Is Atheism True? Debate, 1st Post

First Round, First Post with response

The original post by the atheist was in standard paragraph form.  I have numbered the atheist's paragraphs and adopted an outline format to allow ease of response.  The atheist's posts appear in black text.  My responses follow each paragraph and are in green.

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  1. Is belief itself evidence of some god or gods? No.
    1. In this initial post of yours, you did not define your version of atheism. I had hoped to know this upfront so I might more adequately respond to your position. Which of the following do you adhere to, if any?
      1. You don't know if God exists, or
      2. You "lack belief" in God, or
      3. You don't believe in a God(s), or
      4. You believe that He does not exist
    2. Anyway, though I have not thought your opening statement through completely, I would agree that mere belief in God does not prove that He exists.
  2. Let us take the example of the Invisible Pink Unicorn (IPU). I can easily claim that an IPU lives in my front yard. It alone is responsible for creating the universe. Can you prove without a doubt that said IPU does not live in my front yard and is not responsible for the creation of the universe? I doubt very much that you could. You see, while you can knock away at the physical evidence for said IPU, or attack the existence of the IPU logically, belief is an entirely different matter. Belief itself, though it can use physical or logical evidence as elements that lead to a belief, is not dependent on them. A belief in something can and is frequently based more on subjective evidence than objective evidence. [emphasis added]
    1. Generally, I stay away from trying to prove negatives. I would not try to prove there is no IPU in your front yard. If you continued to say there was one there, I would probably think you were off your rocker. But, then again I might request to see evidence for it as well as hear your rationale for believing it is there. I would then base my opinion on whether or not that evidence and rationale is sufficient. If there is no evidence, it would be logical to conclude there was no IPU in your front yard, though it would not be absolute proof that there wasn't.
    2. Again, belief in something does not make it real. Certainly people can believe something without any rational reason and even contrary to evidence, but I have never heard of anyone believing anything without any reason at all. For you to state that belief can use physical evidence and logic to support it is good. But, in the sentence above in bold, you appear to state that belief is not dependent on them (if we remove the clausal statement from the sentence). If it is not dependent upon them, then it is independent from them. If belief is, by nature, independent of evidence and logic, then you are saying that "belief" is by nature something that requires no evidence and logic. Is this what you are intending to say? If that is what you are saying, then I reject your premise. I know of no one who believes in something for no reason. Even atheists who believe there is no God, do so for their own reasons. You cannot divorce the act of believing from the reason for believing.
  3. Nowadays the average adult no longer believes in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny because of the lack of physical evidence for these beings and the lack of logic in their existence. That is not to say that some adults dont still believe in such things as Santa, fairies, elves and the Easter Bunny, there are some who do, despite the evidence otherwise. (Ill get more detail on why this is in the next post)
    1. Agreed
  4. Objective evidence for the existence of god or gods is sorely lacking. It is this lack of evidence to support the existence of such beings that is the foundation of atheism. Atheists no more hold with the existence of IPUs or Santa Clause than they do with the existence of some god or goddess.
    1. You do not state what you mean by "objective evidence." However, I will assume that you mean that there is no true evidence for God's existence since if there were, that would prove God exists. Therefore, we must conclude that any theistic evidence presented is disputed by atheists. Furthermore, true objectivity leads to an analysis and interpretation of evidence which is unaffected by emotions or personal prejudices. If that is what you mean when using "objective", then it is not the evidence that is in question, but the individual who examines that evidence since emotions and prejudices do not reside in evidence; they reside in people and I suspect that no human is without emotions and prejudices. Also, I would hold the position that there is no such thing as a purely objective observer (other than God). There is, however, proposed evidence by theists for God's existence. Whether or not you would accept the evidence would depend on your presuppositions, your prejudices, the evidence itself, and what would constitute sufficient evidence for God's existence.
    2. An atheistic presupposition would certainly taint objectivity while viewing proposed theistic evidences, wouldn't you agree? If not, then you are claiming that you can be absolutely objective when examining evidence presented to you. I would not believe this to be so. I think that your examination of any evidence for or against God should also include an examination of your objectivity in regarding that evidence.
    3. Your statement that evidence for the existence of God or gods is sorely lacking is an opinion as it is my opinion that evidence for God is plentiful. Opinions don't make something true anymore than simply believing in something makes it true. An opinion, after all, is a belief, isn't it?
    4. So, when you conclude that "Atheists no more hold with the existence of IPUs or Santa Clause than they do with the existence of some god or goddess," you are really saying very little. What do you mean by "no more hold with"? Does it mean you don't know if God exists, "lack belief" in God, or believe that He does not exist? Your statement isn't clear. However, if I were to dare an assumption that you reject that God exists because there isn't any evidence that He exists, I would then ask you what would constitute sufficient evidence. If you cannot give me a reasonable answer, then it means you haven't thought your position through sufficiently and are holding your position, to some extent, by faith. Certainly, there must be some sort of evidence that you would reasonably accept. What is it?
    5. If there is evidence that God exists, then God exists. If there is no evidence that God exists, then God does not exist. So which does "sorely lacking" mean? Do you mean that evidence for God simply does not exist? Is there or isn't there any evidence for God's existence? Or, another option, is it that there isn't any evidence for God's existence that you have seen so far?
      If you say there isn't any evidence for God then you are claiming to know that in all places and time there is no evidence for God. That is hardly a logical position to hold.
      If you say that there isn't sufficient evidence for God then I might pursue some of the evidence you've rejected to see why you have rejected it. Is it possible that your lack of objectivity is clouding your ability to rightly analyze evidential arguments?

Conclusion

In my opinion, so far your reasoning has not demonstrated that atheism is true. Of course, it is early in the debate. I suspect that you are attempting to lay a premise on which to build your case. If you are trying to lay the premise that there is no evidence for God's existence, that would be a tall order for you to fill.

So far, you have only attempted to demonstrate that mere belief is not sufficient evidence to prove God exists, and that the evidence for God is "sorely lacking." It is the second assertion by you that is weak since it is a subjective statement especially since you opted to promote "objectivity" as a positive criteria to judge evidence. In either case, you have not offered anything that substantiates the validity of atheism.
To demonstrate that atheism is true, I propose that you would need to either

  • Provide a logical proof why God does not exist, or
  • Disprove, within reason, all theistic evidences for God that are presented to you.

Since you are trying to disprove evidence for God, I ask you what would constitute sufficient evidence for God's existence.

 

 

 

 
 
CARM ison