Category: Language

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......

Bad Atheist Arguments – Vol:4 – Contradictory Claims and Statements

Continuing our miniseries of Bad Atheist Arguments on our quest for self-improvement I bring you a number of contradictory claims and statements I have seen many of my fellow atheists making, and indeed have possibly made myself in the past. Contents Words are Defined by Usage and ContextFaith, Atheism, Belief ONLY mean… Morality Is SubjectiveExcept I am going to hold you to a standard above your opinion Evidence will change my opinionExcept I reject any evidence not backed by an......

Definitional Problems with Lacking Belief

It is commonplace to hear these terms Agnostic/Gnostic as a modifier to atheism these days rather than Agnostic being that withholding judgment position. Please note, atheism and agnosticism are polysemous, and language is defined through common use. What I hope to do is draw your attention to the difference between the colloquial definitions and the normative ones. Colloquial Definitions If we move past the normative definitions and use these colloquial terms that are often used by fellow atheists, who probably fit the......

Words are funny things!

Words are a funny thing.  They are necessary for advanced communication, but those very same words are the cause of miscommunication.  We can have entire conversations with each other, and sound like we’re talking to other, but actually be having two different conversations.  Often times people are so busy trying to ‘dispatch’ their ‘opponent’, and prove just how smart and well-informed they are, that little time is taken to actually make sure they are actually understanding their ‘opponent’.  What they......

Conflated and Misunderstood Terms – Volume 2: Theism, Atheism, Agnosticism

Often in debate folks identify their position as one of the 3; Theist, Atheist, Agnostic. Some folks will sometimes use a combination e.g. Agnostic Atheist/Weak Atheist. It might surprise you, as it did me, that some of the definitions of terms we use are not strictly accurate, or at least logical. Language does indeed evolve, there is a difference between how these terms are used colloquially, and how one might use it at an academic level. Consider how ‘theory’ might......