The A Word continued
Continuing from yesterdays post regarding my YouTube conversation with RationalRoundtable, both he and the user BionicDance (and others) have uploaded further videos on the subject of whether the word ‘atheist’ applies to babies. I still believe that it does, as does BD, RR still does not. I’ll post his video below, also the comment I left as well as his reply. RR make use of the Merriam-Webster dictionary for definitions of certain words, and I think this may be the root of some of the misunderstanding; apparently the Merriam-Webster describes atheism as “the doctrine that there is no God”, this is a common misconception, but as RR often communicates with atheists, even describing some as being his friends, I’d expect hin to know that there is no ‘atheist doctrine’, no collective, no holy book or scriptures, no houses of worship, ceremonies, or rituals of any kind. Atheism, if it is an ‘ism’ can not be viewed through a religious lens, and those who do have religious faith should not try.
my 1st comment:You haven’t included the definitions in the description bar.
I accept your definition of atheist as someone who is a ‘not theist’. I don’t, however, see how the addition of the ‘a’ opens up the definition to include inanimate objects, why would theist refer to a sentient being, but not atheist? surely the ‘-ist’ part of the word still infers a person.
RR’s reply: I agree that the ‘ist’ does require an atheist to be a person, but it also carries with it the requirement that the person in question adhere to or advocate for atheism, thus babies are not atheist, nor theist, they are ignorant. as for the definitions, for some reason YT will nto let me post them in the description box, I will keep trying.
My 2nd comment: or it could simply mean one who does not adhere or advocate theism, which is pretty much what many of us who apply the label to ourselves have been saying since “babygate” began, and since babies neither advocate nor adhere to any form of theism, are therefore atheist.
I appreciate that RR has taken time to reply to my comments for the second time, and I do recommend that anyone with an interest in theology from a theistic or atheistic point of view take time to check out his YouTube channel
At the same time as I received the notification of RR’s response to me, I also receive two e-mails from YouTube telling that a user by the name of CompleteRationality had replied to the same post, not once, but twice. I’ll let his comments speak for themselves, with a reminder of my comment to RR:
My comment to RR: I accept your definition of atheist as someone who is a ‘not theist’. I don’t, however, see how the addition of the ‘a’ opens up the definition to include inanimate objects, why would theist refer to a sentient being, but not atheist? surely the ‘-ist’ part of the word still infers a person.
Comment 1: But that clearly shows that the term atheism has an advantage over theism. If we were to invert the meanings of atheism and deism, this is what we would get: Deism would be a lack of belief in the idea that there is no God. Atheism would be belief in the idea that there is no God. Therefore, deism would actually become the default position. With the current definitions there is only two ways of arranging them. One side is inevitably going to have leverage over the other.
Comment 2: The definition needs revision. As it being a lack of belief, there are several problems. 1. People cannot come to a consensus. 2. It can be applied to objects and people that it was never meant to be applied to. 3. You end up with a word with no definite meaning or significant value. It is too broad. The only way it makes sense is to define it as disbelief. I can’t find the comment where I may have asserted something about positive belief.
My reply: I agree the definiton needs revision, dictionaries seem to be out of date, and it would seem sensible to take a definition from those who apply the lable to themselves.
You asserted a positive belief when you said “If you don’t believe in God, then you must have the “belief” that a God does not exist”
As for atheism’s advantage over theism, it’s based on observable reality, not wishful thinking, and no semantic attempt at leveling the playing field will change that
I have no Idea if this debate will continue, I know BD and RR have both uploaded what they say will be their final videos on the topic, but something tells me this debate may go on for some time yet.