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Anti-theist murders three Muslim students in North Carolina

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    zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    If 95% of your community is Catholic, no one bothers to identify as Catholic either.

    It's not a matter of bothering, it's a matter of usefulness. The answer "Catholic" is still informative about what one thinks is real regardless of the amount of others who also have that personal philosophy.

    The reason that is relevant is that in my society atheism (or irreligiosity) is common enough that the answer "atheist" wouldn't be very informative. If I asked people what their belief system was I would very rarely get the answer "atheist". (Though it depends on framing, as many people still assume that the question is actually "what is your religion?")
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    And I doubt that atheists, even self-described atheists, would say that materialism is a necessary part of atheism.

    Of course it isn't logically necessary. But darned if it doesn't always seem to be true. My point is that it is possible to identify a subset of people who do not believe in any god who also have a bunch of other beliefs in common; that these are overwhelming the people who would actually call themselves atheists*; and that whether implicitly or explicitly this is what most people have in mind when they use the word. Since you all keep insisting that your alternative use of the word is useless, just useless as a category, I'm not sure what reason we could have for adopting it.

    * I could be proved wrong about this. I'm too lazy to research it.

    Account not recoverable. So long.
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    rockrngerrockrnger Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Arch wrote: »
    If there are two different kinds[/
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Its about standards of evidence.

    The standard to convince a person isn't the same as the standard to convince someone. Think like a trial. A person could be not guilt while not being innocent.

    Agnostic is a a squishy term but most atheist are weak atheist.

    rockrnger on
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    ShandoShando Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    The same applies to any belief. "I do not believe in Godzilla" and "There is not Godzilla."

    "There is not a thing that Godzillas." or "There is not a thing that is Godzillaing."

    Those are two really fantastic sentences right there.

    your troll just berserked on us.
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    ShandoShando Registered User regular
    zakkiel wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    If 95% of your community is Catholic, no one bothers to identify as Catholic either.

    It's not a matter of bothering, it's a matter of usefulness. The answer "Catholic" is still informative about what one thinks is real regardless of the amount of others who also have that personal philosophy.

    The reason that is relevant is that in my society atheism (or irreligiosity) is common enough that the answer "atheist" wouldn't be very informative. If I asked people what their belief system was I would very rarely get the answer "atheist". (Though it depends on framing, as many people still assume that the question is actually "what is your religion?")
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    And I doubt that atheists, even self-described atheists, would say that materialism is a necessary part of atheism.

    Of course it isn't logically necessary. But darned if it doesn't always seem to be true. My point is that it is possible to identify a subset of people who do not believe in any god who also have a bunch of other beliefs in common; that these are overwhelming the people who would actually call themselves atheists*; and that whether implicitly or explicitly this is what most people have in mind when they use the word. Since you all keep insisting that your alternative use of the word is useless, just useless as a category, I'm not sure what reason we could have for adopting it.

    * I could be proved wrong about this. I'm too lazy to research it.

    Accuracy, especially when concerning the beliefs and character of other people, seems to be as noble a standard to strive for as any.

    your troll just berserked on us.
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    MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Agnosticism is undecided. Weak atheism leaves room for being wrong but makes a guess. Strong atheism makes an unprovable statement. Or such is my understanding.

    Nope, still not helping.

    They still look like the same statement, if your "Weak atheist" is still a 100% sure. Both leave themselves open to being wrong, if they actually turn out to be wrong.

    And I'm aware that Agnostict is undecided, but if you're not a 100% sure, it's probably a better description than "Weak atheist"

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Agnosticism has a whole different connotation in common use.

    Incenjucar on
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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    I don't think you need to be even particularly rational to get the whole "do unto others" thing. It's like, the first conclusion you'll reach as soon as you're confronted with people who aren't your obligated caregivers (which would be early childhood, during school, for most people) and requires little more than not being a sociopath. Very few people actually try to treat others nicely because of fear of god, they do it in hopes they'll be treated nicely too.

    I'd be surprised if it were even more basic than that - that such things are precinscious, an evolutionary outcome to deal with group dynamics, we automatically try to conform to such things because not doing so causes shame, embarrassment and we feel the "social pressure" before we even start thinking about it.

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    rockrngerrockrnger Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Agnosticism is undecided. Weak atheism leaves room for being wrong but makes a guess. Strong atheism makes an unprovable statement. Or such is my understanding.

    Nope, still not helping.

    They still look like the same statement, if your "Weak atheist" is still a 100% sure. Both leave themselves open to being wrong, if they actually turn out to be wrong.

    And I'm aware that Agnostict is undecided, but if you're not a 100% sure, it's probably a better description than "Weak atheist"

    You won't find many non religious atheist then.

    Like Dawkins wouldn't be an atheist (or anyone really)

    rockrnger on
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    PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    No wonder atheists are so fractured

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • Options
    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Shando wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    If 95% of your community is Catholic, no one bothers to identify as Catholic either.

    It's not a matter of bothering, it's a matter of usefulness. The answer "Catholic" is still informative about what one thinks is real regardless of the amount of others who also have that personal philosophy.

    The reason that is relevant is that in my society atheism (or irreligiosity) is common enough that the answer "atheist" wouldn't be very informative. If I asked people what their belief system was I would very rarely get the answer "atheist". (Though it depends on framing, as many people still assume that the question is actually "what is your religion?")
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    And I doubt that atheists, even self-described atheists, would say that materialism is a necessary part of atheism.

    Of course it isn't logically necessary. But darned if it doesn't always seem to be true. My point is that it is possible to identify a subset of people who do not believe in any god who also have a bunch of other beliefs in common; that these are overwhelming the people who would actually call themselves atheists*; and that whether implicitly or explicitly this is what most people have in mind when they use the word. Since you all keep insisting that your alternative use of the word is useless, just useless as a category, I'm not sure what reason we could have for adopting it.

    * I could be proved wrong about this. I'm too lazy to research it.

    Accuracy, especially when concerning the beliefs and character of other people, seems to be as noble a standard to strive for as any.

    I think my argument is that "atheism" is for the most part, accurate enough as a descriptor of enough common beliefs that it can be useful as a descriptor

    Or at least, it isn't any less accurate than other broad categorizations of philosophy

  • Options
    zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    Shando wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    If 95% of your community is Catholic, no one bothers to identify as Catholic either.

    It's not a matter of bothering, it's a matter of usefulness. The answer "Catholic" is still informative about what one thinks is real regardless of the amount of others who also have that personal philosophy.

    The reason that is relevant is that in my society atheism (or irreligiosity) is common enough that the answer "atheist" wouldn't be very informative. If I asked people what their belief system was I would very rarely get the answer "atheist". (Though it depends on framing, as many people still assume that the question is actually "what is your religion?")
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    And I doubt that atheists, even self-described atheists, would say that materialism is a necessary part of atheism.

    Of course it isn't logically necessary. But darned if it doesn't always seem to be true. My point is that it is possible to identify a subset of people who do not believe in any god who also have a bunch of other beliefs in common; that these are overwhelming the people who would actually call themselves atheists*; and that whether implicitly or explicitly this is what most people have in mind when they use the word. Since you all keep insisting that your alternative use of the word is useless, just useless as a category, I'm not sure what reason we could have for adopting it.

    * I could be proved wrong about this. I'm too lazy to research it.

    Accuracy, especially when concerning the beliefs and character of other people, seems to be as noble a standard to strive for as any.

    Go forth and strive! I will be here applauding your moral superiority.

    Account not recoverable. So long.
  • Options
    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    If there are two different kinds of atheism, one making a positive assertion and one making a negative assertion, then this undermines both my point of the utility of the term as well as everyone else who are handwaving about how atheism doesn't have a coherent set of beliefs because they are defined by the absence of a thing

    I think

    It's more rather the summation of one's other beliefs and knowledge that informs their opinion in how "strong" an atheist they would identify as.


    Personally speaking, I have qualms about the terms "strong atheism" and "weak atheism," merely because I'm a science nerd who knows that nothing can be proven with absolute certainty. At the same time, the kind of proof required to convince me that a god or gods are real would be so incredible that I cannot conceivably see that burden of proof ever being met to my satisfaction.

    And so, depending on how you want to squint at me, one could label me as either a "strong atheist" or a "weak atheist," because while I will admit to the technical truth that perhaps there is a higher power out there, for all intents and purposes the statement "I believe there are no gods" is true for me.

    Also because all those people who are so incredibly caustic towards others for having the audacity to be so stupid as to believe in a god will invariably fall on the "strong atheism" scale. One could consider strong atheists to be evangelical atheists, in a sense that they actively rail against religious faith. But their goosey behavior stems from more than just being an atheist - it stems from evangelical/militant adherence to rationalism and other philosophic/belief structures that are on an atheistic spectrum.


    Apologies if this post seems to wander a bit, but I felt like I should get all of that out there.

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    "Gamer", "feminist", "atheist" (and others) all have enough cultural context that as descriptors they can begin to shape our understanding of another's personal identity

    That there may be wide amounts of variation in those terms doesn't dismiss their usefulness

    And the fact that some of them, when read literally, have meanings that don't necessarily dovetail with their literal definition is not enough of an impetus for abandonment

    There is less variation in the range of options of personal identity available when one identifies as "atheist," even regardless of cultural context of what that word might carry with it than there is variation present without using that word as a descriptor. Furthermore, there is enough extra carryforward in that descriptor that we can begin to use it to further narrow down potential variation.

    This is my point, I think.

  • Options
    ShandoShando Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Agnosticism is undecided. Weak atheism leaves room for being wrong but makes a guess. Strong atheism makes an unprovable statement. Or such is my understanding.

    Nope, still not helping.

    They still look like the same statement, if your "Weak atheist" is still a 100% sure. Both leave themselves open to being wrong, if they actually turn out to be wrong.

    And I'm aware that Agnostict is undecided, but if you're not a 100% sure, it's probably a better description than "Weak atheist"

    Let me give it a shot:

    Weak atheism: "I do not believe there are gods, due to never have come across anything that would lead me to believe that such a phenomenon is possible. If that situation were to change, I would have to adjust my beliefs accordingly" (This is essentially where I fall)

    Strong atheism: "I do not believe there are gods, because such a phenomenon IS impossible, and I know this to be true because science"

    Agnosticism: "I don't believe that it is possible to know one way or another whether or not gods exist, so I abstain from making a judgement either way."

    your troll just berserked on us.
  • Options
    MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    rockrnger wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Agnosticism is undecided. Weak atheism leaves room for being wrong but makes a guess. Strong atheism makes an unprovable statement. Or such is my understanding.

    Nope, still not helping.

    They still look like the same statement, if your "Weak atheist" is still a 100% sure. Both leave themselves open to being wrong, if they actually turn out to be wrong.

    And I'm aware that Agnostict is undecided, but if you're not a 100% sure, it's probably a better description than "Weak atheist"

    You won't find many non religious atheist then.

    Like Dawkins wouldn't be an atheist (or anyone really)

    Okay, I shouldn't have used absolutes, I did so to try and avoid putting qualfiers everywhere, which gets annoying.

    The gist is, qualifying between "Strong atheism" and "weak atheism" seems to be based purely phrasing. How are those two seperate?

    Both are open to being proved wrong, and saying that you believe something doesn't mean you're still open to being proved wrong any less than an absolute (if unprovable) statement.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
  • Options
    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    If there are two different kinds of atheism, one making a positive assertion and one making a negative assertion, then this undermines both my point of the utility of the term as well as everyone else who are handwaving about how atheism doesn't have a coherent set of beliefs because they are defined by the absence of a thing

    I think

    It's more rather the summation of one's other beliefs and knowledge that informs their opinion in how "strong" an atheist they would identify as.


    Personally speaking, I have qualms about the terms "strong atheism" and "weak atheism," merely because I'm a science nerd who knows that nothing can be proven with absolute certainty. At the same time, the kind of proof required to convince me that a god or gods are real would be so incredible that I cannot conceivably see that burden of proof ever being met to my satisfaction.

    And so, depending on how you want to squint at me, one could label me as either a "strong atheist" or a "weak atheist," because while I will admit to the technical truth that perhaps there is a higher power out there, for all intents and purposes the statement "I believe there are no gods" is true for me.

    Also because all those people who are so incredibly caustic towards others for having the audacity to be so stupid as to believe in a god will invariably fall on the "strong atheism" scale. One could consider strong atheists to be evangelical atheists, in a sense that they actively rail against religious faith. But their goosey behavior stems from more than just being an atheist - it stems from evangelical/militant adherence to rationalism and other philosophic/belief structures that are on an atheistic spectrum.


    Apologies if this post seems to wander a bit, but I felt like I should get all of that out there.

    Hmmm. I mean, you and I have essentially the same view (your middle sentence), but I guess I still see value in the term as a descriptor of philosophy because at least you, myself, and our hypothetical evangelical all share the same belief in a lack of deity, regardless of any other additional views we hold.

    Also, I'm kind of stream-of-consciousnesses in this thread as well, so don't feel bad.

  • Options
    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    The strong/weak atheism and agnosticism as being "about knowledge rather than belief" is a mistake of epistemology. It is a useless and broken distinction.

    Agnostics in the actual, useful sense - neither accepting or rejecting a position due to the under determination of the evidence and theory - is also a product of mistaken epistemology in the case of atheism vs theism.
    man, fuck agnostics

    Apothe0sis on
  • Options
    rockrngerrockrnger Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    rockrnger wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Agnosticism is undecided. Weak atheism leaves room for being wrong but makes a guess. Strong atheism makes an unprovable statement. Or such is my understanding.

    Nope, still not helping.

    They still look like the same statement, if your "Weak atheist" is still a 100% sure. Both leave themselves open to being wrong, if they actually turn out to be wrong.

    And I'm aware that Agnostict is undecided, but if you're not a 100% sure, it's probably a better description than "Weak atheist"

    You won't find many non religious atheist then.

    Like Dawkins wouldn't be an atheist (or anyone really)

    Okay, I shouldn't have used absolutes, I did so to try and avoid putting qualfiers everywhere, which gets annoying.

    The gist is, qualifying between "Strong atheism" and "weak atheism" seems to be based purely phrasing. How are those two seperate?
    .

    Standard of evidence.

    Just like a person can think someone not guilty but also not innocent. You can think that there isn't enough evidence for god while not thinking there is enough evidence to say that there isn't something that gods.

  • Options
    DacDac Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Agnosticism isn't really 'undecided,' AFAIK. They have decided; it's just that they've decided the question is unanswerable.

    Of course there's lots of different kinds of agnostics, just like there are strong and weak atheists, or indeed any philosophy. But I wouldn't characterize them as being 'on the fence', as it were.

    e: Specifically, curbing from Wikipedia, there are several groups:
    Agnosticism has more recently been subdivided into several categories. Variations include:

    Agnostic atheism
    The view of those who do not believe in the existence of any deity, but do not claim to know if a deity does or does not exist.

    Agnostic theism
    The view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence.

    Apathetic or pragmatic agnosticism
    The view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of any deity, but since any deity that may exist appears unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic. Therefore, their existence has little to no impact on personal human affairs and should be of little theological interest.

    Strong agnosticism (also called "hard", "closed", "strict", or "permanent agnosticism")
    The view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities, and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I cannot know whether a deity exists or not, and neither can you."

    Weak agnosticism (also called "soft", "open", "empirical", or "temporal agnosticism")
    The view that the existence or nonexistence of any deities is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable; therefore, one will withhold judgment until evidence, if any, becomes available. A weak agnostic would say, "I don't know whether any deities exist or not, but maybe one day, if there is evidence, we can find something out."

    Dac on
    Steam: catseye543
    PSN: ShogunGunshow
    Origin: ShogunGunshow
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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Thinking about it, I have to agree that the term "atheist," by itself, has little valuable utility in defining a person's beliefs, because it's so narrow.

    Calling oneself a Christian, despite the multitude of different sects and denominations out there, still implies a number of general beliefs that you (at least ostensibly) adhere to and hold to be true. The same goes for any religion.

    Atheism, as the lack of a stance (going by the definition, here) is a blank slate in terms of telling you anything else about the person. Which is why it infuriates me so to know how loaded a term it is.

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Basically all of these distinctions are much more about the nature of knowledge and not really about the specific belief. They only get treated as special because the belief in the supernatural is such a huge part of global culture.

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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    well, the argument would be that atheists do not place faith in atheism per se (aside from in the pure logical sense that one cannot really prove the nonexistence of the abrahamic god), but do place it in some other value system

    Let's skip to the end of this line of inquiry: 1=1 is not a faith claim. This is the case with all analytic tautologies.

    Starting there, one can construct a system of thought that in no way involves faith.

    Wait, what? No you can't; Gödel proved that a long time ago. You're going to need to pull in other outside postulates to keep your system of thought internally consistent.

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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    Shando wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Agnosticism is undecided. Weak atheism leaves room for being wrong but makes a guess. Strong atheism makes an unprovable statement. Or such is my understanding.

    Nope, still not helping.

    They still look like the same statement, if your "Weak atheist" is still a 100% sure. Both leave themselves open to being wrong, if they actually turn out to be wrong.

    And I'm aware that Agnostict is undecided, but if you're not a 100% sure, it's probably a better description than "Weak atheist"

    Let me give it a shot:

    Weak atheism: "I do not believe there are gods, due to never have come across anything that would lead me to believe that such a phenomenon is possible. If that situation were to change, I would have to adjust my beliefs accordingly" (This is essentially where I fall)

    Strong atheism: "I do not believe there are gods, because such a phenomenon IS impossible, and I know this to be true because science"

    Agnosticism: "I don't believe that it is possible to know one way or another whether or not gods exist, so I abstain from making a judgement either way."

    Note that strong atheism's issue is based around equivalence on the words "is impossible" and the justification that they ostensibly use. Which has nothing to do with the actual distinction proposed for strong vs weak atheism. It's also epistemologically confused as the epistemological caveats of 'my mind could be changed if the evidence available to me changed" is entirely consistent with strong conviction and statements of belief of the strong atheist kind.

    The agnostic statement is a relatively accurate statement definitionally, but an analysis shows that for the case of deities they are either inconsistent (in that they treat a/theism with a different standard than other issues with respect to what it is possible to and when they consider themselves to know things) or mistaken (in that they hold a consistent epistemology but think there is evidence or arguments that are as yet undetermined or the two positions both have or lack argument and evidence in their favour).

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    ShandoShando Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    "Gamer", "feminist", "atheist" (and others) all have enough cultural context that as descriptors they can begin to shape our understanding of another's personal identity

    That there may be wide amounts of variation in those terms doesn't dismiss their usefulness

    And the fact that some of them, when read literally, have meanings that don't necessarily dovetail with their literal definition is not enough of an impetus for abandonment

    There is less variation in the range of options of personal identity available when one identifies as "atheist," even regardless of cultural context of what that word might carry with it than there is variation present without using that word as a descriptor. Furthermore, there is enough extra carryforward in that descriptor that we can begin to use it to further narrow down potential variation.

    This is my point, I think.

    I think I agree with this. Saying "I'm an atheist" definitely tells you something about the person, it just doesn't necessarily tell you very much, unless you make a lot of assumptions about that person that may or may not be correct. And I would say that while those other things may be correct more often then not, I don't believe that the reason they exists is because of atheism, but because of a personal philosophy of which their non-belief in gods is also a result.

    your troll just berserked on us.
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Thinking about it, I have to agree that the term "atheist," by itself, has little valuable utility in defining a person's beliefs, because it's so narrow.

    Calling oneself a Christian, despite the multitude of different sects and denominations out there, still implies a number of general beliefs that you (at least ostensibly) adhere to and hold to be true. The same goes for any religion.

    Atheism, as the lack of a stance (going by the definition, here) is a blank slate in terms of telling you anything else about the person. Which is why it infuriates me so to know how loaded a term it is.

    I think my problem is the bolded, because I think the definition doesn't mesh with the common usage of the word, and I give preference to common usage over dictionary definition in this instance.

    that is, the part that infuriates you is the reason I argue the term is meaningful?

    If that makes sense?

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    ShandoShando Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    Shando wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Agnosticism is undecided. Weak atheism leaves room for being wrong but makes a guess. Strong atheism makes an unprovable statement. Or such is my understanding.

    Nope, still not helping.

    They still look like the same statement, if your "Weak atheist" is still a 100% sure. Both leave themselves open to being wrong, if they actually turn out to be wrong.

    And I'm aware that Agnostict is undecided, but if you're not a 100% sure, it's probably a better description than "Weak atheist"

    Let me give it a shot:

    Weak atheism: "I do not believe there are gods, due to never have come across anything that would lead me to believe that such a phenomenon is possible. If that situation were to change, I would have to adjust my beliefs accordingly" (This is essentially where I fall)

    Strong atheism: "I do not believe there are gods, because such a phenomenon IS impossible, and I know this to be true because science"

    Agnosticism: "I don't believe that it is possible to know one way or another whether or not gods exist, so I abstain from making a judgement either way."

    Note that strong atheism's issue is based around equivalence on the words "is impossible" and the justification that they ostensibly use. Which has nothing to do with the actual distinction proposed for strong vs weak atheism. It's also epistemologically confused as the epistemological caveats of 'my mind could be changed if the evidence available to me changed" is entirely consistent with strong conviction and statements of belief of the strong atheist kind.

    The agnostic statement is a relatively accurate statement definitionally, but an analysis shows that for the case of deities they are either inconsistent (in that they treat a/theism with a different standard than other issues with respect to what it is possible to and when they consider themselves to know things) or mistaken (in that they hold a consistent epistemology but think there is evidence or arguments that are as yet undetermined or the two positions both have or lack argument and evidence in their favour).

    Like you said before, agnostics are super frustrating.

    your troll just berserked on us.
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    CaptainNemoCaptainNemo Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Also, I like how this thread's title compares to the one for the thread about the Charlie Hebdo attack.

    CaptainNemo on
    PSN:CaptainNemo1138
    Shitty Tumblr:lighthouse1138.tumblr.com
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    Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Trans* Woman In Aviators Firing A Bazooka. ⚛️Registered User regular
    zakkiel wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    @Arch

    Excellent question! How would one reformulate the negative claim of non-being into a positive assertion? For an answer, let us turn to Quine - On What There Is
    A curious thing about the ontological problem is its simplicity. It can be put in three AngloSaxon monosyllables: „What is there?‟ It can be answered, moreover, in a word—"Everything‟—and everyone will accept this answer as true. However, this is merely to say that there is what there is. There remains room for disagreement over cases; and so the issue has stayed alive down the centuries.

    Suppose now that two philosophers, McX and I, differ over ontology. Suppose McX maintains there is something which I maintain there is not. McX can, quite consistently with his own point of view, describe our difference of opinion by saying that I refuse to recognize certain entities. I should protest, of course, that he is wrong in his formulation of our disagreement, for I maintain that there are no entities, of the kind which he alleges, for me to recognize; but my finding him wrong in his formulation of our disagreement is unimportant, for I am committed to considering him wrong in his ontology anyway.

    When I try to formulate our difference of opinion, on the other hand, I seem to be in a predicament. I cannot admit that there are some things which McX countenances and I do not, for in admitting that there are such things I should be contradicting my own rejection of them.

    It would appear, if this reasoning were sound, that in any ontological dispute the proponent of the negative side suffers the disadvantage of not being able to admit that his opponent disagrees with him.

    This is a dilly of a pickle! Can it be solved? Yes, says Quine! But it is difficult.
    In order thus to subsume a one-word name or alleged name such as „Pegasus‟ under Russell‟s theory of description, we must, of course, be able first to translate the word into a description. But this is no real restriction. If the notion of Pegasus had been so obscure or so basic a one
    that no pat translation into a descriptive phrase had offered itself along familiar lines, we could still have availed ourselves of the following artificial and trivial-seeming device: we could have appealed to the ex hypothesi unanalyzable, irreducible attribute of being Pegasus, adopting, for its expression, the verb "is-Pegasus‟, or "pegasizes‟. The noun „Pegasus‟ itself could then be treated as derivative, and identified after all with a description: "the thing that is-Pegasus‟, "the thing that pegasizes‟.

    If the importing of such a predicate as "pegasizes‟ seems to commit us to recognizing that there is a corresponding attribute, pegasizing, in Plato‟s heaven or in the minds of men, well and good. Neither we nor Wyman nor McX have been contending, thus far, about the being or nonbeing of universals, but rather about that of Pegasus. If in terms of pegasizing we can interpret the noun „Pegasus‟ as a description subject to Russell‟s theory of descriptions, then we have disposed of the old notion that Pegasus cannot be said not to be without presupposing that in some sense Pegasus is.

    Our argument is now quite general. McX and Wyman supposed that we could not meaningfully affirm a statement of the form „So-and-so is not‟, with a simple or descriptive singular noun in place of "so-and-so‟, unless so-and-so is. This supposition is now seen to be quite generally groundless, since the singular noun in question can always be expanded into a singular description, trivially or otherwise, and then analyzed out à la Russell.

    Instead of saying "I do not believe in God", one would have to say "I do not believe in the thing that gods."

    What is Quine's solution to the problem that I believe that the problem he is trying to solve doesn't exist?
    @zakkiel A divide by zero error, probably.

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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    Daedalus wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    well, the argument would be that atheists do not place faith in atheism per se (aside from in the pure logical sense that one cannot really prove the nonexistence of the abrahamic god), but do place it in some other value system

    Let's skip to the end of this line of inquiry: 1=1 is not a faith claim. This is the case with all analytic tautologies.

    Starting there, one can construct a system of thought that in no way involves faith.

    Wait, what? No you can't; Gödel proved that a long time ago. You're going to need to pull in other outside postulates to keep your system of thought internally consistent.

    I am always sceptical of Godel being used to argue for irrationality

    But in this case I think we're back to the classics of equivocation upon the word "faith" and the fact that "system of thought" is ambiguous (though probably doesn't mean 'formalised system of logic')

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    DacDac Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    For disclosure, I'd describe myself as agnostic. Fuck me, I'm frustrating!

    e: in all seriousness, it's something I'd like to explore further in a thread.

    Dac on
    Steam: catseye543
    PSN: ShogunGunshow
    Origin: ShogunGunshow
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    TroggTrogg Registered User regular
    Belief systems don't kill people, people do.

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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    Daedalus wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    well, the argument would be that atheists do not place faith in atheism per se (aside from in the pure logical sense that one cannot really prove the nonexistence of the abrahamic god), but do place it in some other value system

    Let's skip to the end of this line of inquiry: 1=1 is not a faith claim. This is the case with all analytic tautologies.

    Starting there, one can construct a system of thought that in no way involves faith.

    Wait, what? No you can't; Gödel proved that a long time ago. You're going to need to pull in other outside postulates to keep your system of thought internally consistent.

    I am always sceptical of Godel being used to argue for irrationality

    But in this case I think we're back to the classics of equivocation upon the word "faith" and the fact that "system of thought" is ambiguous (though probably doesn't mean 'formalised system of logic')

    I mean, look, if your premise is that you can have a rational and self-consistent system of logic based on nothing more than the identity principle, which is what J was saying, that's been proven incorrect.

    This isn't really a problem, unless you've worked yourself into the belief that every thought you have should come from some "rational" basis, whatever that even means.

    Daedalus on
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    _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Arch wrote: »
    "Gamer", "feminist", "atheist" (and others) all have enough cultural context that as descriptors they can begin to shape our understanding of another's personal identity

    That there may be wide amounts of variation in those terms doesn't dismiss their usefulness

    And the fact that some of them, when read literally, have meanings that don't necessarily dovetail with their literal definition is not enough of an impetus for abandonment

    There is less variation in the range of options of personal identity available when one identifies as "atheist," even regardless of cultural context of what that word might carry with it than there is variation present without using that word as a descriptor. Furthermore, there is enough extra carryforward in that descriptor that we can begin to use it to further narrow down potential variation.

    This is my point, I think.

    The verdict we reach on the utility of group designations would apply equally to "gamer", "feminist", "atheist", "Christian", "muslim", etc.

    "Atheist" does not seem to be different in a super-special way.

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    _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Daedalus wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    well, the argument would be that atheists do not place faith in atheism per se (aside from in the pure logical sense that one cannot really prove the nonexistence of the abrahamic god), but do place it in some other value system

    Let's skip to the end of this line of inquiry: 1=1 is not a faith claim. This is the case with all analytic tautologies.

    Starting there, one can construct a system of thought that in no way involves faith.

    Wait, what? No you can't; Gödel proved that a long time ago. You're going to need to pull in other outside postulates to keep your system of thought internally consistent.

    Gödel applies to all axiomatic systems that satisfy the theory's requirements for completeness and consistency. There are other kinds of self-consistent axiomatic systems.

    The original post was about faith, and so on topic. I think this reply is ok. A further argument about Gödel would need its own thread.

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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Eh I may have been unclear, I apologize. What I meant by positive assertion is asserting that a thing exists, as opposed to a negative assertion that it doesn't.

    To speak with Quine it's basically a matter of what goes into your ontology. What matters, and what we determine a personal philosophy by, are the entities/things we put into our ontology, the things we claim exist. The theist puts one (or several) entity more in their ontology than the atheist.

    To make sense of personal philosophies can only be done I think by looking at what people put into their ontology, not by what is left out. A personal philosophy is about what you believe in, not about what you don't believe in. It's about what you hold true, what you think is real. There is a common phrase among these 'atheist' communities about how they only believe in one entity less out of millions than religious people, and I think it is a good insight. It would be correct to identify almost everyone in the world as non-Zeus believers, but it would be silly to say that non-Zeusism is the personal philosophy of almost everyone in the world.

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    _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Eh I may have been unclear, I apologize. What I meant by positive assertion is asserting that a thing exists, as opposed to a negative assertion that it doesn't.

    To speak with Quine it's basically a matter of what goes into your ontology. What matters, and what we determine a personal philosophy by, are the entities/things we put into our ontology, the things we claim exist. The theist puts one (or several) entity more in their ontology than the atheist.

    To make sense of personal philosophies can only be done I think by looking at what people put into their ontology, not by what is left out. A personal philosophy is about what you believe in, not about what you don't believe in. It's about what you hold true, what you think is real. There is a common phrase among these 'atheist' communities about how they only believe in one entity less out of millions than religious people, and I think it is a good insight. It would be correct to identify almost everyone in the world as non-Zeus believers, but it would be silly to say that non-Zeusism is the personal philosophy of almost everyone in the world.

    Atheists are the only group of people who are in a rush to tell you about what they do not believe.

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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Daedalus wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    well, the argument would be that atheists do not place faith in atheism per se (aside from in the pure logical sense that one cannot really prove the nonexistence of the abrahamic god), but do place it in some other value system

    Let's skip to the end of this line of inquiry: 1=1 is not a faith claim. This is the case with all analytic tautologies.

    Starting there, one can construct a system of thought that in no way involves faith.

    Wait, what? No you can't; Gödel proved that a long time ago. You're going to need to pull in other outside postulates to keep your system of thought internally consistent.

    Gödel applies to all axiomatic systems that satisfy the theory's requirements for completeness and consistency. There are other kinds of self-consistent axiomatic systems.

    The original post was about faith, and so on topic. I think this reply is ok. A further argument about Gödel would need its own thread.

    That's fair; I think this whole digression might be on shaky grounds, topic-wise.

    So, uh, about that shooting. Do we have anything on motive, other than vague, whiny Facebook posts and speculation about a parking dispute?

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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    zakkiel wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    If 95% of your community is Catholic, no one bothers to identify as Catholic either.

    It's not a matter of bothering, it's a matter of usefulness. The answer "Catholic" is still informative about what one thinks is real regardless of the amount of others who also have that personal philosophy.

    The reason that is relevant is that in my society atheism (or irreligiosity) is common enough that the answer "atheist" wouldn't be very informative. If I asked people what their belief system was I would very rarely get the answer "atheist". (Though it depends on framing, as many people still assume that the question is actually "what is your religion?")
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    And I doubt that atheists, even self-described atheists, would say that materialism is a necessary part of atheism.

    Of course it isn't logically necessary. But darned if it doesn't always seem to be true. My point is that it is possible to identify a subset of people who do not believe in any god who also have a bunch of other beliefs in common; that these are overwhelming the people who would actually call themselves atheists*; and that whether implicitly or explicitly this is what most people have in mind when they use the word. Since you all keep insisting that your alternative use of the word is useless, just useless as a category, I'm not sure what reason we could have for adopting it.

    * I could be proved wrong about this. I'm too lazy to research it.

    Yeah I think you might just be wrong there, or at least overestimating the amount of commonality between atheists. But maybe it's because atheists who don't have those common beliefs don't have much of a reason to assert their atheism in the first place. Most, if not all, of my friends are atheists but the topic never really comes up because there is no reason for it to come up. They don't have a problem with calling themselves atheist, but they also don't have much reason to.

    Like, I think you're right about the commonality of those beliefs within the group of people you already know are atheist within five minutes of meeting them. But I think you find similar commonality in the group of people you know to be Christian within five minutes of meeting them. Evangelicals exist everywhere. It would be wrong I think though to assume those are the only people willing to call themselves atheist (or Christian) and draw conclusions from that.

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    zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    If 95% of your community is Catholic, no one bothers to identify as Catholic either.

    It's not a matter of bothering, it's a matter of usefulness. The answer "Catholic" is still informative about what one thinks is real regardless of the amount of others who also have that personal philosophy.

    The reason that is relevant is that in my society atheism (or irreligiosity) is common enough that the answer "atheist" wouldn't be very informative. If I asked people what their belief system was I would very rarely get the answer "atheist". (Though it depends on framing, as many people still assume that the question is actually "what is your religion?")
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    And I doubt that atheists, even self-described atheists, would say that materialism is a necessary part of atheism.

    Of course it isn't logically necessary. But darned if it doesn't always seem to be true. My point is that it is possible to identify a subset of people who do not believe in any god who also have a bunch of other beliefs in common; that these are overwhelming the people who would actually call themselves atheists*; and that whether implicitly or explicitly this is what most people have in mind when they use the word. Since you all keep insisting that your alternative use of the word is useless, just useless as a category, I'm not sure what reason we could have for adopting it.

    * I could be proved wrong about this. I'm too lazy to research it.

    Yeah I think you might just be wrong there, or at least overestimating the amount of commonality between atheists. But maybe it's because atheists who don't have those common beliefs don't have much of a reason to assert their atheism in the first place. Most, if not all, of my friends are atheists but the topic never really comes up because there is no reason for it to come up. They don't have a problem with calling themselves atheist, but they also don't have much reason to.

    Like, I think you're right about the commonality of those beliefs within the group of people you already know are atheist within five minutes of meeting them. But I think you find similar commonality in the group of people you know to be Christian within five minutes of meeting them. Evangelicals exist everywhere. It would be wrong I think though to assume those are the only people willing to call themselves atheist (or Christian) and draw conclusions from that.

    I'm not sure we disagree. I'm discussing atheists for whom atheism is a considered principle, the kinds of folks I think Qingu is addressing. Maybe we could use Atheists to refer to them. There are certainly people who don't really think about religion or philosophy but don't believe in gods. But I don't know that your friends fall into this category. If you asked them about the specific beliefs I listed, do you think they would answer no to any of them?

    Account not recoverable. So long.
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    NYT has more information about the killer:
    “I have seen and heard him be very unfriendly to a lot of people in this community,” said Samantha Maness, a resident of the complex. She said that Mr. Hicks had displayed “equal opportunity anger” and that “he kind of made everyone feel uncomfortable and unsafe.”

    Ms. Maness said Mr. Hicks would often seek to have cars towed from the complex’s lot, either because they did not have stickers or because he did not recognize them. And she said he would complain about noise — he was upset when she and her friends were playing a card game and he thought they were too noisy, and he was again upset when she pulled into the lot with music playing loudly in her car.
    ...
    Ms. Maness said Mr. Hicks would often seek to have cars towed from the complex’s lot, either because they did not have stickers or because he did not recognize them. And she said he would complain about noise — he was upset when she and her friends were playing a card game and he thought they were too noisy, and he was again upset when she pulled into the lot with music playing loudly in her car.
    ...
    Cynthia Hurley, who said she was married to Mr. Hicks years ago, said she had been unsettled by his enthusiasm for a 1993 film, “Falling Down,” which depicts a man violently lashing out at society. “That always freaked me out,” Ms. Hurley told The A.P. “He watched it incessantly. He thought it was hilarious. He had no compassion at all.”

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