The Instigator
andymcstab
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
progressivedem22
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Atheism is irrational

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
andymcstab
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 902 times Debate No: 48688
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

andymcstab

Pro

Positive atheism cannot be rationalised. There is no such thing as "atheism by default", 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.

Round 1 is acceptence. Round 4 is final rebuttal and summary.

Any forfeiting will be automatic loss

I welcome my opponent...

progressivedem22

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
andymcstab

Pro

In this discussion I will try and support three claims:

Positive atheism - the conscious affirmation that there is no God, is irrational.
Atheism by default - there is no such thing.
Atheist/agnostic - is an extraneous melding of incompatible terms.

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

theism
Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in a personal God as creator and ruler of the world.

atheism
The assumption or conclusion "there is no God"

Con is welcome to debate my definitions, but I don't think there will be need for it.



Positive Atheism:-

To consciously affirm "there is no God" is clearly irrational and cannot be supported by the evidence required to substantiate such certainty. The positive atheist will try to provide localized evidence to support their belief, or "non belief".
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 statement about God.

A universal claim can never substantiate itself by refuting a localized/specialized claim such as Christianity.
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. No Atheist is capable of this, so they often then retreat and try to argue for....



Implicit atheism (or atheism by default):-

This argument usually sounds something like:

"Atheism, being passive 'non-belief' is the original position of all humans before they are indoctrinated into religion"

The problem with this is that passive "non-belief", is covered entirely by agnosticism. A person can only hold passive "non belief", by possessing no knowledge to affirm or disconfirm. This is the definition of agnosticism.
"Non belief", is also not the true meaning of the word atheism. Atheism is the position of assuming or concluding disbelief in God, to any degree of certainty. This is the historical definition of atheism from the greek "atheos", "no Gods", used to describe people who positively rejected the Greek Gods of the day. (Armstrong, Karen (1999). A History of God.)

One can passivly hold "non belief". A new born baby has "non belief", in Jesus Christ, for example, because he has never been exposed to the notion. A new born baby cannot have disbelief though, as disbelief is a rejection of a proposition on the basis of truth. The baby cannot reject something he never heard of.

"Atheist" today is a word much contended and I am sure that Con can provide definitions such as:

"noun: atheist; plural noun: atheists

1.

a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods."

However i can provide many definitions such as

"ATHEIST

noun: atheist; plural noun: atheists

One who believes that there is no deity"


The variety of definitions is a symptom of the fact that there has been a concerted effort to change the definition of atheism.

I can find plenty of historical definitions of Atheism which match mine. Such as the 1828 edition of Webster's American Dictionary: "A'THEISM, n. The disbelief of the existence of a God, or Supreme intelligent Being."

But I defy my opponent to find a definition mirroring "lacks belief" which is older than 20 years.

Due to 9/11 and certain outspoken scientists, atheism has become fashionable. But it has also been found to be logically lacking, so the efforts to defend atheism have led to a movement to redefine the word. These efforts both encroach on the meaning of agnosticism (we will talk more about this later) and open a spot in the English language for a new word to describe the position always ascribed to "atheist" - positive disbelief in God.

The next step of retreat for the atheist is usually towards the sanctuary of....




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 somehow make his position respectable.

It doesn't. An agnostic maintains that there is nothing that is known about the existence of God, which necessarily makes agnosticism incompatible with atheism.

If one believes that nothing is or can be known about the existence of God, one can have no rationale to support his atheistic assumption. If one believes that nothing is or can be known about the existence of God, he expressly admits his atheism is irrational.


That concludes my arguments which aim to show that all mainstream athestic positions are irrational or untenable. Thanks for reading and all the best to the contender!
progressivedem22

Con

progressivedem22 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
andymcstab

Pro

My opponent has forfeited. He accepted the debate knowing that any forfeit would be an automatic loss, it was clearly stated in the rules.
Please vote pro!
progressivedem22

Con

progressivedem22 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
andymcstab

Pro

My opponent has forfeited the debate. The only way to go is pro!
progressivedem22

Con

My apologies. I've been pretty busy, to be honest. I still think this resolution is painfully silly, since the lack of belief in the unknown cannot possibly be irrational -- quite the contrary, to be honest -- but that window, unfortunately, has long passed.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by etherealvoyager 2 years ago
etherealvoyager
Also, your definition of 'agnostic' may be controversial in quite a lot of circles
Posted by etherealvoyager 2 years ago
etherealvoyager
Your argument against 'positive atheism' is quite weak.
Posted by DanielCornelius 2 years ago
DanielCornelius
There are many "reasons" why one may become atheist, and you seem to believe the proper reason is evidence suggesting there is no god. However, there will never be any evidence disproving the existence of some form of deity; just like you cannot disprove the existence of unicorns, the tooth fairy, Sasquatch, etc. Does this reasoning warrant believing in fairy tale creatures? No. The best atheist recognizes that we cannot disprove the existence of a god. BUT, on the other end of the spectrum, there is no evidence suggesting these gods exist. That is the key to being an atheist. We are not convinced, therefore we "reject" god. This is the true definition of atheism, like you said yourself, "Atheism is the position of assuming or concluding disbelief in God, to any degree of certainty." Whether you conclude disbelief because you feel evolution, geology, genetics, etc. disproves any religions claims or because you just don't feel that there is any evidence suggesting religions claims are true; atheism isn't anymore irrational than you choosing to disbelieve in other religions. As Richard Dawkins so delicately puts it, "We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further."
Posted by andymcstab 2 years ago
andymcstab
Daniel.
Atheism: The belief there is no God?
Atheism: The disbelief in God?
Atheism: The non-belief in God?
Atheism: The rejection of the claim of God?

Can't you see why there are so many different definitions? Because atheism is fundamentally irrational.

Your particular atheism is also irrational and not supported by any dictionary i know of. You can have "non belief", in God, which necessarily rejects the theist claims.. But guess what? It makes you agnostic. If you have a proper reason to reject God, some evidence suggesting he doesn't exist, then you cannot be agnostic because you are claiming knowledge, so you are atheist, but then you need to divulge the proper reason for rejecting God. But oh wait, you have no proper reason for rejecting God.
Posted by DanielCornelius 2 years ago
DanielCornelius
Atheism basically means the rejection of god. So how exactly is that irrational? Being an atheist is rejecting god, as in rejecting the claim of a god. Nothing is irrational about it. The burden of proof lies on who is making the claim. Religions make the claim of a god, we reject the claim because no proof has ever been provided. That is rational, logical behavior. If a man comes up to a child playing in the park and makes the claim; your parents told me to pick you up. The child rationally makes the decision to run away. Why? Because not a shred of evidence points to the man being associated with his/her parents.
Your argument is flawed in the sense that you pick and choose which definitions to argue. Yes, an atheist who claims they are positive that there can be nothing out there is being a bit irrational. An atheist, based on the traditional definition, who rejects any god claim; you did not address how this is irrational behavior.
Posted by andymcstab 2 years ago
andymcstab
@imnot
That picture is almost certainly made by an "agnostic atheist", who has no respect for the definition of the word.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
"A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God."
Yet somehow in your picture this turns into:
"It is not possible to be 100% certain"

Completely different.
Why is it that wherever atheists go, necessarily a contortion of words follows?
Posted by imnotsayingimjustsaying 2 years ago
imnotsayingimjustsaying
Just wanted to point out that agnosticism isn't the middle ground for atheism and theism.

http://i.imgur.com...
Posted by andymcstab 2 years ago
andymcstab
Hema, I already told you that i would reply once the debate is over. Until then i suggest you look up the definitions of proof and evidence, and note the differences.
Posted by Hematite12 2 years ago
Hematite12
Alright, I'll spell it out.

You said: "To consciously affirm "there is no God" is clearly irrational and cannot be supported by the evidence required to substantiate such certainty."

It's the argument from incredulity fallacy. No one can PROVE that God doesn't exist, but that doesn't mean that the positive atheist's position is automatically irrational/indefensible. Proof is not required to show that something DOESN'T exist, only that it does.

You are talking exactly about proof. The quotations weren't meant to imply that you used the word specifically, and it doesn't matter if you did, but clearly the basis of your objection to positive atheism is based on a lack of proof that an invisible, all powerful, and all knowing being doesn't exist.

Please, prove to me that the FSM doesn't exist. Oh, you can't prove it, you say I have the BoP, and until I show that he does exist you won't believe in him? Why, you sound quite like a positive atheist!
Posted by Installgentoo 2 years ago
Installgentoo
You can't really ask for evidence of something not existing if it's as nebulous as God. Pro should really define what he means by God.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
andymcstabprogressivedem22Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Kreakin 2 years ago
Kreakin
andymcstabprogressivedem22Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: As per agreed rules. Shame could have been interesting.