Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
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02-05-2014, 07:17 PM
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(02-05-2014 06:05 PM)djhall Wrote:  However, you do seem to believe the word itself is somehow important, and you seem to have put a fair amount of thought into reaching that conclusion. I'm trying to understand the how and why of that, though I sometimes get the impression you enjoy the arguing and demonstrating your mastery of terminology enough that it would spoil your fun to dumb it down to that level.

It has to do with ontology - the study of what exists, and the order that we organize our understanding of reality. Humanist/atheists make slight differences in ordering the description of reality. Theists begin their description with god - humanists/atheists begin with human beings.

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
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02-05-2014, 07:21 PM
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(02-05-2014 06:54 PM)djhall Wrote:  Hmm... are you essentially arguing that atheism, as currently defined in terms of being not-theist, is too limited a vision to be effectively and actively promoted to a larger audience as a viable alternative to theism, as it contributes no positive vision or replacement for the theist based views, morals, ethics, and political movements that would need to be replaced if atheism were to win the battle of ideas over theism?
If atheism wins the battle of ideas and theism is eradicated, then there is no further need for the designation of, "Atheism."

(02-05-2014 06:54 PM)djhall Wrote:  Instead we should view atheism as merely the political opposition to theist doctrine in law, and promote identification with humanism instead in order to build a positive alternative vision for morals, ethics, justification of social laws, etc. that can be promoted as a positive alternative to theism and which would not be archaically tied to "not-theism" logic if it won the war of ideas and theism died out as a widespread belief?
That seems aligned with what I am trying to convey.

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
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02-05-2014, 08:01 PM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2014 08:05 PM by djhall.)
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(02-05-2014 07:21 PM)TrainWreck Wrote:  
(02-05-2014 06:54 PM)djhall Wrote:  Hmm... are you essentially arguing that atheism, as currently defined in terms of being not-theist, is too limited a vision to be effectively and actively promoted to a larger audience as a viable alternative to theism, as it contributes no positive vision or replacement for the theist based views, morals, ethics, and political movements that would need to be replaced if atheism were to win the battle of ideas over theism?
If atheism wins the battle of ideas and theism is eradicated, then there is no further need for the designation of, "Atheism."

(02-05-2014 06:54 PM)djhall Wrote:  Instead we should view atheism as merely the political opposition to theist doctrine in law, and promote identification with humanism instead in order to build a positive alternative vision for morals, ethics, justification of social laws, etc. that can be promoted as a positive alternative to theism and which would not be archaically tied to "not-theism" logic if it won the war of ideas and theism died out as a widespread belief?
That seems aligned with what I am trying to convey.
Okay, well, then I'm glad I made the effort to keep digging until I could at least understand at least the general nature of what your proposal is about. The claim that your definition of atheist is the correct one is based on an ontological definition of "correct". Taking ontology out of the discussion, you were somewhat open to allowing me to rephrase "correct" as "more useful for the future", so that gets past getting hung up in the "correct definition" debate.

All in all, it has definitely given me an interesting perspective that I think does have some merit, and which I did not have before. Not to trivialize your points, but yes, atheism as "non-theism" is fundamentally rejectionist without anything positive to offer. It offers nothing in addition to rejection of theism, and without theism to stand in contrast to, atheism becomes a pointless rejection of nothing. I don't see that as a fundamental problem for atheism, since without theism there isn't any need to designate oneself as a non-theist. However, it does change something in how I see atheism.

I don't think atheism itself necessarily needs to have anything to positive to offer, but it does makes me see atheism as more of a "first step" that ultimately should lead to another rather than being a destination or stopping point in and of itself. I don't generally take people seriously who simply reject solutions but offer no alternatives. I wouldn't give much serious consideration to someone who advocated the elimination of cars or roads unless they also had a comprehensive positive vision of a viable replacement. If their only contribution was "not cars or roads, but it isn't my problem to suggest an alternative", they would probably lose credibility in my eyes unless I was really convinced they had a very good argument for why cars and roads simply could not continue and they seemed to have a genuine desire to work toward finding something suitable as an alternative.

From that perspective, I see the merits in asking, "Okay, so you are atheist. Now that we have established what you aren't, what ARE you? What are you FOR? What do you have positive to contribute?" I see this as different from atheism, since I suspect non-theists will have a variety of answers to that question, but I like the added perspective of seeing a "next step" of not just rejecting theism but finding something positive to contribute to society as well.
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03-05-2014, 06:56 AM
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(02-05-2014 08:01 PM)djhall Wrote:  All in all, it has definitely given me an interesting perspective that I think does have some merit, and which I did not have before. Not to trivialize your points, but yes, atheism as "non-theism" is fundamentally rejectionist without anything positive to offer.
Atheism is simply "not theism" or "absence of theism". We are all "not theists" until we learn about gods. Then we may become "theists" or we may simply stay "not theists". Being "not theist" is the default state and isn't the rejection of anything. A subset of atheists are called "strong atheists" and they believe gods don't exist.
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03-05-2014, 07:04 AM
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  Atheism is simply "not theism" or "absence of theism".
You have to be aware that there are theists to understand the designation of "atheism."

(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  We are all "not theists" until we learn about gods.
That does not make sense - why would you designate yourself with respect to something that you do not know exists?

(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  Then we may become "theists" or we may simply stay "not theists". Being "not theist" is the default state and isn't the rejection of anything.
That is humanism.

(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  A subset of atheists are called "strong atheists" and they believe gods don't exist.
That is just silly, because agnostics leave the question open, and ultimately do not have the belief.

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
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03-05-2014, 07:33 AM
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(03-05-2014 07:04 AM)TrainWreck Wrote:  That does not make sense - why would you designate yourself with respect to something that you do not know exists?
It's not a designation, "not theist" is just the default state until one becomes a theist. Everybody is "not a theist" until they become one. (Obviously).

(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  Then we may become "theists" or we may simply stay "not theists". Being "not theist" is the default state and isn't the rejection of anything.
Quote:That is humanism.
We are talking about theism/atheism not humanism.

(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  A subset of atheists are called "strong atheists" and they believe gods don't exist.
Quote:That is just silly, because agnostics leave the question open, and ultimately do not have the belief.
We are not talking about agnostics but theists/atheists.
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03-05-2014, 07:37 AM
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(02-05-2014 07:21 PM)TrainWreck Wrote:  ...
(02-05-2014 06:54 PM)djhall Wrote:  Instead we should view atheism as merely the political opposition to theist doctrine in law,
...
That seems aligned with what I am trying to convey.

But is that not... anti-theocracy?

People have been working hard to claim atheism as the default position... and with some success.




Why undermine that?

I'm equally incensed by the gradual slide towards Corporatocracy but opposing this, being anti-corporatocracy, does not automatically make me in favour of an alternative "-ism" or "-ocracy".

TW,
I don't know if you have tried creating library systems or implementing Configuration Management for an organisation but it's a mammoth task.

The hard part is not defining the words (that is time consuming and frustrating, but not hard)... the hard part is getting user-compliance (as the reactions in this thread testify) and harder still... maintenance!

You might as well try to "lash the wind".

Samuel Johnson Wrote:[85] With this hope, however, academies have been instituted, to guard the avenues of their languages, to retain fugitives, and repulse intruders; but their vigilance and activity have hitherto been vain; sounds are too volatile and subtile for legal restraints; to enchain syllables, and to lash the wind...
http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/preface.html

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03-05-2014, 07:54 AM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2014 07:59 AM by Simon Moon.)
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(03-05-2014 07:04 AM)TrainWreck Wrote:  
(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  Atheism is simply "not theism" or "absence of theism".
You have to be aware that there are theists to understand the designation of "atheism."

You have to be aware of theist to understand the designation, true. But that doesn't change the fact that not believing in the existence of gods is still atheism, whether one is aware of theists (or the designations) or not.

The word dates back to about the 5th century Greece, but even before the word existed, there were still people that did not believe gods existed.


(03-05-2014 07:04 AM)TrainWreck Wrote:  
(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  We are all "not theists" until we learn about gods.
That does not make sense - why would you designate yourself with respect to something that you do not know exists?

Again, you are confusing the designation with the state of not believing gods exist. The state of not believing in the existence of gods, exists whether there's a designation or not.

(03-05-2014 07:04 AM)TrainWreck Wrote:  
(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  Then we may become "theists" or we may simply stay "not theists". Being "not theist" is the default state and isn't the rejection of anything.
That is humanism.

No, humanism is the philosophy that stresses an individual's worth and dignity, and that problems can be solved using reason, instead of appealing to gods or the supernatural.

Some humanists believe in a god. Christian humanism, for example.

(03-05-2014 07:04 AM)TrainWreck Wrote:  
(03-05-2014 06:56 AM)Artie Wrote:  A subset of atheists are called "strong atheists" and they believe gods don't exist.
That is just silly, because agnostics leave the question open, and ultimately do not have the belief.

Agnosticism has nothing to do with belief. Agnosticism is the position that the existence of a god is unknown, or possibly unknowable. It is a position that concerns claims of knowledge, not belief.

Most atheists are also agnostic. The 2 positions are not mutually exclusive.
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03-05-2014, 08:33 AM
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(03-05-2014 07:37 AM)DLJ Wrote:  But is that not... anti-theocracy?
Atheism is the political opposition to theist based public policy - that will cover theocracies, Christian republics, etc.,.

(03-05-2014 07:37 AM)DLJ Wrote:  People have been working hard to claim atheism as the default position... and with some success.

Why undermine that?
Humanism is the default. Theists will claim that theism is the default and that atheism is opposition "subservient" to the theist majority.

(03-05-2014 07:37 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I'm equally incensed by the gradual slide towards Corporatocracy but opposing this, being anti-corporatocracy, does not automatically make me in favour of an alternative "-ism" or "-ocracy".
It probably does - democracy.

(03-05-2014 07:37 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I don't know if you have tried creating library systems or implementing Configuration Management for an organisation but it's a mammoth task.
I am working on organizing the entire world. I have already generated the better library/knowledge classification system - http://www.secularlibrary.info

And I am now on the my third generation of a political charter system that is designed using the same format as the classification system, and is designed to handle five levels of government: global, continental, economic union, state/regional, local/municipal.

The new world order.

(03-05-2014 07:37 AM)DLJ Wrote:  The hard part is not defining the words (that is time consuming and frustrating, but not hard)... the hard part is getting user-compliance (as the reactions in this thread testify) and harder still... maintenance!

You might as well try to "lash the wind".
I understand that the ultimate implementation of my system(s) may not occur in my life time, but I am very confident that I have identified a valid scientific theory/law, and that I am diligently generating the practical applications - classification and political charter systems.

I am preparing the thesis for submission to the library classification review authority, but there remain some specific areas that are not stable and I continue to deliberate. And as apart of my submission I am going to discuss the problems about atheism that I am going over in these discussions here - I am going to accuse atheists of being blinded by dogma that is the result of inadequate knowledge classification.

My work on the political charter system is taking precedence, because the United States is on the verge of a constitutional crisis, as is the entire world - maybe you noticed that President Obama did not live up to the expectations of his affirmative awarding of a Nobel Peace Prize.

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
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03-05-2014, 08:51 AM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2014 08:59 AM by TrainWreck.)
RE: Let's define atheism, and other misnomers
(03-05-2014 07:54 AM)Simon Moon Wrote:  You have to be aware of theist to understand the designation, true. But that doesn't change the fact that not believing in the existence of gods is still atheism, whether one is aware of theists (or the designations) or not.
That is correct, where am I saying otherwise? What I am saying is that atheism is the political opposition to theist doctrine as public policy - only a humanist without the belief in gods, is going to be constituent to the atheist doctrine.

(03-05-2014 07:54 AM)Simon Moon Wrote:  The word dates back to about the 5th century Greece, but even before the word existed, there were still people that did not believe gods existed.
Well, what did they call themselves - atheist???
(03-05-2014 07:54 AM)Simon Moon Wrote:  Again, you are confusing the designation with the state of not believing gods exist. The state of not believing in the existence of gods, exists whether there's a designation or not.
No, I am not. You are using the term, "state," and do not understand that it applies to ontology - the study of existence. When you refer to a person's state it does not make sense to designate their ontology with respect to opposing another ontology; and that is what the prefix "a" in "atheism," does. Humanism is the state that you should be referring to.

(03-05-2014 07:54 AM)Simon Moon Wrote:  No, humanism is the philosophy that stresses an individual's worth and dignity, and that problems can be solved using reason, instead of appealing to gods or the supernatural.

Some humanists believe in a god. Christian humanism, for example.
There is an error in that - why, oh why, do atheist recognize theists as being correct only when it is convenient. You know that society has been dominated by Christians, and there is a good chance that the leaders of non-theist organization have had to make compromises, and those compromises have been passed on through the generations and not corrected, but compounded.

(03-05-2014 07:54 AM)Simon Moon Wrote:  Agnosticism has nothing to do with belief. Agnosticism is the position that the existence of a god is unknown, or possibly unknowable. It is a position that concerns claims of knowledge, not belief.

Most atheists are also agnostic. The 2 positions are not mutually exclusive.
I'll bet that I am not the only atheist that you have this argument with - I'll bet you have to explain it to somebody every year, or so - don't you?

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
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