The Instigator
ViceRegent
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Cluckelite
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

How do atheists rationally know truth from fiction?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Cluckelite
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 560 times Debate No: 90175
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
Votes (1)

 

ViceRegent

Con

Atheists love to live under the delusion that they are the guardians of rationality. But how can they hold this title when they cannot even articulate a rational way to know truth from fiction. If they cannot do this, they are literally ignorant and the ignorant cannot guard anything. So, what atheist can give me a rational way atheists know truth from fiction?

Answering this question is the sole purpose for this debate. If you are unable or unwilling to answer this question, do not respond to this debate. Likewise, if you do not believe in reality, believe you make it up or deny it is objective or knowable, or if you do not know how to rationally know truth from fiction, do not respond to this debate. If you are terrified of cross-examination or madly in love with red herrings, do not respond to this debate. If you have responded before, do not respond to this debate. After all, if you had nothing rational to say then, you will having nothing rational to say now.

If all you have is "science", do not respond to this debate, for science relies on the your senses and reason, which begs the question of how you know your senses and reason are valid. Perhaps you can tell me, which is fine, but if the way you validate you senses and reason is with your senses and reason, you lose the debate because that is circular reasoning and circular reasoning is not rational.

if you respond in violation of these rules, you automatically lose the debate.
Cluckelite

Pro

Firstly, I"d like to define "rationality" so that we are clear what is required for an answer to your question. I suggest the following, but this is open to discussion:
R1 " To be "rational" is to use and accept good forms of argument.

Secondly, we need a definition of "knowledge". I shall give two common definitions, one Socratic and one modern:
K1 " To "know" x, one must have a true belief that x and a justification for this belief which ensures its truth.
K2 " To "know" x, one must have a true belief that x and have come to this belief by a reliable method.

Finally, I wish to clarify the scope of the question and offer two possibilities:
Q1: "Is there a way of knowing whether some proposition is true or fictitious, which both relies on good forms of argument and which does not make recourse to any notion of God?"
Q2: "Is there a way of knowing whether any proposition is true or fictitious, which both relies on good forms of argument and which does not make recourse to any notion of God?"

For now, I will answer Q1 and leave Q2 until the next round to allow room to argue properly. The argument I shall use here is deductive which is a form almost universally accepted as good:
1. I am thinking;
2. If I am thinking, then there are thoughts, therefore;
3. There are thoughts.
I maintain that premises 1 and 2 are true, and therefore by modus ponens, 3 is true. The proposition "there are thoughts" is therefore a true belief. I can justify my thinking it true by relying on the truth of 1 and 2, and on the validity of the argument, thus I can know this in the sense of K1. The true premises together with the valid form of argument also constitute a reliable method, thus I can know this in the sense of K2. The argument makes no reference to, nor relies upon God.

Therefore, there is a way to know some proposition ("there are thoughts") is true, and not fictitious, which relies on a good form of argument (deduction) and which does not make recourse to God.
Debate Round No. 1
ViceRegent

Con

So to rationally know truth from fiction, you simply "maintain" something is true? Oooookkkkkkk. How do you know what you maintain is true is actually true?
Cluckelite

Pro

My apologies - the character limit is a little restrictive.

Premise 1 is adapted from Descartes' 'Cogito'. 'I am thinking' is necessarily true each time it is thought. Indeed, it is impossible to assert its falsity, since each time anyone thinks "'I am thinking' is false", they will be thinking this, which refutes their proposition. Premise 1 is true because either I am thinking or I am not thinking (Law of Excluded Middle); it is impossible to assert that I am not thinking, therefore; 'I am thinking' is true (by disjunctive syllogism).

Premise 2, as a conditional, is false only if the antecedent is true while the consequent is false. I believe it to be analytically true that when the process of thinking occurs, this entails a thought as the object of thinking, which would render the consequent true whenever the antecedent is true; thereby making it impossible for the conditional to be false. As it is either true or false, and it cannot be false, 'if I am thinking, then there are thoughts' is true. The fact that I believe this to be analytically true is here evidence that it is, as ananytical truths are determined by speakers of a language, which I am. Moreover, this does not render my main argument vacuous, as only one premise is analytic.
Debate Round No. 2
ViceRegent

Con

How do you know you are thinking, that you are not just a machine designed to say you are thinking when a given input is made? Indeed, atheists, were they consistent, would be determinist, which say you do not think.
Cluckelite

Pro

The phenomenology of being a machine whose sole function is to state 'I am thinking' is very different to the phenomenology of a human being or of a more complex machine. I, for instance, have an emotional reaction to the statement 'I am thinking'; this machine could not (because feeling an emotion is not one of its functions); therefore I cannot be such a machine. The same may be said of any and all mental states I have, so that only a machine with at least as great a mental capacity as a human could be me, and this machine would be able to think. I can offer no precise definition of 'thought', but can say that if a human can think, and all the functions of the brain of this human were copied exactly into a computer programme, then this computer programme would be able to think (this being a function which was copied).

The truth or falsity of determinism does not bear on this argument, it is perfectly possible that I think while every element of that thought was predetermined by the laws of nature and some previous state of the universe. Nothing in the concept of 'thought' requires that it be causally free.
Debate Round No. 3
ViceRegent

Con

Wow, so many truth claims. Are any of them true? How do you know? I love it when they beg the question.
Cluckelite

Pro

Cluckelite forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
ViceRegent

Con

And he ran away. I win
Cluckelite

Pro

Cluckelite forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by WhineyMagiciann5 7 months ago
WhineyMagiciann5
if you are to do so, then make sure you have ALL the RFD. The mods don't care if your missing one point.
Posted by ViceRegent 7 months ago
ViceRegent
Thanks.
Posted by CAHAL101 7 months ago
CAHAL101
hey my votes go to you vice on this debate all of my votes
Posted by ViceRegent 7 months ago
ViceRegent
Is it true it does not matter? How do you know?
Posted by Cluckelite 7 months ago
Cluckelite
You see, that doesn't matter. I will ask the same question of any claim to knowledge you make. But I can understand why you won't make any claims, to avoid this.
Posted by ViceRegent 7 months ago
ViceRegent
Is that true? How do you know?
Posted by Cluckelite 7 months ago
Cluckelite
With respect, I don't think non-atheistic epistemologies fare any better - were the question 'How can one know truth from fiction', I think your own method of questioning could cast doubt on any answer you might give as well as it did on my own.
Posted by ViceRegent 7 months ago
ViceRegent
Right, you are unable to establish how you rationally know truth from fiction. That is why only a fool would adopt the atheist worldview.
Posted by Cluckelite 7 months ago
Cluckelite
You're a good gadfly: I concede. The only ways out of Cartesian Doubt are conjectural and rest on a lower standard of evidence than you demand, so there's nothing further I can do here.
Posted by Vict0rian 7 months ago
Vict0rian
No one says that were brilliant or something, were just using our logic at most.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by WhineyMagiciann5 7 months ago
WhineyMagiciann5
ViceRegentCluckeliteTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: my reasoning should be simple for this and short Arguments- pro gave a thinking process that can be used to achieve the goal that con set. while con only really said "how do you know what think is real?" which is much closer to a kritik than an actual argument. grammar: same sources: same conduct: while con had no argument and repeatedly rude to his opponent, pro did forfeit last two rounds.