[Replying to post 25 by wiploc
[center]Stuck on the labels instead of the ideas the labels represent.[/center]
If I lack a belief in something, then I also believe it doesn't exist.
Is that a personal idiosyncrasy, or do you think it's how language works?
Nope, normal language is often that ambiguous. Language is often very very messy. Philosophy is where we try to clean that mess UP
That's why we have philosophy.. it sometimes takes a WHOLE lotta other words to explain even itsy bitsy ones. Try, for example to explain "love" in any complete way, and see how many words that will take ya.
If I say "I don't believe X," I could be using a figure of speech, litotes, to mean "I believe not-X." Or I could be speaking literally, in which case you have no information about what I do believe. The listener gets to judge by context, and sometimes that can be hard.
If I say that I don't believe X, it says my belief status on X, but NOTHING ELSE. My disbelief in X says NOTHING, for example about Y, or A, or W.
If the person I am trying to explain something to doesn't understand the word I'm using, I can and do ELABORATE. Words like "atheist" are merely placeholders for LONG BORING SPEECHES
If you don't know what I mean by "atheist", ask and you shall receive.
Don't be shy, either.
There are many variations on "atheism" possible, so it's better not to guess.
Since "I don't believe X" can be ambiguous--specifically for that reason--the "I lack
a belief" phrasing has come into use. The listener cannot hear "I lack a belief in X" and think she has heard "I have a belief in not-X."
Yeah, and apologists train some people to think that all ATHEISTS are expressing a belief
. They can then claim that we do the same as they. This is a "Tu quoque" fallacy. Some atheists might use the word to mean they have a BELIEF that there is not gods, but not ALL of us do.
It's important to ask what people MEAN
by their terms.
When I say that I'm an atheist I do NOT mean that I have a belief in a "NOT GOD
". I just mean that I don't believe in any gods.
The point and purpose of that phrasing is to avoid the confusion that you seem to be promoting.
I don't have a problem with how TheBeardedDude was expressing atheism. Both versions can mean the same darn thing, IF anyone cares to ask. What really IMPRESSES me is when theists ARGUE with me when I tell them what I mean by the term.
I mean.. they ARGUE with me !!
For crying out loud, that's so lame.
The caveat here is that the latter statement ("I believe god does not exist") is really nothing more than a shortened and oversimplified version of: "I lack a belief in gods because of the paucity of evidence for them. As a consequence of this I do not believe gods are possible in our universe."
No. You're just making things up.
And wiploc is the king of the English language?
The word "atheist" has some common definitions that are found in general dictionaries, however, not everyone uses the term the same WAY. There are quite a FEW KINDS of atheists out there... Let them describe what they mean by the term. You may be surprised what people believe and don't believe.
Some dictionaries just don't reflect my usage of certain terms..
Now, if you are saying that "he is making it up " you are ARGUING with him just like the lame apologists do. It's his meaning.. he GETS to make that up..... He GETS to use the word he wants to use.
Boring Philosophy Lecture Alert:
Define your terms
No dictionary police is going to come down from Oxford to arrest TheBeardedDude for defining his terms. You WILL notice that some BIGGER dictionaries describe more usages than the smaller dictionaries. And you will notice that philosophical dictionary entries are longer than most non-technical dictionaries. There's a reason for that.
When it comes to philosophical discussions, we MUST define our terms. There are no RULES about what word means what. As long as we KNOW what the person is talking about is what's important. The IDEA the words represent is whats important.. NOT THE LABEL ( the word ) we choose to represent the idea.
The category "People who believe that gods do not exist" includes some of those you describe, but it also includes every other person who believes gods do not exist.
There is no WORD POLICE.
But the term "atheist" pretty much covers people who believe that gods don't exist, AND those that don't believe that gods exist.
And the category does not include everybody you describe. I met a guy in Texas who claimed that science had proved gods don't exist. He wasn't an atheist because of any "paucity of evidence"; he believed gods' nonexistence was proven.
He is an atheist, by not believing in gods.
It doesn't MATTER how he arrived at the conclusion.
As long as he doesn't believe in any god, he is an ATHEIST. He can be completely off his rocker, but that doesn't MATTER.
The category of "People who believes that gods do not exist," includes some people you have excluded, and doesn't include everybody you included.
People who believe that gods do not exist = People who do not believe that gods exist.
Get over it.
If you don't understand someone's incredibly nuanced position, ASK.
Don't get stuck on their LABELS