A Linguist's Take on Hard vs Soft Atheism
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12-02-2016, 08:40 PM
RE: A Linguist's Take on Hard vs Soft Atheism
(12-02-2016 05:27 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(12-02-2016 05:16 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Most of the time I think their "confusion" is just a cover for trying to shift the burden of proof onto the atheist, as if there is any obligation to prove that the non-existent doesn't exist. It's such a simple concept that I can't believe that many don't understand it. I am a strong atheist, but I'm quick to point out that the vast majority of atheists aren't in my dealings with theists. I don't speak for anyone but myself.

We see false dichotomies from theists all the time. They present "either/or" choices that simply ignore complexity or shading.

It is no surprise to me that they assert that we must be claiming that their god doesn't exist if we don't share their belief that it does.

Frustrating, but no longer surprising. Drinking Beverage

Yeah. I am over the whole agnostic vs. atheist controversy. I've explained it ad nauseum but it never takes. I don't really care what theists call me. I don't believe their theistic claims plain and simple. In fact I know that they are false. Oh, they hate it when you are certain. Only they are allowed to be certain. That's one of the reasons I now call myself a strong atheist. It drives em nuts! Otherwise I wouldn't make such a distinction.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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12-02-2016, 09:15 PM
RE: A Linguist's Take on Hard vs Soft Atheism
(12-02-2016 05:16 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Most of the time I think their "confusion" is just a cover for trying to shift the burden of proof onto the atheist, as if there is any obligation to prove that the non-existent doesn't exist. It's such a simple concept that I can't believe that many don't understand it. I am a strong atheist, but I'm quick to point out that the vast majority of atheists aren't in my dealings with theists. I don't speak for anyone but myself.

Right, 'cause God forbid (pun intended) that they should bear the burden of proof! *gasp* Tongue

Actually, now that I think about it, in a sense, God does literally forbid them from assuming the burden of proof. No wonder!

The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. – Carl Sagan
Sōla vēritās sancta in philosophiā nātūrālī est absentia vēritātum sanctārum.
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστίν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις.
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12-02-2016, 09:19 PM
RE: A Linguist's Take on Hard vs Soft Atheism
I thought about studying linguistics once. Then I realized I just enjoy studying languages, not the science of language Tongue

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12-02-2016, 09:34 PM
RE: A Linguist's Take on Hard vs Soft Atheism
(12-02-2016 09:15 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  
(12-02-2016 05:16 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Most of the time I think their "confusion" is just a cover for trying to shift the burden of proof onto the atheist, as if there is any obligation to prove that the non-existent doesn't exist. It's such a simple concept that I can't believe that many don't understand it. I am a strong atheist, but I'm quick to point out that the vast majority of atheists aren't in my dealings with theists. I don't speak for anyone but myself.

Right, 'cause God forbid (pun intended) that they should bear the burden of proof! *gasp* Tongue

Actually, now that I think about it, in a sense, God does literally forbid them from assuming the burden of proof. No wonder!

Wow. I never made that connection. It's so true. They're supposed to have faith. Thank you so much for pointing that out to me. Accepting the burden of proof would be like admitting That God is not self evident like the Bible claims in Romans. The Bible says that all know that God exists and so attempting to prove that God exists would be to contradict the teachings of the Bible. You hear that COTW?

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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12-02-2016, 09:38 PM
RE: A Linguist's Take on Hard vs Soft Atheism
(12-02-2016 03:35 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Theists often define atheism as the definite claim that there is no god. Most atheists routinely correct them by stating that it is the lack of belief that there is a god, which in turn tends to be re-labeled "agnosticism" in popular parlance. It can be hard for many to understand the difference between these two definitions, but an example from linguistics might offer one or possible way to at least attempt to make the point.

In linguistics, there is something in syntax and morphology (i.e. how words are formed from roots and affixes) called "structural ambiguity." The classic example of this is the English word "unlockable." Does it mean "unable to be locked" or "able to be unlocked"? As it turns out, the meaning depends on which of two possible hierarchical structures the word has in any given instantiation.

We have the prefix "un-," the root "lock," and the suffix "-able." The order in which the affixes attach to the root as the word comes together in the speaker's mind makes the difference. If, for instance, the prefix attaches first, then the verb "unlock" is formed, to which the suffix "-able" then attaches to form a word meaning "able to be unlocked. If, on the other hand, the suffix is attached first, then the prefix attaches to the already formed adjective "lockable" to form a word that means "unable to be locked."

We can perhaps visualize this better with brackets. The structure [[unlock]able] means "able to be unlocked," while [un[lockable]] means "unable to be locked."

Now, we can similarly break up the word "atheism" into the following components:

prefix "a-" = no/none/not
root "-the-" = god/goddess/deity
suffix "-ism" = belief/ideology/creed

Hence...

[[athe]ism] = [[no god] belief] = belief that there is no god
[a[theism]] = [no [god belief]] = lack of belief that there is a god

The popular mistake is to assume the first structure when in fact most atheists define their stance as better reflected by the second structure. This misconception is thus analogous to interpreting "unlockable" to mean "able to be unlocked" when in fact the speaker meant "able to be unlocked. Ordinarily, either context will make it clear which underlying structure is intended, or the speaker will clarify it explicitly. The problem is that we've clarified this matter repeatedly, and either through genuine ignorance or outright deceptiveness, it goes largely unacknowledged. Is it possible that the analogy with "unlockable" might help those that genuinely don't understand to finally get it?

Dafuq I'm thinking going in front of an IRB with this?

#sigh
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13-02-2016, 04:37 AM
RE: A Linguist's Take on Hard vs Soft Atheism
I've got yer hard atheism right here! Evil_monster

Blush

Actually that thing's a believer in the Gwynnies, so I lied. Wink

"Lack of belief" is parsed as a faith statement by many theists, so there's that. Undecided

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