List of Fallacies to Avoid in Debates

General philosophy message board for Discussion and debate on other philosophical issues not directly related to veganism. Metaphysics, religion, theist vs. atheist debates, politics, general science discussion, etc.
User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 8948
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Re: List of Fallacies to Avoid in Debates

Post by brimstoneSalad » Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:12 am

lanfear63 wrote: Wikipedia has this to say about agnosticism: "According to the philosopher William L. Rowe, in the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively" There is a difference
This is a claim of Mr. Rowe- he does not speak for the atheists of the world, and his assertions fly in the face of modern usage within the active non-religious community today.

Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here are just a few examples.

As commonly explained, 'agnostic' vs 'gnostic' deals with the epistemological question of knowledge, while atheist vs theist deals with the question of belief (e.g. regardless of what you know, do you have or lack belief in it).

Atheists DO NOT disbelieve in god. SOME of them disbelieve, others simply lack an affirmative belief.
As I have said, liberally, some of them even positively BELIEVE in something like a deity, but merely do not worship it or claim to have a relationship with it. This is a minority of atheists, however- most simply lack belief (but do not actively disbelieve). MOST atheists identify as "agnostic atheists"- neither believing nor disbelieving, having not seen evidence in favor of believing, they lack belief in a god, but do not claim to know, or actively disbelieve.

In other words, if Mr. Rowe made this claim in the last five years, he is either ignorant of modern developments, or is being dishonest and frankly rude with his usage of the word "disbelieve" for atheists- because self identifying atheists largely reject that label. Since he's 82, I think we can give him the benefit of the doubt in saying he probably has no idea what has transpired in the past ten years.

Please don't be one of those people who wants to tell us all what we believe, as if you know better than we do what's in our heads. Doing that makes you no better than those Christians who claim that we all secretly believe in god but hate him and chose the devil instead- in fact, worse.


If you feel the posts you want to make relate to religion, atheism, or theism (whether it's for or against atheism or theism as you see it), then make it in the Atheist vs. theist place.

If it's another topic, then put it in off topic.

I'm sure you have some interesting things to say, and I'd look forward to reading your posts, but please respect us when we explain clearly what we believe, and how we self-identify.

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 8948
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:23 am

Here's a really big info graphic for you:

Agnostic_Atheist


The closest you can come to being "true neutral" is by being an agnostic atheist or agnostic theist depending on how your day is going. Some people waver constantly between believing and not believing, but never claim to know.

In no way does "atheist" express or imply active disbelief, or affirmative rejection, of any deity.

User avatar
cufflink
Junior Member
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:03 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Post by cufflink » Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:05 pm

This is another place where definitions are important. Before you decide what kind of believer or non-believer you are, you need to decide what the definition of God is.

If you're talking about the traditional God of the Abrahamic religions—the "Triple-Omni God" who is concerned with the welfare of every human being, or as Walter Kaufmann put it, the "God of popular theism"—then I'm a gnostic atheist. I agree with Kaufmann (in his The Faith of a Heretic):
Walter Kaufmann wrote:One's strategy in trying to defend or to attack the claim that God exists obviously depends on what is meant by "God." It may be objected that it is not so difficult to isolate what might be called the popular conception of God. The problem of suffering is of crucial importance because it shows that the God of popular theism does not exist.
If you weaken the definition—maybe God is doing his best but he's not omnipotent, or he is omnipotent but he's not particularly good, or any other departures from the omnipotent-omniscient-omnibenevolent concept—then I'm an agnostic atheist. I strongly doubt such a god exists, but I don't have proof of that.
One Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
One Moment of the Well of Life to taste--
The Stars are setting, and the Caravan
Draws to the Dawn of Nothing--Oh, make haste!

—Fitzgerald, Rubáiyát, 2nd ed., XLIX

lanfear63
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:47 pm
Religion: Sikh
Diet: Meat-Eater

Post by lanfear63 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:12 pm

You cannot be an Agnostic Atheist because an Agnostic is undecided. You are coming over as 100 percent decided in your non belief so are presenting yourself as only an atheist. If you start entertaining the idea of a god or deity then you would be swinging towards being an agnostic.

Are you saying that you are only really interested in discussing stuff with people who follow/believe in a god or deity and not with people who do not even entertain them in their way of thinking but want to talk about things like the after life (devoid of gods/dieties/superior higher powers/creators or any other way you want to put it?)

Off topic can be about that for sure but it can also be about sports, political matters or anything anyone wants to talk about.

Surely atheism is also big time on debunking anything that is outside the realms of what science/evidence/research and logic offers.

User avatar
thebestofenergy
Senior Member
Posts: 344
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 5:49 pm
Location: Italy

Post by thebestofenergy » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:26 pm

lanfear63 wrote:You cannot be an Agnostic Atheist because an Agnostic is undecided. You are coming over as 100 percent decided in your non belief so are presenting yourself as only an atheist. If you start entertaining the idea of a god or deity then you would be swinging towards being an agnostic.

Are you saying that you are only really interested in discussing stuff with people who follow/believe in a god or deity and not with people who do not even entertain them in their way of thinking but want to talk about things like the after life (devoid of gods/dieties/superior higher powers/creators or any other way you want to put it?)

Off topic can be about that for sure but it can also be about sports, political matters or anything anyone wants to talk about.

Surely atheism is also big time on debunking anything that is outside the realms of what science/evidence/research and logic offers.
No, you can be agnostic atheist, as most of us are. I think you're misinterpreting the definition of atheism:
'Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist' (which does not mean that you know at 100%, like you said) 'Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.' - Wikipedia
Most of us here don't believe that a deity exists (we reject the belief in the existence of deities, said in other words), since there's no scientific evidence/proof, but we don't claim to know for certain that it doesn't exist. That's the position of agnostic atheism. An agnostic atheist is defined as one who does not know for sure if any gods exist or not but who also does not believe in any gods. This definition makes it clear that being an agnostic and being an atheist are not mutually exclusive. Knowledge and belief are related but separate issues: not knowing if something is true or not doesn't exclude believing or disbelieving it.
For evil to prevail, good people must stand aside and do nothing.

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 8948
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:07 pm

lanfear63 wrote: Surely atheism is also big time on debunking anything that is outside the realms of what science/evidence/research and logic offers.
No, that's called skepticism. Skepticism is not atheism.

Most atheists are not skeptics. MOST atheists believe in ghosts, and in some form of afterlife or reincarnation.

Some atheists also happen to be skeptics towards those things, but that is not now, nor has it ever been, part of the definition of atheism.

lanfear63 wrote: You cannot be an Agnostic Atheist because an Agnostic is undecided.
You need to read the post I made in response to your claims.

A person who claims to be only agnostic, whether or not he or she "knows" that a god exists or not, ALWAYS either has or lacks a belief in such a being. If you are not a theist, then you are an atheist.

As I have explicitly explained, atheists as a whole DO NOT assert that a god does not exist, and do not actively disbelieve in a god.

If you persist in claiming this, then that is dishonesty on your part, nothing more.

I hate to post an image this large, but obviously you can't be bothered to click on the link:

Image
http://larrinski.files.wordpress.com/20 ... theist.jpg

Are you saying that you are only really interested in discussing stuff with people who follow/believe in a god or deity and not with people who do not even entertain them in their way of thinking but want to talk about things like the after life (devoid of gods/dieties/superior higher powers/creators or any other way you want to put it?)
Those people are atheists, just not skeptics.

If you want to start a topic about "Can atheists believe in an afterlife?" or "Is a god required for an afterlife?" these could be started in Atheist vs. theist.
You might even find a theist to argue with you, that in order to believe in an afterlife you must first believe in a god.

If you just want to talk about your experiences, off-topic would be more appropriate a place to post it.
Last edited by brimstoneSalad on Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TheVeganAtheist
Site Admin
Posts: 824
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 9:39 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan
Location: Canada

Post by TheVeganAtheist » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:41 pm

Thanks for posting that brimstoneSalad. Where did you find that graphic?
Do you find the forum to be quiet and inactive?
- Do your part by engaging in new and old topics
- Don't wait for others to start NEW topics, post one yourself
- Invite family, friends or critics

lanfear63
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:47 pm
Religion: Sikh
Diet: Meat-Eater

Post by lanfear63 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:39 pm

Interesting in what you are all all saying and and thanks for that graphic. It makes a clearer view of where you are all (or mostly) at. Has the view of all this shifted over the years though to where it is now. Is this the current consensus of all atheists, agnostics etc as to how it is defined?

I seem to recall years ago that if you asked someone what happens when you die and they say you would just rot in the ground then that alone would class them as an atheist without any further questions in a lot of peoples views. :D

So, the question is I would ask is can there ever be any true 100 percent pure atheists out there? I suppose a person who defines his atheist stance based on science and logic can never be 100 percent sure because he or she being of that type of person who embraces those doctrines would be rational and balanced enough to think well, however, I must still be open minded enough to embrace that science may one day uncover something that finds an as yet undetected dimensions or superfine energy/matter which could be evidence to the contrary of my stance.

A person who just says nope, nothing out there, that's it, I'm an atheist could I supposed be called arrogant, single minded,, even ignorant for just denying anything just because he or she feels that way, which to the opposite extreme is just as bad as a religious god fanatic taking an ancient manuscript as the undisputed truth entirely on faith and live base his or hers life on it!

I'm asking a lot of probing questions I know and do not wish to be rude, manipulative or provocative but wanted to see what your stance is on all this!

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 8948
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:04 am

lanfear63 wrote:Has the view of all this shifted over the years though to where it is now.
A little bit. Language usage always shifts, though. In this case, as the term gained in popularity, and with new atheism, it has been clarified more.

"gnostic" used to refer only to a an individual who subscribes to gnosticism (an ancient esoteric religious sect) as a noun; now it is also used as an adjective as a counter to agnostic (that may even be a more prevalent usage today).

"positive", "strong", or "explicit" are also used instead of "gnostic"; "weak" or "implicit" are also used instead of "agnostic"

The term 'agnostic' was coined by Huxley in response to claims by theists that they were right because they just knew it due to spiritual gnosis (which means kind of direct and mystical connection to spiritual facts, also known as direct spiritual revelation, and sometimes referred to today as "the deep knowing")
He was trying to say that he did not subscribe to the existence or validity such means of "knowing", and instead needed evidence in order to believe something (with no particular claim as to his position on god- just that he didn't accept 'gnosis' as a valid source of knowledge/or believe in gnosis)

He was, however - and grudgingly - an atheist.

You can read more on Agnosticism on the Wiki particle (which echoes most of that we have said here) and on Huxley's position:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticis ... nry_Huxley

He considered Agnosticism to be a methodology, not a belief in itself.
Huxley wrote:I have never had the least sympathy with the a priori reasons against orthodoxy, and I have by nature and disposition the greatest possible antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school. Nevertheless I know that I am, in spite of myself, exactly what the Christian would call, and, so far as I can see, is justified in calling, atheist and infidel.
He didn't like to be called an atheist, but he most certainly was- even by its own admission.

So, even from the moment of the coinage of the term "agnostic" it meant largely what it is used for today.
lanfear63 wrote:Is this the current consensus of all atheists, agnostics etc as to how it is defined?
Overwhelmingly, yes, it seems to be. Also, it's the correct usage as per its coinage, and as to its philosophical and logical meaning.

A small minority of people seem to be under the mistaken impression that it's possible to be an agnostic all by itself.
These people are widely regarded as being crazy people. Not knowing has nothing to do with belief.
lanfear63 wrote:I seem to recall years ago that if you asked someone what happens when you die and they say you would just rot in the ground then that alone would class them as an atheist without any further questions in a lot of peoples views. :D
That's inaccurate in a number of ways.

Not only do most atheists believe in an afterlife of some kind, but not all theists believe in an afterlife- some people believe in a god, and believe that human life ends with death (in particular, some traditional Jews believe this, since the Christians kind of invented the whole afterlife thing based on Greek mythology- but they are not alone).

lanfear63 wrote:So, the question is I would ask is can there ever be any true 100 percent pure atheists out there?
Not all atheists are skeptics, and not all atheists believe in science, logic, or anything else.
As I said before, most atheists believe in some kind of afterlife.

Some people are atheists on religious grounds, based on faith- and they believe they have 100% knowledge on that subject. This is, for example, one of the dogmas of Jainism in my understanding. True Buddhists are also atheists, with regards to the monotheistic god concept; some accept the existence of devas, which are similar to gods but which are flawed and limited, and mortal, like humans (that is, not gods by any commonly accepted definition in the West).

There is also solid logical foundation for rejecting with 100% certainty some god concepts, as cufflink correctly pointed out.
You would have to investigate the philosophy more to really understand where some of those arguments are coming from.

As one example: We can reject 100% the literal god of the bible, YHWH, because the bible says self-contradicting things about YHWH (which couldn't possibly be true).

A god that:
Wants everybody to be saved and doesn't wants some people to go to hell
who never gets angry, and gets angry all of the time. Whose anger is fleeting, and eternal.
Who can do anything, and can't do some things.
Who never authors confusion, and also authors confusion sometimes.
Who desires animal sacrifices, and doesn't desire animal sacrifices
Who is transparent to all, and opaque and mysterious to everybody
Who will be found by those who seek him, and won't be found by those who seek him
Who is infinitely forgiving, and forgives all sins, and who does not forgive sins

I could go on.

Now, not all people believe the bible is literal and perfect, and not all people even believe in the god of the bible.
That's just an example of ONE god that we can be sure doesn't exist.
If you change its properties to be logically consistent as far as we can tell, then it becomes at least apparently possible for it to exist (although in fact, it may or may not really be possible).

lanfear63 wrote:A person who just says nope, nothing out there, that's it, I'm an atheist could I supposed be called arrogant, single minded,, even ignorant for just denying anything just because he or she feels that way,
There are people who do that, yes. There was one on this forum a few weeks ago. I believe he left though, when we didn't all agree with him.

lanfear63 wrote:which to the opposite extreme is just as bad as a religious god fanatic taking an ancient manuscript as the undisputed truth entirely on faith and live base his or hers life on it!
Well, that's debatable. There are some differences there, some subtle, some not-so-subtle.

User avatar
Shadow Fox
Junior Member
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:26 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Contact:

Post by Shadow Fox » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:14 am

Also the fallacy fallacy. The fallacy that an argument is not valid because of a fallacy in it.
We are all born Atheists, everyone of us. We are born without the Shackles of theism arresting our minds. It is not until we are poisoned by the fears and delusions of others that we become trapped in the psychopathic dream world of theism.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests