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The Contender
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We are living in a Post-Truth World

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/4/2019 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 236 times Debate No: 123134
Debate Rounds (5)
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We are living in a post-truth world, A world in which objective facts are less influential in shaping our views than appeals to emotion, And personal belief.

Post-truth is a philosophical and political concept that refers to the disappearance of shared objective standards for truth and the circuitous slippage between facts or alt-facts, Knowledge, Opinion, Belief, And truth.

As discourse in America and the world has devolved into less an exchange of ideas, Or a building upon of ideas, It has transformed into a world where how one feels about a subject is more important than any underlying facts or truths about the subject. This has forced people to rely on shorthand emotions to explain their positions on topics, And to fall back into tribal mentality looking for a shared emotion rather than a development of position based on thought and the exploration of facts.

The so-called news channels spend more time promoting the opinions of the individuals, Rather than the institutions that have put in time and effort researching and studying material.

We defend our positions based on concepts like "morals". Morals in-and-of-themselves are not logical. Morals embody emotions and opinions that don't necessarily have a logical ground. What we look for, And what we believe has morphed from being on truth to truthiness, Lies which feel right in the gut. People believe in lies because it makes them feel good, In other words lies are opium of the people, Because reality is too hard to swallow.

In a post-truth world, People exert an assertion of ideological supremacy by which its practitioners try to compel someone to believe something regardless of the evidence. One has to look no further than the debates on DDO, The political climate in America and elsewhere, Or the conversations we have about politics and religion and culture with our friends and neighbors to find evidence on this.


I'm going to try my best to respond to your argument however, I must qualify that I am unsure of the type of stance you are taking. Is it an absolute or relative statement? I mean the following:
Imagine a glass of water with some poison mixed in. Enough to kill you. To simplify ill assign an arbitrary number system. Assume poison level 5 would kill you and the water starts at level 10 but is being diluted over time by adding clean water to a point where it is finally at a level where the poison level drops to (say) 1. As an absolute statement, Regardless of how much you dilute the poisoned water by adding more, It will always be poisoned. If I make the statement, This is poisoned water even if the level is 0. 001, It is a factually accurate statement.
If you are making an absolute statement such as the above, It would be impossible to argue with you because even 1 example, Which wouldn't be hard to find, Would corroborate your position irrefutably.

I am therefore going to assume you are taking a relative stance. Now my issue here is, Relative to what? In order to actually debate something, I am going to argue that it is relative to our history/time. I will draw on one example which I believe speaks the strongest to my refutation, Being religion.

Religion, In my opinion, Stems its existence from this concept of post-truth. I will point out two positions of refutation:
1) The degree to which religion in itself is a post-truth doctrine is diminishing.
2) The impact that this post-truth doctrine is having on the general population is diminishing.

1) Post-truth religion
When Copernicus presented to the Catholic church that the earth orbits the sun and is not the center of the universe, He was ordered killed and all his works destroyed.
30 years ago, The catholic church still denied evolution. However, Truth and fact have had the catholic church change their minds. As time passes, Knowledge and fact are continuously diminishing the dogmatic position of religion. It is cornering religion into a space where they can only argue from things which are still unknown. And with every passing year, Religion is aligning belief more and more with fact. 100 years ago, Darwinian evolution had already shown that the earth must be millions of years old but the church did not accept this and stuck to their 10000 year theory. Now, It is only the small minority of followers in church who dogmatically believe this despite being aware of available fact. Of course there is still a very large proportion of people who are ignorant of the facts and unknowingly believe their position due to being unaware of the volume of facts available.

2) Diminishing impact
Every year, The proportion of agnostic and atheist populations grow. 200 years ago, Every single person in Europe was religious and all you need do is walk through the cities of Europe to wonder and the amount of churches in this continent. Now they are being converted to residential accommodation because not only is religion subsiding in relativistic terms, But in absolute. The actual number is going down in developed worlds where truth is available to everyone.

I chose religion because it is probably the largest influence of all post-truthedness. Religion has formed the basis of politics in all nations for centuries.

The nice thing is, As technology improves and more knowledge is accumulated, It becomes a lot harder for people to be ignorant and share that ignorance. In my youth, Everything you learnt was that presented to you by your educator with little alternative. Nowadays, Every person with access to the Internet has the opportunity to fact-check and so many do. You can hardly make a fact-statement today without one of your friends googling to verify that it is indeed true. The culture is changing and improving.

The downside to this technology is the equal airtime of these post-truthers. An example is a documentary I watched a few months ago on Netflix on flat earth. It appears compelling and if you watch it, You get the impression that flat earthers are rife throughout the globe. They aren't. If i remember correctly, There were less than 10k flat earthers, But every single person you speak to has heard and are probably pretty well versed about their position and argument. Before this technological boom, Nobody would even have known they existed.

The planet is getting better at discerning fact from fiction and although in absolute terms, Your statement may be true, The position is diminishing. Its getting better and the truth is replacing dogma surely (and not slowly). Well I say that, Not slowly is also relative. I mean to say that the rate at which fact is replacing dogma is accelerating due to the weakening positions dogma can take and the diminishing proportions of people who are willing to accept it.
Debate Round No. 1


I would argue relativistic, But to the point that truth and facts matter less today than they ever have by a wide margin. And that they have less influence on people than ever.

Religion is an interesting case study for Post-Truth, But I think it is a bad example. The nature of religion is that it has always had to adjust to reflect people of the time - and I would argue that this lack of adjustment is what has lead to a lot of the churches become less prevalent in peoples lives.

Religion's relationship with truth has always been based on five functions: proclamation, Rationality, Compassion, Transformation, And wonder/mystery. Religion has always been adaptive.

But it has always been about belief as well, And belonging. These have lead to religion becoming a big part of the post-truth narrative.

To me, This begs the questions, What is the relationship between faith, Reason and politics. Is there something about religious ways of reasoning and speaking more generally, Perhaps, That goes against the virtue of truthfulness? Does religion weaken the habits of fact-checking and making sure what you say is well supported by evidence " the procedures so central to society"s healthy functioning and trust? Do religions, With their stories which are taken by faith and (normally) not through evidence based reasoning, Damage people"s sensibilities for detecting stories that are not verified, Or even proven false, And hence do not deserve to be trusted?

According to the late Cambridge philosopher Bernard Williams, The all-important virtue of truthfulness is constituted by two other virtues, "Accuracy and Sincerity: you do the best you can to acquire true beliefs, And what you say reveals what you believe". Now, It is difficult and sometimes unethical to judge other people"s sincerity in what they say they believe. Accuracy, However, Or doing one"s best to acquire true beliefs, Is normally understood as encompassing adherence to communally well-established procedures of fact-checking and relating one"s assertions with what she has enough evidence for. On the one hand, In most religions, Including Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Being truthful is regarded as a very important, Even central virtue. On the other hand, It seems that some of the central faith-claims of those same religions " again, Including the Abrahamic ones " are, From today"s standpoint at least, Not based on strong historical or scientific evidence. In fact, Most often faith-claims do not seem to be a result of evidence based reasoning in any straightforward sense at all (which is why we call them "faith-claims" in the first place, One might add), At least not in a sense of "evidence" similar to how we normally use this concept in everyday disputes about facts, Or in a court of law, Or in science.

We once lived in a world in which people would say that you"re entitled to your own opinions, Just not to your own facts. But now we seem to live in a world where one"s opinions constitute one"s facts, With no tolerance for age-old methods of rational inquiry or judicious discernment, Particularly if it flies in the face of one"s pre-conceived ideologies. We all have ways of viewing the world and developing our respective ideologies and perspectives, But nowadays it seems that any time a person encounters information that runs counter to what one already thinks, It is quickly denounced as untrustworthy or intentionally biased, And is then dismissed with a celebratory flair, Often with a dose of hubris that would make even the devil blush.

And that is what makes this a post truth world
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by YorkLawFirm 2 years ago
I agree with you
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