The Instigator
Mhykiel
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Saska
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

"Babies are born Atheist" is a Fallacious Premise

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Saska
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,437 times Debate No: 53154
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (34)
Votes (4)

 

Mhykiel

Pro

I assert that the premise or conclusions of the nature "Babies are born Atheist" are fallacious arguments. Should not be used in any kind of debate to sway people. Is not any sufficient proof to be used in debates regarding Atheism as a default position.

1st Round Accept and your contentions.
Saska

Con

I accept your assertion and challenge to a debate on this topic.

I will begin by clarifying the definition of atheism. Atheism is the lack of a belief in a god. There have been multiple debates on this topic and it has been shown that searching an online dictionary for the definition of the word yields inconsistent results, so I am basing my definition on the following:

The definition of theism is widely accepted as the "belief in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe" [1][2][3]. The "A" prefix added to a word means not, without or lack of [4]. I acknowledge that there are other meanings for the prefix "A", but in the context of the term atheism, none of the other definitions fit at all. So the definition of atheism is a lack of belief in the existence of a god or gods. If you disagree with this premise then there is very little point in us having this debate at all because you are arguing a different word than I am. So if you disagree with the definition I am using, I would move to change the debate topic to "Babies are born with a lack of belief in God(s)" is a Fallacious Premise because that is the argument I am putting forth. I am not hung up on the term atheism here, and it might be just as well to get rid of the word since even the term atheist tends to get many people"s blood boiling.

Now that I have clarified the parameters of my argument, I will address the debate topic at hand. It is my job here to argue that "Babies are born Atheist" is not a fallacious premise. So I will begin my argument simply by stating that we are not capable of proving what babies think and believe until they are capable of communicating. By the time children are capable of communicating, they have already been watching and absorbing information from their surroundings for quite some time. I would be interested to see a studying capable of proving that a new born infant who has been completely uninfluenced from the surrounding world is capable of showcasing a belief in god(s). I have my doubts that there is any evidence to support that claim, because a requirement of survival for a child is the support and nurturing of other humans. By the time the child is old enough to be properly tested for a belief, there is no way the child could be considered unaffected by the beliefs of those around him or her. Therefore, to state that the claim "Babies are born Atheist" is a fallacious premise would be incorrect, because there is no way to prove it to be false.

[1] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[3] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[4] http://www.englishclub.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Mhykiel

Pro

A.) Given the definition provided by CON the reasoning follows one can assert that "rocks are atheist", in that atheism is a lack of belief and rocks are incapable of any beliefs. However the analogy does not hold true because babies have the capability to belief. They have a brain. Faith is defined as confidence especially to a deity. My opponent makes the argument that,

" I would be interested to see a studying capable of proving that a new born infant who has been completely uninfluenced from the surrounding world is capable of showcasing a belief in god(s). I have my doubts that there is any evidence to support that claim"

So you are asserting the statement true because of a lack of evidence. This is a clear fallacy known as argument from ignorance [1]

B.) My opponent attempts to shift the burden of proof.

CON states "So I will begin my argument simply by stating that we are not capable of proving what babies think and believe until they are capable of communication"

Exactly my point, so if every claim is to be considered on it's on evidence then the claim "Babies are born atheist" also lives and dies by the evidence available. If this assertion is held with no evidence then it can be dismissed with no evidence to the contrary. Making the claim "Babies are atheist" a meaningless statement much like rocks are atheist. [2]

With the same validity I can claim "all babies are theist". Because the 2 states are mutually exclusive and both with out evidence are equally valid then the claims are

My opponent makes the claims "". Using this reasoning Babies are Republican because they have never expressed the desire to vote Democrat. This is a fallacious argument from silence.

My opponent ends his round stating:

"Therefore, to state that the claim "Babies are born Atheist" is a fallacious premise would be incorrect, because there is no way to prove it to be false."

Thank you CON you concede my point because by definition, a claim that can not be proven false is as argument of ignorance. [3] In the reference scroll down to Informal fallacies.

It is clear that this is an unverifiable claim. That is is logically fallacious. That any reasonable person should cease to use this premise or premises like it ((such as Babies are born republican)) in any arguments.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Saska

Con

My opponent likens the claim "Babies are born atheist" to the claim "Babies are born Republican," but there is a major difference between the two. To be a Republican requires a belief in certain values, but to be an atheist requires nothing more than a lack of belief.

As I stated in my opening statement, using the term atheist may not be wise because there are too many assumptions tied to that word. Many people may have an issue with believing that a rock can be an atheist, but when you understand that the definition of the word is nothing more than a lack of belief in a god, it would be absurd to claim that a rock is anything but an atheist. Atheism does not require anything. Belief is the requirement; atheism is merely a lack of that, so anything incapable of belief clearly lacks belief.

My opponent makes the claim that unverifiable claims are logically fallacious and any reasonable person should cease to use this premise because of that. By that logic, any statement of the existence of any god would fall under that category, as there is no verifiable evidence to prove the existence of any gods. Given that the argument for any god is fallacious by the definition of my opponent, the argument that gods exist must be left out of any argument. I would be willing to concede this debate if my opponent is willing to admit that any argument for the existence of a god is equally fallacious, and thus the presumption that any gods exist should also be left out of any discussion. But if my opponent is not willing to concede that point, then he is also accepting that making statements that are not completely verifiable does not automatically render that statement fallacious and irrelevant.
Debate Round No. 2
Mhykiel

Pro

I want to thank my opponent for debating this issue with me.

1# CON begins with stating 'My opponent likens the claim "Babies are born atheist" to the claim "Babies are born Republican," but there is a major difference between the two.' I wanted to quote his early statement "By the time the child is old enough to be properly tested for a belief, there is no way the child could be considered unaffected by the beliefs of those around him or her" This is stating that children are atheist because they have not communicated differently. Which is really what my statement of "babies are Republican" illustrates. I am not claiming it is a true statement I am pointing out how it is a fallacy known as argument from silence (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

"Arguments from silence, based on a writer's failure to mention an event, are distinct from arguments from ignorance which rely on a total "absence of evidence" and are widely considered unreliable; however arguments from silence themselves are also generally viewed as rather weak in many cases; or considered as fallacies"

Generally this fallacy is applied to a line of reasoning from historical documents.

2# CON then refers to the definition of atheist "a lack of belief" as being almost circular to babies. Because CON is under the impression that babies lack belief in all things. This is an assumption. To prove the fallacy here I will use an analogy.

Cold = "lack of heat; lack of molecular movement". A car hood can be hot enough to burn. It can be Cold enough to tough. The hood can appear the same in both situations. It appears the same when it is COLD or HOT.

The statement "That Car hood is COLD" is unsupported by facts of why it is cold (lack of heat) because if the car had recently been running it COULD BE hot enough to burn someone.

This is different than saying "ICE is cold" is it analogous to "Rocks are atheist" The inductive reasoning is that ICE can not be HOT because it would be water. The CAR HOOD on the other hand has the capability of being HOT.

If one states the CAR HOOD is COLD (lack of heat) they still have to support the saying with evidence. This is analogous to Saying Babies are Atheist, Babies COULD HAVE a belief. Evidence would have to be shown they are incapable of believing like a ROCK, or that they truly do lack the belief like a CAR HOOD.

3# CON claims "My opponent makes the claim that unverifiable claims are logically fallacious and any reasonable person should cease to use this premise because of that. By that logic, any statement of the existence of any god would fall under that category, as there is no verifiable evidence to prove the existence of any gods. Given that the argument for any god is fallacious by the definition of my opponent, the argument that gods exist must be left out of any argument. I would be willing to concede this debate if my opponent is willing to admit that any argument for the existence of a god is equally fallacious"

This is simply not what the fallacy is. YOU, CON stated "Therefore, to state that the claim "Babies are born Atheist" is a fallacious premise would be incorrect, because there is no way to prove it to be false." There is NO WAY to prove false or true. This by your own words is the definition of Argument from Ignorance (http://en.wikipedia.org...), as the reference shows Argument from Ignorance, quote, " assuming that a claim is true because it has not been or cannot be proven false, or vice versa" This is in direct support of my position in this debate... That "Babies are Atheist" is a fallacious argument"

It would be off topic for me to address the existence of God or gods. CON you just made so many claims like "there is no evidence for" that it would be an entirely different debate to address them. So as not to go down the rabbit whole on whether God exist or not, I will just direct CON's attention to lines of reasoning such as inductive.

4# No prove to babies lacking belief has been presented. It is entirely possible for Babies to have a belief. because both are possible there is a requirement of proof to discern the correct state. This is analogous to the Car hood example. With out the evidence being possible, as my opponent stated, then the resulting premise with out evidence is a meaningless statement (http://en.wikipedia.org...), which is a fallacy. My opponent choose to assume babies lack a belief with out evidence, but is just as valid (( or in this case fallacious)) to assume the opposite.

In closing::

Fallacious: A fallacy is incorrect argument in logic and rhetoric resulting in a lack of validity, or more generally, a lack of soundness.

"Babies are atheist" is a fallacious premise. I've used my opponent's definitions, I used my opponents very own statements and shown them to match the definitions of the fallacies listed here. Because, "the inclusion of a meaningless statement in the premises will undermine the validity of the argument since that premise can neither be true nor false" (http://en.wikipedia.org...), The premise "Babies are Atheist" should not be used in a debate. Thank you for taking the time to participate in this debate.
Saska

Con

The fact that there is not yet proof one way or the other should never render a topic untouchable. I brought up the God issue to prove this point. People argue the existence of God on a daily basis and it will not, and should not stop. While we may not know the answers today, we should continue to look for them and to discuss the issues.

It is very clear that religion is a learned system. Babies don't become Christians or Muslims or anything else unless they are exposed to it. The belief in gods is nothing more than an attempt to try to understand the world that we do not yet have answers for. As babies, they do not have the ability to understand what they are capable of doing with their own body and mind for months, let alone assume that everything that exists around them is from a higher power the second they are born. To assume that babies are not born with a belief in gods is to use logical reasoning. They only develop beliefs as they are exposed to them and as they gain the ability to try and understand the world around them.

The premise that "Babies are Atheists" is not fallacious. Unless one honestly believe that a baby comes out of the womb with an innate belief in some god, and not that it must learn that belief to any extent following the birth, then one must agree with me that it is not fallacious to assume that babies are born without a belief in gods.
Debate Round No. 3
34 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
Dave, I over reacted and I apologize for categorizing you with the senseless masses. Sagey was stating a position he held. The voting box is not the place for that. He has agreed to debate it in the proper forum.
Posted by Saska 2 years ago
Saska
My name is Dave. Alright, now that our full identities are out in the open...

A first name is no less anonymous than an alias. Plus, there is no guarantee that is your real name. Before you go posting your full name, address and social insurance number, just let me state that I don't care who you are. I am not debating your personality, I am debating the words you are saying. Debating the person behind the words is a pathetic way to debate. Anonymity is why internet forums are so popular. People don't always like getting into debates and arguments with people they know because feelings can get hurt and friendships can fall. On here, we can say what we really want to say without fear of losing friends or hurting the people we care about. Everyone here is on this site of their own free will and everyone enters their debates by choice.

If a topic is lacking proof, then we should continue to look for proof and try to understand it better. Having debates about it gets different thoughts and ideas flowing. If we all lived by your rules that everything we don't know is useless to discuss, we would still be living in caves. The people willing to test the unknown are responsible for everything man-made that we have today (except for religion, that would be the people unwilling to test the unknown, and who would rather just make up a story about it instead). Discussion is the launching point for research and innovation.

And I am agnostic on many issues, in the sense that I do not claim to have the answers. One can be both atheist and agnostic. Admitting that I don't have an answer is not a cop-out, it is honesty. Unwillingness to admit that one does not have the answer absolute dishonesty.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
@Saska don't be mad .. http://4.bp.blogspot.com...
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
Class is I don't hide behind anonymity. that's my real pick and mhykiel is my online name in a dozen sites to include google and facebook. I call things I see it. report that.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
"The fact that there is not yet proof one way or the other should never render a topic untouchable" no renders it useless, hypothetical, ignorant, opinionated, bias. You speak of class. Your another self-identified atheist sheeple stating you only rely on reason or scientific method. But truth is when your confronted with reason and evidence to the contrary you escape into obscurity or semantics. When you get backed into a corner to explain something you shout agnostic "I don't know, no one does" but then turn around and use it as a piece of evidence to peddle a claim that has no meaning. Well I got a bottle of snake water for you, sure to cure what ails ya, cause there is no evidence it doesn't work, I accept some people are stupid, hey some of my best friends are stupid, but actively deceptive is deplorable.
Posted by Saska 2 years ago
Saska
What a poor attitude you have. The second someone votes against you, you make accusations about vote bombing. I didn't debate this purely for votes and I don't really care who wins by the voting system here. But I am capable of understanding that the majority of voters will vote for the side they agreed with going into this debate. Neither of us seem to have done a good enough job debating to sway voters from the other side, which is generally how you win a debate. If not everyone agrees with you, get over it or get a better argument, but don't start attacking everyone who does so... That is just a lack of class.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
@Sagey instead of rambling on the same rhetoric as proof of something in comments and vote comment boxes. accept my challenge and debate me. I know it means you will actually have to support your foolish assertions. Don't worry you can message Saska and nonprophet for vote bombing.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
There is a lack of Rationality on both sides, I had to simply vote against the levels of most irrationality, and better sources, I loathe Wikipedia, surely you could have found better sources.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
I did not get introduced to the God concept again until I was 14 years old, my parents had my IQ tested and decided it was way too high to let me stay at a lowly public school, so, they sent me to a high achieving Christian college which was supposed to put me at the top.
It was there that I decided to try Christianity again, as for a school with high academic achievements, there may be something in Christianity, so I opted to take their Theology course.

After a year of Theology and reading the Bible like a novel, which was against my Theology lecturer's instructions, I realized that the concept of Christianity I had at the age of 9 was indeed correct.

So I not only returned to being an Atheist, but I became hardened by the rubbish I learned in Theology and instead of simply ignoring Christianity like my brother and the rest of my family and Atheist friends, I became an Anti-Theist.

As I also learned that the high achievers that college produced, were actually all Atheists.

Which is funny, as since then I have come to realize that many Christian colleges that have high students with high academic achievements, are pumping out highly Skeptical Atheists, as their high achievers.
My College pumps out more Atheists than Theists and the devout Theists are the ones with the lowest grades in Science.
Thus my conclusion that Indoctrination destroys Intelligence.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
I know what passive atheism is. You are voting and commenting your opinion and not weighing the debate on it's rationality.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
MhykielSaskaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This came down to a battle of definitions, where Con's was the most accurate, though both cited Wikipedia which I dislike immensely as it is contrived through contributions and altered to suit biases. Both were calling the other's argument fallacies. So it came down to the fact that Atheism means "Without God" or Godless or more accurately Without a Deity. Where Con was the only one to use more factual sources than Wikipedia, so I had to cite Con as having the better sources. So as far as definitions go: Yes if a Rock was capable of Cognition, it would be an Atheist, because it would have Cognition, without a belief in a deity, same as a Baby or non-indoctrinated child (as yet not introduced into a knowledge of God) would also have to be called an Atheist, because they are without a belief in God. According to the definitions cited by Con, everything that has cognition, but no belief in God (Godless) is an Atheist. Which is not at all Fallacious.
Vote Placed by creedhunt 2 years ago
creedhunt
MhykielSaskaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument was simply better. Con seemed to be fallacious throughout the entirety of his conclusion, and completely failed to make a compelling case overall.
Vote Placed by SNP1 2 years ago
SNP1
MhykielSaskaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I am disappointed in both debaters, but I do think that Con did have a better conduct (even if it was poor) than Pro.
Vote Placed by The_Scapegoat_bleats 2 years ago
The_Scapegoat_bleats
MhykielSaskaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Despite Con pointing out that using different definitions renders the debate void, Pro chose not to agree to a common definition. Con, on the other hand, should have been aware of this, and WAS aware of it beforehand. This means both sides didn't actually want to debate at all, even if they won't admit it or are even unaware of it. This is clear case of failed communication, and not a debate. My vote must hence be tied.