The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
42 Points
The Contender
snoboguy1230
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

Agnosticism is a more more plausible belief than atheism.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 10 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,097 times Debate No: 6367
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (10)

 

Danielle

Pro

First and foremost, I ask that my opponent accept the definitions of Atheism and Agnosticism as defined by the Oxford Dictionary:

[1] Atheism -- The belief that God does not exist
[2] Agnosticism -- The belief that nothing can be known concerning the existence of God

That said, I affirm the notion that agnosticism is more appropriate or plausible than atheism. My premise is simple: An atheist, by definition, is certain that any concept of God is irrational and/or invalid. Meanwhile, an agnostic is certain that you can't be certain. There is currently no way to prove or disprove the very concept of a deity or its purpose, so to believe that God absolutely does not exist without evidence is no more intellectually superior or logical than believing without absolute evidence that God [in various descriptions or forms] *does* exist.

[1] http://www.askoxford.com...
[2] http://www.askoxford.com...
snoboguy1230

Con

God cannot exist, because if he did, there would be no free will and everything would be predetermined. I think that it is very plausible to believe that I have complete control of my life and that my future will change based on the decisions I make. I also think that it is very plausible to believe in all of the laws of physics and natural laws. It is true what agnosticism states, but it is very plausible to believe that God does not exist based on all of the science and knowledge we have gained in the modern realm. As time moves forward, people are becoming atheist more and more because it is becoming clear that what is written in the bible is not true.
Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

The only argument my opponent made pertinent to the resolution was that it is "it is very plausible to believe that God does not exist based on all of the science and knowledge we have gained in the modern realm." A simple rebuttal is the fact that my opponent nor modern science has any evidence whatsoever that God or some Divine Creator - an omnipotent deity, if you will - had a role in ensuring that every scientific act, and all of the laws of nature and physics didn't exist according to or based on a specific plan, or at the hand of someone (something) else. I'd also like to note that my opponent has not proved the concept of free will nor disproved pre-destination. And finally, even if he did, he has not made one valid argument whatsoever concerning atheism in its direct relation to agnosticism, let alone its superiority.
snoboguy1230

Con

Agnosticism says that there is no way to know if God exists. There is something that is known pertaining to God however. The idea of God is a man-made notion that exists only in the human mind. It is possible to gain knowledge from a man made notion by conversing, reading, and using your senses. Since it is only a notion, you can know something about it. That is why atheism is plausible. And about the free will thing; why would I have to prove that it exists if I am backing up a BELIEF. I am not trying to prove anything, I am literally just saying that it is more likely that God does not exist which is why it is better to believe that no, he does not exist.
Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

"The idea of God is a man-made notion that exists only in the human mind."

1 - Wrong. You cannot prove any of that. You cannot prove that God does not really exist and is only a fabrication of the mind.
2 - Wrong. Even if that were true, you can't prove that God didn't let/guide humans to conceptualize God's existence.

These points - especially the first - only support agnosticism. You're making this easy.

"why would I have to prove that it exists if I am backing up a BELIEF."

Uh, all arguments are beliefs. You're supposed to defend those beliefs in a debate.

"I am not trying to prove anything..."

Well, with your lack of evidence/contentions, that's pretty obvious.

"I am literally just saying that it is more likely that God does not exist which is why it is better to believe that no, he does not exist."

This is terrible, terrible logic. Just because something is "more likely" (which you also have not made any attempt to prove, by the way) doesn't mean that you should be comfortable or confident in choosing an absolute, ignorant ideal over the reality that there is not enough evidence to either prove or disprove the notion of God. Sure, if one side has far more evidence or appeal than clearly it should affect your personal beliefs. However to ignorantly claim for a certainty that which has no absolute proof is not sensical. It's also hypocritical. If the argument against God is that there is no proof to the claims, then why should one reasonably argue that God absolutely does NOT exist when there's no absolute evidence of that either? Sure logic and reason can persuade you to believe in an atheistic point of view (I personally identify as an atheist). However, realistically, agnosticism is the more plausible and matter of fact POV.
snoboguy1230

Con

You are a very formiddabble opponent, I will admit. But there is one flaw with your argument. You said that I have to be able to prove something. All I have to prove is that atheism is more plausible than atheism. I don't have to prove the innerworkings of how a God does or does not work. So you are in fact the owner of the terrible, terrible logic. Both atheism and agnosticism challenge the existance of God in a way. As you said earlier, all we know right now is that God is just a notion in a man or woman's mind. About the human mind; everything is just a conception of the human mind because the human mind is the only reality we know.

"Wrong. Even if that were true, you can't prove that God didn't let/guide humans to conceptualize God's existence."

If you are making this assumption that God leads humans into conceptualizing his existance, you are making the assumption that free will/human conciousness is influenced by God, which would mean you believe in his existance.
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Both sides of the debate seem to have accepted a narrow definition of "God" without saying so explicitly. If fact some gods can be disproved and others cannot. Thus, a god that is omnipotent, omniscient, and good is disproved by the Argument from Evil. A volcano god like Pele that always causes eruptions when offended by a failure to may offerings is disproved by observing that no eruption occurs when offerings are withheld. These gods can be redefined so as to fix these problems, but nonetheless the original conceptions were disproved. The Deist God, that starts the universe but does nothing thereafter (until Judgment) seems impossible to disprove, because nothing happens as a consequence. Most believers of one god are atheists with respect to 10,000 others. This means that the definitions of "agnostic" and "atheist" offered in the debate are not very descriptive. It is more descriptive to speak of "atheists" as those who do not believe in any god, for any number of reasons, including that some gods can neither be proved or disproved, but are nonetheless not believed in by the person.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
LM -

Your opposition seems to be with the fact that I have "merely described" gnostic atheists, a.k.a. those that believe they know for certain (and can prove) that god absolutely does not exist. You say that I have not described atheists from all points of the spectrum.

First off, I have debated atheism and agnosticism as it is defined in the Oxford dictionary. I believe the terms and parameters described in R1 are pretty clear. One who did not wish to debate this specific "gnostic atheism" could have either 1 - not accepted the challenge, or 2 - clarified the terminology. Because this was not addressed, it is a non-issue.

Second, even assuming that Con tried to debate weak atheism/strong atheism (gnostic atheism) vs. agnosticism, I would still uphold my position as Pro. Weak atheism is simple skepticism; disbelief in the existence of god. Strong atheism is an explicitly held belief that god does not exist. Agnostics believe that the question of whether a higher power existed was unsolved.

The Pro position is still more plausible (reasonably logical), as it makes more sense to acknowledge that we have no conclusive evidence regarding the existence of a deity or not. Being a weak atheist who is "simply skeptical" is a fine belief; however, a belief with nothing to back it up is not exactly reasonable.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
Lwerd, I think my post answers yours. If not, feel free to object as I'm all ears. :P
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
I figured there would be some sort of objection regardless of the wording I chose for that last line.

beem0r, my objection is based on how she argued her R1. I consider how she argued her R1 as being how we are to interpret what she means by the topic. In her R1, she argued that agnosticism trumps atheism because it acknowledges that one cannot be certain whether or not a god exist whereas atheism is believing that (and I quote) "that God ABSOLUTELY does not exist"; "an atheist is CERTAIN that any concept of God is irrational and/or invalid." To this, I object based on the fact that she is merely describing one side of atheism (gnostic atheism), that her reason why agnosticism is superior can very well be attributed to a section of atheism (essentially, like saying a red car is better than a car) and that she is implying that atheism PERIOD (not taking strong/weak into account, but merely looking at it as we see her definition) is a claim concerning knowledge.

Now if she meant to argue something along the lines of "adhering to knowledge is better than adhering to belief", this would be a different story and I would most certainly agree with what you were saying in their being valid comparison. However, as shown by her argument, she is clearly putting agnosticism in the same field as atheism, hence my reason for pointing out that agnosticism is nothing more than a quality of one of the stances if we are to compare it as such.

Once more (and this is more in response to the other comments which I've seen here), we must keep in mind that agnosticism alone (and even by literal definition when breaking the word apart) is merely a claim concerning knowledge. It is NOT a claim concerning belief (or lack of) and is therefore not to be considered as being a choice that enables one not to be an atheist or a theist (or even an apatheist. :D ).

I now stand ready for cross examination. :D
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Meh - no proof = no logically provable point...

Semantic argument, but correct.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
And to invoke Flying Spaghetti Monster for a moment, saying that atheism is illogical for lack of proof is the same as saying A-Pastafarianism is illogical for lack of proof.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
Lacking any proof whatsoever for the existence of something is the closest you will ever get to proving something doesn't exist. If that doesn't prove something doesn't exist, then nothing does.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Here's a good way to look at it:

Given that God's existence cannot be proved either way,

1. Theisim is illogical for lack of proof.
2. Atheism is illogical for lack of proof.
-------------------------------
:. Agnosticism is the only logical position.
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
Good point, Jason. It isn't a belief to be agnostic, it is anti-belief pro or con. I don't know means nothing except that.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
Also, how can agnosticism be a plausible belief? There's no way for uncertainty to be plausible or implausible, as uncertainty is the refusal to belief in the truth or falsehood of a statement.
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Vote Placed by KyleLumsden 8 years ago
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