The Instigator
MrJK
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Atheism is a world view.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/9/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,709 times Debate No: 40233
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (64)
Votes (3)

 

MrJK

Con

My opponant holds that atheism is a world view:

"Strong Atheism is a worldview."


I beg to differ.
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

I think that the resolution should be self-evidnetly true. However, I will debate it.

Present your case.
Debate Round No. 1
MrJK

Con

Atheism is not a world view.


Atheism is simply the rejection of theistic claims. In other words, it is the denial of a world view, not the proposition of an alternative.

Perhaps it would be appropriate to consider theism a good example of a world view, what defines it as such?

A collection of beliefs and values.

A particular theism can be defined as a world view as it outlines a series of beliefs and values which encompass all that is met by it's proponents and dictates it's proponents interpretation of all s/he encounters and considers.

When discussing 'religion' or any particular religion in contrast to atheism, I often find that the religiosity finds itself somewhat neglected, and in substitution I often find myself involved in a conversation about the possibility of a prime mover.
Theism as it has come to generally be known, is not used to describe those that reason for the positive necessity or possibility of a prime mover alone. In fact, the possibility of a god or a supreme being is something I, an atheist, accept very comfortably.

What I do not accept, or am yet to accept are claims regarding the nature of such a thing, the 'revelation' with such a thing, morality, politics, 'science' base on such a thing, or claims of human/god relationships. This, is theism, I do not have this and am far from accepting it as a world view. As such, I am an atheist.

A-theism
Root of ‘a-’
http://membean.com.........



This idea of a god, and god's 'design', his 'master plan' etc, it has had more than a little influence on our species. We have developed various strict codes and guidelines which must be adhered to
in order to be in keeping with his plan (as interpreted and illustrated by which ever culture/decade/country/family you happened to have landed in at birth). So vast and permeating are these ideas, so insidious it has been, that we wonder, as Neitzche does, if it is a human requirement, if we can function successfully in its absence.


Do we need substitute this ancient conclusion with a relevant religiosity which accepts our ever sharpening perspective on nature?
Do we need satisfy this primal reasoning with a universally agreed moral imperative and complimentary standard of ethics?

Perhaps we do, and of course these questions are all very interesting, but atheism is not this. Not X does not = X. or Y. or Z.


My opponent must offer a case for atheism as a world view, a collection of shared beliefs, values and standards.
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

What Is Atheism?

My opponent explains in the first round (before I accepted the debate) what he means by "Atheism". He insinuates that he will be arguing against a claim I made in another debate that "Strong Atheism is a worldview". Therefore, this entails that the pretense we are having this discussion under, implies "Strong Atheism" is how "Atheism" is defined. However, after I accepted the debate, he defines Atheism as the non-acceptance of the theistic worldview. That is Weak Atheism though, while I accepted this debate under the pretense that we would be discussing Strong Atheism. I urge voters to take this bait and switch into account. Here are the proper definitions:

"Positive atheism (also called strong atheism and hard atheism) is the form of atheism that asserts that no deities exist."[1]

"Negative atheism (also called weak atheism and soft atheism) is any other type of atheism, wherein a person does not believe in the existence of any deities, but does not explicitly assert there to be none." [2]

In Con's opening argument, which type of Atheism did Pro affirm? Weak Atheism. He claims that he does not accept, or believe in the existence of God:

"This, is theism, I do not have this and am far from accepting it as a world view. As such, I am an atheist." - Pro

The problem is that Weak Atheism wasn't the assumption I accepted this debate under, I accepted this debate under the assumption we would be discussing Strong Atheism, and whether that is a worldview. Therefore, Con's whole argument is faulty as it is based on a fallacy of equivocation with regards to the word "Atheism". We are discussing Strong Atheism, not weak Atheism. Therefore, even if Con has shown that Weak Atheism is not a worldview, it wouldn't follow that Strong Atheism is not a world view. Since this debate is centered around Strong Atheism; Con has no case.

What Is A World View, And Is Atheism One?

What is a world view? It is simply a view of the world! Strong Atheism is the view of the world that there is no God:

"Atheism is the view that there is no God." [Internet Encyclopedia Of Philosophy][3]

Therefore, it is a world view by definition. If we want to get more in depth with the definition of "world view"; we can.

"A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world."[oxford][4]

Is Strong Atheism a philosophy of the way the world is? Of course!

"To give an adequate exposition of the Philosophy of Atheism, it would be necessary to go into the historical changes of the belief in a Deity, from its earliest beginning to the present day." - Emma Goldman[5]

Con defines a "world view" as:

"A collection of beliefs and values." - Pro

Well Atheism is a collection of believes and values, such as:

(i) No God watches me as a sleep
(ii) No God created the universe
(iii) No God created heaven

The list goes on and on (Con still must show that his definition is necessary, as he started the debate and has the burden of proof). Another explanation of Strong Atheism is:

"Some atheists go beyond a mere absence of belief in gods: they actively believe that particular gods, or all gods, do not exist."[6]

Conclusion

It is self-evident that Strong Atheism is indeed a worldview. It is a view of the world without God. Since Con's arguments all presupposed Weak Atheism (not the type of Atheism I agreed to debate); his entire case is in error. The resolution has been affirmed.

Sources

[1]Flew, Antony (1976). "The Presumption of Atheism". The Presumption of Atheism, and other Philosophical Essays on God, Freedom, and Immortality. New York: Barnes and Noble. pp. 14ff. Retrieved 2011-12-10
[2] "Definitions of the term "Atheism". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 2007
[3] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[4] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
[5] http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu...
[6] http://www.infidels.org...
Debate Round No. 2
MrJK

Con



My opponent claims that I have been somewhat deceitful in my execution thus far, which forces me to demonstrate first that this is false, and merely a distraction from the subject.

My opponent:

"I urge voters to take this bait and switch into account. Here are the proper definitions:

"Positive atheism (also called strong atheism and hard atheism) is the form of atheism that asserts that no deities exist."[1]"


My opponent (quite amusingly) falsely attributes this quote to Antony Flew and his essay titled "The Presumption of atheism". In reality, my opponent sourced this (mis)quote from wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

If you wish to consider this beyond my claim, I provide a link below the following quote to the essay in it's entirety in which Flew argues (quite rightly) not that 'positive atheism' is the denial of the possibility of all gods, but that it should be presumed that the standard for all debates regarding the proposition of a god is that one does not exist, to this he attachés the term 'negative atheism'.


"If it is to be established that there is a God, then we have to have good grounds for believing that this is indeed so. Until and unless some such grounds are produced we have literally no reason at all for believing; and in that situation the only reasonable posture must be that of either the negative atheist or the agnostic"

http://www.commonsenseatheism.com...

Positive atheism then, is not alone the presumption that a god does not exist, as this is already presumed to be the case. Positive atheism, rather, is the active denial of particular gods.

Positive, strong, explicit, critical, negative, weak, implicit - these are all terms to describe varying shades of the atheism spectrum, the various stages of denial of a god. None of these arguments explicitly deny the possibility of the existence of a deity per se, instead it is the denial of specific gods and their accompanying weltunshauung.

My opponent misunderstands this concept, he demonstrates the fallacy (usually promoted by apologists) that atheism in any sense is the denial of the possibility of all deities. This is not the case, and lends itself openly to a reductio ad absurdum.

In support of this I will ask the following; Imagine the world as presented by Antony Flew, where the non-existence of gods was universally presumed. This world has no propositions regarding a god, or in other words, no theisms. How busy is the atheist in this world?! How does the atheist in this world title his books?! Obviously, he does not, it is an absurdity that the atheist be actively atheistic in this case in any sense.
We (atheists) in any sense described, do not deny gods, we deny theisms, the proposed gods. We do not accept theisms, and without theism, the term atheism is rather impotent.
It is, and can only be, the denial of a proposition. The proposition in this case carries with it a world view, theism is a single point of perspective which often gathers for itself religiosity which thus characterizes all that is interpreted by the theist. Atheism is a single answer to a single claim which can be applied in each case of the proposition.
Without the proposition, the negation of such does not exist - and it is on this, that which exists only as a rejection of a proposition, that my opponent claims can be defined as a world view.

"Negative atheism, the position of not believing a theistic God exists... Positive atheism: the position of disbelieving a theistic God exists... Clearly, positive atheism is a special case of negative atheism: Someone who is a positive atheist is by necessity a negative atheist, but not conversely."
- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification




"What Is A World View, And Is Atheism One?"

As if it were necessary, I will clarify For the sake of this debate that I am as positive an atheist as is logically credible. That is, I positively reject all theisms that I have thus far been presented with.
In rejecting these theisms, what have I gained?

A proposition is an idea. Let's imagine that my idea is that carrots are that by which all morality should be measured. If you reject this proposition, however explicitly, have you gained an alternative proposition? Could the explicit denial of such a proposition constitute a 'world view'? Even if we were to allow that the denial of this claim was in some way a proposition in itself (which it isn't) can we consider this as a 'world view'?


My opponent offers us his definition of 'world view'...

Pro:


"What is a world view? It is simply a view of the world!"


...which I would say is definitive only in its exceptional inadequacy.


To assist us I have taken the following from the fantastically named Professor Funk of Oregon state University and his consideration of 'world view' http://web.engr.oregonstate.edu...

In "The Question of a Weltanschauung" from his New Introductory Lectures in Psycho-Analysis, Sigmund Freud describes Weltanschauung as
... an intellectual construction which solves all the problems of our existence uniformly on the basis of one overriding hypothesis, which, accordingly, leaves no question unanswered and in which everything that interests us finds its fixed place.
In Types and Problems of Philosophy, Hunter Mead defines Weltanschauung as
[a]n all-inclusive world-view or outlook. A somewhat poetic term to indicate either an articulated system of philosophy or a more or less unconscious attitude toward life and the world ...

In his article on the philosopher Wilhelm Dilthy in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, H.P. Rickman writes

[t]here is in mankind a persistent tendency to achieve a comprehensive interpretation, a Weltanschauung, or philosophy, in which a picture of reality is combined with a sense of its meaning and value and with principles of action ...
The elements of one's worldview, the beliefs about certain aspects of Reality, are one's:
  • epistemology: beliefs about the nature and sources of knowledge;
  • metaphysics: beliefs about the ultimate nature of Reality;
  • cosmology: beliefs about the origins and nature of the universe, life, and especially Man;
  • teleology: beliefs about the meaning and purpose of the universe, its inanimate elements, and its inhabitants;
  • theology: beliefs about the existence and nature of God;
  • anthropology: beliefs about the nature and purpose of Man in general and, oneself in particular;
  • axiology: beliefs about the nature of value, what is good and bad, what is right and wrong.
http://web.engr.oregonstate.edu...




My opponent must convince us that atheism, in any sense, contains within it that which is described above.


Matt Dillahunty of the ACA:

"What "code of ethics"? No such code exists. Atheism is a single answer to the general question, "Do you believe in a God/god/gods?" For atheists, the answer is no. For theists the answer is yes. Apart from a position on the concept of God, there are no tenets, dogma, creed or code associated with atheism."
http://www.atheist-community.org...
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Strong Atheism

Con says my quote from Anthony Flew was a misquote and false. He never defended that position and left it as a bare-assertion, so we have no reason to believe him. Either way, it is an outrageous charge because that it was Strong Atheism is; he position, view, or belief that God does not exist. I can provide more explanations of Strong Atheism (which I already did in my last round):

"A 'strong' atheist is one who asserts that 'there is no god.'"[1]

"
Strong atheism is the belief that there is no god." [2]

"Believing that gods do not (or cannot) exist is known as 'strong atheism.'" [3]


All the definitions of Strong Atheism are roughly the same, so attacking one definition like my whole argument hinges on that one definition is a red herring. Strong Atheism is self-evidently a worldview (it is a view of the world without God), and I am shocked that my opponent would even start a debate like this.

Con then presents Anthony Flew's description of Weak Atheism. This is irrelevant This debate is about Strong Atheism, not Weak Atheism. My opponent also says that Atheism doesn't deny that all God's don't exist, just particular Gods. However, my definitions clearly state that Strong Atheism is the position that there is no God. Either way, I'm not sure how this effects the resolution because either interpretation of Strong Atheism is still a world view (my opponent is correct that some definitions of Strong Atheism are with regards to particular Gods). One is a view of the world without all Gods, and one is a view of the world against particular Gods. Here is yet, another definition of Strong Atheism:

"Strong atheism, also sometimes referred to asexplicit atheism, goes one step further and involves denying the existence of at least one god, usually multiple gods, and sometimes the possible existence of any gods at all."[4]

Thus, Strong Atheism isn't committed to the notion that only particular God's don't exist.

Straw-Man Fallacy

Con says:

"My opponent misunderstands this concept, he demonstrates the fallacy (usually promoted by apologists) that atheism in any sense is the denial of the possibility of all deities." - Con

The above is clearly false. I never said that Atheism in any sense is the denial of the possibilities of all deities. When someone misrepresents and argument in this fashion, it is called the Straw-Man fallacy.

Presumption Of Atheism

Even if one presumes Atheism, that is still a view of the world without God. Regardless, we are debating Strong Atheism, not any other types of Atheism that my opponent can conjure up. Also, he said that without a proposition, a negation doesn't exist. What does this have to do with the resolution? Absolutely nothing. He then presents another definition of Weak Atheism, but we are not debating Weak Atheism! I accepted this debate based on the view of Atheism Con implied in his introduction round (Strong Atheism). I have provided countless definitions which all show that Strong Atheism is indeed a world view. It is a view of the world without God, or Gods.

Atheism Is A Proposition

Con seems to think that Atheism is just a negation of a proposition, but not a proposition itself. This is false. Atheism is the proposition that there is no God, or that God does not exist. It is the view of the world without God, or Gods. Therefore, it is clearly a worldview.

Why My Opponent's Definitions?

My opponent started this debate and has the burden of proof. My opponent must demonstrate why we must go with his definitions of "world view" under another. My opponent has clearly tried picking out the most complicated definitions of the word to try and trap me. However, this is not necessary. Unless my opponent shows that we have to accept his definitions of world view over mine; he has not case. I presented the definition from Oxford in my last round:

"A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world."[5]

Here is another definition from Webster:

"The way someone thinks about the world"[6]

Strong Atheism is a conception of the world without God, or Gods. It is the way someone thinks about the world (a world without God). Therefore, Strong Atheism is indeed a world view. Lets say we accept my opponent's stretched out requirements. Atheism still meets all of them:

  • Epistemology of Strong Atheism: The knowledge of God's non-existence
  • Metaphysics of Strong Atheism: The belief that the ultimate nature of reality is Godless
  • Cosmology of Strong Atheism: The belief that God did not cause the origin of man or the universe
  • Teleology of Strong Atheism: The belief that there is no purpose, as there is no God to give us purpose
  • Theology of Strong Atheism: The belief that God does not exist
  • Anthropology of Strong Atheism: The belief that the nature of man is Godless
  • Axiology of Strong Atheism: The belief that God is not the source of value
Clearly, Atheism is a world view. Either way, until my opponent gives us a reason as to why his definitions of world view are necessary over mine; he has no case.

Conclusion

My opponent is a Weak Atheist, and I agree that Weak Atheism is not a world view, The problem is that Strong Atheism is a world view. Since Strong Atheism is the definition of "Atheism" that I accepted this debate under; the resolution has been affirmed. Con hasn't even given us a reason to reject my definitions in favor or his. Even if we assume that his requirements of a world view hold; I proved that Strong Atheism meets those requirements.

Strong Atheism is a world view. It is a view of the world without God, or Gods. The resolution has been affirmed.
Debate Round No. 3
MrJK

Con

MrJK forfeited this round.
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

My opponent gave up.
Debate Round No. 4
64 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mrsatan 3 years ago
mrsatan
No level of atheism constitutes a world view, strong or otherwise. Belief that God doesn't exist is not a philosophy of how the world is, but rather how the world isn't.

To say that it is a world view is to say that all strong atheists hold the same view of the world. While they would all agree on what view they do not hold, the views they do hold would not match. For example, some believe that we don't really exist at all, while other believe we exist by chance. Some believe there is no meaning to life, while others believe meaning is self made. Some believe morality is subjective while others believe it is defined by reasoning.

Similarly, theism is not a world view. Some theists believe there is one God, while others believe there are many. Some believe God(s) created existence, while others believe God IS existence. Some believe we are only a thought within Gods head.

Belief in a specific religion is a world view, whereas theism alone is not.
Belief that abiogenesis is the basis of life is a world view, whereas atheism alone is not.
Posted by MrJK 3 years ago
MrJK
No response...
Posted by MrJK 3 years ago
MrJK
This is a false dichotomy and an error of logic.

You hold that a god (a proposition) is false. This does not necessarily lead to the absence of objective values.

If you hold that objective values are absent, THIS could be the basis for a world view.

Your position that a god does not exist is irrelevant to your value system, because in your view a god does not exist.

Its non existence CAN NOT add nor subtract ANYTHING.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"You base your values on a god NOT existing?
No."

If God doesn't exist, then there are no objective values. That says a lot about the nature of values

"The NON-EXISTANCE of a god a space robot, a unicorn poop, or anything else supplies you with NOTHING."

It supplies us with moral non-reaslism
Posted by MrJK 3 years ago
MrJK
You base your values on a god NOT existing?
No.

The NON-EXISTANCE of a god a space robot, a unicorn poop, or anything else supplies you with NOTHING.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"Believing that mutant-zombie-giraffes DID NOT fart in the 15th dimension resulting in the milky way ---is not a world view.

In you opinion...it is."

Not really, that says nothing about values. God's non-existence speaks on values, and morality and how it is ect...
Posted by MrJK 3 years ago
MrJK
Believing that mutant-zombie-giraffes DID NOT fart in the 15th dimension resulting in the milky way ---is not a world view.

In you opinion...it is.

You refuted nothing. Saying it means nothing, believing it means nothing, continuing to deny it is just a lack of maturity.

"everyone's wrong but you! Delusion..."

"everyone"

In reference to you and one other person.

Uh huh.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Also, either way, belief in x, or belief in not-x is still a belief! It's still a worldview.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Now, I'm bored of this subject. The resolution is just so self-evidently true.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
*now its over
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
MrJKRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for FF. Con dropped arguments but Pro built a stronger case anyway. I disagree that Con had the burden of proof since Pro made a positive clam but Pro was able to meet it. Con should not have challenged Pro to such a semantic debate based on a statement Pro made. Pro should be free to clarify with his own definitions that were fairly standard. I agree with many of Cons points in general but they weren't highly relevant. Good thoughts from both sides.
Vote Placed by Jakeross6 3 years ago
Jakeross6
MrJKRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
MrJKRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF