The Instigator
Con (against)
4 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

It is a beneficial strategy to accept some unsubstantiated beliefs

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 574 times Debate No: 73131
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (1)




No particual rules; I think that the title is clear enough but please ask questions in the comments if you need clarification.


Somtimes in life yes means yes and no means no even if the rapist has no substantiation of the objectivity of linguistic deifnition.
Debate Round No. 1


I what you who!?

"Sometimes in life yes means yes and no means no" is a truism.

I've spent a little time staring vacuously at the rest of your sentence and I can find no more intelligable meaning there than in the first half of the sentence.

The closest I can get to, after much reflection, is that you are making the following point:

Believing that words have a certain meaning fits the bill.
It is a beneficial strategy to believe that certain words have certain meanings.
This is an unsubstantiated belief.

Am I right? If so, could I beg you to express yourself more plainly in the future? If I'm wrong, could I beg you to express yourself more plainly in the future?

If I am right, I must most soundly rebutt the idea on the grounds that we have plenty sufficient evidence that certain words do convey certain meanings to certain people.

Sure, you need a receiver... I mean, "potato" doesn't mean anything, per se... but it does mean something to you, as I believed that it would, and that's all that's going on here.

That example will not do, do you have any others?


I have offered argument, my opponent has offered nothing but confusion and distorted rape to be okay if you choos eto hear 'yes' as no' as really the beliefs that rape is wrong and no means no are unsubstantiated.

Enjoy prison and ruining that woman/man's life, it really will look good on your CV!
Debate Round No. 2


It sounds like I was half right in my interpretation of your very unclear explanation.

I finally understand unambiguously what you mean when you say:

"The beliefs that rape is wrong and 'no' means 'no' are unsubstantiated"

So, you are making two claims at a win through four implied statements:

1. a) Believing that rape is wrong is beneficial
1. b) Believing that rape is wrong is unsubstantiated

2. a) Believing that "no" means "no" is beneficial
2. b) Believing that "no" means "no" is unsubstantiated

I've already refuted your second claim but I'll do so again: The fact that we can have this converstation and the gentle voters can follow along is evidence enough to justify belief that "no" has a shared meaning understood by speakers of English that allow us to infer meaning from others' writings and to imply meanings in our own.

I'm going to take a cheap pop; sorry, I can't help myself... you said:
- you choos eto hear 'yes' as no'
And you were referring to the act of rape. I think that you meant to say:
- you choose to hear 'no' as 'yes'
I wonder whether Pro takes seriously their proposition that "no might not mean no"!

Anyhow... believing that rape is wrong; I can tell you that I think that rape is wrong. I agree that believing that rape is wrong is a beneficial belief. However, I don't see how you could argue that it is unsubstantiated!

Unsubstantiated is defined as:
Not supported (or proven) by evidence.

And evidence is defined as:
The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

I offer my evidence that rape is wrong: The millions of people who have suffered emotional trauma, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases... and all of the children who had emotionally damaged lives as a result of being children of rape whose own mothers couldn't look at them without being reminded of the rape.

Pro, this idea will not do. Do you have any others?


Your parents must be proud of your ability to Bullsh**.
Debate Round No. 3


I did say "no particular rules", I suppose.

Perhaps I should have specified literacy, dignity and sticking to the topic.

I was hoping for a debate but you've ruined it.

At least give me something interesting to tackle for the last round, if you are smart enough for the task.


I forfeit this debate. Sometimes it's beneficial to accept an unsubstantiated loss because the nerd debating you is just too much of a tryhard to accept he is BSing.

Debate Round No. 4


Why did you take the debate on if you weren't prepared to put up a good fight?


If you think this is fighting you must have never been beaten up, oh wait you were because you are a nerd.
Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
It's a kritik.
Posted by GoOrDin 1 year ago
Oh. **Con wins**
that is what I meant
Posted by GoOrDin 1 year ago
I disagree
Posted by AndyHood 1 year ago
The true Theist should, in my opinion, take this philosophical debate on and argue the line that Faith is a Virtue. Belief without evidence is understood to be hard, but that's the test, man!

But the hypocrisy of the position becomes evident if we delve deeper and the Theist also claims to have some evidence. Such "evidence" comes in the form of personal revelation, god-of-the-gaps arguments, arguments from authority, etc... but these, I suggest, form even less evidence of a god's existence than does the man round the corner (who is referring to the hypocrisy of his uncle's campaign against the NRA) provide evidence of a shooter-round-the-corner.

I suppose that I'd find it hard to justify to people that these Theistic evidence claims amount to "no evidence at all", but I'd be happy to take the challenge on. It would be a Bayesian approach that I'd take.
Posted by AndyHood 1 year ago
Google says this of "substantiate":
provide evidence to support or prove the truth of

The key in my mind here is that "support" is allowed. You do not have to have so much evidence so as to be able to prove a thing to be a truth... you yourself may not consider that you have sufficient evidence (obviously a subjective question). When exactly does supporting evidence become enough to elevate belief to knowledge? Certainly another good philosophical debate, although trivially the answer is "it's down to the individual"... some sod is sure to bring up brain-in-a-vat, though.

BUT, you must have SOME evidence.

For instance, in the case of the shooter-round-the-corner you may have thought you heard somebody say "he's got a gun" in an off-hand manner. Your believing an interpretation of this event which puts you in immediate danger could well be argued to be a beneficial strategy... actually, I think that most people would say that this was a particularly overcautious strategy and therefore not beneficial, BUT, THE CASE COULD BE MADE.

Now, it is my contention, my hidden agenda, my follow-on debate that belief in God falls into a category that has even less supporting evidence than the shooter-round-the-corner example I've just given... but that is not this debate. In this debate, I'd like to have a philosophical ding-dong about whether it could, theoretically, ever be a good idea to believe a thing without supporting evidence.

In a sense, I hope that my (Con's) position is so self-evidently true that nobody wants to debate against it. But I want to test the robustness of this position. Another way of expressing what I want to discover in this debate is this: would I be justified in forming a logical argument that started with the premise that it can never be meritorious to adopt unsubstantiated beliefs?
Posted by Kozu 1 year ago
And I appreciate the consideration. I also find it rather dissappointing how often words can fail.

" What I mean by this rejection is that "unlawful killing is always wrong" is a demonstrably false idea[...]"
"[...]but clinging onto a "belief" that unlawful killing is wrong is obviously a bad idea"
-I see, your arguing against blanket rules that don't consider the subjective situations one might be in. i.e unlawful killing is good, if your defending your life. Although, in that situation, I guess that might make it a "lawful killing". Maybe I'm just nit picking at semantics though.

"false beliefs are bad; unsubstantiatable beliefs may be bad; let's reject all unsubstantiatable beliefs unless anybody can show, in principle, how an unsubstantiatable belief could be a "good thing (tm)"."
-My struggle is that I can't seem to seperate the unsubstantiated beliefs from the "substantiated" ones.
How can a "belief" be substantiated when doing so would go against the definition of belief? If it were to be substantiated, would it not become a "truth" instead? I wouldn't argue that belief(possibly right) should be chosen over truth(is right) simply because the prior could be wrong.

-Lol, I knew your "hidden agenda" when I read the words "unsubstantiated beliefs". I don't see the problem with an agenda though if it doesn't detract from the objectivity of the debates arguments.

I also don't like the thought of objective morality, or defending it. It's just always so... subjective. Your resolution might as well be a truism to me though. Idk where I would start to argue. Maybe I might if I was more clear on what qualifies as "substantiated", the Ox-ford defintion doesn't do it for me.
Posted by AndyHood 1 year ago

Would you debate me if I changed the resolution in order that the burden of proof be shared, whilst also clearing up the problem of defining "unsubstantiated"?


Pro (me in this revised debate) says that believing without evidence is never a commendable strategy
Con (you if you accept) says that believing without evidence is sometimes a commendable strategy

Those two positions together seem to me to have the following properties:
1. They cannot both be true
2 One or other of them must be true

So, as a true dichotomy, there's a fair debate in terms of burden of proof.
Posted by AndyHood 1 year ago
And what I've just there said is a perfect example of why I rebel against religion; it seems to me that clinging on to the idea that there might be some such thing as "absolute morality" can do nothing but stifle progress. Now, if the belief could be shown to do demonstrable good (i.e people who were religious were less likely to steal, rape or murder) then it would at least be a debate: "does the good outweigh the bad?"... but for me, there is clearly danger (the belief stifles advantageous change) with no benefit (the religious murder as frequently as do the irreligious). I know that I've veered from the strictly philosophical path to a more earthy discussion, and I know that I've revealed a hidden agenda... but yeah, that's where I'm going with this: false beliefs are bad; unsubstantiatable beliefs may be bad; let's reject all unsubstantiatable beliefs unless anybody can show, in principle, how an unsubstantiatable belief could be a "good thing (tm)". I don't require that I debate a theist... in fact, I'd far rather debate a rational atheist on the matter... I want to know whether I am being reasonable when I conclude that believing in something without evidence could never be good!
Posted by AndyHood 1 year ago
@Kozu: I love the way you think and I love the way you express it (and I appreciate the time and effort that must have passed between the two)

I know that words often let us down, despite being sublime tools... but... I'd like to ask you to try to express your penultimate (and first) question in terms that relate to the resolution that I have, with your help, composed. Here's my attempt:

Does belief that murder is wrong constitute an unsubstantiated belief that it is a beneficial strategy to accept?

And my answer is a resounding "no". It is not a beneficial strategy to accept that belief (even with the varying possibilities of the definition of "wrong"). What I mean by this rejection is that "unlawful killing is always wrong" is a demonstrably false idea... it might be true that "on the whole, unlawful killing is wrong and it's a good idea to question carefully any action that involves unlawful killing" but clinging onto a "belief" that unlawful killing is wrong is obviously a bad idea - for a start, if we all did so, the law could never be updated to reflect a wiser view, or a view that better represented the changing reality today.
Posted by Kozu 1 year ago
I think that's a better resolution.
For some reason though now, I'm wondering what exactly an unsubstantiated belief is.
Is accepting not to murder people a beneficial strategy? Or Is this belief substantiated simply by the evidence of death?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Chaosism 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Con for Pro's ad hominem remarks. Arguments to Con; Pro had few arguments and forfeited.