Who is an atheist?

Who is an atheist?

There are 9494 comments on the The Sydney Morning Herald story from May 30, 2010, titled Who is an atheist?. In it, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that:

In my last blog there was a moderately spectacular blue between various parties .

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9438 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
I rather have a unbiased source than either a theist or an atheist (what ever that is) source.
WTF?

There is no such thing-- if you want to learn about someone's worldview?

DO YOU ASK THEIR ENEMIES? No-- you ask **them**.

Their opposites will lie and/or be clueless about the subject.

The word "atheist" means "not theist".

To every atheist I've asked here on Topix, or read their answers to this word, all agree pretty much: it means to **not** have faith in gods.

It's **not** a positive stance, nor is it a faith-thing.

Those are different things entirely.

Atheism is a **lack** of belief in gods.

That is it.

Your attempt to twist it into a complicated mess where there is no need to?

Is puzzling.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9439 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
Also if their false definition is rejected, we would need another word to reference the more generic group of non-theists.
There are several-- among them are:

Secular humanist.

Nontheist.

Nonbeliever.

Unbeliever.

Rationalist.

Free thinker.

Realist.

The list can be quite long, and descriptive--I have witnessed the above at one time or another over the past 6 years on Topix.

Most folk simply use "atheist" and mean "no faith in gods" when they use the word.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9440 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
Correction
All words should be well defined ie definitions use only other well defined words...
In an ideal world? Sure.

But in a world with a **living** language, such as English?

Worse-- one that is a mish-mash of several vastly different languages?

That is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

I'm old enough to remember when the word "cool" was **strictly** used to describe temperature.

I remember when it caught on as having a secondary meaning, "desirable" or "acceptable" or "socially appealing" and more.

I am also old enough to remember when "gay" only referred to a state of being, and a happy-go-lucky state at that. I remember when the word's meaning changed to refer to homosexual males (and sometimes females).

----------

With a **living** language, such as English, the meanings of words is so **going** to change over time.

A dictionary,**at****best** is going to be several removes from the current usages.

And all too often, a generation or two **behind** current use.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9441 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
Again, the need for rationalising languages in use so that they are more formal and thus more efficient can not be overstated. Onerous task, but totally worth it.
Never going to happen-- ever. Not as long as **people** are **using** the language in question.

Only a strictly **dead** language could be thus.

Or one that was entirely abstract and formal, such as mathematics.(yes, I'm claiming that math is a language, and in a way, it is)

----------

It's only going to get worse-- over time?

English in the USA will gradually incorporate common Spanish words and phrases, as the Hispanic population increases.

Eventually, USA-English will diverge from other countries' use of English to the point of becoming a separate language.

There are already **many** differences in spelling, common usage and so on.
US are Warring Savages

United States

#9442 Aug 18, 2013
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
Never going to happen-- ever. Not as long as **people** are **using** the language in question.
Only a strictly **dead** language could be thus.
Or one that was entirely abstract and formal, such as mathematics.(yes, I'm claiming that math is a language, and in a way, it is)
----------
It's only going to get worse-- over time?
English in the USA will gradually incorporate common Spanish words and phrases, as the Hispanic population increases.
Eventually, USA-English will diverge from other countries' use of English to the point of becoming a separate language.
There are already **many** differences in spelling, common usage and so on.
Hey BOQ is there a third one, i'm curious?

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9443 Aug 18, 2013
US are Warring Savages wrote:
<quoted text>Hey BOQ is there a third one, i'm curious?
??

Third one..what?
US are Warring Savages

United States

#9444 Aug 19, 2013
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
??
Third one..what?
LAnguage?
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#9445 Aug 19, 2013
This is why I'm happy to leave it for religionists to define me as atheist or agnostic. People cannot agree on the meaning. I am happy with the dictionary definitions...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/theism

Actually, Bob is correct in that one CAN be viewed as both atheist and agnostic...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/atheist
One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/agnostic
One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.

I don't know why any non-believer would care how they're categorised. I don't and I don't think Prof Richard Dawkins cares much either. Our positions are clear enough to anyone interested (which I note excludes Topix contributor LCN/Lincoln, who seems interested yet unable to understand)

Religion/atheism/agnosticism is really a load of theology, in my view. I think the debate is silly - like religion in general.

Jonny Eve sings it like it is....
http://www.atheismuk.com/2012/03/31/atheism/y...
..but uses bad language. Others may prefer John Lennon's "Imagine".
one cube parsec

Delhi, India

#9449 Aug 19, 2013
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
WTF?
There is no such thing-- if you want to learn about someone's worldview?
DO YOU ASK THEIR ENEMIES? No-- you ask **them**.
Their opposites will lie and/or be clueless about the subject.
The word "atheist" means "not theist".
To every atheist I've asked here on Topix, or read their answers to this word, all agree pretty much: it means to **not** have faith in gods.
It's **not** a positive stance, nor is it a faith-thing.
Those are different things entirely.
Atheism is a **lack** of belief in gods.
That is it.
Your attempt to twist it into a complicated mess where there is no need to?
Is puzzling.
So according to you, the definition of the word homeopath should be coined only by a homeopath, and it is the sole prerogative of a pedophile to establish the definition of the word pedophile (most likely he would declare himself to be an innocent harmless 'lover' of children)?!
.
I for one would not trust a lexicographer with surgery, nor a surgeon with the science of compiling dictionaries.
.
I think a neutral lexicographer is very much still a requirement, as indeed is a general claim by most dictionary brands of repute, who do the impartial research into the current usage, as well as the etymology.

======

And again, all this debate with the religious would mostly be unnecessary or resolved quickly if the lacunae in language were worked out.(this thread is itself an example). Rationalization of languages is going to help humanity in so many way. So I think the thought leaders of society need to be made aware of this. The benifits are immense, I asure you. The incorruptiblity of laws will alone make it worth it. And then most philosophical discussions would also be more efficient and avoid most logic traps and circular logics even paradoxes. Some things are just seemingly contradictory due to the problem of informal approach in defining words, while many things that seem in agreement, actually differ in meaning. Many statements that today seem valid will be invalid in a formal language. Most attempts by clever politicians at misrepresentation of facts, or working in loopholes in laws can be avoided. Also miscommunications and misunderstanding will be impossible in a formal language.
.
Yes, a formal language can change human society tremendously, help us evolve into a much more advanced civilization. And it not really that difficult either, cause we know it has all been done before.

.
.
.
A translation /redaction of religious scriptures into any scientifically structured formal language will aslo yield very interesting (fun) results!

[A lot of the mess you speak of, already exists and it is in the languages we use.]
one cube parsec

Delhi, India

#9450 Aug 19, 2013
So the need for change and rationalising language.
Normand Winnipeg

Winnipeg, Canada

#9451 Aug 19, 2013
--- "AN atheist is a being that rejects GOD'S WAYS AND therefor rejects GOD"--- because there is one and only True GOD as it is written and implied from Genesis to Revelation thousands and thousands of places...Thankyou...
one cube parsec

Delhi, India

#9452 Aug 19, 2013
EdSed wrote:
This is why I'm happy to leave it for religionists to define me as atheist or agnostic. People cannot agree on the meaning. I am happy with the dictionary definitions...
http://www. thefreedictionary .com/theism
Actually, Bob is correct in that one CAN be viewed as both atheist and agnostic...
http://www. thefreedictionary .com/atheist
One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.
http://www .thefreedictionary. com/agnostic
One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
I don't know why any non-believer would care how they're categorised. I don't and I don't think Prof Richard Dawkins cares much either. Our positions are clear enough to anyone interested (which I note excludes Topix contributor LCN/Lincoln, who seems interested yet unable to understand)
Religion/atheism/agnosticism is really a load of theology, in my view. I think the debate is silly - like religion in general.
Jonny Eve sings it like it is....
http://www. atheismuk. com/2012/03/31/atheism/yes-i-a m-an-atheist/
..but uses bad language. Others may prefer John Lennon's "Imagine".
A lot of those definitions are frought with the same problems of a very half baked language.

Example Atheism defination- One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.: depends on the definations of god, existence, and also the word disbelieve.
Does disbelief mean to believe in the opposite statement, or to not belief. I define belief as an assertion of an argument as valid without logical or empirical support. If so then both a positions of 'no god' and 'don't know' are assigned to the single word atheist. Which is ambiguous, and no better than religious scripture.

Likewise, what is god? Is it a creator of the universe, that no longer may exist, or does it still, and creating other universes as we speak? Or is god an omnipotent and or omniscient entity?

I can disprove the physical existence of any omniscient entity right here in one post using known proven laws of physics. Actually I have many such proofs. But the religious will just move the definitions around to save precious god!

So again, language needs rationalization and formalisation. We need to realize the need for it first tho. Only then can we be successfully move on into an irriligious age and be progressive and avoid the many pitfalls born out of the many flaws in our human nature.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#9453 Aug 19, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
A lot of those definitions are frought with the same problems of a very half baked language.
Example Atheism defination- One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.: depends on the definations of god, existence, and also the word disbelieve.
Does disbelief mean to believe in the opposite statement, or to not belief. I define belief as an assertion of an argument as valid without logical or empirical support. If so then both a positions of 'no god' and 'don't know' are assigned to the single word atheist. Which is ambiguous, and no better than religious scripture.
Likewise, what is god? Is it a creator of the universe, that no longer may exist, or does it still, and creating other universes as we speak? Or is god an omnipotent and or omniscient entity?
I can disprove the physical existence of any omniscient entity right here in one post using known proven laws of physics. Actually I have many such proofs. But the religious will just move the definitions around to save precious god!
So again, language needs rationalization and formalisation. We need to realize the need for it first tho. Only then can we be successfully move on into an irriligious age and be progressive and avoid the many pitfalls born out of the many flaws in our human nature.
It is not that I think your post is wrong, but I think perhaps you overstate the case, e.g. "If so then both a positions of 'no god' and 'don't know' are assigned to the single word atheist. Which is ambiguous, and no better than religious scripture."

I have studied French and German and read about languages, but am not bilingual. I don't know how that might affect my view, but as you say, "the religious will just move the definitions around to save precious god!" The problem seems to me to be more one of comprehension and lack of empathetic listening than language per se.

I'm getting the possibly erroneous impression that you find the English/American language a particular problem?(Or disgrace?:-)
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#9454 Aug 19, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
....Maybe one day we will again understand the need to rationalized and formalize languages (like sanskrit was arrived at from palis and prakrits once upon a time). would help us prevent making ambiguous vague laws that leave loopholes, and also help us get rid of useless religions and specious philosophies too that can than be easily shown as false or meaningless.
A least there shud be 2 constraints- that all words should be well defined ie definitions use only other well defined words, and every word have only one defination.
And your first assertion (accusing me to be a xian) is false, baseless, by both usages of the term.
This post suggests to me we might differ as to how English dictionaries work?(Wiki too). Their compilers try to identify and agree how people are using the words. I don't think they have much power to influence their meaning. They try to identify and clarify the various usages. They might have some slight influence on how they are used perhaps.
one cube parsec

New Delhi, India

#9455 Aug 19, 2013
EdSed wrote:
<quoted text>It is not that I think your post is wrong, but I think perhaps you overstate the case, e.g. "If so then both a positions of 'no god' and 'don't know' are assigned to the single word atheist. Which is ambiguous, and no better than religious scripture."
I have studied French and German and read about languages, but am not bilingual. I don't know how that might affect my view, but as you say, "the religious will just move the definitions around to save precious god!" The problem seems to me to be more one of comprehension and lack of empathetic listening than language per se.
I'm getting the possibly erroneous impression that you find the English/American language a particular problem?(Or disgrace?:-)
Sprachen Sie deutsche?

re: overstated-
Well do consider that when you use a word that can have two stated meanings, further in the definition of another word, that ambiguity can get multiplied or atleast propagated from word to word. A lot of otherwise good ideas or laws have been corrupted because of the flawed nature of the language used.

Rendering a lot of very excited debates that use those terms almost an exercise in useless gibberish.

Re: targeting english-
Not at all, all and any language with such flaws of vagueness and ambiguity can be misused and abused. Apart from the academic language of sanskrit, no other language has been subjected to any degree of rationalization. So funny, because the ideas and techniques rationalizing languages have been well established and understood since the time of Panini, as well as great and furtherwork done in formal languages by IBM scientists in modern times in america, and replicated by other computer researchrs elsewhere. In fact normalization and various levels of normalization were also worked out. If applied to human languages in steps, the entire process can be made easy as well as a gradual learning effort which will be less taxing on society than trying to replace a whole language by another at one go (or making one up from scratch).

Simply put, people are getting smarter, their needs and lives are more scientific, so we need languages more suited to modern times. And it can also be done when people increasingly appreciate a scientific temperament.

Since: Nov 09

Location hidden

#9456 Aug 19, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
Define cause,
Then question your need to define it!
But for the human (like) mind, everything would be uncaused, and time would not exist.
------

Cause is either the result of being caused or the agent that causes what is caused. Now, I can't define the Primal Cause. To study about It takes one's whole lifetime. And rather the opposite is true that for the human (like) mind everything is caused except the undefinable Primal Cause. The concept of uncaused things lasted
only from Aristotle and until Lemaitre in 1922 when he formulated the theory of the BB and declared it to be the beginning of the universe. What had a beginning was caused because nothing can cause itself to exist.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#9457 Aug 19, 2013
Sorry, I'm wandering off topic, but....
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
Sprachen Sie deutsche?
Sehr wenig.
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
re: overstated-
Well do consider that when you use a word that can have two stated meanings, further in the definition of another word, that ambiguity can get multiplied or atleast propagated from word to word. A lot of otherwise good ideas or laws have been corrupted because of the flawed nature of the language used.
Rendering a lot of very excited debates that use those terms almost an exercise in useless gibberish.
Re: targeting english-
Not at all, all and any language with such flaws of vagueness and ambiguity can be misused and abused. Apart from the academic language of sanskrit, no other language has been subjected to any degree of rationalization. So funny, because the ideas and techniques rationalizing languages have been well established and understood since the time of Panini, as well as great and furtherwork done in formal languages by IBM scientists in modern times in america, and replicated by other computer researchrs elsewhere. In fact normalization and various levels of normalization were also worked out. If applied to human languages in steps, the entire process can be made easy as well as a gradual learning effort which will be less taxing on society than trying to replace a whole language by another at one go (or making one up from scratch).
Simply put, people are getting smarter, their needs and lives are more scientific, so we need languages more suited to modern times. And it can also be done when people increasingly appreciate a scientific temperament.
Interesting.

I think the importance of (and advantage to) humanity of sharing a common language 'in the home' is grossly underestimated. I think that is still more important than the advantages rendered by rationalisation and modernisation. One can be understood in any language but communication is vastly limited when it is done by translations. Most people don't seem to see that. They're all for 'protecting my (usually national) culture', but what about developing global culture? We can do that without undue detriment to (national/ethnic) languages.
(JMHO. Have to go out now. Bye folks!)
one cube parsec

New Delhi, India

#9458 Aug 19, 2013
EdSed wrote:
<quoted text>This post suggests to me we might differ as to how English dictionaries work?(Wiki too). Their compilers try to identify and agree how people are using the words. I don't think they have much power to influence their meaning. They try to identify and clarify the various usages. They might have some slight influence on how they are used perhaps.
How do you say we differ?

Yours is an observation of what is, which I also acknowledged (in another post), and in this post I describe what should be or can be.

How do you conclude that we differ, when the arguments cant even be compared?
one cube parsec

New Delhi, India

#9459 Aug 19, 2013
Ben_Masada wrote:
<quoted text>
------
Cause is either the result of being caused or the agent that causes what is caused. Now, I can't define the Primal Cause. To study about It takes one's whole lifetime. And rather the opposite is true that for the human (like) mind everything is caused except the undefinable Primal Cause. The concept of uncaused things lasted
only from Aristotle and until Lemaitre in 1922 when he formulated the theory of the BB and declared it to be the beginning of the universe. What had a beginning was caused because nothing can cause itself to exist.
You cant define primal cause as you failed defining cause itself. You can't use the word 'cause' in the definition of cause itself. That makes the word very meaningless, as the definitation is meaningless.

Once cause if well defined, Primal Cause would be easy.

(No offense intended, just being direct, Have become very mellowed in my approach while conversing with people lately, but slip off to my old ways sometimes!, just that I don't know how else to out it, and not be rude).
one cube parsec

New Delhi, India

#9460 Aug 19, 2013
EdSed wrote:
Sorry, I'm wandering off topic, but....
<quoted text>Sehr wenig.
Ich auch. Ich habe gelernt in schule.
<quoted text>Interesting.
I think the importance of (and advantage to) humanity of sharing a common language 'in the home' is grossly underestimated. I think that is still more important than the advantages rendered by rationalisation and modernisation. One can be understood in any language but communication is vastly limited when it is done by translations. Most people don't seem to see that. They're all for 'protecting my (usually national) culture', but what about developing global culture? We can do that without undue detriment to (national/ethnic) languages.
(JMHO. Have to go out now. Bye folks!)
Agree 100%. But we already have made a lot of progress towards a common language, thanks to the british empire, and people largely recognize the benifits of a common language. Now if only if the brits had colonized the japs and the koreans, we would know what all they are upto.

But the (tremendous) benifits of a formal or at least a more rational language is not understood by most today, simply because most have not experienced its benifits. If the vedics had not turned pacifist, maybe things might have been different. Which is why the need for some of us to push for it.

Auf Weidersehen.

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