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Old 3rd May 2018, 11:42 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
This doesn't work, as a non-belief in Zeus, Santa Claus, pink unicorns, stamp collecting, would also have to be defined as a religion.
A non-belief in stamp collecting?

I am pretty sure stamp collecting exists. I use to live near a place which I suppose is called a stamp collecting church, where stamp collectionists convened and performed their stamp collecting rituals, which consisted mainly of shuffling bits of paper around.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 11:45 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Me?

Your positions are at the moment meaningless since no definition is given for "god". Until a definition is given one can't take any view on whatever it is you are talking about.

Plus I'm still curious why this always ends up with a general "god that we won't define", such a god is not the god of the major Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and so on religions, why don't we stick to the definitions/descriptions of gods that those that claim a god or gods exist use?
I can tell you what I meant by "god" when I was writing my comment.

The creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
And:
A superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

I think that's what people in this forum more or less understand. We could therefore continue the discussion on this basis. Is it O.K?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 11:53 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
These are not the same, and why your attempt at answering the question is fatally flawed. Further, your two categories for B are not the only 2 possible categories.

So yes, I don't accept that anything in your flawed analysis represents my position.
Of course, B is not equal to B1. The latter is a subgroup of the former.

And what is your position that is not in my classification? Please don't put a name to it.

Maybe you can explain your point better.
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Old 4th May 2018, 12:06 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
I have always found it curious that my definition of an atheist "An atheist is a person who believes there is no God," draws such didactic, indeed even emotional answers, particularly when my definition is but my definition.

Further, I personally believe it is superior as it is both an affirmative description, which I am certain one can easily understand, and also does not suffer the problem of being an "absolute" statement which skeptics are quite correct to see the flaws in making.
The definition of atheism causes problems if we put different things into it. As you write it, it seems to point to a justifiable claim about God nonexistence. However, there are people who do not believe that there is a god and who think that there is no need to justify it. And they call themselves atheists too.

The underlying problem is the burden of proof. This is an issue that is not always well understood. It is over-simplified when it is said that the burden of proof lies with the one who affirms. To affirm what? This is the question.
In short, like most of what you say by pretending to be naive, there is a lot of groundswell that you can't pretend to solve with a simple definition.

And what is your position about theism? Do you think God exists? Are you sure? Please don't give it a name.

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Old 4th May 2018, 12:10 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Thanks!
Yes. I will limit myself to the provided dictionary definition.
I think that so I won't create more confusion, I'll not invent some new word but simply leave things as they are.
Whether there is one definition or another will depend on the dictionary you choose. Don't think it's so simple. What dictionary did you use?
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Old 4th May 2018, 12:20 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Many theists simply cannot comprehend that others don't believe in their god or any god.

Seems to be mainly theists* that most want “atheist” to be defined as “Believes there is no god or gods”. Obviously this definition better suits their purpose as they can counter “You merely believe a god exists” with “You merely believe a god doesn’t exist”. Which they quickly slam dunk with “You can’t prove a god doesn’t exist”. As if this makes the realistic odds of a god existing or not equally possible.
You're right. The underlying problem is whether a person who does not believe in God has to justify his position and whether all beliefs are the same.
But instead of dealing with this problem that is real, we create a naming problem that is never going to be solved because we don't address the underlying problem.
So, since there is no will to reach a consensus about definitions, we should limit ourselves to discussing the real question: Should a person who does not believe in God justify his belief? Is believing in God and not believing in God the same kind of belief?
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Old 4th May 2018, 12:36 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
So, since there is no will to reach a consensus about definitions, we should limit ourselves to discussing the real question: Should a person who does not believe in God justify his belief? Is believing in God and not believing in God the same kind of belief?
A "real question" I'd like answered is when and how did not believing become a belief?

But I totally agree that our time would be better spent debating "believing in gods" and "not believing gods" without labels, rather than how we should define labels. If you accept a label for your position you will be branded by another persons definition of that label. This is why definitions of labels are so hotly debated.

The debates always seem to be about defining atheist labels and never theist labels. Perhaps atheists should reject all labels and simply state that they "don't believe in gods" or they "believe gods don't exist" or they "know gods don't exist" then there's no room for ambiguity. What's achieved for atheists by attaching labels?

Darn! just had a deja vu moment that I've reached this conclusion before. Maybe Elagabalus is right and I've done all this before. Perhaps even many times . . . Bloody alzheimer's

So - I don't believe in gods, and I know, as much as I know just about anything, that gods don't actually exist. I'm not going to accept labels and other people's definitions of those label because label aren't required. So there!
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Old 4th May 2018, 01:00 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Many theists simply cannot comprehend that others don't believe in their god or any god.

Seems to be mainly theists* that most want “atheist” to be defined as “Believes there is no god or gods”. Obviously this definition better suits their purpose as they can counter “You merely believe a god exists” with “You merely believe a god doesn’t exist”. Which they quickly slam dunk with “You can’t prove a god doesn’t exist”. As if this makes the realistic odds of a god existing or not equally possible.
How a word should be defined has nothing to do with whether or not a definition can provide a rhetorical edge to one side of a debate.

You can't insist on a definition of a word that automatically shows that your position is the superior one*. And any argument based on the wording of a dictionary definition would be a fallacy anyway.

“Believes there is no god or gods” is a perfectly servicable definition.
It includes those who simply lack a belief in something divine, those who actively believe it doesn't exist, those who feel the proposition should be rejected because of lack of evidence, but are open to be proven wrong, and so on.
Why is there a need for one single definition of 'real' atheists?

*that smacks of the "the dictionary says a marriage is a union between a man and a woman!" argument...
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Old 4th May 2018, 02:59 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
A "real question" I'd like answered is when and how did not believing become a belief?

But I totally agree that our time would be better spent debating "believing in gods" and "not believing gods" without labels, rather than how we should define labels. If you accept a label for your position you will be branded by another persons definition of that label. This is why definitions of labels are so hotly debated.

(...)

Darn! just had a deja vu moment that I've reached this conclusion before. Maybe Elagabalus is right and I've done all this before. Perhaps even many times . . . Bloody alzheimer's

So - I don't believe in gods, and I know, as much as I know just about anything, that gods don't actually exist. I'm not going to accept labels and other people's definitions of those label because label aren't required. So there!
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Old 4th May 2018, 03:12 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by Porpoise of Life View Post
How a word should be defined has nothing to do with whether or not a definition can provide a rhetorical edge to one side of a debate.

You can't insist on a definition of a word that automatically shows that your position is the superior one*. And any argument based on the wording of a dictionary definition would be a fallacy anyway.

“Believes there is no god or gods” is a perfectly servicable definition.
It includes those who simply lack a belief in something divine, those who actively believe it doesn't exist, those who feel the proposition should be rejected because of lack of evidence, but are open to be proven wrong, and so on.
Why is there a need for one single definition of 'real' atheists?

*that smacks of the "the dictionary says a marriage is a union between a man and a woman!" argument...
All of us fall into the trap of definitions over and over again. You know, man is the animal that stumbles on the same stone twenty times - a good definition, right?

Definitions can be useful when shared, but they are a handicap when they hide the real problem with things. At this point, the appropriate strategy should be: I'm not going to discuss what this is called, but whether this is X.
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:24 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Serious question (not playing a silly game). Is saying “I know dinosaurs are extinct” equally an irrational belief?
We can follow empirical evidence of the dinosaurs' development and evolution to birds, etc through the fossil record. The conclusions drawn are rational, and based on the observable.

Quote:
Or perhaps “I know there is no Santa” might be more appropriate.
Santa is known to be a myth created for children. It is known to be contrived and his literal existence is never entertained by adults. While it sounds good, no cigar, analogy-wise.

Quote:
We frequently use complete lack of evidence that some things do exist to conclude that those things don't exist. Why do you claim this is irrational?
The existence of a god (whatever that may be) is a unique argument (but not special pleading, as there are reasons for the unique status). You know the arguments, I would think: Radio waves existed regardless of man's ability to recognize or harness them. The idea of a god is not definitively known or not known; the range of reason should run from 'there is no evidence to support this' to 'I'm thoroughly convinced'.

But again, how can we define atheist without first defining god?
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:25 AM   #132
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No. Not defining it is more fun.
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:31 AM   #133
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
An atheist is a person who believes there is no God
No, that is an anti-theist.
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:39 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by MetalPig View Post
A non-belief in stamp collecting?

I am pretty sure stamp collecting exists. I use to live near a place which I suppose is called a stamp collecting church, where stamp collectionists convened and performed their stamp collecting rituals, which consisted mainly of shuffling bits of paper around.
You're right, that was garbled. I was referring to an analogy: Atheism is a religion in the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby, i.e., it's not.
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:41 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I can tell you what I meant by "god" when I was writing my comment.

The creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
And:
A superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

I think that's what people in this forum more or less understand. We could therefore continue the discussion on this basis. Is it O.K?
It's getting there but I'd still say why talk about these "gods" rather than the gods that the vast majority of theists actually believe in?
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:44 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
No, that is an anti-theist.
I know this is a lot of hair splitting, but I would think anti-theism is a more specific term, meaning against or in opposition to theism (Wikipedia agrees). If someone had no belief or interest in religion, I would not call them anti-religious. That adds an oppositional element that I'm not sure is intended.
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:48 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
The definition of atheism causes problems if we put different things into it. As you write it, it seems to point to a justifiable claim about God nonexistence. However, there are people who do not believe that there is a god and who think that there is no need to justify it. And they call themselves atheists too.

The underlying problem is the burden of proof. This is an issue that is not always well understood. It is over-simplified when it is said that the burden of proof lies with the one who affirms. To affirm what? This is the question.
In short, like most of what you say by pretending to be naive, there is a lot of groundswell that you can't pretend to solve with a simple definition.

And what is your position about theism? Do you think God exists? Are you sure? Please don't give it a name.
I disagree I think it is about forgetting what atheism is meant to be the opposite of i.e. theism.

A theist is someone who believes in a god or gods.
An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in a god or gods

We seem happy with leaving theist as undefined and non-specific but those not sharing that belief we seem to insist on some further specificality.
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:28 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
I have always found it curious that my definition of an atheist "An atheist is a person who believes there is no God," draws such didactic, indeed even emotional answers, particularly when my definition is but my definition.

Further, I personally believe it is superior as it is both an affirmative description, which I am certain one can easily understand, and also does not suffer the problem of being an "absolute" statement which skeptics are quite correct to see the flaws in making.
Nifty, I define theists as ignorant children who still need an imaginary friend. Surely you wouldn't object, it is my definition after all.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I disagree I think it is about forgetting what atheism is meant to be the opposite of i.e. theism.

A theist is someone who believes in a god or gods.
An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in a god or gods

We seem happy with leaving theist as undefined and non-specific but those not sharing that belief we seem to insist on some further specificality.
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:28 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I can tell you what I meant by "god" when I was writing my comment.

The creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
And:
A superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

I think that's what people in this forum more or less understand. We could therefore continue the discussion on this basis. Is it O.K?
We could accept the above definition because people believe it, but the definition is incoherent and not supported by any scripture (I've come across).
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:54 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
It's getting there but I'd still say why talk about these "gods" rather than the gods that the vast majority of theists actually believe in?
The two parts of the definition together admit the possibility of speaking of gods in plural. I often write "god" in the singular for short and because it is the majority belief in today's world.
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:57 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
We could accept the above definition because people believe it, but the definition is incoherent and not supported by any scripture (I've come across).
Just that: this use of "god" is admitted because it is the most common in our culture and in others I know. They are the ones that are often used in the books, articles and debates I know. Whether or not it is written in some sacred text is another matter.
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:05 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I disagree I think it is about forgetting what atheism is meant to be the opposite of i.e. theism.

A theist is someone who believes in a god or gods.
An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in a god or gods

We seem happy with leaving theist as undefined and non-specific but those not sharing that belief we seem to insist on some further specificality.
I am NOT interested now in what "atheism" means to you. You are right: there is opposition between those who think that God exists and those who do not believe that God exists. And between those who don't believe that God exists and those who claim that God does not exist and those who claim that they do not justify the claim that God does not exist and those who claim that they believe to have some reason that God does not exist and those who do not speak out on this issue and all the others... etc., etc., etc., etc.
What interests me is how everyone justify his position. Not whatever they're called.
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:13 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
The two parts of the definition together admit the possibility of speaking of gods in plural. I often write "god" in the singular for short and because it is the majority belief in today's world.
Think you misunderstood me, but you bring up another point, if you are using the plural "gods" then you are excluding the god of the vast majority of the religious theists in the world believe in since they believe in only one god.
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:15 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I am NOT interested now in what "atheism" means to you. You are right: there is opposition between those who think that God exists and those who do not believe that God exists. And between those who don't believe that God exists and those who claim that God does not exist and those who claim that they do not justify the claim that God does not exist and those who claim that they believe to have some reason that God does not exist and those who do not speak out on this issue and all the others... etc., etc., etc., etc.
What interests me is how everyone justify his position. Not whatever they're called.
Then you are in the wrong thread - this thread is the "Define “Atheist”" thread.
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:22 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I disagree I think it is about forgetting what atheism is meant to be the opposite of i.e. theism.

A theist is someone who believes in a god or gods.
An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in a god or gods

We seem happy with leaving theist as undefined and non-specific but those not sharing that belief we seem to insist on some further specificality.
Just for purposes of discussion, we could also say that, as formulated, the term means 'one who holds to no theist dogma,' leaving the issue of belief in a deity unresolved. In that reading, it's still stronger than agnostic, as it yet makes a general claim regarding religious dogma.

Just kicking the can. Lord knows I don't want to backdoor any gods... er, wrong turn of phrase!
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:31 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why try and complicate it. An atheist is someone who does not belive in a god. Doesn't matter then if you think a "god" might exist, or some other possibility belief.

If you don't believe in a god you are an atheist.
I always figure the following:
0) Define god
1) Take out a sheet of paper and pencil
2) Make a list of all the gods you believe exist
3) If that list is blank, then you are an atheist
4) If that list is not blank, it would depend on what you list. If you say that "I listed a toaster, because I heard there is a tribe on a remote island that worshipped a toaster as a god, and that toaster certainly exists" then I will tell you to buzz off and not worry about it. Or if say something like, "god is the nature of the universe" aka Spinoza's god, then again, I won't worry about it.
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:48 AM   #147
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If this thread gets to 4 pages I will believe in a God. It has to be divine intervention that prevents a develoed species understanding something so simple as disbelief. Nothing else can account for such stupidity.
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Old 4th May 2018, 09:19 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Whether there is one definition or another will depend on the dictionary you choose. Don't think it's so simple. What dictionary did you use?
I've decided to be a simpleton. For any person who tells me ze is an Atheist, Theist, Non-Theist, or whatever I will listen and let that person explain what ze means by that.
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Old 4th May 2018, 09:26 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by Lothian View Post
If this thread gets to 4 pages I will believe in a God. It has to be divine intervention that prevents a develoed species understanding something so simple as disbelief. Nothing else can account for such stupidity.
Shall we pray?
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Old 4th May 2018, 10:25 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Then you are in the wrong thread - this thread is the "Define “Atheist”" thread.
I am interested in the definition of atheist'. But not in your personal opinion that you present as the only possible one. I'm trying to unblock the subject.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Think you misunderstood me, but you bring up another point, if you are using the plural "gods" then you are excluding the god of the vast majority of the religious theists in the world believe in since they believe in only one god.
So what, then? So much theistic is the one who believes in one god as the other who believes in fifty. Or is it not?
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Old 4th May 2018, 01:05 PM   #151
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here is a rather "strong" atheist type who agrees with my definition of atheism as someone who believes there is no God.

http://www.evilbible.com/definition-of-atheism/
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Old 4th May 2018, 01:20 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
here is a rather "strong" atheist type who agrees with my definition of atheism as someone who believes there is no God.

http://www.evilbible.com/definition-of-atheism/
Of course a strong atheist agrees, your's is the definition of strong atheism.
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Old 4th May 2018, 02:23 PM   #153
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Given it seems there will never be any consensus on a generic definition of “atheist” . . .

If others want to label me for not believing in gods and use the word “atheist” to do so, then I only accept that they have the right to do so using my definition of “atheist”. If others that lack belief in gods are happy to accept definitions of “atheist” that don’t agree with their own definition then that’s their choice.

Anyway, I might have found a “better” definition of “atheist” . . .

Atheist – A label many theists and a few others apply to those that don’t have a belief in gods with the definition that such a lack of belief is a belief.
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Old 4th May 2018, 02:29 PM   #154
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Quote:
Stupid Argument #4: Only Atheists get to Define What the Word “Atheist” Means.

This argument is absurd for two reasons. First of all, words are defined by common usage, not by the people who fit that definition. For example the word “handicapped” is defined by common usage not just by handicapped people.

Secondly, a “lack of belief” definition for the word “atheist” would include so many agnostics, babies, infants, and the undecided that the self-identified atheists would be a very small minority. Babies and infants would make up a majority of the “lack of belief” atheists and I haven’t heard of any of them who could express a coherent definition.
Written by an atheist for atheists
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Old 4th May 2018, 02:31 PM   #155
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The King/Queen of thread derailment strikes again!
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Old 4th May 2018, 03:20 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
here is a rather "strong" atheist type who agrees with my definition of atheism as someone who believes there is no God.

http://www.evilbible.com/definition-of-atheism/
I like this because it makes me question my usual stuff, but if it is the be all end all statement, it comes down to me not being an Atheist.

If it weren't asserted by an Atheist, I'd wonder if that wasn't its purpose.
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Old 4th May 2018, 04:15 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
here is a rather "strong" atheist type who agrees with my definition of atheism as someone who believes there is no God.

http://www.evilbible.com/definition-of-atheism/
I'm curious, TBD. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that you believe in a Christian God (I'm not positive about that), do you believe there is no Zeus (or Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc., you get the idea) or do you lack a belief in these deities?

Also, since it is apparent that you would not put babies in the atheist category, how would you classify them?

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Old 4th May 2018, 07:06 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
We can follow empirical evidence of the dinosaurs' development and evolution to birds, etc through the fossil record. The conclusions drawn are rational, and based on the observable.
Fossil evidence is only evidence that dinosaurs did and can exist. Nothing to do with whether they still exist or not. Much more than can be said about gods.

If all dinosaurs have evolved into birds then dinosaurs aren’t extinct. Are you claiming all dinosaurs evolved into birds and “Dinosaurs are extinct” is false? If not, is saying “Dinosaurs that didn’t evolve into birds are extinct” equally as irrational as saying “Gods don’t exist”?

Replace “Dinosaur” with “Dodo” if it helps.

Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Santa is known to be a myth created for children. It is known to be contrived and his literal existence is never entertained by adults. While it sounds good, no cigar, analogy-wise.
Santa is known to be a myth created for people. "It is known to be contrived and his literal existence is never entertained by adults" is irrelevant, and at best is an "argument ad (adult) populum" fallacy. The analogy is sound. Where’s my cigar? (not that I’ve ever smoked).

Replace “Santa” with “Bigfoot“ if it helps. Many adults very much entertain their literal existence.

Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
The existence of a god (whatever that may be) is a unique argument (but not special pleading, as there are reasons for the unique status). You know the arguments, I would think: Radio waves existed regardless of man's ability to recognize or harness them. The idea of a god is not definitively known or not known; the range of reason should run from 'there is no evidence to support this' to 'I'm thoroughly convinced'.
To claim belief in the existence of gods is a unique (special) argument with a unique (special) status very much special pleading. Your examples of unique (special) arguments could apply to all things for which there's no evidence.

Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
But again, how can we define atheist without first defining god?
Which god belief do you want defined, and why do you ignore all the others? I not only don't believe/reject all god beliefs, I also don't believe/reject all other paranormal beliefs. The only definition of gods beliefs I need to not believe/reject them all is that they are all paranormal beliefs.
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Old 4th May 2018, 10:39 PM   #159
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You guys are falling in the Big Dog slipknot. The dog hunting the dogcatchers! You are not going to gain anything by fighting with him over the meaning of "atheism". Ask him better where he wants to go with hist definition and we shall talk about things instead of getting into an absurd quarrell.

The Dog probably wants to demand that you prove that his beloved God-pipe-dream doesn't exist. You are not going to solve that with definitions, but by showing the way knowledge works.

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Old 4th May 2018, 11:12 PM   #160
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“I think X doesn't exist” and “I don't think X exists”. What difference does it make?

In the fights between unbelievers and believers, the distinction between:
(a) I believe that X does not exist.
(b) I do not believe that X exists.
And also in some cases:
(c) Neither X exists nor X does not exist is an undecidable question.
(d) X exists.

Despite the frequency with which these distinctions are made, I have some problems understanding them. I hope someone can explain them to me.

My problems basically relate to (b). If a person doesn't have the belief in X it may be due to different causes. It may be because you have some reason to believe that the reasons for (d) are false. Or, put another way, that the reasons that gives (d) are inconclusive. But then, what would differentiate (a) from (b) and (c)? If (b) objects to (a) it is because he is not convinced by the reasons given by (a). But, then, his posture is equal to (c): he says neither one thing nor the other. If you want to object to (c) you will have to give some reason to not accept the equidistance, and your position will be equal to (a), which we have already excluded.

Therefore, statement (b) sounds very good when it is only expressed. But in the course of the debate (b) will be obliged to mark his position on (a) and (c) —since they will want to know how (b) differs from their position—and it will become clear that there is no real difference. Either (b)=(a) or (b)=(c). In analytical philosophy, one would say that his proposal is a pseudo-proposal: it sounds good, but it doesn't mean anything.

NOTE: "X" can mean anything: Brussels sprouts or a god. Try both ways to see how it sounds.
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