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it is better to call babies who are just becoming aware, as agnostic than atheist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/3/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 540 times Debate No: 58528
Debate Rounds (3)
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it is better to call babies who are just becoming aware, as agnostic than atheist

(to be sure you could call them both depending on definitions, but this is focusing on having to choose which is better)

the commonly accepted approach to atheism and agnosticism, is to say the first is no belief either way, and atheism as a proactive disbelief in God.

the oxford disctionary defines agnostic as "a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God."

webster's dictionary defines atheist as "the doctine that there are no deities" as its first definition. its otehr definitinos are pretty much a different way of saying that same thing. even wikipedia defines it as ""Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities"

to be sure, there are different definitions, and parts of definitions one could pick and choose on this subject.

but those other definitions have problems. even prominent atheist richard dawkins, and others, draw issue with most ideas of 'soft atheism' or these limited definitions of atheists and such. "Under this positive/negative classification, some agnostics would qualify as negative atheists. The validity of this categorization is disputed, however, and a few prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins avoid it. In The God Delusion, Dawkins describes people for whom the probability of the existence of God is between "very high" and "very low" as "agnostic" and reserves the term "strong atheist" for those who claim to know there is no God. He categorizes himself as a "de facto atheist" but not a "strong atheist" on this scale."

you can find some definitions of atheist as 'lack of faith'. or there are commonly called 'soft atheists' with similar definitions. taking those definitional approaches to atheism, though, blurs the line with agnostic though, because those definitions fit agnostic better.

and, to be sure, if one used those limited definitions of atheist, they might even decide to say babies are better called as atheist. especially if they pick and choose parts of defintiions or strange definitions of agnostic, such as 'proactive rejection of belief and disbelief in God". the problem with this approach, is that it is just arbitrary because it's so picking and choosing in what definitions are used. but, moreso, it ignores the commonly understood definitions mentioned above.

if con wanted to approach it an alternative way than calling them agnostic, he'd have to not pick and choose parts of definitions, and which definitions, but to say babies are both agnostic and atheist. that doesn't do justisce to them being distinct ideas, though, and doesn't do justice to the commonly accepted notions of the words (no belief v active disbelief), but it's the only alternative way to approach it than calling them agnostics.

these all square with other commonly thought of ideas. unicorns, leprichans, etc. usually people are soft to light to limited definitional atheist about this stuff, they 'lack belief' in it, or moreso they might have a degree of tending to reject the ideas, given small people like leprichans are counter to our undersatnding of people. same idea with unicorns.
some might prefer to say they are agnostic to the ideas, given they just don't have enough information to make a decision. but most are some limited form of atheist.


To begin with, I disagree with your definition of atheist as a proactive disbelief in god. Atheism is just the rejection of the claim that a god or gods exist, whether a person is active on inactive in promoting atheism has nothing to do with what atheism is. I would also like to bring up that atheism has no doctrines.
Agnosticism, as defined by the Webster dictionary, is a person who considers god to be unknowable. This in turn shows that atheism deals with what you believe while agnosticism deals with what you know.
The idea of soft atheism and strong atheism is irrelevant. The fact that another person who like there to be categories of atheism means nothing to what the position actually is. No matter the position on any claim, you have to choices. This can be demonstrated in the gum ball analogy. There is a gum ball machine with a finite number of gumballs. A person comes along and makes the claim that there are an odd number of gum balls in the machine. You are now in the position whether to believe this claim or to reject it. If you reject the claim that does not mean you are saying that there isn"t an odd number of gum balls in the machine, you are simply saying I do not find it reasonable to believe that there is an odd number of gumballs. So to say that you are soft to the idea is just wrong. You either believe the claim or you do not.
In the case of agnosticism, the claim that the definition is tied together with "soft" atheism is wrong. As I said earlier, agnosticism deals with knowledge and atheism deals with belief. This in turns shows that they both are separate ideas and you can hold both.
I am arguing that a baby is best labeled as an atheist who is also an agnostic. We both agree that the default position for is to withhold belief until proven to be true. This can be shown in a court room where the defendant is innocent until guilty. A baby, who has no mental capability to believe or know anything, must hold the default position. The baby is an atheist who also is an agnostic.
Debate Round No. 1


dairygirl4u2c forfeited this round.


hcorbell forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


at best you've shown different definitions that show different ways of approaching the two defiitions, as ive shown in the opening post that you are able to do.

but that doesn't mean you've over come common understanding. as far as i understand, to the public at large, agnosticism means taking no position on God, and theism means rejecting God.
if you can provide something that says public perception is not what i perceive it to be, i would concede. there's is little to no doubt in my mind though that that's how the public approaches these things, almost usually.


hcorbell forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Natsu_Dragneel 7 years ago
You know what I call babies?
I call them babies.
Because babies are babies.
Flawless logic.

Unless of course I am wrong.
In that case.
Pleas tell me what babies really are.
(Fragments ftw)
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