The Instigator
Jirezhiat
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
calculatedr1sk
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

A world with only agnostics would be better than the current world with its multitude of religions.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
calculatedr1sk
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/8/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 699 times Debate No: 40180
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

Jirezhiat

Pro

Round 1: Pro defines the motion with its parameters and presents his arguments
Round 1: Con comments on the motion's parameters if he wishes to do so, and presents his arguments

Round 2: Rebuttals

Round 3: Rebuttals

Round 4: Conclusion

Defining the motion:

Defining agnosticism:

The cognitive characteristic of willingness to change one's perception of how the universe functions. A non-agnostic person is someone who disregards any claim as false were it to contradict a belief of the non-agnostic person.

Defining the adjective 'better' in the context:

The topic assumes that a world that is 'better' is such a world that would be preferred by a larger percentage of humans (in the present time) than the percentage that would prefer for the world to stay as it is.

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Opening arguments:

The characteristic of being an agnostic is the best alternative on the level of an individual. In strive for truth the individual is willing to adapt his view of the world in light of new evidence of the truthfulness of thesis, being more able to assess what kind of actions would bring humans closer to the basic imperatives of satisfaction, increase in happiness and decrease in sadness.

The characteristic of holding any beliefs as absolute truths despite the evidence given gravely limits one's ability to understand the world, hence deterring the person of furthering human imperatives and hence reducing the number of people in the world who are able to understand the world in an attempt to improve it.
calculatedr1sk

Con

Challenge accepted, welcome to DDO, Pro.


I will not waste anyone’s time by arguing against the virtue of skepticism. Clearly, critical thinking, which I consider to be the spirit of Pro’s definition, is a desirable thing to promote for anyone who cares about truth, justice, peace, and human prosperity. Nevertheless, Pro’s position in this resolution is a good deal more ambitious and problematic than I think he realizes.


Perhaps the first and most obvious problem for him is that agnosticism tends not to be a stable, permanent position. I am, for example, not even remotely agnostic about whether or not there is a force of gravity, or whether the Earth is round. I used to be. When I was young, I remember being perhaps 7 or 8 maybe, I was agnostic about the truthfulness of maps. I had never been to Asia and was thus completely dependent on other people’s accounts of it. Back then I was skeptical, but open to claims. Now however, I have absolute and unshakable beliefs. I would immediately disregard any claim as being false if it contradicts my belief that the Earth is spherical rather than flat, or that Asia is an actual landmass. On a scale of certainty from 1 (not) to 100 (completely) certain, I am at least 99.999999 certain that my belief that the Earth is not flat and that Asia exists is accurate. I cannot conceive of anything which could possibly move me off of that view. I am not open minded on this. Does this mean I am too unreasonable to qualify living in this agnostics-only world you dream of? Additionally, suppose that I did have doubt about my belief, how would that mean a better world? Is the open mindedness Pro argues for only applicable to religion? If so, then why?


As it stands today, the vast majority of humans are not atheist or agnostic. They believe in a religion (mostly Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim). Why the number of people subscribing to a view should have any impact of the truthfulness of that view isn’t clear, nor is the reason why the faithful masses should for some reason prefer a world without religion. Pro has a lot of work ahead of him because of the definitions he used. Since atheism and agnosticism rank very low in popularity, and most people would never vote for an atheist or agnostic president, I know how he is going to manage to convince us to think that most people would prefer to live in a world of all agnostics.


Indeed, they may not need to live in an agnostic world to enjoy the same benefits. It is not only humans that mature and change, so do our tools, including religions (albeit, excruciatingly slowly for my taste). Imagine, if you would, a modern Christian in a non-denominational church who accepts evolution, sees the Bible as largely figurative, does not expect God to swoop in and save anyone with miracles, and goes about his or her life without dreaming of “the end” in which his nonbelieving neighbors will all die painfully from God’s judgment. Suppose this person happens to see all humans as brothers and sisters regardless of their beliefs, gender, or sexual orientation, and cultivates an attitude of love and gratitude. What quarrel can an atheist or agnostic even really make with such an individual’s life or behavior? How would their repositioning to a more agnostic or atheistic position improve matters?


Atheist neuroscientist and popular author Sam Harris is fond of pointing out that religion provides bad reasons to do good things, when good reasons are on offer. He might be right that the idea of heaven is a kind of cop out, a means of using denial to avoid ever having to actually learn how to grieve. But coping mechanisms exist for good reason; they aid in or even enable the survival of the organism. For some, the hope of an afterlife is the best they can do. Maybe some tragedies are so horrendous that there is just no other way for a person to cope than to believe that God has love for them, a purpose for them, and that everything is going to be okay. Suppose that religion is nothing more than blissful ignorance – but isn't blissful ignorance still better than the alternative of suicidal depression? Consider the story of Nick Vujicic. Tell me, my agnostic friend - how you can know so confidently that Nick’s life, and the lives of those whom he has touched, would have been better without the influence of his Christian faith?


Debate Round No. 1
Jirezhiat

Pro

Jirezhiat forfeited this round.
calculatedr1sk

Con

I was hoping my opponent would respond in time, but since that was not the case, extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
Jirezhiat

Pro

Jirezhiat forfeited this round.
calculatedr1sk

Con

Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
Jirezhiat

Pro

Jirezhiat forfeited this round.
calculatedr1sk

Con

Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
Thanks for reading and deciding on the debate, bladerunner, abyteofbrain, and Ryuu. Much appreciated!
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
Even though our mutual agreement on definitions would generally make them binding within a debate, I am open to negotiating new parameters because I value a good conversation over an easy win. However, out of consideration for our readers, I would like for us to establish new definitions either in private messages or in the comments section, rather than in the actual debate. We should only post the new definitions there only once we've come to agreement on them, because I don't want us to waste rounds deciding what the debate will be about. Also, Nilly, thanks for your interest! I'll check back tomorrow morning and early noon to see what you've suggested and give my reply.
Posted by Nilly 3 years ago
Nilly
I understand your concern, it would be a shame though if the whole debate came down to an issue of semantics, I'll be following both arguments with interest!
Posted by Jirezhiat 3 years ago
Jirezhiat
Unfortunately my worst fear came to be; A parameter, agnosticism that is, was not defined clearly. I am not able to argue against you in terms I would"ve wished for with, and will later on post a new argument that actually represents the knowledge issue I want to resolve.
Posted by Nilly 3 years ago
Nilly
Hi, new to this, so sorry if I should be leaving this to the debaters rather than voicing it all here myself!

While I am pro opening statement, I don't agree with your definition of agnosticism.

Gnostic means knowledge, and agnostic just implies lack of knowledge. It is different from belief in that you can believe in something without knowing it to be true or false (do you believe that there is an invisible monster under your bed? Probably not, but at this very moment in time you don't know for sure).

In fact, it's possible to be an agnostic atheist, or an agnostic theist. In both cases you believe a god exists or not, but you do not claim to know for sure, this is the stance of most rational people. The flip side is gnostic theists and gnostic atheists, who claim they know for sure (and there are people on both sides who do claim this).

Human progress relies on us examining our previous beliefs, and changing our stances - we no longer believe the earth is flat, or that sacrifice is right, or that skin colour has a bearing on intellect. So yes, a world where everyone is open to change their beliefs would be great. But I don't think that requirement is mutually exclusive with being religious, or being an atheist.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
When I said " I know how he is going to manage to convince us to think that most people would prefer to live in a world of all agnostics." I meant to say that I DON'T know how. I apologize for the confusion.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
Jirezhiatcalculatedr1skTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeits from Pro--Con made none. Arguments because Con actually presented a case. What little Pro provided in his opening statement was rebutted by Con, and never responded to. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
Vote Placed by abyteofbrain 3 years ago
abyteofbrain
Jirezhiatcalculatedr1skTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro defeated his own argument in the first round by saying that not believing in absolutes helps you to understand the world better. I'd also like to point out that his definition of agnosticism is somewhat unique. I desperately wanted to see Pro's rebuttal.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 3 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Jirezhiatcalculatedr1skTied
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Reasons for voting decision: easy peasy lemon squeasy