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Old 02-27-2012, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Sitting on a bar stool. Guinness in hand.
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Iím just starting this thread to reply to recent posts about what the meaning of atheism and agnosticism is.

I would also like to discuss where/how the terms (beliefs ?) are related, unrelated, and interrelated.

This is what I have so far.

Atheism - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Quote:
atheism


1
archaic: ungodliness, wickedness

()

2

a: a disbelief in the existence of deity b: the doctrine that there is no deity


See atheism defined for kids Ľ

the belief that there is no God

Implicit and explicit atheism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Quote:
Implicit atheism

Smith defines implicit atheism as "the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it". "Absence of theistic belief" encompasses all forms of non-belief in deities. This would categorize as implicit atheists those adults who have never heard of the concept of deities, and those adults who have not given the idea any real consideration. Also included are agnostics who assert they do not believe in any deities (even if they claim not to be atheists). Children are also included, though, depending on the author, it may or may not also include newborn babies. As far back as 1772, Baron d'Holbach said that "All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God."[2] Smith is silent on newborn children, but clearly identifies as atheists some children who are unaware of any concept of any deity.


The man who is unacquainted with theism is an atheist because he does not believe in a god. This category would also include the child with the conceptual capacity to grasp the issues involved, but who is still unaware of those issues. The fact that this child does not believe in god qualifies him as an atheist.[1]

Ernest Nagel contradicts Smith's definition of atheism as merely "absence of theism", acknowledging only explicit atheism as true "atheism".


I shall understand by "atheism" a critique and a denial of the major claims of all varieties of theism... atheism is not to be identified with sheer unbelief... Thus, a child who has received no religious instruction and has never heard about God, is not an atheist Ė for he is not denying any theistic claims. Similarly in the case of an adult who, if he has withdrawn from the faith of his father without reflection or because of frank indifference to any theological issue, is also not an atheist Ė for such an adult is not challenging theism and not professing any views on the subject.


Quote:
Explicit atheism

Smith observes that some motivations for explicit atheism are rational and some not. Of the rational motivations, he says:


The most significant variety of atheism is explicit atheism of a philosophical nature. This atheism contends that the belief in god is irrational and should therefore be rejected. Since this version of explicit atheism rests on a criticism of theistic beliefs, it is best described as critical atheism.[1]

For Smith, explicit atheism is subdivided further into three groups:
a) the view usually expressed by the statement "I do not believe in the existence of a god or supernatural being";
b) the view usually expressed by the statement "God does not exist" or "the existence of God is impossible"; and
c) the view which "refuses to discuss the existence of a god" because "the concept of a god is unintelligible" (p.17).[1]

Although, as mentioned above, Nagel opposes identifying what Smith calls "implicit atheism" as atheism, the two authors do very much agree on the three-part subdivision of "explicit atheism" above, though Nagel does not use the term "explicit".


Quote:
The terms weak atheism and strong atheism (or negative atheism and positive atheism) are often used as synonyms of Smith's less-well-known implicit and explicit categories. However, the original and technical meanings of implicit and explicit atheism are quite different and distinct from weak and strong atheism. "Strong explicit" atheists assert that it is false that any deities exist. "Weak explicit" atheists assert they do not believe in deities, but do not assert it is true that deities do not exist. Those who do not believe any deities exist, but do not assert their non-belief are included among implicit atheists. Among weak implicit atheists are thus sometimes included the following: children and adults who have never heard of deities; people who have heard of deities but have never given the idea any considerable thought; and those agnostics who suspend belief about deities, but do not reject such belief.

People who do not use the broad definition of atheism as "absence of theism", but instead use the most common definition "disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods",[6] would not recognize mere absence of belief in deities (implicit atheism) as a type of atheism at all, and would tend to use other terms, such as "skeptic" or "agnostic", or even the heavy-handed "non-atheistic non-theism", for this position


Negative and positive atheism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
Positive atheism and Negative atheism

Positive atheism is a term popularly used to describe the form of atheism that asserts there is no deity.[1] Negative atheism refers to any other type of non-theism, wherein a person does not believe in the existence of any deity, but without asserting there to be none.[1][2] A negative atheist refers "to a person who simply has no belief in a deity because there are currently no rational grounds that support [its] existence."[3]

Quote:
Because of flexibility in the term "god", it is possible that a person could be a positive/strong atheist in terms of certain conceptions of God, while remaining a negative/weak atheist in terms of others. For example, the God of classical theism is often considered to be a personal supreme being who is omnipotent, omniscient, all-good, and cares about humans and human affairs. One might be a positive atheist for such a deity (see problem of evil), while being a negative atheist with respect to a Deistic conception of God by rejecting belief in such a deity but not explicitly asserting it to be false.

Under this positive/negative classification, some agnostics would qualify as negative atheists. The validity of this categorisation is disputed, however, and a few prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins avoid it. In The God Delusion, Dawkins describes people for whom the probability of the existence of God is between "very high" and "very low" as "agnostic" and reserves the term "strong atheist" for those who claim to know there is no God. He categorizes himself as a "de facto atheist" but not a "strong atheist" on this scale.[7]

Within negative atheism, philosopher Anthony Kenny further distinguishes between agnostics, who find the claim "God exists" uncertain, and theological noncognitivists, who consider all talk of gods to be meaningless.[8]




Agnosticism - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Quote:
agnostic


1

: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god


2

: a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>


See agnostic defined for kids Ľ

Etymology: from Greek agnstos "unknown," from a- "not" and gnstos "known"
: a person who believes that whether God exists is not known and probably cannot be known



Weak agnosticism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
Weak agnosticism

Weak agnosticism is the assertion that, at present, there is not enough information to know whether any deities exist, but that such might become knowable.

Strong agnosticism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Quote:
Strong agnosticism

Strong agnosticism or positive agnosticism is the belief that it is impossible for humans to know whether or not any deities exist.


Antitheism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Quote:
Antitheism

Antitheism (sometimes anti-theism) is active opposition to theism. The etymological roots of the word are the Greek anti- and theismos. The term has had a range of applications; in secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to organized religion or to the belief in any deity, while in a theistic context, it sometimes refers to opposition to a specific god or gods.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:10 AM
 
2,447 posts, read 2,672,597 times
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Have you just been in contact with people who don't know what they're talking about? We all know the definitions, but it's only when some idiot calls me a devil worshipper for being an atheist that I get annoyed and have to educate him like a 4 year old. Lol.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,610 posts, read 4,102,918 times
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Baystater, life ain't that complicated. Either you is believin in a god, or you isn't, or you is the kind of feller who cain't make no decision.

And no fancy Irish Guinness is gonna help you. You better belt down a few PBRs.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:45 PM
 
38,848 posts, read 10,697,209 times
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No, it isn't that complicated - not for us. We don't believe in a god and that's it.

The complications come when we get believers fiddling about with the definitions and semantics and misrepresentations to make it look like atheism is making impossible claims or claiming the impossible or that it is just another kind of faith or religion.

The complications then come when we have to explain that not believing a god exists is not the same as claiming that no god exists or that having faith in what has convincing evidence is not the same as having faith in what does not.

So Baystater's excellent post is a good ref. for anyone who wants to check out these points and it does work since the poster of the Dawkins is an agnostic thread has clearly has a few misunderstanding corrected and now knows that agnosticism is the logical basis and rationale of atheism.

I'd just add that consideration of the evidence for and against gods is an important factor in deciding how probable any one of the various god - claims are and a lot of the discussion that goes on is devoted to showing that the evidence or supposed evidence for God is nothing like as good as it is claimed. That's if one gives any weight to validated data and logical reasoning.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Sitting on a bar stool. Guinness in hand.
4,429 posts, read 5,659,515 times
Reputation: 1698
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Baystater, life ain't that complicated. Either you is believin in a god, or you isn't, or you is the kind of feller who cain't make no decision.

And no fancy Irish Guinness is gonna help you. You better belt down a few PBRs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
No, it isn't that complicated - not for us. We don't believe in a god and that's it.

The complications come when we get believers fiddling about with the definitions and semantics and misrepresentations to make it look like atheism is making impossible claims or claiming the impossible or that it is just another kind of faith or religion.

The complications then come when we have to explain that not believing a god exists is not the same as claiming that no god exists or that having faith in what has convincing evidence is not the same as having faith in what does not.

So Baystater's excellent post is a good ref. for anyone who wants to check out these points and it does work since the poster of the Dawkins is an agnostic thread has clearly has a few misunderstanding corrected and now knows that agnosticism is the logical basis and rationale of atheism.

I'd just add that consideration of the evidence for and against gods is an important factor in deciding how probable any one of the various god - claims are and a lot of the discussion that goes on is devoted to showing that the evidence or supposed evidence for God is nothing like as good as it is claimed. That's if one gives any weight to validated data and logical reasoning.
For hiker45. Pabst Blue Ribbon?! Heretic!!!!!!!!!! How dare you speak such blasphemy on my thread!!!! I must find you. And you must be rebaptized with Guinness or Killian's or if we canít find those Sam Adamís original will do. You must be cleansed of your beer sins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..............

As for the tread I think AREQUIPA covered a bit of the reasons why I took the time to make this thread.
I also would like to see how my fellow CD'ers view interplay with the terms/definitions of atheism, agnosticism, and antitheism.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,610 posts, read 4,102,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baystater View Post
For hiker45. Pabst Blue Ribbon?! Heretic!!!!!!!!!! How dare you speak such blasphemy on my thread!!!! I must find you. And you must be rebaptized with Guinness or Killian's or if we canít find those Sam Adamís original will do. You must be cleansed of your beer sins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..............
Baystater, you go drinkin' a 12-pack of anything and life is gonna make a lot more sense to you.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Sitting on a bar stool. Guinness in hand.
4,429 posts, read 5,659,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Baystater, you go drinkin' a 12-pack of anything and life is gonna make a lot more sense to you.
true that.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,143 posts, read 19,149,106 times
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I consider myself an Agno-atheist and level 20 Archmage, also a high priest of the Church of Fine Beverages.

I think y'all take the atheist-agnostic debate too seriously otherwise.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 15,297,676 times
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I've always divided it into three categories:

STRONG ATHEIST: A strong atheist is a person who is convinced the God or gods POSITIVELY does not exist. They believe that the existence God or gods can be disproved.

WEAK ATHEIST: A weak atheist is a person who simply does not believe in God or gods and leaves it at that. They do not assert that God can be positively disproved, but simply believe there is no evidence for God or gods.

AGNOSTIC: An agnostic is a person who thinks it impossible to know whether God or gods exist. They do not take a stance either way. More or less synonymous with "apatheist".
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:48 PM
 
9,415 posts, read 11,695,971 times
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It's always nice to have a box to fit yourself into
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