Category: Language

Is The ‘lack of belief’ Definition of Atheism The Most Common One Used?

There are some people that like to claim the lack of belief, or absence of belief, definition of atheism is the most common one. I contest that, whilst it is common on social media due to political parties like the American Atheists and American YouTube shows like The Atheist Experience, it isn’t that common outside of the internet and certain circles in America. Ways to Discuss Atheism Atheism is polysemous. That means there are many definitions. With the way language…


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” –…


Etymology vs Use/Definition: Atheism

Etymology is the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history. The etymology of a word is not exactly the same as the use or definition. Consider how a direct translation of a phrase from French to English might not always make sense, but we would translate it into a form of English that did make sense. The same can be said for the etymology of a word. They quite often…


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…


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…


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…


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…


On Value

An article that seems to raise a few objections on our yearly reshare is TrolleyDave’s ‘Is Value Entirely Subjective?‘ To tell you the truth, when I first read his article there were some things I disagreed with too. Dave gave me a number of different articles to read about value. I was desperately trying to understand his position before I contested it, but everything he was sending me seemed to back up what I already thought or give new information…