomever makes a positive claim has the burden of proof.

    Atheists make tons of claims, but when asked for proof of their claims, they run to their standard "God does not exist" excuse, no matter what the actual debate is about.

    So if the debate is about say, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, the atheist always, always, runs back to God not existing.

    He can curse God, find God to be immoral, declare himself more moral than God, but pin him down on one of his claims and suddenly he no longer believes in that God he was just so sure about.
  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 183 Pts
    edited March 2
    @ethang5
    So if the debate is about say, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, the atheist always, always, runs back to God not existing.
    That is obviously because the question is contingent to god's existence...

    If you ask a question, any question that is not contingent on a god existing or not, you could never receive an answer from an atheist.
    You would receive an answer from an ordinary human being (provided you're asking one of course).

    An atheist is an atheist only when put in the context of the existence or not of a god. At any other time, he is not an atheist but a plain human being. The context conceptualizes the label, out of context the label is meaningless...
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • ethang5ethang5 88 Pts
    @Plaffelvohfen

    >That is obviously because the question is contingent to god's existence... 

    No sir. And not every religious question is. But to the moron atheist, it always is.

    >If you ask a question, any question that is not contingent on a god existing or not, you could never receive an answer from an atheist.

    I never receive answers from atheists anyway. No matter the question. With their illogical worldview, this is not surprising.

    >You would receive an answer from an ordinary human being (provided you're asking one of course).

    OK. Are you an ordinary human being?

    >An atheist is an atheist only when put in the context of the existence or not of a god.

    My experience has been that atheists are always atheists, regardless of context.

    >At any other time, he is not an atheist but a plain human being.

    Atheists are not much trusted or liked by the gen pop. Perhaps they should be plain human beings more of the time.

    >The context conceptualizes the label, out of context the label is meaningless...

    We theists know you have no meaning without us. Thanks for the master class Capt. Obvious.
  • ethang5ethang5 88 Pts
    *except for fox holes. There are no atheists in fox holes.
  • DeeDee 234 Pts
    edited March 3



    >Atheists make tons of claims, but when asked for proof of their claims, they run to their standard "God does not exist" excuse, no matter what the actual debate is about.

    Some do some don’t so what? You’re making a very particular claim as in a supernatural entity exists which is based on nothing but blind faith, Atheism is a rejection of that claim.

    Its also incredibly amusing that to you none of the other gods put forward by others exist , as Dawkins famously said we just go one god further ....but hey you’re entitled to your fantasy 
  • ethang5ethang5 88 Pts
    @Dee

    Yet another post saying nothing but "theist dumb."

    You're still dodging. You're still being a douche.

    Get a life.
  • ethang5ethang5 88 Pts
    @Dee

    >....the honest and intellectually valid answer to such questions is “for now we do not know “

    Really now, Mr. More moral than God. You don't know? 

    One then wonders on what is your arrogant hubris based?

    Maybe foghorn can tell you. That's about your intellectual level.....son.
  • DeeDee 234 Pts



    >Really now, Mr. More moral than God. You don't know? 

    Science is on my side buddy , but you introduced a mystery god to explain another mystery because you’re indoctrinated and superstitious and yes I’m more moral than god and you 

    >One then wonders on what is your arrogant hubris based?

    I base it on my brilliant intellect and superior morality to the Christian gods 

    >Maybe foghorn can tell you. That's about your intellectual level.....son.

    Foghorn is a .....cartoon ...he’s not real like your god .....you cannot hold forth on “intellect “ as it’s something you’re unqualified to give an assessment on .......why are you always so angry
  • searsear 101 Pts
    "Mr. More moral than God" D

    Religionist have scriptural basis to support the assertion that "god", an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient deity created a planet full of deficient beings, and then decided to drown all but an arc full of them. Please explain why it is moral to create beings and then decide they're unworthy and must be drowned.

    "Foghorn is a .....cartoon ...he’s not real like your god ...." D

    Can you prove "your god" exists?
    I suspect Forghorn Leghorn CD are available at Barns & Noble dot com.

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