The Instigator
Frikcha
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Hematite12
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Agnosticism is less ignorant than Atheism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Hematite12
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/10/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 751 times Debate No: 48830
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

Frikcha

Pro

I just wanted to start a short debate on this topic.

I believe that Agnosticism is less ignorant than Atheism because Atheists abolish any possibility that a god, deity or higher power exists in the universe simply because they can't comprehend it. I honestly can't comprehend it either but i'm open to the fact it may be true.
If you really think about it; it is very possible that existence never had a beginning. At this point we currently know that the earth hasn't been around long (compared to the rest of the universe) and we know that the planets and bodies that surround us eventually began.

A long time ago there was one point in time when nothing we know existed. No planets, no gravity, no stars, no moon, no oxygen, just nothing.
Something had to have begun somewhere, to think otherwise is ludicrous. That is why i hypothesize that the creation of what we perceive as existence began with some kind of outside force or third party. One thing i do find easy to believe is that some kind of mass of energy that has existed beyond existence itself had some kind of part in the forming of our universes and galaxy's.

I like to think of it as a she (although it would probably be gender less, my idea of it would be something that creates life and matter). Let's call her Eve (pun intended). Eve is everything and nothing, Eve is perfect, Eve knows everything and nothing, Eve has always existed but never existed. Eve is a complicated chick. Eve one day decides that she would create a plane of existence with certain chemicals and elements and let nature take its course. She's probably done the exact same thing an infinite amount of times before which leads me to believe there are an infinite amount of exact replicas of our plane of existence, and some. Due to the fact that Atheists refuse to believe there is no kind of god/deity/higher power i believe that while Agnostics segregate themselves from conventional religions, Agnostics still have a more open mind on these kinds of things as opposed to Atheists who bluntly deny the existence of a god or anything of the sort.
(Holy crap i could create my own religion and everything)

I reckon i have a good shot of winning because i can't think of a single thing to dispute or disprove me theory.
I now hand this opinion to the person who decides to accept this debate. I would prefer an Atheist for the sake of personal opinion and belief but it's okay if you aren't.
Hematite12

Con

Hi, I hope this is a productive debate! For the record, I am agnostic and willing to convert to a religion later in my life if I am so inclined, but I will probably remain non-religious. I myself never intend to be an atheist, but this is more out of personal feeling than it is logic. Atheism is the most rationally grounded position, I hold; I am only agnostic because I feel that there is a deity. But feelings are not indicative of truth :). So I will defend the rationality of atheism.

Also, I will defend atheism generally, as it is held by the majority of atheists, but there are always exceptions.

Also, I may use Wikipedia. Please don't smite me from on high, it is a useful source!

"I believe that Agnosticism is less ignorant than Atheism because Atheists abolish any possibility that a god, deity or higher power exists in the universe simply because they can't comprehend it. I honestly can't comprehend it either but i'm open to the fact it may be true."

This simply isn't true; they don't deny the possibility of a God because they can't comprehend it. They deny God because such a being has not been even remotely empirically verified; there is no evidence. This is a very important point, and one that many people miss. The burden of proof is NOT on the atheist, but on the theist to provide evidence. Since there is literally no evidence for a deity (unless you use miracles), atheism is the default position.

I will illustrate this by an example: let's say I told you that there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster. The reason people are generally taller in places with higher populations is because it is more difficult for him to push them all down with his invisible and undetectable noodley appendages. If you follow his statutes, you will go to a land of endless pasta. Now, could I honestly expect YOU to have to prove that such a thing doesn't exist? Of course not. There is no way to prove that the FSM doesn't exist. We have to assume, therefore, by Occam's Razor, that he does not exist. The amount of unwarranted assumptions in the concept of the FSM is so great that the probability of its existence is miniscule. So miniscule, that we can safely say it does NOT exist with certainty.

This is the very basis of all empirical knowledge. You could say just as easily that people who are SURE that things fall when you drop them on earth are "ignorant". It doesn't matter what your epistemological framework is. Either all certainty that we gleam from science has to have a qualifier of possible untruth, which is ridiculous and impractical, and thus your argument against atheism might hold, or both scientific conclusions and atheism are true.

"If you really think about it; it is very possible that existence never had a beginning. At this point we currently know that the earth hasn't been around long (compared to the rest of the universe) and we know that the planets and bodies that surround us eventually began.

A long time ago there was one point in time when nothing we know existed. No planets, no gravity, no stars, no moon, no oxygen, just nothing.
Something had to have begun somewhere, to think otherwise is ludicrous. That is why i hypothesize that the creation of what we perceive as existence began with some kind of outside force or third party. One thing i do find easy to believe is that some kind of mass of energy that has existed beyond existence itself had some kind of part in the forming of our universes and galaxy's.

I like to think of it as a she (although it would probably be gender less, my idea of it would be something that creates life and matter). Let's call her Eve (pun intended). Eve is everything and nothing, Eve is perfect, Eve knows everything and nothing, Eve has always existed but never existed. Eve is a complicated chick. Eve one day decides that she would create a plane of existence with certain chemicals and elements and let nature take its course. She's probably done the exact same thing an infinite amount of times before which leads me to believe there are an infinite amount of exact replicas of our plane of existence, and some. Due to the fact that Atheists refuse to believe there is no kind of god/deity/higher power i believe that while Agnostics segregate themselves from conventional religions, Agnostics still have a more open mind on these kinds of things as opposed to Atheists who bluntly deny the existence of a god or anything of the sort.
(Holy crap i could create my own religion and everything)"

Right, this is the "prime mover" argument; it comes up in many different variants.

I don't honestly think I need to address this very much. I could go into a ridiculously complex metaphysical argument about the nature of causation and why it is just as reasonable to think that causation is circular or that it infinitely regresses as that there is a God, but I won't, because that is uncertain metaphysical grounds.

Instead, I will grant you the truth of this argument, that there must be something which caused the universe. Now, what exactly did you prove? I think that there was a small invisible atom that started the universe. If you call this a "god", then sure, but that is quite the loose definition. The thing that started the universe could be ANYTHING. It could be a strawberry donut. It could be void itself that has some special power. Defining these as "god" is ridiculous. So the prime mover argument doesn't tell us anything except that something caused the universe, which is almost tautological and doesn't say anything about a god.
Debate Round No. 1
Frikcha

Pro

Con has pointed out that Atheists lack evidence to prove there is a god (or something similar) therefore they say it does not exist. Con has also said (in regards to an example given) "the probability of its existence is miniscule. So miniscule, that we can safely say it does NOT exist with certainty.". With this, I know present another reason proving my topic: The con admits that the probability of it's existence is "minuscule" but then proceeds to say "We can safely say it does NOT exist with certainty".
http://dictionary.reference.com...
Certainty: 1. the state of being certain.
2. something certain; an assured fact.
This is self contradictory as the Con has clearly stated that the probability is "minuscule" (Very small but still exists) and immediately afterwards proceeded to say "So miniscule, that we can safely say it does NOT exist with certainty.".
The probability (no matter how small) is still there, meaning that the certainty of it's non-existence is in fact itself; non-existent. Sorry for nitpicking but please choose your words wisely.

The con has also stated " They deny God because such a being has not been even remotely empirically verified; there is no evidence. This is a very important point, and one that many people miss. The burden of proof is NOT on the atheist, but on the theist to provide evidence. Since there is literally no evidence for a deity (unless you use miracles), atheism is the default position.".
I would like to remind con that the debate topic is: Agnosticism is less ignorant than Atheism.
If an Atheist will only believe what they can perceive or comprehend then they are truly ignorant. There are some concepts that human beings simply cannot comprehend. Atheist believe in death quite easily, despite the fact that they, themselves, cannot fully perceive it. You can't touch, see, smell, hear or taste death, yet Atheists still accept it despite their lack of knowledge about it. The same applies to God (or another deity) but Atheist will argue till the cows come home about how it can't be proven and there is no evidence to support it's existence. I can't comprehend the existence of something like that nor will i disregard the evidence against it, but i still believe it might exist.

Nothing is absolute. Words, feelings, perceptions, beliefs, statements, theories, facts, senses, nothing. None of those things are absolute. Not even existence is absolute, but just because i can't prove the existence of the keyboard in front of me, doesn't mean i will stop typing on it.

Because of these things, I believe that the open mind of an agnostic person is far less ignorant than that of an Atheists.

I look forward to your response.
Hematite12

Con

"Con has pointed out that Atheists lack evidence to prove there is a god (or something similar) therefore they say it does not exist. Con has also said (in regards to an example given) "the probability of its existence is miniscule. So miniscule, that we can safely say it does NOT exist with certainty.". With this, I know present another reason proving my topic: The con admits that the probability of it's existence is "minuscule" but then proceeds to say "We can safely say it does NOT exist with certainty".
http://dictionary.reference.com......
Certainty: 1. the state of being certain.
2. something certain; an assured fact.
This is self contradictory as the Con has clearly stated that the probability is "minuscule" (Very small but still exists) and immediately afterwards proceeded to say "So miniscule, that we can safely say it does NOT exist with certainty.".
The probability (no matter how small) is still there, meaning that the certainty of it's non-existence is in fact itself; non-existent. Sorry for nitpicking but please choose your words wisely.

I have chosen my words very wisely, in fact.

Bertrand Russell was a prominent atheist, and this is true about him:

"Russell described himself as an agnostic, "speaking to a purely philosophical audience", but as an atheist "speaking popularly", on the basis that he could not disprove the Christian God similar to the way that he could not disprove the Olympic Gods either." [1]

In other words, academically, you are right that we cannot be "certain" that a deity does not exist, especially with how loosely you define it. There are no inherently self-contradicting principles in the concept of a deity. But if you are going to wage a war on atheism's denial of the existence of a god, why don't you do the same for anyone who says unicorns don't exist? Or goblins? Or unicorns?

This is the whole premise of science, in fact, as I've already stated. The infamous "problem of induction" is ever-present, but if we undermine the general certainty of things we derive inductively and/or empirically, we deny the truth of claims about almost everything, except for perhaps self-contained Euclidean geometry and mathematical principles- that is, a priori truths.

The definitions you gave for "certainty" don't really help either, given that they both contain the word "certain". It is presupposed that certainty is clearly defined. This isn't to say that the dictionary is invalid, but just that this is too difficult a subject for the dictionary to want to deal with.

Russell was clearly not ignorant. There is no one who knows without a shadow of a doubt that a deity doesn't exist, but you could say the same about anyone who EVER claims certainty on empirical matters.

Lastly but importantly, I think you hold that atheists would never change their positions on the existence of a deity. This is simply false. Just because we deny something's existence now, since there is literally no evidence for it, doesn't mean we can't accept its existence in the future. I say with certainty (as certain as I can ever be about almost all things) that unicorns don't exist. But if we find unicorns in some forest, then I will make sure of the veracity, and then change my stance and recognize that unicorns do in fact exist. Almost all atheists I've heard say that they would change their views if they were given evidence, but there simply is none. I can link to atheists that have said this in the comments if needed, but it is very easy to find if you google it.

"The con has also stated " They deny God because such a being has not been even remotely empirically verified; there is no evidence. This is a very important point, and one that many people miss. The burden of proof is NOT on the atheist, but on the theist to provide evidence. Since there is literally no evidence for a deity (unless you use miracles), atheism is the default position.".
I would like to remind con that the debate topic is: Agnosticism is less ignorant than Atheism.
If an Atheist will only believe what they can perceive or comprehend then they are truly ignorant. There are some concepts that human beings simply cannot comprehend. Atheist believe in death quite easily, despite the fact that they, themselves, cannot fully perceive it. You can't touch, see, smell, hear or taste death, yet Atheists still accept it despite their lack of knowledge about it. The same applies to God (or another deity) but Atheist will argue till the cows come home about how it can't be proven and there is no evidence to support it's existence. I can't comprehend the existence of something like that nor will i disregard the evidence against it, but i still believe it might exist."

With all due respect, your argument is very incoherent and disjointed. And I am aware of what the debate is, thanks.

I already addressed the fact that atheists are NOT atheists because they can't "comprehend" a god very directly. I am not going to type it again, please look at my very first comments in my first response.

Atheists believe in death? Things die. They stop living. I have no idea what you are trying to say here. It isn't a matter of belief at all, it's just a biological process.

The same doesn't apply to god. There is no evidence for god (or at least you haven't given any), while death is a simple process that obviously happens, there's nothing to "believe" about it. I really have no idea how you are even making a comparison.

"Nothing is absolute. Words, feelings, perceptions, beliefs, statements, theories, facts, senses, nothing. None of those things are absolute. Not even existence is absolute, but just because i can't prove the existence of the keyboard in front of me, doesn't mean i will stop typing on it."

Well if nothing is absolute, including truth, you hold nihilism. This is a self-contradictory viewpoint that isn't held by serious philosophers, because if you can't be certain about anything, you also can't be certain that you can't be certain about anything. Hence, it invalidates itself.

But if this is honestly your view, why do you attack atheism specifically? If all statements are inherently uncertain, isn't the agnostic uncertain about saying we can't be certain that there is no god? You can't defend the rationality of ANY view over any other view if you hold such skepticism/nihilism, because literally any and every statement that either side makes cannot be verified.
Debate Round No. 2
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Though I do like the nick: Hematite, think I'd probably need to give myself a more appropriate nick like Thermite.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Actually it was this debate which is like so many others that finally spurred me onto posting the Fact that babies are Atheists as an Opinion: http://www.debate.org...
Just to educate DDO members on the definition of Atheist.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
BTW: Bertrand Russell was essentially an atheist when it came to Christianity only, because their Biblical God defies rational belief, which Russell was a Rationalist.
He preferred to remain neutral or Agnostic concerning other God beliefs, as he had not studied them as well as he had studied Christianity, so he was not prepared to make statements about that which he had not really taken much time to study.
Such was his wisdom.
Many on DDO can never be that wise and continually make statements and even debate what they don't really know much about.
This debate is an example of that.
Posted by Hematite12 3 years ago
Hematite12
Sorry my source, which I forgot to put, is this:

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
The most open minded humans are toddlers, as they learn faster, with more diversity than all other age group, and Toddlers are Atheists (lack belief in God).
Pro's argument destroyed in a single sentence!
XD~
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Time for some Definitions:
Agnostic: One who thinks there is a God, but that god is unknowable by humans and thus prefers to believe in material or objective reality instead. Essentially a Skeptical Theist.

Atheism: Belief that there is no god or Lack Of Belief in God.
Essentially young children before they are introduced into the concept of God are Atheists, as we are all born Atheists.
But, people who (like myself) studied Theology and realized theology is nonsense and thus disbelieve in God are also Atheists.
There is a myriad of Atheists between Lack of Belief in God and Disbelief in God.
It's a big grey fuzzball.
Nobody can define all Atheists in any way.
Nobody can state what all atheists believe and what all atheists aspire to.
To think you can is sheer and Utter Stupidity.
Which essentially defines this Topic and Pro's first Argument:
Dumber than Doggy Doo!
There's no truth in any of Pro's concepts.
Pro hasn't even got the definitions of Agnostic and Atheist correct for starters.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
My twist is that Atheists are actually more knowledgeable about religion than Agnostics (neutral, don't care situation), because many Atheists, like myself are people who studied Theology and then realized after much research and deliberation that all Theology is entirely nonsense.

Some I know were actually Ministers and Priests who spent over 20 years preaching theology until they realized it was nonsense, now they are severely on the Atheist side of the agnostic/atheist grey cloud.

So from my experience and the experience of my Atheist groups I belong to, most atheists know more about religion than those still in those religions and certainly have more knowledge about religion than the vase majority of Agnostics.

Yes: We studied religion once, wanting to believe in it, but what we discovered within this study, turned us totally away from it. The Lies, The gross deception, the mass amounts of fabrications, the stupidity of much of what is in scriptures. These are all things most hard line Atheists are fully aware of.

Something Agnostics have obviously yet to discover!
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
LOL @ Pro's "A long time ago there was one point in time when nothing we know existed. No planets, no gravity, no stars, no moon, no oxygen, just nothing."
That's not knowledge, that's just guessing.

Truth is there are likely billions or even an infinite number of other universes out in deep space, dying and being born again. There is stronger evidence for this theory than there is for a point where nothing existed, even dark matter existed before the Universe was born, some theories have it that the universe was born from this Dark Matter, from an upset in the dark matter or a type of spark, creating a massive chain reaction. Which was the theory in the 1960s.

No scientific theories ever have a universe with nothing in it.
If the universe was a complete vacuum (absolutely nothing) then it was a vacuum that created God.
In that case a vacuum is more powerful than God.
So go and find an old CRT display and worship the vacuum within it!
Because it created God.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
FrikchaHematite12Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con won only because his argument was closer to the true definition than Pro's who got the definition wrong: Atheist comes from the Latin, "Atheos" meaning "Without God" so even a frog or a baby who has no concept of God but a open mind is an Atheist. An Agnostic by definition is somebody who knows about God, but assumes God is beyond human's ability to know anything else about. So an Atheist can be somebody who either completely disbelieves in God or somebody who knows nothing about God. An agnostic knows about god but refutes that God can be understood. So I had to award points on who was most right and thus convincing on their concept of Atheism. Though neither really got the definition of Atheism properly as I have explained. They really need good dictionaries or encyclopedias.