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Category: Conflated and Misunderstood Terms

Belief: Don’t Believe, Lack of Belief, Absent of Belief – CMT Vol: 11

Language can be confusing. Words mean particular things and then because they have similar meanings to other words they take on those meanings and then words become so interchangeable it can be hard to know what people mean when they use these words/phrases. One of the common words that gets stretched so thin is belief….


Beliefs and Rationality – CMT Vol: 10

I so often see my fellow atheists saying things like ‘I don’t believe x I accept the evidence for x’ and I can’t help but facedesk. I tried to address the problem in articles like I Don’t Believe, Dirty Words: Belief, Faith and Evidence, Beliefs and Logic but so far have not got anywhere. Perhaps…


Sin-onyms; The sinful use of synonyms – CMT: Volume 9

A synonym is a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language. What we should note from this is the word NEARLY. Nearly does not mean the same, but close to. This can cause problems when people conflate normative uses of words with various…


Is nonbelief a belief? (hint: you might be surprised) – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms: Vol 8

“Nonbelief is a belief? Who knew…” – an often said sarcastic comment by many fellow atheists as a retort to theists calling atheism a religion or belief system. Whilst I agree atheism is not a religion, and that it is a polysemous word which has moved from the classical disbelief in the existence of gods…


Do we Atheists have a Burden of Proof? – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms: Vol 7

“The burden is on the claimant!”, “I only lack belief so I have no burden”, “I don’t hold a belief as that is a claim” and other phrases are touted by many fellow atheists on the internet. Is this correct, or are we missing some of the picture? This article hopes to discuss What is…


Unbelief and Disbelief – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms – Volume 6

Unbelief (or non-belief) and disbelief are two words that seem to be conflated by many folks on the internet. I’m not sure if this is down to a misunderstanding of their definitions, or just due to how they are quite similar words. I’ve recently written a few articles that are worth reading before this article,…


I Don’t Believe – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms – Volume 5

When people say “I don’t believe” it is unclear what they are saying. When many folks say this, they are discussing a psychological state rather than disbelief in a normative logical sense. But what does that mean? Logic and Belief Propositions By belief proposition, I am essentially saying believing a proposition to be true, or…


Dirty Words – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms Volume 4: Belief, Faith and Evidence

My fellow atheists and I often have extreme reactions to certain words*. I think due to the debate and some of the people we attribute them to, we have a knee jerk response. Whilst I understand why in some instances, it’s because we have a single minded view on the definition, in others it is…


Objective / Subjective – Morals / Morality – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms – Volume 3

This article is to define and discuss objective and subjective, morals and morality. As with any article on AiR we don’t always agree. Where science is concerned and the evidence is irrefutable we of course accept and believe it to be true. When it is opinion or something philosophical we may have differences. As such…


Conflated and Misunderstood Terms – Volume 2: Theism, Atheism, Agnosticism

Often in debate folks identify their position as one of the 3; Theist, Atheist, Agnostic. Some folks will sometimes use a combination e.g. Agnostic Atheist/Weak Atheist. It might surprise you, as it did me, that some of the definitions of terms we use are not strictly accurate, or at least logical. Language does indeed evolve,…