The Instigator
qopel
Pro (for)
Losing
58 Points
The Contender
KRFournier
Con (against)
Winning
62 Points

Atheism is the default position.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 30 votes the winner is...
KRFournier
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/26/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,027 times Debate No: 30728
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (211)
Votes (30)

 

qopel

Pro

For this debate, it must be accepted that the definition of Atheism is "The Lack of the Belief in a God".
KRFournier

Con

I accept the definition of Atheism and look forward to my opponent's opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
qopel

Pro

Atheism is the lack of a belief in a god. The moment we are born, we have no beliefs at all. All babies are born Atheists.
That's why it's the default position. The only way to be a Theist is to learn what a God is and choose to believe in it. That means you must BECOME a Theist from the default position of being an Atheist. Nobody is born a Theist. If you lose your faith in a God, you automatically (without having to choose to) go back to the default position of being an Atheist.

It's that simple.
KRFournier

Con

My opponent's argument is simply stated but utterly shortsighted. Its simplicity should give us pause, for if it were indeed so simple, surely there would be no need for atheist proselytizers. I submit to you that there are no default positions. All positions are founded on biased presuppositions about reality as I will elaborate.

Non-Belief is a Conclusion

Belief is accepting something as true. [1] Non-belief, therefore, is the rejection of something as true. There are certainly gray areas between strict belief and non-belief: degrees to which we accept or reject a truth. We might exhibit a weak conviction, choosing merely to "lean" one way or the other, or we might be truly undecided. Regardless of where you fall within the spectrum of belief, you have in fact reached a state of conclusion.

No one accepts or rejects, in part or in whole, a truth without justification for doing so. We know this because we can ask both the believer and the non-believer the same question: "Why?" Both will justify their answers. Both have reached their state of belief or non-belief through exercises in reason. The reasons may be considered strong or weak, rational or irrational, but they are reasons nonetheless. As a case in point, you may click on my opponent's profile and discover that he has engaged in vigorous debates defending his non-belief.

Non-Belief is Different from Unawareness

If non-belief is a conclusion, then it cannot be the default state of a person. Babies are born neither athiests nor theists. They cannot even comprehend such ideas. I would say, rather, that babies are born unaware. They are not "undecided" because they have no cognitive grasp of the decision, which in all practical senses doesn't even exist to them.

No one is born, for example, with a non-belief in extraterrestrial aliens. The question requires an awareness of extraterrestrial-ism. Only then can non-belief or belief be ascertained, but by that point, we have already engaged in the process rational justification. We have already begun to draw conclusions on whether or not the truth of extraterrestrial aliens is to be accepted or rejected.

The Problem of Infinite Regression

All conclusions are justified by reasons, premises that give our convictions weight. However, our premises themselves need justifications, and those justifications need justifications, and so on. Thus, both belief and non-belief suffer from the epistemological dilemma of infinite regression.

We are not infinite beings, so eventually, our justifications of our justifications will be justified by a premise we simply cannot (or will not) justify. We call these presuppositions. They are inevitable. I have presuppositions and so does my opponent. If we follow our lines of reasoning far enough, we will find they rely upon a foundation of assumptions about what is possible and what is not.

All Conclusions are Biased

This brings us to the sobering reality that none of our conclusions are neutral. None of our conclusions are "default." My opponent's non-belief is just as much influenced by his presuppositions about reality as is my belief. A baby born into a religious family will over time acquire presuppositions that will bias that person towards belief in God. Likewise, a baby born into an atheistic family will over time acquire presuppositions that will bias that person towards non-belief in God.

Conclusion

There is no such thing a neutral position, and no rational person—theist or otherwise—should accept such an absurd notion. Do not be fooled into accepting any "default" position: for what you will really be doing is accepting someone else's bias. Atheism (as evidenced by the suffix "ism") is an ideology. It is a system of thought. It is not a default position. It is a conclusion about reality. It would be insane to attempt to prove one conclusion by starting at the opposite conclusion. Yet that is what my opponent would have us do.

No, atheism is not the default position. It is just as biased as the theistic position. The resolution, therefore, is false.

Sources

  1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
  2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Debate Round No. 2
qopel

Pro

Non-Belief is a Conclusion
My opponent claims "Non-belief, therefore, is the rejection of something as true."
Nobody has ever seen a baby reject something as true.
What my opponent is trying to do is use a logical fallacy by trying to create a false dichotomy: "Either you accept or you reject"
The true dichotomy, however, is: "Either you accept or you don't accept."
A "don't accept" is not the same as a "reject"
A baby doesn't accept God because it has no idea what God is. A baby doesn't reject God, yet doesn't believe in God.

Non-Belief is Different from Unawareness
My opponent claims "No one is born, for example, with a non-belief in extraterrestrial aliens"
Actually, EVERYONE is born not believing in extraterrestrial aliens!
You do not have to make a choice to have no belief in something. It's the default position.

Inanimate objects don't believe in anything. A pen, is in fact, an Atheist, because it does not believe in Gods.
You don't need to comprehend the idea of Atheism in order to be an Atheist.
The moment you die, you become an Atheist (if you aren't already one), because you no longer believe in a God.
You revert back to the default position!

The Problem of Infinite Regression
My opponent is trying to claim that "If we follow our lines of reasoning far enough, we will find they rely upon a foundation of assumptions about what is possible and what is not.

Once again; Babies don't make assumptions and neither do pens or dead bodies. You don't need any evidence to be an Atheist, but you do need evidence to be a Theist, even if the evidence isn't true. You just need to believe it's true.
Atheists don't believe in Gods because of the lack of evidence.
The burden of proof is on those who make a positive claim. No claim requires no proof.
No belief requires no proof nor any assumptions.

All Conclusions are Biased
A non belief isn't a conclusion. It's the default position. A sane person only believes something when they can conclude that it's true.
It's not logical to just believe in something until it is proved false. If that were the case, you would be born believing in EVERYTHING until it was proved false to you.

Conclusion
A non-belief in not the "neutral position". It's the default position. You always start off not believing in something before you do believe it.
My opponent claims, "Atheism (as evidenced by the suffix "ism") is an ideology."
The truth is, Atheism is a NON-"ism" as evidenced by the prefix "a".

http://atheism.about.com...
KRFournier

Con

I meticulously argued that non-belief is a conclusion, yet my opponent simply responds by repeating his position.

I argued for the distinction between non-belief and cognitive unawareness, and he only responded by saying I'm wrong and repeating his original assertion.

I argued that all positions are biased, and he only responded by begging the question and repeating the resolution.

I concluded that atheism is in fact not a default position, and he just said I was wrong.

Notice the pattern? He hasn't offered evidence or explained why my argument is false. It is just one question begging bare assertion after another. My opponent needs to refute my argument, not merely announce that it is wrong.

Until he does so, the resolution stands negated.
Debate Round No. 3
qopel

Pro

My opponent says "He hasn't offered evidence or explained why my argument is false"

I would suggest my opponent go back and a read my explanation.

My opponent's argument is based on a false dichotomy, which is a logical fallacy.

I'm not just claiming I'm right.

My opponent needs to refute my argument, not merely announce that it is wrong.
KRFournier

Con

A false dichotomy? I did no such thing. I devoted an entire paragraph admitting that there is a spectrum of belief, and I argued that no matter where you fall on the spectrum, you have reasoned that position. All I got in response was: "that's not possible because non-belief is the default position." Well, that's what we are supposed to be debating. You can't win by begging the question.

I extend my arguments and await a proper rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 4
qopel

Pro

I'm going to try my best to, once again, explain why my opponent is wrong.

My opponent is insisting that in order to not believe something, you have to either accept of reject.

"There are certainly gray areas between strict belief and non-belief: degrees to which we accept or reject a truth"

"accept" vs "reject" THAT IS THE FALSE DICHOTOMY that my opponent denies he made.
As I mentioned before, the real true dichotomy is "accept" vs "not accept"

Atheism is the default position because, If you don"t make a choice to believe, you end up not believing. That"s why it"s not a choice.
There is no justification required.
Atheism is not a belief. It"s a non-belief. You can"t turn your back on something you don"t believe to exist. If there is nothing, which direction do you turn your back to?
A good way to explain this is with the American justice system. When somebody
is accused of a crime, it"s the prosecution"s burden of proof to prove him/her guilty. Nobody is required to prove they are innocent. We are all considered innocent until proven guilty. That"s the default position no matter if we committed
the crime or not. It"s just like the default position to not believe in a God, no matter if there is a God or not. The jury can either decide that there is enough evidence to claim guilt or they can say there isn"t enough evidence, in which case they claim "not guilty". No jury is required to claim somebody innocent. If there is exculpatory evidence that can prove innocence, like a solid alibi, the person shouldn"t be on trial to begin with. They can be found "not guilty" and still have
committed the crime. (OJ Simpson might be a good example of that)

So, guilty vs innocent is a FALSE DICHOTOMY, just like accept vs reject is a FALSE DICHOTOMY.

You are either guilty or not guilty (as opposed to being innocent).
You either accept or not accept (as opposed to reject).
My opponent insists that an Atheist "rejects" God. NOT TRUE! An Atheist just "doesn't accept" God. Big difference.

When my opponent says "There are certainly gray areas between strict belief and non-belief: degrees to which we ACCEPT or REJECT a truth"
He is talking about Agnosticism, not Atheism.
Many people think an Agnostic is the same as being an Atheist. There is a difference and they are not mutually exclusive. You can, in fact, be an Agnostic Atheist.
You can also be an Agnostic Theist. The opposite of Agnostic is Gnostic. You can be a Gnostic Atheist or you can be a Gnostic Theist.
Agnosticism is based on what you know, while Atheism is based on what you believe.
In order to be an Agnostic, you have to admit you don"t know for sure. Since
nobody can prove that there is no God and not enough evidence exists that can
prove that there is a God, it would be fair to say that every person who values evidence, is an Agnostic. Sure, there are people who claim they know that there is, or isn"t, a God. That would make them Gnostic. If you claim you know for sure,
you"d need evidence to back that claim up.
Atheism is the lack of the belief in a God. If you believe in a God, you are a
Theist. If you lack the belief in a God, you are an Atheist.
If you don"t believe there is a God and claim you know there isn"t a God, you
are a Gnostic Atheist. If you don"t believe there is a God, but admit you don"t
know for sure, you are an Agnostic Atheist. If you do believe in a God and admit
you aren"t sure, you are an Agnostic Theist. If you believe there is a God and you
claim you know for sure, you are a Gnostic Theist.
Most Atheists are critical thinkers and rely on evidence. Without evidence, you
can"t know for sure. That"s why most Atheists are also Agnostic. There are Atheists who actually do claim they know for sure that there is no God, so not all Atheists are Agnostic.

My opponent said "If non-belief is a conclusion, then it cannot be the default state of a person."
That's right. IF NON-BELIEF IS A CONCLUSION. The thing IS, NON-BELIEF IS NOT A CONCLUSUION, no matter how hard my
opponent wants to say it is. If you are a non-chess player, you don't have to justify being a non-chess player.
You were born not knowing how to play chess and you may never have given it any thought. So where's the conclusion?
A non-chess player is the default position. Until you decide to learn how to play chess, you are a non-chess player.

It works for anything. If you don't speak Chinese, did you decide not to speak Chinese? NO! Do you have to justify why you don't speak Chinese? No, you just don't.
You never decided to learn it! A non-Chinese speaker is the default position.

If you don't believe in God, you don't decide not to believe in God. You can decide to believe in God, but before you decide to
believe in God, you already are a non-believer by default. You have to start out being an Atheist...the default position.

You have to start out being a non-chess player. Nobody is born a chess player. you don't have to reject Chess in order to be a non-chess player. You don't even have to know the game exists!
You have to start out being a non-Chinese speaker. Nobody is born a Chinese speaker. you don't have to reject Chinese in order to be a non-Chinese speaker. You don't even have to know the language exists!
You have to start out being an Atheist, Nobody is born a Theist. you don't have to reject God in order to be a Atheist. You don't even have to know the concept of God exists!
A non-anything is the default position.

My opponent was to claim that "Atheism (as evidenced by the suffix "ism") is an ideology."

Atheism is NOT an ideology. The prefix "a" means "NON". NON-THEISM (Atheism) is not an ideology just like non-communism is not a political view.
Being a non-Communist is the default position, just like being an Atheist is the default position.

It's not that difficult.

I'd like to thank my opponent for the debate, and I hope he can let go of his pre-conceived notions and see this for what it really is.
KRFournier

Con

I am finally understanding the gap in communication. My opponent has been accusing me of committing the fallacy of false dichotomy, but the problem is that he is not applying the right fallacy. A false dichotomy occurs when someone presents only two options when there logically exists more than that. I clearly indicated that there is a spectrum of belief, so I am not guilty of this.

I think he means to accuse me of employing the fallacy of equivocation. He is insistent that there is a clear difference between "not accept" and "reject." I understand why he sees a difference. The first term is quite passive, and at first glance lends itself to a sort of default state. Unfortunately, his semantics aren't enough to defeat my epistemological (not merely definitional) analysis of the nature of belief.

I argued that belief is a commitment to a truth. Therefore, non-belief is a commitment to a truth as false. I then carefully explained how this differs from a state of unawareness. I then touched on the epistemological dilemma of infinite recursion to show how belief or non-belief is rooted in biased presupposition. None of these arguments were touched upon. I was merely told ad nauseam that I am simply wrong by definition.

His entire argument is predicated on the misguided notion that non-belief is the absence of belief. He can assert that if he wants, but since our debate deals exactly with what non-belief is, he must reach beyond mere assertion or his is guilty of question begging. He should have dismantled my epistemology and showed us how his terms are superior, and he did not do that. Instead we are bombarded with false analogies like the guilt/innocence scenario and chess-player/non-chess-player classification. Neither analogy works because I am not arguing that non-belief is merely the absence of belief.

No, I have been arguing that it is the rejection of a proposition. I could be wrong about that, but my opponent didn't show us why. His rebuttal is summed up as, "It's just obvious." Begging the question.

My opponent says my definition is better applied to Agnosticism. Wouldn't that make agnosticism the better default position? I believe that still refutes the resolution, does it not?

The reality of the situation is that my opponent is not an atheist by default. He betrays the resolution in his ardent defense of atheism. He is not passively sitting there in non-belief. He even ends his last round asking me to "see this for what it really is." My word, that sounds like he just asked me to accept atheism as propositionally true. That is hardly a position of non-acceptance. That is clearly a position of conclusion.

My opponent cannot even live out his own position let alone defend it. Therefore, I think it appropriate to consider the resolution negated.

I want to thank my opponent and the readers for their generous time and thoughtful voting.

Debate Round No. 5
211 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Greematthew 3 years ago
Greematthew
Accept my debate challenge. I'm gonna kick your arrogant tush again.
Posted by Greematthew 3 years ago
Greematthew
Devient, can we be friends and hang out? Also congrats on your first debate win buddy. Can't believe it took that long.
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
devient.genie
There's a fine line between love and hate, you just crossed it in your dream :)
Posted by Greematthew 3 years ago
Greematthew
Devient did I ever tell you that you were a woman in my dreams last night
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
devient.genie
I agree babymatthew, we are Not born anything, until we are told lies. Thank you for clearing that up with your hair splitting of my comment. :)

Disgusting 19:19--judges 19 "A Levite and His Concubine" :)

PORN 23:20--There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses---ezekiel 23:20 :)

Lets Not forget the story of noahs ark, how inspirational to flood out innocent men, women and children, what a sweetheart of a story, genocide :)
Posted by Greematthew 3 years ago
Greematthew
We're not born anything because we don't understand anything and cannot use advanced reasoning to determine our positions because we are infants. This is a ridiculous argument.
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
devient.genie
We are all born atheist until we are taught lies. Captain Obvious could tell you that :)
Posted by AdvocatiDiaboli 3 years ago
AdvocatiDiaboli
Atheism is as much of a positive claim as bald is a hair color. What a silly thing to refute.
Posted by jh1234l 3 years ago
jh1234l
But still, doubter just asserted that Qopel should win without using any reasoning behind it!
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
Evolution 10:46 : Most of our genome are actually DNA coding intended to be a how-to guide on building vestigial structures that are no longer used. They are likely left behind from our ances......nope. The proof that devient was wrone is not here.

Not sure what that means.

If they did what you did, yes, they are guilty of treason.

I dont know who they are, i just saw this debate. I dont know qopel personally or anything about your multiple account conspiracy.

"Big Kids Question Everything" facebook group I have some educational materials and books by the four horseman on pdf.

All the cool s h i t
30 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 3 years ago
ModusTollens
qopelKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con seemed unable to grasp the difference between nonbelief and disbelief. Atheism, as Pro claims, is a position of nonbelief and has no inherent claims attached to it.
Vote Placed by jh1234l 4 years ago
jh1234l
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter doubter, he wrote his reason for decision as if he is countering somebody, but did not specify who. He also used the same RFD on another debate of Qopel's, meaning that he is likely qopel. Therefore, I consider that as a vote bomb.
Vote Placed by doubter 4 years ago
doubter
qopelKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Funny how people come out of the woodwork to vote against qopel the second there are any votes for him. Those are HATE votes! It proves his "Lord of the Flies" theory about this place....and you pretend you care about the integrity of DDO? SHAME on you vigilante voters! You can't let the guy get a legitimate win, just because you don't like him.
Vote Placed by Pennington 4 years ago
Pennington
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Reasons for voting decision: I may have been hasty here with words but my vote is completely valid. Pro misuses terms and does not even understand Cons argument. This is glaring. Con shows that Pro believes and that one who has not had the choice can not have a belief or disbelief and Pro just ignores this. This is what I meant here: I should give conduct to Con for Pro not even debating properly but I wont. I give sources to Con because he was the only one to use any. I give arguments to Con because submitted a solid argument against atheism not being neutral. Pro simply question begged the entire debate. He explained nothing, he addressed nothing. (I will reread later and make sure)
Vote Placed by Smithereens 4 years ago
Smithereens
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Reasons for voting decision: withdrawing vote, and making this debate tied for the next vote to decide. Con had more sources and better sources which were more reliable whereas Pro used a source as a reference and not evidential justification for arguments. Conduct for open anger in the debate against Con which was unwarranted. Debate is now tied.
Vote Placed by Misterscruffles 4 years ago
Misterscruffles
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Reasons for voting decision: Close debate- but Con's point about someone having to be able to come to a conclusion about a position (even if that conclusion is "I don't know") hamstrung pro's argument effectively and was never countered.
Vote Placed by LibertarianWithAVoice 4 years ago
LibertarianWithAVoice
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Reasons for voting decision: This one was actually a good debate. I am happy I read it. After saying that I am sad that I have to vote. It is really close. Sources: Con had his dictionary links. Arguments go to Pro, because I agree with his argument that we are born with no beliefs, therefore no belief in a god, therefore atheism. Definitely a debate of definitions. Good job you two.
Vote Placed by KingDebater 4 years ago
KingDebater
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Anaxa's votebomb, as Apeiron voted twice, once through Apeiron and once through Anaxa. Countering Typhlochactas' votebomb as well. If Anaxa and Apeiron aren't the same people, how do you explain Anaxa's account being inactive?
Vote Placed by Nimbus328 4 years ago
Nimbus328
qopelKRFournierTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Great debate, too much rhetoric.
Vote Placed by Typhlochactas 4 years ago
Typhlochactas
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering KD because Annaxa and Apeiron aren't the same people.