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The Disingenuousness of "Weak" Atheism

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posted on Jun, 3 2010 @ 07:26 PM
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Most atheists no longer believe there is no God. Instead, they merely lack belief in God. They are not un-believers. They are simply non-believers. And non-belief is not a claim, so it requires no defense. This, atheists think, gets them off the hook for providing evidence for their view …well their non-view. They argue that since “no one is obligated to give evidence for the non-existence of fairies” they don't need to have evidence to support their atheism. Thus inferring that atheism is the default view for reasonable people. This obfuscation is called weak atheism and is defended by atheist apologist Austin Cline,


Once it is understood that atheism is merely the absence of belief in any gods, it becomes evident that agnosticism is not, as many assume, a “third way” between atheism and theism. The presence of a belief in a god and the absence of a belief in a god exhaust all of the possibilities. Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not.
atheism.about.com...

I call it disingenuous. It's more like weak reasoning. Atheism is not simply lack of belief. Anyone who has a point of view has a belief. And atheists have a point of view. This makes them believers: They believe God does not exist.

Given any point of view, in this case “God exists”, there are only three possible positions. You can affirm it “God does exist”, you can deny it “God does not exist”, or you can withhold judgment “I don’t know.”

In the God debate, the first is called a theist, the second an atheist, and the third an agnostic. The alleged non-believers in question are neither theistic nor agnostic. Only one logical option remains: They deny God exists, which is why they are called atheists to begin with. An atheist is a person who holds there is not a God. That is an active claim, not a passive non-belief.


[edit on 6/3/2010 by Bigwhammy]




posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 08:07 AM
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The lack of response seems indicative of the fact that there really are not any cogent positive arguments for atheism. I suppose that is why the modern "atheists" have redefined the term from unbelief to simply non belief.



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 08:53 AM
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reply to post by Bigwhammy
 


No, some of us just happen to be busy right now. I'm making this post between clearing up from one massive assignment and starting up another that's going to create an even bigger mess.

The simple counterargument is this: atheism has never been the definitive declaration that there isn't any deity, it's been the rejection of all current claims. Atheism is a lack of belief, it was never a positive belief. It is atheism, without theism.

As for agnosticism meaning "I don't know"...well, you don't know but what do you believe? I don't know either, I would never claim to know because epistemological certainty is hard to come by on these issues. Of course, I don't believe because I cannot accept the claims that have been made. There are those who claim to know know but also claim to believe, meaning there are also agnostic theists.

Sorry this isn't in my usual breakdown style, don't have time for that.



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 09:55 AM
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Originally posted by Bigwhammy
Atheism is not simply lack of belief. Anyone who has a point of view has a belief. And atheists have a point of view. This makes them believers: They believe God does not exist.


Does that reasoning make theists non-believers - because they DON'T believe that God doesn't exist?



Given any point of view, in this case “God exists”, there are only three possible positions. You can affirm it “God does exist”, you can deny it “God does not exist”, or you can withhold judgment “I don’t know.”

In the God debate, the first is called a theist, the second an atheist, and the third an agnostic.


Not in my God debate.
Theism regards belief. Gnosticism regards knowledge. They are 2 different things. Let's review:

a theist BELIEVES in God.
a gnostic theist says "God exists" (knowledge)
an atheist doesn't BELIEVE in a God
a gnostic atheist says, "God doesn't exist" (knowledge).

I am an atheist, but I don't think we have to knowledge to make either statement with complete surety. I'm an agnostic atheist.

I don't have the knowledge (A-gnostic - without knowledge)
and neither do I hold a belief in a deity (A-theist - without belief).

Hope that clears it up for you.




The alleged non-believers in question are neither theistic nor agnostic.


If you want to create your own definitions of words and then string them together as sentences, you can, but that doesn't make them true.




Only one logical option remains: They deny God exists, which is why they are called atheists to begin with. An atheist is a person who holds there is not a God. That is an active claim, not a passive non-belief.


So, now that you have us all figured out in your brain, what's your point? That I'm not agnostic? If I really cared about your definition of me, I'd argue with you further. But it's clear you want to make up your own definitions of words that we use to describe ourselves. So, have fun!

I could do the same with believers, but it doesn't bother me that people believe in God. That's their business and NONE of mine. Believe all you want. I am not threatened by your belief or your twisted logic.



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 06:20 PM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 



The simple counterargument is this: atheism has never been the definitive declaration that there isn't any deity, it's been the rejection of all current claims. Atheism is a lack of belief, it was never a positive belief. It is atheism, without theism.


So the issue is that we have two definitions for atheism:

A) Athe-ism - God does not exist

B) A-theism - Person X lacks belief in God


While you can use B to describe yourself as "lacking belief in God" if you like, just so long as you realize that this is not the established academic definition:


Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.

plato.stanford.edu...




Philosophy Dictionary Theological and Philosophical Dictionary

atheism: The denial of the existence of God. God does not exist. The idea of God is self-contradictory.

www.philosophy-dictionary.org...





atheism. The philosophical position that denies the reality of the God of theism or other divine beings

C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 13.




atheism. A system of belief that asserts categorically that there is no God. Atheism usually affirms as well that the only form of existence is the material universe and that the universe is merely the product of chance or fate

Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 17.


I could go on, but all serious scholarly sources agree. There's a good reason that no one serious uses B. It makes you the object of attention, not God (fitting really). Philosophers, of all kinds, use "A" when they speak of atheism as the propositional state of reality not including a God.You, however, are using "B" which says nothing about God. It's merely an autobiographical comment about your own psychology. Instead of talking about God, we're talking about the belief content of madnessinmysoul's ..

So what if you don't believe in God? It’s entirely compatible with God existing!

An argument against God however, in the form of "A"s meaning, is incompatible with God existence, if sound. But you don’t bother with coherence. You prefer to criticize theism from the sidelines with no epistemological basis for your own position.

Basically, you're picking the lazy "B" side of atheism. You're not addressing the question of God, you're sharing a piece of your own life story. I'm sure if we were hanging out at a coffee shop you might share more of yourself (your family history, your job, your favorite color etc) but that's just as much an irrelevance. Your type of "a-theism" offers nothing and has no influence over anybody who believes in God. Your "lack of belief" offers no more challenge than yesterday’s flattened road kill - which also lacks belief!

Of course, you've already let it slip around here that you do affirm that God does not exist ("spaghetti monster" "imaginary friend" etc) so I say man up and give us arguments. It's a myth that negative claims have no burden of proof, and you're trying to sell us the further fairytale that you're not making a negative claim!



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 06:28 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 




So, now that you have us all figured out in your brain, what's your point? That I'm not agnostic? If I really cared about your definition of me, I'd argue with you further. But it's clear you want to make up your own definitions of words that we use to describe ourselves. So, have fun!


Thanks for your reply but it really seems to me that it is you that is just making things up, as you did not document a single one of your asserted definitions. As for mine, I presented four scholarly sources in the above post to madness.



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 07:26 PM
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reply to post by Bigwhammy
 


excellent post and opening statement, I for one appreciate the "established" facts and evidence that you have posted here...

the only question I will have for the street atheists from now on is going to be, (are there aliens?)



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 07:35 PM
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reply to post by Cosmic.Artifact
 


Thanks. It's that the the Junior New Atheists repeat, endlessly, without taking the time to engage their brains, "You're the ones claiming that God exists, therefore the burden of proof is on you."

They also feel particularly proud of themselves when they can brandish a swift "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

If anyone dare point out to them that if they make any claim whatsoever, albeit a negative claim, then they, too, have to shoulder a burden of proof, then because their adolescent hormone inflamed intelligence can't scale those heights of basic logic, all that remains is for them to call others "Stupid" or "delusional" or compare God to a teapot. It's really vacuous and silly.

Their reasoning is - "If Dickie Dawkins can do it, then so can I."

Case in point Dawkins recent dishonest straw man of William Lane Craig it's really embarrassingly shameful:



edit on 1/14/2011 by Bigwhammy because: typo



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 07:38 PM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
It is atheism, without theism.


but it still does not negate the "fact" of how it comes off on to other people, or how the general populace perceives it... specially to onlookers and newer arrivals here on ATS.

the "a"theism would seem to stand for "anti" theism.

otherwise a true atheist and scientific-minded person would simply just keep it to themselves.

I am guilty of talking more about my belief on ATS than anywhere else or even among my friends at work, ect...



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 07:44 PM
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reply to post by Bigwhammy
 


interesting... so that is this Richard Dawkins fella ? I never even seen him before, honestly.

I just wish they had something cool and fun to talk about, that's all I am really here for you know...



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 07:53 PM
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reply to post by Bigwhammy
 




Atheism is not simply lack of belief. Anyone who has a point of view has a belief.


This is false.

Atheists do have beliefs in other things they just happen to not have a belief in God.



This makes them believers: They believe God does not exist.


I'm an agnostic-atheist. I don't know whether God(s) exist or not however I do not hold a belief in a deity. This doesn't mean I have to actively claim that there is absolutely no God anywhere, there very well might be but without evidence I see no reason to hold a positive belief in a deity.



Given any point of view, in this case “God exists”, there are only three possible positions. You can affirm it “God does exist”, you can deny it “God does not exist”, or you can withhold judgment “I don’t know.”


But atheism has NOTHING to do with whether God(s) actually do or don't exist. Agnostic and gnostic refer to knowledge, atheism and theism refer to belief. One doesn't need knowledge of something to lack belief in it. The example you stated in the opening is 100% intellectually sound, I don't need to know with certainty that fairies do not exist in order to lack belief in them. It is those who make a positive claim, those who state "God does exist" or "God doesn't exist" that must provide evidence for their assertions. An agnostic atheist claim is one that WITHHOLDS JUDGMENT however one can withhold the judgment of KNOWLEDGE and still have a stance on belief. I don't KNOW that bigfoot doesn't exist but I don't believe in bigfoot.

It seems that you are actively mixing up BELIEF and KNOWLEDGE. Again one can withhold a claim to KNOWLEDGE (agnostic) while still lacking belief (atheism).



That is an active claim, not a passive non-belief.


You've presented a pretty poor argument that shows you don't have any grasp of the terms or how they are used. Merely because you don't like the definitions others are using doesn't mean you get to interject your own nonsense.



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 08:16 PM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 


From what you wrote you are simply an agnostic.



You've presented a pretty poor argument that shows you don't have any grasp of the terms or how they are used. Merely because you don't like the definitions others are using doesn't mean you get to interject your own nonsense.


I have provided four scholarly academic sources above which are accepted for graduate level research. Here I will repeat it, since you have seem to have missed it.


Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.

plato.stanford.edu...




Philosophy Dictionary Theological and Philosophical Dictionary

atheism: The denial of the existence of God. God does not exist. The idea of God is self-contradictory.

www.philosophy-dictionary.org...





atheism. The philosophical position that denies the reality of the God of theism or other divine beings

C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 13.




atheism. A system of belief that asserts categorically that there is no God. Atheism usually affirms as well that the only form of existence is the material universe and that the universe is merely the product of chance or fate

Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 17.



You have merely expressed your opinion with no documentation. It seems to me that it is you who does not like the true definition. Which is the point of my post.


edit on 1/14/2011 by Bigwhammy because: fix ex tag



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 08:29 PM
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reply to post by Cosmic.Artifact
 


You wrote to madness that


the "a"theism would seem to stand for "anti" theism.

otherwise a true atheist and scientific-minded person would simply just keep it to themselves.


Which is correct because the prefix 'a' does not mean "without" as he is trying to argue. It denotes a straight forward negation.



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 08:35 PM
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I'm getting a lot of emotional objections and appeals to personal incredulity but so far no one has even attempted to address the central argument.


I would like to restate it so we can avoid going around in circles and a potential dictionary war. Here is the argument you need to address if you want to challenge me. It's in the OP but I will make it easy for you. The belief in question is "God exists"


Given any point of view, in this case “God exists”, there are only three possible positions. You can affirm it “God does exist”, you can deny it “God does not exist”, or you can withhold judgment “I don’t know.”


Let me challenge you to provide an alternative to these three possible positions. Now go back and read the OP.

edit on 1/14/2011 by Bigwhammy because: typo



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 08:47 PM
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Here is a fourth possibility.
God exists, but is a non-being. Just a set of Physical rules that are mathematically unbendable.
Those rules are interpreted by some in an anthropomorphic way, and by others as a set of literal laws of the Universe.



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 08:50 PM
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Originally posted by spacedoubt
Here is a fourth possibility.
God exists, but is a non-being. Just a set of Physical rules that are mathematically unbendable.
Those rules are interpreted by some in an anthropomorphic way, and by others as a set of literal laws of the Universe.


You said "God exists". That's not a fourth option its a variation on the the first one



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 08:51 PM
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ok.

"GOD" exists.
Does that work?



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 09:08 PM
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Originally posted by spacedoubt
ok.

"GOD" exists.
Does that work?


Sure its called theism. I suppose you could say of the Aristotelian variety. But the purpose here isn't to get into which God or said attributes. To do that could spin endlessly and die a death of infinite qualifications. Its pretty simple and everyone knows it: given the proposition "God exists." There are really only 3 positions by logical necessity.



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 09:26 PM
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Originally posted by Bigwhammy

Originally posted by spacedoubt
ok.

"GOD" exists.
Does that work?


Sure its called theism. I suppose you could say of the Aristotelian variety. But the purpose here isn't to get into which God or said attributes. To do that could spin endlessly and die a death of infinite qualifications. Its pretty simple and everyone knows it: given the proposition "God exists." There are really only 3 positions by logical necessity.




I think the fourth POV is viable though.
Maybe it's because it happens to be my point of view.
That the word god translates to an unbreakable set of rules (which haven't been completely defined yet).
Theists just happen to associate those rules to a cosmic being of some sort.
Atheists are ok with those rules being nothing more than the limitations of matter.
But, like I said..It's just my point of view.



posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 09:28 PM
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reply to post by spacedoubt
 


there are those who had great balance of this particular statement at one time on our history, people like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein just to name a couple off-hand.

they have advanced us leaps and bounds unlike alot of modern day theoretical physicist or one sided philosophers.




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