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There are four positions based on a higher level question about epistemological context:
Agnosticism vs Conclusiveness X Atheism vs Theism
- Agnostic Atheist: The answer to the question cannot be deduced or empirically demonstrated. I choose to believe in no deities.
- Conclusive Atheist: There is proof that there are no deities.
- Agnostic Theist: The answer cannot be deduced or empirically demonstrated. I have faith in (insert deity(s) here).
- Conclusive Atheist: There is proof that the deity(deities) ________ exist.
Within the Conclusive qualifier is also Gnosticism = inspired personal knowledge, or enlightenment.
This debate needs to be broken down into such categories.
- Can we conclusively demonstrate whether or not deities exist?
- Assuming we can: are there no deities?
- Assuming we cannot: should we reject belief in deities as opposed to having faith in them?
I'm too new here to attempt such a major restructuring yet.
jambaugh 11:47, 16 November 2009 (CST)
Can God's existence be logically proven or disproven?
The Con in the above section is identical to that in the debate: Does "God" really exist?
Is this not unnecesary duplication?
Additionally I don't understand why the section has been added as a con. Although it is against the atheist position, it is clearly pro the notion that God's existence can be logically proven or disproved. BaldySlaphead 07:04, 17 August 2011 (EDT)
Removed as per discussion. Vagon 20:34, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
Religious institutions: Are religious institutions generally harmful?
The Con side to this section of the debate includes this:
"When atheists criticise religions for the largely negative impact atheism has had on society, they are overlooking their own negative impact. Communism, the ideology providing the ground for so many brutal dictatorships throughout the last century, has atheism as one of its tenets."
The first sentence is nonsensical - clearly where it says 'atheism', it should say 'religion'. The argument presented has no bearing on whether religious insitutions are generally harmful - it is classic 'tu quoque' reasoning, arguing not that atheists are wrong to criticise religious insutitions in this way, but that their own insitutions are equally bad.
Finally, it claims that atheism is a tenet of communism, which is factually incorrect. Communist states may often endorse atheism, but that does not make atheism a tenet of communism.
It is a very poor section, and I would argue it should be struck.BaldySlaphead 10:07, 17 August 2011 (EDT)
It would be helpful if England4Ever were prepared to engage in constructive debate. This section has now been altered, apparently in response to my comment above, but is not much improved:
"It was invented by atheistic idealists who wanted a perfect society without God's help. So it follows that it was necessary to wholly rely on fallible humans to attempt to achieve their goal."
Credible evidence for this claim? I will suggest that there is none; it is a sociopolicial theory. This is the imposition of the author's ideology. Where are citations to support this assertion?
"Every Communist society in history has been at least mildly repressive and all have been proven to be corrupt, with most caring little for human rights. Yes, the theory of Communism may describe a perfect society, but what good is a perfect society if it doesn't exist and all attempts to create one fail miserably?"
One is tempted to remark that the same can be said of all attempted theocracies... However, this is irrelevant since the author has failed to prove that his original connection of the origins of Communism to atheism is a true one. Until he does this, his conclusion is of no value. Even if he does, it would be of limited value, since it can simply be proved that atheists support all manner of sociopolitical systems, many of which are also favoured by theists.
Essentially, this section is attempting to poison the well. Surely we can aim for much better than this? (This last by BaldySlaphead 05:25, 18 August 2011 (EDT))
I think the main problem with this section is that it doesn't even attempt to compare the how bad the impact of religion is compared to that of atheism, it just lists the complaints. Citations to follow. User:England4ever
The positivity or negativity of religious institutions has little to nothing to do with the veracity of atheism. I suggest either setting this up as a separate debate or removing this on the grounds of it being a red herring. Vagon 19:51, 25 August 2011 (EDT)