Atheism - A clearer understanding
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06-11-2012, 11:23 AM
RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
I see what you guys are saying. It makes sense too.

So I suppose the only obsticle I haven't cleared yet is on Apatheism being a subcategory of Atheism.

So I'll line it up in questions:

1.) Is it accurate to identify the Apatheist as Atheist given that the definition of Atheism implies a stance in one particular direction? (and why, "yup" is not substantial or convincing)

2.) How does not having a view either way regarding the stance on Gods existence (Apatheism) become a subcategory of an actual stance on Gods non-existence (Atheism)?

I can already understand slightly the view on the second question. Replacing God with sasquach and you get the idea.
The problem with me is that God is a Theory much like the Higgs Boson. Granted, the Higgs Boson is something the has been recently more established and hold more ground in practicality. But the point here is that the Theory of God is a widely held theory that makes Theism a largely held position. Sasquachism is not a widely held theory or position.
As far as I can understand, Atheism is the response to Theism.
Apatheism being a response to Theism doesn't sound like Atheism, it sounds like 1.) I don't believe God exists, and I don't believe God does NOT exist. I don't have a stance. 2.) I've never heard of God - and neither of them sound like a stance-taking statement.

My problem is still - Atheism is a stance taken. Theism is a stance taken.
If Atheism also includes stances not taken, then I need a clearer understanding of why that is.
Sasquachism is not a good explanation. Degrading my view on God also does not help me understand anything -_- Just saying..

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06-11-2012, 11:43 AM (This post was last modified: 06-11-2012 11:50 AM by Vosur.)
RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
(06-11-2012 11:23 AM)ideasonscribe Wrote:  I see what you guys are saying. It makes sense too.

So I suppose the only obsticle I haven't cleared yet is on Apatheism being a subcategory of Atheism.

So I'll line it up in questions:

1.) Is it accurate to identify the Apatheist as Atheist given that the definition of Atheism implies a stance in one particular direction? (and why, "yup" is not substantial or convincing)

2.) How does not having a view either way regarding the stance on Gods existence (Apatheism) become a subcategory of an actual stance on Gods non-existence (Atheism)?

I can already understand slightly the view on the second question. Replacing God with sasquach and you get the idea.
The problem with me is that God is a Theory much like the Higgs Boson. Granted, the Higgs Boson is something the has been recently more established and hold more ground in practicality. But the point here is that the Theory of God is a widely held theory that makes Theism a largely held position. Sasquachism is not a widely held theory or position.
As far as I can understand, Atheism is the response to Theism.
Apatheism being a response to Theism doesn't sound like Atheism, it sounds like 1.) I don't believe God exists, and I don't believe God does NOT exist. I don't have a stance. 2.) I've never heard of God - and neither of them sound like a stance-taking statement.

My problem is still - Atheism is a stance taken. Theism is a stance taken.
If Atheism also includes stances not taken, then I need a clearer understanding of why that is.
Sasquachism is not a good explanation. Degrading my view on God also does not help me understand anything -_- Just saying..
Atheism doesn't have to be a stance. One of the definitions commonly used on here is "the absence/lack of a belief in god(s)". That's why you sometimes hear people saying that all humans are naturally born atheists. As far as I understand it, apatheism simply means not caring about whether or not gods exist. I wouldn't go as far as saying that it is a subcategory of atheism, instead, both atheism and apatheism are subcategories of irreligion. Having said that, someone who does not believe in god, regardless of how he chooses to label himself, can be considered a de facto atheist.

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06-11-2012, 11:51 AM
RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
(06-11-2012 11:23 AM)ideasonscribe Wrote:  My problem is still - Atheism is a stance taken. Theism is a stance taken.
If Atheism also includes stances not taken, then I need a clearer understanding of why that is.
Sasquachism is not a good explanation. Degrading my view on God also does not help me understand anything -_- Just saying..
I understand your confusion. It's a common problem. Let me try again.

Atheism is not necessarily a "stance taken". It can be, but it would be more accurate to describe it as the null hypothesis regarding the existence of deities.

If "sasquatch" wasn't a workable comparison for you, let's try it another way. In a criminal trial, the defendant is presumed innocent. It is the state's job to prove that he is guilty. At the end of the trial, the jury votes, and the vote is either "guilty" or "not guilty". It is very important to note that the vote is not "guilty" or "innocent", which would be a very different matter. If a jury votes "not guilty", they are not saying -- at least, not necessarily -- that they believe the defendant is innocent. All they're saying is that the prosecution has failed to meet its burden of proof.

By way of comparison, when it comes to the existence of a deity, it's either "belief" or "no belief", with "belief" being the side that bears the burden of proof. If it cannot meet that burden, then "no belief" is the position that "wins", although that's not the best word for it, I suppose.

(As an aside: the "sasquatch" thing was not meant to be snide in any way. It's common for atheists, in this kind of discussion, to use Bigfoot, leprechauns, the Loch Ness Monster, and so forth as comparisons, and it's not intended to be derogatory -- just to make a point.)
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06-11-2012, 12:24 PM
RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
Well ok, I think I really do understand what you guys are saying.

What I think it boils down to is every individuals perception or understanding.
I'm more of a black or white kind of guy. It's kind of how my brain works: It either is or it isn't

I also, in situations like this, tend to lean more toward the general education regarding things like terms and associations. If, for example, Atheism has a definition that doesn't explain further, I stick with that usually.
It would be much easier if things really were black or white. Being that some things are not, I have trouble with them because of my strict mentality lol.

Anyways, that's all I have guys.

Atheism is Atheism

Theism is Theism

Apatheism is neither but it doesn't hurt to call them Atheists.

Good to go Smile

“What you believe to be true will control you, whether it’s true or not.”

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06-11-2012, 12:31 PM
Re: RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
(06-11-2012 12:24 PM)ideasonscribe Wrote:  Well ok, I think I really do understand what you guys are saying.

What I think it boils down to is every individuals perception or understanding.
I'm more of a black or white kind of guy. It's kind of how my brain works: It either is or it isn't

I also, in situations like this, tend to lean more toward the general education regarding things like terms and associations. If, for example, Atheism has a definition that doesn't explain further, I stick with that usually.
It would be much easier if things really were black or white. Being that some things are not, I have trouble with them because of my strict mentality lol.

Anyways, that's all I have guys.

Atheism is Atheism

Theism is Theism

Apatheism is neither but it doesn't hurt to call them Atheists.

Good to go Smile

Also Huxley agnostics are neither... And they might get pissed at you if you call them an atheist.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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06-11-2012, 12:52 PM
RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
(06-11-2012 12:24 PM)ideasonscribe Wrote:  Well ok, I think I really do understand what you guys are saying.

What I think it boils down to is every individuals perception or understanding.
I'm more of a black or white kind of guy. It's kind of how my brain works: It either is or it isn't

I also, in situations like this, tend to lean more toward the general education regarding things like terms and associations. If, for example, Atheism has a definition that doesn't explain further, I stick with that usually.
It would be much easier if things really were black or white. Being that some things are not, I have trouble with them because of my strict mentality lol.

Anyways, that's all I have guys.

Atheism is Atheism

Theism is Theism

Apatheism is neither but it doesn't hurt to call them Atheists.

Good to go Smile
OK, here's the easy black and white.

There are theists (people who believe in gods) and there are atheists (people who do not believe in gods).

There are many kinds of theists and a few kinds of atheists.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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06-11-2012, 01:23 PM
RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
And all of them get offended if you call them the wrong thing Tongue
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06-11-2012, 01:58 PM
RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
(06-11-2012 10:32 AM)Phaedrus Wrote:  Subject A has studied religion and the arguments for god and has decided that the evidence against god is too strong; god cannot exist. He is a (strong) Atheist (he may still concede the possibility of a deist or pantheist god since these are impossible to disprove, but he will reject any theistic god)

Subject B has studied religion (perhaps more or perhaps less than Subject A) and has decided that there isn't enough evidence to disprove gods, but there isn't enough evidence to prove them either. Since religion has the burden of proof to show their god exists, Subject B stops worshiping or believing in gods. He is a (weak) Atheist.

Subject C has never thought about the question, has never heard of God and has never been asked about it. You could call him an atheist in a loose sense of the word, but he's actually an Apatheist.

Subject D believes in a god and a dogma, and follows the tenets of a religion with rules, ceremonies, and claim about the history of the world. He is a Theist.

Subject E believes there is a god but looks at all the suffering in the world and decides that God doesn't care about humanity. He is a Deist.

Subject F believes that we're all part of a giant, universal god-like consciousness. He is a special type of theist called a Pantheist.

Subject G doesn't believe in god, but does believe in magic, spirits, and other supernatural things. He could *technically* be called an atheist, but is more accurately called a Spiritualist.

Subject H has studied many religions and doesn't know which one is right. He may be in transition between beliefs or may have decided knowing the truth is impossible. He is an Agnostic.

Subject I believes the idea of "god" is inherently flawed, and that until someone can provide a better definition of what god is, or someone provides evidence of this god thing, the question is moot. He is an Igtheist, and also usually an agnostic or atheist.

Sheeeeeesh, so many words for something that isn't even a something. I'm going back to the idea that we barely even need one word for all this crap. We don't have a word for people who don't SCUBA dive, or for people who never climbed mount Everest, or for people who haven't flown on space missions, or for people who have never ridden unicorns. I am not a non-SCUBA-er, or a non-Everest-climber, or a non-astronaut, or a non-unicorn-rider, because nobody ever even uses words like these to describe people. None of those words describe a real thing.

While we do have other "non" words in common usage, like non-smoker or non-theist (atheist), I don't even really feel the need to use them to describe myself either. These words also don't describe a real thing, but rather the lack of being some other real thing.

So I really see no need for all the over-complication by creating multiple variations of the word, each with some slightly different nuance, but all of which basically describe something that isn't even a real thing. One word (atheist) was already more than we really need but tolerable, two words (agnostic and atheist) was pushing the boundaries, four words (agnostic, atheist, deist, and pantheist) is definitely way too much, and adding in all the rest of the nuance words is just silly.

Sigh.

I suppose that's how our language works; it just keeps growing far beyond useful meaning. Kinda like government.

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06-11-2012, 02:31 PM
RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
Oh, stop bitching about the word atheist, AS. We have the word atheist because the vast majority (yes, 70-80%) of people are theists. Not believing in gods is the exception, so a word to describe that is VERY useful and complaining about it is nothing more than semantic wanking. And although they're both irreligious, atheist and agnostic are different enough that two words are worthwhile when seeing which one people identify with. And the other words exist because they are different.

Do you bitch about there being different words for different types of Theists? Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus. Ugh, so many extraneous words. And different sects! Sunni vs Shiite! Catholic vs Orthodox vs fifty types of Protestants! Ugh, so many words! And what about other things, like computers? Desktops, smart phones, laptops, tablets, servers, workstations -- these are all basically just computers right? So call them what they are, jeez!!! Too many extra words!


Seriously, the atheist community is getting caught up in semantic wank too much. This goes for you too, A2, with your obscure meaning of anti-theist which while technically correct is pretty much deprecated and does nothing but cause confusion. And for the people who argue over the meaning of agnostic and atheist.

These are WORDS with MEANINGS to be used in different CONTEXTS and multiple PEOPLE can have multiple LABELS applied to them based on their BELIEFS and PREFERENCES.


Really, just stop arguing over fucking words.

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06-11-2012, 03:06 PM
RE: Atheism - A clearer understanding
(06-11-2012 10:32 AM)Phaedrus Wrote:  No.

You still don't understand the difference between strong atheism (there is no god) and weak atheism (I see no reason to believe in god). Here's your thing, better written.






Subject A has studied religion and the arguments for god and has decided that the evidence against god is too strong; god cannot exist. He is a (strong) Atheist (he may still concede the possibility of a deist or pantheist god since these are impossible to disprove, but he will reject any theistic god)

Subject B has studied religion (perhaps more or perhaps less than Subject A) and has decided that there isn't enough evidence to disprove gods, but there isn't enough evidence to prove them either. Since religion has the burden of proof to show their god exists, Subject B stops worshiping or believing in gods. He is a (weak) Atheist.

Subject C has never thought about the question, has never heard of God and has never been asked about it. You could call him an atheist in a loose sense of the word, but he's actually an Apatheist.

Subject D believes in a god and a dogma, and follows the tenets of a religion with rules, ceremonies, and claim about the history of the world. He is a Theist.

Subject E believes there is a god but looks at all the suffering in the world and decides that God doesn't care about humanity. He is a Deist.

Subject F believes that we're all part of a giant, universal god-like consciousness. He is a special type of theist called a Pantheist.

Subject G doesn't believe in god, but does believe in magic, spirits, and other supernatural things. He could *technically* be called an atheist, but is more accurately called a Spiritualist.

Subject H has studied many religions and doesn't know which one is right. He may be in transition between beliefs or may have decided knowing the truth is impossible. He is an Agnostic.

Subject I believes the idea of "god" is inherently flawed, and that until someone can provide a better definition of what god is, or someone provides evidence of this god thing, the question is moot. He is an Igtheist, and also usually an agnostic or atheist.
You're gonna have to add a category after C, or sub C.

Has heard of, or studded about about lots of gods. Finds them all equally ridiculous. The idea of "evidence " for any of them never enters the question. Does not care to, or even think about the question, ever, *any longer*. Many Apatheists HAVE thought about it. It's a done deal,and a settled matter. They're on to more interesting things. They're free of the entire bullshit nonsense.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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