The Instigator
Jurn77
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
burningpuppies101
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

Agnosticism is a great way to look at life.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/22/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,520 times Debate No: 12801
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (6)

 

Jurn77

Pro

Hello, and thank you for accepting this debate. I hope we can learn something through the coming four rounds.

I have always been torn between Religion. My father is an Atheist, whilst my mother is Catholic; She believes in God strongly, even though my dad has debated with her and stumped her many times, along with the rest of her family.

I listen to the reasoning and have argued with my parents over religion many o' times. There is evidence to both sides, and many ideas can be accepted and discarded.

I have always been fascinated, and interested in religion. Researching it is a common hobby of mine, it is all so amazing, some of the ideas put into it.

So not too long ago, I realized that Agnosticism is a great way to look at religion and life for that matter. It t is a belief that discards these ideas almost entirely. Agnostic theists identify themselves both as agnostics and as followers of particular religions, viewing agnosticism as a framework for thinking about the nature of belief and their relation to revealed truths.

The definition of Agnosticism is:

"the position of believing that knowledge of the existence or non-existence of god is impossible."

This is an entirely legit way of thinking. There is not enough evidence to make a decision on whether God exists or not, it is simply unknowable.

Many ignorant people seem to believe that Agnosticism is the idea of believing in nothing at all; I am unsure if many think that, possibly just my local area.

Nonetheless, I hope for a good debate. This is open to all, preferably those who can make a intellectual argument, I wish to see who disagrees and why. After every round, the next debater will have an entire day to respond; I do wish my opponent would get back to me quicker than that, however.

Source[for definition]: http://www.skepdic.com...
burningpuppies101

Con

Well, this is my first debate is a while, so I apologize in advance if I seem a little rusty, it will be because I am. I want to take this moment to thank my opponent for posting this debate, which also seems to be his first debate, so congrats on joining DDO!

Ok, so let's talk about the topic. It stands as follows: Agnosticism is a great way to look at life.

So, let's go through it, looking for the important stuff. My opponent conveniently provides a definition for agnosticism, which is:"the position of believing that knowledge of the existence or non-existence of god is impossible."

I have a better one.
an agnostic, according to http://www.merriam-webster.com... is:
1 : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2 : a person unwilling to commit to an opinion about something

There's a few reasons that we should go with my definition. First, Merriam Webster is significantly more well known than this Skeptic's Dictionary, not to mention has been in use for much longer. Also, Merriam Webster provides a definition that will actually apply to this debate. My opponent's definition of agnosticism is good when asking for a way to look at religion, but is lacking when we want to apply it to life in general. My definition has no such shortcoming, since it provides a definition in relation to religion (1), and life (2).

So moving along, we get to "great way to look at life"
This would seem to be the part of the topic that gives me and my opponent our burdens, jobs, whatever you want to call it. As PRO, my opponent would have to show that Agnosticism is a "great way to look at life", and I would have to show that it is NOT "a great way to look at life".

My opponent is already falling short in his first speech. He spends the first half (everything above his definition) giving a story about his life and his internal debate over atheism or theism. Then he claims that agnosticism is a great way to look at religion, in the paragraph right above his definition.

HOWEVER, all he has is that agnosticism "is an entirely legit way of thinking." Whoopdedoo, but he has to show that agnosticism is a GREAT way of thinking, especially about life. He's just shown that it's ONE way to look at life, not that it is a GOOD way to look at life, or even GREAT.

and then his speech ends. So we have no argumentation that agnosticism is actually a Great way of looking at life, only that it is A way to look at life. He's clearly lacking any offense that he would dearly need to win this debate.

So, I've used up half my characters showing why my opponent is not winning, and even if I stop here you'd have to vote for me since it's PRO's job to actually provide some sort of offensive argumentation, and if I successfully prevent that from happening, I have won.

But here's why agnosticism is NOT a great way to look at life.

~~~~
Argument 1: Agnosticism prevents us from taking any action, just from the definition.

Here's why: In order to take any action, we would have to make an opinion, and then commit to it. Even something as simple as what to order in a restaurant would be rendered impossible if we were to apply agnosticism. Should I get the steak or the fish? If I apply agnosticism, it would tell me to not commit to either one. So I cannot choose the steak OR the fish, and choosing one or the other would mean committing to it, which you CAN"T do under agnosticism. So you'll starve. Something more complicated perhaps? In the realm of politics, agnosticism prevents any policy action from happening. Just imagine if every single person in Washington refused to venture an opinion. No one would be willing to commit to a side on any issue. Nothing would get done. Agnosticism would prevent ANYTHING FROM HAPPENING.

Here's why it matters: Well if it's Agnosticism that is preventing anything from happening, from something as simple as what to order or something as big as policy directives, then the world would be stuck in a standstill. That's clearly not a good thing, as we could all die because we can't choose what to eat.
~~~~
Argument 2: Even religious agnosticism is bad.
Here's why: If we say that the existence or non existence of a God, higher entity, whatever is impossible, what is to stop us from calling other things unknowable? The existence of morality might exist or it might not. We don't know. Therefore we can't assume it does, and what's then left to stop me from committing heinous crimes? There's no sense of morality stopping me, since morality doesn't exist. What about reality? We can't know that you or I exist, or that even there is such a thing as existing. If you remember from the movie Inception (spoiler alert for those who have not seen it), Cobb plants the idea that they are dreaming into Mal's head. Mal, in real life, then begins to question if the reality isn't just another layer. This drives Mal to commit suicide, because she believes she was dreaming.

Here's why it matters: Religious agnosticism might be handy for those who don't want to make an opinion, but under a framework of assuming something is unknowable can just lead to bad things, not good.
~~~~
In conclusion: Just to recap. We have the definitional arguments. We prefer M-W since it a definition that not only encompasses religion, but also agnosticism in life, which is what the topic is about. We have my opponent, who has no offensive argumentation to prove why agnosticism is a GOOD way to look at life. Then we have my 2 arguments as to why agnosticism actually can lead to bad things, both in real life and when applied to religion. In real life, agnosticism prevents decisions from being made. Applied to religion, it also is bad since claiming something as unknowable means we can claim other things unkn
Debate Round No. 1
Jurn77

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response, and will refute his ideas now. And yes, this is my first debate.

My opponent has provided a definition to counter mine. This definition, however, is highly similar to mine and gives the same meaning, which is, basically; That Knowledge of God or an Afterlife is unknowable. My opponent has cleverly incorporated a Political definition of Agnosticism into the argument. Although this was not my initial thought, I thank my opponent for making this debate all the more interesting.

Con then proceeds to explain why his definition is better than my own:

"First, Merriam Webster is significantly more well known than Skeptic's Dictionary, not to mention has been in use for much longer."

My opponent explains that because M.W. is more notable than Skeptic's dictionary, My definition is irrelevant. This is completely off of the subject, as it doesn't matter how famous the source is, as long as it stays to the subject matter. Then Con explains that my definition is irrelevant also because Merriam Webster has been "in use for much longer".

This, again makes no sense and is not applicable to the debate topic.

I never actually specified I was speaking of Politics, apparently my opponent did not understand what the title of my debate is supposed to mean.

"Agnosticism is a great way to look at life." When I think that, what I mean is that Agnosticism frees us from the stress of Religious beliefs, because it is the decision that the existence of God or the afterlife or anything like that.

Since he has already brought in Political Agnosticism, I will have to refute his ideas.

As I said above, Agnosticism is a great way to look at life because it takes away the worries and such of beliefs; It's a decision more than a belief.

I will now refute my opponent's argumentation.
--------------------------------------
Argument 1: My opponent makes it clear that he is against Political Agnosticism with these paragraphs.

He makes some believable examples.

"Just imagine if every single person in Washington refused to venture an opinion"

Con contradicts his own definition; Agnosticism is a belief, not a rule, So what he says is impertinent. Even Political Agnosticism ( which really is more of an opinion than anything) is a relief from decision-making, like Religious Agnosticism. It takes away from the hard-decision making required in Politics and life for that matter; So it could be regarded as a positive action, compared to my opponent's view of it being useless.

In regards to his summary of Political Agnosticism, Con says that this form of Agnosticism would put the world in a standstill, which is obviously wrong. Not everyone WOULD believe the same thing - That's why it's a decision rather a rule set-in-stone.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Argument 2: Here, my opponent clarifies his opinion on Religious Agnosticism.

What he says is not in the least bit relevant in proving that Agnosticism is bad. He simply states the same thing I am trying to prove - That everything spiritual is unknowable. He states that Morality and even Reality is impossible to learn. For some reason, he says the same thing that I believe. There is nothing stopping us from doing these acts because it is unknowable if a God exists.

----------------------------------------------

Summary Refute: Con states in his Summary that "Real Life" Agnosticism is bad because it means decisions are unsolvable and cannot be made; This is not true. Even in my title, "Agnosticism is a great way to LOOK at life". I never said that everyone will take this idea to heart; I simply said it is a great way to look at life, because there is no decision making involved; Of course this can be a bad thing, but you must make it a good thing.

Then, he debates the idea of Religious Agnosticism, which again is off the subject matter. What Con says here seems as though he agrees with me. This view prevents the hassle of claiming one thing or another, and yes, it is right to claim things unknowable: The consequences are what life is about.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summary: My opponent has made a great refute to Agnosticism, but his ideas are a bit shortsighted and are, mostly irrelevant to the topic. I hope the audience understands my refute and I await Con's response.
burningpuppies101

Con

burningpuppies101 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Jurn77

Pro

My opponent has forfeited this round, therefore proving that my argument is irrefutable.
burningpuppies101

Con

First, I want to profusely apologize for missing the deadline for my previous argument. I apologize, but the voters must realize that this in no way changes the outcome of the debate, since I will still amass the most amount of points, from sources and argumentation.
~

Let's talk about definitions. My opponent's definition, from a small obscure site called the skeptic's dictionary, is solely about refusing to venture an opinion about whether God exists or not. However, the topic of this debate is not about religious agnosticism, but agnosticism in general. Therefore, my definition from M-W is much better, since it encompasses religious agnosticism, and also talks about how we would apply it to real life. My opponent makes the mistake of assuming I'm only talking about political agnosticism. To the contrary, I'm talking about agnostics in general, who are: "a person unwilling to commit to an opinion about something ". An example is a political agnostic. Doesn't mean i'm only talking about political agnostics.
For the mere reason that my definition actually references the topic matter, we ought to be using mine. Next.
~
The next part of my opponent's speech consists of him redefining the topic, how what he actually meant was something other than what I interpreted it to be. He also makes the misinterpretation of assuming I'm only bringing in political agnosticism. I'm talking about agnosticism in general. My opponent is not allowed to try to clarify what he meant about the topic when he made it, and then use that to exclude my argumentation. Don't allow him to rewrite the resolution to fit his arguments, he should have done that in his first speech.
~~~

This is my opponent's only piece of offense that I can glean from his speech, and at best, this is a claim. There is no reasoning to prove it and he provides no impact for it in the round. At best, this is him venturing an opinion. Yay. But don't let him win from that.
~~~
ARG 1:
So my opponent decides to call me impertinent and then say I contradict myself, since Agnosticism is not a rule, but rather a belief. But if we can't allow actions based on our beliefs, how do we act? In a debate, in order to actually measure impacts for the round, you have to assume that if you are defending a position, there will be actions based on your position. Also, if my opponent is allowed to make this unsubstantiated claim, then that would void his entire argument. If agnosticism is only a belief, not a rule, then it doesn't actually free us from anything, since belief in not making a choice doesn't change the fact that there is a choice. So for the sake of my opponent's only offense, we have to allow we would act on agnosticism, or rather, not act...

Also, he tries to say that Political agnosticism would take away the hard decision making required in politics and in life, which is somehow good? It is good that our belief system would prevent us from doing anything? It is GOOD that we wouldn't be able to choose what to eat, and as a result starve? My opponent fails to show how it is good that Congress not do anything about the current economic crisis, and just sit around twiddling their thumbs.

And here's the part that kills what little offense my opponent has. So he's saying that those who do not believe in agnosticism will do all the acting, and the agnostics will just sit around leeching off of society? However, if my opponent thinks that agnosticism is such a good thing, he would hope that as many people as possible would follow it. The fact that he banks on people not liking his idea for his idea to work is a contradiction in terms, and just undercuts his entire speech.
So to conclude, my opponent is still not able to levy any offense against ARG 1, which means you must vote CON right here, since I have offensive arguments showing how agnosticism is bad. At best, my opponent just tries to mitigate my impacts by poo-poo-ing them, but he doesn't actually attack them effectively, which he would need to do in order to have a chance of winning this part of the debate.
~~~~~~~~~~
ARG 2
My opponent uses a short paragraph to summarily prove how much he has misinterpreted my argumentation. He tries to mitigate all my argumentation by hoping that what I said isn't relevant. However, he misses the point. The point I was making is that if we are Agnostic towards one metaphysical entity like God, then there is nothing to stop us from saying it is impossible to know if another metaphysical entity like Reality or Morality exists. He even says, "there is nothing stopping us from doing these acts". Thanks, you just agreed with me. Cross apply my impacts of what could happen if we allow Religious Agnosticism from my previous speech.
~~~
His SUMMARY REFUTE:
He again tries to extend his unsubstantiated claims that agnosticism is a good way to look at life because of the lack of decision making, but lacks any warrant to prove why lack of decision making is good, whereas I have all my argumentation that shows why it is bad (look to ARG 1 and ARG 2)

HOW YOU, AS THE VOTER, WILL VOTE:
Conduct: Up to you, but I'm ok with losing this point, due to my forfeiting one round.
S/G: Tied. We're both using pretty good grammar, I think.
Arguments: CON. My arguments clearly have extended claims, warrants, and impacts back to the round, whereas my opponent can only provide unsubstantiated claims that lack any warrants. He also has no offense, so you have to default to CON anyways, since I have the strongest links to any impacts to the round.
SOURCES:CON Merriam Webster is significantly more reliable than some obscure website, and is significantly more well known, which should be more than enough to give me the point here
Debate Round No. 3
Jurn77

Pro

Jurn77 forfeited this round.
burningpuppies101

Con

Ok, so let's talk about why I've won. I feel that the easiest way to to do this is to just go through the categories of voting and talk about why I've won each one (or not, depending)

But first, let's talk about the definition and its relation to the topic.

The reason we ought to prefer Merriam Webster to the Skeptic's Dictionary is two fold:
1. M-W is a more authoritative source for definitions, as it is much more widely used when compared to the Skeptic's Dictionary. My opponent posted a Google search link to just the term "agnosticism", but here's a link of my own: http://www.google.com...

That's for the definition of agnosticism. M-W comes first. And since it's more specific to a definition of agnosticism, this is the search and therefore the definition we choose to use.

2. M-W gives a definition of agnosticism in a non-religious sense as well. This topic is not about religious agnosticism, it is merely about agnosticism in general, so we would want a definition that is non-religious as well, which the Skeptic's Dictionary does not have, but M-W does.
~~~~
Ok, so with that out of the way, let's talk about voting.

CONDUCT: Well originally I believed that I ought to lose the point, since I had missed the deadline for a submission. However, my opponent has also done the same, so I suppose we're even there. So you can be picky and count who said thank you more, but I think most voters should just give us the tie.

S/G: I don't think either of us were blatantly using bad grammar, so you ought to just give us the tie here too I guess.

ARGUMENTS: Here's where the voting will change the results of the debate. I provided two very clear arguments that were both inadequately refuted by my opponent that showed some of the harmful aspects of agnosticism. The first argument talks about how pure agnosticism will stop any actions from being taken, and my opponent isn't able to refute this with anything other than saying that not everyone will be agnostic. But that contradicts his point, since he's saying agnosticism is good, but relying on others to make the decision just undermines his own position.

The second argument specifically talks about the effects that religious agnosticism could cause. My opponent misinterprets this to mean that religious agnosticism specifically says reality doesn't exist, but that is a poor misunderstanding of my argument. The argument is that the framework of religious agnosticism allows a person to use that same framework to similarly deny the existence of other metaphysical entities, like reality and morality. And if it cannot be known if morality exists, it cannot be known if something is right or wrong, so there's nothing stopping anyone from mass murdering people.

My opponent is unable to provide an adequate response to these 2 arguments, which should be the first reason I ought get the ARGUMENTATION points. Secondly, my opponent is unable to muster any arguments of his own that would give him offense in the round, other than some nebulous claims about what he *really* meant in his topic, and how he's right. He lacks the argumentation and warrants that he would need to have offense in the round.

So finally, we're at SOURCES: He has 2 links: Skeptic's Dictionary and a Google Search. I have M-W.com and a Google search. Since we both use Google, the only point of comparison are our sources for our definition. Again, M-W.com is a stronger source as it gives me a stronger link to the topic at hand, and is much more widely known, and therefore has a higher reputation than the Skeptic's Dictionary.

So when you look back on the round, here's how your voting will go:

Conduct: Tie
S/G: Tie
Arguments: CON
Sources: CON

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jurn77 6 years ago
Jurn77
And I suppose it ISN'T against the rules to, say, vote for yourself?!

How pathetic...
Posted by burningpuppies101 6 years ago
burningpuppies101
jurn, i'd suggest that you save your argumentation for when you post your round, since this just looks like out of the round debating, which is against the rules
Posted by Jurn77 6 years ago
Jurn77
But to reply to my opponent continually branding Skeptic Dictionary as "Obscure" which is another word for hidden.

http://bit.ly... - don't worry its Merriam Webster.

Which is easily untrue and I will refute the next round since apparently I missed the deadline for my argument.

But I will tell you right now that it is not obscure at all. See here:

http://bit.ly...

You see? Not only is Skeptic's dictionary the third result to pop up, Merriam Webster is not even on the first page. So please understand that my opponent's entire argument on the definition is irrelevant and should be implausible to the audience.
Posted by Jurn77 6 years ago
Jurn77
ahh damn it. I missed the deadline.
Posted by burningpuppies101 6 years ago
burningpuppies101
innomen, are you talking to me? the reason i said that a forfeited round doesn't mean I lose is because there are 4 categories of voting, and I was ready to lose the conduct point cuz of my forfeit, but that still leaves 3 other categories that I believe were either ties or my point
Posted by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
By the way, i don't agree with you on the consequence of forfeiting a round. Your opponent was either generous in forfeiting as well, or maybe lazy.
Posted by burningpuppies101 6 years ago
burningpuppies101
let's save the discussion until after the debate ends please.
Posted by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
Geo, of all the possible things that you do know versus all of the possible things there is to know, i am fairly certain that the former is minuscule compared to the latter. In that minuscule amount that you do know, you assert that, one of those few things is - there is no God. That to me is weak.
Posted by Jurn77 6 years ago
Jurn77
When I put "I am unsure if Agnosticism exists..." i meant God, sorry.
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
@Geo

I disbelieve in all those things, and I don't think strong agnosticism is a rational position to take. That appears to be the end of disagreement between us here. :)
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
Jurn77burningpuppies101Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I don't know why pro accepted cons definition of political agnosticism. I think that was his big downfall. Con showed the flaws of such an outlook and pro also failed to fulfill his burden in other aspects.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
Jurn77burningpuppies101Tied
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Vote Placed by TUF 6 years ago
TUF
Jurn77burningpuppies101Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Via forfeit.
Vote Placed by Jurn77 6 years ago
Jurn77
Jurn77burningpuppies101Tied
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Vote Placed by burningpuppies101 6 years ago
burningpuppies101
Jurn77burningpuppies101Tied
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Vote Placed by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
Jurn77burningpuppies101Tied
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