Stanfords new definition of atheism

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Atheism, secularism & freethought etc.

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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#641  Postby Thomas Eshuis » May 15, 2018 4:08 pm

zoon wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Why not use the definition by Thomas Eshuis that you just quoted? People who lack a belief in the existence of a god.


Draper provides some reasons we might not want to, at least within philosophy of religion.

What reasons would those be?

Paul Draper wrote the article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (here) which sparked this thread.

I know, I am the OP.
I just can't find any sound arguments in his article.

zoon wrote: I think he argues that since theism claims that god exists, it’s useful for philosophers to take the straightforward approach and define atheism as the claim that god does not exist.

Except, philosophers especially ,should know those aren't the only two options.


zoon wrote: He says, however, that “atheism” is a word with a number of related meanings, and a definition which is useful for philosophy may not be the most useful one in other contexts.

That may be true, but he doesn't provide a sound argument to demonstrate as much.

zoon wrote:

Although Flew’s definition of “atheism” fails as an umbrella term, it is certainly a legitimate definition in the sense that it reports how a significant number of people use the term. Again, there is more than one “correct” definition of “atheism”. The issue for philosophy is which definition is the most useful for scholarly or, more narrowly, philosophical purposes. In other contexts, of course, the issue of how to define “atheism” or “atheist” may look very different.

Except that if you're writing a paper about atheism and/or atheists and you use an idiosyncratic definition that doesn't apply to the actual group of atheists world-wide, your conclusions will be pretty pointless.


zoon wrote: I think Flew’s definition of atheism is the one Thomas Eshuis is putting forward. Speaking for myself as an atheist, I like to supplement it with Thwoth’s suggestion in post #583 of this thread, that I don’t consider the theists’ claim that there is a god is justified.

I agree.
And I fail to see how Draper can argue (which he fails to do by the way, he just asserts) that said definition fails as an umbrella term.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#642  Postby Thomas Eshuis » May 15, 2018 4:10 pm

romansh wrote:
Hermit wrote:
romansh wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:I think that if you were to ask those people if they believe in a god or not, they'd answer no, meaning they fit the definition of atheist as implicit, whether they like that word or not.

So how do we come to a definition?

Why not use the definition by Thomas Eshuis that you just quoted? People who lack a belief in the existence of a god.

I do
I also use the explicit version, depending on the version that the person I am talking to uses.

But the claim "Atheists don't make claims" should be amended to "Some atheists don't make claims" when using the impicit version collectively.

Again, I disagree. If you're talking about atheists who make claims based on atheism, it is indeed correct, as atheism itself is not a claim or position to base anything on.
That some atheists make claims, based on their gnosticism for example, is part of that gnosticism or whatever other idea they hold, not atheism.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#643  Postby Cito di Pense » May 15, 2018 4:27 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
romansh wrote:
Hermit wrote:
romansh wrote:
So how do we come to a definition?

Why not use the definition by Thomas Eshuis that you just quoted? People who lack a belief in the existence of a god.

I do
I also use the explicit version, depending on the version that the person I am talking to uses.

But the claim "Atheists don't make claims" should be amended to "Some atheists don't make claims" when using the impicit version collectively.

Again, I disagree. If you're talking about atheists who make claims based on atheism, it is indeed correct, as atheism itself is not a claim or position to base anything on.
That some atheists make claims, based on their gnosticism for example, is part of that gnosticism or whatever other idea they hold, not atheism.


Thomas, the term atheism carries the suffix -ism, which identifies a system of thought. Use of this suffix carries over into your first-language group as well. You're contending that this system of thought merely expresses the absence of a particular system of thought. Given how much thought you've put into it, atheism is indeed a system of thought.
Last edited by Cito di Pense on May 15, 2018 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#644  Postby romansh » May 15, 2018 4:28 pm

"as atheism itself is not a claim or position to base anything on."
You are begging the question here.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#645  Postby Thomas Eshuis » May 15, 2018 4:40 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
romansh wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Why not use the definition by Thomas Eshuis that you just quoted? People who lack a belief in the existence of a god.

I do
I also use the explicit version, depending on the version that the person I am talking to uses.

But the claim "Atheists don't make claims" should be amended to "Some atheists don't make claims" when using the impicit version collectively.

Again, I disagree. If you're talking about atheists who make claims based on atheism, it is indeed correct, as atheism itself is not a claim or position to base anything on.
That some atheists make claims, based on their gnosticism for example, is part of that gnosticism or whatever other idea they hold, not atheism.


Thomas, the term atheism carries the suffix -ism, which identifies a system of thought. Use of this suffix carries over into your first-language group as well.

The word isn't athe-ism though, it's a-theism. The -ism is part of theism, which an atheist is without. Hence the a-.

Cito di Pense wrote: You're contending that this system of thought merely expresses the absence of a particular system of thought. Given how much thought you've put into it, atheism is indeed a system of thought.

Nope, discussing word usage in no way demonstrates that the word refers to a belief system.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#646  Postby Thomas Eshuis » May 15, 2018 4:41 pm

romansh wrote:"as atheism itself is not a claim or position to base anything on."
You are begging the question here.

Not really, you accepted the definition I prefer. Under that definition atheism isn't a claim or position, but rather the absence of one: theism.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#647  Postby laklak » May 15, 2018 4:47 pm

When we lived up the holler in North Carolina, where every other person is a snake handler, I just used to say "I'm not much of a church goer". That usually satisfied them without recourse to firearms.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#648  Postby Tracer Tong » May 15, 2018 4:48 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:Just what is the philosophy of religion?


It’s the part of philosophy that deals with religion (surprise!), though this often amounts to advancing or querying arguments for and against belief in god(s).


You might try being more explicit about how it differs from theology and from sociology of religion.


It's a tricky distinction, which is probably why philosophy of religion seems mostly to be about dealing with the question of god's existence.

Cito di Pense wrote:What's wrong with the modern claim is that it's recycled nonsense originated by dumb-as-rocks goat-roasters. Where's your sensus bullshitatsis? Is it that you just like arguing with theists, picking apart their so-called claims?


Is this really your view?
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#649  Postby Cito di Pense » May 15, 2018 5:02 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
Thomas, the term atheism carries the suffix -ism, which identifies a system of thought. Use of this suffix carries over into your first-language group as well.

The word isn't athe-ism though, it's a-theism. The -ism is part of theism, which an atheist is without. Hence the a-.


The atheist to which you refer is not without theism. He is, in fact, immersed in it as a feature of his culture, and that is most of the problem you face in pursuing the semantics you are attempting, because that semantics implicitly denotes what you are immersed in, by your own admission. As long as there are theists about, you will never be without theism; you're defining your belief relative to that of theists. They're still calling the shots for you. It's mainly theists who aren't going to let you get away with what you're attempting. I could not give a fuck less as to what you think you are without.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#650  Postby Cito di Pense » May 15, 2018 5:11 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:What's wrong with the modern claim is that it's recycled nonsense originated by dumb-as-rocks goat-roasters. Where's your sensus bullshitatsis? Is it that you just like arguing with theists, picking apart their so-called claims?


Is this really your view?


Yes, it really is my view. What's your view of this subject matter? Do you see it as a metaphysically-oriented offshoot of psychology, or something? Party on!

Tracer Tong wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
You might try being more explicit about how it differs from theology and from sociology of religion.


It's a tricky distinction, which is probably why philosophy of religion seems mostly to be about dealing with the question of god's existence.


Yeah, I see how that could be. Perhaps the executive summary is that theology assumes the existence of god and then just describes what it assumes. The question I ask above is how the question of god's existence does not depend on recycling nonsense from ignorant goat-roasters. The question of god's existence would not come up but for them. Do philosophers of religion imagine they are breaking some new ground somewhere, on the existence of something they would not even have a name for except courtesy of the goat-roasters? You might as well ask if the universe has a purpose, but that's pretty much the same shit on a different day.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#651  Postby Thomas Eshuis » May 15, 2018 5:38 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
Thomas, the term atheism carries the suffix -ism, which identifies a system of thought. Use of this suffix carries over into your first-language group as well.

The word isn't athe-ism though, it's a-theism. The -ism is part of theism, which an atheist is without. Hence the a-.


The atheist to which you refer is not without theism. He is, in fact, immersed in it as a feature of his culture, and that is most of the problem you face in pursuing the semantics you are attempting, because that semantics implicitly denotes what you are immersed in, by your own admission. As long as there are theists about, you will never be without theism; you're defining your belief relative to that of theists. They're still calling the shots for you. It's mainly theists who aren't going to let you get away with what you're attempting. I could not give a fuck less as to what you think you are without.

Of course when you insist on adressing something else than I actualy have said, it becomes quite easy to troll and tout yourself as being above it all.
But as I've said in the past; I'm not interested.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#652  Postby THWOTH » May 15, 2018 6:54 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
zoon wrote:Speaking for myself as an atheist, I like to supplement it with Thwoth’s suggestion in post #583 of this thread, that I don’t consider the theists’ claim that there is a god is justified.


But, um, if somebody made a good enough pitch to you, with, you know, justification, you'd reconsider, right? Or are you one of those folks who's waiting around for God to show Himself, evidence-style? How many clock cycles are you going to waste in the wait state?

What's wrong with the modern claim is that it's recycled nonsense originated by dumb-as-rocks goat-roasters. Where's your sensus bullshitatsis? Is it that you just like arguing with theists, picking apart their so-called claims? ...

I'll just chip in here and say that the claim that most religious declarations flow from long-toothed and ignorant assumptions, folded around a supposed requirement for agency in natural phenomena, is essentially a good and true one, imo. And while I'd say that theist claims have not, as yet, been justified it doesn't mean that in the meantime I (or we) are holding the door open for godlings - on the off-chance, as it were. If we did that we might as well take Pascal's wager and place our stake based on a reading of chicken entrails eh?

I mean, if all of a sudden some sound, verifiable, real-world evidence for a godling popped up then, well, that would just be that wouldn't it(?) - the existence of such a thing would just be another fact we'd have amassed about the world. However, in that case the evidence would necessarily negate all claims that this godling was super-natural in nature (unless we're going to allow specially pleaded 'super-natural' evidence of course). While theists and their fellow travellers maintain claims that their nominated overlords are super-natural those claims will remain unfalsifiable, unjustified, and unjustifiable - forever and ever, ahem.

This has no bearing on the term 'atheism' though, or what it means to live a life without reference to super-natural bunkum and/or religious insistences.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#653  Postby THWOTH » May 15, 2018 7:02 pm

romansh wrote:
THWOTH wrote:
I guess that's their business, but for those that don't identify as atheists, even though to all intents and purposes they are, there's no reason for them to forward a definition of atheism is there(?).

This assumes we have an agreed upon definition does it not?

Why/how does it assume we have an agreed upon definition? Is anyone in any real doubt what it means to be an atheist in either the explicit or casual sense? Seems to me the only people who try to muddy the waters here are the religious, their lackeys and lap-dogs.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#654  Postby Hermit » May 16, 2018 12:55 am

Tracer Tong wrote:
Hermit wrote:
romansh wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:I think that if you were to ask those people if they believe in a god or not, they'd answer no, meaning they fit the definition of atheist as implicit, whether they like that word or not.

So how do we come to a definition?

Why not use the definition by Thomas Eshuis that you just quoted? People who lack a belief in the existence of a god.


Draper provides some reasons we might not want to, at least within philosophy of religion.
Draper approaches the subject chiefly from a metaphysical aspect. "Metaphysic*" appears six times in the first section, titled Definitions of “Atheism”.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#655  Postby Tracer Tong » May 16, 2018 3:07 pm

Hermit wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Hermit wrote:
romansh wrote:
So how do we come to a definition?

Why not use the definition by Thomas Eshuis that you just quoted? People who lack a belief in the existence of a god.


Draper provides some reasons we might not want to, at least within philosophy of religion.
Draper approaches the subject chiefly from a metaphysical aspect. "Metaphysic*" appears six times in the first section, titled Definitions of “Atheism”.


Right.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#656  Postby Cito di Pense » May 16, 2018 7:58 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Why not use the definition by Thomas Eshuis that you just quoted? People who lack a belief in the existence of a god.


Draper provides some reasons we might not want to, at least within philosophy of religion.
Draper approaches the subject chiefly from a metaphysical aspect. "Metaphysic*" appears six times in the first section, titled Definitions of “Atheism”.


Right.


The word cosmology, on the other hand, does not appear anywhere in Draper's article. The philosophy of religion necessarily restricts the scope of its 'investigation', which isn't automatically a bad thing, but defining atheism can be made of sterner stuff than what Draper is using. Some people turn it into a weird game with rules they make up, themselves. Don't be one of those assholes. The kind of metaphysics Draper is flashing around developed long before people had really good telescopes, and hasn't since expanded its scope appropriately. That should tell you something. It's worth mentioning that the definitions which are being compared with what Draper wrote don't seem to mention cosmology, either, and the basis for having thus restricted the scope is not well-presented. Note that I am not saying metaphysics needs to confront directly the kind of stuff people look at through telescopes, but it really has to stop pretending that some things are not present in the mix of what theism has to deal with.

If you don't like my approach, read laklak's response to metaphysics:

laklak wrote:I just say 'uh hunh" and go back to my beer.


You'll probably say this is too 'low-brow' for your taste, but maybe only under your breath, which you should not waste trafficking with philistines.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#657  Postby romansh » May 17, 2018 3:45 pm

THWOTH wrote:
romansh wrote:
THWOTH wrote:
I guess that's their business, but for those that don't identify as atheists, even though to all intents and purposes they are, there's no reason for them to forward a definition of atheism is there(?).

This assumes we have an agreed upon definition does it not?

Why/how does it assume we have an agreed upon definition? Is anyone in any real doubt what it means to be an atheist in either the explicit or casual sense? Seems to me the only people who try to muddy the waters here are the religious, their lackeys and lap-dogs.

If "we" agree that someone to all intents and purposes behaves like an "atheist", but does not self identify then it seems like we (on the outside) have an agreed upon concept of atheism.

It would seem in "The Case Against God", by George H Smith (1979) ... popularized the implicit definition. That is not to say this meaning was not in the general population's vocabulary, just that it had not reached a density to be included in dictionaries of that time.

That this was popularized by an atheist (implicit or explicit) and to blame the religious on maintaining the "old" meaning as muddying waters seems strange to me.

Again I don't particularly care which meaning we choose so long as it is clear. Atheists do make claims about the non-existence of god - just not all.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#658  Postby Scot Dutchy » May 17, 2018 5:36 pm

It is the religious that claim that atheists claim. Atheists dont claim anything which religious cant accept. So it is their claims not atheist claims that are discussed.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#659  Postby romansh » May 17, 2018 5:59 pm

Schopenhauer, Marx, Nietzsche denied the existence of gods.

If no atheists made explicit, gnostic, positive, strong claims regarding god, then there would be no discussion. Some atheists do make claims about the non existence of gods.
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Re: Stanfords new definition of atheism

#660  Postby Scot Dutchy » May 17, 2018 6:00 pm

I dont. If it exists prove it. I dont say it does not.
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