Category: Social Sciences

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......

Is That Really a Fallacy?

On a recent podcast, I made a comment that most things that could be considered a fallacy could also not be fallacious. There are some that argue these things are always fallacious. This post hopes to explore a number of common fallacies and see if they are always fallacies, and also when folks might erroneously shout fallacy. Remember, a fallacy is essentially just an error in reasoning, it does not make the conclusion wrong, but the process to get to......

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......

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 to include a nonbelief/unbelief (aka lack belief) in gods existence, and many atheists use this definition, I do wonder how many know what this nonbelief......

Political Philosophy; Introduction

Even though I have already published my first article in this series, I thought I owed my readers an introduction to political philosophy in order to get them well and interested. It is an important and weighty subject, after all, and it is important that we are all clear on what exactly we are talking about if we want to effectively discuss politics, especially in the current times. Vital in discussing political philosophy, is considering what it comes from, what......

Unbelief and Disbelief – Conflated and Misunderstood Terms – Volume 6

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, but are not a requirement. CMT 5 – I Don’t Believe Why should we use the rules of logic? These articles speak about the descriptive......

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 gone over the definitions in our podcasts but the classical definition of atheism is “The belief God(s) do not exist”. Please See: Rockin’ Atheism Part......

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

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 an attitude towards a particular proposition. A belief is something you accept to be true. In logic you essentially have: P1 – a proposition you......

Political Philosophy: Sticks and how to use them

Sticks. In the Fresh AiR Podcast, S01 E01, I referred to religion as just “one of many sticks we use to beat each other upside the head”.  I also named a few other sticks, like race, wealth and class. On Twitter I had a discussion with one of the podcasts listeners about these sticks and whether or not we should endeavour to remove them completely. Because of this discussion, which was in the limited nature of the Twitter format, I......