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The term "Atheist" is a strawman

F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 2:43:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Interesting article from R.T Carrol who writes for the Skepdic website. http://skepdic.com...

"Why I am not an atheist

I don't believe any gods exist, but I'm not an atheist any more than I am an asantaclausist or an aeasterbunnyist. Not believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny doesn't commit me to an ideology or belief system shared with others who reject the notion that such creatures exist. My disbelief in leprechauns doesn't unite me with millions of other aleprechaunists. The label of 'atheist' is one that theists use to create the illusion that their belief in spirits has some substance. I don't mind that theists devote themselves to illusions and delusions as long as they don't do me any harm. But they fill their concept of the atheist with a number of lies and falsehoods that attempt to denigrate those of us who don't share their belief in the existence of spirits. Theists are particularly prone to parading forth non sequiturs in their attempt to vilify those of us who don't believe that an invisible spirit created us or the world we live in.

The fact that I don't believe in an invisible being who is all-powerful and created everything in the universe for a reason does not mean that I think we are nothing but slime and might as well just kill ourselves. The fact that I don't believe in angels who watch over us and grant us wishes from time to time doesn't mean that I think life is meaningless and we might as well just kill our neighbors. From the fact that I don't believe in miracles it does not follow that I believe we are just dirt. It means I don't believe that things happen because of intervention by spirits. From the fact that I don't believe divine commands are necessary for moral values, it does not follow that I don't believe in right and wrong.

Theists use the term 'atheist' to designate those they claim don't believe in right or wrong, think existence is meaningless, and who corrupt society by not adhering to the codes of some religion like Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. But from the fact that there aren't any gods it does not follow that there is no right or wrong, that a meaningful life is impossible, or that society will disintegrate into a war of selfish egoists against selfish egoists. Why would theists want to believe such obvious nonsense? For one thing, it deceives them into thinking they are relieved from self-examination. Faith in their religious beliefs is all they need. The more vile they make the atheist look, the more beatific they make themselves look, or so they seem to think. One thing they might discover upon self-examination is that from the fact that one believes certain commands came from God it doesn't follow that they do. The theist thinks he has an advantage over those of us who don't believe in any gods, but his books and beliefs are just props that he uses to justify his take on what is right or wrong. The theist has no more insight than anyone else into what the right thing to do is in any given situation. The fact that theists disagree about morals should be their first clue.

The theist would trick himself into believing that his life is meaningful because he is following some rules and thinks he'll be rewarded with eternal life. He believes that he was created to follow a set of rules laid down by his creator, and that if he follows the rules, he'll get to spend an eternity worshipping this rule maker. A meaningful life, however, is one that is productive, useful, creative, and enjoyable. A life spent obeying rules may be none of those things. Theists claim that atheists think everything is an accident and a human being is a collection of material particles that will disintegrate at death. It apparently doesn't occur to the theist that that's true whether there is a god or not. Of course, they like to throw in the word 'just' to make the distortion complete. According to the theist, the atheist thinks we're just an accident and just a collection of particles.

The atheist is a straw man created by theists. Every day there are hundreds of pious theists who write articles and books against atheism, as if atheism were a belief system. They attack one chimera after another and pat themselves on the back for slaying these evil dragons they call atheists. In the meantime, they don't examine their own lives or beliefs. I'm not suggesting, however, that theists would do a better job of self-examination than they have tearing apart the straw man they've created. The books and articles promoting the positive side of theism are usually little more than pabulum and feel-good pieces on the level of Chicken Soup for the Soul or The Purpose Driven Life.

I'm not an atheist because the atheist is a figment of the theist's imagination, a figment that is used to divert attention away from the dangerous delusions theists harbor. The most dangerous theistic delusion, of course, is that faith is superior to reason and that reason should be used to distort the truth whenever needed in order to defend doctrines of faith. The promotion of irrationality is one of the most harmful effects of theism. Some theists even condemn atheists for promoting rationality and science, and they do this with a straight face. They mean it. They accuse us of preferring reason to faith, as if that were a bad thing.

If by atheist one means someone who believes that rationality and science are better than irrationality and faith when it comes to improving life and understanding the world, then count me in. Unfortunately, the theists rule the world and they control the language. Maybe that won't always be true. We can always hope for the end of faith.

I admire the work of Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert to insert the noun bright into our vocabulary, despite the overwhelming power that theists have over the use of words to describe those that disagree with them. Even Dan Dennett's suggestion that theists be called supers fell stillborn from the press. On the other hand, about the only thing that those of us who don't believe in the existence of any gods have in common is the belief that naturalistic explanations for phenomena are the only ones that are essential. Any reference to mystical forces or supernatural powers to explain anything is superfluous. Those are the only necessary and sufficient conditions for being a bright. The hope of the brights "to gain social and political power in a society infused with supernaturalism" remains a noble goal even if it is unlikely to sway the televangelists in their megachurches or supremes like Antonin Scalia. The more success the brights movement has, however, the more a rational view of the world is being promoted. That can't be a bad thing. Wouldn't you rather be called a bright than an atheist, especially when you know that those who call you an atheist do so knowing they can attach all kinds of negative baggage to the term no matter how untrue?

Unfortunately, many non-theists have expressed their dislike of the term 'bright' because it implies that theists are dim.

So?"
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 2:53:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 2:50:07 AM, Radar wrote:
It's kinda nice to go to bed laughing. Thanks for the article!

The minute I saw your screen-name under "last post," I knew it was going to be a rubbish post. You never contribute anything to discussions, do you?
errya
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4/23/2013 4:12:51 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 2:43:43 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Interesting article from R.T Carrol who writes for the Skepdic website. http://skepdic.com...

"Why I am not an atheist

I don't believe any gods exist, but I'm not an atheist any more than I am an asantaclausist or an aeasterbunnyist. Not believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny doesn't commit me to an ideology or belief system shared with others who reject the notion that such creatures exist. My disbelief in leprechauns doesn't unite me with millions of other aleprechaunists. The label of 'atheist' is one that theists use to create the illusion that their belief in spirits has some substance. I don't mind that theists devote themselves to illusions and delusions as long as they don't do me any harm. But they fill their concept of the atheist with a number of lies and falsehoods that attempt to denigrate those of us who don't share their belief in the existence of spirits. Theists are particularly prone to parading forth non sequiturs in their attempt to vilify those of us who don't believe that an invisible spirit created us or the world we live in.

The fact that I don't believe in an invisible being who is all-powerful and created everything in the universe for a reason does not mean that I think we are nothing but slime and might as well just kill ourselves. The fact that I don't believe in angels who watch over us and grant us wishes from time to time doesn't mean that I think life is meaningless and we might as well just kill our neighbors. From the fact that I don't believe in miracles it does not follow that I believe we are just dirt. It means I don't believe that things happen because of intervention by spirits. From the fact that I don't believe divine commands are necessary for moral values, it does not follow that I don't believe in right and wrong.

I don't claim this. I claim that according to your belief system, you ought to believe these things, not that you do. Most theists I know would say this.

Theists use the term 'atheist' to designate those they claim don't believe in right or wrong, think existence is meaningless, and who corrupt society by not adhering to the codes of some religion like Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. But from the fact that there aren't any gods it does not follow that there is no right or wrong, that a meaningful life is impossible, or that society will disintegrate into a war of selfish egoists against selfish egoists. Why would theists want to believe such obvious nonsense? For one thing, it deceives them into thinking they are relieved from self-examination. Faith in their religious beliefs is all they need. The more vile they make the atheist look, the more beatific they make themselves look, or so they seem to think. One thing they might discover upon self-examination is that from the fact that one believes certain commands came from God it doesn't follow that they do. The theist thinks he has an advantage over those of us who don't believe in any gods, but his books and beliefs are just props that he uses to justify his take on what is right or wrong. The theist has no more insight than anyone else into what the right thing to do is in any given situation. The fact that theists disagree about morals should be their first clue.

The theist would trick himself into believing that his life is meaningful because he is following some rules and thinks he'll be rewarded with eternal life. He believes that he was created to follow a set of rules laid down by his creator, and that if he follows the rules, he'll get to spend an eternity worshipping this rule maker. A meaningful life, however, is one that is productive, useful, creative, and enjoyable. A life spent obeying rules may be none of those things. Theists claim that atheists think everything is an accident and a human being is a collection of material particles that will disintegrate at death. It apparently doesn't occur to the theist that that's true whether there is a god or not. Of course, they like to throw in the word 'just' to make the distortion complete. According to the theist, the atheist thinks we're just an accident and just a collection of particles.

You have a messed up view of theism (or at least Christianity) if you think this. The whole point of Christianity is that Christ died for our sins, so we don't have to follow a bunch of rules.

The atheist is a straw man created by theists. Every day there are hundreds of pious theists who write articles and books against atheism, as if atheism were a belief system. They attack one chimera after another and pat themselves on the back for slaying these evil dragons they call atheists. In the meantime, they don't examine their own lives or beliefs. I'm not suggesting, however, that theists would do a better job of self-examination than they have tearing apart the straw man they've created. The books and articles promoting the positive side of theism are usually little more than pabulum and feel-good pieces on the level of Chicken Soup for the Soul or The Purpose Driven Life.

It's true that atheism may be the wrong word here. Maybe humanism is a better one?

I'm not an atheist because the atheist is a figment of the theist's imagination, a figment that is used to divert attention away from the dangerous delusions theists harbor. The most dangerous theistic delusion, of course, is that faith is superior to reason and that reason should be used to distort the truth whenever needed in order to defend doctrines of faith. The promotion of irrationality is one of the most harmful effects of theism. Some theists even condemn atheists for promoting rationality and science, and they do this with a straight face. They mean it. They accuse us of preferring reason to faith, as if that were a bad thing.

I do this? News to me.

If by atheist one means someone who believes that rationality and science are better than irrationality and faith when it comes to improving life and understanding the world, then count me in. Unfortunately, the theists rule the world and they control the language. Maybe that won't always be true. We can always hope for the end of faith.

This assumes that faith is always irrational, and science is always rational.

I admire the work of Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert to insert the noun bright into our vocabulary, despite the overwhelming power that theists have over the use of words to describe those that disagree with them. Even Dan Dennett's suggestion that theists be called supers fell stillborn from the press. On the other hand, about the only thing that those of us who don't believe in the existence of any gods have in common is the belief that naturalistic explanations for phenomena are the only ones that are essential. Any reference to mystical forces or supernatural powers to explain anything is superfluous. Those are the only necessary and sufficient conditions for being a bright. The hope of the brights "to gain social and political power in a society infused with supernaturalism" remains a noble goal even if it is unlikely to sway the televangelists in their megachurches or supremes like Antonin Scalia. The more success the brights movement has, however, the more a rational view of the world is being promoted. That can't be a bad thing. Wouldn't you rather be called a bright than an atheist, especially when you know that those who call you an atheist do so knowing they can attach all kinds of negative baggage to the term no matter how untrue?

Unfortunately, many non-theists have expressed their dislike of the term 'bright' because it implies that theists

As an after thought, You do realise that this article is a gross generalisation, right? I mean, I'm sure some theists do, but
The Most Noble Lord Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough in the said County, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet, Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean, Duke of Bront" in the Kingdom of Sicily, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman Ord...
medic0506
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4/23/2013 4:15:25 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
He's right, so I think we should amend our dictionaries to add new definitions for the word "bright".

Bright- 1) one who is convinced that science supports his notion that things can create themselves through natural processes. 2) A point within the universe at which a substance known as anti-bright is condensed into a small space, resulting in an earth bound life form who gives himself a name which is the polar opposite of the substance of which he is made.

Synonyms- Narcissist, Pompous A$$, Pretentious Prick
Fruitytree
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4/23/2013 4:31:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I agree with you about Atheism that it may be caused by religions, cause monotheist religions used to fight polytheism, but never mentioned anything about atheism until recently, so Atheism is a recent phenomenon , but the rest you're kind of generalizing, which makes your article less accurate.
Pennington
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4/23/2013 4:35:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Utter bullflips. Atheism as been around a long time. The name, though recent, is just a name. What the refers to has been around along time.
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 4:37:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 4:35:20 AM, Pennington wrote:
Utter bullflips. Atheism as been around a long time. The name, though recent, is just a name. What the refers to has been around along time.

Sure, but that somewhat missed the point of the article. The article does generalize religion but that was not its point. Its point was to to say that the label "Atheist" is as meaningless as the label "asantaclausist" or "aeasterbunnyiest."
Pennington
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4/23/2013 4:39:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 4:37:42 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:35:20 AM, Pennington wrote:
Utter bullflips. Atheism as been around a long time. The name, though recent, is just a name. What the refers to has been around along time.

Sure, but that somewhat missed the point of the article. The article does generalize religion but that was not its point. Its point was to to say that the label "Atheist" is as meaningless as the label "asantaclausist" or "aeasterbunnyiest."

Ok, the atheism stance is meaningless, I agree.
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 4:44:31 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 4:39:50 AM, Pennington wrote:

Ok, the atheism stance is meaningless, I agree.

No, it is meaningless on the part of theists to create a label as it is meaningless for unicorn believers to call everybody else "a-unicornists." The only reason it is a big deal is that theists are in the majority.
Fruitytree
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4/23/2013 4:53:21 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Not only that makes it a big deal, the fact that only one is right makes it a big deal, the fact that religions role is controling people behaviours, and set moral values, so the deal with religion is nothing to compare with the flying spaguetti monster.
Pennington
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4/23/2013 4:57:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 4:44:31 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:39:50 AM, Pennington wrote:

Ok, the atheism stance is meaningless, I agree.

No, it is meaningless on the part of theists to create a label as it is meaningless for unicorn believers to call everybody else "a-unicornists." The only reason it is a big deal is that theists are in the majority.:

Really, minority? Considering there are over 2 billion Christians and 1 billion or more Muslims in the world makes your comment wrong. This is not including other theist religions. Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist. Your argument implodes.
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medic0506
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4/23/2013 5:02:12 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 4:44:31 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:39:50 AM, Pennington wrote:

Ok, the atheism stance is meaningless, I agree.

No, it is meaningless on the part of theists to create a label as it is meaningless for unicorn believers to call everybody else "a-unicornists." The only reason it is a big deal is that theists are in the majority.

Actually the label is kind to atheists. The Bible refers to them as "fools". If it can be determined that no God exists, then you're right, the term atheist would be as meaningless as asantaclausist. Until then they will continue to be known as atheists.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 5:07:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 4:57:46 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:44:31 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:39:50 AM, Pennington wrote:

Ok, the atheism stance is meaningless, I agree.

No, it is meaningless on the part of theists to create a label as it is meaningless for unicorn believers to call everybody else "a-unicornists." The only reason it is a big deal is that theists are in the majority.:

Really, minority? Considering there are over 2 billion Christians and 1 billion or more Muslims in the world makes your comment wrong. This is not including other theist religions. Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist. Your argument implodes.

Think you made a small mistake here...
Pennington
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4/23/2013 5:09:58 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:07:27 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:57:46 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:44:31 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:39:50 AM, Pennington wrote:

Ok, the atheism stance is meaningless, I agree.

No, it is meaningless on the part of theists to create a label as it is meaningless for unicorn believers to call everybody else "a-unicornists." The only reason it is a big deal is that theists are in the majority.:

Really, minority? Considering there are over 2 billion Christians and 1 billion or more Muslims in the world makes your comment wrong. This is not including other theist religions. Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist. Your argument implodes.

Think you made a small mistake here...

Yep, read it wrong. But this still stands, "Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist. Your argument implodes."
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 5:11:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:02:12 AM, medic0506 wrote:
Actually the label is kind to atheists. The Bible refers to them as "fools".
It is somewhat irrelevant what the bible refers to atheists as. That's like giving someone life in prison for speeding and when they complain saying "at least you didn't get the DP." I don't remember what fallacy it is but it essentially takes something much worse and says "hey, at least, it is not that (bad thing)."

If it can be determined that no God exists,
Determined? By who? From my pov, it is pretty obvious that no god exists.

then you're right, the term atheist would be as meaningless as asantaclausist.
Until then they will continue to be known as atheists.

It is as likely that Santa Claus exists as it is that god exists. You just happen to believe in god but not Santa Claus.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 5:13:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:09:58 AM, Pennington wrote:

Yep, read it wrong. But this still stands, "Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist.

Source?

Your argument implodes."
APB
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4/23/2013 5:23:23 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't "reject" the existence of leprechauns, I'm just doubtful of it due to lack of evidence. I cannot reject it until they've been proven not to exist.

Likewise, you can doubt that the statement "God exists" is true due to there being no evidence, but you cannot assert that it's false, as this is also without evidence. So Atheists are just as guilty as Theists when it comes to making claims about the supernatural.
Pennington
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4/23/2013 5:30:21 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:23:23 AM, APB wrote:
I don't "reject" the existence of leprechauns, I'm just doubtful of it due to lack of evidence. I cannot reject it until they've been proven not to exist.

Likewise, you can doubt that the statement "God exists" is true due to there being no evidence, but you cannot assert that it's false, as this is also without evidence. So Atheists are just as guilty as Theists when it comes to making claims about the supernatural.

Yes.
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 5:30:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:23:23 AM, APB wrote:
I don't "reject" the existence of leprechauns, I'm just doubtful of it due to lack of evidence. I cannot reject it until they've been proven not to exist.

Likewise, you can doubt that the statement "God exists" is true due to there being no evidence, but you cannot assert that it's false, as this is also without evidence. So Atheists are just as guilty as Theists when it comes to making claims about the supernatural.

What you are describing are strong atheists. Weak atheists simply lack belief in god. So, it really depends. Not all atheists hold the same belief. ]

With that said, I am surprised you won't definitively say "Leprachauns don't exist."
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 5:31:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:30:21 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 4/23/2013 5:23:23 AM, APB wrote:
I don't "reject" the existence of leprechauns, I'm just doubtful of it due to lack of evidence. I cannot reject it until they've been proven not to exist.

Likewise, you can doubt that the statement "God exists" is true due to there being no evidence, but you cannot assert that it's false, as this is also without evidence. So Atheists are just as guilty as Theists when it comes to making claims about the supernatural.

Yes.

"Yes" to what? You are just agreeing with every theist that post in a forum.
Pennington
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4/23/2013 5:35:47 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:13:08 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 5:09:58 AM, Pennington wrote:

Yep, read it wrong. But this still stands, "Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist.

Source?
So, you just go around and put atheist on everything but did not choose that title? Someone from your own label did not make that label?

Western philosophy began in the Greek world in the sixth century BCE. The first philosophers were not atheists, but they attempted to explain the world in terms of the processes of nature instead of by mythological accounts. Thus lightning was the result of "wind breaking out and parting the clouds,"[8] and earthquakes occurred when "the earth is considerably altered by heating and cooling."[9] The early philosophers often criticised traditional religious notions. Xenophanes (sixth century BCE) famously said that if cows and horses had hands, "then horses would draw the forms of gods like horses, and cows like cows."[10] Another philosopher, Anaxagoras (fifth century BCE), claimed that the Sun was "a fiery mass, larger than the Peloponnese;" a charge of impiety was brought against him, and he was forced to flee Athens.[11]

The first fully materialistic philosophy was produced by the Atomists, Leucippus, and Democritus (fifth century BCE), who attempted to explain the formation and development of the world in terms of the chance movements of atoms moving in infinite space.

Euripides (480"406 BCE), in his play Bellerophon, had the eponymous main character say: "Doth some one say that there be gods above? There are not; no, there are not. Let no fool, Led by the old false fable, thus deceive you."[
http://en.wikipedia.org...
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Pennington
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4/23/2013 5:39:45 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The term atheism originated from the Greek O40;_2;^9;_9;`2; (atheos), meaning "without god(s)". It would be difficult to determine who first used it, but atheist as a label of practical godlessness was used at least as early as 1577. Related words emerged later: deist in 1621, theist in 1662; theism in 1678; and deism in 1682.
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 5:44:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:35:47 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 4/23/2013 5:13:08 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 5:09:58 AM, Pennington wrote:

Yep, read it wrong. But this still stands, "Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist.

Source?
So, you just go around and put atheist on everything but did not choose that title? Someone from your own label did not make that label?

Western philosophy began in the Greek world in the sixth century BCE. The first philosophers were not atheists, but they attempted to explain the world in terms of the processes of nature instead of by mythological accounts. Thus lightning was the result of "wind breaking out and parting the clouds,"[8] and earthquakes occurred when "the earth is considerably altered by heating and cooling."[9] The early philosophers often criticised traditional religious notions. Xenophanes (sixth century BCE) famously said that if cows and horses had hands, "then horses would draw the forms of gods like horses, and cows like cows."[10] Another philosopher, Anaxagoras (fifth century BCE), claimed that the Sun was "a fiery mass, larger than the Peloponnese;" a charge of impiety was brought against him, and he was forced to flee Athens.[11]

The first fully materialistic philosophy was produced by the Atomists, Leucippus, and Democritus (fifth century BCE), who attempted to explain the formation and development of the world in terms of the chance movements of atoms moving in infinite space.

Euripides (480"406 BCE), in his play Bellerophon, had the eponymous main character say: "Doth some one say that there be gods above? There are not; no, there are not. Let no fool, Led by the old false fable, thus deceive you."[
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Cool. Where does it say who coined term "Atheist?"
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/23/2013 5:46:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:39:45 AM, Pennington wrote:
The term atheism originated from the Greek O40;_2;^9;_9;`2; (atheos), meaning "without god(s)". It would be difficult to determine who first used it, but atheist as a label of practical godlessness was used at least as early as 1577. Related words emerged later: deist in 1621, theist in 1662; theism in 1678; and deism in 1682.

Okay... so you don't know. That means this second part of the following statement also does not stand (in addition to the first part).

Considering there are over 2 billion Christians and 1 billion or more Muslims in the world makes your comment wrong. This is not including other theist religions. Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist. Your argument implodes.
Pennington
Posts: 1,286
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4/23/2013 5:52:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:46:27 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 5:39:45 AM, Pennington wrote:
The term atheism originated from the Greek O40;_2;^9;_9;`2; (atheos), meaning "without god(s)". It would be difficult to determine who first used it, but atheist as a label of practical godlessness was used at least as early as 1577. Related words emerged later: deist in 1621, theist in 1662; theism in 1678; and deism in 1682.

Okay... so you don't know. That means this second part of the following statement also does not stand (in addition to the first part).

Considering there are over 2 billion Christians and 1 billion or more Muslims in the world makes your comment wrong. This is not including other theist religions. Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist. Your argument implodes.

Nope, if you read the full statement. It says that atheist were coined before theist and therefore theist could have never coined atheist.
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Logic_on_rails
Posts: 2,445
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4/23/2013 6:36:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Let's approach this topic from a linguistic angle.

The prefix 'a' often denotes 'not' . Think atypical, asocial, apolitical etc. Henceforth, the use of atheist is perfectly legitimate in denoting 'not theist' . That's the linguistic viewpoint; we're not very well going to start erasing words from English, are we? Theist in turn denotes belief in a God and atheist denotes 'not belief' in a God. Positions like agnosticism refer to the assurance behind one's knowledge and so forth. Then again, I said I'd approach this linguistically, so I won't broach epistemologically focused approaches.

Like any word, atheist has denotations and connotations. Mr. Carrol cries foul over some of the ridiculous (I agree here) connotations ascribed to the term atheist... and then goes on to deny the denotative aspect of 'atheist.' This is, to put it mildly, idiotic. What Mr. Carrol ought to say is something like 'the connotations of atheist are misguided, and don't follow in any way from the denotations.' Mr. Carrol does focus on the denotative aspect of atheist briefly near the end, but it's scarce remedy for the multitude of other faults he commits.

For instance, Mr. Carrol happily engages in the egregious use of connotations of theist, going far beyond the denotative aspect... but that's exactly what he was bemoaning about theists attacks on atheism! Mr. Carrol can't have his cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, Mr. Carrol engages in an unsubstantiated assault on the connotative aspects of theism.

Mr. Carrol does that which which he decries, and misses basic points of linguistic theory (prefixes anyone?) . He's a laughing stock by the article's end.

On a sidenote, I don't mean to viciously attack connotations. Connotations are an extraordinary important part of communication - they complement the denotations of a word. Furthermore, connotations can (and are often) borne out by experience. That said, that experience is often of limited use as per induction, small sample size etc. On this particular issue it would be much better if both sides did not engage in the use of connotations. Let's let theist simply mean to believe in a God and end there. Let's let atheist simply mean a lack of belief in a God; the extent of disbelief and the degree of atheism (strong vs. weak) is outside a linguistic viewpoint. Let's avoid dousing the flames with petty words.

Unfortunately, Mr. Carrol simply throws a bucket of water on one flame while setting 2 other fires alight. The fire expands from his efforts.
"Tis not in mortals to command success
But we"ll do more, Sempronius, we"ll deserve it
APB
Posts: 267
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4/23/2013 6:46:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:30:42 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 5:23:23 AM, APB wrote:
I don't "reject" the existence of leprechauns, I'm just doubtful of it due to lack of evidence. I cannot reject it until they've been proven not to exist.

Likewise, you can doubt that the statement "God exists" is true due to there being no evidence, but you cannot assert that it's false, as this is also without evidence. So Atheists are just as guilty as Theists when it comes to making claims about the supernatural.

What you are describing are strong atheists. Weak atheists simply lack belief in god. So, it really depends. Not all atheists hold the same belief. ]

With that said, I am surprised you won't definitively say "Leprachauns don't exist."

I don't know everything. It could be that leprechauns do exist and we just haven't found them yet. God may exist too. I'm sceptical in both cases, but I'm not so arrogant as to rule them out without evidence.

Weak Atheists reject God, Strong Atheists reject everything supernatural. Both are the same logical fallacy (which I'll look up in the morning, it's 23:45 here), and so neither is any better than the other - or Theism, for that matter.
muzebreak
Posts: 2,781
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4/23/2013 8:29:56 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 5:09:58 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 4/23/2013 5:07:27 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:57:46 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:44:31 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 4:39:50 AM, Pennington wrote:

Ok, the atheism stance is meaningless, I agree.

No, it is meaningless on the part of theists to create a label as it is meaningless for unicorn believers to call everybody else "a-unicornists." The only reason it is a big deal is that theists are in the majority.:

Really, minority? Considering there are over 2 billion Christians and 1 billion or more Muslims in the world makes your comment wrong. This is not including other theist religions. Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist. Your argument implodes.

Think you made a small mistake here...

Yep, read it wrong. But this still stands, "Theist did not name atheist, atheist named atheist. Atheist named themselves to separate themselves from theist. Your argument implodes."

Atheism was a term created by the ancient greeks, to describe someone who did not subscribe to state gods. But the change in definition was a slow cultural shift, as it is with all definitions. The only ones who gave anyone the name atheist, are the greeks, who were theists.
"Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact." - Carl Sagan

This is the response of the defenders of Sparta to the Commander of the Roman Army: "If you are a god, you will not hurt those who have never injured you. If you are a man, advance - you will find men equal to yourself. And women.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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4/23/2013 8:53:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/23/2013 2:53:50 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/23/2013 2:50:07 AM, Radar wrote:
It's kinda nice to go to bed laughing. Thanks for the article!

The minute I saw your screen-name under "last post," I knew it was going to be a rubbish post. You never contribute anything to discussions, do you?

Radar is a troll.