Category: Language & Linguistics

Is nonbelief a belief? (hint: you might be surprised) – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms: Vol 8

“Nonbelief is a belief? Who knew…” – an often said sarcastic comment by many fellow atheists as a retort to theists calling atheism a religion or belief system. Whilst I agree atheism is not a religion, and that it is a polysemous word which has moved from the classical disbelief in the existence of gods…


Do we Atheists have a Burden of Proof? – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms: Vol 7

“The burden is on the claimant!”, “I only lack belief so I have no burden”, “I don’t hold a belief as that is a claim” and other phrases are touted by many fellow atheists on the internet. Is this correct, or are we missing some of the picture? This article hopes to discuss What is…


Conflated and Misunderstood Terms – Volume 6: Unbelief and Disbelief

Unbelief (or non-belief) and disbelief are two words that seem to be conflated by many folks on the internet. I’m not sure if this is down to a misunderstanding of their definitions, or just due to how they are quite similar words. I’ve recently written a few articles that are worth reading before this article,…


Are we Born Atheist?

“We are all born atheist!” is something we have heard a lot. I’ve said it in the past. I am sure if you are an atheist you have said it too. But how true is that? What is an Atheist? An atheist is someone who subscribes to atheism. Atheism is polysemous (has many definitions).We have…


Conflated and Misunderstood Terms – Volume 5: I Don’t Believe

When people say “I don’t believe” it is unclear what they are saying. When many folks say this, they are discussing a psychological state rather than disbelief in a normative logical sense. But what does that mean? Logic and Belief Propositions By belief proposition, I am essentially saying believing a proposition to be true, or…


Dirty Words – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms Volume 4: Belief, Faith and Evidence

My fellow atheists and I often have extreme reactions to certain words*. I think due to the debate and some of the people we attribute them to, we have a knee jerk response. Whilst I understand why in some instances, it’s because we have a single minded view on the definition, in others it is…


Conflated and Misunderstood Terms – Volume 3: Objective / Subjective – Morals / Morality

This article is to define and discuss objective and subjective, morals and morality. As with any article on AiR we don’t always agree. Where science is concerned and the evidence is irrefutable we of course accept and believe it to be true. When it is opinion or something philosophical we may have differences. As such…


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. Language does indeed evolve, there is a difference…


Conflated and Misunderstood Terms Volume 1: Evolution

Conflated and Misunderstood Terms There are a number of conflated and misunderstood terms floating about the internet. Some of these terms are colloquialisms, others are just a misunderstanding, while the bulk used have been taught erroneously to further an agenda. Communication is a very important thing. If we cannot interact with each other on the…