The Instigator
ViceRegent
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
JayShay
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points

Are Atheists Able to Know Reality from Delusion?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
JayShay
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,237 times Debate No: 85750
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (83)
Votes (4)

 

ViceRegent

Con

Can any atheist come up with a rational way for them to know reality from delusion?

With your first post, answer this question: I, as an atheist, rationally know reality from delusion by_________________________________?

If you believe reality is the product of your perceptions, that is has no objective existence, please do not answer.

The atheist will bear the BOP.
JayShay

Pro

Hello. I accept your challenge.

I will argue that atheists are able to know reality from delusion.

I, an atheist, rationally know reality from delusion through 1). the consistent success of my senses that have repeatedly met my expectations, 2). the consistent, repeated verification of my senses' accuracy by people in my environment, and 3). my ability to learn about and adapt to novel stimuli which may initially confuse my senses. These reasons allow me to conclude that my senses are reliable in seeing and interacting with reality.

Proof of each:
1). I pick up a pen. I expect it to fall when I release it. I release it and it falls. My expectation was met.
2). My friends and I are walking on the street. We hear a crash, and without organizing ourselves we all look behind us. Not only did each of us detect an auditory stimulus, we also were able to locate the general direction of its source. My senses aligned with theirs.
3). At a young age we learn object permanence, which gives us the knowledge that objects continue to exist even when hidden from our visual field. I see a train enter a tunnel from far away. I can neither see nor hear the train anymore which logically implies the train is gone, yet I know its existence continues in the tunnel.

I ask my opponent: what reason do we have not to depend on our senses? The sole reason we have senses is to enable us to attain the best possible perception of reality. If our senses were incompetent at doing this, our ancestors would have gone extinct many years ago as not being able to rely on our senses leaves us with no other method to interact with our world. How would our ancestors have defended themselves from threats? How else would they have been able to hunt prey, if not by relying on their senses?

I argue that atheists are able to know reality from delusion. The above reasons demonstrate that our senses are reliable and we have no reason to assume otherwise.

I look forward to my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 1
ViceRegent

Con

You say:

I, an atheist, rationally know reality from delusion through 1). the consistent success of my senses that have repeatedly met my expectations, 2). the consistent, repeated verification of my senses' accuracy by people in my environment, and 3). my ability to learn about and adapt to novel stimuli which may initially confuse my senses. These reasons allow me to conclude that my senses are reliable in seeing and interacting with reality.

How do you know that your senses are successful without the use of your senses? If you do not, you are using your senses to prove your senses, which is circular reasoning, which is not rational.

Likewise, how do you know what your friend's senses are saying to him? If you use your senses, you are using your senses to prove your senses, which is circular reasoning, which is not rational.

How do you know your knowledge of "object permanence" is true? Is assume you would go with 1 or 2. Same problem.

Try again, please.
JayShay

Pro

Con states "you are using your senses to prove your senses." How else are we supposed to interact with our world? This method works for us.

My opponent failed to address my question. I ask Con to please list one rational reason that we should not trust our senses under normal, everyday circumstances (ex. sober, stable mental health, 20/20 vision, etc.). Unless we have any reason to doubt the accuracy of our senses, there is no point in doubting them. Yes, we use our senses to confirm that they work. So what? They are all we have. We have nothing else to compare with. What else would we do? Say we decided to stop trusting our senses altogether. We would be unable to function.

We have no choice but to rely on our senses. Trusting our senses is undeniably the most practical and rational way to interact with the world.
Debate Round No. 2
ViceRegent

Con

The purpose of this debate was for you, as an atheist, to provide me a rational way for you to know reality from delusion.

You provided me an irrational way, a way that is circular reasoning.

You claim that there is no choice but to rely on our senses. How do you know this or is this another irrational conclusion from your irrational way of know reality from delusion?

But being unable to provide me a rational way for atheists to know reality from delusion means atheists know nothing.
JayShay

Pro

At the end of round one I wrote "I argue that atheists are able to know reality from delusion" because that is the title of the debate to which I accepted. If I had created the debate I would have argued "People are able to know reality from delusion." In round two it looked like Con had come to the realization that including atheism into his argument gets us nowhere, due to the lack of any mention about why atheism should be in the spotlight. Then round three came. I don't know where Con got the idea that atheists claim to be the superior group capable of seeing reality whereas the theists cannot. Atheists only say they do not believe in gods. Claiming they say anything else would be generalising a group of people and putting words into their mouths. I do not believe that all theists are out of touch with reality.

Con states "You claim that there is no choice but to rely on our senses. How do you know this?" Because there is not a single, rational reason that would lead us to consider any other option.

He then concludes round three with a petty insult against atheists, writing that because he cannot see the simplicity and rationality that I have attempted to demonstrate through my arguments for why we can trust our senses, "atheists know nothing." That's quite a large group of people that Con is putting down. Let me turn this around for once: Con, what do you claim to know about reality that us atheists are incapable of knowing?

My opponent still has yet to demonstrate what reason we have to distrust our senses. I presented what I see as the best reason to trust them: through our senses we can see the world and interact with it, ergo there is absolutely no reason to doubt them.
Debate Round No. 3
ViceRegent

Con

By introducing these red herrings rather than showing how you, as an atheist, can rationally know reality from delusion, you are only confirming you inability. In fact, you play a cruel joke on yourself by making claims you sincerely expect us to take as true when you have no way of knowing if they are true yourself.

And I have given you a rational reason to consider anything else: your view is irrational. Duh!

What rationality? All you have done is beg the question. I asked for a rational reason. You have given none.

I win.
JayShay

Pro

Con states that I have been "...making claims you sincerely expect us to take as true." How ironic. Con is relying on his sense of touch to write these words on his keyboard, and trusting his sense of vision to accurately portray the words on the computer screen in front of him. He is depending on his sense of taste and smell to properly convey the experience of a snack break in between debate rounds. He is convinced that his sense of hearing allows him to enjoy his music. Yet, without a single reason, he claims we cannot trust our senses.

My opponent has continuously stated how irrational my arguments are. Are you sure it's not the other way around, Con?

What my opponent wants me to say is that there is no surefire, absolute way to know that we can trust our senses. This is true. But is there any absolute way to know anything, without a single grain of uncertainty? No there isn't. But that is no reason to abandon what we rely on to function throughout our lives.

My opponent writes "I asked for a rational reason. You have given none." We clearly have different standards and definitions of rationality. Con leaves us with "I win." Victory doesn't come to those who have declared it; it comes to those who have earned it.

I thank my opponent for participating with me. I hope we have encouraged thought among the readers.
Debate Round No. 4
83 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ViceRegent 10 months ago
ViceRegent
The only thing worse than a spoiled brat is a spoiled brat that does not keep their own word.
Posted by JayShay 10 months ago
JayShay
Actually I'm taking my ball and moving on. Goodbye VR
Posted by ViceRegent 10 months ago
ViceRegent
I guess Jay is taking his ball and going home. Bye, Jay.
Posted by JayShay 10 months ago
JayShay
VR, I have had enough of your intolerance to atheists. I request that everyone else please refrain from further comments, there's nothing more to be found here. Happy debating everybody! Matt and SNK, I'll be looking for that IQ debate :)
Posted by ViceRegent 10 months ago
ViceRegent
Is that true? If so, how do you know? Do you people not get that until you come up with a way to rationally know truth from fiction, none of your truth claims have any meaning whatsoever?

But I too agree Epistemology 101 is too difficult for atheists.
Posted by matt8800 10 months ago
matt8800
VR, a Christian's interpretation of their senses is the same function of an atheist's interpretation of their senses. After repeated requests for you to explain how this is different, you still have not explained why theological beliefs affect ones view of reality.
Nobody knows how to respond because nobody knows what the f*** you are talking about.
Posted by ViceRegent 10 months ago
ViceRegent
I asked first. Stop the childish games.
Posted by JayShay 10 months ago
JayShay
Show me yours and I'll show you mine
Posted by ViceRegent 10 months ago
ViceRegent
Yea, stop "prodding" me like children and answer this most basic of all philosophical questions. Show us there is some intellectual mojo to your existence.
Posted by JayShay 10 months ago
JayShay
Guys, prodding VR has proved to be useless. Let's just let him be :)
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by condeelmaster 10 months ago
condeelmaster
ViceRegentJayShayTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was arrogant and didin't presented any rebuttals to Pro's arguments. Pro deserves winning this one.
Vote Placed by matt8800 10 months ago
matt8800
ViceRegentJayShayTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I felt that Con's conduct was insulting to Pro, saying words like "duh", etc. Con failed to make any argument at all. I still do not know why he thinks ones belief in a god is necessary to correctly interpret reality.
Vote Placed by snkcake666 10 months ago
snkcake666
ViceRegentJayShayTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct- Instigator was a bit arrogant towards the end, stating "I win" and also seemed to imply that the contender was somehow delusion in his argument, without and supporting evidence to back that claim. Conduct goes to pro. Argument- Instigator never really listed an 'argument'. Instead, it seemed to loop back around to claiming that Contender was delusional, and again, this was not supported by any evidence. There were a few claims, but not proofs. Point goes to pro.
Vote Placed by FaustianJustice 10 months ago
FaustianJustice
ViceRegentJayShayTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro provides the reason that our senses appear to be working, and there is no reason not to trust them on comparison to reality. That's.. well, a pretty good reason, as far as I am concerned. The absence of any real criteria give Pro a lot of latitude, and the misuse of what circularity entails doesn't help pro's case either.