To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

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Sherlock Holmes
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To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #1

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

To be clear the title of this thread is false.

There are currently several purported definitions of atheism, personally I always use the real one, the established one, the one used historically in books on theology, philosophy and so on, the one that's been around for hundreds of years.

But there are some who like to use a different definition one made up one afternoon by Antony Flew in the 1970s in a rather obscure book The Presumption of Atheism.

Nobody paid much attention to this until relatively recently where it became fashionable amongst militant atheists, some of whom even insist that Flew's definition is the true definition.

You can read more about this hand waving and other foot stamping here.

It's also worth noting that there are plenty of atheists who rely on the historic definition and do not agree with this attempt to redefine it, so any pretense that all atheists adopt the "lack of belief" view is false, many atheists do not share that definition at all.
When one has eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #41

Post by benchwarmer »

JoeyKnothead wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:14 pm
benchwarmer wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:48 pm Stuff.
I don't mean to imply anything here, but I got me an extra wheelbarrow if ya need it to tote that big brain around. Heck, there's a Georgia Buggy in the shed should the wheelbarrow not be up to the task.
Ah Joey, thank you for the kind words. I do believe though that you've implied my brain has fallen out of my head and now needs to be toted around :D Could be true, I do get some odd looks sometimes.
JoeyKnothead wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:14 pm The folks with the biggest problem on defining atheism, are them that ain't.
Seems like it. Ah well, maybe some lurkers have learned something from all this.

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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #42

Post by JoeyKnothead »

brunumb wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:38 pm
benchwarmer wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:48 pm
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 1:44 pm God either exists or does not exist and one can either hold a belief in either of these or not.
Whoa, whoa, whoa... hold on here. You seem to be slipping from gods to God (Christian god). Though you seem to have made that slip earlier as well thinking I'm an atheist because I reject the Christian god. You never replied (or I missed it) how you aren't an atheist as well if you reject Vishnu, Brahma, etc. So?
That reminded me (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_atheism):
Early Christians were widely reviled as atheists because they did not believe in the existence of the Roman gods. During the Roman Empire, Christians were executed for their rejection of the pagan deities in general and the Imperial cult of ancient Rome in particular.
Well now I'm all messed up. More'n I was before.
Discovery is finding things that exist.
Invention is using things discovered.

Create that path and engineer a metamorphosis.

- William

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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #43

Post by JoeyKnothead »

brunumb wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:28 pm
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:06 am Do you understand? you are not the spokesman or representative for all atheists, it is not for you or Dawkins or Hitchens et-al, to tell other atheists what the term "really" means when they are quite content with the already established meaning.
Thank you. It's very comforting to have a theist ready to tell us atheists exactly what we are and what we think. :roll:
Naw now, they mean well. They just don't understand any thoughts but their own.
Discovery is finding things that exist.
Invention is using things discovered.

Create that path and engineer a metamorphosis.

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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #44

Post by brunumb »

JoeyKnothead wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 7:06 pm Well now I'm all messed up. More'n I was before.
Just one of the hazards associated with being an atheist, whatever one of them might be. :tongue:
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #45

Post by benchwarmer »

[Replying to Sherlock Holmes in post #1]

Well the timing of this Youtube video couldn't have been better:

I took a Christian class about atheism. It was worse than I expected.


It's like Drew has been watching our threads lately or something :) :wave:

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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #46

Post by TRANSPONDER »

JoeyKnothead wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 7:06 pm
brunumb wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:38 pm
benchwarmer wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:48 pm
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 1:44 pm God either exists or does not exist and one can either hold a belief in either of these or not.
Whoa, whoa, whoa... hold on here. You seem to be slipping from gods to God (Christian god). Though you seem to have made that slip earlier as well thinking I'm an atheist because I reject the Christian god. You never replied (or I missed it) how you aren't an atheist as well if you reject Vishnu, Brahma, etc. So?
That reminded me (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_atheism):
Early Christians were widely reviled as atheists because they did not believe in the existence of the Roman gods. During the Roman Empire, Christians were executed for their rejection of the pagan deities in general and the Imperial cult of ancient Rome in particular.
Well now I'm all messed up. More'n I was before.
Everyone's an atheist about an awful lot of gods.

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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #47

Post by alexxcJRO »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 1:44 pm God either exists or does not exist and one can either hold a belief in either of these or not.

Therefore the following four propositions can be defined (and these are the only four propositions that can be defined given the binary nature of the terms).

I do hold the belief that God exists.
I do NOT hold the belief that God exists.
I do hold the belief that God does NOT exist.
I do NOT hold the belief that God does NOT exist.

These can only be paired as follows (eliminating contradictory pairings)

1. I do hold the belief that God exists AND I do not hold the belief that God does NOT exist. (Theist)
2. I do NOT hold the belief that God exists AND I do NOT hold the belief that God does NOT exist. (Uncommitted)
3. I do NOT hold the belief that God exists AND I do hold the belief that God does NOT exist. (Atheist)

The "modern" atheist can only (that is, these are the only logical options) adopt 2. or 3. as their position, these are the only two (non-contradictory) positions that include "I do not hold the belief that God exists".

If they adopt 2. then their position is identical to "I do not know if God exists" and warrants no special term or bastardization of the existing term "atheist", saying "I don't know" or "I am uncommitted" is all that's needed, no fancy word play or Emperor's new clothes or other mumbo jumbo.

This position - uncommitted - is no more at odds with the theist than it is the atheist, it no more aligned with either of these two other positions, both the atheist and the theist are obliged to provide a rational argument for the beliefs they hold any beliefs they do not hold are completely irrelevant.

If they adopt 3. then their position is identical to the established meaning of "atheism" and they do assert "I do hold the belief that God does NOT exist" in which case they need to provide a rational argument for that belief.

This is the hard reality of this, this is where clumsily "redefining" atheism in this vacuous way is illogical and absurd yet the likes of Dawkins, Krauss et-al are simply not competent to understand this.
Sherlock Holmes probably do NOT holds the belief that Brahma, Reincarnation, Invisible immaterial extremely shy unicorns, YETI, Aliens, Strigois exists AND does hold the belief that Brahma, Reincarnation, Invisible immaterial extremely shy unicorns, YETI, Aliens, Strigois do NOT exist.

If yes he needs to provide a rational argument for that belief->disbelief.

Q: Do you hold the belief that Brahma, Reincarnation, Invisible immaterial extremely shy unicorns, YETI, Aliens, Strigois do NOT exist?(Yes/No)

Waiting for your answer. 8-)
Hope you will not avoid. :P
Last edited by alexxcJRO on Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #48

Post by benchwarmer »

historia wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:39 pm However, if I say that 'I reject the assertion that there is dark matter,' then that clearly is an assertion about dark matter itself. I'm saying I disbelieve in dark matter.
Ok, I see the confusion I think.

There is a difference between "the assertion" and "the assertions I've heard so far".

In other words, the way you have worded it means you reject THE assertion (as if there is only one) that something exists. My point has been about the various assertions made by people claiming there is a god.

From your wording, yes, if there is only one overall assertion your point makes sense. That, however, was not my point. Perhaps I missed this detail before. Anyway, hopefully we are on the same page now.

I don't consider there to be a single assertion that a god exists. I take each assertion (because they all come from different people about different versions and/or definitions of gods) on their own and so far I don't believe any of them.

To me, there can never be a single assertion in regards to "a god" because what is "a god"? Many people will supply many definitions. I can't reject whatever any given person has in their mind if they haven't explained it to me. It's not like they can plop down a god in front of me and say "that". I mean, if they could, this debate forum wouldn't exist.
historia wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:39 pm But this is really just saying that you reject the arguments that Sally and Joe made. After all is said and done here, you could not say that you still reject the claim -- that is, the proposition -- that vaccines are effective.

It seems to me that you and TRANSPONDER are conflating those two things.
As above. Yes, you are talking about a single overall proposition and I (and perhaps Transponder) are not. I was talking about individual claims (assertions).

Even with vaccines, we have to be careful. One should not just jump to 'vaccines are effective'. Which vaccines? What formulations? Which manufacturers? In other words, it would be foolish to believe your neighbor's kid who has set up a 'vaccine stand' at the end of the driveway and is claiming their vaccines are effective (because, you know, vaccines are effective).

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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #49

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

alexxcJRO wrote: Sun Jan 23, 2022 6:12 am
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 1:44 pm God either exists or does not exist and one can either hold a belief in either of these or not.

Therefore the following four propositions can be defined (and these are the only four propositions that can be defined given the binary nature of the terms).

I do hold the belief that God exists.
I do NOT hold the belief that God exists.
I do hold the belief that God does NOT exist.
I do NOT hold the belief that God does NOT exist.

These can only be paired as follows (eliminating contradictory pairings)

1. I do hold the belief that God exists AND I do not hold the belief that God does NOT exist. (Theist)
2. I do NOT hold the belief that God exists AND I do NOT hold the belief that God does NOT exist. (Uncommitted)
3. I do NOT hold the belief that God exists AND I do hold the belief that God does NOT exist. (Atheist)

The "modern" atheist can only (that is, these are the only logical options) adopt 2. or 3. as their position, these are the only two (non-contradictory) positions that include "I do not hold the belief that God exists".

If they adopt 2. then their position is identical to "I do not know if God exists" and warrants no special term or bastardization of the existing term "atheist", saying "I don't know" or "I am uncommitted" is all that's needed, no fancy word play or Emperor's new clothes or other mumbo jumbo.

This position - uncommitted - is no more at odds with the theist than it is the atheist, it no more aligned with either of these two other positions, both the atheist and the theist are obliged to provide a rational argument for the beliefs they hold any beliefs they do not hold are completely irrelevant.

If they adopt 3. then their position is identical to the established meaning of "atheism" and they do assert "I do hold the belief that God does NOT exist" in which case they need to provide a rational argument for that belief.

This is the hard reality of this, this is where clumsily "redefining" atheism in this vacuous way is illogical and absurd yet the likes of Dawkins, Krauss et-al are simply not competent to understand this.
Sherlock Holmes probably do NOT holds the belief that Brahma, Reincarnation, Invisible immaterial extremely shy unicorns, YETI, Aliens, Strigois exists AND does hold the belief that Brahma, Reincarnation, Invisible immaterial extremely shy unicorns, YETI, Aliens, Strigois do NOT exist.

If yes he needs to provide a rational argument for that belief->disbelief.

Q: Do you hold the belief that Brahma, Reincarnation, Invisible immaterial extremely shy unicorns, YETI, Aliens, Strigois do NOT exist?(Yes/No)

Waiting for your answer. 8-)
Hope you will not avoid. :P
Indeed, one does (if one actually cares) have an obligation, at least to oneself, to be able to support any belief and I'm always willing to do that, in fact it was a lack of that when I was an atheist that first led me to realize how so few of us bother to do this, I have never done it for most of my atheist beliefs I held at that time and recognizing that fact was a very important lesson for me.

So you are asking me these questions:

Do I believe that any of these do not exist:

1. Brahma
2. Reincarnation
3. Invisible material
4. Shy unicorns
5. Yeti,
6. Aliens (extra terrestrial?)
7. Strigois

Well to answer these I must first ensure I establish exactly what it is that each terms represents, so may I ask can you supply the definitions for each of these, any definition will do even a made up one, but I do want to ensure as best I can that we are referring to identical things.

Once I have that I think I can take a stab at answering.
When one has eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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Re: To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Post #50

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

benchwarmer wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 7:44 pm [Replying to Sherlock Holmes in post #1]

Well the timing of this Youtube video couldn't have been better:

I took a Christian class about atheism. It was worse than I expected.


It's like Drew has been watching our threads lately or something :) :wave:
I've listened to the first three minutes and might listen to the rest later.

But during that three minutes the host seems to simply dispute the theists opinion that "Does God exist" is one of the most important questions we can face.

Well of course that's a matter of opinion and in a world where atheism is becoming rampant it surely must be an important question for that reason alone since (as we've seen) atheism is the position "God does not exist".

For an atheist though it surely must be rather important otherwise why would they even elect to refer to themselves as "atheist"?

The host argues that assuming "Yes" to the question "Does God exist" in his view "doesn't tell us anything relevant to human life".

Well that may or may not be true, but rather than assuming what if we can establish that God does indeed exist, well the very act of discovery does tell us things, during the act of discovery we'll encounter things we might not have known before, learn things we might not have understood before, perhaps even things about our own nature, our own thought processes.

So the hosts argument that discovering that God does exist "doesn't tell us anything relevant to human life" is really just his opinion and everybody has an opinion!

I suggest you consider inviting the host to this forum, I'd be delighted to make his acquaintance and perhaps we can discuss these issues with him directly.
When one has eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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