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jonathan7
01-04-2008, 10:58 AM
Hey all;

Well this is a thread to argue from the opposite point of view. Theism vs Atheism (or we could go more specific and have Christianity vs Atheism) depending on what people prefer. The only real rule is that you have to argue from a viewpoint that is not your own (agnostics pick a side! ;)). I am currently crafting my arguments for atheism :)

SilentScope001
01-04-2008, 03:10 PM
I think this thread isn't going to work.

The whole atheist/theist screed is an attempt to justify your point of view and gain converts to your cause. You can't really do any "devil's advocacy" here due to the fact it's so IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY. And if you come up with good arguments for the other side, it begs the question, why are you not on the other side?

It would be like asking Southerners and abolinists to go and trade places for fun in 1850. Not going to happen.

Inyri
01-04-2008, 03:29 PM
And if you come up with good arguments for the other side, it begs the question, why are you not on the other side?Just because you understand the other side's point of view doesn't mean you have to agree with it. For instance I understand why some Middle Eastern people burn their family members when they've done something dishonorable. I certainly don't agree with it, though.

Ray Jones
01-04-2008, 03:34 PM
Prrffffft. Everbarty knows god is real but religions are wrong. And those who deny go to heaven 'coz hell is da funkey place to be.

And I am not kidding you. :carms:

Rev7
01-05-2008, 02:32 AM
I don't understand what you are getting at... if you believe in something you usually stand firm in your beliefs. You are basically saying that if you are a Christian, think like a atheist, and vice versa? That certainly has pros and cons...or at least from my point of view. Once you post your "arguments for atheism", I think that I will understand a little better. :) Thanks!

Aeroldoth
01-05-2008, 03:05 AM
What jonathan7 is proposing is a common tool in debate training. It's easy to argue for something you believe in; it's much harder to argue for something you don't believe in, especially so the closer it is to your heart.

By arguing from the opposite side, you not only might learn to see flaws or holes in your normal arguments but, more importantly, may gain insight into the minds of those on the opposite side. You learn to better defend your normal position, better attack the opposite position, but most of all get a better understanding of not only "what" the other side believes, but "why", and therefore may hopefully attain a better meeting place for compromise.

(Not directly related but a recent movie I enjoyed nonetheless: Debating Robert Lee (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387973/))

SilentScope001
01-06-2008, 02:51 AM
What jonathan7 is proposing is a common tool in debate training. It's easy to argue for something you believe in; it's much harder to argue for something you don't believe in, especially so the closer it is to your heart.

I know that's true, but it's almost pointless. I would love to do so, except I'm not too diehard anyway either for atheist or for religion (which might get some fool to call me an agnoist, but I'm not, okay? :p Just an ethical and moral relativist) , and I can easily parrot the ideas of the enemy.

Web Rider
01-06-2008, 02:56 AM
In a debate on a non-opinional issue, such as immigration, or the War in Iraq, yes, this is a great tool for finding flaws in your argument or seeing "the light" of the other side. I've done it from time to time and have changed my views accordingly.

But when it comes to "faith" it's far too much of simply your opinion. You're not going to get any further in the argument than if you let people stand for what they actually stand for.

Rev7
01-06-2008, 02:56 AM
I just need to see an example. I have never really 'debated' ( other than LF) or used a debating tool such as this one.

Web Rider
01-06-2008, 03:04 AM
I just need to see an example. I have never really 'debated' ( other than LF) or used a debating tool such as this one.

yes, in short, you are supposed to think like "the other side".

Lets take: global warming.

Pro: there is evidence to support the idea that man is creating a significant increase in greenhouse gasses, causing a general warming trend across the planet.

Con: there is evidence to support the idea that this is just one more of Earth's natural cycles in which there is a spike of hot, followed by a long cooling trend, it's simply the first one man has had the technology to measure and record.

Normally you would say "Pro", this time you say "con". Though this particular topic was for debating as opposite religious views, ie: if you are a believer, argue from the point of a non-believer. Problem: such things are very person and mostly a matter of opinion, and can very quickly turn from a debate into a mockery of both sides.

Rev7
01-06-2008, 03:33 PM
Problem: such things are very person and mostly a matter of opinion, and can very quickly turn from a debate into a mockery of both sides.
That is probably what is going to happen too. I am just not sure that the topic is the best for this kind of debating. Thank you for the example WR. :)

jonathan7
01-09-2008, 08:35 PM
Sorry I haven't yet replied to this thread with my arguments for Atheism, I have 'lurked' around the forums for the odd few minutes now and again for the last few days, but I have been ill with a migraine (hence me generally not posting). The arguments will take a fair ammount of time to right; I have set a side a few hours on sat to write it and then will post it; I would like to respond to a few comments here however;

but most of all get a better understanding of not only "what" the other side believes, but "why", and therefore may hopefully attain a better meeting place for compromise.

Just because you understand the other side's point of view doesn't mean you have to agree with it. For instance I understand why some Middle Eastern people burn their family members when they've done something dishonorable. I certainly don't agree with it, though.

QFE + QFT

In a debate on a non-opinional issue, such as immigration, or the War in Iraq, yes, this is a great tool for finding flaws in your argument or seeing "the light" of the other side. I've done it from time to time and have changed my views accordingly.

But when it comes to "faith" it's far too much of simply your opinion. You're not going to get any further in the argument than if you let people stand for what they actually stand for.


yes, in short, you are supposed to think like "the other side".

Lets take: global warming.

Pro: there is evidence to support the idea that man is creating a significant increase in greenhouse gasses, causing a general warming trend across the planet.

Con: there is evidence to support the idea that this is just one more of Earth's natural cycles in which there is a spike of hot, followed by a long cooling trend, it's simply the first one man has had the technology to measure and record.

Normally you would say "Pro", this time you say "con". Though this particular topic was for debating as opposite religious views, ie: if you are a believer, argue from the point of a non-believer. Problem: such things are very person and mostly a matter of opinion, and can very quickly turn from a debate into a mockery of both sides.

I would actually respond with an opposite point, because religion arouses such emotion and has caused wars I think it is even more important that we understand how the 'other' side thinks. Continually in the Middle East mistakes are made by the West for not properly understanding Arab culture; these mistakes have led to the deaths of many people.

Intellectually; you cannot claim to be in any sort of possession of the truth unless you have examined all sides of an argument. Personally I often read opinions in opposite to my own, my favourite Philosopher is Nietzsche, I do not agree with alot of what he says but, he was, for me, quite simply the most brilliant mind of the last millenia. Aristotle said; "It is the sign of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." On this subject Nietzsche remarked; "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently." Personally if I am in a position of teaching I prefer to present both sides of an argument and allow the pupil to make their own mind up.

Personally if humanity is to move forward I believe it imperetive that we understand why someone thinks what they do; so we can at least compromise. I am an ardent proponent of the quote often attributed to Voltaire; "I disagree with what you have to say; I will however defend to the death your right to say it".

Finally I would remark, from previous threads I believe that Atheists such as Achilles, Samuel Dravis and ED will happily involves themselves in this topic, all have in previous conversations shown a fair ammount of knowledge of religion. Given previous expierance of Christians on this subject and from observations from the board, I believe with the exception of Jae, I don't think many of the religious believers will participate. I would greatly like to be proved wrong on this point. :)

Achilles
01-09-2008, 10:04 PM
Finally I would remark, from previous threads I believe that Atheists such as Achilles, Samuel Dravis and ED will happily involves themselves in this topic, all have in previous conversations shown a fair ammount of knowledge of religion. Given previous expierance of Christians on this subject and from observations from the board, I believe with the exception of Jae, I don't think many of the religious believers will participate. I would greatly like to be proved wrong on this point. :)Since someone said my name, I'm now obligated to reply.

I think this sort of intellectual exercise is awesome for topics that are quasi-objective and have legitimate arguments on both sides. Nuclear energy, foreign aid in Africa, continuance of the death penalty. These are just a few examples of subjects that one might see invoked for formal debate and for which a good debater should be able to argue from both sides with ease (there's a great scene in the movie Thumbsucker that exemplifies this. Tried to find a YT clip but no luck). It is precisely because valid arguments grounded in fact exist on both sides of the divide that this is possible.

Unfortunately, as others have pointed out, this same set of conditions does not exist for subjects for which one or both sides are subjective and/or there are no legitimate arguments to use. Every single argument for theism terminates with "I believe that [insert deity here] exists. Prove me wrong". It's a show-stopper. The next step is the opponent pointing out that burden of proof is not on them which is followed by either both parties accepting there is nothing left to say or both parties beginning to repeat themselves.

This is precisely why most theists walk away from these sort of debates feeling as though they "won": they've been conditioned to accept an opinion that cannot be examined rationally, therefore the "argument" itself is completely impervious to scrutiny.

I hope this helps to show my thinking on the matter and explain why I have not participated in this thread and do not intend to. As I have stated before I do not have any kind of experience with formal debate, therefore if any part of what I have said about debating is wrong and someone would like to correct me, I would gladly welcome the opportunity to be educated. Thanks for reading.

SilentScope001
01-10-2008, 12:36 AM
Personally I often read opinions in opposite to my own, my favourite Philosopher is Nietzsche, I do not agree with alot of what he says but, he was, for me, quite simply the most brilliant mind of the last millenia.

My favorite quote: "Anything that needs to be proven is useless."

His rants against religion is also, to be perfectly honest, pretty persuasive.

Given previous expierance of Christians on this subject and from observations from the board, I believe with the exception of Jae, I don't think many of the religious believers will participate.

Time to prove you wrong then.

Shouldn't be too hard to copy and paste the atheistic argument. Though, I am not so certain that Samuel Dravis will be able to enter in though (I think he's anti-devil's advocate). ED might though.

It is precisely because valid arguments grounded in fact exist on both sides of the divide that this is possible.

If you claim that the other side comes up with invalid arguments, then any logical discussion with that one person (aka, you) is futile. You know that full well, and you are free to believe that, but to assume that the other side has "invalid arguments" is assuming bad faith and being too dogmatic for my taste.

Whatever.

Samuel Dravis
01-10-2008, 02:12 AM
Though, I am not so certain that Samuel Dravis will be able to enter in though (I think he's anti-devil's advocate). ED might though.Well, it's not that I wouldn't mind doing this for educational purposes, it's just I wouldn't do it for any other reason.

I do agree that it is valuable to know your opponent's position so that misunderstandings are kept to a minimum. Obviously if you don't know what your opponent thinks you're going to have problems arguing with him. Analyzing the opposing argument does help a lot in this, and playing the devil's advocate in this context does help while doing so.

As for the thread itself, Devon and I had a discussion about this topic several days ago while chatting. My opinion was that, essentially, I don't know of a believable argument that I could use in this thread. Certainly I can think of hypothetical arguments that could be used (although the evidence for them is lacking), but right now I can't in good faith argue the opposite of my current position.

Like Achilles said, it's hard to "argue" about a subjective view when just subscribing to that view allows no other meaningful discussion on the subject. To illustrate:

Subjective vs Subjective = No common ground.
Subjective vs Objective = No common ground.
Objective vs Objective = Discussion is possible.

Devon, I think, was more interested in the prospect of this being an opportunity for the religious to test their own beliefs against the atheistic view they have to create (after saying this he went off on a psychotic rant about something, but anyway). I doubt he intends to participate - although he may surprise me. :p

Web Rider
01-10-2008, 03:50 AM
I would actually respond with an opposite point, because religion arouses such emotion and has caused wars I think it is even more important that we understand how the 'other' side thinks. Continually in the Middle East mistakes are made by the West for not properly understanding Arab culture; these mistakes have led to the deaths of many people.
You can never truly understand something without being part of it, or feeling that urge to defend it. I can argue from an emotional standpoint about religion if you'd like. I'm sure I'd throw swears and all sorts of things at you. But I don't agree with a religious stance, I don't feel like I'm part of it(or for another example, arab culture), it's not MY culture, I don't know how it works or what is' like to be part of it.

So what you'd really get isn't me arguing from that opposite stance, but arguing from the same stance I already argue from with different words here and there.

Intellectually; you cannot claim to be in any sort of possession of the truth unless you have examined all sides of an argument.
Intellectually, you cannot claim to KNOW anything without have infinite knowledge. I'm sure we could argue semantics all we like, but I understand what you mean. Examining ALL sides of an argument is impossible, though one can claim to have at least attempted to examine as many sides of an argument as are available to you.

Personally I often read opinions in opposite to my own, my favourite Philosopher is Nietzsche, I do not agree with alot of what he says but, he was, for me, quite simply the most brilliant mind of the last millenia. Aristotle said; "It is the sign of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." On this subject Nietzsche remarked; "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently." Personally if I am in a position of teaching I prefer to present both sides of an argument and allow the pupil to make their own mind up.
If you are well educated to the point in the subject where you can do that, that is great, but I see no wrong in knowing one particular side particularly well.

Personally if humanity is to move forward I believe it imperetive that we understand why someone thinks what they do; so we can at least compromise. I am an ardent proponent of the quote often attributed to Voltaire; "I disagree with what you have to say; I will however defend to the death your right to say it".
compromise is all well and good, but not always possible or an acceptable solution. Often the best, I agree, but the best of the worst is still a bad solution.

Finally I would remark, from previous threads I believe that Atheists such as Achilles, Samuel Dravis and ED will happily involves themselves in this topic, all have in previous conversations shown a fair ammount of knowledge of religion. Given previous expierance of Christians on this subject and from observations from the board, I believe with the exception of Jae, I don't think many of the religious believers will participate. I would greatly like to be proved wrong on this point. :)
But knowledge of a religion isn't the same as believing it, being part of it, or feeling like you NEED to defend that perspective as it is integral to who you are.

Emperor Devon
01-10-2008, 04:47 AM
Subjective vs Subjective = No common ground.
Subjective vs Objective = No common ground.
Objective vs Objective = Discussion is possible.

Indeed, a reversed religious argument is impossible to hold when the standards of both sides are not only subjective but opposing. Religion is an inherently emotion (faith)-based set of beliefs, and is mutually exclusive with the central principle of the most common form of atheism (rational thought). Until both sides can find objective standards to measure their arguments by, a conclusive argument is impossible regardless of what person is arguing for what side. A debate cannot be held when the involved people disagree on how it is won.

Of course, whether an argument can be successfully concluded is unrelated to whether it can be held at all. I personally would be interested in seeing the regular Kavar's posters argue from the other side, though the religious crowd hasn't been particularly forthcoming. (Understandably so, however - as a person inherently lacking in faith I doubt my religious arguments could hold much substance. Oh wait, here I am saying they were substantial in the first place. Silly me, it's logically infeasible to treat both standards as equally valid. :D)

That aside, I still think it would be fun to hold. I wouldn't go expecting any new insights or even moderately well-thought-out arguments, however.

SilentScope001
01-10-2008, 06:40 PM
Until both sides can find objective standards to measure their arguments by, a conclusive argument is impossible regardless of what person is arguing for what side. A debate cannot be held when the involved people disagree on how it is won.

I disagree totally. Every argument has some sort of subjective standards that can make 'civilized discussion and conclusion' utterly impossible to complete, that's the whole point. Science has the subjective standard of logic (trusting logic is inherently subjective), Religion has the subjective standard of faith. All discussion can become moot if you just go and say that both sides share different, conflicting values...

But I do think there might be an objective ground. To wit, "Is there a diety, or dieties, that control our lives? And can said diety be proven to exist?" I think such can occur. You got several proofs given out by St. Augustine (not scientific, but it is rational in a philosphical point of view), as well as Kant's arguments against reason, and the Islamic view of the Kalaml Cosmology. All these arguments can in fact be knocked down. But it will take time to knock them down (and a person can attempt to try and save the argument by modifying them, you know), and why not spend the effort doing so?

However, such a debate cannot go and focus on "Is Christianty right?" or other such nonense. That you cannot really prove, because even if there is proof that there is a diety, there is no proof that said diety MAY be in fact the diety of Judeo-Christan faith.

Is there a God? I think you can milk that.

That aside, I still think it would be fun to hold. I wouldn't go expecting any new insights or even moderately well-thought-out arguments, however.

True, maybe.

EDIT: Here's something I missed:

Problem: such things are very person and mostly a matter of opinion, and can very quickly turn from a debate into a mockery of both sides.

Honestly, I think both sides do need to be mocked. This argument, having taken up the space of every single Internet web board, may become so annoying to everyone having to watch, and even to those inside of the argument too.

"Arguing on the Internet is like the special olympics..."

Web Rider
01-10-2008, 07:45 PM
Honestly, I think both sides do need to be mocked. This argument, having taken up the space of every single Internet web board, may become so annoying to everyone having to watch, and even to those inside of the argument too.

"Arguing on the Internet is like the special olympics..."
Much as I agree, we've seen already that not enough people can take such mockery in stride. Hence: problem.

Ah, the special olympics, the only games where laughing gets you in trouble.