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"We must resist the impoverishment of public discourse on matters of religion which has come about not only (or maybe not even) because of the threat of religious fanaticism in all its many forms, but also because of a no less virulent secular fanaticism which has taken hold of the intellectual classes. The wholesale condemnation of religion is an ideology which, like all ideologies, involves considerable distortion of history and a lack of the kind of insight which would invite a more nuanced approach to the role played by religion in different contexts." - - [T.B.]

Matias 8 June 8

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Who is TB?

Wait. TBA...

@Matias No. Nor am I known for that. I was simply curious (in part) and generally, when someone is cited like that, yes I do research them to see if I can regard them as a trustworthy thinker, at least in this context. I almost never find they are of such questionable character that I reject all their thinking out of hand.

I could just as well ask, are you using the initials rather than plainly stating the name, for some ulterior motive?


I'm not going to advocate burning all churches or eliminating all priests. I abandoned christianity for my own sanity. If you want to be a Christian, Muslim Jew, or whatever, do so but I don't want to hear your condemnation of me for my beliefs.


"We must resist long sentences" is more important.


I'll not condemn it. MAY THEY ROT IN HELL for all I care. MAY RELIGION SINK INTO A FIERY PIT AND BEGONE! But people can believe what they want to believe, as long as they allow me the same privlege. MAY A THOUSAND DEMONS DESCEND ON RELIGION IN ALL ITS FORMS AND TEAR THEM ALL ASUNDER! But live and let live, as far as I'm concerned.

@Matias i was being HUMOROUS, d*mbf**k! Get it?
I was making a funny!😁

@Matias Noted.😎


Bullshit. Anti-religious "fanaticism" takes the form of reason, science, and critical thinking to better understand the universe and reality we live in. Religion, despite it's well-meaning acts, has been nothing but a plague to humanity as a whole and continues to be such. It steals from everyone, either financially or intellectually, and gives very little redeemable value in return. This is not a distortion of history, but an honest and critical view of it without the whitewashing and candy coating that has been used to explain away atrocities as being "for the greater good". History is written by the victors, but it is scrutinized by the skeptic and exposed by the civic-minded, the honest, and the seekers of Truth. In other words, the polar opposite of those that have, until now, been writing or collective histories.


And you know life isn't easy, it's all about getting your head right.
you want to be around people that make you happy, you don't want your happiness to depend on other people.
if you look deeply into your own heart you will know the way, as you become more special to yourself other people will find you special.


Why would you waste your breath and time on nonsense like this?


We have seldom, if ever, had fully reasoned and balanced discourse bout religion in public space. And it is the religious themselves who prevent that. They have always been afraid that if we allow discussion about the mythology in religion which has no basis in fact, the historical inaccuracies, and the frequent fallacious reasoning in all religions. They are simply afraid that such fully open discussion would possibly, if not probably, create many more non-believers.

There have been a couple of TV series at least in the UK explaining atheism and the lack of evidence for religion. They didn't make much of a stir since religion is not very important here.

@CeliaVL if that was broadcast in the US some yahoo we go shoot up the television station and or network offices.😥

@oldFloyd Fortunately, we don't let people have guns.


There are four Christian churches within a half mile of my house where as Carlin says -- 'they all gather once a week to compare clothing'. None of those organizations pay taxes. Atheists are still one of the most discriminated against groups in America at least (it was recently national news when a local politician accepted an atheist invocation for a meeting -- after vetting it of course). And admitted atheism is a route to certain defeat for just about every political candidate irrespective of any other consideration.

Secularism has a long way to go towards equality. I don't accept your criticism.
Again from the same Carlin piece -- ' talk about a good bullshit story... Holy Shit'.

Point granted. My wording was incorrect.

I'll plead that I spent my formative years more or less on the Navajo reservation and grew up as a reverse minority -- there were a lot fewer Caucasians but at the same time we were generally better educated (for American society) and we usually had more money.

But you are right. There are more explicit forms of discrimination than atheists see. We don't wear a uniform let alone have different skin.


There have been easily as many detrimental effects of religion as positive ones. This post seems like it's trying to say there is equivalence in value between secularism and religion, which is a big stretch. People worshiping imaginary beings does not have the same value as an objective, non-narcissistic view of reality and does not deserve to be given the same consideration. Also, comparing religious fanaticism with secular fanaticism is far-fetched hyperbole, are there a lot of groups of atheists blowing each other up in the Middle East? The "threat" of secular fanaticism is hilariously overblown here and seems to exist primarily in the author's mind.


Twaddle like this infuriates me. I can only hope that this quote has been taken out of context and that "ideology", "fanaticism", "intellectual classes" etc. has been rigorously defined by the author somewhere else, because it's just a word salad as it stands.

@Matias Your wish is my command - not that you'll be able to read this 30 seconds from now.

@Gareth My first question was what exactly "religious matters" means in that context. To religious zealots, and even a lot of the not-so-zealot, everything is a religious matter, because that's how they view the world.

What does Matias's reply mean? To be your number 85?

@bingst He meant that he wanted me to block him (as if he couldn't block me?). I obliged but now I have had to temporarily unblock him in order to reply to your tagging (I still get notifications). He's not the most irredeemable person here, so maybe I'll turn it into a temporary block after I've typed this full stop:.


I have no use for religion at all. As a one time believer religion simply makes me sick today. There is no evidence at all for any of it being true, and I will only go to a church for a special occasion. That did not stop me from driving 12 miles today to go to the Catholic Church rummage sale. 🙂


It only has to be discredited once, not every day. Like right wing fanaticism its the core tenant not the small tweaks applied by adherents that's the issue.

1of5 Level 8 June 8, 2019

What exactly discredits it? Certainly not science. Science turns it back on all ideas that cannot be falsified. I learned that early on in my time in graduate school. You got an hypothesis that can't be tested? Well then, forget it! Move on and worry about hypotheses that can be tested. Science is mute on the god hypothesis. It can't be tested!

@Gmak each religion discredits the other. No work by science is needed. All claim to be true, yet all can't be, so no reason to even entertain thier silliness.

@1of5 Why is atheism any less silly than theism? Atheism seems to have taken on the same adamant I'm-right-you're-wrong stance that is so characteristic of all religions, making it just another form of religion. Intolerance in any form is still intolerance.

@Gmak I think you probably mean 'some atheists are intolerant'. You are probably right. That doesn't make it a religion, I think you'll find.


The 'wholesale condemnation of religion' by secularists is not an ideology. Where is your evidence for that? I see no-one denying the occasionally positive role religion has played in history - for sample as patron of the arts - but overall, the role of religion has been to maintain social inequality and suppress critical thinking.

@Matias I still don't see why you identify their views as an ideology. Their dislike of religion doesn't form a single system of ideas. I think you need to be a little more relaxed in your discussions, and explain what you mean more. Not everyone has had your education.

@Matias of course I have read it. But I still disagree with you. He is simply describing his own views. You are misusing the term 'ideology'. I have also read Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett and while they share many views, they also put forward different theories.

@Matias Is there a reason when you make these claims that you never give an example? A specific example beyond "this person" or "that book"? I've read all those books and dozens more, and I have no idea what you are talking about.

@TheMiddleWay I think you've misunderstood virtually everything atheists say.

@TheMiddleWay For instance, "the same erroneous argument crop up (such as claiming that god doesn't exist but not being bound to prove it)"

Please give an example of someone claiming god does not exist and that they don't have to prove it. No one says this.

Agnostic atheists don't believe any gods exist, generally because they see no evidence for such a being.

Others, such as Hitchens, goes so far to say that when he has studied a proposition, and that such a proposition should have much evidence, but has very weak or no evidence, then one certainly has the courage to say such a thing doesn't exist (the same way you would say Santa doesn't exist after researching those claiming he does for years and years).

If you have evidence of anyone making the CLAIM that a god doesn't exist, BUT that they do not have to prove it, I'm all ears. What you've misunderstood, seemingly willfully, is the definition of "atheism" as virtually all atheists use the term. I suspect you know this.

@TheMiddleWay Also, if you'd like me to prove a particular flavor of god most people believe in doesn't exist, I can do that also.

@TheMiddleWay "It happens frequently. Here is a quote from that conversation:
I don't make the claim they don't exist, I reject thier claim, without any shred of evidence, that they do. Big difference.."

This is evidence you misunderstood, NOT evidence that someone is claiming a god doesn't exist but they don't have to prove it. That's what the BIG difference is. Rejecting a claim is not making a claim of your own. For example, if someone claims Santa exists, and I research this claim and find that there is no convincing evidence for Santa, I reject the claim. Rejecting the claim is not a claim that Santa does NOT exist. This is basic logic.

Moreover, the SEP says themselves that they are using the pre-1972 definition of "atheism", which was (SURPRISE!) defined by theists.

I don't know what your point is with regard to a small percentage of people who say they are atheists who also believe in god. There is always a small percentage of people who A) lie to pollsters, or B) don't understand what they are being asked.

@TheMiddleWay Claiming there is an ideology by claiming there is an ideology is just a claim. What is it you think the "atheist ideology" consists of? All atheism is is a lack of belief in gods, and that is all. Everything else is extra. (And you can confirm this with a little thought experiment. Anyone who lacks a belief in gods is an atheist. They can--and indeed often do--disagree about anything else outside of that lack of belief. And thus, "atheism" is not and cannot be an ideology.)

@TheMiddleWay I do note you completely ignored my offer to prove a common flavor of god belief is false. Are you truly interested in such a claim? It seems not as you completely ignored my offer.

@TheMiddleWay "ideals that are promoted by a few individuals (like hitchens and the like) that forms the basis of many people epistemic wordview and it may or may not be grounded in reality."

This is a reference to skepticism, reason, evidence, science, critical thinking, etc.

One can be an atheist without any relation to any of those things. Lacking a belief in gods does not require you to come to that position via principles of skepticism and reason.

@TheMiddleWay "You can not accept the claim but that is radically different from rejecting the claim."

No it isn't. This is just basic logic. When you vote not guilty on a jury, you are not voting innocence because you are only considering ONE claim, and that claim is guilt. Finding that there is not enough evidence for the claim of guilt makes you reject the claim of guilt. That is not a claim of innocence. Again, this is basic logic. When this is explained clearly and often, many continue to pretend they just don't understand.

"but logically, etymologically if you are going to be A-theist, you can't help being defined against what theists define themselves."

Not even this is true. The prefix "a" refers most often to not having anything to do with the root word. Asocial doesn't mean antisocial. Even words such as "ahistorical" doesn't mean "anti-historical"--it means having nothing to do with history, not being AGAINST history.

What is so annoying is that atheists explain this over and over, and then we are strawmanned over and over as if we never explained this a billion times over. Why is it so important to you for the word "atheist" to mean a claim that no gods exist? What does it matter what personal positions others take who are not you, and why is it so important to tell people with a different view from yourself that they either don't hold that view, or the word they use to represent the view they have is the wrong word. Why does that matter?

"Your point is that virtually all atheists define themselves the way you ascribe to them. That poll clearly shows differently."

Can you be clearer what number you are referring to? Your quote says that of the people who call themselves atheists, 8% say they believe in god and 2% say they are absolutely certain about a god's existence. That leaves 90% who all say something else that you left out. What do they say? (In other words, claiming the poll you cited shows that most atheist do not define themselves as lacking a belief in god will require a number in the poll of those who say they define atheism as lacking a belief in gods. You didn't include that number, and since it is the most important number to this only question is, why did you leave it out?)

"in my original I presented several ideas that were embraced by several atheists that form normative belief that influences their views on things like politics."

There is no common politics of all atheists. Hitchens, for instance, was vociferously pro-Iraq War, and pro-W. Bush insofar as Bush was executing that war.

"Clearly if atheism didn't have an ideology, then there wouldn't be so many people repeating, verbetim, the normative beliefs of teh american atheists for example, beliefs like "Atheism is about what you believe. Agnosticism is about what you know." or "Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.""

Those aren't ideologies but DEFINITIONS. And self-definitions at that. The fact that most people all fall into gnostic atheist, agnostic atheist, agnostic theist, or gnostic theist is just a matter of fact.

Why is it you think self-definitions are ideologies? When we say we define ourselves as people who lack a belief in gods, why is it impossible to accept that, and why do many feel compelled to tell us that our position is not our position but rather some other position?

@TheMiddleWay Since this would cut to the heart of the issue, it seems you are not interested in the heart of the issue. My only question here would be...why?

@TheMiddleWay And FYI for clarity, theism isn't an ideology or a religion either. It's a belief that a god or gods exist.


"holding a belief comes with accepting an ideology. This is true of theism, with it's normative beliefs, the same as atheism."

This is not true because theism is simply a belief that a god or gods exist. There is no ideology that goes with "theism", and no "normative beliefs" that go with the belief that a god or gods exist. To pretend there are "norms" among all the theistic beliefs humans have ever had is to not know at a baseline level all the theistic beliefs humans have had.

"If it is a fact, you'll have to problem providing data to support that assertion..."

The categories are all encompassing of every position on the god question. One either holds the position that he or she knows a god or gods exist in believe in it/them, doesn't or can't know if a god/gods exists but believes, doesn't or can't know and doesn't believe, or knows it/they do not exist and don't believe in them. If you believe there is another possible useful position on the question to have...what is it?

"Innocence is the rejection of guilt. Hence in the legal sense, the judgement of "not guilty" is not a rejection of guilt because as we agree, you are not saying the person is innocent."

Rejecting a claim as true is not saying the claim is false. "I do not believe claim A is proven true" is rejecting the claim, and does not mean "I believe the claim A is false". This is basic logic as you know. Voting "not guilty" is rejecting the claim of guilt as unproven. It is NOT claiming innocence has been proven.

"Thus atheism as "not theism" or "without theism" or "against theism" still requires "theism" to define it. That was my point of why I find any enterprise to distance the definition of atheism" from theism* illogical"

Theism is the belief in a god or gods. It is not a claim, ideology, or religion. Atheism is the lack of a belief in god or gods. It is also not a claim, ideology, or religion. There is nothing any more illogical about these definitions than that of "asocial" and "social". No one is distancing the definition of atheism from theism. I'm not even sure what you are saying, other than trying to sneak in the definition of atheism as the CLAIM a god doesn't exist by implying theism is a CLAIM that a god exists. Neither of those are true.

" So while I'm not wed to the notion that the labels are ALL that matters, they do help establish a baseline for discussion."

Indeed. And that is why the four definitions I gave are the most useful, as real people in the real world hold all of those positions personally, and logically it is difficult to imagine how someone could hold a position on the god question outside of those four categories.

"Hence, if it is generally agreed that theist believe gods exist, then we must generally agree that to take a position contrary to that and call oneself an atheist must be to believe gods don't exist (as the SEP entry linked before goes into more detail)."

No. A theist believes in a god or gods. An atheist does not believe in a god or gods. A theist isn't making a claim. An atheist isn't making a claim either. The SEP, like a dictionary, is descriptive, NOT prescriptive. The description of the position the SEP advocates was written by theists prior to 1972. They are aware of this problem, and have been contacted multiple times by actual atheists in the real world...and yet refuse to change their definitions (although claim they are open to it in the future). The SEP doesn't get to define atheism to atheists (nor do you). But if you would like to look up atheism in various dictionaries, wikipedia, pretty much anywhere, it will give you both the expansive definition (lacking belief) and the narrow definition (claiming gods don't exist). The first is an agnostic atheist, and the latter a gnostic atheist--which is why the four categories on the god question I gave you are the most useful as a baseline in discussion. Telling me, and most atheists, that their position of "weak atheism" or "soft atheism" or "agnostic atheism" can't exist is silly (especially given all the different ways there already are to label it).

From the Salon article: "4. Anti-Theist. This group tends to get conflated with all atheists by believers, but they only constitute 15 percent of non-believers"

If we agree anti-theists are gnostic atheists (or strong atheists, or hard atheists), then 85% are those who lack a belief in god or gods. It is difficult to see how this article does anything but support my view. (It is technically possible that an anti-theist is merely one who things god believe is harmful, evil, dangerous, etc., and must be fought. That doesn't in actuality require gnostic atheism.)

"Never claimed ALL; I merely claimed MANY."

But if not ALL atheists have the politics or ideology you claim encompasses "atheism", then it cannot be said to have an ideology.

"I'm noticing uou seem to frame your views in terms of universals (ALL, EVERY) where I like to talk in terms of particulars (MANY, SOME); this may be at the root of our differing wordviews."

Please do not be dishonest. What I said was that there IS NO common politics among all atheists. That isn't a claim of a universal among atheists, now, is it? Good grief. No one is reading my wall of text anyway.

"We are talking about there being an ideology behind atheism... not about "prove a common flavor of god belief is false"... so no, it is not the heart of the issue we are discussing at the moment which is why I don't want to get distracted by it despite my interest in hearing your thoughts about it in another context (read: thread or post)"

Since atheism is not an ideology, and since you claim atheism is a claim that no gods exist, and since you claim atheists say no god exists but don't have to prove it...I would have thought you supremely interested in the anti-theist case so you could stop making all of those false claims.

"For further clarity, I'm not saying atheism IS an ideology; I'm saying to many it HAS an ideology. If I said IS instead of HAS, I apologize for the misrepresentation."

When you say "to many", you mean "to many theists". Atheists already know there is no ideology because we actually talk to each other. Theists merely project what they think atheists positions are and call it a day. They have no curiosity about the actual positions of actual atheists on anything, much less the god question itself.


"So you are saying being a theists mean it's ok to believe their god doesn't exists?
Or that being an atheists means it's ok to believe a god exists?
That doesn't sound right..."

No. What I am saying is that you (and SEP) are trying to claim that theism is the CLAIM that a god exists, and therefore atheism must be the opposite CLAIM that a god does not exist, when neither is the case. Theism is a belief that god or gods exists. Atheism is a lack of a belief that a god or gods exist. That's it. Massaging the definition of "theism" so you can get to the definition of "atheism" you want as a direct opposite of theism is silly. There are plenty of people who say they believe in a god that is ultimately unknowable, or, indeed, that a leap of faith without knowledge is the very point of the belief (the belief that by definition is under the umbrella of "theism" ). To say that isn't theism because they don't claim knowledge of existence is silly.

"I said quite the opposite. I said that an atheist who claims god doesn't exist has the burden to prove god doesn't exist."

I'm completely lost now. I offered twice to give that case, and you seem completely uninterested in hearing it. Moreover, you quoted Hitchens but misunderstood what he was saying in terms of rejecting theistic claims. I explained it, while you argued against my explanation, apparently continuing to claim that Hitchens and others have claimed that no gods exist AND don't have to prove it. (Again, neither Hitchens, nor anyone else I am aware of, has ever made such a claim.)

"Not every atheist makes that claim and the only reason this was brought up was because you didn't believe some did and I provided evidence that some do."

No, the contention wasn't that some claim gods don't exist, but that some claim gods don't exist and they don't have to prove it. You misunderstood the quote from Hitchens and I encourage you to read and watch more Hitchens to discover this. I can explain it again if you like.

"Our conversation has never revolved around said evidence should someone claim that."

I offered at least twice to give that case, and you declined as you said it was a distraction.

@TheMiddleWay Maybe it is the grammar of

"I don't make the claim they don't exist, I reject thier claim, without any shred of evidence, that they do. Big difference.."

that is the problem. "Without a shred of evidence" goes with the theistic claims. Hitchens is saying he rejects theistic claims that have not a shred of evidence BECAUSE they have no shred of evidence. He is not saying he rejects their claims by claiming there are no gods "without a shred of evidence."

But if you are making that mistake, you've never listen to, or read, a word of Hitchens previously.


Me: "Theism is a belief that god or gods exists. Atheism is a lack of a belief that a god or gods exist. That's it."

You: Yes. That's what I've been saying all along and my viewpoint as well. One side claims god exist; the other doesn't. That is also the SEP's definition.

Me: NO. Theism is not a claim. It is a belief--a belief that a god exists, just as atheism is a lack of a belief that a god exists. I've explained this ad nauseam several times now, so I can only assume you are trolling me.

You: My use of Hitchen's Razor was to remind you that I could safely reject your claim of misunderstanding if you provided no evidence of misunderstanding.

Me: I did, but you misunderstood it again. Or pretended to.

You: I claimed that viewpoint was part of some atheists ideology. You claimed nobody thought that way. I provided evidence they did.

Me: No, I said no atheist has ever said that "no gods exist and I don't have to prove it". The quote you gave does not say what you said it said.

You: That's that. At no time would a discussion of that viewpoint have been part of the conversation. Merely proving to you that it existed is the ONLY reason it entered the conversation in the first place.

Me: But it didn't exist. I already explained this. Hitchens was saying that he rejects theistic claims of gods existence BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE A SHRED OF EVIDENCE. That has nothing to do with claiming no gods exist and not having to prove it.

You: Now, note, that razor cuts both ways. When an atheist claims "gods don't exist" and can't provide evidence to support their case, we are likewise justified in dismissing that claim. Not rejecting it, not accepting it... dismissing it, it simply doesn't move forward.

Me: Sure, except NO ONE HAS EVER SAID THAT, including Hitchens. And you've dismissed gnostic atheist claims before any evidence has even been presented because it is a "distraction" and "not related to the discussion". If it isn't related to the discussion, why are you bringing it up again?

You: So Hitchen's Razor is not a tool to reject a theist or atheist claim, but as I view it a time saving device where there is no point seriously considering or talking about a claim when no evidence is present for said claim.

Me: Indeed, but that has nothing to do with YOUR claim that atheists CLAIM a god doesn't exist and don't have to prove it. Good grief.


You: ""I believe you have money in your pocket" and "i claim you have money in your pocket"? In both cases, am I not saying that according to me, money exists in your pocket?"

Me: I'm not sure if you are playing games or not. As a scientist, this is elementary, but ok. I'll explain. A claim is a term of logic. In related contexts it is sometimes called a thesis, a position, or a proposition. A claim is a declarative statement that must be testable as to whether it is true or false. A belief is a subset of knowledge that can be stronger or weaker in proportion to the evidence. Very strong evidence causes belief to overlap with knowledge, while little or no evidence is needed to call something a belief. Claiming I have money in my pocket and then testing that hypothesis for truth or not is legitimately a claim. Saying I have money in my pocket and then refusing to look in my pocket, or walking away with no intention of ever looking is not a claim (except insofar as you are claiming the belief is in your own head).

You: Not my claim. Quite the opposite as I've mentioned before: if an atheists claims that god doesn't exist, they have to prove it doesn't... no differently than if a theist claims a god does exist, they have to prove it does. I've already clarified this twice.

Me: You misunderstood again. You started this thread claiming there are atheists who claim gods don't exist and say they do not have to prove it. There are no such people. Later you claimed there were, then misunderstood a Hitchens quote to prove it. Now you ignore that distinction and pretend we are talking about IF an atheist makes a claim, THEN they have to prove it, which was never what the discussion was about (except insofar as I have offered 4 times to give an anti-theist case, and you've shown no interest in hearing it).

You: But it did. The person I quotes was saying that it was not his duty to prove the gods don't exist; it was the their duty to prove gods do exist.

Me: Do you think maybe that's because his position isn't the position you keep projecting onto him? He isn't CLAIMING gods don't exist. He just doesn't believe any exist because there is no evidence. That's basic logic, the null hypothesis, and basic reasoning found in all sciences so you MUST be familiar with it.

Me: Let me try this tactic. Person A claims that there is NOT a fire breathing dragon on the far side of the moon because the ghost of his dead dog told him in a dream. Person B rejects that claim because there is no evidence that ghosts of dead dogs communicate via dreams. DOES THAT MEAN PERSON B THINKS THERE IS A FIRE BREATHING DRAGON ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON?

Me: The answer is no. Rejecting the claim because its supporting evidence is insufficient does not mean you accept the opposite claim. Any scientist knows this, so you surely know this already and are just playing games with me.


You: But it did. The person I quotes was saying that it was not his duty to prove the gods don't exist; it was the their duty to prove gods do exist.

Me: You are equivocating on "according to me", as if simply believing in your mind with no relation to reality is the same as claiming with the intent of proving or disproving...and transforming the claim into empirical knowledge one way or another. You know this as a scientist. You don't get other scientists on board by simply telling them you believe something with no intention or ability to test it. That is why unfalsifiable claims are useless. You know Popper.


You: That's fine. I don't see any difference between him claiming gods don't exist and him believing they don't.

Me: That's because you are changing all the language again. There is a difference between "not believing gods exist" and "believing gods don't exist". The first is a lack of belief. The second is a claim. This is the distinction between an agnostic atheist and a gnostic atheist.

You: But regardless, the point isn't to get into the nuance of his belief but merely that someone said what I claimed they said. If you disagree that he said that, that's fine

Me: He did not say that "gods don't exist and I don't have to prove it". Good grief. Have you read all of Hitch's books and watched his hundreds of youtube videos?

You: but the topic is that atheism has (or doesn't) an ideology. If you don't accept him as an example of that ideological belief, then I can try and find others but I'm not going to get distracted parsing out the merits or his ideology.

Me: Atheism is a lack of belief in gods (not necessarily a belief that no gods exist, although anti-theists also lack a belief). It's not an ideology, a claim, a religion, a pizza topping, or a fire breathing dragon.


You: When the evidence is insufficient I agree that you do not accept the opposite claim. Thing is then you are not then rejecting the claim.

Me: You are playing word games. "Reject" is defined as "dismiss as inadequate." "Accept" is defined as "believe or come to recognize (a belief, explanation, etc) as valid or correct." Therefore...

reject: dismiss as inadequate
not accept: not believe or come to recognize as valid or correct

Me: Notice how they mean the same freakin' thing in this context? Which means that your agreement that "not accepting the opposite claim" is also wrong. If you do not accept it, that means you accept the opposite claim. You believe there is a fire breathing dragon on the far side of the moon.

You: See, accepting OR rejecting a claim requires evidence. Without evidence, it is not proper to accept or reject a claim. Here are three examples to showcase how this works:

Me: No. To reject is to dismiss as inadequate. Dismissing a claim as inadequately supported does NOT mean you accept the opposite claim, just as not accepting a claim does not mean you accept its opposite. You are playing word games completely divorced from meaning. Why?

You: a) If I said the Higgs had a mass of 200 MeV and there was insufficient evidence to support that, I would not reject that claim. I would state there is insufficient evidence to accept or reject that claim. Only if I searched everywhere at 200 MeV and not find the Higgs would I reject that claim or only if I found the Higgs at 200 MeV would I accept the claim.

Me: No. A scientist dismisses the claim as inadequately supported until such time as it IS supported. It's the basic null hypothesis. You know this, unless you are only pretending to be a scientist.

You: b)Suppose I tell you that I believe I have cancer but I won't go see a doctor about it. It would be incorrect to reject my belief due to lack of evidence: you may or may not have cancer... it requires evidence (a doctors visit) to accept or reject your belief.

Me: No. The null hypothesis is that ANY claim is not accepted as true until such time as it is demonstrated. That includes BOTH claims "I have cancer" and "I do not have cancer". You only examine one claim at a time. You know basic logic. All scientists do. You do not examine 2 or 3 or 10 claims at once!

You: c) In statistics, if I make the null hypothesis "god's exist", I then have to provide evidence to reject the null hypothesis and thus legitimately claim that "god's don't exist".... the atheist must provide evidence to reject the theists null hypothesis. If the theist FAILS to provide evidence, then we "fail to reject" the null hypothesis which doesn't prove it true, merely that there is a lack of evidence to reject it.

Me: There is no scenario in which the "null hypothesis" is a claim (gods exist or otherwise). The null hypothesis is that no claims are taken as true until such time as they are demonstrated to be true. You don't start with your conclusion and then dare everyone to prove you wrong, especially when you decide to start with an unfalsifiable conclusion.

You: Now what does any of this have to do with atheism as an ideology? I fear despite my best intentions, I've still been distracted off topic...

Me: Since atheism isn't an ideology, and has no ideology, by virtue of the fact that it is only defined as a lack of belief in a god or gods, beyond which any other nontheistic stance on politics, morality, reason or lackthereof can be (and often is) had by any given atheist, then any discussion of atheism's ideology is as relevant as discussing my oak tree's predictions of the bond market.


You: There is no functional difference between the two given that grammatically it doesn't matter where you put the negative and thus both sentences are saying the same thing.

Me: This is me freakin' telling you they are different, and that real people in the real world hold those two DIFFERENT positions. Telling me they are the same is nonsensical. You do not get to tell other people what positions they hold.

You: In both cases, the speaker is making a negative statement about the existence of gods.

Me: No. In one, they are claiming gods don't exist in reality. In the other, they are saying they do not accept the claim that gods exist in reality. Maybe they do, but having no evidence, we don't accept the claim until such time as there is evidence.

You: Much like "I'm not going to work" is the same as "I'm going to not work" say the same thing; it would be silly to call one a belief and the other a claim merely cause I moved the negative around.

Me: "I myself do not believe gods exist because I have never seen any good evidence, but maybe they do and I just haven't seen the evidence yet" IS NOT THE SAME AS "I believe gods don't exist, period."

You: This is the last I'll say on this topic since we've gone way far off topic in terms of atheistic ideology.

Me: Since there is no atheist ideology, our conversation had to go somewhere.

@Matias Christopher Hitchens, not "Chris". Never Chris.


Fuck that shit. Sorry I'm not smart enough to tell you why. But fuck that shit.

I have a wall of text above your comment explaining. I won't blame you if it is too long to read, lol.


I basically agree although as an American I don't think secularist condemnation of religion is quite as sharp here in the US as is Christian condemnation of secularism. Sure, you will find extreme anti-theist perspectives in every country, but on average more atheists just want to be left alone. Who is T.B.? I'm wondering if s/he is European bc secularism is stronger there as a movement.

I wonder if the strongest secularist condemnation of religion isn't more of a reaction to Christian condemnation of secularism. From my own experience, I wouldn't be nearly as concerned about the religious beliefs of others if I didn't perceive them attempting to influence kids in public schools, to influence politics intending to alienate certain minority groups, etc.

I also am curious who T.B. is.


So we should spend more time discussing religion (!!!???!)
No thanks.......

But this group is 'Religion and Spirituality'.

@CeliaVL neither, thankyuvurrymuch, unless Amazing Randy's estate starts offering that million dollars again...


Religion has played such a huge part in the development of human consciousness. As its influence diminishes, there is little to replace it - perhaps secular humanism, art and culture - but so far their reach still seems confined to the intellectual 'class'. The real replacement for religious values seems to be economic and growth is its god. The effect that has on human morality is seriously bad as we have entered a time of spiritual bankrupcy and loss of meaning in life.

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