Instigator / Pro
8
1352
rating
39
debates
12.82%
won
Topic

Atheists and Agnostics can never convert to theism, ever.

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
6
Sources points
4
4
Spelling and grammar points
2
2
Conduct points
2
2

With 2 votes and 6 points ahead, the winner is ...

Ragnar
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Two days
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One week
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14
1760
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34
debates
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Description
~ 1,263 / 5,000

Disclaimer : Regardless of the setup for voting win or lose, The aim of this interaction, Is for those that view it, Learn and or take away anything that will amount to any constructive value ultimately. So that counts as anything that'll cause one to reconsider an idea, Understand a subject better, Help build a greater wealth of knowledge getting closer to truth. When either of us has accomplished that with any individual here, That's who the victor of the debate becomes.

Atheists looking for empirical, Practical, Observable, Solid scientific evidence for the existence of a god or gods will never ever but never become theists in that manner.

Atheists say their open to the existence of a god or gods by a vehicle of evidence. This means they cannot convert to theism or deism for that matter.

Likewise with agnostics, It's more clear cut with them as they say there isn't enough information or knowledge. They simply say we can't know anything in regards to the existence of a super natural being. So right there in that steadfast stance, There's no budging.

This challenge to refute points made in this topic is also encouraged/offered to the theists to take on.

For clarity or questions, Please send a message or comment prior to accepting debate.

Round 1
Pro
Atheists looking for empirical, Practical, Observable, Solid scientific evidence for the existence of a god or gods will never ever but never become theists in that manner.
Atheists say their open to the existence of a god or gods by a vehicle of evidence. This means they cannot convert to theism or deism for that matter.
Likewise with agnostics, It's more clear cut with them as they say there isn't enough information or knowledge. They simply say we can't know anything in regards to the existence of a super natural being. So right there in that steadfast stance, There's no budging.


Con
Preamble:
I shall prove my case on two fronts, which shall be given their own sections below
  1. Individual Converts
  2. All Theists

Burden of Proof
The resolution means non-theists, cannot ever convert to theism. So I should win if I prove at least one convert. Conversely, my opponent should win if he proves no converts.

Definitions
The description lacked certain key definitions, so to avoid semantic issues…
Merriam-Webster defines the following:
  • Atheist is “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods”
  • Atheistism is “a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods”
  • Agnostic is “a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something”
  • Agnosticism is “a philosophical or religious position characterized by uncertainty about the existence of a god or any gods”
  • Theist is “a person who believes in the existence of a god or gods”
  • Theism is “belief in the existence of a god or gods”


I. Individual Converts:
Ragnar
Ragnar from Debate.org (DDO) was an “Atheist” as noted on his profile [1], and his profile was last updated “4 Years Ago.”

Ragnar on DebateArt.com (DART) is a Catholic [2], and has a profile pointing back to various DDO accomplishments.

If I am the same person as myself, then the extreme qualifier from the resolution “ever” has been disproven, as evidenced by me converting sometime within the last four-years.


II. All Theists:
No one is born as a theist, rather they begin as atheists due to their lack of belief in anything.
As Richard Dawkins puts it [3]:
“When you say X is the fastest growing religion, all you mean is that X people have babies at the fastest rate. But babies have no religion.”

Religion is learned behavior, usually based on evidence offered by their parents. That the standards of evidence are lower at a young age, does not dismiss that evidence was provided. As written in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion [4]:
“The intergenerational decline follows clear patterns of transmission of parental religious characteristics to children.”


III. Refutations:
“Atheists say their open to the existence of a god or gods by a vehicle of evidence. This means they cannot convert to theism or deism for that matter.” [sic]
Except that they sometimes do, as shown above. I can guess a No True Scotsman fallacy is inbound to continue this point.

“They simply say we can't know anything in regards to the existence of a super natural being. So right there in that steadfast stance, There's no budging.” [sic]
Except nothing about that stance limits them from budging when greater evidence is revealed. Of course, if they are interpreting the evidence correctly is irrelevant to their personal beliefs based upon said evidence.


Sources:
  1. https://www.debate.org/ragnar/
  2. https://www.debateart.com/participants/Ragnar
  3. https://twitter.com/RichardDawkins/status/476262906431299584
  4. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4621936?seq=1&socuuid=effeaf08-0600-4089-b0c4-f4db275626c7&socplat=email#page_scan_tab_contents
Round 2
Pro
"
Religion is learned behavior, usually based on evidence offered by their parents. That the standards of evidence are lower at a young age, does not dismiss that evidence was provided. As written in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion [4]:"

We're not going to get into indoctrination. That was another debate challenge no one has been able to prove otherwise. That's another subject altogether.

So you say that people get involved into religion because of some "evidence".

Yes, what evidence is that please? What has been so called proven?

Be sure that this fits into what a theist is, mind you.

What about the unusual cases, what goes on there?

"Except that they sometimes do, as shown above. I can guess a No True Scotsman fallacy is inbound to continue this point."

Right, the ones that do, are those the ones looking for evidence or are they relying on faith in the existence of a god?

"Except nothing about that stance limits them from budging when greater evidence is revealed. Of course, if they are interpreting the evidence correctly is irrelevant to their personal beliefs based upon said evidence."

Without the "greater evidence " there is no budging or opting into faith, isn't that right?

We don't have to go into circles on that.You can change the context I put that in and I'll put it right back. We can leave that alone.

So the meat and potatoes of the matter is this: what is theism? What is a theist?

I'm sure you know what these things mean. So with that in mind, it's correct to say an atheist or non-theist looking for evidence , scientific evidence to accept the existence of God cannot convert to theism that way. If you actually understand what religion is, obviously you know what it has to do with and what it doesn't.


Con
I. Individual Converts:
Pro has wholly dropped this, and by showing at least one convert I have already won the debate. Extend.


II. All Theists:
Born
Pro has dropped that no one is born as a theist, rather they are all converts. Extend.

Evidence
Asking for other peoples evidence instead of my own is a little weird… 

As written by theologian Paul Copan, evidence stems from the world around us, to include [1]:
“consciousness, free will or a presumed personal responsibility, personhood, rationality, duties, and human value—not to mention the beginning, fine-tuning, and beauties of the universe. These are hardly surprising if a good, personal, conscious, rational, creative, powerful, and wise God exists. However, these phenomena are quite startling  or shocking  if they are the result of deterministic, valueless, non-conscious, unguided, non-rational material processes.”
Thus there is favorable evidence for theism. How each person interprets that is up to them, yet it is intuitively an internally run series of hypothesis tests, to which each person sets their own required significance levels required to reject null hypothesis [2]. The end result of these repeated experiments is the majority of the planet having converted, and with a decreasing proportion rejecting the evidence [3].


III. Refutations:
are those the ones looking for evidence or are they relying on faith in the existence of a god?
As has been repeatedly demonstrated, people do not begin with faith, rather all converts got that way through exposure to enough evidence to convince them. In the current population this has occurred billions of times [3].

“There's no budging.”
I have already proven people budging countless times.

“So the meat and potatoes of the matter is this: what is theism? What is a theist?”
See definitions in my R1 preamble [4].

“it's correct to say an atheist or non-theist looking for evidence , scientific evidence to accept the existence of God cannot convert to theism that way.” [sic]
Already proven false [1].


Sources:
  1. https://hbu.edu/news-and-events/2016/03/25/prove-god-exists/
  2. https://www.statisticshowto.com/probability-and-statistics/hypothesis-testing/
  3. https://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/
  4. https://www.debateart.com/debates/2377-atheists-and-agnostics-can-never-convert-to-theism-ever?argument_number=2
Round 3
Pro
"Pro has dropped that no one is born as a theist, rather they are all converts. Extend"

Where did I say no one is born a theist?

What does this have to do with the topic?

The topic is about non-theist conversion.

"Thus there is favorable evidence for theism. "

Does this mean that there is proof that people believe in a god?

That's not controversial. Many can see on Sunday morning that this is true. This relates to the topic how?

"As has been repeatedly demonstrated, people do not begin with faith, rather all converts got that way through exposure to enough evidence to convince them. In the current population this has occurred billions of times [3]."

They do not "begin" with faith , sure. But what must they END with to complete conversion?

Think about what a "born again" christian , muslim, roman catholic , etc. does.

Will you find a science experiment, chalk board with mathematical equations in the "holy temple"?

I was very detailed in regards to the manner of acceptance towards God's existence.

"I have already proven people budging countless times."

In what context?

The context I've have given was that specifically, the agnostics that view not enough or no information to support the existence of God will not sway to one belief or another. So in that context, no movement , that is correct.
You can prove in any other description of circumstances all you can.
I made a distinct description.

So if their view, the ones I pointed to in context won't move to faith but to solid evidence, they cannot convert to theism that way. That's not what theism is. At some point, beginning, middle or the very end, the person has to come to acceptance .

"Already proven false [1]."

What is theism?

What is it based on?

Now while you're answering, just keep this in mind.

There's no such thing as "my truth" or "your truth". My evidence I see and evidence you see,  my facts versus yours, there's no function in the world such as that.

Something either is or it isn't. God has either been proven or not proven.
Now religion still exists, religion hasn't been falsified. So what does that tell you? Do the math. The agnostic view still exists.

You're going to have to be honest with yourself and say there is no evidence for the existence of God .
So , what is theistic conversion based on ?




Con
I. Individual Converts:
Pro has repeatedly wholly dropped this, and by showing at least one convert I have already won the debate. Extend.


II. All Theists:
Born
Pro inquires “Where did I say no one is born a theist?”
However he did not have to say that, he did not challenge my reasoning nor my evidence.

Pro further inquires “What does this have to do with the topic?”It’s a premise which builds toward the conclusion. Chiefly since billions of non-theists have found enough evidence to convert: “can never convert to theism, ever” is obviously false.

Evidence
Pro drops everything here. Extend.

This section also answers pro’s end question: “So , what is theistic conversion based on ?”


III. Refutations:
“They do not "begin" with faith , sure.”
Pro concedes that Atheists and Agnostics indeed convert, and on a regular basis at that.
 
“Will you find a science experiment, chalk board with mathematical equations in the "holy temple"?”
In some cases yes! A Catholic Priest invented the big bang theory, which went against scientific dogma of the static universe hypothesis [1]. Pastafarians go further, basing their entire faith on empirical evidence; which to truly partake in this discussion you must read their holy book [2].
 
“There's no budging.”
Pro does special pleading, that it doesn’t count if they converted. This is an obvious non-sequitur [3], plus a No True Scotsman fallacy that they must not have been true non-theists if they were able to convert to theism [4].
 
Even if someone were to buy his restrictive definition of atheist, it was proven false with the Ragnar evidence (see “I. Individual Converts” above); plus agnostics still budged and became theists countless times. 
“The agnostic view still exists.”
Yes but many converted to Christianity (plus various other religions) specifically from agnosticism, proving the resolution false. Wikipedia lists 24 famous ones [5], to include:
  • Andrew Klavan – Jewish-American writer who went from atheist to agnostic to Christian.
  • Bruce Cockburn – Canadian folk/rock guitarist and singer/songwriter (former agnostic)
  • Arnold Lunn – skier, mountaineer, and writer; as an agnostic he wrote Roman Converts, which took a critical view of Catholicism and the converts to it; later converted to Catholicism due to debating with converts, and became an apologist for the faith, although he retained a few criticisms of it.
Round 4
Pro
"However he did not have to say that, he did not challenge my reasoning nor my evidence."

You made an accusation of me saying something. Will you take that back and assume accountability?

I'm spotting a STRAWMAN fallacy on your part by planting things I haven't said.

"It’s a premise which builds toward the conclusion. Chiefly since billions of non-theists have found enough evidence to convert: “can never convert to theism, ever” is obviously false."

What evidence?

You have one more time to explain this directly out of your argument.

"Pro concedes that Atheists and Agnostics indeed convert, and on a regular basis at that."

See all you're doing is dropping context. I mention specific contexts that you ignore.

You ignore my questions as they lead you to truth. I said theistic conversion can, not "requires" , but can begin with secular questions. There may be no faith starting out ,but what must, not can, but what must it end with?

The process of conversion is not equal to the meaning of a convert/proselyte . The topic is around the final stage. What does it take to be a convert or to be converted? No use in avoiding that. It's not what CAN happen in a conversion but what is MANDATED. You're not a religious person with religious BELIEFS until you've converted. You are absolutely not one in the middle of becoming one. That would be paradoxical. A number of things can occur during conversion. But for anybody, let's just put it generally, it may be easier to understand, for anybody to convert to religion, you have to reach the point of accepting beliefs period.

Knowledge from evidence is on the opposite end of believing in something. The only prerequisite for theism is faith. It's basically explained in the definition of a theist.

"This section also answers pro’s end question: “So , what is theistic conversion based on ?” "

I missed it. What did you specifically say theistic conversion was based on?

"In some cases yes! A Catholic Priest invented the big bang theory, which went against scientific dogma of the static universe hypothesis [1]. Pastafarians go further, basing their entire faith on empirical evidence; which to truly partake in this discussion you must read their holy book [2]."

I want you to put your thinking cap on. Try to think for yourself at what all these words mean.

What did the evidence show or prove first off? 

What kind of evidence is it that would cause for faith?

It's evidence,  is it not? Is that not enough? What do you need the hopes and the beliefs for?
Unless something was not ACTUALLY PROVEN. You have to really pay attention to what is being said. A very strong theory is something else altogether.

"Pro does special pleading, that it doesn’t count if they converted. This is an obvious non-sequitur [3], plus a No True Scotsman fallacy that they must not have been true non-theists if they were able to convert to theism [4]."

What am I talking about in reference to "no budging"? You mention "No True Scotsman", be honest here and explain what I'm saying.

Cherry picking words out of context serves you no good.

"Even if someone were to buy his restrictive definition of atheist, it was proven false with the Ragnar evidence (see “I. Individual Converts” above); plus agnostics still budged and became theists countless times. "

Yes in the manner of adopting some sort of faith. You may not say it or won't say it , so I'll say it for you.

Taking words out of context serves you no good.

"Yes but many converted to Christianity (plus various other religions) specifically from agnosticism, proving the resolution false. "

They converted in the manner of faith , yes. It all comes back to the point of that.

"Wikipedia lists 24 famous ones [5], to include:'"

I can put you on that list. No matter who it is, you or anybody else converts in the manner of faith.
This is explicit as there should be an understanding of what religion is.

That last individual in the list, it mentioned about an apologist for the faith, notice no word of evidence.

I think you got hung up on the title alone and said "Forget the description."

I will state again what I put in the description. No complexities, just straightforward.
I mentioned a specific manner. I'm arguing no others or any other procedures you're adding but what's strictly put.

"Atheists looking for empirical, Practical, Observable, Solid scientific evidence for the existence of a god or gods will never ever but never become theists in that manner."

Why is that?

You convert to a faith by manner of faith, not evidence.






Con
I. Individual Converts:
Once again, I proved a convert from atheism to Catholicism (a branch of theism) in R1, which was never challenged on any grounds. Vote con.
 
 
II. All Theists:
Born
Pro claims that me catching him dropping an argument is somehow “an accusation of me saying something” and a strawman. He has offered no sign of any misattributed quotation.
 
If all theists are converts from non-theism, then I have already won with some simple hand waving to indicate the billions currently on our planet.
 
The closest to a challenge pro’s able to offer is special pleading that they were not actually non-theists if they were able to convert, but no warrant is ever used to justify this claim. If he were correct, then the branch of theism people fall into would be wholly random rather than learned behavior; Christians would raise reincarnated buddhist babies and have no ability to intercede; likewise Christ never would have needed to die on the Cross, since Christians would have randomly been born with faith in that. … This is needless to say, pure absurdity.
 
Evidence
Pro claims he missed this section, when all he needs to do is scroll up to the evidence heading in R2. Extend.
 
 
III. Refutations:
They do not "begin" with faith , sure.”
Reminder against his above assertions that people are born into faith, that he already conceded they are not. Instead faith is something that begins with evidence (weak or strong, it’s still enough evidence to convince). 
“Will you find a science experiment, chalk board with mathematical equations in the "holy temple"?”
Notably, pro has dropped that there exists an entire branch of theism wholly based around empirical evidence.
 
Further, pro refuses to read The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti monster, even while it’s a prerequisite reading to really debate this topic. I invite him to come back and debate after he has done so (for context: for comedic effect, I’m mirroring complaints he made in another debate).
 
“There's no budging.”
Rather than refuting anything I’ve said, or so how what he says rose above a fallacy, he outright asks me to try to explain his points for him… No.
 
“The agnostic view still exists.”
Pro inists the former agnostics later had faith so could not have converted. This more non-sequitur and No True Scotsman fallacies.
 
 
Conclusion:
I have shown people converting due to evidence, both from atheism and agnosticism. Pro insists not once in the history of the world has this happened, yet refuses to refute the evidence of it having done so countless times.