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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 12:49 PM
Original message
Atheism is a belief based on religious faith
Edited on Wed Dec-15-10 12:58 PM by cleanhippie
The stupid..it BURNS!!!

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http://newsok.com/atheism-is-a-belief-based-on-religiou...

Atheism is a belief based on religious faith
Published: December 15, 2010

Atheists in New Jersey, displaying that special clairvoyance reserved only for themselves, have erected a billboard telling America that not only is the Nativity a myth, but that the rest of us know that it's a myth. Further, they assure us, reason is on their side but not ours. But when atheists make these sorts of claims, they're either lying to us or lying to themselves. I suspect the latter.
Advertisement

Philosophically, atheism is founded on a contradiction. Ask the atheist why he doesn't believe in God and the standard reply comes in the form of an objection to evil or suffering, such as: If God exists, then why did He allow the Holocaust? or God doesn't exist because when I was 12 my Mom died of cancer. In other words, God doesn't exist because He could do a better job at being God. Got that? He isn't because He is ... (stupid, or uncaring or incompetent). This is clearly a contradiction, which just as clearly refutes the assertion that atheism is based on reason.

Rather, it's as faith-based a claim as that of any religion. That is, any other religion, because atheism is itself a religion. I should know. Not so long ago, I was calling myself an atheist. However, unlike my brethren in New Jersey, I wised up. May they, too, follow the star that shone so brightly over Bethlehem and understand the truth that it reveals.

Terry Mirll, Midwest City

http://newsok.com/atheism-is-a-belief-based-on-religiou...

--------------------------

Let's play a game: How many strawmen and fallacies can you find in this one letter?
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. Atheism is not a belief. It's a lack of a religious belief. nt
Edited on Wed Dec-15-10 12:51 PM by valerief
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. 100% false according to dictionary.com
atheism   /ˈeɪθiˌɪzəm/ Show Spelled
Show IPA

noun
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no god.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.


It is not a religion. It (the word) has two meanings. It CAN BE considered a belief.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #10
27. ...by those with a vested interest in tearing atheism down as a position.
Have you ever wondered why people seem to think that the most effective insult to atheists and atheism is to accuse them of being believers? To accuse them of being just like theists?

It seems...odd...to me.
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-16-10 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #27
77. I have noticed that too
"Have you ever wondered why people seem to think that the most effective insult to atheists and atheism is to accuse them of being believers?"

Why do they do that? I think some are trying to show that they feel atheists DO BELIEVE in something (the non-existence of God). They are trying to reason with people. Regardless of whether or not they are correct about atheism = a belief, I think they are coming at the issue with the right mindset: to discuss, to compare ideas.

Others are just being childish.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #10
32. It's wrong. My lack of belief does not create a belief, just like my lack of money does not create
money.
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Atman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
2. Dear Lord...
I mean, oh my God...er, uh, Jesus H. Christ. Whatever. As the OP stated, the stupid burns!

..
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bowens43 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. only a thumper could have written this drival.........nt
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MNBrewer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. Owwww!
it really does burn.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 01:14 PM
Response to Original message
5. Two kinds of atheism:
1. Belief in the non-existence of god.
2. Non-belief in the existence of god.

I'm a type-2. I do NOT believe god exists, and I do NOT believe that god does not exist. One thing that makes the question undecidable is that every religion and sect defines god differently. How can you argue for the existence or non-existence of something that is not even unambiguously defined?

(I mean, what if "God" exists, and he thinks he's the creator of the universe, but He's deluded, (or at least mistaken) about that. So if that were the case, given that hypothetical scenario, does "God" exist or not? If by "God" you mean the creator, then no, He does not exist. But if by God you include some disembodied non-human intelligence that mistakenly believes itself to be the creator, then in that hypothetical scenario, yes, that kind of "entity" exists, although Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock might call it an "alien intelligence" rather than a "god".)

That makes the whole discussion of gods and goddesses not only ridiculous, but meaningless. Which, by the way, makes it equally stupid to say "God exists" as to say "God does not exist." Both are unsupportable claims based only upon faith that the claim is true, and based solely upon how one defines the word "god".

I could, for example, define "god" as "A shared spirit of love and compassion." By that definition what I call "god" certainly does exist. But does "god" the way anybody else defines the word exist? Well, what's your definition? It has to start with an agreed upon definition and there is none. So discussing the existence of "god" without a common definition of "god" is utterly foolish.

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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Strongly disagree.
The word atheist literally means "without belief". Saying that an atheist is one who BELIEVES there is no god is, by definition, not an atheist. I understand what you are trying to get at, but I have to strongly disagree with you on this one point.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. The entymology of the word is one thing. The common-use definition is another.
Granted the Greek root and prefix mean literally "without (belief in) god", but if you consult any dictionary, or better still, a large number of dictionaries, you will find that "fundamentalist" definition (i.e. the definition based on fundamental etymological principles) is far narrower than the common-usage definition. What a word means is decided by how people use it, not by its historical origins. The word "awful", for example, etymologically means "awe inspiring", but the word really means "dreadful", "terrible", etc. (Even "terrible" used to mean something quite different as in the Lord's "... terrible swift sword")

Consider these definitions from Google and you will find that in common usage (which is what a word really means) the word "atheist" is used for both type-1 and type-2 atheist, and in more scholarly discussions the distinction is usually made by referring to what I called "type-1" as "strong atheism".

Definitions of atheist on the Web:

* someone who denies the existence of god
* related to or characterized by or given to atheism; "atheist leanings"
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

* Atheism is commonly defined as the position that there are no deities. It can also mean the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. A broader definition is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist

* A person without a belief in, or one who lacks belief in the existence of a god or gods; A person who believes that no gods or deities exist
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/atheist

* atheism - the doctrine or belief that there is no God
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

* atheistic - rejecting any belief in gods
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

* One who rejects or is ignorant of theism.
www.jabcreations.com/philosophy/philosophy-definitions....

* As used by most self-claimed atheists in means lack of belief in an organized religion. In the dictionary, an atheist is someone who do not believe in a God. ...
stobie.home.sprynet.com/work/oxymorons.htm

* An individual who rejects the notion of a supreme being that exists outside of the abilities of modern science to either prove or disprove.
jewishscientist.wordpress.com/definitions/

* atheism - A belief that there are no gods. Greek "a-theos": without-god.
www.reasoned.org/glossary.htm

* atheism - Denies the existence of any God, thought it is traditionally focused on the rejection of the Biblical God.
www.crossroad.to/glossary/religious.htm

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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. And that trend is one of the most disgusting in the English language,
you muggle.
:puke:
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Hehe. That "trend" is THE reality of ALL languages, and always has been,
and always will be.

The simple fact is that Chaucer would consider our use of English to be utterly horrifying. So does that mean you think we should all speak like Chaucer?

Languages are living, evolving things. Trying to lock them down to one point in time is like trying stop history and preserve some imagined "golden age". The "golden age" of perfect English is as imaginary as the "golden age" of American politics.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:32 PM
Original message
There is some truth to that,
but understand that there is a difference between language evolving slowly over time (like ye to you, and so forth) and language being simply misused. More and more today, people abuse language because doing so allows them to score cheap rhetorical and political points.

Wouldn't you agree, commie?
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
18. Shakespeare complained about language being misused too.

And, for the record, "ye" did not evolve into "you", "ye" and "you" are two separate words with two different meanings that were both used side by side. (See German for the distinction between "Sie" (you) and "du" (you) and you will understand.)

Imagine what the fuddy-duddies said when kids first stopped dropping "proper" case declensions of nouns and pronouns. These days people don't have a clue what the difference is between "thee", "thou", "thy", "thine", or how to use them correctly. Even the distinction between "who" and "whom" is being lost. Kids these days don't even know that English once had (is supposed to have?) different forms in the nominative, genitive, accusative and dative cases. English teachers everywhere tore their hair out when those lazy good-for-nothing kids started dropping the proper "-st" endings on conjugated auxiliary verbs like "wouldst" and "canst".

But you know what? That's not "abuse". That's evolution.

There are TWO things about language that NEVER change:

1. The younger generation always makes changes to the language. That's evolution.
2. The older generation calls every such change "abuse of the language" or "laziness", or "sloppiness".

In fact, it's only quite recently (historically speaking) that the science of linguistics has become descriptive rather than prescriptive in recognition of the simple fact that there is no such thing as one timeless and correct way to use English or any other language.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. That is no defense at all for the abuse of language.
Edited on Wed Dec-15-10 02:57 PM by darkstar3
I have conceded your point that language evolves, and so there is no need for you to harp on it. However, you must understand that to take a word, like atheism, and apply to it two diametrically opposed definitions is quite simply misuse or abuse, take your pick.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #19
29. Like taking two opposite words and applying them to the same meaning.
The house burned UP.
The house burned DOWN.

English is just chock full of examples like that, and "atheist" is only one of the many. No language is utterly consistent or utterly logical. In Old English a double negative was emphatic, and completely proper (just as it is in modern Russian). Today, suing a double negative is "abuse" or "misuse". Not because it "must" be that way for some logical reason, but just because that's how most people use it.

You are using the standard "What the word is supposed to mean." which is prescriptivist.
I am using the standard "What people use the word to mean." which is descriptivist.

19th century grammarians and lexicographers were prescriptivist.
20th and 21st century grammarians and lexicographers are descriptivist.

Our disagreement can never be resolved because you are arguing from a prescriptivist world view and I from a descriptivist world view. Those world views are not compatible. As a descriptivist your prescriptivism appears old-fashioned and overly conservative to me. This is because modern linguistics is all descriptive. Prescriptivism has long since been discredited. In fact all modern dictionaries are based on HOW THE WORD IS USED. I know you wish it weren't that way, but it is. You need to face reality. The words mean what general usage says they mean, not what you, personally, want them to mean. You cannot simply make the pronouncement that people who don't follow your standard are "abusing" or "misusing" the language. You are not the one who gets to set those standards. Language doesn't work that way. Yes, having one word cover two diametrically opposed meanings is illogical, but it is correct English, because English allows illogical usage. That's just how it is. And that is why there are two different kinds of "atheist", one for each valid definition of the word.

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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. You missed the point of contradictory meanings entirely.
Tell me, does UP have two diametrically opposed meanings?
Does DOWN?

Nope. What you're talking about there is idiom and context, not the meaning of individual words. And I'm quite sure you knew that, which was why you went on your prescriptivist/descriptivist rant to begin with.

Explain to me how it makes sense for one word to have two diametrically opposed meanings.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. "Explain to me how it makes sense for one word to have two diametrically opposed meanings."
It DOESN'T make sense. It's language. It doesn't HAVE to make sense. That's just they way it is.

Look it up and as many dictionaries as you like and you will find that EVEN THOUGH IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE, that IS how the word is used.

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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #34
39. See #38,
and also, realize that when you have to resort to TEXT LIKE THIS, your point and your cause may well be lost.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
35. Chaucer would love our evolution of the language
He played with his version of the language quite a bit. Hell, he flew in the face of conventional wisdom by writing in English and not French. Too many people think Chaucer was this uptight, high-brow writer when he was all about the poop and sex joke.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #35
47. You're very probably correct! nt
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. And I am attempting to correct you on your useage of the word in that way.
Just because a word has been misused, even widely, does not mean one must accept that use of it.

There are two distinct and separate things here: belief and non-belief. An atheist is someone who LACKS any belief at all. Regardless of how you find this word used, I think that if you ASK, just about ALL self-identified atheists will tell you that they have a LACK of a belief.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #16
22. "Just because a word has been misused, even widely, does not mean one must accept that use of it."
Quite true. Just because everybody uses the word "tree" to mean one thing doesn't mean you have to agree. You can, if you wish, have your very own personal dialect of English and define all the words exactly the way YOU and only YOU wish to define them.

However, real language is, and always has been, "open source". The makers of dictionaries rely on one and only one final authority: usage. A word means what it is widely believed to means. Nothing more, and nothing less. All dictionary entries are justified by citations, and citations are common usage.

I know you would rather have veto authority on the meaning of English words, but you don't. Every word in English means exactly what it is widely accepted to mean. If you use the language by a different standard then you are not using standard English. It's that simple.

You say: "I think that if you ASK, just about ALL self-identified atheists will tell you that they have a LACK of a belief." I think this would be an EXCELLENT subject for a DU poll! My personal experience has been that self-proclaimed atheists I know almost unanimously state that they BELIEVE in the NON-EXISTENCE of God.

Can you post polls? How about putting it to the test?

Poll for Atheists only: Which best reflects you position?

1) I believe that God does not exist.
2) I have no belief, one way or the other, about the existence of God.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. "Every word in English means exactly what it is widely accepted to mean"
:rofl:
How can you say that in the light of your opening paragraph??

Also, how can you say that when the word we're arguing over, atheism, is something for which you've posted diametrically opposed definitions?
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #24
33. HEHE. Boy! We're really getting into it now! This is so much fun!
I posted two diametrically opposed definitions because those two diametrically opposed definitions are BOTH widely accepted meanings. BOTH are found in any number of authoritative dictionaries. English is both confused and confusing, and the people who use it are both confused and confusing.

Are you arguing that words in English have some deep intrinsic meaning and that all other uses of those words are wrong?

If not, exactly WHAT determines the meaning of a word?

And how can "flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing! AAAARRRGH! English is not logical. It does not compute. Well, that's right. English is NOT logical. It doesn't have to be. And "atheist" CAN, and DOES mean two diametrically opposed things. That's a feature of the language, and one of the many reasons why English-speakers can arrive at some of the muddle-headed conclusions they seem capable of reaching. People use the language illogically so illogic is the natural consequence.

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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #33
38. Language of any kind is imprecise,
and this is a truth even a fifth-grader can understand. But the imprecision of language is by no means an excuse to actively work toward MORE imprecise language.

Why? Well, maybe an example will help...

If I called you a "tedious motherfucker", you'd be offended. As well you should be. What happens then if I try to tell you that I meant "tedious" as "strong", and "motherfucker" as "debate opponent"? Am I allowed to use this imprecision of language to say whatever I want when I want and then redefine words after the fact to placate you?

And BTW: Flammable and inflammable mean the same thing because of the word "inflame". If you go back far enough, it IS logical.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #38
41. well...
Edited on Wed Dec-15-10 04:14 PM by Speck Tater
if YOU want to redefine words don't expect common usage to agree with you.

And if I want to use common usage as my standard don't expect the rest of the world to bend to your wishes.

But the thing is, I am NOT defining the words, I am merely quoting the dictionary definitions which reflect common usage. My preferred definition is irrelevant. Your preferred definition is irrelevant. The only thing that is relevant is the dictionary because the dictionary is based on common usage. And the dictionary says the word has both meanings. And that should be the end of the discussion, because your preferences and my preferences do not matter to the compilers of the dictionaries.

And as an aside, the average Christian would probably disagree that the two definitions are different. From their perspective if you don't believe in their version of God then "you are a godless atheist and let's not quibble about what "atheist" means because we all know it means a godless heathen."

So the subtleties we are discussing are lost the average person anyway, which is exactly WHY the word can have two different definitions that intelligent people such as ourselves see as different but which average people don't see as different.

(ED:typo)
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #41
48. So are you a prescriptivist or a descriptivist?
;)

After all, telling me that I must accept that both of your quoted definitions are usable, especially here when so many people disagree with you, seems to contradict your earlier claim of being a descriptivist.

Now, snarky points aside, consider this: We know the etymology of the definition of atheism accepted in general by the atheists here. Where is the etymology for the second definition? How do we trace back where this "belief-based" (for lack of a better term) definition comes from and assure that it's not simple religious bigotry being codified as "common usage"?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #41
59. My specialty coaching college debate was topicality
Why do you think that common usage is the best standard for accepting a definition and why would a general dictionary which reflects no specialty is the best resource for deciding what words mean? Sure they can give you a general understanding of how a random Joe tosses a word around and can help you out when you don't know the meaning of a word while reading a novel, but why is that even remotely a good standard for a discussion in a theological forum?
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #33
40. Both widely accepted by WHO?
or is it WHOM? I never can remember that. Anyway, I digress...

There is one, correct, and widely accepted definition used by those to who(m) the word applies, then there is the second, incorrect, widely accepted defintion used by those that wish to portray those they are applying the word to as something they are not.

There IS a difference. And atheist does NOT mean two things. I hope you see the difference.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. Yes, I see the difference.
The problem is, the average person does not see the difference, and that is why there are two, mutually exclusive definitions in the dictionary for the same word.

as for which on is "correct" and which one is "incorrect", they are BOTH in the dictionary, so they are both "correct", unless you have some other definition for the word "correct" that involves your personal preferences rather than the authoritative sources.

As for what self-proclaimed "atheists" believe, don't we need to see the result of a poll before we can know if your claim or my claim is true? Otherwise we are both just spouting crap out of our asses just because we think it's true.

Can you post polls? (I can't. I'm too poor to afford it)

If you can, post this:

Poll for Atheists only:

1) I am an atheist and I believe there is no God.
2) I am an atheist and I don't know if there is a God or not.

The first is the position of the "strong atheist", the second is the position of the agnostic atheist that has no beliefs about god one way or the other. What will the poll results be? I'm very curious to find out if I am right or wrong, nut myu personal experience convinces me I'm right and that #1 will win the poll, even though I'm a #2 agnostic atheist.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #43
60. Nice push poll.
Your #1 presupposes far too many things to be useful but if one doesn't want to go with the "agnostic" answer, they must pick the shitty option which just serves to reinforce what you think is the definition of atheist.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #43
62. And you have a star now
so go ahead and post your poll. :toast:
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #22
28. By starting off with a false equivalency, you decrease your credibility.
But your poll question is a good one. I just might do that.
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KaoriMitsubishi Donating Member (74 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-16-10 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
79. Dictionary definitions and pedantry aside...
As one prominent atheist put it, if atheism is a belief/faith/religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby. Try with the same zeal theists use in their atheism=religion hooey to convince the stamp non-collector that not collecting stamps is still a hobby and she'll think you need to quit talking to your crack pipe.
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stopbush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-17-10 02:12 AM
Response to Reply #9
80. What other groups are defined by what they aren't, rather than by what they are?
The very word "atheist" displays the bias of the theist against the non-believer.

Atheists are the only group of people that I can think of who are defined by what they aren't. Are Christians called "a-Muslims?" Are those who don't collect stamps called aphilatelics? More important, is their very essence defined by the fact that they don't collect stamps? Does not collecting stamps in and of itself display a belief in stamp collecting?

The self-aggrandizing hubris of the theist leads him to believe that everything in the world must be defined by that thing's relationship to his imaginary diety. So, if you're not a theist, why, then you must be an a-theist.

So, not only are atheists defined by what they aren't, that definition is attached to them by theists. It is not a term that the non-believers get to choose for themselves.

BTW - for those who say that "atheism is a religion" - doesn't that mean, then, that theism is also a religion?
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Ive found the following definitions for "atheist"
"someone who denies the existence of god" : wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

"One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods." : www.thefreedictionary.com/atheist

"a person who believes that there is no God." : www.yourdictionary.com Dictionary Definitions

I think 1 & 2 are alike, 3 is subtly different. My concept (what I think when I hear the word atheist) is closest to #3.

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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I see all three of those as essentially the same.
"someone who denies the existence of god" = "I believe that God does not exist."

"One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods." = "I believe that God does not exist."

"a person who believes that there is no God." = "I believe that God does not exist."

The definitions that your left out are the ones that effectively say "I do not believe, nor do I disbelieve in God." (i.e. I have NO BELIEF, one way or the other, with respect to God). That is the etymological origin of the word "atheist", but I agree with you that your examples are what the word is commonly taken to mean in modern English. That is why I made the distinction in the first place. (I used to have a terrible time getting those distinctions across to my freshman logic students when I taught at Cal State Univ.)
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. welcome to R/T forums big debate :)
Personally I think 1 & 2 have the connotation of lack of belief, "I dont think there is a God"

3 sounds more active to me: "I think THERE IS NO SUCH THING as God."

Its all semantics but it leads to lot of hootin' & hollerin' here and elsewhere.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. Thats great!
But the important part here, is not the misuse of the word, but how those that self-identify as atheists, apply that word to themselves.
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. yup
"But the important part here, is not the misuse of the word, but how those that self-identify as atheists, apply that word to themselves."

I would also say the same thing about God. In forming my own beliefs, how I define God is more important than how you do. Of course, when we discuss God (or its nonexistence) each of our definitions is equally important.

I think so much of the arguments and ensuing animosity on DU, the R/T and in life in general comes from misperceptions of what others believe and are really trying to say.

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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #20
30. Correct.
I think so much of the arguments and ensuing animosity on DU, the R/T and in life in general comes from misperceptions of what others believe and are really trying to say.

Exactly. And when someone applies a word incorrectly, even in the face of protest by those the word is being incorrectly applied to, then refuses to acknowledge it, they are being disingenuous and really are just looking to slur someone.

In ANY conversation about "god", I always ask the person who claims that there IS a god, to kindly define what the word "god" means to them. That way there is no misunderstanding when I answer a question or refute an argument.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #17
36. Absolutely. Do Literature teachers need to use common definitions of tragedy and comedy?
Or can we stick with the "real" definitions of those words as they apply to literature?

Same thing with atheists. Assholes can define the word all they want, but you will find a pretty consistent definition of the word atheist among atheists.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #36
45. "Technical" vocabulary is different from common vocabulary.
Does the word "theory" mean the same thing to the layman as it means to a physicist? No, it does not. But BOTH definitions are correct and both are in the dictionary.

However, when a scientist argues with a laymen about what "theory" means they will go around in circles forever, just like we appear to be going around in circles in this thread.

So let's back up a step and define the word "meaning"

Is "meaning" something determined by the dictionary by way of common usage,

OR

Is "meaning" something determined by a group of specialists for use within a narrow field of discourse?

If we agree on "meaning" as determined within a narrow field of discourse then "atheist" means only, and exactly, "lack of belief in god or gods" and admits of the possibility that such god or gods may exist.

If we agree on "meaning" as determined by common usage then "atheist" has two widely accepted interpretations which include both the narrow technical sense above and the sense of a positive belief in the non-existence of god or gods.

In common use the second definition is the more popularly held among average people. When used in its narrow, technical sense, and among educated people, the first, more literal, definition is the more widely held.

In other words, to quote my earlier list of definitions on the subject:

Atheism is commonly defined as the position that there are no deities. (common usage) It can also mean the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. (Technical usage) A broader definition is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. (etymological definition)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist

So we are all agreeing about what we are saying, we are just disagreeing about what words to use, and that disagreement is entirely due to the failure on our part to distinguish between the broad, common usage definition of the word and the narrow technical definition of the word.

So we are not actually disagreeing at all. We are just, all of us, being too casual in our assumptions about what register we are speaking in; common, or technical. I assume the common register. That draws criticism from those who assume that I have assumed technical register.

When we assume...

:)
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #45
49. Poor defense.
"Does the word "theory" mean the same thing to the layman as it means to a physicist? No, it does not. But BOTH definitions are correct and both are in the dictionary."

Another abject failing of following the dictionary to defend rhetorical points. Also, an example of the abuse of a word being codified in a dictionary.

(Yes, you did hit a pet peeve. People need to stop using the term theory as they do, because it undermines so much of what science tries to do. Gravity and evolution are "just theories", after all...)
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. You're right. We MUST change the world if we are to be correct. ;-)
Anyway, since we are circling back around to the point of origin this exercise has probably run its course.

So.....

Where do you stand on gun control? Don't worry. Which ever position you take I'll take the opposite position just to make it more fun. :)
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #51
52. I'll pass.
While I often leap incautiously into debates where I have little chance of affecting the opinion of my opponents, once a contrarian reveals themselves I find them boring.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. Head over to the Guns forum
Always something fun going on in the gungeon. The stupidity and willful ignorance is usually greater than you can find here!
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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-16-10 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #7
78. Yep.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #5
15. BTW,
Have you ever met ANYONE who claimed to be a "type #1" atheist? If not, do you think it's possible that the definition is born more out of (misuse|pejorative use) than anything else?
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #15
23. I know a lot of atheists (myself included)
And nearly every single one takes the "type-1" stand that they strongly believe that there is NO god.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. You don't.
I don't. Care to take a poll? I think you're generalizing in order to once again put yourself in a superior logical position from which to argue. At least you've now realized that "agnostic" and "atheist" are not mutually exclusive and claiming agnosticism doesn't set you apart...
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #23
37. That's either complete crap or a misuse of the term believe.
I define my atheism as "I have no beliefs in any gods." I think that most atheists would agree with that definition. The definitions on most mainstream dictionaries put the term in such a way that belief in god is the norm and that atheists are somehow bucking that norm.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #37
46. By your definition of your own atheism...
do you believe that it is possible that some kind of god does exist?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 07:45 PM
Response to Reply #46
57. Nice try.
But I learned that particular cross-ex strategy when I was a high school freshmen in debate.

I lack belief in any god. Every single god you come up with, I have no belief in. That is my position on gods. There is no objective proof for any god nor any need to have a god to explain ANYTHING. As a result, I have no belief in any god. Come up with some objective proof for a god, and we can have a discussion. Until then, nope. It's very simple. It does cause many theists to have a meltdown and insist that I just "lack" a belief in god, but that assumes that the belief in god is the norm. It is not. I refuse to be defined by someone's belief in a god. I am quite sure that very few to no Christians would define themselves by a lack of belief in Zeus.
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
6. It's no snarkier than we atheists are
Only we're right, and they're wrong.

--d!
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. This LTE is not snark at all, it's ignorance.
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
25. That is really, really sad.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
42. Otoh, atheism is meaningless in the absence of theism.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #42
50. And there it is.
Others, and perhaps even you, should ponder that sentence very carefully.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #50
55. I always ponder my sentences. Perhaps you should read it again.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #42
58. Atheism is the null hypothesis.
Chew on that for a bit before you think that theism is all that and a bag of chips.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #58
61. You assume theism is a hypothesis.
You've offered nothing to chew on.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #61
63. How is it not? n/t
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #63
64. How is a belief a hypothesis?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. Saying that there is a god is a hypothesis.
Atheism is the null hypothesis to that.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #65
68. No it isn't. It's an expression of belief.
Edited on Wed Dec-15-10 08:59 PM by rug
Use your null hypothesis to challenge an explanation of why your chips are crunchy.

Besides, you've proven the point: atheism has meaning only in opposition to theism. The model is Hegel, not Fisher.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #68
69. Or theism only has meaning in relation to the null hypothesis.
If it doesn't, then the null hypothesis is true.

You certainly don't mean to espouse the Hegel of "god is not an abstract but a concrete god" in the discussion of whether theism is a hypothesis, do you? Because that would be a pretty solid statement of a hypothesis against the null hypothesis of atheism.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #69
70. Not really since, as you say, current atheism is a response to theism.
Edited on Wed Dec-15-10 09:24 PM by rug
As to Hegel, the antithesis reacts to the thesis. It does not exist, meaningfully, without the thesis. It's basic dialectics.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #70
71. I don't remember saying that at all.
You are confusing null hypothesis with antithesis. We are all born atheists. Perhaps theism is the antithesis to atheism.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #71
72. I'm distinguuishing, not confusing.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #72
73. I don't think you understand what a null hypothesis is, then,
if you think I am saying that atheism is a reaction to theism in that post.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #73
74. I do and I rejected it earlier as inapplicable.
I don't think you understand dialectics, particularly Hegelian dialectics, which is applicalbe to my original statement, as well as to yours.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #74
75. Not understanding and not agreeing with the interpretation
are two different things.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #75
76. Naturally.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #58
66. Ah,
but that was my point before. You see, theism is the deviation. Without the deviation, there would be no descriptor necessary to describe either the deviation or the norm.

The implications of rug's original point are far reaching, and damning for anyone who wants to label atheism as "other", "irrational", "antithesis", and so on to infinity.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #66
67. Yep, I was with you.
Just like sounding all statistical-ish.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
44. oops. posted wrong place. delete
Edited on Wed Dec-15-10 04:32 PM by struggle4progress
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backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 06:36 PM
Response to Original message
54. STRAWMAN: He died for your fallacies!
:rofl:

Thanks for the comedy, cleanhippie! :hi:
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #54
56. You're welcome!
:hi:
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