The Instigator
boognish
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
vi_spex
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

An atheist can also be an agnostic

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/1/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,039 times Debate No: 80404
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (46)
Votes (0)

 

boognish

Pro

I am Pro, you are Con. BoP is shared. Pro will attempt to show that an atheist can also be an agnostic, Con will attempt to show that an atheist cannot also be an agnostic.

Rnd 1- acceptance
Rnd 2- opening arguments from both sides, no rebuttals
Rnd 3- rebuttals to opening arguments, new arguments may be brought up
Rnd 4- rebuttals to any previous arguments, new arguments may be brought up
Rnd 5- final rebuttals, recap of each side's arguments, no new arguments

The following definitions will be used:

Atheist: A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods

Agnostic: A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God

Theist: A person who believes in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe

Disbelief: Inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real

Belief: An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof

Gnostic: Relating to knowledge, especially esoteric mystical knowledge
vi_spex

Con

atheism is a theism, belief to the contrary

agnostic=maybe(position)
theist=yes
atheist=no

no=yes to the contrary
Debate Round No. 1
boognish

Pro

Well...I'm not really sure if that was a statement of acceptance or an actual argument. I'll just respond to it briefly before outlining my main argument. Definitions for this debate were outlined in Round 1 and come from the Oxford English Dictionary, with one minor exception. OED did not have a definition for "theist," but had the following definition for "theism": Belief in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe. Therefore, a theist is one who believes in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe.

The prefix a- means not or without. So, since theism is the belief in god(s), a-theism means NOT having a belief in god(s), OR without belief in god(s). If a person does not believe a specific claim, it does not necessarily follow that the person believes the opposite. It doesn't even necessarily mean that they believe that the claim is wrong, they just aren't convinced of its correctness.

OK, on to my argument. The reason that one can be an agnostic atheist (or an agnostic theist, for that matter) is because theism/atheism and gnostic/agnostic are statements on two very different positions. One of belief, and one of knowledge. Essentially, they answer different questions. Whether one is an atheist or theist depends on their answer to the question: "Do you BELIEVE that one or more gods exist?" If the answer is yes, they are a theist; if the answer is anything but yes, they are an atheist. And once again, not having belief in the existence of gods is not the same thing as holding the belief that gods do not exist. Whether one is gnostic or agnostic depends on their answer to the question: "Do you know, or claim to know that one or more gods exist?" "Gnostic" means "relating to knowledge," so if one claims knowledge one way or another, they are a gnostic atheist or gnostic theist. If they don't claim knowledge, or even doubt whether such knowledge is possible, they are agnostic atheists or agnostic theists. An agnostic is not someone who believes that the likelihood of gods existing is 50/50, agnosticism doesn't deal with belief at all.
vi_spex

Con

belief is theism

disbelief is atheism

agnostic is non belief, acceptance i dont know, while theism and atheism is for me to not accept that i dont know

a=all=1



an agnostic, accepting he dosnt know, does not not accept he dosnt know, therfore dosnt have a belief
Debate Round No. 2
boognish

Pro

You almost had it there at the beginning, but then went off the rails again. Belief, specifically in gods is theism, yes. I'm not disputing that. Disbelief OR lack of belief in gods is atheism. So far, so good. But here's where you went off track: "agnostic is non belief, acceptance i don't know, while theism and atheism is for me to not accept that i don't know." You're confusing belief with knowledge and using the terms interchangeably. The gnostic/agnostic position is not one of belief or lack of belief. It is a position of knowledge or lack of knowledge. It is the theist/atheist position that deals with belief. Contrary to your claim that there are only three positions one can take on any given claim-- belief that the claim is true, belief that the claim is false, or acknowledgement that one doesn't know-- there are at least four positions one can take. You will notice that the first two stances you put forth deal with BELIEF, while the third deals with KNOWLEDGE. Belief and knowledge are two very different concepts. The words and concepts are not interchangeable. Here are the four (minimum) stances that one can take on any given claim of a god's existence:

--One can BELIEVE that the claim is true and also claim to KNOW that it is true (gnostic theist)
--One can BELIEVE that the claim is true while also admitting that they do not or cannot KNOW for sure that it is true (agnostic theist)
--One can NOT BELIEVE that the claim is true and also claim to KNOW that it is not true (gnostic atheist)
--One can NOT BELIEVE that the claim is true while also admitting that they do not or cannot KNOW for sure that it is not true (agnostic atheist)

Once again, not accepting that a claim is true does not necessarily mean that one believes it is false. They just haven't been convinced of its truth, so they are withholding belief. In discussions of gods and religion, people often let their emotions cloud their reason, so I will use an analogy from the natural world. It is clear that biologists haven't discovered every species of plant and animal on the planet. Every year, 15,000-18,000 new species are discovered. [1] Most of the newly discovered animal species are insects, but occasionally even large animals are discovered by biologists. A previously unknown species of chimpanzee, the Bonobo, was only identified around 80 years ago. Knowing that, it is not at all unlikely that there are large animal species on Earth that modern biologists have no knowledge of. Many millions of people around the world believe that Sasquatch/Bigfoot/Yeti is one (or more) of those species. I fully accept the possibility that these animals may exist, yet I do not believe the claims because no definitive evidence has ever been presented. Using the terms of this discussion, regarding claims that these animals exist, I am an agnostic atheist (a-yetiist?). While I do not hold the positive belief that these animals exist, I also don't BELIEVE that they don't exist or claim to KNOW that they don't exist. I have not been convinced of their existence so I do not and cannot believe that they exist. The same holds true for god claims.

Algebra isn't really one of my strong suits so you will have to explain the equation "a=all=1" in different terms for me to be able to comment on it. And as for your last statement-- "an agnostic, accepting he dosnt know, does not not accept he dosnt know, therfore dosnt have a belief," you will also have to clarify that as it appears to be self contradictory. Does the agnostic accept he doesn't know, or not accept he doesn't know?

[1] http://www.atlasobscura.com...
vi_spex

Con

god=information

there are only 3 positions, yes no or maybe, belief, disbelief or acceptance i dont know, on any imaginary claim

knowledge is known, so unknown claims are not about knowledge

i am showing 3 fingers behind my back, is that true? you can believe my claim, disbelieve, or accept you dont know

agnostic=maybe you are showing 3 fingers, maybe 4 or 5 i dont know

a stone in my hand is 1
Debate Round No. 3
boognish

Pro

Regarding your finger claim: Yes, I BELIEVE that you are holding up three fingers behind your back. However, I accept that I cannot KNOW for sure. I am an "agnostic theist" regarding how many fingers you are holding up. Right there, I destroyed your "three position" claim by proposing a fourth logical position. I can both believe your claim AND accept that I don't know for sure.

I cannot comment on anything else you said because I'm not sure what points, if any were being made.
vi_spex

Con

you have a belief on a belief, a belief is a belief, theism, yes position


do you believe that you dont know anything?


Debate Round No. 4
boognish

Pro

It is possible for a person to be both an atheist and an agnostic. The reason these terms or stances are not mutually exclusive is because they deal with two very separate concepts; belief and knowledge. It is possible for one to believe that a claim is correct or likely to be correct without knowing for sure that it is correct. It is also possible for one to NOT believe that a claim is correct or likely to be correct while not knowing for sure that it is not correct. Contrary to Con's assertion, not accepting that a claim is correct is not the same as believing that it is necessarily incorrect.
vi_spex

Con

there is no truth to tell about god
Debate Round No. 5
46 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ninjahammer 1 year ago
Ninjahammer
@Rami Yeah but you vote guilty or not guilty. The reason you are innocent until proven guilty is exactly the reason why atheists say that god is innocent of existing until you can prove that he is guilty of existing, but that does not put any burden of proof onto the atheist for the same reason no burden of proof is put on the defendant except for rebbuting attacks.
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
those are not religious books thou
Posted by Rami 1 year ago
Rami
Ninja, in the court case you are wrong. The U.S. system is that you are innocent until proven guilty.
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
unknown
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
the claim is false for me to believe it
Posted by Ninjahammer 1 year ago
Ninjahammer
You are wrong Rami. Theists are bringing up a claim, you can now either accept the claim, or reject it. Reject it doesn't mean you say it's false, you are not stating the opposite, you are just saying you can't accept their claim. It is like in a court room you vote guilty or not guilty, not guilty or innocent, because the burden of proof is on the person making the claim, saying not guilty is not the same as saying innocent.
Posted by Rami 1 year ago
Rami
I agree with Vi-Spex in this one. Everything Zymoox mentioned is really just different variations of agnostism. So, belief is an 'I don't know but I think this' position.
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
you can only have 1 position at a time thou, and all those labels are just placing, there are not more then 3 positions
Posted by Zymoox 1 year ago
Zymoox
Atheist-agnostic-theist aren't three separate blocks, they are like a "sliding scale", with people in the middle of those blocks. Like agnostic atheism, gnostic atheism, agnosticism, pantheism, deism, agnostic theism, gnostic theism...
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
so just lie when people ask for the truth from now on
No votes have been placed for this debate.