Category: Bad Arguments

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” –…


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…


Atheists, Atheism, and Ambiguity

Introduction An argument that I often hear is that ‘lack of belief in God’ and ‘do not believe God exists’ are the same thing.  Or the argument that ‘Just because I do not believe Y does not mean that I believe X’.  I will say outright now that I tend to agree with this, with some caveats.  You see, it is not always the case that these statements are true.  It all depends on the conversation being had, and the…


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…


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,…


Rockin’ Atheism Pt 2: Defining Atheism

Introduction In the previous part of this series we looked at the problems inherent in the idea of stating that the word atheism can only have one definition, and arguing that everyone must use one particular definition.  In this part of the series we will look at the various ways in which atheism is defined, using the works of writers like Lorkowski, Walters, Flew, Draper, and some others.  It will not be argued here that a particular definition is what…


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…


The McRae Virus

When getting involved with discussions, especially on twitter, I keep hearing the phrase ‘The McRae Virus’ – often when discussing definitions or logic. I find this a strange way to dismiss a logical argument that doesn’t fit one’s narrative. Before entering the world of internet debates and things, I thought that an atheist was someone who believed or claimed gods do not exist. When I joined the debating world on Facebook many years ago, I was ‘corrected’ by many fellow…


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…