Category: Conflated and Misunderstood Terms

Confused Claims, Contradictions and Incoherence

Confusion is rife on the internet, especially on places like Twitter where people seem more interested in “beating” the last tweet in a discussion than maintaining a coherent thought process. Many of us atheists might think these contradictions might be limited to god claims, holy books, and fundamentalists but that is far from the case. Recently I’ve had some conversations with people that whilst I might not agree with their individual statements they could be valid on their own, however,......

What Do You Know About Knowledge?

Knowledge, is it just things you know? What do we mean by know and knowledge? Why does there seem to be muddiness in its application? For the most part, when I discuss knowledge I am talking about epistemic or propositional knowledge, but what does that mean? What are other uses of knowledge? Is there a way for us to know what we and others mean when using terms like know and knowledge? Knowledge Of-That-How Knowledge can be split into 3......

Misunderstanding The Null Hypothesis and Knowledge.

The null hypothesis is used in science, and we atheists tend to have a lot of respect for science, the scientific method, scientific and empirical evidence. We think of ourselves as logical and rational people. We feel we know a lot about the topics we discuss, especially when it comes to science. In conversations with religious folks, especially many young-earth creationists, we will correct their misrepresentation and misuse of terms like evolution and scientific theory and demand they “learn the......

Forming a Hypothesis

‘Hypothesis’ is a scientific term that, whilst it may have some colloquial application, is defined as: a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. Oxford Languages Or an idea that proposes a tentative explanation about a phenomenon or a narrow set of phenomena observed in the natural world https://www.britannica.com/science/scientific-hypothesis However, this is quite a limited definition and doesn’t fully explain what a hypothesis is, the prerequisites or how it......

The English Language Barrier

You often hear it said that England and America are two countries separated by a common language. Whilst this is tongue in cheek, it holds some truth to it. A prime example is how in America “chips” refers to what Brits would call “crisps” and what Brits would call “chips” Americans would call “fries”. We have “fries” over here too, it’s just that the “french fry” is a specific kind of chip. A sub-category if you will. Using language is......

There Can Be Only ONE!

The repetitious nature of folks trying to prescribe a singular definition of atheism, and claiming that other definitions are, “talking about something else” or are “wrong”, seems to never die. What’s worse, these folks who take you saying that there are actually multiple uses of atheism claim that YOU are the one being prescriptive and restrictive, yet you’re the one saying there are multiple definitions… This article discusses some of the recent behaviours and examples of bad logic and mental......

Acceptance, Belief and ‘Believe in’

Too often do conversations devolve into people splitting hairs over synonymous terminology. Obviously, a synonym doesn’t mean the word holds the exact same meaning, just that holds (at least) nearly the same meaning. Some words are shorthand for phrases. Some words or phrases can be used in various ways and their meanings can cross over and be different depending on context. As Dave has said a number of times Words are funny things! That is one of the reasons I......

What is the Difference Between Does Not Believe and Lack of Belief?

Is there any difference between does not believe and lack of belief? The statements CAN be used interchangeably but is there any nuance to the terms? Are there times where we could use lack of belief but not does not believe? To be sure we are on the same page, we should start by defining our terms. What is a Belief? There are a few definitions of belief, but they are all essentially saying the same thing. Something accepted as......

Hitchens on Antitheism

It’s come to my attention in the last year or so, that many are conflating the classical/philosophical definition of atheism with antitheism (sometimes spelt anti-theism). Regardless of your preferred use of atheism and atheist, over the centuries and still today atheism is the belief/proposition/claim there are no gods, with the atheist accepting (believing) this is true. There are other definitions, of course, Flew famously tried changing the definition in 72 to ignore the agnostic label for a “positive atheist” –......

Knowledge and Information

We’ve covered a number of different articles about how ‘Words are funny things!‘ and can have multiple meanings. The word, know, is no different in this regard. As a word by itself or in a phrase can be used to describe a number of things. Knowledge Information Awareness Certainty/Uncertainty Therefore, it can be said that you know something but at the same time do not hold knowledge. This can indeed be confusing. What is Knowledge? There are many theories of......