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

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 661 times Debate No: 77832
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)




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.


atheism = a + theism

a = without/lacking

theism = belief in a god or gods

atheism = lacking the belief in a god or gods

(+)Belief - A belief that something Does exist
(-)Belief - A belief that something Does Not exist
(0)Belief - The lack of any belief, ignorance.

The Only thing atheism means is "Lack of a (+)belief in a god or gods"

Now, imagine those people who do not know about the concept of god. Those people have a (0)belief in god. They still lack a (+)belief, and thus are still atheists.

The 4 L's

P1) Litterally Anything that is not (+)belief is atheism.
P2) Lack of belief is not (+)belief.
P3) Logically, you can't believe nothing and something at the same time.
C1) Lack of belief is atheism

P1) Babies lack a (+)belief
C1) Babies are athiests
Debate Round No. 1


does con ignore a definition for agnostic?

con ignores the most commonly used definitions. atheist is rejection of God, agnostic is neutral on God.


^^^^^^ See this up here.....It's incorrect^^^^^^^

I'm not exactly sure why the other player has litterally not refuted a word I said or told me why he hasn't refuted a word I have said, but this is unacceptable. At this point I can only try to assume why you ignored my arguments.

My first thought is that maybe pro thinks his definitions were rules, In this case this assertion is completely unfair because he never said this was the case, I thought he was giving his own definitions supporting his case so of course I also gave my own definition supporting my case.

Perhaps Pro thinks that his definitions are correct and mine are incorrect, however if this is the case he should have refuted my arguments, I actually give reasons stemming from the english language itself which support the definition of athiesm and what it means. Or maybe pro wants me to state why these babies aren't just agnostic.


Using very simplistic mechanics of the english language I have shown that the word athiest simply means the lack of a positive belief in a god, showing that ignorance also clasifies as atheism. Agnosticism would then most logically mean the intentional refusal to take a position on god, as opposed to never having heard of the idea in the first place. It is to say that you do indeed take a position on the subject but that that position is one which refuses to answer or take a stance on the question. This would be separate from atheism as it involves a completely different meaning than the one I have provided for atheism. So again, agnosticism is intentionally not taking a position, whereas atheism is simply the lack of a positive belief in a deity. I believe this makes the most sense given the derivation of the words themselves. For instance, the derivation of the the word agnostic also languistically shows that pro is incorrect, according to my own criteria.

agnosticism= a+gnosticism

a= lacking/ without

gnosticism= "Gnosticism was a second century heresy claiming that salvation could be gained through secret knowledge. Gnosticism is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning "to know." [1]

Agnosticism= lacking the secret knowledge needed to gain salvation

At its modern inception, during the late 1800's the word was defined to simply mean that the person didn't have enough concrete or empirical information to decide whether or not god exists. Thus showing that agnostics are people who know about god but simply refuse to make a decision because they can't be sure. This is much different than babies who have no idea about a god and thus can very clearly and easily be classified as athiests and Not agnostics. Perhaps someone could make the argument that because agnostics lacks the (+)belief in god they are still athiests, however let's make one thing clear, just as a rectangle is a square but a square is not a rectangle, in this case an agnostic may be an athiest but an athiest may not be an agnostic. So a baby is an atheist but a baby is not an agnostic in this case.

Either way the answer is clear, babies are definitely athiests but are not agnostics. This is according to what the words objectively mean. I expect a valid response from my opponent next round.

Debate Round No. 2


con ignores the common definitions. atheist means rejecting God. agnostic means not for or against God.


Because he cannot beat my argument my opponent wishes to simply assert that his definitions must be accepted, even if this is true all of my arguments which state that my definitions should be accepted have been ignored, this means I win even if my opponent is correct. Pro I have to thank you for an amazing and thought provoking match, glad to have you on this website.

the resolution has been negated.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Network 3 years ago
*don't know for real.

Of course, Con still wins the debate since Pro made no arguments. But both had wrong premises and thus, wrong conclusions.
Posted by Network 3 years ago
Both debaters were wrong on their definitions.

-Defines atheism as an active enmity toward the monotheistic God in the last round, or as disbelief in the same God in round 1.
-Defines agnosticism as a neutral stance in the matter.

-Defines atheism as lack of belief in the existence of a god or gods.
-Defines agnosticism as non-adherence to Gnosticism or to Christianity, depending on the round of the debate.

What the words actually mean:
-Agnostic: A (lack of) + gnostic (possessing knowledge) = (someone who) does not possess knowledge. Anyone who admits to not know if a religion is true or false, or who straight up knows no religion, fits the strict definition of agnostic. An agnostic can be either theist (believes there's a god, but there's no way to know) or atheist (believes there's no god, but there's no way to know), but a third could be neither.
-Atheist: A (lack of) + theos (god) + ist (related to) = related to the lack of god. Someone who does not have his/her own god. Some of them believe there is no god. Others (like Buddhists) believe there are, but they aren't worth worshipping.

If we assume babies don't know the existence of a god, then they definitely fit the definition of agnostic, but they are only atheists if they do not have a god. By a strict definition, the baby doesn't need to believe in anything to have a god as long as a god considers itself the god of the baby. So according to Christians babies have the Lord as their god since the Lord itself considers the babies its own children. According to atheists, there is no god, so all children are atheists. I'm 98% sure its the same for all religion. Confirmation bias will make any observer believe babies are of the same religion (or lack thereof) as himself, since nobody has proved the existence of a god yet. Of course, proving the inexistence of a god makes all babies atheists, and proving the existence of a god of babies makes all babies theists. But for not people don't
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 3 years ago
@canis Now that's an argument
Posted by canis 3 years ago
Why call them anything ..why call anybody anything anyway..
Posted by Wylted 3 years ago
What Jeannie said.
Posted by Skepticalone 3 years ago
You listed conflicting definitions...are the definitions up for debate along with the resolution? Also, you left out your sources.
Posted by o0jeannie0o 3 years ago
theist or athiest is a stance on religious belief
Gnostic or Agnostic is a stance on knowledge

they mix and match,

agnostic athiest - there is no proof og god but i wont dismiss its possability
Gnostic atheist - there is no god
agnostic theist - i think there is a god, but i am not sure
Gnostic theist - there is a god.

A baby has to be agnostic and has to be an atheist by definition.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con showed how atheism is the lack of belief, whereas agnosticism is something else entirely, and Con also showed how it cannot be applied to newborns. Pro ignores the agnosticism argument, therefore drops it. And Pro also made no arguments, simply insisting their definitions were more widely used, which is incorrect, and was never shown by Pro.
Vote Placed by Berend 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: PRo really failed to defend anything and when he made a claim or any claim for that matter, failed to back it up whereas Con directly defined everything and with sources to back himself up in order to make his case. Cons grammar is evidently better. Con used more reliable sources and had the better argument. Con also had better conduct by actually debating and refuting.