The Instigator
andymcstab
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
Babeslayer
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points

Atheism is Irrational

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/27/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,159 times Debate No: 47965
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (29)
Votes (3)

 

andymcstab

Pro

Positive atheism cannot be rationalised. Implicit Atheism doesn't exist, and "Atheist Agnostic", is an embarrassing effort to cling to what amounts to no more than intellectual 'go faster' stripes.

I am for the motion.
Babeslayer

Con

Is the first round for acceptance? I'll just assume it's for acceptance. Ooh some cake. I'm going to eat it whilst I wait for round 2.
Debate Round No. 1
andymcstab

Pro

OK!
My applause to the contender for accepting the debate, thank-you.

In this discussion I will try and support three claims:

Positive Atheism - the belief that there is no God or the conscious removal of God from any thought process - is irrational.
Implicit Atheism - the assertion of Atheism by default - doesn't occur.
Atheist/Agnostic - is an extraneous melding of terms which comes at the cost of intellectual honesty.

Positive Atheism:-

The assertion that there is no God is fundamentally irrational. It is clearly something which cannot be supported with any evidence or reasoning. The positive Atheist will try to provide localized evidence to support their belief, or "non belief" if things get tough. This is usually along the lines of:

"There have been 10'000 different religions in history, all of them telling us to worship different, mutually exclusive Gods, if they all contradict each other then the vast majority are necessarily wrong. At-least 9'999 are the construct of mans mind so I think it is reasonable to assume considering we have no positive evidence for any God, that there is no God"

Or the less refined:

"XYZ were just a bunch of sheep herders, they invented God for societal control. No miracle has ever been scientifically substantiated, least not the Jesus zombie"

The problem with these kind of arguments is that Atheism doesn't pertain to religion, only to God. And it is not a claim about man-made Gods, which would obviously be self defeating, it is a universal claim/assumption/statement about God, depending on the weather.
A universal claim can never substantiate itself by refuting a localized/specialized claim such as Christianity, Hinduism, Muslim.
It is the same as if I were to espouse my universal disbelief of Ghosts, and rationalize this by arguing that your Mama who claims there is a Ghost in her kitchen is provably insane. Maybe your Mama is insane but to substantiate my -universal- disbelief I need to show that the fundamental concept of Ghosts is incoherent, NOT your Mama.

Implicit Atheism:-

The problem with "implicit" atheism, is that the Atheistic "disbelief" is in reality equivalent to -1, but the Atheist wants to try and dress it up as 0, therefore default. Worryingly though he has nothing to show why a person should come to the -conscious- development of "disbelief", and not simply "never thought about that before/not formed an opinion".

I contend that -1 is disbelief, 0 is neutrality, +1 is belief, pertaining to Atheism, Agnosticism and Theism respectively. If a person were to deny this I would ask what other historical word there has been to represent the position of -1? We have millions in the English language, do you really contend we have never had a word to describe the position of a person who denies existence of God? We have.. It has always been "Atheist".

This -1,0, +1 reasoning has been the accepted standard for hundreds of years because it makes sense, it is intuitive. The problem is, for hundreds of years nobody thought it fashionable to be Atheist, so no-one had to seriously defend it. That is until the turn of the 21st century, in the post 9/11 world where Atheism started gathering steam and began to necessitate genuine intellectual defense. At this time it became abundantly clear that Atheism could never be rationally asserted, so a-lot of word games and contortion of definitions started to occur. This allowed people to cling to their intellectual 'go faster' stripes and maintain their book sales, rather than sullenly drudge back to the unprofitable, unfashionable mediocrity of Agnosticism.

Agnostic Atheism:-

This is a person who is a real Atheist at heart, who holds that there is no God, but he simply cannot rationalize that far so thinks a softening prefix will make it all OK. Again it demonstrates this irrational desire for many Atheists to cling to a word like it is a badge of honour. They admit they cannot rationally sustain Atheism, but just want to let you know that they are anyway because its cool.

Either "Agnostic" or "Atheist", is extraneous to their position. He will claim they are mutually compatible and that Agnosticism only pertains to knowledge so you can be both Agnostic Atheist and Agnostic Theist. Like I demonstrated though if you don't feel you have evidence to support something you must accept that your affirmation is irrational. Lack of knowledge simply explains the Agnostic position, it is not a completely independent tautology that can be applied ad-hoc.

Well, that concludes my initial arguments. Thanks for reading and all the best to the contender!
Babeslayer

Con

"The assertion that there is no God is fundamentally irrational. It is clearly something which cannot be supported with any evidence or reasoning."

As is the assertion there is a god. I won't act like a persons belief system is irrational, because it's a person beleif. They're entitled to it. I don't agree with any religion. I don't think god exists, and even though I have nothing to back it up, neither do any of you.

"The problem with these kind of arguments is that Atheism doesn't pertain to religion, only to God."

Well actually, atheism is when someone is not thiest. Meaning, they're not a part of a religion. They don't practice religious beleifs or religious traditions. Most of the time. Except for christmas. Because as much as we don't beleive in god, we do beleive in free stuff.

The idea of atheism is that we don't beleive in god. It's not that we don't beleive in anything. We just have come to terms with the fact that god probably doesn't exist. That hundreds of thousands of years ago, people didn't have science. They didn't a format to undertsand the mysteries of the world, so explained with observable facts and just assumed a powerful higher force was responsible. This has grown and grown into organized religions, which in turn have created cultural ways of existing and various "rules" to living. However, now we do have science, and can undertsand how a sunset happens.


As for your whole thing about implicit athiesm, we don't try to dress it up as a legit beleif. I don't know where you heard this. We don't try in any way to act like a religion. That's our whole thing.


"Agnostic Atheism"

Uh yeah, there are hundreds of forms of christianity alone. There isn't one true christianity, there isn't one true beleif. An athiest is allowed to have his doubts now and then. Just like a christian can be one of many forms but still be a christian.

The thing about athiesm is really, it's just as rational as any other religion. Do we have anything to back up god doesn't exist? Well we haven't seen him. And while religions have existed seemingly everwhere, most cultural mythologies that never interacted included dragons. And there is no way of convincing me dragons exist. It's perfectly rational in my opinion to think dragons do or do not exist, just as it's perfectly rational to beleive god does or doesn't exist. No way to prove or disprove either.
Debate Round No. 2
andymcstab

Pro

Thank-you.

Well the rest of this debate just seems a formality.

In response to my claim "The assertion that there is no God is fundamentally irrational. It is clearly something which cannot be supported with any evidence or reasoning."

You replied "As is the assertion there is a god. I won't act like a persons belief system is irrational, because it's a person belief. They're entitled to it. "

Well, if your only reply is that religion is -also- irrational you must concede that Atheism is irrational, which is the contention of the debate. This is not an "Atheism vs religion" debate, its an "Atheism cannot stand on its own two feet", debate.



In response to my claim "The problem with these kind of arguments is that Atheism doesn't pertain to religion, only to God."
You Replied "atheism is when someone is not thiest."

Theist is to believe in God, therefore Atheism is to not believe in God, therefore Atheism pertains to God. You are also suggesting that Atheism is the default or neutral position when I think I have already well contended that it isn't. You haven't debated any of those contentions so I can only assume you agree.

You also said "We just have come to terms with the fact that god probably doesn't exist. That hundreds of thousands of years ago, people didn't have science. They didn't a format to undertsand the mysteries of the world, so explained with observable facts and just assumed a powerful higher force was responsible. "

But this is to give an example which is localised to substantiate a universal claim. "There is no Ghost in our kitchen therefore Ghosts do not exist". Its silly. Think about the scale of the universe; why should the experiences of an Ant colony called Earth have any implication against the actual existence of God?



In response to my comments on implicit Atheism you said: "As for your whole thing about implicit athiesm, we don't try to dress it up as a legit beleif.", "We don't try in any way to act like a religion. That's our whole thing."

Well the question is not whether you are trying to dress it up as legitimate, the contention of implicit Atheism is that it is the default position therefore rational. But as I have already argued "not knowing", aka straight Agnosticism would be the default position. To consciously harbour the atheistic belief or assumption "there is not God" requires some kind of rational.

To make things worse I could actually well argue that Theism is the default position: Some Oxford scientists recently drew the conclusion that Children have natural proclivity to believe in God. Even separated from society and living on a desert Island. Scientists believe they would assume a God through seeing function and complexity in nature and (I infer) innately realising that function and complexity requires intelligence.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk...



In response to my comments about Agnostic Atheism you replied: "there are hundreds of forms of christianity alone. There isn't one true christianity, there isn't one true beleif. An athiest is allowed to have his doubts now and then. Just like a christian can be one of many forms but still be a christian. The thing about athiesm is really, it's just as rational as any other religion. "

Atheism is a religion, is not a debate I could argue for easily, I am surprised you made such a concession. But back on-point, again you cannot substantiate a universal belief or non-belief because you are not convinced by any local religion. A universal concept needs universal substantiation.



"it's perfectly rational to beleive god does or doesn't exist."

How could this ever defend Atheism?
Babeslayer

Con

"Well, if your only reply is that religion is -also- irrational you must concede that Atheism is irrational"

Religion is rational, that's not my argument. I'm saying they're on the same level. Calling athiesm irrational is the same thing as calling religion irrational.

"Theist is to believe in God, therefore Atheism is to not believe in God, therefore Atheism pertains to God. You are also suggesting that Atheism is the default or neutral position when I think I have already well contended that it isn't. You haven't debated any of those contentions so I can only assume you agree."

Okay well a couple of things. Firstly, athiesm cannot pertain to a god. It's not a religion. There aren't any practices or any of the things to make a religion. And it can't partain to a god because it applied to eveyr religion.

Secondly, I don't know why my argument against the thing about atheism being below neutral wasn't there, I remember typing it. The general gist was that nobody is born religious, and nobody is bron athiest. I agree with you, athiesm isn't the neutral state. Neither is thiesm. I mean, neither is agnosticism (I'm just reading ahead here to an argument further down). A neutral state would be having no opinion on the matter one way or the other. And me, well I have never seen something like that.


"Atheism is a religion"

no it's not that's our whole thing. We aren't religious. I don't know why most classify it as a religious beleif, it's really not. It's a nickname for not beleiving in god. Not Beleiving. Those two words are what make Athiesm not a religion. If we're gonna start calling athiesm a religion, I might as well start calling someone who doesn't smoke an addict to not smoking. You may think that's an exageration, but that's the situation. Someone who doesn't smoke isn't an addict to not smoking, they just don't smoke. An athiest isn't a part of a religion, he just doesn't think there's a god.


"it's perfectly rational to beleive god does or doesn't exist."

How could this ever defend Atheism?"

You kinda took that out of the context of what I was saying. I'm saying both sides are equally rational. They don't have any real backup, and pretty much most athiesm vs theism arguments stand on "prove it". Beleifs are rational, I've stood to that moral all the time, even though most fellow athiests act like a jerk to religious people. But if the situation has turned to religious people acting like jerkss to atheists "beliefs", I'm not sure what to think anymore.
Debate Round No. 3
andymcstab

Pro

Thankyou.


In response to my claim "Well, if your only reply is that religion is -also- irrational you must concede that Atheism is irrational"

You replied "Religion is rational, that's not my argument. I'm saying they're on the same level. Calling athiesm irrational is the same thing as calling religion irrational."

I really think this is confused. First, you aren't defending atheism, you are just comparing it relatively to Earthly religions. Atheism doesn't even refer to religion, it refers to God. Secondly, you seem to be making the assumption that atheism and religion are equally rational but provide nothing to support the case. (for the benefit of discussion I am going to assume you meant 'theism', rather than 'religion'.) There is nothing which would invoke the idea that there is no God. No child has ever looked at nature or the stars at night and had the original independent thought "there can't be a God". But quite the opposite is true for every civilisation in history.
Its true that neither atheism nor theism can prove their position, but a lack of proof for both sides of an argument gives no reason to assume they are equally rational. Proof is different from evidence. There is universal evidence for the existence of God, such as the amazing fine tuning of the universe or the inexplicable intelligence of the genetic code. There is no such evidence to support the notion there isn't a God.

In response to my claim that atheism pertains to God, you said "athiesm cannot pertain to a god. It's not a religion".

Well again sadly this just seems confused. Atheism is denial of the existence of God, therefore Atheism pertains to God. It just seems elementary.

RE "Atheism is a religion" clearly I misunderstood what you meant to say but really whether it is or isn't is entirely off topic.




Summary:-
I think in this discussion we have seen plenty of examples which show why each popular view of atheism is irrational, unsubstantiated or simply a pitiful effort to retain intellectual "go faster" stripes.

We have seen very little in the way of defense of each of these atheistic positions. Much of my opponents argument could never rationalise atheism, as his argument was always relative to Earthly religion.

Vitally he was able to provide no reasons as to why it would be rational to look at nature and the universe and assume "no God".

I feel that my opponent would have done well to critically examine the atheistic proposition independent of the context of human religion, an idea he never seemed to fully grasp.

We have seen him confess that atheism is irrational.... as long as religion is irrational too. And likewise religion is rational... as long as atheism is rational too. But he never provided anything to support this absurd relativism.

He accepts that atheism is not the 'default' position but fails to describe a legitimate cause which would invoke the atheistic assumption. In contrast the Theist can look at natural law, the fine tuning of the universe, the reasonable assumption that life, function and complexity only come from something living and intelligent. There is no comparitive universal reason to assume atheism.
We have also seen from an international study conducted by scientists from Oxford university that children are inclined towards theism. Indeed according to them "Belief in God is part of human nature". This would suggest that even more positive cause would be required for a person to be warranted in assuming atheism, but worryingly atheists don't seem to have any.
I think this supports the idea that atheism has become an intellectually less-than-honest position. It is hard to see much rationale behind the explosion of atheism we observe in society today. I think peer pressure, scientism and fashion are the most likely culprits, sadly not an explosion of "reason".

The contentions of this debate was that Atheism is irrational in all its forms. I feel I have shown this statement true and the contender has provided nothing to show otherwise. If you would agree, please vote for me.

Thank my opponent for participating in the debate, and the audience who I respect for taking the time and having the interest to read it all. Thank-you.


Babeslayer

Con

"aren't defending atheism, you are just comparing it relatively to Earthly religions"

I don't feel the need to defend something. If I was defending it, it would be a clear sign that it is irrational. But it's not, so I'm not.


"seem to be making the assumption that atheism and religion are equally rational but provide nothing to support the case."

I thought I already pointed out that neither have any real backup, and are just a thing we think. I will say athiesm is irrational the moment religious people say religion is irrational.


"There is nothing which would invoke the idea that there is no God"

This can be said the same way for religion. A book doesn't apply as evidence, I beleive I've already made my case about dragons.


"No child has ever looked at nature or the stars at night and had the original independent thought "there can't be a God". "

1: explain me
2: THis would only really be true for a kid in a religious family. He's a kid. He doesn't have that kind of indipendant thought process yet and will grow to decide for himself. Incase you haven't noticed, kids are dumb. They'll beleive 100% whatever you tell them.

"Proof is different from evidence"

What?

"There is no comparitive universal reason to assume atheism."

Uh... science. That's how we explain stuff. We don't look at something and think "god did it". We think "atoms did it".


Really, all in all, I don't think athiesm is something a lot of people understand. We don't think "nothing did everything and there was never anything ever" we think "YEAH, SCIENCE B***H!". And for the last time, it's not a religion. It's the opposite of a religon. Atheism is when we don't beleive in god. It's not a specific god, it's any god. The non-beleif in a god would logically conclude not religious.

And as for intelligent design, there's nothing to suggest that god created everything. Meanwhile, science has shown physical proof and evidence (same meaning btw) of evolution & growth over billions of years.

And in case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight.
Debate Round No. 4
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mrsatan 2 years ago
mrsatan
Lol, apparently DDO is not a ran of phonetic symbols...
Posted by mrsatan 2 years ago
mrsatan
A few things:

1) Quoting definitions about philosophical concepts is pretty much meaningless. Definitions of such concepts are generalized representations of common usage, which makes them very weak arguments. You'd be better off researching in depth reference materials and forming opinions off of that.

2) Despite #1, your definition does nothing to help your case. Belief and knowledge are not the same thing. One can believe in God without claiming to know anything about Gods nature, so theism and agnosticism work together. Similarly, I believe there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, yet I don't know jack s*** about the nature of that intelligent life. Nor do I "know" that they exist. Reason leads me to believe they do, but not to the point of calling it knowledge.

3) If an atheist disbelieves that God exists (Since you like definitions so much, dis"be"lief/G6;disbəG2;lēf/ noun. inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real) but does not take it to the next step of claiming the opposite, they are not claiming to have knowledge. They are really claiming to not have knowledge, which is why they do not accept the belief. It's a rejection of belief due to lack of supporting evidence, not supposition that the opposite is true. If one does not even know if something exists, how can they possibly claim to know anything about it? And if they believe that everyone who does claim knowledge of God is either delusional or fooling themselves, then they fully meet the requirements of your own definitions to be considered both atheist and agnostic.

So if an atheist disbelieves but does not claim the opposite, not only is agnosticism acceptable, it is all but required.

4) However, an atheist who claims there is no God (which is a claim without doubt, and therefore one of certainty), then they cannot be considered agnostic as they do assert knowledge of Gods nature AND existence, specifically that they are both non-existent
Posted by andymcstab 2 years ago
andymcstab
About agnosticism, i already said this. You may want to call yourself "agnostic atheist", but like i said, these are people who are atheists at heart who reject God, but know they cannot rationalise so far so think a softening prefix will make it all ok. To believe something while admitting you cannot rationalise it, doesn't make the belief any less irrational.

About the definition,

agnostic
noun
noun: agnostic; plural noun: agnostics
1.
a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.

Neither a theist or an atheist can be properly agnostic. A person who believes in God but also believes nothing is known about the existence of God is implicitly contradicting himself. Any kind of evidence would contradict the belief "nothing is known or can be known". If a person admires a sunrise and believes in God he has made some kind of connection between God and beauty/awe, and so has made some kind of assumption about the nature or existence of God, so cannot be agnostic. Atheists likewise cannot (a)believe or assume there is no God while maintaining (b)there is nothing that can be known of Gods existence or nature. If b is true then a is completely irrational.
Posted by mrsatan 2 years ago
mrsatan
Tell you what, forget about my other posts, because I was probably only half awake when I wrote most of them.

Anyways, there is one important piece missing from the debate, that of what you mean by God. (i.e., the general dictionary definition, or simply the creator of existence, or something else). I've been assuming you mean the creator of existence, as it's vague but still meaningful, but please correct me if that assumption is mistaken. Depending on what you mean by God, I may or may not agree about positive atheism being irrational, although I would likely disagree.

Either way, I agree that atheism is not the default (I would say that nothing is the default), and for your third contention, I think you misunderstand what agnosticism is.

I don't know the philosophy well enough to fully explain it, but agnosticism isn't about what you believe pertaining to God. It's about what you believe pertaining to knowledge itself, and it varies from believing that absolutely nothing can be known, to believing some things cannot be known. Gnosticism, on the other hand, is the opposite. Believing that some, or all things can be known. They are philosophical, not theological.

So, pertaining to God, agnosticism would be the belief that we can't know where or not God exists, or that it is possibly something we can't know. A personal revelation may change my agnostic mindset to a gnostic one concerning Gods existence. However, depending on how I experience such a revelation, I might conclude that my mind was playing tricks on me.

My personal beliefs are atypical of most atheists, but fairly often, an agnostic atheist would be someone who has disbelief (possibly denial) of God but also believes there is no way to prove that belief. It's also possible for a theist to be agnostic, although I would guess it's less common. Essentially, (a)theism is about the answer you accept, whereas (a)gnosticism is about the validity of that answer.
Posted by andymcstab 2 years ago
andymcstab
Sorry, can you just make your point?
If you believe there is a weakness in my argument, point it out, don't try and set it up because youre making a mess out of it.

So now your question is at what point does someone cross from one belief to the opposite belief?

But then i have no idea how "utter certainty" fits into it. Pertaining to certainty the point where one crosses from atheism to theism or vice versa is almost indistiguishable. obv the crossover point is agnosticism, which is no certainty at all.
Posted by mrsatan 2 years ago
mrsatan
Lol, more poor word choice on my part. By opposing belief, I did not mean opposition to holding a belief. What I meant was holding a belief of the opposite (I.e. Believing that God does not exist as opposed to believing God does exist).
Posted by andymcstab 2 years ago
andymcstab
Satan,
If i were to guess at what you mean by "opposing belief"; i don't think there is a linear relationship between disbelief and opposing belief. One can oppose something before/during/after disbelieving something. Some atheists are 99.9% certain that there is no God, but don't oppose any religion. Others aren't really sure at all but vigorously oppose religion.

I think:
Atheists assume or conclude "there is no god" to different levels of certainty.
Agnostics fail or refuse to assign themselves to either pro or con category.
Theists assume or conclude "there is god" to different levels of certainty.

Atheists have a burden of proof, even if they are just 15% certain there is no God
Theists have a burden of proof, even if they are just 15% certain there is a God.

Theists can provide universal reasons to assume God, justifying their 15% certainty.
Atheists cannot equal universal justification for the contrary, failing to justify even their 15% certainty.
Posted by mrsatan 2 years ago
mrsatan
Fair enough, Andy. My apologies for misrepresenting your stance. What I meant by utter certainty would be the point where one crosses from disbelief to opposing belief. Admittedly, it was poor wording choice on my part.

Or do you still think disbelief is significantly different than non-belief? Or that disbelief is the same as opposing belief?
Posted by andymcstab 2 years ago
andymcstab
@Satan.

As i said, i really don't know where youve got this idea that i demand rationalisation for certainty.

"He accepts that atheism is not the 'default' position but fails to describe a legitimate cause which would invoke the atheistic ----assumption---. In contrast the Theist can look at natural law, the fine tuning of the universe, the reasonable assumption that life, function and complexity only come from something living and intelligent. There is no comparitive universal reason to ----assume----- atheism. "

"He accepts that atheism is not the 'default' position but fails to describe a legitimate cause which would invoke the atheistic ------assumption------."

"This would suggest that even more positive cause would be required for a person to be warranted in -----assuming------ atheism"

I recognise that atheism can be assumed, and by their nature assumptions are never certain.

I really have no idea where you've got this idea from.
Posted by andymcstab 2 years ago
andymcstab
Hi Satan,

re "to a degree of utter certainty", i don't see why you assume this at all.

I agree that someone can hold a position of 90% disbelief and 10% unsure, but there still needs to be some rationalization for that 90%. Having a less than certain belief is still not necessarily rational. You still need to have a reason to assume that 90% certainty. A universal positive reason why someone would draw the (certain or uncertain, its irrelevant) conclusion or assumption "there is no God".

I gave examples why people would rationally assume a God ie from appearance of design in nature or the coherency of natural law. All i am looking for is an equally rational universal observation which would point towards atheism, Con didn't provide any.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
andymcstabBabeslayerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con made a more convincing argument in exposing the weaknesses of Pro's misconception of Atheism, yet pro was the only one who produced a source, but, that source really didn't support the case that Atheism is Irrational, so it didn't count. It was almost a tie, yet I could only judge on logic and Con's logic was more sound than Pro's.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
andymcstabBabeslayerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con never tried to prove atheism as rational. I believe the debate was misinterpreted to be a debate on which belief system is more rational. This wasn't what the debate was about at all.
Vote Placed by Actionsspeak 2 years ago
Actionsspeak
andymcstabBabeslayerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had a source, but it has nothing to do with atheism it's about creationism and why humans originally made it. Anyways I lean Pro in the argument but not by enough to give points.