The Instigator
TheTruthAnalyst
Con (against)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
izbo10
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points

People Can Only Be Theists Or Atheists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
TheTruthAnalyst
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,325 times Debate No: 19486
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (52)
Votes (9)

 

TheTruthAnalyst

Con

The resolution is 'People can only be theists or atheists'

1st round acceptance only.

2nd round is for main arguments, no rebuttals.

3rd round is for rebuttals and re-statements. No new arguments.

I take the position Con and assert that there a person can be neither a theist, nor an atheist.

Both positions can present their own definitions.
Debate Round No. 1
TheTruthAnalyst

Con

I thank Izbo for accepting this debate. I will attempt to show that people can be neither theist nor atheist. It is to be understood that theists believe in theism and atheists believe in atheism.

Definitions

Theism - belief in the existence of a god or gods[1]
Atheism - a disbelief in the existence of deity[2]

Belief - a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing[3]
Disbelief - mental rejection of something as untrue[4]


With the definitions out of the way, we can safely identify 3 subsets of individuals. I am not arguing that this list is comprehensive, but it is sufficient for me to show that more than the two subsets of theist and atheist exist.

1 - Person A believes in God, therefore Person A calls himself a theist.
2 - Person B thinks that the concept of God is untrue. Person B calls himself an atheist.
3 - Person C doesn't think that God is true, but doesn't think that God is untrue. Person C has no opinion, and calls himself an agnostic.

Therefore, we can see that as a person is capable of not having an opinion on a subject, that the subset of agnostics fulfills the burden of proof.


[1]http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2]http://www.merriam-webster.com...;
[3]http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[4]http://www.merriam-webster.com...;
izbo10

Pro

I would start off by thanking my opponent for actually presenting an argument in the opening round.

Now my argument is simple:
Premise 1: A theist must answer yes to the question do you believe in god.

Premise 2: I don't know is not a yes to the question.

conclusion- An answer of I don't know means not a theist.

Now lets loo at the prefix "A"
http://www.englishclub.com...

Now the irony here is it even uses atheism as its example.

See we have the set of all yes's. Anything outside that set such as a no or I don't know don't fit in that set. Atheism is what is not in the set.

To ask the question differently, you could say: Are you a theist?

Any response but yes means no.

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

This further details it but is not necessary.
Debate Round No. 2
TheTruthAnalyst

Con

I appreciate Pro's arguments greatly.

Pro presents a syllogism to attempt to prove his point. However, I must show this syllogism to be irrelevant to the resolution. A syllogism must contain a major premise, a minor premise, a conclusion, and three terms.

This syllogism contains the following terms:

A - Theist
B - The response 'Yes.' to the question 'do you believe in God?'
C - The response 'I don't know.'

So, all theist respond yes. If Person A responds 'I don't know', then Person A is not a theist.

That is correct, and there is no problem with the logic. However, all this proves is that Person A is not a theist. Pro still has the burden of proof to show that 'all non-theists are atheists'.

Pro attempts to do this by citing About.com. I will quote the first line from this reference:

"There is, unfortunately, some disagreement about the definition of atheism."

Because Pro's reference throws doubt to the definition of the word 'atheism', where can we look? The simplest answer is to look to the dictionary. Dictionaries decide on the definitions of words by examining how each word is used most commonly in both verbal and written language.[1] One such dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary Online, also defines atheist similar to the Merriam Webster definition I gave earlier:

Atheist: someone who believes that God does not exist. [2]

As the dictionary defines a word as it is most commonly used, then I reassert the definition of atheist as someone who believes that God does not exist.

As for Pro's source about the prefix a-, I will also quote a relevant line from that same reference:

"You can find more detail or precision for each prefix in any good dictionary. The origins of words are extremely complicated. You should use this list as a guide only, to help you understand possible meanings."

I re-assert that somebody who doesn't have an opinion as to the existence of God does not fit the definition of a theist, nor an atheist, considering that they neither believe, nor disbelieve.


[1]http://www.cambridge.org...
[2]http://dictionary.cambridge.org...
izbo10

Pro

My opponent does not grasp disbelief it is the exact opposite of belief. If you don't have trust or confidence it is quite clear that you disbelieve it.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Refusal or reluctance to believe.

Now we know that a means not a theist or one who disbelieves in god. Which is the same exact thing.

The problem with part 3 is they are saying they don't know if there is a god, not they don't know what they believe, we all know what we believe and it is intellectually lazy and dishonest to say I don't. That is avoiding the question, I don't care if you know when I asked what you believe. If I ask you if you believe in aliens it is simply yes or no. You don't believe in unicorns for the same reason, lack of evidence. It is just special pleading to be an agnostic and also a blatant misrepresentation of atheism.

This set of questions is not hard for anyone;

Do you believe in unicorns? yes or no

Do you believe in marinicons? yes or no

Do you believe in bigfoot? yes or no

Now why is it acceptable to circle the or in the question do you believe in god yes or no?

Thats right it is not and it is special pleading as when we judge existence we use best available evidence. Without evidence we withhold belief or dishbelieve. It is really simple there are 2 choices in a question of belief and knowledge is completely different.
Debate Round No. 3
52 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Gileandos 5 years ago
Gileandos
*correction tutelage.
Posted by Gileandos 5 years ago
Gileandos
Izbo, at this point I would have assumed you would be sitting under the tutulage of RA.

I can see you are still very arrogant.

You would do well to listen to RA.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
Izbo... it really is simple. Not believing in a God is a belief. It is a settled belief... it is just a negative belief. But it is still a belief. An Agnostic cannot be said to have this negative belief, therefore they cannot be an Atheist.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
You people are purely retarded, it is no wonder I am getting banned most likely. When someone explains something and it is logical it is looked at and then you guys can't figure it out so you attack basic words and don't grasp the meaning of the words. An atheist does NOT have to say there is no god. The just don't believe in a god. It is really simple, and JCMT is a moron who doesn't even know his own posiition.
Posted by popculturepooka 5 years ago
popculturepooka
JCMT is correct.

http://www.infidels.org...
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
And what you fail to grasp is that Atheists in fact believe something. They believe that God does not exist, or they do not believe that God exists... however, they are settled on a belief. Agnostics are not.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
its amazing that you have yet to grasp that, having no beleif at all is not believing something. I have no rock at all, is the same as not having a rock. Having no belief at all is the same concept as not believing something.
Posted by TheTruthAnalyst 5 years ago
TheTruthAnalyst
Can we take this to the forum or make a new debate?

Or is there a way for me to stop receiving updates on it?

Sorry, it's slightly annoying having these constant updates :)
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
It's amazing to me that you still have yet to grasp the difference between believing something, not believing something, and having no belief at all. All atheists are non-theists; but not all non-theists are atheists. It's a very, very simple concept.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
"This suggests that negative atheism, the minimal position that all atheists share, divides neatly into agnosticism and positive atheism. It is worth noting that the 'positive atheist' need not have certainty that God doesn't exist: it is a matter of belief, not knowledge."

Stupid much?
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
TheTruthAnalystizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
TheTruthAnalystizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made a strong argument but it was effectively countered by Con with his dictionary example. This whole debate comes down to how we define the word "atheism". Con provided a definition that clearly affirms his argument. Pros rebuttal of using disbelief does not negate this, because the word "disbelief" was never used in Cons definition. Pros failure to negate Cons contention loses. Pro loses conduct for stating "my opponent doesn't grasp..." Pro must insult the argument, not his opponent.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
TheTruthAnalystizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: See Comments for analysis. Gave Izbo conduct for a clean (for him) match. Spelling was pretty even. Izbo lost sources for posting a definition that starts with "the definition is in question."
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
TheTruthAnalystizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm definitely with Pro: Anyone who is not a theist is an atheist. But Con explained his position clearly, while Pro ranted and flailed without communicating much. Grammar: Con. Persuasion: Con.
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 5 years ago
Lordknukle
TheTruthAnalystizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Easy to decide
Vote Placed by SuperRobotWars 5 years ago
SuperRobotWars
TheTruthAnalystizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources here were just for definitions but Con had more substance to his arguments than Pro. This debate could have had more substance to it.
Vote Placed by wierdman 5 years ago
wierdman
TheTruthAnalystizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: This really wasn't hard to decide.
Vote Placed by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
TheTruthAnalystizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's R2 rebuttal was impotent, for some reason he only posted his valid rebuttal in R3, too late for it to be addressed by Con and so is to be ignored. Both parties expressed themselves quite poorly.
Vote Placed by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
TheTruthAnalystizbo10Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con showed that You can indeed be agnostic. You don't have to be theist or an atheist.