The Instigator
Robikan
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

Agnosticism is the only intellectually honest position

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
socialpinko
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/14/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,747 times Debate No: 15369
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (6)

 

Robikan

Pro

It is my contention, and I believe I can prove, that agnosticism is the only intellectually honest position to take in regards to whether or not there is a deity.

Round one will be reserved for acceptance and definitions. Definitions I consider most relevant are italicized.

Agnosticism:

- a religious orientation of doubt; a denial of ultimate knowledge of the existence of God; "agnosticism holds that you can neither prove nor disprove God's existence"
- the disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

- Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism

Intellectual Honesty and Dishonesty:

Intellectual dishonesty is dishonesty in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication. Examples are:

- the advocacy of a position which the advocate knows or believes to be false or misleading
- the advocacy of a position which the advocate does not know to be true, and has not performed rigorous due diligence to ensure the truthfulness of the position
- the conscious omission of aspects of the truth known or believed to be relevant in the particular context.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Intellectual rigour is an important part, though not the whole, of intellectual honesty — which means keeping one's convictions in proportion to one's valid evidence. For the latter, one should be questioning one's own assumptions, not merely applying them relentlessly if precisely.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Deity/God:

I will be using a broad definition of "god" or "deity", to include all deities that are now, or ever have been, worshiped or believed in:

A deity is a postulated preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers, often called in some religions as a God.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deity

I look forward to debating this interesting topic.
socialpinko

Con

Good luck! I await your opening arguments1
Debate Round No. 1
Robikan

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I look forward to it!

My argument is, essentially, a simple one. I will use this round to offer a basic overview of my argument, and will wait for my opponent's response before going into further detail.

Agnosticism is the only intellectually honest position, because it makes no claim of knowledge. I noticed a couple of comments regarding knowledge claims vs. belief claims, and I would like to address that.

While claims of God's existence or non-existence are often framed as belief claims, further delving shows that most claimants are actually making knowledge claims:

1. http://www.christianity.ca...
2. http://www.macnet.ca...
3. http://atheistblogger.com...

The above links involve different beliefs, but all have one thing in common: an air of matter-of-factness. All, at one point or another, make what I would call knowledge claims.

The fact is, Christians, Muslims, etc., all claim to *know* not just who God is, but his nature, his plans and his authority. Atheists differ greatly amongst themselves, so I cannot make any sweeping claims about them, but it is not unusual or rare to hear direct and clear statements of God's non-existence and insults and ridicule regarding believers and texts. These are all much, much more than simple claims of belief.

Despite the arguments of both believers and non-believers, it is difficult to avoid the fact that no one actually knows whether or not there is a deity, what that deity may or may not be and our noticeable lack of evidence one way or the other. Because of this lack of evidence or any cause for certainty, it is intellectually dishonest to claim anything but God's existence being unknown.
socialpinko

Con

I will argue that weak atheism can also be an intellectually honest position. Weak atheism is simply the lack of belief in god or god's. A weak atheist does not necessarily believe that the existence of god cannot be known as you have put in your definition of agnosticism so I will classify it as a separate belief although I realize that they do not have to be mutually exclusive.

"Intellectual rigour is an important part, though not the whole, of intellectual honesty — which means keeping one's convictions in proportion to one's valid evidence."

This was your definition of intellectual rigor. That one's convictions are proportionate to one's valid evidence. This is in essence the epistemological theory of evidentialism.

"Person S is justified in believing proposition p at time t if and only if S's evidence for p at t supports believing p."[1]

A weak atheist can lack a belief in god and still be an evidentialist. One merely believes that god or god's exist if and only if evidence is brought forth to justify that belief. You seem to believe that the BOP is equal to the theist and atheist. However, it is the one who makes the positive affirmation that is responsible for providing the evidence as to it's validity. A weak atheist looks at the supposed evidence that the theist brings forth and does not believe that it is enough to warrant belief. That fits exactly into your definition of intellectual rigor. A weak atheist bases their belief on all evidence available.

[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Robikan

Pro

My apologies; real life is rather chaotic right now, and I simply don't have the time or concentration to put any real effort into this. Too bad, as I was excited about this one, but I must forfeit. Again, I apologize, and hope we can debate again soon.
socialpinko

Con

Whenever you have time just challenge me or something.
Debate Round No. 3
Robikan

Pro

Robikan forfeited this round.
socialpinko

Con

You should vote for me.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
so, apparently you can bypass the RDFs by putting in a single space.
Posted by socialpinko 6 years ago
socialpinko
"All Agnostics are either Atheists or Theists because they still have to answer "yes or no" to the question "do you believe in God." Saying "I don't know" is avoiding the question because even though you may not KNOW for certain, you can still say if you believe there is one or not"

If I asked you if you thought I was wearing a red shirt right now would you be able to give me a yes or no answer? Of course not. you do not have enough information to make an informed decision, so the only intellectually justified position to hold is 'I don't know'.

"Weak Atheists take the Agnostic position with regard to what can be known about God, however are Atheists in regard to belief in God."

As I mentioned earlier, the two positions may not always be mutually exclusive, but pro defined agnosticism as holding the position that we can not know whether or not god exists. He is describing agnosticism in which no conclusion is made. Weak atheists hold that while they cannot completely disprove god's existence, based on all available evidence, they do not believe god exists.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 6 years ago
GeoLaureate8
@Con

Weak Atheism = Agnosticism

Weak Atheists take the Agnostic position with regard to what can be known about God, however are Atheists in regard to belief in God.

It's the same epistemic position so there's no contrasting the two.

All Agnostics are either Atheists or Theists because they still have to answer "yes or no" to the question "do you believe in God." Saying "I don't know" is avoiding the question because even though you may not KNOW for certain, you can still say if you believe there is one or not.
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
Puck
"Someone doesn't know the difference between knowledge claim and belief claim."

I'm seriously getting tired of explaining this. >.<
Posted by mattrodstrom 6 years ago
mattrodstrom
: :"now "importance" is Truely an UTTERLY subjective matter.. and dependent upon the perspective your talking from... so even if God cared one way or another... it would only be "important" from his perspective.. not necessarily mine."

:Idk what this has to do with anything.

you were the one talking of the importance of rocks :P

nothing is Inherently important.. things are important Given a perspective...

and Only from that perspective...

So... Even if there were a God.. it's perspective would only apply to it..

OR... even if From the dao arose Consciousness/God... and through that arising thing arose man... then that "god's" perspective is Still NOT mine.. and so His "important" is not mine either.

I do agree however that it hardly makes sense to suggest that the Dao itself could be "conscious".. Rather consciousness is named an aspect of things due to our perspective... and The Dao itself, the ultimate nature of things, cannot possibly, with good reason, be said to be so characterized...

That's not to say the Dao is or is not XYZ though... it's that those concepts themselves don't reach to describe how things Are.. Rather only how they seem to be.

Saying how The Dao is or is not is quite beyond my ability.. as my words are a function of myself (man/ maybe dolphins :?) .. and describe only how things seem to be to me (man/maybe dolphin
s)
Posted by mattrodstrom 6 years ago
mattrodstrom
: If Tao is Ultimate Reality, that would make any such being inferior to the Tao. Plus, the Tao is the flow of the Universe, it's a naturalistic doctrine. The idea of a God behind it is incompatible.

I agree that, in having a particular nature, any "being" would depend upon the dao... But that's not to say that there can't be a being which consciously gave shape to the known universe... It's just that it Itself would necessarily have a nature... and operate Given it...

: :"Also... daoists hold that the Ultimate nature of things is unknowable.. So.. A daoist would never assert that the dao is Conscious, Benevolent, etc..."
: Uh, no, Taoists say that it can't be described with words. Obviously it's knowable, why the heck is there a whole text written about it?

The NATURE of the dao is unknowable... that it is There is knowable... the texts attempt to show that it is there... and show that one can "embrace" it and in so doing be content. They do not suggest that you can Know/Understand it's ultimate nature.. they suggest that in Going along with things as they come.. that you embrace it through embracing it's manifestations...

Doing so prevents you from struggling against the nature of things.. and allows you to find contentment no matter how You or things generally "manifest". Meanwhile if you Don't accept things as they come/as they are... then you are to struggle... It's not about Knowing the Ultimate nature of things.. it's about Accepting the ultimate nature through fully accepting and engaging in the Apparent nature of things Yourself included.
Posted by Vi_Veri 6 years ago
Vi_Veri
Someone doesn't know the difference between knowledge claim and belief claim.
Posted by socialpinko 6 years ago
socialpinko
It seems as though there's a debate in the comments section.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 6 years ago
GeoLaureate8
@matt

"the idea of the dao doesn't necessarily contradict the notion of there being a being which "created"/consciously gave shape to the known universe..."

It does. If Tao is Ultimate Reality, that would make any such being inferior to the Tao. Plus, the Tao is the flow of the Universe, it's a naturalistic doctrine. The idea of a God behind it is incompatible.

"it's just that that theres no particular reason to suggest that there is such a being... OR that if there Were such a being that It would, itself, be The Dao..."

The Tao cannot be a "being." The Taoist sages had made this absolutely clear.

"Though, the whole 'Ex Nihilo' creation would certainly be out of the question for a daoist.... ALL things come from the nature of the dao.. ALL things are of it."

Correct.

"SO... if there were a God... he could hardly make things of Nothing.. rather he would make them Through his own nature."

What? That doesn't make sense.

"Also... daoists hold that the Ultimate nature of things is unknowable.. So.. A daoist would never assert that the dao is Conscious, Benevolent, etc..."

Uh, no, Taoists say that it can't be described with words. Obviously it's knowable, why the heck is there a whole text written about it?

"and would suggest that that is wrongly applying your characteristics of your subjective perspective onto the dao.. but that doesn't mean that the Dao is Not so conscious, benevolent.. etc.. Just that there's no reason to say it is..."

I never asserted as such. I agree that it would be erroneous to superimpose attributes to the Tao. It's basically nature itself, and we have yet to uncover all the workings of nature.

"now "importance" is Truely an UTTERLY subjective matter.. and dependent upon the perspective your talking from... so even if God cared one way or another... it would only be "important" from his perspective.. not necessarily mine."

Idk what this has to do with anything.
Posted by mattrodstrom 6 years ago
mattrodstrom
Geo:
the idea of the dao doesn't necessarily contradict the notion of there being a being which "created"/consciously gave shape to the known universe...

it's just that that theres no particular reason to suggest that there is such a being... OR that if there Were such a being that It would, itself, be The Dao...

Though, the whole 'Ex Nihilo' creation would certainly be out of the question for a daoist.... ALL things come from the nature of the dao.. ALL things are of it.

SO... if there were a God... he could hardly make things of Nothing.. rather he would make them Through his own nature.

Also... daoists hold that the Ultimate nature of things is unknowable.. So.. A daoist would never assert that the dao is Conscious, Benevolent, etc... and would suggest that that is wrongly applying your characteristics of your subjective perspective onto the dao.. but that doesn't mean that the Dao is Not so conscious, benevolent.. etc.. Just that there's no reason to say it is...

now "importance" is Truely an UTTERLY subjective matter.. and dependent upon the perspective your talking from... so even if God cared one way or another... it would only be "important" from his perspective.. not necessarily mine.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 6 years ago
TUF
RobikansocialpinkoTied
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