1. Joined
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    10 Dec '11 21:02
    As a throwaway clarifying point in my last thread I stated what I meant by atheist and what was meant
    by atheist by the person in the talk I was linking so that people would know and understand what was
    being talked about in the video and by myself.

    This backfired by creating off topic discussion on what atheist means and who gets to define it.

    So, as promised, this is a thread specially for such discussions, so that we can have them here and be on topic.



    You do not have to be part of some secret society to understand what this term means to atheists, Most of the
    major atheist organisations agree on what they mean by this term and you can look it up.

    This term has meant a lot of different things throughout history, and to different people and cultures.
    If you are talking historically you need to check to see what was meant by the people of that time and place.

    However today, there is a large, vocal, and very rapidly growing community of Atheists and if you want to know
    what these atheists mean when they call themselves an atheist, you are not necessarily going to get the right answer
    by looking the word up in a dictionary.
    You have to ask the atheists in question what they mean by atheist.

    Fortunately this is not hard, because we have many websites where we have already answered this question.


    My standard definition of what it means to be an atheist is simply someone who doesn't have a belief in god or gods.
    Someone who when asked the question "do you believe in god or god's" answers "no".
    (This often gets expanded a bit to include general disbelief in the supernatural as well)
    My bio has more details.



    "American Atheists" simply defines Atheism as "Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity".

    link here: http://www.atheists.org/atheism


    "Atheist Alliance International" defines Atheism as "Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the
    existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most
    inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism,
    which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists."

    http://www.atheistalliance.org/atheism


    The "Atheist Community Of Austin (Tx)" Defines Atheism as "We define atheism as the lack of belief in gods.
    This definition also encompasses what most people call agnosticism."

    http://www.atheist-community.org/


    The "Rejection Of Pascals Wager" website has a good page discussing the definition of Atheism and Agnosticism here:

    http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/atheistdefine.html

    Which includes this segment...

    "Definition of Atheism
    The Webster's New World College Dictionary (Macmillan 1996) defines atheism as "the belief that there is no God or a denial that God or gods exist."
    In contrast it gives agnosticism as the belief "that the human mind cannot know whether there is a God or an ultimate cause."

    This indeed is how many non atheists understand the terms. Unfortunately, the definition of atheism given in Webster’s, and in most dictionaries,
    is incorrect. Most atheists do not define atheism that way. A proper understanding of the etymology of the word provides the actual meaning.
    As Michael Martin, Professor of Philosophy at Boston University explains:

    "In Greek "a" means "without" or "not" and "theos" means "god". From this standpoint an atheist would simply be someone without
    a belief in God, not necessarily someone who believes that God does not exist. According to its Greek roots, then atheism is a negative view,
    characterized by the absence of a belief in God. "
    [Emphasis added]


    Defined in this way, theism and atheism are mutually exclusive and, more importantly with respect to agnosticism, collectively exhaustive.
    As another atheist philosopher, George H. Smith explains:

    "The prefix "a" means "without, so the term "a-theism" literally means "without theism", or without belief in a god or gods.
    Atheism, therefore, is the absence of theistic belief...."Atheism" is a privative term, a term of negation, indicating the opposite of theism...
    In this context, theism and atheism exhaust all possible alternatives with regard to the belief in a god: one is either a theist or an atheist,
    there is no other choice. "
    [Emphasis added]


    Thus most atheists define atheism as being without belief in theism. Therefore if one is not a theist, one is then, by definition, an atheist!
    There is no middle ground."




    And here is a Talk from Skepticon IV (the same place as the other talk I linked) By the President of American Atheists
    Titled "Skepticism, Atheism and our Common Movement, Skepticon 4 David Silverman"
    Where He discusses What it means to be an atheist and the linked ideas of Skepticism.

    YouTube&feature=channel_video_title
  2. Account suspended
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    11 Dec '11 00:29
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    As a throwaway clarifying point in my last thread I stated what I meant by atheist and what was meant
    by atheist by the person in the talk I was linking so that people would know and understand what was
    being talked about in the video and by myself.

    This backfired by creating off topic discussion on what atheist means and who gets to define it.
    ...[text shortened]... ch?v=AiPR74AiGdU&feature=channel_video_title
    atheist = human being
  3. Joined
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    11 Dec '11 00:33
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    atheist = human being
    Well it would be nice if that were true, but it isn't.

    Atheists are a subset of human beings. (barring the discovery of another sentient species
    capable of conceiving and expressing the abstract ideas needed for god concepts and belief
    or otherwise in them)

    In fact all humans (not currently mentally incapacitated and incapable of such thoughts or reasoning)
    are either Atheists or theists.
    Most currently are theists, this is hopefully changing.
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    11 Dec '11 00:37
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Well it would be nice if that were true, but it isn't.

    Atheists are a subset of human beings. (barring the discovery of another sentient species
    capable of conceiving and expressing the abstract ideas needed for god concepts and belief
    or otherwise in them)

    In fact all humans (not currently mentally incapacitated and incapable of such thoughts ...[text shortened]... ing)
    are either Atheists or theists.
    Most currently are theists, this is hopefully changing.
    i never stated they made up all humanity or even they were in the ascendency, but
    their vision is essentially a human vision.
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    11 Dec '11 01:04
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    i never stated they made up all humanity or even they were in the ascendency, but
    their vision is essentially a human vision.
    No but as your enigmatic post was in response to a post about the definition of atheism
    what it looked like was you saying that the word atheist = human.

    I felt the need to correct this even if it wasn't what you meant, although trying to work out
    what you meant with so little to go on was Nigh-on impossible.
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    11 Dec '11 01:11
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    No but as your enigmatic post was in response to a post about the definition of atheism
    what it looked like was you saying that the word atheist = human.

    I felt the need to correct this even if it wasn't what you meant, although trying to work out
    what you meant with so little to go on was Nigh-on impossible.
    A great artist does not define his work, to do so is essentially limiting, i merely provide
    it as a vehicle for the imagination!
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    11 Dec '11 01:16
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    A great artist does not define his work, to do so is essentially limiting, i merely provide
    it as a vehicle for the imagination!
    So you babel incoherent nonsense that can be interpreted any which way and thus contains no meaning.

    excellent, good to know.


    (also, nonsense, the most unlimited (and meaningless) thing in art is the blank canvas, ALL an artist does
    is reduce the possibilities down to a smaller and smaller set with (if good) greater and greater meaning)
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    11 Dec '11 01:392 edits
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    So you babel incoherent nonsense that can be interpreted any which way and thus contains no meaning.

    excellent, good to know.


    (also, nonsense, the most unlimited (and meaningless) thing in art is the blank canvas, ALL an artist does
    is reduce the possibilities down to a smaller and smaller set with (if good) greater and greater meaning)
    sigh, your words strike out like the Persian King who demanded that the sea be
    given three hundred lashes, and yet the sea quietly yielded and returned with
    constancy,

    its only you googlefudge.

    I see it somewhat differently from the somewhat clinical view that you have attempted,
    i see the artist as someone who can distil what is lurking hidden, sleeping in the
    subconscious and crystallise it, so that it shines translucent transcending all known
    elements, such as epoch, nationality and language and awakens something
    within us.
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    11 Dec '11 01:42
    that is essentially it. people like to create complications in the definition of the term, and often scarecrows in order to facilitate attacking an opposing group.

    i like to use the KISS method in two general schools of thought:

    theism: belief in the existence of a god or gods
    atheism: lack of belief in the existence of a god or gods.

    to introduce complications on the above terms means that you are no longer dealing with those general schools, but in particular philosophies based on those schools.

    taking a couple examples of complications, agnosticism is a philosophy in the school of atheism, and deism is a philosophy in school of theism.
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    11 Dec '11 01:44
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    sigh, your words strike out like the Persian King who demanded that the sea be
    given three hundred lashes, and yet the sea quietly yielded and returned with
    constancy,

    its only you googlefudge.

    I see it somewhat differently from the somewhat clinical view that you have attempted,
    i see the artist as someone who can distil what is lurking ...[text shortened]... all known
    elements, such as epoch, nationality and language and awakens something
    within us.
    you fancy yourself an artist? your 'art' looks like someone threw paint on the wall and called it art. it may appeal to some people who lack any sense of art, but i don't think you'll be making an impact with anyone who matters here.
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    11 Dec '11 01:571 edit
    Originally posted by VoidSpirit
    you fancy yourself an artist? your 'art' looks like someone threw paint on the wall and called it art. it may appeal to some people who lack any sense of art, but i don't think you'll be making an impact with anyone who matters here.
    sigh, another striker of the sea! you seemed to have failed to comprehend anything i
    have written and well, once again demonstrate the matter at hand and seeing that you
    are unable to determine the import of my words, ill spell it out in language you can
    understand,

    this post, your words, they are meaningless to anyone but you and thus your talk of
    people that matter, paint on walls, fancying this, its simply a reflection, not of me, but
    of you.
  12. Joined
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    11 Dec '11 02:05
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    sigh, another striker of the sea! you seemed to have failed to comprehend anything i
    have written and well, once again demonstrate the matter at hand and seeing that you
    are unable to determine the import of my words, ill spell it out in language you can
    understand,

    this post, your words, they are meaningless to anyone but you and thus your ...[text shortened]... le that matter, paint on walls, fancying this, its simply a reflection, not of me, but
    of you.
    look at that mess. who is going to clean all that paint off the walls?
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    11 Dec '11 02:071 edit
    Originally posted by VoidSpirit
    look at that mess. who is going to clean all that paint off the walls?
    sigh, meaningless to anyone but you.
  14. Standard memberRJHinds
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    11 Dec '11 05:27
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    atheist = human being
    A human being who thinks he does not believe in God.
  15. Joined
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    11 Dec '11 06:36
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    sigh, meaningless to anyone but you.
    an artist would have recognized the sweet irony of this exchange. too bad you're not one.
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