Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lessons Learned

It's no secret that I like to debate online. Many Atheists who are vocal about their Atheism tend to get into these debates, but some of us actually enjoy them. I enjoy discussing philosophy as well as science and history. Every debate is a chance to test my knowledge and logic against a new person, to possibly learn something I've never even heard of before. I research as many aspects of the debate as possible, whether I think I know the answer to an argument or not. I present my arguments with confidence and I refuse to back down from them until they have been sufficiently defeated. As such, it can be quite easy to mistake my confidence for arrogance and my knowledge as being closed minded. This leads to one fairly obvious question.

"Why do Atheists think they know everything?"

The short answer is that we don't. Granted there are some of us who are that arrogant, but I'd hardly call them the norm. These types are in every culture, and aren't to be taken seriously. Those of us who debate online tend to acknowledge that they could be wrong and are more than willing to admit when they are wrong. The problem, and the question, arise when the opposing side does not provide a convincing argument but thinks that they have. While they continue to present the same argument over and over, wondering why the Atheist is not convinced, they are incapable of seeing that there is a glaring flaw in their argument which is preventing the Atheist from seeing any kind of connection.

Of course, we are not immune to this flaw. There are many times when we enter a debate with flawed logic or false knowledge. I can recall a couple of instances where I have stood by an argument throughout an entire debate, not knowing why the other person could not see the logic behind it, only to learn long after that debate that I was the one in error. If the other debater had found the exact information I had seen and presented it to me, I may have altered my argument right then, as I have done in the past.

The key, however, is not to know everything during such a debate, but to continue to learn through every encounter and to research everything you are talking about to ensure you have up to date knowledge. If your opponent refuses to see your point, it's time to look into it further. If they are right, it's better to find out immediately. If you are right, you are lacking the exact knowledge needed to convince them. In either case, repeating yourself like a broken record will get you nowhere, regardless what position you hold.

So, to sum this up, and to get back to the question, we don't know everything and we never will know everything, but we're okay with that. We get that we can be wrong and that we'll probably be proven wrong at some point in the near future on one point or another. If we're wrong and we're called out on it, most of us will admit that a mistake has been made. Those who don't aren't worth your time.

So keep debating, keep learning, and keep an open mind. We'll try to do the same.