Category: Reason

Subjectively Wrong

When something is subjective, it is based on personal opinion*. We are saying that there is no real external truth value, just opinions. *The term subjective can mean different things, though they are mostly akin to this definition, and this is how it is being used in the article. Preferences and Standards We can see this reflected in music taste. Our personal preference is something that is true for us, and it wouldn’t make sense to say someone is wrong…


Are YOU Justified?

Do you feel justified in your position? How can you tell if that justification is actually enough to be considered rational? Is there some sort of measuring stick? When do we have to justify ourselves to others? Do we have to justify every action? These are all questions that perhaps we should care about a little bit more, and apply them introspectively. What is Justification? We hold beliefs about the past, the present, and the future. Do we have a…


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 others what their gender is. Yes, gender is a more sensitive topic, but we are speaking about identity here. That said, I think it is…


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…


Reason in the Face of Public Opinion

As a site that promotes reason, we often find we are against popular public opinions. Even though we are atheists by one definition or another, it is often our fellow atheists we are trying to reason with. There are a lot of common opinions many people hold, and they seem to be ingrained within the online community. One of the biggest issues with memes is they are often taken as fact, especially when shared by someone you respect. Whilst atheism,…


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…


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…


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…