The Instigator
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The Contender
Pro (for)
6 Points

How do atheists rationally know truth from fiction?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 281 times Debate No: 91338
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




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.


Very well, I will not respond with circular reasoning by saying that my senses and reasoning validate my senses and reasoning. I will simply point out that they are the starting point, without which nothing can be proven or even rationally asserted, including your own position.

The claim that God exists presupposes that we can grasp the claim that there is a mind, and that this mind has various knowledge and powers. But the concepts of a mind, and of knowledge and power, cannot be grasped without employing the senses and reason. After all, if you could not use your senses, including introspection, you could never grasp the concept of a mind, and you could never grasp the concepts of knowledge or power.

So, the validity of the senses and reason is axiomatic, and not only does the atheist start there, the theist does too. The only way to prove anything is by reference to the senses and reason.

Since the senses and reason are axiomatic, and since it is self refuting to reject them, they do not have to be "validated" - the very suggestion is a stolen concept fallacy. The concept of validation presupposes that we have accepted the senses and reason, and therefore that we can validate things by reducing things to sensory perception by a step by step rational process. There is no other rational meaning for the concept of validation.

Moreover, even if there were somehow a logical problem with taking the senses and reason as axiomatic, accepting the existence of God would not help resolve the issue. The idea of God is incoherent, and there is no evidence or observable referent for it in reality. How can positing an undefined, arbitrary idea be a logical solution to any epistemological problem? It can't.
Debate Round No. 1


In other words, you have no rational way to know truth from fiction. This is why no rational person is an atheist.

Tell me, how do you know you are not deluded?


What kind of response is that? You just ignored my entire post and repeated your first post.

I know truth from fiction by means of the senses and reason, like I said. The claim that I am deluded is completely arbitrary, so it doesn't come up for consideration. I have no reason to entertain the possibility that I am deluded in the first place.

At this point, I think I have provided a rational response to your opening post and rebutted your concerns. If your subsequent posts are just going to contain more empty assertions then I don't know if I will bother finishing out the debate, it's not worth my time.

Frankly, your behavior in this debate is disrespectful to me, the audience, and the intelligence of the judges.
Debate Round No. 2


Grow up. You admitted to knowing nothing rationally.

I then asked you how you know you are not deluded. I did not say you were deluded (though you are!).


I didn't "admit to knowing nothing rationally." Nowhere in my post did I admit to knowing nothing rationally. Anyone can read the post to verify that - no such admission is there. What is there is a rational epistemology based on the senses and reason.

I already responded to the question about how I know I'm not deluded. The question does not come up in the first place, because there is no reason to consider it. There would have to be some reason for me to consider the claim that I am deluded for the claim to come up, but there isn't, so it doesn't.

I just throw out the idea that I am deluded, without consideration, because that is what rational people do with an arbitrary assertion. If someone says "how do you know a group of goblins isn't reading Hegel on Jupiter?", the rational response is not to weigh the evidence for and against the question, it's to just throw it out. This is how I treat the question "how do you know you're not deluded?"

You then say you didn't accuse me of being deluded - followed, ironically, by the accusation that I am deluded. An accusation which is based on nothing, like the rest of the assertions you have made in this debate.

(Judges, I assume I will be getting the conduct points for this debate.)
Debate Round No. 3


ViceRegent forfeited this round.


My opponent has forfeited Round 4. Vote Pro.

Since there is no argument to respond to, here's a source you can use to research my epistemology more:

Again, my opponent forfeited this round. Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4


Please tell us how you know that without senses and reason as the starting point, nothing can be proven or rationally asserted, when such a claim is not supported by either your senses or your reason? In other words, your claim is self-defeating and irrational.

But could not the deluded person say the same thing? But you reject his assertions, right? So much for it being aximatic How do you know that your assertions are not based on delusion, which is to say non-functioning senses and reason?


On the contrary, my position is the height of rationality.

The fact that all knowledge depends on the senses and reason is evident when we reflect that the concept of knowledge is itself derived from the senses and reason, and refers to that which has been reduced to sensory evidence by a step by step rational process. Anything that has not been subjected to this rational process of reduction to evidence is not knowledge, since that's what knowledge is.

In addition, the fact that all knowledge depends on the senses and reason can be supported by as many arguments as you care to name. Any example of knowledge you can name will be dependent on the senses and reason. Science, philosophy, mathematics, history - all products of the senses and reason. The evidence for my position is beyond counting - indeed, all evidence for anything is evidence for my position, since anything that is actually evidence proceeds from the senses and reason.

The fundamentality of the senses and reason is so profound that even claims that do not qualify as knowledge depend on the senses and reason. For example, I demonstrated in my first post that even the concept of God depends on the senses and reason, since we depend on the senses, including introspection, to form the concepts of "mind," "knowledge," and "power" that the concept of God depends on. (You never addressed this point.)

You then repeat the claim that I may be deluded, which I have refuted many times. Again, the question whether I am deluded does not come up in the first place, because I have no reason to consider the alleged possibility that I am deluded. The question is based on an arbitrary idea, like the question "how do you know there isn't a group of goblins reading Hegel on Jupiter?" A rational person does not weigh the evidence for and against that question, he just throws it out without consideration. This is how I treat the question "how do you know you're not deluded?"

In conclusion:

1. My opponent has provided no actual arguments over the course of this debate.
2. My opponent has dropped nearly all of my points in favor of repeating what he said in his first post.
3. His conduct has been abysmal since he has insulted me many times.
4. He forfeited the crucial round 4.
5. And he did not provide a single source for any of his claims.

In contrast, I have provided copious logical reasoning in support of my position, I have addressed all of his points, I have been polite (if blunt at times), and I provided a reputable philosophical source for my position.

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by ViceRegent 5 months ago
He knows? ROFL.
Posted by Ockham 5 months ago
Guys, if you are going to vote on the debate, you need to mention a specific argument and assess it. I know my opponent was ridiculous but you have to follow the rules or your vote will be removed.
Posted by whiteflame 5 months ago
>Reported vote: kyleflanagan97// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: Ockham was much more articulate and still managed to win the debate with such a narrow focus of the question and rules imposed by ViceRegent.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter doesn't explain conduct, S&G or sources. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to assess specific arguments made by both sides in the debate. That requires doing more than just stating that one side is more articulate.
Posted by whiteflame 5 months ago
>Reported vote: lwittman// Mod action: Removed<

6 points to Pro (Conduct, Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Con forfeited round 4 Arguments: Con R1 and R2 we're basically the same with no attempt at a rebuttal for pro's R1 argument. Sources: Con did not use any sources.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter cannot solely decide the debate based on failings of one side, and must assess specific arguments made by each side. (2) Sources are insufficiently explained. Even if only one side provides sources, it has to be clear that the sources provided were relevant to the debate.
Posted by Pravdah 5 months ago
The funny thing is, truth is not hard or solid. To say that it's unmoving and stoic is just as false as saying that it is infinitely malleable and infinitely subjective. It's like solving a large set of equations, if you're given a differing number of specific values, or less than someone else's number. The possibilities for answers change depending on what values are given.
Posted by Ockham 5 months ago
I just looked at ViceRegent's comment history. He has posted this debate dozens of times and he always loses on conduct and arguments. I'm glad I picked up this debate.
Posted by Pravdah 5 months ago
Here's a thought. There is a psychopath, mutated and implanted with technologies beyond out understanding, effectively immortal with omniscient presence, essentially instantaneous teleportation abilities, the ability to be everywhere at once, cold reading and prediction abilities that would be considered magical, the ability to speak into peoples' minds and create delusions within their brains, and the ability to cause the death of millions, if not billions at any point in time, without trying. They can create and transmutate matter however they want, and can even revive the dead with nano-machines and bottom-up AI. at that point, are they not, essentially, god? Once you know their secrets and how it works it's easy to see that they're simply extremely advanced, but to anyone else, anyone who doesn't see the inner workings, they might as well be a physical god. That's the problem with reality. To anyone seeing the cyborg's actions, without knowing the true causes, they would be god. That would be their reality, with their own senses and experiences telling them one thing, that the being before them is god (or at least, godlike.). To someone who can see the "behind the scenes", it's a completely different story. The point is reality changes as new information surfaces and old information becomes contradictory and obsolete. That is the nature of reality. It is subjective, but verifiable. As the information our senses perceive changes, so does our understanding of our surroundings. To be objective is not to be certain, but to be ready to dissect and analyse information as it comes in, and change accordingly.

On another note, how does Con know what is objective through their theism? because if something like the creature above came into this world, I'd be ready to concede that 1+1=3 if they said so.
Posted by JoaquinBarzi 5 months ago
Do you even axiom, bro?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lwittman 5 months ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited 4 rounds and insulted Pro in round two, which is why Pro was awarded point's for conduct. Con's round one argument addressed the exact same problem that the round two argument addressed. Round two argument did not acknowledge Pro's rebuttal. Round two acknowledged only that Pro's round one argument did not break the rules set by Con. Pro's round four source was relevant to the debate because it further explained Pro's stance.