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Atheism's Definition

creedhunt
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5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.
Graincruncher
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5/1/2015 1:25:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

I suggest you have one reason for thinking it and that reason is you don't like atheists.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

It's because there is a binary choice when it comes to doxastic positions; you either believe something or you don't. The etymology is irrelevant to the meaning of the term as it is used today but, regardless of that, it is most certainly from the root atheos - 'without a god' or 'godless' - which is itself a contrast against 'theos' which was the term for 'god'.

So whichever way you try and cut it, the above argument is invalid.


The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

Lack of theism requires a label because otherwise 'theism' itself has no meaning, lacking definition by contrast. Since it is a doxastic term - pertaining to belief, which is itself pertaining to conscious thought processes regarding the world - it would not be applicable to trees, oranges, gravity or indeed anything other than a conscious being that lacked belief in god.

You're going to have to go back to the drawing board here too, I'm afraid. Especially because it's not exactly tricky to show precisely why atheism must be applied in the sense you're arguing against, if it is to have any meaning.
Welfare-Worker
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5/1/2015 1:27:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Theism - belief in god.
Atheism - belief in no-god
Agnostic - lacking the knowledge for belief of god, or no-god.
Welfare-Worker
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5/1/2015 1:29:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:25:48 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

I suggest you have one reason for thinking it and that reason is you don't like atheists.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

It's because there is a binary choice when it comes to doxastic positions; you either believe something or you don't. The etymology is irrelevant to the meaning of the term as it is used today but, regardless of that, it is most certainly from the root atheos - 'without a god' or 'godless' - which is itself a contrast against 'theos' which was the term for 'god'.

So whichever way you try and cut it, the above argument is invalid.


The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

Lack of theism requires a label because otherwise 'theism' itself has no meaning, lacking definition by contrast. Since it is a doxastic term - pertaining to belief, which is itself pertaining to conscious thought processes regarding the world - it would not be applicable to trees, oranges, gravity or indeed anything other than a conscious being that lacked belief in god.

You're going to have to go back to the drawing board here too, I'm afraid. Especially because it's not exactly tricky to show precisely why atheism must be applied in the sense you're arguing against, if it is to have any meaning.

False dilemma, pure and simple.
There are three choices, not two.
Graincruncher
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5/1/2015 1:33:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:29:21 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:25:48 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

I suggest you have one reason for thinking it and that reason is you don't like atheists.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

It's because there is a binary choice when it comes to doxastic positions; you either believe something or you don't. The etymology is irrelevant to the meaning of the term as it is used today but, regardless of that, it is most certainly from the root atheos - 'without a god' or 'godless' - which is itself a contrast against 'theos' which was the term for 'god'.

So whichever way you try and cut it, the above argument is invalid.


The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

Lack of theism requires a label because otherwise 'theism' itself has no meaning, lacking definition by contrast. Since it is a doxastic term - pertaining to belief, which is itself pertaining to conscious thought processes regarding the world - it would not be applicable to trees, oranges, gravity or indeed anything other than a conscious being that lacked belief in god.

You're going to have to go back to the drawing board here too, I'm afraid. Especially because it's not exactly tricky to show precisely why atheism must be applied in the sense you're arguing against, if it is to have any meaning.

False dilemma, pure and simple.
There are three choices, not two.

Nope, no banana for you I'm afraid. Try again.

Atheism/theism is a doxastic position. Agnostic/gnostic is a epistemic one. When it comes to a particular issue - god, sport, sandwiches - you have to take a position in both; you either believe something to exist/not exist and you either claim to know that belief is right or you do not. You can't believe something does/doesn't exist but not know whether you know it or not (if you aren't sure, you don't claim knowledge) and it is wholly unintelligible to claim that you either have or lack knowledge about something but not know whether you believe that thing exists or not (if you aren't sure, you don't believe).
Welfare-Worker
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5/1/2015 1:45:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:33:16 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:29:21 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:25:48 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

I suggest you have one reason for thinking it and that reason is you don't like atheists.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

It's because there is a binary choice when it comes to doxastic positions; you either believe something or you don't. The etymology is irrelevant to the meaning of the term as it is used today but, regardless of that, it is most certainly from the root atheos - 'without a god' or 'godless' - which is itself a contrast against 'theos' which was the term for 'god'.

So whichever way you try and cut it, the above argument is invalid.


The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

Lack of theism requires a label because otherwise 'theism' itself has no meaning, lacking definition by contrast. Since it is a doxastic term - pertaining to belief, which is itself pertaining to conscious thought processes regarding the world - it would not be applicable to trees, oranges, gravity or indeed anything other than a conscious being that lacked belief in god.

You're going to have to go back to the drawing board here too, I'm afraid. Especially because it's not exactly tricky to show precisely why atheism must be applied in the sense you're arguing against, if it is to have any meaning.

False dilemma, pure and simple.
There are three choices, not two.

Nope, no banana for you I'm afraid. Try again.

Atheism/theism is a doxastic position. Agnostic/gnostic is a epistemic one. When it comes to a particular issue - god, sport, sandwiches - you have to take a position in both; you either believe something to exist/not exist and you either claim to know that belief is right or you do not. You can't believe something does/doesn't exist but not know whether you know it or not (if you aren't sure, you don't claim knowledge) and it is wholly unintelligible to claim that you either have or lack knowledge about something but not know whether you believe that thing exists or not (if you aren't sure, you don't believe).

So If I understand you correctly, you want us to buy into your belief system, basic axioms, to arrive at a usable meaning for 'Atheism'.
This would better suit your purposes.
You view is rather unusual, and I see no justification for taking your position.
So, what is your justification?
Welfare-Worker
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5/1/2015 1:51:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:33:16 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:29:21 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:25:48 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

I suggest you have one reason for thinking it and that reason is you don't like atheists.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

It's because there is a binary choice when it comes to doxastic positions; you either believe something or you don't. The etymology is irrelevant to the meaning of the term as it is used today but, regardless of that, it is most certainly from the root atheos - 'without a god' or 'godless' - which is itself a contrast against 'theos' which was the term for 'god'.

So whichever way you try and cut it, the above argument is invalid.


The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

Lack of theism requires a label because otherwise 'theism' itself has no meaning, lacking definition by contrast. Since it is a doxastic term - pertaining to belief, which is itself pertaining to conscious thought processes regarding the world - it would not be applicable to trees, oranges, gravity or indeed anything other than a conscious being that lacked belief in god.

You're going to have to go back to the drawing board here too, I'm afraid. Especially because it's not exactly tricky to show precisely why atheism must be applied in the sense you're arguing against, if it is to have any meaning.

False dilemma, pure and simple.
There are three choices, not two.

Nope, no banana for you I'm afraid. Try again.

Atheism/theism is a doxastic position. Agnostic/gnostic is a epistemic one. When it comes to a particular issue - god, sport, sandwiches - you have to take a position in both; you either believe something to exist/not exist and you either claim to know that belief is right or you do not. You can't believe something does/doesn't exist but not know whether you know it or not (if you aren't sure, you don't claim knowledge) and it is wholly unintelligible to claim that you either have or lack knowledge about something but not know whether you believe that thing exists or not (if you aren't sure, you don't believe).

I found this helpful, showing you made a particular choice in the use of the term Atheist, and want us to join you in that usage.
You pick a particular kind atheism, and want to use that meaning universally.

Atheism, put simply, is the view that God does not exist.
Cognitive atheism entails that, owing to the direction of the overall available evidence, people should believe that God does not exist. Doxastic atheism, in contrast, entails that one actually believes that God does not exist.

A dox-astic atheist can say: I believe that God does not exist, but I have no view regarding the status of the overall available evidence regarding God"s existence. A person could thus be a doxastic atheist without being a cognitive atheist. Cognitive atheists about God, however, are logically required to recommend doxastic atheism about God, at least on cognitive grounds, even if they fail at times actually to believe that God does not exist. In the history of philosophy,
Graincruncher
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5/1/2015 2:08:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Wow. Where to start?

First of all, I'm not asking you to buy in to anything other than semantic coherence. Consider the following statements:

1) I believe there is a god but don't know if I claim to know it or not.
2) I know there is a god but I don't know if I believe there is one or not.

If you claim something as an item of knowledge, you cannot coherently claim that you don't know whether you claim that thing as an item of knowledge or not. The only coherent options for "I believe there is a god" are "I believe there is a god and I claim it as an item of knowledge" or "I believe there is a god but I don't claim it as an item of knowledge". These translate to gnostic theism and agnostic theism.

If you claim an item of knowledge, you cannot coherently claim that you don't know what belief that item of knowledge relates to. To do so would be complete nonsense.

So, that cleared up (I hope, at least - it isn't particularly complicated), that should clarify that I'm not asking you to buy into anything. Unless you feel that "thinking about what can meaningfully be said" is something you need to buy into, in which case we've got a whole other, bigger and more fundamental problem that needs to be addressed.

It only suits my purposes because, as is often the case, more of the discussion is wasted by people failing to understand what can and cannot meaningfully be said than on actually progressing the intended subject matter. If this is not a purpose you share, we again have a much more significant problem that needs addressing.

Atheism is both doxastic and cognitive - to use your terms - just as theism is. You either hold the belief that god exists or you do not. You either claim to be certain of your position regarding that belief or you do not. There is no triad of options because both belief and knowledge claims are binary positions which, when combined, provide us with the 2x2 matrix of gnostic theist, agnostic theist, gnostic atheist and agnostic atheist.

So my justification is that of semantic necessity. If you disagree with that then, by definition, you're not going to be able to sustain a meaningful debate because you're not operating within the parameters for such; coherent semantic space.
creedhunt
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5/1/2015 2:53:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:25:48 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
I suggest you have one reason for thinking it and that reason is you don't like atheists.


No, I consider the position to very possibly be valid, I just think that there is a semantic necessity for a term regarding the belief in the lack of god, and less of one regarding the lack of belief in god.


It's because there is a binary choice when it comes to doxastic positions; you either believe something or you don't. The etymology is irrelevant to the meaning of the term as it is used today but, regardless of that, it is most certainly from the root atheos - 'without a god' or 'godless' - which is itself a contrast against 'theos' which was the term for 'god'.

So whichever way you try and cut it, the above argument is invalid.


I don't quite understand what you are saying here. I would completely agree that the word should and does refer to a belief in a godless worldview. I'm also saying that with the doxastic positions of theism and non theism, the non-theism should not have the label of atheism. I think this, because there is another binary choice here: one either believes that no God exists, or they do not. Besides atheism, what term do we have for such a belief? I may very well just be misinterpreting your words though, so sorry if that is the case.

Also, I do agree that the etymology shouldn't be relevant, I was merely countering a common argument for the usage you suggest.


Lack of theism requires a label because otherwise 'theism' itself has no meaning, lacking definition by contrast. Since it is a doxastic term - pertaining to belief, which is itself pertaining to conscious thought processes regarding the world - it would not be applicable to trees, oranges, gravity or indeed anything other than a conscious being that lacked belief in god.

You're going to have to go back to the drawing board here too, I'm afraid. Especially because it's not exactly tricky to show precisely why atheism must be applied in the sense you're arguing against, if it is to have any meaning.


I would disagree with this." Joe Biden" has meaning without there being a word for the absense of Joe Biden. We can apply the same reasoning to almost all things. Belief is a thing, with traits. It is true that there either is a belief or there isn't one, but that, I think, goes along perfectly with what I'm saying. If there is not theism, then there is a lack of theism. if a person believes in faries, we can understand that well without a term describing it's absense. Why would this reasoning not apply to non-concious beings? We would certainly have to add to your definition of atheism for this to be true in anything other than a connotative sense.
Fkkize
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5/1/2015 2:56:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

""Atheism" means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God."
http://plato.stanford.edu...
This is the definition used in professional philosophy. The "lack-of-belief" thing is more of a new atheist story.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Welfare-Worker
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5/1/2015 3:18:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 2:08:29 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
Wow. Where to start?

First of all, I'm not asking you to buy in to anything other than semantic coherence. Consider the following statements:

1) I believe there is a god but don't know if I claim to know it or not.
2) I know there is a god but I don't know if I believe there is one or not.

If you claim something as an item of knowledge, you cannot coherently claim that you don't know whether you claim that thing as an item of knowledge or not. The only coherent options for "I believe there is a god" are "I believe there is a god and I claim it as an item of knowledge" or "I believe there is a god but I don't claim it as an item of knowledge". These translate to gnostic theism and agnostic theism.

If you claim an item of knowledge, you cannot coherently claim that you don't know what belief that item of knowledge relates to. To do so would be complete nonsense.

Okay so your two statements you asked me to consider, are, not reasonable, not logic, are not knowledge carrying statements.

So, that cleared up (I hope, at least - it isn't particularly complicated), that should clarify that I'm not asking you to buy into anything. Unless you feel that "thinking about what can meaningfully be said" is something you need to buy into, in which case we've got a whole other, bigger and more fundamental problem that needs to be addressed.

It only suits my purposes because, as is often the case, more of the discussion is wasted by people failing to understand what can and cannot meaningfully be said than on actually progressing the intended subject matter. If this is not a purpose you share, we again have a much more significant problem that needs addressing.

Atheism is both doxastic and cognitive - to use your terms - just as theism is.

Well, this seems to be a bit different than
"Atheism/theism is a doxastic position. Agnostic/gnostic is a epistemic one "
What you meant was, 'Atheism.theism can be a doxastic position."
One is an imperative (is), the other is conditional (can be). Imperatives and conditionals are not at all the same.
You have switched horses midstream.

You either hold the belief that god exists or you do not. You either claim to be certain of your position regarding that belief or you do not. There is no triad of options because both belief and knowledge claims are binary positions which, when combined, provide us with the 2x2 matrix of gnostic theist, agnostic theist, gnostic :atheist and agnostic atheist.

No, no banana for you.
it seems to me you confuse belief and knowledge.
Knowledge is justified true belief, and it is binary, toggle, yes or no.
A belief on the other hand, lacks certainty, is not binary.
Many times we are asked what we believe about something, and we reply that we just do not know. This is a common occurrence. Do you disagree?

I can have no knowledge of god, in which case I have no belief of god.
I can know about god, have knowledge that such exists.
I can know about god, have a belief that such does not exist.
I can know about god, and lack the knowledge to say god, or no-god.
So your binary is now a four position, although that first one is hypothetical.


So my justification is that of semantic necessity. If you disagree with that then, by definition, you're not going to be able to sustain a meaningful debate because :you're :not operating within the parameters for such; coherent semantic space.

See, there is the problem.
There is no semantic imperative to have only two positions, when four are possible.
You have not shown only two are possible, you only claim that, and I refuted.

Here is what I said:
Theism - belief in god.
Atheism - belief in no-god
Agnostic - lacking the knowledge for belief of god, or no-god.

So how is that that my usage of 'Atheism' does not accurately describe your position?
Do you lack a belief in no-god? Then you are an Agnostic.

I saw someone say to a Theist that they must let Atheists define themselves, and that person wanted to include these so called 'soft atheists', as atheists.
I told that to a friend of mine, and he was not happy.
'How do they think they have the right to define what I call myself?" he asked.
"I am not an Atheist, I am an Agnostic." I believe he made a good point.
Graincruncher
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5/1/2015 3:50:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 3:18:59 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
Well, this seems to be a bit different than
"Atheism/theism is a doxastic position. Agnostic/gnostic is a epistemic one "
What you meant was, 'Atheism.theism can be a doxastic position."
One is an imperative (is), the other is conditional (can be). Imperatives and conditionals are not at all the same.
You have switched horses midstream.

No, it necessarily is. By definition; theism is having a belief in god. That makes it a doxastic matter.


You either hold the belief that god exists or you do not. You either claim to be certain of your position regarding that belief or you do not. There is no triad of options because both belief and knowledge claims are binary positions which, when combined, provide us with the 2x2 matrix of gnostic theist, agnostic theist, gnostic :atheist and agnostic atheist.

No, no banana for you.
it seems to me you confuse belief and knowledge.
Knowledge is justified true belief, and it is binary, toggle, yes or no.
A belief on the other hand, lacks certainty, is not binary.
Many times we are asked what we believe about something, and we reply that we just do not know. This is a common occurrence. Do you disagree?

I urge you to heed your own words when you say "knowledge is justified true belief". I point you most heavily towards the last word there. We are either certain in a belief (claim to know it) or we do not. Knowledge is a type of belief, considered to have special status due to the corresponding degree of certainty. So it is possible to distinguish between "I believe X might be true" and "I believe X is definitely true", which is the agnostic/gnostic pairing.

I would also disagree with that being a common occurrence or even remotely relevant to the discussion; colloquial casual use is not really indicative of what is taking place. If you don't know what to believe, you have not accepted any of the options presented to you. You therefore don't hold those beliefs. This is agnostic atheism.


I can have no knowledge of god, in which case I have no belief of god.
I can know about god, have knowledge that such exists.
I can know about god, have a belief that such does not exist.
I can know about god, and lack the knowledge to say god, or no-god.
So your binary is now a four position, although that first one is hypothetical.

You've just randomly mangled together pairings there. The 4th is two knowledge statements, for example. It says nothing of belief. Do you disagree that you either do or don't believe in god and either do or don't claim knowledge to such an end?

See, there is the problem.
There is no semantic imperative to have only two positions, when four are possible.
You have not shown only two are possible, you only claim that, and I refuted.

I've been giving four all along. That's the whole point I've been making.


Here is what I said:
Theism - belief in god.
Atheism - belief in no-god
Agnostic - lacking the knowledge for belief of god, or no-god.

So how is that that my usage of 'Atheism' does not accurately describe your position?
Do you lack a belief in no-god? Then you are an Agnostic.

I know what you said. It was wrong and poorly thought-out then and it hasn't improved much with repetition. You cannot be 'just agnostic' because you have to be agnostic with regard to something and - remember your justified true belief? - that something has to be a belief.


I saw someone say to a Theist that they must let Atheists define themselves, and that person wanted to include these so called 'soft atheists', as atheists.
I told that to a friend of mine, and he was not happy.
'How do they think they have the right to define what I call myself?" he asked.
"I am not an Atheist, I am an Agnostic." I believe he made a good point.

He can declare himself a fish, for all I care. He's not going to change the fundamental nature of linguistics or logic, no matter what he says. Just because he's your friend doesn't mean he gets magic powers and can't be wrong.
Welfare-Worker
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5/1/2015 5:35:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 3:50:31 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/1/2015 3:18:59 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
Well, this seems to be a bit different than
"Atheism/theism is a doxastic position. Agnostic/gnostic is a epistemic one "
What you meant was, 'Atheism.theism can be a doxastic position."
One is an imperative (is), the other is conditional (can be). Imperatives and conditionals are not at all the same.
You have switched horses midstream.

No, it necessarily is. By definition; theism is having a belief in god. That makes it a doxastic matter.

I don't believe anyone has disagreement about Theism.
It is the Atheism issue we are trying to resolve, and Agnostic.
Given the question 'Do you believe in god?' - Or alternately, the question 'Do you believe in no-god?'there are three possible answers.
Yes, No, I do not know.
So, try to stay on track.

You either hold the belief that god exists or you do not. You either claim to be certain of your position regarding that belief or you do not. There is no triad of options because both belief and knowledge claims are binary positions which, when combined, provide us with the 2x2 matrix of gnostic theist, agnostic theist, gnostic :atheist and agnostic atheist.

No, no banana for you.
it seems to me you confuse belief and knowledge.
Knowledge is justified true belief, and it is binary, toggle, yes or no.
A belief on the other hand, lacks certainty, is not binary.
Many times we are asked what we believe about something, and we reply that we just do not know. This is a common occurrence. Do you disagree?

I urge you to heed your own words when you say "knowledge is justified true belief". I point you most heavily towards the last word there. We are either certain in a belief (claim to know it) or we do not. Knowledge is a type of belief, considered to have special status due to the corresponding degree of certainty. So it is possible to distinguish between "I believe X might be true" and "I believe X is definitely true", which is the agnostic/gnostic pairing.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
No disagreement on Theism, not the same for Atheism.


I would also disagree with that being a common occurrence or even remotely relevant to the discussion; colloquial casual use is not really indicative of what is taking place. If you don't know what to believe, you have not accepted any of the options presented to you. You therefore don't hold those beliefs. This is agnostic atheism.

You now want to claim Agnostics have no beliefs concerning god??
That is just bizarre.
Agnostics have beliefs concerning god.
One belief is there may be a god, and a competing belief, there may be no-god.
They believe both of these things, or they would not be Agnostics.
Agnostics lack knowledge, not beliefs.


I can have no knowledge of god, in which case I have no belief of god.
I can know about god, have knowledge that such exists.
I can know about god, have a belief that such does not exist.
I can know about god, and lack the knowledge to say god, or no-god.
So your binary is now a four position, although that first one is hypothetical.

You've just randomly mangled together pairings there. The 4th is two :knowledge statements, for example. It says nothing of belief.

Listen banana man, knowledge is justified true belief, so the phrase "lack the knowledge" means, there is no knowledge - there is only belief.
The only knowledge statement in #4 is about the potential existence of god.

Do you disagree that you either do or don't believe in god and either do or don't claim knowledge to such an end?

Of course I disagree.
That would be denying the Agnostic position.
The Agnostic says 'I have knowledge of the god issue, and I lack the knowledge to make a judgment for god, or for no-god. I have the belief that either is possible.

See, there is the problem.
There is no semantic imperative to have only two positions, when four are possible.
You have not shown only two are possible, you only claim that, and I refuted.

I've been giving four all along. That's the whole point I've been making.

Oh, then you have been agreeing with me all along. Great.

Here is what I said:
Theism - belief in god.
Atheism - belief in no-god
Agnostic - lacking the knowledge for belief of god, or no-god.

So how is that that my usage of 'Atheism' does not accurately describe your position?
Do you lack a belief in no-god? Then you are an Agnostic.

I know what you said. It was wrong and poorly thought-out then and it hasn't improved much with repetition. You cannot be 'just agnostic' because you have to be agnostic with regard to something and - remember your justified true belief? - that something has to be a belief.

Agnostic means literally, 'without knowledge'. [A] without, [gnostic] knowledge. You seem to be aware of that, yet....
You insist that Agnostics have to have knowledge about god, or no-god.
The only justified true belief they have concerning god, is that god is possible and no-god is possible, and they do not know which.

I saw someone say to a Theist that they must let Atheists define themselves, and that person wanted to include these so called 'soft atheists', as atheists.
I told that to a friend of mine, and he was not happy.
'How do they think they have the right to define what I call myself?" he asked.
"I am not an Atheist, I am an Agnostic." I believe he made a good point.

He can declare himself a fish, for all I care. He's not going to change the fundamental nature of linguistics or logic, no matter what he says. Just because he's your friend doesn't mean he gets magic powers and can't be wrong.

Oh, but you do.
No bananas.
Death23
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5/1/2015 8:15:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

We can't choose how words are defined. Even if we could, I don't think your first reason is a good one. A good reason should be pragmatic, notwithstanding etymological concerns. I agree that atheism should refer exclusively to a belief that there is no god. It's a specific position on the issue that many people hold.

It seems that some atheists are trying to avoid popular disdain for their positions by attempting to redefine atheism to include agnostics and other less controversial religious groups. I think this is a cowardly route. The public is wrong for feeling this way about atheists. It is the public who is believing a lie. There is no god. People who rag on atheists for acknowledging the truth should be confronted.
creedhunt
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5/1/2015 9:54:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 8:15:25 PM, Death23 wrote:

We can't choose how words are defined. Even if we could, I don't think your first reason is a good one. A good reason should be pragmatic, notwithstanding etymological concerns. I agree that atheism should refer exclusively to a belief that there is no god. It's a specific position on the issue that many people hold.


A couple things here:

One, we, collectively, can choose how words are defined. If the collective we can't, then why not? If you are referring to a smaller form of "we" and are just referring to how unrealistic it is to suggest that such a post will contribute to change, I agree.

Two, the first "reason" was more of a response to a popular justification some people give to the alternate definition. I agree that etymology doesn't matter too much anyway, but if it did, the definition wouldn't be wrong.


It seems that some atheists are trying to avoid popular disdain for their positions by attempting to redefine atheism to include agnostics and other less controversial religious groups.

I don't know if it's a purposeful change to the definition. I think it might just be a popular misinterpretation of the word.

Also, you are sure you're right, they're sure they're right; you can't seriously be blaming everyone else for not holding the same religious position as you, can you? That seems a little short-sighted. As if there was some kind of malicious conspiracy against you.
Death23
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5/2/2015 1:30:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
One, we, collectively, can choose how words are defined. If the collective we [can], then why not? If you are referring to a smaller form of "we" and are just referring to how unrealistic it is to suggest that such a post will contribute to change, I agree.

Yes, I meant "we" as in the you, me, the readers, and the other participants in the thread. You assert that we can collectively agree to use the word in a particular sense, and then ask "why not?" However, I'm unable answer the "why not?" without knowing which mechanism for collective agreement you suggest. (e.g. an act of congress would be one mechanism for collective agreement, but congress has bigger fish to fry)

Also, you are sure you're right, they're sure they're right; you can't seriously be blaming everyone else for not holding the same religious position as you, can you? That seems a little short-sighted. As if there was some kind of malicious conspiracy against you.

Straw man.
Graincruncher
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5/2/2015 4:52:11 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 5:35:57 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
I don't believe anyone has disagreement about Theism.
It is the Atheism issue we are trying to resolve, and Agnostic.
Given the question 'Do you believe in god?' - Or alternately, the question 'Do you believe in no-god?'there are three possible answers.
Yes, No, I do not know.
So, try to stay on track.

The whole point - as just explained - is that "I don't know" isn't a coherent response to the question "do you believe X?". Either you believe it to be true - and are aware of this fact - or you don't. You can't believe something without being aware of it, so "I don't know" is a nonsense answer. You either do or you don't. Since if you did believe it you would necessarily be aware of it, any claim to be unsure is itself necessarily a "no I don't". You are suggesting that we can hold a belief and not be aware of doing so, even when asked to consider it.

Yadda, yadda, yadda.
No disagreement on Theism, not the same for Atheism.

Except you just did disagree. Oh, and it is the same for atheism because that term also pertains to belief states and is therefore doxastic in nature.

You now want to claim Agnostics have no beliefs concerning god??
That is just bizarre.
Agnostics have beliefs concerning god.
One belief is there may be a god, and a competing belief, there may be no-god.
They believe both of these things, or they would not be Agnostics.
Agnostics lack knowledge, not beliefs.

Okay, I'm going to assume that you're a bit slow and aren't just deliberately misunderstanding me here: no, I am not claiming that. I did not claim that. Read what I wrote again. My whole point is that agnostics not only do have belief positions concerning god, but that they necessarily must have belief positions concerning god. It is incoherent to argue they believe two opposing propositions. As I said, your position is defies both logical and semantic boundaries.

What do you call someone who has neither beliefs for nor against god, nor knowledge, under your setup? How do you refer to those who believe there is a god or believe there isn't a god, but don't claim to be certain in their belief?

It's nonsense, WW. It causes more problems than it proposes to resolve. Whatever those problems are, which you've not really articulated at all.

Listen banana man, knowledge is justified true belief, so the phrase "lack the knowledge" means, there is no knowledge - there is only belief.

And what about when there is also a lack of belief?

Of course I disagree.
That would be denying the Agnostic position.
The Agnostic says 'I have knowledge of the god issue, and I lack the knowledge to make a judgment for god, or for no-god. I have the belief that either is possible.

How does allowing for "I don't know" deny the agnostic position, exactly? "I believe X but don't consider it to be a justified true belief" is saying "I don't know". Agnostic quite patently doesn't mean they have knowledge of the god issue, it is saying they do not claim to know the answer to it. If someone didn't know of the god issue, what would you call them?

Oh, then you have been agreeing with me all along. Great.

I suppose your concession that you haven't been reading my posts properly is the first step to admitting you're talking out of your rear and don't really understand the issues at hand. Baby steps, but credit where it's due I suppose. Well done. I'm very proud.

Agnostic means literally, 'without knowledge'. [A] without, [gnostic] knowledge. You seem to be aware of that, yet....
You insist that Agnostics have to have knowledge about god, or no-god.

I do??? Where is that? Please quote me saying something to this end.

The only justified true belief they have concerning god, is that god is possible and no-god is possible, and they do not know which.

They know that they don't know, that is correct. As I've said, it doesn't make sense to say that someone would claim certainty with regard to a belief but not know that they claim that certainty. So they know whether they hold the proposition "there is a god" to be an item of certain belief or not. Since they're agnostics, they fall into the 'not' pile. You are the one arguing they don't have a belief with regard to it, so they know that they don't know but they don't know what belief this corresponds to. Again: incoherent.

Oh, but you do.
No bananas.

I suppose supernatural patience and the ability to put up with endless amounts of drivel might count as superpowers, but still no world-changing powers as would be required to dictate reality.
Welfare-Worker
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5/2/2015 7:59:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 4:52:11 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/1/2015 5:35:57 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
I don't believe anyone has disagreement about Theism.
It is the Atheism issue we are trying to resolve, and Agnostic.
Given the question 'Do you believe in god?' - Or alternately, the question 'Do you believe in no-god?'there are three possible answers.
Yes, No, I do not know.
So, try to stay on track.

The whole point - as just explained - is that "I don't know" isn't a coherent response to the question "do you believe X?". Either you believe it to be true - and are aware of this fact - or you don't. You can't believe something without being aware of it, so "I don't know" is a nonsense answer. You either do or you don't. Since if you did believe it you would necessarily be aware of it, any claim to be unsure is itself necessarily a "no I don't". You are suggesting that we can hold a belief and not be aware of doing so, even when asked to consider it.

So, agnostics are not coherent?
If someone asks me if it is going to rain today and I say 'I don't know." I am incoherent?
We all have beliefs about things that are indecisive, and we are not incoherent.

Yadda, yadda, yadda.
No disagreement on Theism, not the same for Atheism.

Except you just did disagree. Oh, and it is the same for atheism because that term also pertains to belief states and is therefore doxastic in nature.

Except, as you admit, it (doxastic position) can apply to atheism, but does not have to. That is a particular Atheistic position, not the Atheistic position.
There you go again confusing imperatives and conditionals.

You now want to claim Agnostics have no beliefs concerning god??
That is just bizarre.
Agnostics have beliefs concerning god.
One belief is there may be a god, and a competing belief, there may be no-god.
They believe both of these things, or they would not be Agnostics.
Agnostics lack knowledge, not beliefs.

Okay, I'm going to assume that you're a bit slow and aren't just deliberately misunderstanding me here: no, I am not claiming that. I did not claim that. Read what I wrote again. My whole point is that agnostics not only do have belief positions concerning god, but that they necessarily must have belief positions concerning god. It is incoherent to argue they believe two opposing propositions. As I said, your position is defies both logical and semantic boundaries.

There is nothing incoherent about saying 'I believe the Yankees may win the playoff, or they may lose.
I love baseball, I have been following it all season, I believe the Yankees have a great chance of winning, but I believe they could lose.'

What do you call someone who has neither beliefs for nor against god, nor knowledge, under your setup? How do you refer to those who believe there is a god or believe there isn't a god, but don't claim to be certain in their belief?

No beliefs for or against god? I call them disinterested. They have no stake in the game. They have no opinion on the issue. They do not care.
There is no label that applies to them concerning god.

Someone who believes there is a god, is a Theist.
Someone who believes there is no-god,, is an Atheist.
They are not required to have justification. We are allowed to believe things as true, without justification.
We can have firm beliefs, without knowledge.
A belief lacks knowledge.

You say "How do you refer to those who ....don't claim to be certain in their belief"
Well, there are two possible answers.
You have told us that you think it is incoherent to say "I do not know which is true", so "How do you refer to those who believe there is a god or believe there isn't a god, but don't claim to be certain in their belief?" must refer to two people, one believes there is a god, the other believes there is no-god.
So, one is a Theist.
The other is an Atheist.
Neither is an Agnostic, since they both express firm beliefs.
Lacking knowledge does not change their beliefs.

It's nonsense, WW. It causes more problems than it proposes to resolve. Whatever those problems are, which you've not really articulated at all.

The problem is, many Agnostics do like to be referred to as Atheists, since they themselves do not consider themselves to be Atheists.

Listen banana man, knowledge is justified true belief, so the phrase "lack the knowledge" means, there is no knowledge - there is only belief.

And what about when there is also a lack of belief?

A lack of belief?
Disinterested.
Not a stakeholder.
Unconcerned.
No label necessary, except the above or similar.

Of course I disagree.
That would be denying the Agnostic position.
The Agnostic says 'I have knowledge of the god issue, and I lack the knowledge to make a judgment for god, or for no-god. I have the belief that either is possible.

How does allowing for "I don't know" deny the agnostic position, exactly? "I believe X but don't consider it to be a justified true belief" is saying "I don't know". Agnostic quite patently doesn't mean they have knowledge of the god issue, it is saying they do not claim to know the answer to it. If someone didn't know of the god issue, what would you call them?

What?
If you say we can have Theists, Atheists, and Agnostics, then there is no problem.
It seems to me you want to say there are only Theists, and various flavors of Atheists. That denies Agnosticism.

Oh, then you have been agreeing with me all along. Great.

I suppose your concession that you haven't been reading my posts properly is the first step to admitting you're talking out of your rear and don't really understand the issues at hand. Baby steps, but credit where it's due I suppose. Well done. I'm very proud.

Agnostic means literally, 'without knowledge'. [A] without, [gnostic] knowledge. You seem to be aware of that, yet....
You insist that Agnostics have to have knowledge about god, or no-god.

I do??? Where is that? Please quote me saying something to this end.

The only justified true belief they have concerning god, is that god is possible and no-god is possible, and they do not know which.

They know that they don't know, that is correct. As I've said, it doesn't make sense to say that someone would claim certainty with regard to a belief but not know that they claim that certainty. So they know whether they hold the proposition "there is a god" to be an item of certain belief or not. Since they're agnostics, they fall into the 'not' pile. You are the one arguing they don't have a belief with regard to it, so they know that they don't know but they don't know what belief this corresponds to. Again: incoherent.

Here is the bottom line.
Many Agnostics say they are not Atheists, and you want to tell them they are wrong.
In your opinion, they must consider themselves to be Atheists, against their objections.
They and I say they have a belief about god, and that belief is that god may exist.
They and I say they have a belief about no-god, and that belief is that no-god may be true.
They lack knowledge concerning these issue.

Oh, but you do.
No bananas.

I suppose supernatural patience and the ability to put up with endless amounts of drivel might count as superpowers, but still no world-changing powers as would be required to dictate reality.
Otokage
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5/2/2015 8:50:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

Not sure why atheists would let you define them? Shouldn't be them the ones doing that? And btw there's virtualy no diference between "the lack of belief in God" and "not believing in God's existence".
Welfare-Worker
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5/2/2015 8:59:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 8:50:06 AM, Otokage wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

Not sure why atheists would let you define them? Shouldn't be them the ones doing that? And btw there's virtualy no diference between "the lack of belief in God" and "not believing in God's existence".

"the belief in the absence of god" is not the same as either one of those.
A belief in no-god is distinctly different than a 'lack of', or 'not believing', belief
Shouldn't Agnostics get to define themselves?
Otokage
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5/2/2015 9:13:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 8:59:46 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/2/2015 8:50:06 AM, Otokage wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

Not sure why atheists would let you define them? Shouldn't be them the ones doing that? And btw there's virtualy no diference between "the lack of belief in God" and "not believing in God's existence".

"the belief in the absence of god" is not the same as either one of those.
A belief in no-god is distinctly different than a 'lack of', or 'not believing', belief
Shouldn't Agnostics get to define themselves?

It would be a belief in the absence of godS, to begin with. And yes, it's still the same.
Welfare-Worker
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5/2/2015 9:45:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 9:13:54 AM, Otokage wrote:
At 5/2/2015 8:59:46 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/2/2015 8:50:06 AM, Otokage wrote:
At 5/1/2015 1:15:27 PM, creedhunt wrote:
Atheism should be generally defined as "The belief in the absence of a god". I have a couple of reasons for thinking this.

One reason that some people define atheism as a lack of belief in a god, is because of the etymological structure. They say that since theism refers to a belief in god, then "(a)theism" should be the absence of that. This could easily be taken the other way, however. "(Athe)ism" makes the emphasis on the absence of God, rather than the belief. I am not entirely sure if I am clear, so let me know if that deserves more of an explanation.

The other key reason is that "the belief in the absence of god" is clearly an idea that merits a word, whereas "the lack of theism" does not need to be labeled. If I want to convey that I'm not a theist, but I don't discredit some ideas of God, then I would have to explain that further, with or without the use of the word "atheism". On the other hand, if I wanted to convey the fact that I thought that no God exists, then the use of a single and concise word such as atheism could easily convey that message. Now, on debates about atheism, a significant amount of time is wasted on this word choice. Debates will largely be entirely wasted on this simple communication error. The other way of defining atheism just results in the term being next to useless. Trees, oranges, and gravity can all be considered atheism, if we are to use that definition.

Not sure why atheists would let you define them? Shouldn't be them the ones doing that? And btw there's virtualy no diference between "the lack of belief in God" and "not believing in God's existence".

"the belief in the absence of god" is not the same as either one of those.
A belief in no-god is distinctly different than a 'lack of', or 'not believing', belief
Shouldn't Agnostics get to define themselves?

It would be a belief in the absence of godS, to begin with. And yes, it's still the same.

If I "lack a belief in snipes" - I have no thoughts about them, uninformed, no opinion.
If I am "not believing in snipes" - One could say it means, a belief there are none.
If you want to say it means a belief there are none, this is the same as "the belief in the absence of snipes".
A lack of belief makes no claim, positive or negative, and is not the same as a belief, which is a positive claim.
The second is the assertion, that something does not exist, the first is simply no belief.
A very significant difference.
creedhunt
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5/2/2015 1:52:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 1:30:41 AM, Death23 wrote:

Yes, I meant "we" as in the you, me, the readers, and the other participants in the thread. You assert that we can collectively agree to use the word in a particular sense, and then ask "why not?" However, I'm unable answer the "why not?" without knowing which mechanism for collective agreement you suggest. (e.g. an act of congress would be one mechanism for collective agreement, but congress has bigger fish to fry)


Okay you seem to be misunderstanding me. I'm not actually advocating for change, but rather stating a connotative "ideal". People, English speakers, can change the word's definition, and they won't. I'm throwing the idea of the alternative definition some people use around.


Straw man.

What was your actual position? You said that people simply refuse to acknowledge that your position is obviously true, and that was unjust, no? If i'm mistaken, I'd like to know.
creedhunt
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5/2/2015 2:06:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 8:50:06 AM, Otokage wrote:

Not sure why atheists would let you define them? Shouldn't be them the ones doing that? And btw there's virtualy no diference between "the lack of belief in God" and "not believing in God's existence".

Yeah, sorry, I didn't understand any of that.

Atheism is a word. The atheists in question are whomever the definition says they are. Following this new "lack of belief in god" definition, I could be considered an atheist. I do not believe that a god does not exist. That seems like semantic garbage to me.

I am talking about the distinction between a belief in a non-god world, and no belief in a world with a god.
Death23
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5/2/2015 3:02:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Okay you seem to be misunderstanding me. I'm not actually advocating for change, but rather stating a connotative "ideal". People, English speakers, can change the word's definition, and they won't. I'm throwing the idea of the alternative definition some people use around.

You are advocating for change. Current dictionaries list the meaning you don't like. (e.g. Oxford English dictionary: "A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods" http://www.oxforddictionaries.com... )

You state the following:

we, collectively, can choose how words are defined.

I ask you how. You say this:

People, English speakers, can change the word's definition

I ask again: How?

I share your desire to have "atheism" refer exclusively to the belief that there is no god. You ask for this change and ask "why not?", but I am unable to answer that question without understanding by which mechanism that change would occur. I asked you to describe this mechanism for change so that I could answer your question, but you merely re-stated that it was possible.

What was your actual position? You said that people simply refuse to acknowledge that your position is obviously true, and that was unjust, no? If i'm mistaken, I'd like to know.

You are mistaken. What I said bears little resemblance to that interpretation. Quoting me, not paraphrasing me, would be a better way to address that.
Welfare-Worker
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5/2/2015 3:57:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 3:02:52 PM, Death23 wrote:
Okay you seem to be misunderstanding me. I'm not actually advocating for change, but rather stating a connotative "ideal". People, English speakers, can change the word's definition, and they won't. I'm throwing the idea of the alternative definition some people use around.

You are advocating for change. Current dictionaries list the meaning you don't like. (e.g. Oxford English dictionary: "A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods" http://www.oxforddictionaries.com... )

You state the following:

we, collectively, can choose how words are defined.

I ask you how. You say this:

People, English speakers, can change the word's definition

I ask again: How?

I share your desire to have "atheism" refer exclusively to the belief that there is no god. You ask for this change and ask "why not?", but I am unable to answer that question without understanding by which mechanism that change would occur. I asked you to describe this mechanism for change so that I could answer your question, but you merely re-stated that it was possible.

What was your actual position? You said that people simply refuse to acknowledge that your position is obviously true, and that was unjust, no? If i'm mistaken, I'd like to know.

You are mistaken. What I said bears little resemblance to that interpretation. Quoting me, not paraphrasing me, would be a better way to address that.

Oxford dictionary: agnostic
A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

Some people want to dumb down the English language and use one word insisted of two.

An atheist lacks faith in God, believes there is no god, or lacks awareness of gods. An agnostic either believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a god or is noncommittal on the issue. The difference may seem small, but atheism and agnosticism are actually vastly different worldviews. To claim there is no point in trying to prove or disprove God"s existence (as many philosophers have done) is to acknowledge the limits of human perception. To take the bold stance that there definitely is no god (as a few philosophers have done) implies that human perception is not so limited and that we can make such claims about the universe. These positions (as well as the position that God does exist) give rise to fundamentally disparate philosophies.
http://grammarist.com...

There's a simple test to tell if one is an agnostic or not. Do you think you know for sure if any gods exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic. Do you think you know for sure that gods do not or even cannot exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic. Everyone who can't answer "yes" to one of those questions is a person who may or may not believe in one or more gods, but since they don't also claim to know for sure they are agnostic " an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.
http://atheism.about.com...

.
Death23
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5/2/2015 4:28:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 3:57:17 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
Oxford dictionary: agnostic
A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

Some people want to dumb down the English language and use one word insisted of two.

An atheist lacks faith in God, believes there is no god, or lacks awareness of gods. An agnostic either believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a god or is noncommittal on the issue. The difference may seem small, but atheism and agnosticism are actually vastly different worldviews. To claim there is no point in trying to prove or disprove God"s existence (as many philosophers have done) is to acknowledge the limits of human perception. To take the bold stance that there definitely is no god (as a few philosophers have done) implies that human perception is not so limited and that we can make such claims about the universe. These positions (as well as the position that God does exist) give rise to fundamentally disparate philosophies.
http://grammarist.com...

There's a simple test to tell if one is an agnostic or not. Do you think you know for sure if any gods exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic. Do you think you know for sure that gods do not or even cannot exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic. Everyone who can't answer "yes" to one of those questions is a person who may or may not believe in one or more gods, but since they don't also claim to know for sure they are agnostic " an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.
http://atheism.about.com...

I think you jumped in to the middle of the conversation without having heard the first part of it.
Envisage
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5/2/2015 4:46:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Words are just labels that people attach concepts to. If people are fighting this hard over what labels should be socially agreed to mean, then clearly there is someone one side doesn't like about being associated with that label.

To me, it just seems a case of theists disliking the fact that people who are not explicitly part of the theist category are then associated with the undesirable "atheist" label - including their babies since they clearly do not believe in God.

Perhaps we should look at this issue for what it is, and drop the nonsense about the labels. A label says barely anything about the person - it just makes for a quick and easy route for prejudice.
Welfare-Worker
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5/2/2015 5:29:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 4:28:25 PM, Death23 wrote:
At 5/2/2015 3:57:17 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
Oxford dictionary: agnostic
A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

Some people want to dumb down the English language and use one word insisted of two.

An atheist lacks faith in God, believes there is no god, or lacks awareness of gods. An agnostic either believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a god or is noncommittal on the issue. The difference may seem small, but atheism and agnosticism are actually vastly different worldviews. To claim there is no point in trying to prove or disprove God"s existence (as many philosophers have done) is to acknowledge the limits of human perception. To take the bold stance that there definitely is no god (as a few philosophers have done) implies that human perception is not so limited and that we can make such claims about the universe. These positions (as well as the position that God does exist) give rise to fundamentally disparate philosophies.
http://grammarist.com...

There's a simple test to tell if one is an agnostic or not. Do you think you know for sure if any gods exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic. Do you think you know for sure that gods do not or even cannot exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic. Everyone who can't answer "yes" to one of those questions is a person who may or may not believe in one or more gods, but since they don't also claim to know for sure they are agnostic " an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.
http://atheism.about.com...

I think you jumped in to the middle of the conversation without having heard the first part of it.

That is a strange thing to think, considering I was in the thread before you were.
Welfare-Worker
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5/2/2015 5:37:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 4:46:29 PM, Envisage wrote:
Words are just labels that people attach concepts to. If people are fighting this hard over what labels should be socially agreed to mean, then clearly there is someone one side doesn't like about being associated with that label.

To me, it just seems a case of theists disliking the fact that people who are not explicitly part of the theist category are then associated with the undesirable "atheist" label - including their babies since they clearly do not believe in God.

Perhaps we should look at this issue for what it is, and drop the nonsense about the labels. A label says barely anything about the person - it just makes for a quick and
easy route for prejudice.

I don't know when you took your first comparative religion class, mine was in 1969, as I recall.
I took two others, similar, different universities, but the last one was before 1983.
I never heard this 'soft atheist', 'weak atheist' stuff until the internet was up an running, early 90's.
It seems all these Atheists were claiming Agnostics as their own. Darn right militant about it too.
I've had time to get used to it, but it still seems a bit odd to me.