The Instigator
Karoz
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
sleepiB
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

Agnosticism is the only rational belief.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,142 times Debate No: 803
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (13)

 

Karoz

Pro

Before I start the debate I'd like to state I am a Deist and not Agnostic. I am also not against people with a different religion(or lack-of)/belief other than Agnosticism. Nor am I saying they are wrong. I am simply saying that Agnosticism is the only rational belief, despite the fact it is also the only belief that can't be correct.

Agnosticism is the belief that there is no way to know whether or not a god of some sort actually exists. There is no faith or assumptions involved in being an Agnostic.

Very often Atheists claim to be the only rational ones. However by being an Atheist and not an Agnostic you assume that there is no god of any kind. This assumption could easily be wrong, because there is no way to prove whether or not any sort of god exists(Even though it might be possible to prove certain aspects of religions incorrect.). Even if every religion on Earth was wrong there could still be a god of some sort.

Theism like Atheism is also not rational as it's the belief in a god(or something similar) without any solid evidence. Any solid evidence relating to a belief could also be false, as there is really no 100% way to know if anything is real(A concept well portrayed in the movie The Matrix.).

Taking into account that neither Atheism or Theism can 100% be confirmed correct, the only rational belief would there for be Agnosticism.
sleepiB

Con

An atheist is most simply a person that holds no theistic belief, within this definition there are subgroups. Implicit atheism includes most agnostics, and anyone that has never thought about the question of theism. Explicit atheists include weak and strong atheists that have thought about the existence of the supernatural. An agnostic is somebody that either claims not to know from lack of inquiry(weak agnosticism), or that claims it is impossible to know(strong agnosticism).

The problem here is the assumed requirement of a logical proof for or against theism. A proof can only be shown to be consistent with an assumption or axiom, and therefore limited in scope.

Human curiosity is what we call the drive to develop a predictive model of our environment, to help our behavior bring about our goals (a goal is an end, most are instinctual in nature, like survival and reproduction). The most accurate predictive models are those that omit the possibility of miracles, or supernatural influence, by focusing on empirical hypotheses that have consistent testable implications.

In developing a predictive model of our environment, in order to increase the influence we can bring to bear on the individual's environment, atheism is the most useful framework for inquiry.
Debate Round No. 1
Karoz

Pro

I disagree. If you are an Atheist you already have an opinion and thus naturally a bias. Where as if you were Agnostic you believe either way might be correct and are more willing to look at things with more open eyes - without jumping to a conclusion as easily.

You are also assuming the most useful way to inquire about things is if you are starting off with the belief there is no god, and are thus trying to learn more about your environment. However many of the greatest minds in history have done the exact same, except it was in an attempt to figure out god's design and to aspire to become more.
sleepiB

Con

You said, "If you are an Atheist you already have an opinion and thus naturally a bias." This is not true, because children are born without any theistic belief, implicitly atheist. Theism should be treated no differently than any more other claim of fact or truth. The default position for any claim is negative. Do we call people that fail to believe in fairies, afariest? No, because the burden of proof is on the person claiming the fairy exists. It is not a matter of believing god(s) do not exist, it is a state of not believing they do exist. Many if not most professed agnostics are implicitly atheist. The word theist is a statement of belief in god(s), atheism is the lack thereof.

However, the question we are debating is if a course of action or belief is rational. For the course of action to be rational, it must be useful. It must the belief or action most capable of achieving a goal. If your only goal is happiness, the most useful course of action may be to enforce your own ignorance. Agnosticism(weak) with respect to any claim can be useful, but only when actually comparing claims for predictive accuracy/usefulness. People who hold onto weak agnosticism too long suffer opportunity cost, and strong agnosticism is a self-defeating proposition.
Debate Round No. 2
Karoz

Pro

"children are born without any theistic belief, implicitly atheist."

When you are born you are ignorant. Ignorance is not ration. When a child is born they don't know "There is no god!", they also don't know "There is a god!". They have no idea of either of those concepts as they haven't learned them yet.

You seem to be debating more that a child is born an Atheist rather than Agnostic, which has nothing to do with the topic. Humans certainly aren't rational at birth.

"Do we call people that fail to believe in fairies, afariest? No, because the burden of proof is on the person claiming the fairy exists."

Even if something isn't proved, that certainly doesn't say it's wrong. Also, there really is no such thing as the "burden of proof" as proof is impossible to measure. Everyone picks and chooses which proof they want to accept as actual proof. Proof that a god exists could include the fact the universe exists in the first place, despite the inevitable paradox that the universes creation brings up. All sorts of things could be proof, but as I said earlier it's impossible to prove anything thus saying the burden of proof is on the person claiming the fairy exists is pure idiocy.

Again, it seems like you're trying to debate that Atheism is correct and everything else is wrong. This is NOT the topic. Atheism can be correct and irrational at the same time.

"For the course of action to be rational, it must be useful. It must the belief or action most capable of achieving a goal."

For something to be rational it doesn't have to be useful, nor does it have to involve achieving a goal. It only has to be the most logical conclusion after reason. Since neither Atheism or Theism can be proved correct, logically the most rational conclusion would be there is no definite way to prove either correct.
sleepiB

Con

All the atheists I know hold their opinions on a tentative basis. With the information I have access to, the simplest and most predictive model of my environment is based on natural processes with no supernatural intervention.

Proof is not required to act; acting based on the model most consistent and predictive of the environment is rational, regardless of the theistic content of the model. It is plausible for someone with access to different information than I, to come to a rational tentative position of a theistic nature. Rationality is a quality measurement of decisions and opinions, forged and revised, with respect to available evidence.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Dapperdan2007 9 years ago
Dapperdan2007
"Ergo, the most rational belief is that god may or may not exist."

That is hardly what one would call a belief.

I'm a bit over this topic now, and don't really have much else to say at this point.
Posted by PinkiePinkerton 9 years ago
PinkiePinkerton
This was a great debate. I have to side with Karoz on this. First, the argument was taken out of context by sleepiB when he tried to redefine agnostianity (yes, I did just make that up...I just think there are too many -ism's in the world) from that which Karoz had defined as Agnostic.

The question posed was really "Is belief that there may or may not be a god the only rational belief?" This was redefined by sleepiB as being Aethiest not Agnostic. The value of the debate was destroyed by this basis.

Having said that, it is impossible to prove or disprove that there is a god, it is all belief. Just as, you may believe the Patriot's are the best team in the NFL, it is not fact. Too many values must be taken into account to answer even that simple question about a tangible entity. To make a fact-based statement about the existence of god is far too complex for the human mind to comprehend. Ergo, the most rational belief is that god may or may not exist.
Posted by Dapperdan2007 9 years ago
Dapperdan2007
Not believing that the world was flat was rational, in that case?
Posted by Karoz 9 years ago
Karoz
You only believe that it's rational because you have an assumption for what makes a god. Just because something doesn't hurl lighting bolts from the sky doesn't mean it isn't a god. God could easily just be a sub sub sub atomic particle or infinity itself. Assuming a god of some sort doesn't exist says you already know everything, which isn't very rational at all. I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 9999999999999999999999, if you really are all-knowing then you should have no problem telling me.

You are saying that the theory that the Earth is flat was rational back when humans thought it was flat, despite the fact they had no proof it was flat nor that it was round at the time.
Posted by Dapperdan2007 9 years ago
Dapperdan2007
Agnosticism is a false position, from what I can see. Regardless, you failed to prove to me that it is the 'only' rational belief. Not believing in a god or gods still seems rational to me.
Posted by Karoz 9 years ago
Karoz
"he disallows the ability to believe agnosticism is the most logical choice. For something to be logical, it should be useful, and it should be true."

Spock would disagree. Also, by that logic the only rational belief would be the correct one. I'd love to see you try to win the debate of which belief is the correct one.
Posted by Dapperdan2007 9 years ago
Dapperdan2007
I believe that the con won this debate. Each point that sleep made which karoz later claimed irrelevant to the discussion was a point made in order to show that atheism is merely a state of not believing in a god, and is not something to is to be disproved or proved. If agnosticism is the state of not believing on either side of theism or atheism for the reasons that neither side can be proven, and nothing can be proven, then it is a false position for that reason. I do not see how a false position can be useful. I do not see how something that is not useful could be considered rational, and thus more rational than a non-belief such as atheism. When karoz says "it only has to be the most logical after conclusion", he disallows the ability to believe agnosticism is the most logical choice. For something to be logical, it should be useful, and it should be true.
Posted by SperoAmicus 9 years ago
SperoAmicus
I can prove to myself that my soul is preternatural, even if I can't prove it to you. Agnosticism as a positive position of "it cannot be proven" is therefore a fallacy because one simply does not have all the information relevant to the claim. "It cannot be proven to me" or "It has not yet been proven" are therefore the farthest rationality may take a person without a complete and total examination of all possible facts, which no person is privy to.
Posted by Karoz 9 years ago
Karoz
Using that logic bringtheshred429, Islam, Christianity, Budhism, Scientology, and every other belief is just as rational as Atheism. Thus calling Atheism the only rational belief - despite being as rational as every other belief - is irrational.

Lots of other people use "ration" to get to their belief. It's not just Atheists like so many Atheists believe.

I became a Deist after years of thought and experiences. It only makes sense to "me" that there HAS to be some sort of god that set everything in motion, otherwise we'd get into several paradox's involving the creation of the universe.
Posted by bringtheshred429 9 years ago
bringtheshred429
I would just like to add that I am an Atheist, and I make no assumptions. I can't prove anything about what happens after you die or how we got here, but I've studied up, read religious texts and anthropology papers and I've come to the conclusion that people manufacture deities to make life easier. This is, of course, the reader's digest version of my stance, but the fact remains that I have come to my position through rational thought and discerning logic, and my opinion is that there is no God. I make no assumptions, only conclusions.
13 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by cooljpk 8 years ago
cooljpk
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by PinkiePinkerton 9 years ago
PinkiePinkerton
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Karoz 9 years ago
Karoz
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Projectilefetus 9 years ago
Projectilefetus
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by SolaGratia 9 years ago
SolaGratia
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by adamh 9 years ago
adamh
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Rob 9 years ago
Rob
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by ziege19 9 years ago
ziege19
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Dapperdan2007 9 years ago
Dapperdan2007
KarozsleepiBTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03