Category: Rationality

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…


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…


Is it rational to form beliefs based on testimony?

Introduction When the word testimony is brought up most people’s minds will immediately be brought to a court room scene, or to someone bearing witness to some religious experience.  A witness in the box stands in front of the court and gives their eyewitness testimony as part of the evidence for either the prosecution or defence.  Testimony is more than that though, testimony is the act of one agent passing on information to another agent through a speech act alone. …


Can you prove a negative?

I often hear my fellow atheists say things like ‘You can’t prove a negative!’ in a debate. This is often in response to either a theist trying to shift the burden of proof, or a misunderstanding of epistemic justification (aka burden of rationality or burden of proof on a belief position). I often respond to them, hoping to get them to consider their thoughts, ‘I think what you mean is; you cannot prove non-existence without a doubt’ and often following…


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…


The Faith of Science

Introduction The sun will rise tomorrow.  This seems to be an uncontroversial statement.  The sun came up today, and the sun came up yesterday, and the day before that.  Just as it has for millions of days before that.  Gravity held today, just as it has held since the formation of the universe.  This is, again, another uncontroversial statement.  We often predict future events based on generalisations of past experiences.  It is how science works, and it is how science…


Pitfalls of ‘New Atheism’

I’m an atheist. *Gasp* ‘Hold the phone!’ Hard to believe that an atheist runs an atheist site right? I’ve even been the keyboard warrior type of atheist, although that was many years ago. I spent lots of time debating theists desperately hoping that either they could provide me with some evidence of a deity, or I could get them to see reason past their presupposition and fallacies. Over time I got bored of the conversations, there are only so many…


Are we Born Atheist?

“We are all born atheist!” is something we have heard a lot. I’ve said it in the past. I am sure if you are an atheist you have said it too. But how true is that? What is an Atheist? An atheist is someone who subscribes to atheism. Atheism is polysemous (has many definitions).We have gone over the definitions in our podcasts but the classical definition of atheism is “The belief God(s) do not exist”. Please See: Conflated and Misunderstood…


Fresh AiR – Season 1 – A Different Lens

Hello, and welcome to Fresh AiR! – I’m Joe… Words you will have heard a few times if you have already started listening to season one. What is Fresh AiR? ‘Fresh AiR’ is a podcast, hosted by Joe, Martijn and Dave. It is part of Answers in Reason but hopes to bring a fresh perspective on a number of topics you might hear from the atheist community. Who are involved in Fresh AiR? The short answer is anyone that wants…