Challenge Match: Skyfloating vs. Madnessinmysoul: Theism & Creationism vs. Atheism & Evolution

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posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 03:02 PM
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The topic for this debate is; Theism & Creationism vs. Atheism & Evolution

This is a "Head To Head" Debate and the Fighters will be judged on the validity of their argument; not a "Pro/Con" Debate...

Skyfloating will be arguing the Theism & Creationism position and begin the debate.
Madnessinmysoul will be arguing the Atheism & Evolution position.

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+7 more 
posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 03:47 PM
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I agreed to this Debate because I see a lot of animosity between Atheists and the Religious on the Internet and believe that the subject can be handled with a little more goodwill. I do believe in a Supreme Being who created the Universe by Intelligent Design, I do believe in a divine order and purpose to life and I do reject the notion of the natural world and coincidence being the source of life. Not all Theists/Creationists are Christians, of course. There are Jews, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists who also believe in a superordinate higher spiritual reality and/or a Supreme Being.

There are even non-religious people who can be Theists/Creationists - me for example!
I am a mystic (or, less romantically, a "new-ager"). A mystic is someone who not only believes that God exists, but that this Supreme Being can be experienced directly. Not many religious people are mystics, but every Religion, in its innermost core, also has a mystical version. The mystical version of Islam is Sufism. The mystical version of Judaism is Kabbalah, among other things. The mystical version of Hinduism is about Spiritual Enlightenment. There are also mystical versions of Christianity. Direct experience of God in these ancient traditions is achieved through prayer, meditation, chanting and ritual. Intense dedication and concentration are known to produce various higher states of mind and spirit along with various accompanying phenomena. It is because of several such experiences of my own that I have chosen to acknowledge higher realities than our earthly realm and existence.

Why do I mention this? In order to take Theism/Creationism out of the narrow context of closed-minded bigots into a wider field. Atheists will tend to cherry-pick the worst examples of Religion - "Holy" Wars, the Inquisition, Racism, Sexism, suppression of Science, etc. in order to conclude that a belief in God or Religion or Creation are no good. Of Course it remains to be seen whether my Debate-Opponents brand of Atheism is merely philosophical or specifically anti-religious.

Do I believe Creationism should be taught in schools? No. I apologize to Madnessinmysoul for not being one of those uncompromising die-hards. I believe that school should be limited to the bare facts. Yes, Creationism should be discussed as an added viewpoint, but not taught as part of the mandatory curricula. However, while observing all the Debate in the Internet on "Evolution vs. Creationism" I keep asking myself: What is so difficult about seeing both as easily compatible? Why does it have to be one or the other? I fully accept both concepts.

Atheism, on the other hand, is a little more difficult for me to accept because I see Atheists claiming that it is a non-belief or a non-position. I disagree with that notion because so many books, websites and webposts have been written about it and how can you write and campaign so much about a non-position? Of Course Atheism is a belief, or at least an intellectual position. A position automatically creates a demarcation line, an "us vs. them".This is what Atheism shares with Theism. I also take issue with Atheism being mostly negative, that is, against something instead of for something. A-theism, to me, says "Not-God" or "Anti-God". Not that I am offended by that, but it just seems like such a futile and pointless thing to dedicate ones life to. After awhile you want to grab hold of the Atheist and say: "OK, I get it. I get what you are against. I really get what you do not believe. . But what are you for? What do you stand for?

Im sure sooner or later my Debate opponent will say "Where is the Evidence?", so I will pre-address this: The entire point of spiritual belief is to practice faith without evidence. That is the essence of faith and the mystical experience. It is said in all Religions that by practicing faith in the invisible - despite lack of any sort of evidence - the impossible becomes possible. Religious texts illustrate this one principle in thousands of stories.

I look forward to arguing that Theism, Creationism and Mysticism are worthwhile subjects to explore and promote. I also look forward to your objections and reasons you consider Atheism worthwhile.


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posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 12:12 PM
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I'd just like to thank Skyfloating for accepting my challenge and the moderators for allowing me the chance at this, my first debate.

I put out the open challenge for this debate for more or less the same reason Skyfloating accepted it, there's just too much animosity on these boards sometimes. I wanted to see a discussion that moved towards discussion and discovery rather than simple shouting. As an atheist, I do not believe in any deity. As a rational thinker, I am forced to accept the overwhelming evidence that life has evolved into the forms that we see today.

There is a bit of a stigma and a confusion about atheism. To be clear, atheism is merely not believing in any deity. It is not a claim about anything beyond the belief in any deity. Atheism does not inherently mean an acceptance of scientific fact or a rejection of other supernatural forces. I do not accept evolution because I am an atheist and neither am I an atheist because I accept evolution. The two are entirely separate, even though the acceptance of evolution and the lack of belief in deities are compatible.

Atheism itself also does not declare the reasons for which atheists are atheists. It would be safe to say that there are as many reasons for being an atheist as there are atheists themselves. I can not speak on behalf of the reasons for becoming an atheist, but I can speak for the position of why atheism is the only intellectually honest position. It is the only position which you can take with any measure of rational, empirical, and logical basis, and I will do my best to demonstrate this.

Now, why am I not claiming that it is the 'right' position instead? Because it isn't necessarily right. This is a place where a distinction must be made. Atheism answers one question, namely: "Do you believe in a deity?" Whether or not you are certain that you are right or wrong does not affect your answer in the slightest, as you still lack a belief. There is a demarcation between two direct forms of atheism and two sub-forms.

The first form of atheism is implicit atheism. This would be an individual who has never heard of the concept of a deity. They neither know nor care that they are atheists. They simply are as a logical consequence of having never known the concept of any deity.

The second form, which contains the two sub-forms, of atheism is explicit atheism, the declaration that you do not believe in a deity due to the (at least vague) understanding of the idea of a deity.

This takes two possible forms. The gnostic and the agnostic form. A gnostic atheist would be one who claims to have concrete proof that all possible ideas of deities, or all ideas of deities possible in the mind of the gnostic atheist, are impossible. The agnostic atheist is the individual who has no basis to claim the knowledge that deities don't exist, but does not find any good reason to believe the claims of the existence of any deity. Agnostic atheism is what is found amongst the vast majority of atheists.

I will be arguing in favor of not implicit atheism, not gnostic atheism, but in favor of agnostic atheism. I will be arguing that there is no good reason to accept the claims of the existence of any deity. Whether this is the claim that the deity can be found in a text, directly experienced, found in nature, etc.


There is simply no good reason to accept theistic claims. Theists may not care about reason when it comes to theism, but I happen to apply reason universally as I see great benefits from it whenever I apply it.

To make this perfectly clear, atheism is not a belief. It contains nothing beyond the lack of belief in any claim of the existence of a deity. To call the lack of belief in something a belief is to inherently contradict yourself.

As a personal note: I attempted to commune with deities in a period of my life, both directly through mysticism and indirectly through ritual and texts. I did this with various religious groups within several religions. I'm not an atheist who came to the conclusion through ignorance of religions and their various forms.



Evolution itself is an entirely separate issue. To define evolution, I will cite Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes Biology 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers p.974



In fact evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.


More simply put, evolution is a change in genetic traits within a population over generations. This is the fact of evolution, as we see it happen. The theory of evolution is the means by which we explain this fact and how it operates via the various forms of mutation in the genetic code, natural selection within the environment, and sexual selection amongst the population. We have mountains of evidence which support evidence and our current understanding of how it operates and each additional piece of information we have gained has not only cemented our understanding of evolution but has also reinforced its claims.

Evolution says nothing about the origin of life, the origin of the universe, or the meaning of either. Evolution is perfectly compatible with the idea of a deity, even with the idea of a deity who created the universe, our solar system, Earth, and life, as it is a process that occurs to life and only starts at the point at which life exists. Evolution exists not as a consequence of the atheism or other ideas, but as a consequence of life reproducing.

The idea of creationism, on the other hand, is not even a unified idea. There are three forms of creationism within the Christian religion, there's Islamic creationism, Hindu creationism, etc. The forms of Christian creationism would be Old Earth, Young Earth, and the form that attempts to sound scientific "Intelligent Design".

None of these concepts actually seeks to explain a single phenomenon or was arrived at through the scientific method, so I would say that they don't even deserve a mention in the scientific classroom. Now, were you discussing metaphysics in a philosophy class, or explaining the history of certain scientific thought, you could give them a mention. Of course, as I am dealing with just evolution, I will not expand upon the claims of creationism beyond that, as going outside the bounds of this debate would be futile.

Now, my opponent preempted me, so my attempt to preempt him has been thwarted. I knew that my opponent would would claim that evidence doesn't matter, I will simply point out that all ideas that are proposed without evidence should be simply dismissed without evidence. The idea of supporting claims with evidence is the entire basis of our modern society. We find it not just in science, which is giving us the privilege of having this debate, but also in our legal systems.

Further to this, religions are not exempt from the field of scientific inquiry in their entirety. My opponent has not clarified his religious beliefs in their entirety, but suffice to say that they contain at least a few statements that should leave physical evidence. The divine creation of the universe and life being the one. A great deal of religious claims involve the natural world and at least one deity involving itself in a way with this natural world. We should be able to test these claims.

I will continue to show why atheism is the only reasonable option on the subject of the existence of deities and I will separately be defending the idea of evolution. My opponent is thus saddled with not just providing reasons for theism but also with refuting evolution, as they are two separate claims and to say otherwise would be nothing more than disingenuous.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 07:14 AM
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"God hides in two ways. One way is that God hides so that it is very difficult to find him and yet he who knows that God is hiding from him can advance toward him and find him. The other way is that God hides from a man the fact that he is hiding and, since the seeker knows so little about God, he cannot find him. It is this that is referred to in the words "I shall hide, hide". God hides the fact that he is hiding, and then those from whom he is hiding do not know him - the hidden one". - Jewish Proverb

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I will continue to elaborate on reasons for Theism and Creationism but also wish to sharpen both my and the readers understanding of Atheism. For this reason I will be asking you a lot of specific questions.


Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
As an atheist, I do not believe in any deity. As a rational thinker, I am forced to accept the overwhelming evidence that life has evolved into the forms that we see today.


But you would consider the idea of a Supreme Intelligence operating the Universe as at least philosophically valid, right? But you would oppose Theism playing a role in politics and economy such as when keeping "In God We Trust" on the Dollar-Bill, correct?

Do you view life as cause-and-effect? If so, what is the original cause, or where does life, the universe and everything originate?



To be clear, atheism is merely not believing in any deity.


If this is all Atheism is about, then why are there so many books and webposts written about it?



atheism is the only intellectually honest position. It is the only position which you can take with any measure of rational, empirical, and logical basis, and I will do my best to demonstrate this.


Wouldnt the following statement be more honest... "We know many of the facts of life but there are many things we dont know. And then there are things we dont know that we dont know"?

Do you disagree with Abraham Maslow, who observed: There are things we know, there are things we dont know and there are things we dont know that we dont know".

How would anybody know if there is a Supreme Intelligence behind everything or not?



I will be arguing that there is no good reason to accept the claims of the existence of any deity.


If there is no good reason to be a Theist then I am a theist because....? The implication here is that I must be deluded or stupid?



There is simply no good reason to accept theistic claims. Theists may not care about reason when it comes to theism, but I happen to apply reason universally as I see great benefits from it whenever I apply it.


This is the crux of the issue. If you would not see benefits for your own life and the lives of others, then you would not be investing time arguing your point. The same applies to me. I argue for Theism because I see benefits for myself and others.

I fully agree with your statement that applying reason is beneficial for personal and collective survival. But your statement reads as if you are equating Atheism with Reason. And if you are, your previous statement of Atheism being merely a disbelief in a deity is false. Atheism then, for you, would also mean practicing and applying reason. Am I correct in saying so?



To make this perfectly clear, atheism is not a belief. It contains nothing beyond the lack of belief in any claim of the existence of a deity. To call the lack of belief in something a belief is to inherently contradict yourself.


Atheism is a Position. It is something you argue and invest time in. It is something you study about. It is a position you use in order to address other positions.



As a personal note: I attempted to commune with deities in a period of my life, both directly through mysticism and indirectly through ritual and texts. I did this with various religious groups within several religions. I'm not an atheist who came to the conclusion through ignorance of religions and their various forms.


Were you disappointed by Theism and Mysticism?

Were you disappointed by Bigotry and Fanaticism?




Evolution itself is an entirely separate issue.


Not entirely. If you ask an Atheist "If you dont believe in God, what do you then believe is the origin of life?" he will frequently rely on Evolution. If Richard Dawkins is anything to go by (which Ive read by the way) then Evolution is an idea Atheists like to use as an alternative to the Creation story.



We have mountains of evidence which support evidence and our current understanding of how it operates and each additional piece of information we have gained has not only cemented our understanding of evolution but has also reinforced its claims.


I dont for a second doubt Evolution. But, as you have probably guessed, many of us dont view nature, biology, evolution, chemistry or physics as a "cause" or "source" of life but as the effect of a superordinate cause.



Evolution says nothing about the origin of life, the origin of the universe, or the meaning of either. Evolution is perfectly compatible with the idea of a deity,


In that case our Discussion of Evolution ends here, because we agree. It is not Evolution that is being refuted but Creationism that is being promoted - but not as an alternative to Evolution.



I knew that my opponent would would claim that evidence doesn't matter


Im certainly not claiming that evidence doesnt matter. When I sign a legal document, I dont rely on Mysticism, I rely on hard facts and evidence. In the classroom I hope that the curriculum relies on things that are proven or that there is evidence for. In the realm and domain of the world, evidence matters. In the spiritual realm, faith matters. Faith is the act of believing in something that cannot be seen or for which there is no evidence.

The ignorant view us as gullible slaves who naively embrace fairy-tales. But the actual purpose of belief-without-evidence is "to make the unmanifest manifest" and to develop the character-traits of trust, goodwill, visionary thinking.

Atheists have created somewhat of a stigma around the word "Faith". But if you did not have faith in your loved ones, faith that your employer would be at months end, faith that you will get a diploma for studying, faith that the car in front of you wont suddenly brake, would you be capabable of or interested in any action whatsoever?

And if life really were a random chain of chemical reactions and coincidental arisings, would you feel compelled to do anything at all?



I will simply point out that all ideas that are proposed without evidence should be simply dismissed without evidence


Is that not akin to saying "What I, personally, do not see or experience, should be dismissed"?



The idea of supporting claims with evidence is the entire basis of our modern society. We find it not just in science, which is giving us the privilege of having this debate, but also in our legal systems.


Both Science and Religion are the basis of modern society. Without striving for higher intellect and spirit, feats such as building the Cathedrals would have never been accomplished. Most inventions came from inner inspiration rather than cold fact. Inner inspiration is arguably a spiritual trait. Civilization owes as much to ancient Hindus as to Christians who set sail to the Americas as to Science.



A great deal of religious claims involve the natural world and at least one deity involving itself in a way with this natural world. We should be able to test these claims.


Very simplified, all Religions have one underlying belief: That of a superordinate reality as compared to worldly reality. That of an implicit order as compared to an explicit order. That of an invisible energy-field as compared to the visible. We also believe that this can be tested and proven to some extent - but not to the extent atheists would like, because that would contradict the whole idea that that world is invisible to earth dwellers.

The reason religious people sometimes get impatient with Atheists is because, from their perspective, it is as if they are saying "The invisible should be visible" when calling for "evidence". But no, the invisible should be invisible and the visible should be visible. If everything were visible and easily proven, there would be no challenge, no leaps of faith, no spiritual growth, no discovery.

Likewise, Science requires a good grasp of what is already proven but must eventually venture out into what is not proven if it ever wants to grow.

Atheists seeing Theists as dumb and Theists seeing Atheists as dumb is because of the perspective from which they view "the other side". Seen from certain angles, they do look hopelessly moronic:

When I was a kid and saw someone kneeling down in front of an altar of a Church that was responsible genocide, I thought:"What a dumb slave". It was mind-boggling to me. Again, when I was a kid, I lent a friend of mine my book collection. His parents threw ALL of the books into the trash because they were "anti-Christian". I was furious, not only because they were my books which I had entrusted to a friend, but I could not fathom why anyone might try to suppress diversity of opinion.

But later, as I matured and also after a number of highly mystical and beautiful experiences of my own, my attitude changed. I understood that there are the "good guys" and "bad guys" among any sort of group, religion or anti-religion. The last time I saw someone kneel down in front of an altar I no longer saw it as someone being a groveling slave to the devious extraterrestrials who founded all Religions, but as someone paying respect to what he or she considers higher than his or her own everyday self.



posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
"God hides in two ways. One way is that God hides so that it is very difficult to find him and yet he who knows that God is hiding from him can advance toward him and find him. The other way is that God hides from a man the fact that he is hiding and, since the seeker knows so little about God, he cannot find him. It is this that is referred to in the words "I shall hide, hide". God hides the fact that he is hiding, and then those from whom he is hiding do not know him - the hidden one". - Jewish Proverb


Well...Jewish proverb or not, it's sort of silly. Granted, this comes from a culture that actively admits a deity's violation of free will as found in the story of Exodus and declares that there is only a select group that is chosen by a deity....so of course they'll have some sort of silly parables.

The odd thing is that those who most actively argue on behalf of not believing in deities themselves have quite a bit of knowledge of deities. Some were priests, ministers, nuns, imams. Others were merely devout. Some just decided to take a very active interest in the religion they happened to be born into...and found it lacking.



Thank you for your thoughtful response.


To extend the courtesy, I'll use a quote of my own:

"Time spent arguing with the faithful is, oddly enough, almost never wasted."
Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001)




But you would consider the idea of a Supreme Intelligence operating the Universe as at least philosophically valid, right?


Philosophically valid in what sense? From what I understand in my studies of philosophy, an idea which is philosophically valid has to be grounded in reason. The idea of a supreme intelligence operating the universe doesn't seem to be founded in more than speculation. Such an idea doesn't seem to have any place beyond the realm of speculation.



But you would oppose Theism playing a role in politics and economy such as when keeping "In God We Trust" on the Dollar-Bill, correct?


Keeping, originally putting it there sometime in the last hundred years in the first place (off-hand point, not going to bother with a cited date). Yes, secularism is an issue for me. Of course, I found such an idea sort of silly as a Christian.



Do you view life as cause-and-effect?


Am I a determinist? Yes and no. I do understand that determinism is probably the only logically tenable position in light of the evidence, though quantum mechanics may leave room for free will according to some interpretations. Of course, I still act...or at least am compelled to act by cause and effect as if I do have free will because it's better to be safe than sorry.



If so, what is the original cause, or where does life, the universe and everything originate?


42? In all seriousness:
This is a great question, because it gives me the chance to say something that I have the courage to say as both an atheist and a critical thinker: I simply don't know.

I, like everyone else on this planet, do not know how everything originated and I would never presume to. Of course, this is not a weakness in either atheism or evolution as neither maintains the burden of explaining where life, the universe, and everything originated.





To be clear, atheism is merely not believing in any deity.


If this is all Atheism is about, then why are there so many books and webposts written about it?


Well, it depends on what the specific books and webposts are about. If you take a look at my own post history, the threads I have authored have either been about atheists as individuals, treatment of atheists in society, or questions for the religious from a 'not believing in deities' perspective.

So many books have been written about it because it is a position that is consistently under attack. Nowhere in the books of Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, or Harris do we find much about atheism as itself, merely about atheists as people, issues with religion, and an explanation of why atheism is a tenable position. Atheism isn't actually the topic, it's the reasons for atheism that are.



Wouldnt the following statement be more honest... "We know many of the facts of life but there are many things we dont know. And then there are things we dont know that we dont know"?


Well, that is what atheism, at least agnostic atheism, is about. It is not believing. Belief is not a reality claim.



Do you disagree with Abraham Maslow, who observed: There are things we know, there are things we dont know and there are things we dont know that we dont know".


It's quite a good statement. But the things we don't know we don't know are discovered through rational inquiry, critical thinking, and/or the scientific method. They aren't just presumed.



How would anybody know if there is a Supreme Intelligence behind everything or not?


Well, we couldn't. But we also couldn't know if there are faeries in the bottom of my garden with a little house beneath the lemon tree. Not a good reason to accept it as a valid conjecture.

Of course, your claim isn't merely that of a Supreme Intelligence, as you have personally described yourself as an individual who also claims that such an intelligence is available for experience at the personal level. Such a being would then be something we could test. The second the Supreme Intelligence interferes in any way with the natural world it becomes a subject of science.





I will be arguing that there is no good reason to accept the claims of the existence of any deity.


If there is no good reason to be a Theist then I am a theist because....? The implication here is that I must be deluded or stupid?


No, it's that you're not using a good reason. You might have a reason, it just doesn't have to be a good one. I can make no comment on whether or not you're deluded, as I would hate to participate in the ill practice of forum psychology where users psychoanalyze other users based on posts, but I would claim that you are far from stupid. You seem like at the very least a fairly bright individual.

People do all sorts of things for no good reason. I'm not even saying that you're not using reason, I'm saying you're not applying it properly. We all make mistakes and we all have different thresholds for what we expect from the evidence or proof of something. Yours may simply be more lax than mine.





There is simply no good reason to accept theistic claims. Theists may not care about reason when it comes to theism, but I happen to apply reason universally as I see great benefits from it whenever I apply it.


This is the crux of the issue. If you would not see benefits for your own life and the lives of others, then you would not be investing time arguing your point. The same applies to me. I argue for Theism because I see benefits for myself and others.


Well, I never said I don't see benefits. Of course, one of my primary reasons for participating in this discussion is to actually show that a civil discourse over such issues can be had on this forum. Now, I do see the benefits of reason and skepticism and atheism in all things, but I do not wish to force it upon people. Which is why there are forums where people can start threads which must be clicked on to view.



I fully agree with your statement that applying reason is beneficial for personal and collective survival. But your statement reads as if you are equating Atheism with Reason. And if you are, your previous statement of Atheism being merely a disbelief in a deity is false. Atheism then, for you, would also mean practicing and applying reason. Am I correct in saying so?


No, this would be a false conclusion from my premises. I'm saying that atheism is the necessary product of a reasoned evaluation of the issues at hand. Atheism itself has nothing to do with reason, it is merely a conclusion arrived at due to its practice. Had I come to the conclusion of Islam through reason, Islam itself would not be the practice of reason.





To make this perfectly clear, atheism is not a belief. It contains nothing beyond the lack of belief in any claim of the existence of a deity. To call the lack of belief in something a belief is to inherently contradict yourself.


Atheism is a Position. It is something you argue and invest time in. It is something you study about. It is a position you use in order to address other positions.


I'm sorry, but I think you're confusing atheism, which means "I do not believe in any deity", with activism on behalf of atheism and atheists. I do not invest a lot of time not believing in deities, I'd venture that not believing in something requires no time and effort on my part. I don't study about not believing in deities either. I do happen to study philosophical works, some of which relate to atheism and some which do not.

Now, I do use atheism as a term to refer to not believing in deities and I do use it as a reference point when discussing religious positions...which are beliefs. Rejecting other positions isn't itself a position. It actually seems like this is a recycling of the old "atheism is a belief/religion" argument.



Were you disappointed by Theism and Mysticism?


Highly.



Were you disappointed by Bigotry and Fanaticism?


Always have been, always will be. Now, bigotry and fanaticism drove me out of certain avenues, though not all of them. There were plenty of religious groups in my area that were not bigoted, not fanatical, and full of nice people.





Evolution itself is an entirely separate issue.


Not entirely. If you ask an Atheist "If you dont believe in God, what do you then believe is the origin of life?" he will frequently rely on Evolution.


...Origin of life? I already went over this in my opening. Evolution has nothing to do with anything beyond the change in a population. The origin of life in science is dealt with in the field of abiogenesis. Please, don't saddle this debate with off-topic points.



If Richard Dawkins is anything to go by (which Ive read by the way) then Evolution is an idea Atheists like to use as an alternative to the Creation story.


Evolution is not used by atheists because they are atheists, it is used by atheists and theists alike because it is scientific fact. Evolution doesn't even deal with all of the issues of the creation story. It says nothing on the formation of our planet, the stars, the solar system, the origin of life, etc. Evolution deals with change in populations over time.



I dont for a second doubt Evolution. But, as you have probably guessed, many of us dont view nature, biology, evolution, chemistry or physics as a "cause" or "source" of life but as the effect of a superordinate cause.


Well, we're not talking about the cause of life. We're talking about evolution here. I have already defined evolution. it is towards the middle of my opening post.





Evolution says nothing about the origin of life, the origin of the universe, or the meaning of either. Evolution is perfectly compatible with the idea of a deity,


In that case our Discussion of Evolution ends here, because we agree. It is not Evolution that is being refuted but Creationism that is being promoted - but not as an alternative to Evolution.


The problem is in promoting creationism you must ignore a lot more than evolution, you must simply ignore the scientific method.



Im certainly not claiming that evidence doesnt matter. When I sign a legal document, I dont rely on Mysticism, I rely on hard facts and evidence. In the classroom I hope that the curriculum relies on things that are proven or that there is evidence for. In the realm and domain of the world, evidence matters.


Then why must we add another realm or domain?



In the spiritual realm, faith matters. Faith is the act of believing in something that cannot be seen or for which there is no evidence.


And thus faith is useless. Faith is something many have in many different positions on the same issue. It stands to reason that there's no way to say one or any of them are wrong if what they believe in cannot be seen and has no evidence. You are quite literally adding the idea of another realm on which we cannot make comment and yet where making comment in the face of nothing is encouraged.

Everyone is merely taking a shot in the dark with faith. I prefer to light a candle.



The ignorant view us as gullible slaves who naively embrace fairy-tales.


You're right, such language is unnecessary and demeaning...except the fairy-tales part. I don't like people using the term 'fairy-tale' in a derogatory manner, as they are some great stories with great lessons.



But the actual purpose of belief-without-evidence is "to make the unmanifest manifest" and to develop the character-traits of trust, goodwill, visionary thinking.


Yet we can do these things without belief-without-evidence. I can trust in my loved ones without evidence. I can exhibit goodwill with nothing more than a hint of empathy. As for visionary thinking, history is ripe with examples of visionary atheists.



Atheists have created somewhat of a stigma around the word "Faith". But if you did not have faith in your loved ones, faith that your employer would be at months end, faith that you will get a diploma for studying, faith that the car in front of you wont suddenly brake, would you be capabable of or interested in any action whatsoever?


There is a difference between how you use the word faith for religion and how you are using it in the above question. The faith in your examples all comes from evidence. It is not the same to have "faith" which is a synonym for trust based on repeated experience and have belief-without-evidence.



And if life really were a random chain of chemical reactions and coincidental arisings, would you feel compelled to do anything at all?


Well, I clearly do. In fact, I'd find it all the more compelling. It's like suddenly realizing that you just happened upon the greatest gift you could ever have been given, so you might as well make the best of it.

Of course, your point doesn't actually have relevance to the discussion as it doesn't hold any value as to the truth of your statements. If this is all a series of chemical reactions and we just got a good break and you find that grim...so what? It's grim, learn to live with it.





I will simply point out that all ideas that are proposed without evidence should be simply dismissed without evidence


Is that not akin to saying "What I, personally, do not see or experience, should be dismissed"?


No, it is not. Evidence takes many forms. If I propose to you something without the reasonable threshold of evidence for it then you have every right to dismiss it. Of course, the threshold of evidence is different for different claims. The more extraordinary a claim is the more extraordinary the evidence must be.



Both Science and Religion are the basis of modern society.


I would disagree with the latter. Modern society may have been thoroughly influenced by religion, but all that we have today that defines our society is separate from religion.



Without striving for higher intellect and spirit, feats such as building the Cathedrals would have never been accomplished.


...and those would hardly be described as modern. I'm talking modern society as in having a life expectancy of 72 today rather than the 58 it was 80 years ago. I'm talking about the advances in communication that have shaped our modern life and allowed for this to happen.

And we would still have the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the St. Louis Arch, the Golden Gate Bridge, the massive skyscrapers, Big Ben, etc. We would still have our Cathedrals, but they might be buildings of a different sort.



Most inventions came from inner inspiration rather than cold fact. Inner inspiration is arguably a spiritual trait.


Then argue it. I'd apply inspiration as a product of connecting previously existed ideas in your brain meat together in a manner that is novel and innovative. It can happen spontaneously or intentionally.



Civilization owes as much to ancient Hindus as to Christians who set sail to the Americas as to Science.


Yes, the ancient Hindus did do some great scientific things, like create the first concepts of vaccination. Of course, their religion had nothing to do with it. And the Christians who set sail to the Americas didn't do much for us that was due to their religion rather than anything else.




Very simplified, all Religions have one underlying belief: That of a superordinate reality as compared to worldly reality. That of an implicit order as compared to an explicit order.


And yet most religions go far beyond this claim. Of course, this is all an odd aside, as I'm talking about not believing in any deity, not that there is or is not a greater reality. My rebuttals to your claims here would be....well...pointless. You've ventured beyond the realm of atheism into the realm of materialism. I'm not here to defend materialism, that is beyond the scope of the title. I will thusly skip ahead to this part.




But no, the invisible should be invisible and the visible should be visible. If everything were visible and easily proven, there would be no challenge, no leaps of faith, no spiritual growth, no discovery.


No discovery? I'm sorry, but I'd like to point out that we have discovered more in the last 200 years of inquiry into the natural world than the previous 5000 years of religious inquiry ever provided us. And we still have a long way to go with the natural world. And science is far from easily proven.

The other problem is that all theistic claims of deities inherently involve this 'invisible' thing interacting with the 'visible' world in a manner that would clearly leave a physical imprint.




Atheists seeing Theists as dumb and Theists seeing Atheists as dumb is because of the perspective from which they view "the other side".


I don't view theists as dumb. I would never claim that billions of people are dumb, as that claim itself would be dumb. Some of the people I most respect are theists, two of them are theists by trade (priests). I'd prefer to say that theists are making bad claims.

I'll remove the personal anecdote. It doesn't do much for your point. Yes, there are good and bad here, but we're not arguing about institutions, we're not arguing about people. We're arguing about the positive assertion that you are making of a "Supreme Intelligence" aka Deity. Please, try to stay on topic.

Now, I have a few questions of my own:

Question #1: How can a mystical/theistic claim be valid if there is nothing behind it but conjecture?
Question #2: How can a mystical/theistic claim be considered of greater value than another such claim if there is nothing behind it but conjecture?
Question #3: Why is it all necessary anyway?



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 10:43 AM
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Demonic Persons know not action or inaction, neither purity nor right conduct nor veracity are in them. They say the Universe is devoid of truth, devoid of fixed principle, and devoid of a ruler, produced by union, caused by lust, and nothing else.

- Krishna, quoted from the Vedas

_____________________________________________________________________________________________



This is a great question, because it gives me the chance to say something that I have the courage to say as both an atheist and a critical thinker: I simply don't know.


Precisely. You simply dont know. And neither do I. You do not know what is beyond what your senses can perceive and science has proven. But in the meantime we play with reality by engaging in speculation, experimentation and assumption. Taking on a belief is like trying on clothes to see how they fit, to experience their advantages and disadvantages. Some beliefs appear to bear positive fruits, some dont. And this is how we, as a humanity grow and progress. Some more slowly, some more rapidly. We have seen Religion bring forth beautiful things and less beautiful things. We have seen the same with science. Humans tend to do whatever works best for their survival and well being.



I'm sorry, but I think you're confusing atheism, which means "I do not believe in any deity", with activism on behalf of atheism and atheists

Rejecting other positions isn't itself a position, as you know.



The "ism" in Atheism denotes an intellectual position. No child is born "an atheist". Children are born blank. If atheism were not a position you could not partake in this Debate. You are mistaken about this.



The problem is in promoting creationism you must ignore a lot more than evolution, you must simply ignore the scientific method.


No. Creationism means that "stuff" did not just come out of nothing but that life arose in some kind of context. Just because this context cant be seen with the bare eyes does not mean it does not exist. It is a fact of physics that nothing can exist without a context or frame of reference IN WHICH it exists.




why must we add another realm or domain?


According to all spiritual and religious beliefs (which you profess to know), the physical domain arose from the non-physical domain which we entered for the purpose of our growth. Once our physical vehicle (the body) dies, our spirit once again ascends back to the non-physical domain. Depening on ones ethics, morals and virtues one is pulled to pleasant or less pleasant realms in the afterlife. This is pretty simple and clear-cut and something all sources agree on. I am faced with the choice to either believe it or not. So I say: "Just in case this stuff is true, I will live my life as positively as I can". Of course you can also lead such a life without believing in any reason for it, but thats a bit more of a challenge.

Metaphysically speaking, in the grand scheme of things, there is a place for Atheism too, of course. The Mystics and religious teachers tell us that one of the tests of our existence on earth is a forgetfulness of other realms and a preoccupation with the physical/material realm.




And thus faith is useless.


Faith is a good mentor. I played soccer yesterday. I put money on my team winning because I had faith in our ability to win. We did win. Faith gave me the extra boost of energy on the field. My faith in the other players was felt by them and gave them an extra boost too. I had no evidence we would win. But if we did not have faith in winning the game, chances of us loosing would have increased. Yes, thats metaphysical thinking. And yes, it has real-life effects.




The more extraordinary a claim is the more extraordinary the evidence must be.


The claim that the emergence of intelligent life is a coincidence is an extraordinary claim because we, as humans, experience on a daily basis that things do not happen coincidentally. We make things happen. If I want a flower to grow, I plant a seed. And when I do so, I know its not a coincidence when that flower sprouts in my garden. There is therefore no reason whatsoever to assume that anything happens coincidentally, randomly or without foresight and purpose.



And yet most religions go far beyond this claim. Of course, this is all an odd aside, as I'm talking about not believing in any deity, not that there is or is not a greater reality. My rebuttals to your claims here would be....well...pointless. You've ventured beyond the realm of atheism into the realm of materialism. I'm not here to defend materialism, that is beyond the scope of the title. I will thusly skip ahead to this part.


No. There are many different types of views of what a diety is. The last paragraph reveals that you do not know as much about Spiritual matters as you claim you do. There is God as a personal concept, as human-incarnate (Jesus), as transcendent (above and beyond), as immanent, as existing in all things and ever-present, as an overall energy-field, as higher realities, etc.



Question #1: How can a mystical/theistic claim be valid if there is nothing behind it but conjecture?


Ive had several instances of extrasensory perception, out of body experience, mystical-experience. The whole topic is not conjecture for me but the CENTER OF MY LIFE and existence. One persons "silly conjecture" is another persons essential life focus.

Too bad atheists miss the awesome grandness of it all. But not only atheists, even most "religious" people have replaced direct experience of God to the realm of "Mysticism" and have replaced it with Dogma.




Question #2: How can a mystical/theistic claim be considered of greater value than another such claim if there is nothing behind it but conjecture?


If it were nothing but conjecture it couldnt be considered of greater value.



Question #3: Why is it all necessary anyway?


From my view its not "necessary". I have no agenda to convert anyone to anything. I think a lot of religious people fail in believing they have to make others believe the same. They also fail in taking every inch of their scriptures literally. Trying to convert others at all costs only comes into play when one lacks faith, in my view.

Over to you.
edit on 22-2-2011 by Skyfloating because: fixed messed up quote tags



posted on Mar, 14 2011 @ 05:19 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 



Originally posted by Skyfloating
Precisely. You simply dont know. And neither do I.


At this juncture I'd like to point out that my lack of knowing is why I refuse to assert the existence of that for which there is no evidence.



Some beliefs appear to bear positive fruits, some dont. And this is how we, as a humanity grow and progress. Some more slowly, some more rapidly. We have seen Religion bring forth beautiful things and less beautiful things. We have seen the same with science.


What beautiful thing has religion brought forth that would not exist in its absence? I know that science, of all the things that humanity has come up with, has bore the greatest fruits of all. We added thirty years to the average lifespan of humans in the last sixty years. We increased nutrition, communication, spread of knowledge.

What has religion given us? Some good stories? A useful message? All mythologies have their useful messages, all of them have their great stories. You need not even look to the supernatural, you merely need to look to modern fiction for the same stories presented with much greater prowess than the ancients could have ever dreamed.



The "ism" in Atheism denotes an intellectual position.


No, it denotes that it is in reference to theism. The "ism" comes from theism, the A is what is the focus. It is a lack of theism. Amoral means a lack of morals. Atheism means a lack of theism.



No child is born "an atheist". Children are born blank.


Except that they are. Atheism is the lack of belief in any deity. Newborns lack the belief in anything, this would include any deity.



If atheism were not a position you could not partake in this Debate. You are mistaken about this.


Atheism is a position in the same way that not believing something is a belief. I can partake in this discussion because I am skeptical of the idea of any deity and you are trying to convince me. Skepticism is not a position but a rejection of a claim based on an unmet burden of proof.



No. Creationism means that "stuff" did not just come out of nothing but that life arose in some kind of context.


Yes, and this assertion is made in the face of ignorance of science. Nobody is claiming that "stuff" came out of nothing, except maybe in popular science programs and grade school textbooks. Why? Well, the science of the matter is complex.



Just because this context cant be seen with the bare eyes does not mean it does not exist. It is a fact of physics that nothing can exist without a context or frame of reference IN WHICH it exists.


How is that a fact of physics? Are you not aware of the existence of "virtual particles"? These are sub-atomic particles that flit in and out of existence, seemingly from nowhere. Physicists have yet to lock down exactly where they come from, but they seemingly come from nothing.



According to all spiritual and religious beliefs (which you profess to know), the physical domain arose from the non-physical domain which we entered for the purpose of our growth.


Nope. Not true. Now, most religious beliefs do profess that, but there are quite a few religious beliefs that assert that the physical domain is all there is. Greek and Roman religions do not separate the gods from humanity by substance but by ability. Likewise with the Norse, their gods are physical beings and there is no non-physical domain. In fact, it can be said of most religious beliefs that the physical world is all that there is.

I would even be hard pressed to find a passage in the Biblical text that treats heaven as a non-physical domain.

No, this idea that you espouse is found in Eastern religions and in modern interpretations of other religions in the light of the power of science.



Once our physical vehicle (the body) dies, our spirit once again ascends back to the non-physical domain. Depening on ones ethics, morals and virtues one is pulled to pleasant or less pleasant realms in the afterlife.


Or even brave Achilles remains in the underworld with just and unjust alike...or have you not read Homer's Odyssey? The just and unjust alike are found in the same pit in the Greek world. There are many more views on the afterlife than just the vague idea you present.



This is pretty simple and clear-cut and something all sources agree on.


And yet I've already shown you that you are quite wrong in this case.



I am faced with the choice to either believe it or not. So I say: "Just in case this stuff is true, I will live my life as positively as I can". Of course you can also lead such a life without believing in any reason for it, but thats a bit more of a challenge.


I don't see how living a positive life without religion is doing so without a particular reason. There are clear benefits to positive living, there's also general empathy. Treat others the way you want to be treated came without the idea of "because you might get judged for it later".



Metaphysically speaking, in the grand scheme of things, there is a place for Atheism too, of course. The Mystics and religious teachers tell us that one of the tests of our existence on earth is a forgetfulness of other realms and a preoccupation with the physical/material realm.


And yet not a single mystic or religious teacher has been able to provide a good reason to believe, merely the strong assertion that there is some sort of deity. As for higher realities...I will continue to point out that I am defending atheism rather than materialism.



Faith is a good mentor. I played soccer yesterday. I put money on my team winning because I had faith in our ability to win. We did win. Faith gave me the extra boost of energy on the field. My faith in the other players was felt by them and gave them an extra boost too. I had no evidence we would win. But if we did not have faith in winning the game, chances of us loosing would have increased. Yes, thats metaphysical thinking. And yes, it has real-life effects.


And no, it is actually not religious faith. You are mixing definitions. The "faith" in your team was confidence based upon previous experiences and the extra boost on the field came from that confidence. I'm all for confidence, I'm all for positive thinking. What I have a problem with is belief without or in spite of evidence.



The claim that the emergence of intelligent life is a coincidence is an extraordinary claim because we, as humans, experience on a daily basis that things do not happen coincidentally.


It is indeed an extraordinary claim, and there happens to be an extraordinary amount of evidence for it. There is indeed over 150 years of scientific inquiry that has shown that live diversified into the species that we currently see today and that this diversification will continue on as long as life exists.

As for things not happening coincidentally...they do all the time. I'm actually with my girlfriend of three years based upon the coincidence that one of my best friends happened to be waiting at a bus stop when my girlfriend had a rehearsal.



We make things happen. If I want a flower to grow, I plant a seed. And when I do so, I know its not a coincidence when that flower sprouts in my garden. There is therefore no reason whatsoever to assume that anything happens coincidentally, randomly or without foresight and purpose.


This is simply the most ridiculous oversimplification imaginable. Were I to come across a flower in a field would I necessarily think that it had grown due to someone consciously planting the seed? No. There are acts that we know are coincidental and acts that we can reason aren't. If I see a tree felled in the woods after a storm and it has a large, black scar down the middle, am I to assume that Zeus was angry with this tree? Nope.



No. There are many different types of views of what a diety is.


Yes, there are. The problem is that a few of them are merely a relabeling of other things as a deity. Some may claim that the concept of love is god, yet there is no good reason to accept this definition as it makes little impact to the conversation.



The last paragraph reveals that you do not know as much about Spiritual matters as you claim you do. There is God as a personal concept, as human-incarnate (Jesus), as transcendent (above and beyond), as immanent, as existing in all things and ever-present, as an overall energy-field, as higher realities, etc.


I'm aware of all of these. The crazy thing is that labeling something a deity doesn't make the concept equivalent to a deity. If someone were to label the universe as 'god', that wouldn't mean that I don't believe in the universe, I would just disagree with the definition. I merely disagree with arbitrary labeling of items.



Ive had several instances of extrasensory perception, out of body experience, mystical-experience. The whole topic is not conjecture for me but the CENTER OF MY LIFE and existence. One persons "silly conjecture" is another persons essential life focus.


I had an out of body experience too...it just happened to be at the same time as a concussion. I'm not going to claim that you are wrong in saying you're sincere in these beliefs, I just think that it is a silly conjecture for you to automatically assume that your experiences are valid without rigorous testing, and you've mentioned testable items. You've mentioned that which is in the material realm were it true. ESP? Sure, why not. Give me proof.



Too bad atheists miss the awesome grandness of it all.


Not all atheists are a-spiritualists or materialists. As for awesome grandness, I'm breathing in a gas that was created by an explosion of a magnitude beyond my wildest imagination.




If it were nothing but conjecture it couldnt be considered of greater value.


And yet you've provided nothing beyond conjecture. That conjecture may be based around a subjective experience, but it is a conjecture nonetheless.

Once more, your whole position is based upon a foundation of conjecture.



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 05:52 AM
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What beautiful thing has religion brought forth that would not exist in its absence?


Teachings
Culture
Scripture
Temples
Churches
Cathedrals
Purpose
Fellowship
Morals



I know that science, of all the things that humanity has come up with, has bore the greatest fruits of all.


Science has also bore great fruits.. Science is not the opposite of Religion, nor does science have anything to do with Atheism or this debate.



I would even be hard pressed to find a passage in the Biblical text that treats heaven as a non-physical domain.


Partaking in this Debate has been difficult for me because I really dont know what to do with all the obvious falsehoods you express. All the worlds great Religions...Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism center around the idea of a non-physical realm of afterlife and origin of life.

If you cant even acknowledge what Religion is, how can any meaningful debate on its merits vs. fallacies take place?

That would be like trying to discuss the merits of bicycle vs. car while you insist that the purpose of a car is to start wars.




And yet not a single mystic or religious teacher has been able to provide a good reason to believe,


The purpose of belief is to develop trust without needing a reason or even reason itself. This is the only way to move beyond the limited confines of the intellect into the perception of realms and worlds the intellect, due to its confinement within physicality, cannot access. You are oblivious to the purpose of Religion and Spiritual Practice, arent you?



The "faith" in your team was confidence based upon previous experiences and the extra boost on the field came from that confidence. I'm all for confidence, I'm all for positive thinking. What I have a problem with is belief without or in spite of evidence.


If I had not won with that team yet or not won in such an important situation, then our faith of winning is certainly not based on previous experience. And that is EXACTLY the purpose of spiritual faith: To not base ones knowledge on the cause-effect-world of the intellect only because that part of ourselves only KNOWS what it remembers from this particular life. To access higher knowledge beyond this life on this physical realm one needs to go beyond cause-effect, past-present to intuition, imagination, faith. Only then the extraordinary is possible. Most religious people are not actually proficient in this or even aware of this, but neither are atheists.

Faith and Confidence and Belief are different words for the same thing. Its because you reject and deny that, that you do not understand Religion.

In my experience the concern of whether God exists or not is secondary to most Atheists. The broad majority of Atheists I have read, seen and talked to harbour in them anger against certain types of fanaticism. This is why the movement of Atheism, with its millions of books, movies, lectures and billions of websites has achieved nothing than perpetuating anger. They have built no temples, no cathedrals, no works of higher philosophy, created no works of art. They have pissed on the lawn of churches or sprayed graffiti on cathedrals. That is the extent of their contribution to society.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 05:16 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 



Originally posted by Skyfloating


What beautiful thing has religion brought forth that would not exist in its absence?


Teachings


Name one good teaching that came out of religion that could not have existed without it.



Culture


Exists without religion.



Scripture


Not all theistic religions have scripture, but even then we have fiction and art. Sure, it might not be the exact same thing, but the basic idea of a story that teaches a lesson still remains.



Temples
Churches
Cathedrals


Museums, monuments, and all sorts of other buildings. The Sidney Opera House is something that is not an exclusive product of opera, but of architecture.



Purpose


Can exist without religion as well.



Fellowship


Began when apes that could feel decided that hunting together was a lot more productive and enjoyable than hunting alone.



Morals


I'm going to stop you there and simply tell you that no moral system can exist within a theistic framework, and Plato knocked this one out of the park ages ago with the Euthyphro dilemma which essentially asks is something is good because god likes it or is it liked by god because it is good.

Now, if something is liked by god because it is good, then there is an objective good separate from a deity so morality is not the province of religion.

If something is good because a deity claims it is then it would not be a system of morality, merely a set of rules imposed upon us by the most powerful being in the universe. It would be 'might makes right'.



Partaking in this Debate has been difficult for me because I really dont know what to do with all the obvious falsehoods you express. All the worlds great Religions...Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism center around the idea of a non-physical realm of afterlife and origin of life.


I'm sorry, but how can Islam have a non-physical afterlife that includes sexual pleasure?
Buddhism doesn't really have an afterlife, neither does Hinduism. Breaking the cycle of reincarnation has nothing to do with a realm, merely with a unity with the entire cosmos.
Judaism doesn't particularly have an afterlife.

The problem is that you're confusing "inconsistent with reality" with "non-physical". The idea of the supernatural merely meant that there were things that were greater, not necessarily different. You're somehow confusing the Platonic metaphysical baggage that religions ironically ended up with due to the advances of the sciences.

Of course we have to separate the idea of the soul into a separate realm now, but people used to think that the soul was something that was a part of the body. We know better now, so another excuse has to be made to push the goal posts back.





The purpose of belief is to develop trust without needing a reason or even reason itself.


To riff on Nietzsche, isn't that lack of trust in the absence of reason what keeps us out of the insane asylum.



This is the only way to move beyond the limited confines of the intellect into the perception of realms and worlds the intellect, due to its confinement within physicality, cannot access. You are oblivious to the purpose of Religion and Spiritual Practice, arent you?


Well, I clearly am. Yet there is no evidence that I'm missing out on anything because you're talking about perceptions that produce...nothing. What do these perceptions provide? Nothing. Again, what are the positive results of this?



If I had not won with that team yet or not won in such an important situation, then our faith of winning is certainly not based on previous experience. And that is EXACTLY the purpose of spiritual faith:


So you're admitting that it's unfounded confidence?



To not base ones knowledge on the cause-effect-world of the intellect only because that part of ourselves only KNOWS what it remembers from this particular life. To access higher knowledge beyond this life on this physical realm one needs to go beyond cause-effect, past-present to intuition, imagination, faith. Only then the extraordinary is possible. Most religious people are not actually proficient in this or even aware of this, but neither are atheists.


And yet you merely assert it. I can assert that my head is a cracker all I want, but it will not become a cracker anytime soon. To use language that might help, you need to go beyond your assertions and actually back them up with reasoning.



Faith and Confidence and Belief are different words for the same thing. Its because you reject and deny that, that you do not understand Religion.


No, they are different words for similar things. I do teach English, don't make me get grammatical on you.



In my experience the concern of whether God exists or not is secondary to most Atheists.


I know where this is going. And you're right even though you're wrong. We tend to actually just care about living our lives well and peacefully just like most other people. That whole 'not believing in any deity' thing is just a single part of our lives.



The broad majority of Atheists I have read, seen and talked to harbour in them anger against certain types of fanaticism.


An argument from personal impression? Now, of course I'm angry at fanatics. But that has nothing to do with my atheism.



This is why the movement of Atheism, with its millions of books, movies, lectures and billions of websites has achieved nothing than perpetuating anger.


Oh really? What about the



They have built no temples, no cathedrals,


Well, I'll take that as obvious, but I'm sure they've designed plenty of other gorgeous buildings.



no works of higher philosophy,


Clearly you've not read half of contemporary philosophers. Some of the greatest philosophers of the last century were atheists. If Russel, Sartre, Heidegger, Grayling, and Foucault are not great philosopher than I do not know what standard you are using.



created no works of art.


Need I really recite at you all of the great works of atheistic literature, painting, film, theater, and music in the last 50 years? Douglas Adams (friend of Richard Dawkins)? John Lennon? Luis Brunel? Charlie Chaplain? Isaac Asimov? George Elliot? George Orwell? What about Mark Twain?




They have pissed on the lawn of churches or sprayed graffiti on cathedrals. That is the extent of their contribution to society.


It is entirely unreasonable to equate the idea of criticism and highlighting of flaws to vandalism while ignoring what essentially amounts to a great portion of all philosophical, artistic, cultural, and general aesthetic achievement following the Enlightenment movement.

Atheism today has its roots back in the 17th century. To deny those roots and the individuals who branched off from them of their achievements is to deny being a member of western civilization.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 06:13 AM
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Closing Statement

Today we are faced with fantastic diversity of belief and I hope we continue to have that diversity. For this we need to keep a watchful eye on Religious fanatics who wish to eradicate non-believers as well as Atheist-Fanatics who wish to eradicate Religion, such as was attempted in Soviet Russia.

There is no point trying to belittle my debate opponent. His views and reasons for holding on to them are clear. They come from the idea that "what is measurable is true". Religious Experience not being reliably measurable he naturally concludes that its not real. And what follows is that we are delusional people - maybe even dangerously so. Evidence seems to support his view. All technological progress we have seen in the last 100 years is based on a science that is measurable and precise.

But Religion and Mysticism do not operate in the realm of the measurable and never have, just like you cant measure a virus with a ruler. When you are in LOVE, can that be quantified and measured? Of course not. But that doesnt mean its not real. Isnt it interesting that LOVE...the very thing that APPEARS THE MOST REAL to us, cannot be measured? And its the same way with Religious Experiences: It cannot be measured but for Billions of people its real.

I am not going to waste any more time arguing with you. I think we have made our respective sides very clear. All that is now left to do is to extend the invitation not to allow our differences get in the way of respecting each other and treating each other with civility and kindness. One of the keys to our worlds issues is to be at peace with difference and not trying to force everyone to be the same.

And most people do enjoy difference. Any of us can be sitting in a Restaurant with muslims, christians, atheists, buddhists and it will be just fine. The moment someone forcefully enters my space and tries to convert me to their view, we've got a problem. If I visit an atheist convention or religious sunday service, that would be different. If I were partaking in an official debate, that would be different. But I am sitting in the Restaurant trying to eat. On a world-scale thats where problems arise. If people of different views conduct themselves as we did in this debate, things will turn out just fine.

The question of who of us is right or wrong need not be resolved. Diversity of belief is more important. I do believe that in the course of the evolution of intelligence, that truth shall prevail. You can look up at the stars at night and shout "there is no God!" all you want. I can stand there and shout "There is a God!" all I want. Do the stars care? No. They reply with mysterious silence. And a twinkle that says: "Wait and see..."





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