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How do atheists ratiionally know truth from fiction?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/8/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 673 times Debate No: 86244
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
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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, what atheist can give me a rational way atheist know truth from fiction?


First lets clarify the meaning of some of these words.

According to Wikipedia:

- Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard.

- Fiction is a term used to classify any story created by the imagination, rather than based strictly on history or fact.

- Imagination is the ability to form new images and sensations in the mind that are not perceived through senses such as sight, hearing, or other senses. Imagination helps make knowledge applicable in solving problems and is fundamental to integrating experience and the learning process


We perceive the world through our senses and in our brains we create concepts that enable us to understand what we perceive. Objects,colors, words.. are all products of our minds. If there is something as an objective truth in the universe we don't have access to it, because we are limited by our senses and by the mind that conceptualizes the perceived data.

However, we don't need to wonder much about it because it's pointless. Even if all our existence is a simulation, it doesn't matter, because that's the "reality" we live in. Food is still tasty, sex is still good and reason is still applicable.

To help us survive in this reality we developed reasoning, logic and a common agreement of what is real and what is not.
A "real concept", like a pen, can usually be traced to a stimuli perceived by the senses, and should also be perceived and understood by other humans.
A "fictional concept", like a wizard, is a product of the imagination and cannot be perceived by the senses.

Other ways that we developed to distinguish a real concept from a fictional one are its coherence with our previous understandings of the world, its logical existence, and the people claiming to have perceived the new concept.

Since this is only the first round, I won't develop my arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


So in other words, you have no idea how to rationally know truth from fiction?

Why did both to respond to the debte?

But at least you admit you atheism has left you literally ignorant, which is why atheism fails as a worldviw.


I understand the frustration. However, try to be a bit less conceited and bit more open minded, or you won't go far in whatever path you choose to follow, with or without gods.

Being ignorant, by definition, is lacking knowledge and awareness. If you're aware of your limitations it doesn't make you ignorant, it makes you realistic, which brings us back to the topic.

As I was trying to explain, humans developed several ways to distinguish fiction from reality.

1 - Tracing the concept back to stimuli perceived by one or several senses. These stimuli can also be perceived by other humans.

If I see a tree that I cannot touch, I assume I am hallucinating.
If I hear a sound that nobody else hears, I assume it was a product of my imagination.

2 - Coherence with previous understandings of the world.

I see a flying dog on the Tv. I've never seen a dog flying before, therefore I assume this flying dog is fictional.

3 - Logical existence.

We developed a reasoning that allows us to understand the world we perceive. Within this reasoning we created paradigms where we ground our logic.

Mathematics : I had 10$, I bought a 5$ Burger, I should get 5$ back. (true)
Linguistics: I never tell the truth. (false)

But we can take this a bit further and refute some types of existence in our reality, like an all forgiving God that sends people to hell. Such an existence is contradictory in itself, therefore cannot exist within our logical paradigms.

4 - Other people's claims.

If a scientific community claims that we are made of small atoms, even if we've never perceived them with our senses, the claims are enough to satisfy our doubts.

5 - Instinct

Most of the times, you can distinguish fictional from real events based on your instincts alone.

If you want I may try to explain these ways a bit better and I may present a few others.

If your problem is with the truthfulness of the reality we perceive, I may also try to explain it.
Debate Round No. 2


I assure you that there is no frustration on my part. I look at atheists are toys to be played with, not anything to impart negative emotions.

And you admitted that you have no way of knowing truth from fiction, which means you know nothing, which means you are ignorant.

But since you are back peddling on your original claim, let me ask you the following questions:

1. How do you know the information your senses provide you are valid?

2. How do you know your reasoning is valid?

3. How do you know your instinct is valid?

Good luck answering this Qs rationally.


I don't understand the purpose of "toying" with other's beliefs. Just the claim itself transpires hostility and arrogance.

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

I didn't admit that I don't have a way of knowing truth from fiction. I just presented 5 ways to do it. I only explained that I don't believe we have access to an objective truth due to the filters of our existence, but since we evolved on these filters and we created our sense of reality and truth based on them, it all became irrelevant.

And not being able to distinguish reality from fiction doesn't imply you know nothing, at least according to my beliefs. However, I understand that you perceive the world in different ways and in your mind it makes sense to make such claims.

The answer to your questions is experience, it's called empirical knowledge. I am sorry for not having a more wondrous answer, but it's as simple as that. You don't need God or deep philosophies, you just need to try it out. So far this flawed reasoning took the human race to the top of the food chain, to the moon and to depths of the oceans, it brought us cars, internet and phones, it allowed us to conquer the skies, to achieve amazing feats in medicine and to discover what we believe are the origins of our reality.

And honestly I thought this debate would gravitate around the existence of that reality. However, a mathematician is a great mathematician regardless of the existence and truthfulness of the mathematical paradigm. The same way a rationalist is a great rationalist, despite the existence of the world he reasons about.

But I would like you to share your answer with me. Do you have a way of distinguishing truth from fiction, of knowing that what you perceive is true? Of logically deducing that you're not a mere simulant in an advanced technological device?
Debate Round No. 3


Right, because you have no way of knowing "objective truth" (as if there are kinds of truth), you have no way of knowing if your perceptions are true or the product of a deluded mind. In other words, your atheism has left you ignorant. I am not sure how your beliefs impact reality. If you have no access to truth, you literally know nothing, be definition. The fact that you think your beliefs influence reality confirms you are delusional.

So the answer to my three Qs is experience, which is merely just your internalization of your senses, reason and instincts, which means you justify your senses, reason and instincts with your senses, reason and instinct, which is circular reasoning and irrational. Given this, you have failed to provide a rational way of knowing truth from fiction, losing the debate.


I admit I am ignorant and I don't know much! However, that doesn't have anything to do with my belief or rejection of deities ;)

Yes, of course there are lots of different kinds of truth. Truth is just another human concept and as such has several meanings and interpretations.

Some "truth" theories:

In my opinion we have access to "objective" truths in paradigms that we create, like mathematics, physics and most scientific fields. We set the rules of the game and if the rules are followed the results are true, if not, the results are false. However, sometimes there aren't specific sets of rules to follow and there will only exist subjective truths. Beauty, love, music are simple examples of messy areas where don't exist strict rules and as a result don't exist consensual truths.

The distinction between reality from fiction falls many times into the empirical knowledge area. Within this field there is a set of rules that enables us to deduce if an idea is real or fictional, and it passes by simply experiencing it. (Though there are other ways, like those I presented in the second round.)

However, we don't have a way to prove the validity of the set of rules we established, that's what I meant with not having access to the "objective" truth of the reality. The adjective wasn't the best, maybe transcendent truth would be better, since its a truth that transcends the paradigms we created.

In regard of being irrational by justifying senses, reason and instincts with senses, reason and instincts, as you put it. Again. Humans created several fields of knowledge to understand and study the reality they perceive. In mathematics for example, if you try to solve an equation or to prove a theorem you're supposed to use mathematics to do so. You're not expected to prove the existence and the validity of Mathematics. With life, you're expected to understand it by living.
(is this reasoning that delusional?)
Debate Round No. 4


So you create truth? That is what the delusional, mental ill person believes. Thank for confirming once again that atheism is a mental illness.

"However, we don't have a way to prove the validity of the set of rules we established, " Right, you have no way of rationally knowing truth from fiction. You have conceded the debate. Thank you.


I didn't present my arguments in the best manner or order, but regardless, I am not here representing the 1 billion atheists and agnostics out there. Atheists share a critical thinking that differentiates them from one another and I feel baffled by having you trying to throw all these people into delusion because of me. Please don't. I am sure you will find plenty of reasonable and intelligent atheists through your life and please don't disregard them because of conceited stereotypes. I hope as you grow up, your grow humbler and you realize that everyone perceives the world in their own way, having their own "truths", and only by respecting and understanding these differences will you be able to come closer to the God and the "truth" you desire.

- Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard.

Again, for the last time. As we evolved as a species we developed this notion of reality and we established a set of ways to differentiate what's real, what happens in this reality, from what's fiction, what happens purely in our imagination. All these concepts are human fabrications, but these fabrications enable us to live, understand and socialize in this world.

As we came up with the concepts of reality and fiction, we defined them and if we follow the rules we are able to differentiate them. The same way we came up with the concept of bed and chair, or basketball and football, or heaven and hell and we are able to distinguish all of them as long as we are familiar with the meanings of the concepts.

Next time I will try to present these truths in multidimensional spheres, maybe it will be easier to pass my point across..
This was really messy :p Anyway! I had fun! Cheers! and be happy! :)
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by GoOrDin 2 years ago
Truth can be discerned from fiction BY Being Honest with oneself and admitting when they are arrogantly opposed to something, or biasedly for something, so that they do not draw any conclusions But the Facts & all other stipulations remain pending notions.

an example of this communication is: as I posted on my facebook wall:

Being the Kind of Person who expresses their opinions,

"Is NOT the definition of an Honest person." [pet-peeve]

An Honest person is one who:
does Not dodge bullets in conversations,
deny (and this includes, Ignore) things,
whom does not refuse to present facts instead of wish-wash and non-shalont,
and does not make accusations to disilusion the subject. [Pet-peeves]{ THIS, is All called LYING }

Life of a fawking " Troll ".

Knobs sprawl like ants everywhere I walk. Can't clean my feet enough.

Lie like a theif, but don't make me smack you.

Disilusionment is a HUGE piss-off. "Turning-tables", "Miss-direction", "Unreceptive behaviour", "Lack of On-Topic contemplation and vocal acknowledgement", "complete disregard for context". All bullcrap. Atheists are all guilty of this to no end. I can prove it.

his is what I refer to as, "Spiritually Inclined" : Honesty. ~ Never catch yourself in a lie which You know/think or suspect is ill-conceived.
Posted by canis 2 years ago
When it looks like sh.., (truth or fiction). When it smells like sh.., (truth or fiction)...It probably is sh..(truth or fiction). If you do not believe that...Then use your hands.... If you do not trust your hands...Then look it up in your "book"..
Posted by squonk 2 years ago
HMMFF! Arrogant ignorant fools indeed. Delusional, narcissistic, unreasoning animals! God is right about us. May we burn in Hell for eternity.

Frankly, I see no reason to believe in the existence of some greater, higher, "absolute reality" over and above the reality that we experience. ViceRegent, do you have evidence that such a reality exists?

Watch him ignore me again and fire back some more irrelevant insults.
Posted by ViceRegent 2 years ago
Where do these fools get the arrogance to speak for me out of their ignorance? Well, atheists are delusional.
Posted by Sarasaz 2 years ago
heheh Stephen Hawking definitely presented it much better than me!

ViceRegent believes that both atheists and theists perceive absolute reality, since God created all of us with that "feature". However, while theists believe in the existence of God and based on that belief justify their access to the absolute truth, atheists disregard God and therefore lose their power to claim they have access to that truth.

However, I believe that access to the absolute truth can be easily refuted by showing that humans simple perceive the world in different ways. But lets see :)
Posted by squonk 2 years ago
Couldn't have said it better myself, Sarasaz.

"There is no way to remove the observer -- us -- from our perception of the world, which is created through our sensory processing and through the way we think and reason. Our perception -- and hence the observations upon which our theories are based -- is not direct, but rather is shaped by a kind of lens, the interpretive structure of our human brains." (Stephen Hawking)

This applies to atheists and Christians alike. What I don't understand is, ViceRegent believes that God created our minds/senses to perceive Absolute Reality. Presumably ViceRegent believes that God created Christians and atheists alike. It logically follows that atheists can "rationally know truth from fiction" for the exact same reason a Christian can "rationally know truth from fiction": because God.

Now watch ViceRegent ignore this glaring problem with his reasoning.
Posted by squonk 2 years ago
"Let"s try to stumble through the drunken logic behind the Jesus story.

God made mankind imperfect and inherently vulnerable to sin. Living a sinless life is impossible, so hell becomes unavoidable. That is, God creates people knowing for certain that they"re going to deserve eternity in hell when they die. Why create people that he knew would be destined for eternal torment?
But don"t worry"God sacrificed Jesus, one of the persons of God (whatever that means), so mankind could go to heaven instead.

So God sacrificed himself to himself so we could bypass a rule that God made himself and that God deliberately designed us to never be able to meet? I can"t even understand that; I certainly feel no need to praise God for something so nonsensical. It"s like an abused wife thanking her abuser. We can just as logically curse God for consigning us to hell from birth.

Perhaps I can be forgiven for being unimpressed by the crucifixion story."

- Bob Seidensticker
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by kkjnay 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: ViceRegent continues to have little interest in debating and only seeks to personally insult people in debates.
Vote Placed by ballpit 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made good argument along with con is some of the same respects; however, Con came off as a little aggressive in his arguments and eventually started going to stereotypes of atheists.
Vote Placed by iTruthSeeker 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate was interesting.. I agree with Pro both before and after but i still see some flaws in the argument.. Nonetheless, Pro gets conduct due to the unnecessary hostility in Cons arguments.. Just another form of religious pride.