Category: Language

Confused Claims, Contradictions and Incoherence

Confusion is rife on the internet, especially on places like Twitter where people seem more interested in “beating” the last tweet in a discussion than maintaining a coherent thought process. Many of us atheists might think these contradictions might be limited to god claims, holy books, and fundamentalists but that is far from the case. Recently I’ve had some conversations with people that whilst I might not agree with their individual statements they could be valid on their own, however,......

Why Should We Choose Our Language Carefully?

Language is a tool for imparting ideas and desires to one another. A living language like English has so many twists and turns in with many words not only being polysemous but also being used in a metaphorically descriptive way rather than relating to any normative use. If you were to tell me the traffic was crazy today, I wouldn’t think for a moment you had been giving it a psychological evaluation. Even if you told me your child was......

In Response to Daniel Goldman on Belief

Introduction Recently I encountered Daniel Goldman a couple of times on Twitter.  The first time was during a discussion about the use of the words atheism, theism, agnosticism, etc.  The conversation was pleasant enough, especially when we consider how many of those kinds of discussions go!  The second encounter was a discussion about belief, and how it is defined.  Daniel disputed the definition of belief that I presented, and a discussion about said topic ensued.  There was a lot of......

The English Language Barrier

You often hear it said that England and America are two countries separated by a common language. Whilst this is tongue in cheek, it holds some truth to it. A prime example is how in America “chips” refers to what Brits would call “crisps” and what Brits would call “chips” Americans would call “fries”. We have “fries” over here too, it’s just that the “french fry” is a specific kind of chip. A sub-category if you will. Using language is......

Different Types of Not Believing & The Law of Excluded Middle

There are some people who like to oversimplify not believing a proposition. They will say things like “You either do believe or you don’t believe, there is no third option!” On the surface, this statement is correct. The problem is, it doesn’t actually fully capture the type of not believing. This is why conflations of suspending judgment and disbelief seem to appear, and other claims like, “atheism is the default position” or the dreaded “rocks are atheist” debacle. So, please......

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......