Category: Social Sciences

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......

There Can Be Only ONE!

The repetitious nature of folks trying to prescribe a singular definition of atheism, and claiming that other definitions are, “talking about something else” or are “wrong”, seems to never die. What’s worse, these folks who take you saying that there are actually multiple uses of atheism claim that YOU are the one being prescriptive and restrictive, yet you’re the one saying there are multiple definitions… This article discusses some of the recent behaviours and examples of bad logic and mental......

Why Agnostic and not Agnostist?

On my walk today, I was considering a number of conversations I’ve had recently with folks arguing for default states and atheist rocks and some of the things I’ve said in response. IST and ISM One of the key points I brought up is an IST is a follower of an ISM, which is why we can’t be born an IST. It’s also another why describing atheism purely by the absence of a psychological state doesn’t really work for an......

Acceptance, Belief and ‘Believe in’

Too often do conversations devolve into people splitting hairs over synonymous terminology. Obviously, a synonym doesn’t mean the word holds the exact same meaning, just that holds (at least) nearly the same meaning. Some words are shorthand for phrases. Some words or phrases can be used in various ways and their meanings can cross over and be different depending on context. As Dave has said a number of times Words are funny things! That is one of the reasons I......

What is the Difference Between Does Not Believe and Lack of Belief?

Is there any difference between does not believe and lack of belief? The statements CAN be used interchangeably but is there any nuance to the terms? Are there times where we could use lack of belief but not does not believe? To be sure we are on the same page, we should start by defining our terms. What is a Belief? There are a few definitions of belief, but they are all essentially saying the same thing. Something accepted as......

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......

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......

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......