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Category: Conflated and Misunderstood Terms

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. KnowledgeInformationAwarenessCertainty/Uncertainty Therefore, it can be said that you know something…


Normatively Atheist

I’ve said language is descriptive and people are free to identify how they like a number of times, but when discussing definitions I speak of the normative or most logical. This can be met with some hostility, with people often telling me I am the one being illogical or that I don’t understand what normative…


Agnostic Atheism – CMT – Vol: 13

It is very common to hear folks use the term agnostic atheist to describe themselves, and others. Let me say that you are free to identify how you like, though I would suggest you don’t be prescriptive with your identification on to others. If you wonder why; consider if you are the sort to tell…


You won’t believe this… CMT – Vol: 12

I’ve been trying to think of another way to explain beliefs as I still hear folks saying they are ‘absent of belief in regards to x’ or ‘have no beliefs’. Whilst I am sure they believe what they are saying, it makes me feel I have failed in my explanations. Rather than spray out the…


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,…