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How do atheists raitionally know truth from fiction?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/20/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 512 times Debate No: 98298
Debate Rounds (4)
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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, BY WHAT METHOD DOES ANY ATHEIST CLAIM TO RATIONALLY KNOW TRUTH FROM FICTION?

Answering this question is the sole purpose for this debate. I have even put it in capital letters for those to dense to get it. 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.


I first contend that atheists can discern what we consider true through the process of induction. By induction, I mean the idea that repeatedly consistent results via the senses constitute true facts. For example, every time I release an object from my hand, I see, feel, and hear it travel toward the ground, so by induction I would say I know that there must be some downward tendency of objects near earth's surface, which we call gravity. The repeatability of this event makes it more and more plausible at every subsequent occurrence. These repeatable events can thereby be considered facts, as our senses consistently perceive them.

Now you may question the accuracy of our senses, as they are obviously imperfect tools with which to interpret the world. This being the case, we can never perfectly understand, or "know", the truth of reality. Despite this, we can still have a very good idea of reality, due to the consistent, if imperfect, reliability of our senses. We can predict, with incredibly accuracy, the movement of the planets, the results of chemical reactions, etc. This ability to predict the future demonstrates a true knowledge and understanding of reality.

But another question arises: How do we know reality at all? How do we know dreams aren't what's real and that what we experience during waking hours is actually fiction? My answer is that we can't know for sure. We must simply accept the more consistent, repeatable existence, which would be our waking lives. Again, we see that repeatability, or induction, comes into play. In one dream I may be able to fly, whereas in another I may be able to breathe under water. These inconsistencies from dream to dream do not occur in our waking lives. Our waking lives are very consistent, and we therefore consider this to be reality, and that which is repeatable to be true.

I thereby conclude that one may find truth by using the simple idea of induction as I have described above.
Debate Round No. 1


I love how these tools think they are saving themselves by denying "perfect knowledge", but they are not. Tell me, how do you know your senses are valid enough to lead to "imperfect" knowledge?


Perhaps my discussion on "perfect" vs. "imperfect" knowledge was misleading; I will address this subsequently. The key point is as follows:

To know anything, in any field of knowledge, one must first begin with some assumptions, some starting point. In mathematics, for example, these are called axioms. In order to be most sure your assumptions are not wrong, you want to select as few and as simple assumptions as possible. In math, you start with a few very simple assumptions and from them you can uncover thousands of mathematical truths. As we would both agree, math is a legitimate study that results in truth, but it must inevitably start with some basic assumptions. This is not a problem as long as those assumptions are so obvious and simple as to appear self-evident.

Scientists/atheists start their search for truth with the basic assumptions that 1) our senses allow us to accurately interact with objective reality 2) basic logic validly works. A theist may say "Hey 'tool', how do you know these senses and reason are valid enough to lead to knowledge!?" The thing is, we must start by assuming something, so we assume our senses and logic to be accurate, which is a reasonable assumption to make for the following reasons: These assumptions are extremely simple, the results from these assumptions are repeatedly consistent, and sensing and logic are the most fundamental abilities of all humans (we can sense and we can think).

Theists also make assumptions: that an all-powerful, all-knowing, benevolent, invisible being guides everything in the universe and some also assume every word in a 2000 year-old book is objectively true. These assumptions are much less simple or obvious, and far less directly connected to our human abilities of sensing and thought, and are therefore less justified in our human attempt to know truth.

So, atheists know fact from fiction by starting with basic assumptions of sensing and reason. I can provide more justification in the next round.
Debate Round No. 2


For all of his word spillage, he still did not answer my Q: how do you know your senses and reason are valid? How do you know you are not some delusional kook?


It's unfortunate you interpreted my cogent answers as "word spillage," so I'll have to structure this in Q&A format:

Q: By what method does any atheist claim to rationally know truth from fiction?

A: (see Round 1) Consistent results indicate that something is true. You can never be 100% sure, but every consistent result makes you more sure. If every time I touch a flame, it's hot, then I consider it to be true that flames are hot. If one day I touch a flame and it's cold, then either my beliefs are wrong, I'm crazy, or I'm in a dream, so I will question either the belief that flames are hot or that I'm living in reality. This is the idea of "induction." If something reliably happens, we can be almost certain it's true.

Q: How do you know your senses are valid enough to lead to knowledge?

A: (see Round 2) The accuracy of senses and reason is an assumption scientists/atheists make as the starting point to find further truth. Every belief system needs initial assumptions, and scientists' assumptions are justified because they are simple, obvious, and consistent enough to appear self-evident. Reason is literally the act of making sense, and senses are the only way we can interact with the outside world. Both theists and atheists use reason/logic and rely on the accuracy of their senses in everyday life.

Q: How do you know you are not some delusional kook?

A: There is an infinitesimal chance that I am crazy and making up my reality. It's dishonest to claim you're 100% sure you're not delusional. But the consistency of my reality indicates that it's almost definitely true. No one can be 100% sure, but the fact that the laws of physics proceed like clockwork strongly indicates that I am not crazy. If tomorrow, I woke up with the ability to fly, I would think, "I must be psychotic!," but there is virtually no chance of that happening. So I accept the world I see, feel, and hear to be true and real, because it is so consistent and reliable.
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
god once said dammit, and a damn came flying, he said, whos damn is that..
-vi spex
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
yea they are really all naked, hehe shhh
Posted by canis 1 year ago
How do atheists rationally know truth from fiction?
Atheist trust that they have put on theire pants when they walk out the door.
Posted by JohnSalamex 1 year ago
Don't accept.
Posted by sboss18 1 year ago
I'd accept, but I don't meet the criteria.
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