Category: Belief

What’s in the Box?: A Three-Pound Rabbit

Introduction Imagine that someone presents us with a box.  That box weighs three pounds.  The person presenting us with the box says that there is a rabbit in the box, and the fact that it weighs three pounds proves that there is a rabbit in the box.  This is not the case of course, just because a box weighs three pounds does not prove that there is a rabbit in the box.  There could be some other explanation for why......

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. What is a Belief? A belief is a positive attitude towards a proposition, something accepted as true, something perceived as most likely etc. I discuss......

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 the approach I took was providing too much information in one go, and instead I should have kept it simple and to the point, allowing......

How Rational Are You?: A Nightmare on Reason St.

Introduction Many of us have our favourite characters from TV shows and films, as well as favourite TV shows and films.  We laugh at our favourite comedies, or cry at our favourite dramas, or jump at our favourite horrors.  We become so engrossed by the content that the stalker on the screen holds us in a kind of state of fear, as we wait for the future victim on screen to either escape or meet their fate at the hands......

In response to Ra’s ‘What is Atheism?’

I was invited on Cheshire’s live stream ‘A Goblin Reads’ with Dave as she had seen my discussion with Aron about his belief that ‘Rocks are atheist!’ who then wrote a post called ‘What is Atheism?‘ In planning for this, I started reading Aron’s article where he argues why his definition of atheism is the ‘correct’ one and how SEP got things ‘wrong’ and his definition is the ‘original’. Whilst his article has had a lot of effort put into......

The McRae Virus

When getting involved with discussions, especially on twitter, I keep hearing the phrase ‘The McRae Virus’ – often when discussing definitions or logic. I find this a strange way to dismiss a logical argument that doesn’t fit one’s narrative. Before entering the world of internet debates and things, I thought that an atheist was someone who believed or claimed gods do not exist. When I joined the debating world on Facebook many years ago, I was ‘corrected’ by many fellow......

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 other definitions which in turn can lead to a domino effect of words being synonymously defined in an almost exponential array of errors. Belief Beliefs......

Rockin’ Atheism Pt. 1: The Wrongness of Aron Ra

Introduction A discussion involving Aron Ra, centered around the definition of atheism, blew up on Twitter the other day.  Generally, it is not a discussion I tend to get involved in.  That is not to say that I have not got into discussions about how it is defined, it is just to say that for the most part I will avoid getting into the discussion. There are several reasons for this, some of which will be covered in this series......

Ontology and the things we lack… (lacktheism or rocktheism?)

I often ask people, ‘What things are defined just by what they lack?’ – interestingly there are very few answers to this, but feel free to shoot some over and I’ll add them to the article. The reason I ask this is largely because of commonly heard, ‘atheism is only a lack of belief in gods, therefore, anything that lacks belief is an atheist’ aka conflating all forms of non-theist with atheist. This analysis may differ in various languages, and......

So what is this ‘Normative’ thing all about anyway?

Language is descriptive. It is defined through use. People might describe their use of words in slightly different ways, be that through regional differences, common usages, or indeed there might be contextually correct usages of words. So what is this Normative thing all about then? When we speak about ‘Normative’ usage of words we largely mean they have gone through a process of normalisation. For example, the word ‘Hello’ has gone through this process and is generally regarded as a......