Do you consider yourself a secular humanist?
Yes, I'm a secular humanist
47.4% (46)
47.4% (46)
I agree with what it stands for, but I don't think of myself as a secular humanist
27.8% (27)
27.8% (27)
No, I disagree with what secular humanism stands for, though I am an atheist or agnostic
9.3% (9)
9.3% (9)
No, I disagree with what secular humanism stands for, and I'm a theist
4.1% (4)
4.1% (4)
I don't know
5.2% (5)
5.2% (5)
Other
6.2% (6)
6.2% (6)
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Poll: Atheists: Do you consider yourself a secular humanist?

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Frission:
OT: Most people I know are secular humanists. I thought that was the norm of society.

But is it? Isn't the philosophy pretty much unknown outside of certain atheist/secularist circles?

Irmin:

Frission:
OT: Most people I know are secular humanists. I thought that was the norm of society.

But is it? Isn't the philosophy pretty much unknown outside of certain atheist/secularist circles?

said "philosophy" in the mind of the common man amounts to little more than "let's get on with it without waiting for god to show up" and yes its fairly common although that probably depends where you live...

in Europe vast swathes of the general population are basically "irreligious" (even those who culturally belong to a church by birth) whereas in the US 90% are supposedly "highly religious"...so i'm guessing probably less "secular humanists" there than in Frissons native France...

Sleekit:

Irmin:

Frission:
OT: Most people I know are secular humanists. I thought that was the norm of society.

But is it? Isn't the philosophy pretty much unknown outside of certain atheist/secularist circles?

said "philosophy" in the mind of the common man amounts to little more than "let's get on with it without waiting for god to show up" and yes its fairly common although that probably depends where you live...

in Europe vast swathes of the general population are basically "irreligious" (even those who culturally belong to a church by birth) whereas in the US 90% are supposedly "highly religious"...so i'm guessing less "secular humanists" there than in Frissons native France...

2008 consensus only had religious (of any caliper) at 85%. As for "highly religious", they are pretty rare. Course, that depends on one's definition of highly religious.

Sleekit:

Irmin:

Frission:
OT: Most people I know are secular humanists. I thought that was the norm of society.

But is it? Isn't the philosophy pretty much unknown outside of certain atheist/secularist circles?

said "philosophy" in the mind of the common man amounts to little more than "let's get on with it without waiting for god to show up" and yes its fairly common although that probably depends where you live...

in Europe vast swathes of the general population are basically "irreligious" (even those who culturally belong to a church by birth) whereas in the US 90% are supposedly "highly religious"...so i'm guessing probably less "secular humanists" there than in Frissons native France...

Sure, but doesn't secular humanism also entails an ethical system, philosophical naturalism, pro-science (anti-pseudoscience) and so on, things by which no means all non-religious people support?

Irmin:
Sure, but doesn't secular humanism also entails an ethical system, philosophical naturalism, pro-science (anti-pseudoscience) and so on, things by which no means all non-religious people support?

that generally doesn't come into it when all your looking for is a "celebrant" (ie "official") for a wedding, funeral or "naming ceremony" who isn't religious.

i think you kind of have to factor in the main point here is the people involved don't care about such ideology.

tbth the only "humanists" i've met who probably subscribe/adhere to all the other stuff are probably the celebrants themselves...and maybe the occasional overtly militant student...

people generally don't put a great deal of philosophical effort into being "non-believers"...

it's more of an off switch really...

most people just want a wedding/funeral they can more or less shape to their liking and play robbie williams songs at...

and the fully signed up Humanists don't talk about what they believe in at these things...

which is basically why they get hired.

Ryotknife:
2008 consensus only had religious (of any caliper) at 85%. As for "highly religious", they are pretty rare. Course, that depends on one's definition of highly religious.

well tbh that particular "90% call themselves 'highly relgious' in the census" factoid i think i picked up when i was at high school..which is nearly 30 years ago now...

Silvanus:
Here's my primary disagreement, though. Atheists know what they are. They have positive identities created from other elements of their lives. It just so happens to be nothing to do with any deities.

Are you sure?

So, some people are saying that atheism and humanism are basically synonymous, so we don't need the term humanism.

They aren't, and it's worth having the term humanist floating around if only to have a distinction and clarify the fact that not all atheists are humanists. Atheism is a pre-requisite for humanism, but in and of itself doesn't really mean anything. Atheists could also be nihilists, or spiritualists or just about any philosophy provided it doesn't include a deity.

This is what the British Humanist Association say about humanism.

Think for themselves about what is right and wrong, based on reason and respect for others.

Find meaning, beauty and joy in the one life we have, without the need for an afterlife.

Look to science instead of religion as the best way to discover and understand the world.

Believe people can use empathy and compassion to make the world a better place for everyone.

I'm not really satisfied with that description, it seems a bit twee. Also, I'm sure there are plenty of other schools of thought that consider that they

Think for themselves about what is right and wrong, based on reason and respect for others.

That said, I probably share a lot of views in common with secular humanism.

During my atheist days I wasn't a secular humanist, instead I was a moral nihilist. I took a very materialistic view of the world and thus I thought (and still do) that any sort of objective morality would be incompatible with such a framework. Our existence is simply a cosmic burp, there are no moral principles that exist in some metaphysical plain that are observable, provable or testable. I can't prove that anyone is morally wrong without appealing to my own subjective values.

Secular humanism, while something human beings certainly prefer, is every bit as arbitrary as any other moral system. Why should I value anyone's life beside my own? Why even value my own? Why value general welfare? Because of my feelings, which are completely subjective?

A lot of atheists say that atheism is just that - a single answer to a single question. Everything else is just added baggage and window dressing. Secular humanism in no way follows from atheism, it's just an unwarranted assumption about morality just like every other.

al4674:
During my atheist days I wasn't a secular humanist, instead I was a moral nihilist. I took a very materialistic view of the world and thus I thought (and still do) that any sort of objective morality would be incompatible with such a framework. Our existence is simply a cosmic burp, there are no moral principles that exist in some metaphysical plain that are observable, provable or testable. I can't prove that anyone is morally wrong without appealing to my own subjective values.

Secular humanism, while something human beings certainly prefer, is every bit as arbitrary as any other moral system. Why should I value anyone's life beside my own? Why even value my own? Why value general welfare? Because of my feelings, which are completely subjective?

A lot of atheists say that atheism is just that - a single answer to a single question. Everything else is just added baggage and window dressing. Secular humanism in no way follows from atheism, it's just an unwarranted assumption about morality just like every other.

But must secular humanism entail moral realism? Isn't it more about normative ethics rather than meta-ethics?

In moral philosophy I agree with David Hume in that morality is based on human emotions and feelings. He called it "sympathy", a better word by today's language would be "empathy". I don't see that it is incompatible with secular humanism, but maybe it is?

The only thing I consider myself with 100% certainty is a person.

I don't like wearing labels.

Irmin:
But must secular humanism entail moral realism? Isn't it more about normative ethics rather than meta-ethics?

In moral philosophy I agree with David Hume in that morality is based on human emotions and feelings. He called it "sympathy", a better word by today's language would be "empathy". I don't see that it is incompatible with secular humanism, but maybe it is?

It seems to me moral realism encompasses the only kind of morality that really matters. It needs to exist independent of man - if human beings can decide for themselves what right and wrong is then clearly I have no objective standard to condemn the Taliban for example. I can certainly criticize that their behavior is not conducive to human well-being, but they'll answer that well-being is simply my own subjective standard. The Taliban's flavor of morality rests on other criteria that have nothing to do with well-being. How can I say that they are wrong? It could be reduced to ''They're wrong, because they don't value my own subjective standard.''

Emapthy I feel is every bit as subjective - it implies that I only have moral duties as long as I feel empathy or sympathy for someone. A racist who hates black people and leaves them to harms way - has he acted immorally? Why? He did not feel empathy or sympathy for them and emotions are not in the control of the subject, they are spontaneous.

While such a system is not incompatible with secular humanism, it just seems to me that the connection is arbitrary in the sense that it depends on subjective values that have no objective basis (when considering my view of an atheistic world).

Well, define secular humanism and I'll tell you whether I include myself in it.

DANGER- MUST SILENCE:

I never thought you were, and I hope I've not given that impression.

My bad.

DANGER- MUST SILENCE:

Surely I have. The reason is that words have meaning, and to be useful in communication we should use words whose meanings are clear. Which is why when I introduce myself to people I don't identify myself as a "Floobdoobi-wan".

The reasons for disbelief are not generally an important message to convey in that label. If people were really discussing them, they would discuss them, and the arguments used needn't be implicate in the label itself.

The term "Christian" doesn't contain a justification for why the person is Christian, after all. Ditto "Buddhist", "Agnostic", "Protestant", etc.

DANGER- MUST SILENCE:

I think you're confusing the words "This isn't really relevant" with "I don't agree". ;) But in any case, it doesn't matter that a good number of people don't do that. I never said or implied that all atheists do.

I do agree, though! I've seen atheists do that very thing. I just don't find it relevant to the discussion we're having. It seemed like another little line of attack.

DANGER- MUST SILENCE:
Let's make this very clear: I'm not saying we must never use the word 'atheist' ever again. I said in my first post here that it's a descriptor, it's just not a very good one. For people for whom their atheism is not an important part of their identity, they are welcome to call themselves atheists on the rare occasions that the issue comes up. When one's atheism is an important part of one's life (as it often appears to be for the people who make Internet arguments about it), then all I'm saying is that it would be healthier to choose a more clear way to describe one's philosophy. It should be positive not in the sense that it has a happy connotation, but positive in the sense that it describes what one is rather than what one is not.

Their philosophies, their worldviews, their outlooks-- there is no reason these things need to be connected to their position on this particular question. Their position on this question is negative, and if that's the question being discussed, it's the only thing they need express.

When asked, "do you believe in a god", there is no reason for your answer to be, "I'll tell you what I do believe in!"

DANGER- MUST SILENCE:

I never said nor implied that that atheists have nothing to their lives aside from atheism. All I said was that there are a good number of atheists whose atheist identity is very important to them, but that identity rests entirely on what they don't believe rather than by what they do. And that that is unhealthy. Please do not invent attacks against an entire community that aren't there...

I never said nor implied anything of the sort. I can understand how your previous errors regarding my position were genuine misunderstandings, but I cannot see how this is anything but an intentional strawman for the purposes of starting a fight.

It wasn't a strawman. I find this;

DANGER- MUST SILENCE:

Sometimes, I think a lot of atheists don't even know what they think- they just know they aren't Christian. It's not healthy to define yourself by what you're not; people are more confident when they know what they are.

To be condescending. We're both in agreement that these people have positive identities, and other things in their lives. Why would it be "unhealthy" to have a negative stance on this issue?

Irmin:

Are you sure?

Yes, I'm sure. I shouldn't have to point out that millions don't make such arguments.

al4674:

Irmin:
But must secular humanism entail moral realism? Isn't it more about normative ethics rather than meta-ethics?

In moral philosophy I agree with David Hume in that morality is based on human emotions and feelings. He called it "sympathy", a better word by today's language would be "empathy". I don't see that it is incompatible with secular humanism, but maybe it is?

It seems to me moral realism encompasses the only kind of morality that really matters. It needs to exist independent of man - if human beings can decide for themselves what right and wrong is then clearly I have no objective standard to condemn the Taliban for example. I can certainly criticize that their behavior is not conducive to human well-being, but they'll answer that well-being is simply my own subjective standard. The Taliban's flavor of morality rests on other criteria that have nothing to do with well-being. How can I say that they are wrong? It could be reduced to ''They're wrong, because they don't value my own subjective standard.''

Emapthy I feel is every bit as subjective - it implies that I only have moral duties as long as I feel empathy or sympathy for someone. A racist who hates black people and leaves them to harms way - has he acted immorally? Why? He did not feel empathy or sympathy for them and emotions are not in the control of the subject, they are spontaneous.

While such a system is not incompatible with secular humanism, it just seems to me that the connection is arbitrary in the sense that it depends on subjective values that have no objective basis (when considering my view of an atheistic world).

al4674:

Irmin:
But must secular humanism entail moral realism? Isn't it more about normative ethics rather than meta-ethics?

In moral philosophy I agree with David Hume in that morality is based on human emotions and feelings. He called it "sympathy", a better word by today's language would be "empathy". I don't see that it is incompatible with secular humanism, but maybe it is?

It seems to me moral realism encompasses the only kind of morality that really matters. It needs to exist independent of man - if human beings can decide for themselves what right and wrong is then clearly I have no objective standard to condemn the Taliban for example. I can certainly criticize that their behavior is not conducive to human well-being, but they'll answer that well-being is simply my own subjective standard. The Taliban's flavor of morality rests on other criteria that have nothing to do with well-being. How can I say that they are wrong? It could be reduced to ''They're wrong, because they don't value my own subjective standard.''

Emapthy I feel is every bit as subjective - it implies that I only have moral duties as long as I feel empathy or sympathy for someone. A racist who hates black people and leaves them to harms way - has he acted immorally? Why? He did not feel empathy or sympathy for them and emotions are not in the control of the subject, they are spontaneous.

While such a system is not incompatible with secular humanism, it just seems to me that the connection is arbitrary in the sense that it depends on subjective values that have no objective basis (when considering my view of an atheistic world).

You seem rather new to moral philosophy and/or moral reasoning. Try to read this which sort of touches on what you are talking about (written by an atheist and moral non-realist). Most relevant part quoted below:

Third: morality is still possible. Some of the motivation for trying to ground morality on science seems to be the old canard about moral relativism: "If moral judgments aren't objective, you can't condemn Hitler or the Taliban!" Ironically, this is something of a holdover from a pre-scientific worldview, when religion was typically used as a basis for morality. The idea is that a moral judgment simply doesn't exist unless it's somehow grounded in something out there, either in the natural world or a supernatural world. But that's simply not right. In the real world, we have moral feelings, and we try to make sense of them. They might not be "true" or "false" in the sense that scientific theories are true or false, but we have them. If there's someone who doesn't share them (and there is!), we can't convince them that they are wrong by doing an experiment. But we can talk to them and try to find points of agreement and consensus, and act accordingly. Moral relativism doesn't imply moral quietism. And even if it did (it doesn't), that wouldn't affect whether or not it was true.

DANGER- MUST SILENCE:
It's not healthy to define yourself by what you're not; people are more confident when they know what they are.

I'll pass that warning on to my vegetarian, non-smoker friends.

Anyway, am I a secular humanist? Nah, I can't be bothered to "self-identify" as anything more than atheist, although I probably would fit the bill for one. If it's anything to do with the Humanist Association, I'm a bit disproving of their repackaging of atheism as the "vanilla sorbet of religion" complete with humanist ministers officiating over humanist wedding and funeral ceremonies - I don't think it's right to associate any moral values or cultural bells and whistles with what is essentially a default, null position. It's slightly hypocritical, even.

Irmin:

Are you sure?

Free Thought Blogs shouldn't be taken as any kind of atheist consensus, although I'm sure they'd like to think of themselves as such. They're a highly tribalistic and dogmatic bunch of Atheism+ advocates.

Does that make the writer of that article wrong? Not necessarily. I suppose the ultimate test of whether something constitutes an "identity" is whether anybody can be bothered to self-identify as such, and some people evidently can. Personally I think it's meaningless.

Irmin:
A lot of atheists do, but a lot of atheists don't, from what I understand. Where do you stand?

My objection to the term would be that it is a bit vague, essentially being synonymous with atheism plus some vague ethical and pro-science sentiments. I've seen all kinds of people, from Objectivists to Marxists, self-describe as humanists.

Maybe you should explain what "secular humanism" is so that every single other person here doesn't have to Google the term just to post a reply.

Neta:

Irmin:
A lot of atheists do, but a lot of atheists don't, from what I understand. Where do you stand?

My objection to the term would be that it is a bit vague, essentially being synonymous with atheism plus some vague ethical and pro-science sentiments. I've seen all kinds of people, from Objectivists to Marxists, self-describe as humanists.

Maybe you should explain what "secular humanism" is so that every single other person here doesn't have to Google the term just to post a reply.

I suppose their various, most recent manifestos give a good show:

A Secular Humanist Declaration

Humanist Manifesto III

I identify as secular humanist, as a kind of atheist. The reason is that atheist just reflects a stance on personal belief (not religious) whereas secular humanism represents a more complete ethic.

So if you asked me about my personal philosophy and worldview, I would say I was a secular humanist. If you asked me about religion, I would say I'm an atheist.

I wonder how self-described secular humanists would respond to the various atheist critiques of it that can be found online. See a few below:

Why I Am Not A Humanist
'Problems with the humanist brand' and why I'm not one
Why I Am Not a Humanist

Irmin:
I wonder how self-described secular humanists would respond to the various atheist critiques of it that can be found online. See a few below:

Why I Am Not A Humanist
'Problems with the humanist brand' and why I'm not one
Why I Am Not a Humanist

Seeing as those are blogs, which are opinion pieces by definition, likely by quoting The Dude.

Oh I'd also tell the "Free Thoughts Blogs" one that if you want to disassociate yourself from any group of which some members are doing something you don't think is a good idea, then you're going to have a hard time associating with anyone. But then again, I'm all for people refusing to wear labels and instead just living their lives decently.

Vegosiux:

Irmin:
I wonder how self-described secular humanists would respond to the various atheist critiques of it that can be found online. See a few below:

Why I Am Not A Humanist
'Problems with the humanist brand' and why I'm not one
Why I Am Not a Humanist

Seeing as those are blogs, which are opinion pieces by definition, likely by quoting The Dude.

Oh I'd also tell the "Free Thoughts Blogs" one that if you want to disassociate yourself from any group of which some members are doing something you don't think is a good idea, then you're going to have a hard time associating with anyone. But then again, I'm all for people refusing to wear labels and instead just living their lives decently.

It is indeed the case that many (to me, at least) good and impressive people support secular humanism. Those people include Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Stephen Fry. And of course FtB is anything but impressive. But such appeals to great people (or non-appeals to idiots) are not in themselves valid arguments.

Secular humanism is a statement of philosophy, that the good of humanity and human values should come first, and that the origin of this belief is secular. Compared to religious humanism, where the good of humanity and human values come first but the origin of that belief is religious.

Atheism is a statement of belief, believing that there are no gods and not worshiping anything.

renegade7:
Secular humanism is a statement of philosophy, that the good of humanity and human values should come first, and that the origin of this belief is secular. Compared to religious humanism, where the good of humanity and human values come first but the origin of that belief is religious.

Atheism is a statement of belief, believing that there are no gods and not worshiping anything.

And that's bullshit.
Atheism is not the belief there are no gods and not worshiping anything.
Atheism is the lack of the belief in a god, which is a very different kind of animal (worshiping things has nothing to do with anything, as long as the thing worshiped is not a god).

Which is a very off topic, but the erroneous usage of the term is one of my pet peeves.

nyysjan:

renegade7:
Secular humanism is a statement of philosophy, that the good of humanity and human values should come first, and that the origin of this belief is secular. Compared to religious humanism, where the good of humanity and human values come first but the origin of that belief is religious.

Atheism is a statement of belief, believing that there are no gods and not worshiping anything.

And that's bullshit.
Atheism is not the belief there are no gods and not worshiping anything.
Atheism is the lack of the belief in a god, which is a very different kind of animal (worshiping things has nothing to do with anything, as long as the thing worshiped is not a god).

Which is a very off topic, but the erroneous usage of the term is one of my pet peeves.

That's what I said. Disbelief in gods and no theistic religion.

renegade7:

nyysjan:

renegade7:
Secular humanism is a statement of philosophy, that the good of humanity and human values should come first, and that the origin of this belief is secular. Compared to religious humanism, where the good of humanity and human values come first but the origin of that belief is religious.

Atheism is a statement of belief, believing that there are no gods and not worshiping anything.

And that's bullshit.
Atheism is not the belief there are no gods and not worshiping anything.
Atheism is the lack of the belief in a god, which is a very different kind of animal (worshiping things has nothing to do with anything, as long as the thing worshiped is not a god).

Which is a very off topic, but the erroneous usage of the term is one of my pet peeves.

That's what I said. Disbelief in gods and no theistic religion.

No, you did not.
you said Atheism is a belief that there is no god.
Which is different, not to mention wrong.

Atheism, at its core, is a null position, lacking both belief and disbelief (it is compatible with disbelief, or belief in no gods, but that is a separate issue).

A: Do you Believe is a god Yes/No
B: Do believe there is no god Yes/No

Your actual statement would have atheist answer Yes on B, and non atheist answering either Yes or No on A.
While actually, atheists would be answering No and A, and could answer either Yes or No and B.

It might sound like semantics to you, but it is actually a very huge difference once you start examining the positions given, and is a big issue of contention in atheism/theism debates where theists often make claims about atheistic position that are not true (like the statement you just made).

al4674:

While such a system is not incompatible with secular humanism, it just seems to me that the connection is arbitrary in the sense that it depends on subjective values that have no objective basis (when considering my view of an atheistic world).

When you say that they have no objective basis, what kind of objectivity do you mean? Since we are all subjects, theoretical objectivity is impossible to attain. All we have is a kind of practical objectivity, that is a subjective position that can be shared by all other subjects. Essentially, that is how scientific knowledge is defined.

We don't usually care about the fact that our empirical science is subjective (to all humans) because it doesn't matter - only humans use it. It answers a very specific question, and the question dictates the axioms that science operates under.

There is no reason the same could not be done for morals. It's just that unlike in empirical science, there is no agreement on what the proper question is, and hence we don't have the same kind of agreement.

nyysjan:

Atheism, at its core, is a null position, lacking both belief and disbelief (it is compatible with disbelief, or belief in no gods, but that is a separate issue).

I don't quite agree, or rather, I think the statement is a bit unclear. Atheism is not usually a starting position, but rather the result of a worldview. The statement that atheism is the "null" position ususally comes up when talking about physical existance of an entity according to empirical science. But that is itself based on the idea that physical existance matters.

However, I am not sure what you classify as "belief", so I might be talking straight past you, in which case I apologize for missing the point.

Stephen Sossna:

nyysjan:

Atheism, at its core, is a null position, lacking both belief and disbelief (it is compatible with disbelief, or belief in no gods, but that is a separate issue).

I don't quite agree, or rather, I think the statement is a bit unclear. Atheism is not usually a starting position, but rather the result of a worldview. The statement that atheism is the "null" position ususally comes up when talking about physical existance of an entity according to empirical science. But that is itself based on the idea that physical existance matters.

However, I am not sure what you classify as "belief", so I might be talking straight past you, in which case I apologize for missing the point.

Were you born believing in god?

I have no belief in X.
That's a null position, because you have it before you are aware of the possibility of X.

The term implicit atheism is used to define a person who is an atheist because they have never even heard of the concept of a god (babies, animals, rocks, depending on how wide a net you want to spread, may apply).

Atheism is a null position, because it is not a position in itself, it is a lack of position on a certain hypothesis (god), it does not require belief, evidence, or even awareness of the question.

belief
bɪˈliːf/
noun
noun: belief; plural noun: beliefs

1.
an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.
"his belief in extraterrestrial life"
something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion.
"we're prepared to fight for our beliefs"
synonyms: opinion, view, viewpoint, point of view, attitude, stance, stand, standpoint, position,
2.
trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something).
"a belief in democratic politics"

If we can agree to use that definition of belief, then no, atheism does not require any sort of belief.

nyysjan:

Were you born believing in god?

I have no belief in X.
That's a null position, because you have it before you are aware of the possibility of X.

I get what you mean, but I find this argument difficult to make with regard to the existance of a deity, beauce it is pretty central to how you make sense of the world around you. So I wonder if you can actually have a "null" position regarding the nature of the universe.

nyysjan:

The term implicit atheism is used to define a person who is an atheist because they have never even heard of the concept of a god (babies, animals, rocks, depending on how wide a net you want to spread, may apply).

Atheism is a null position, because it is not a position in itself, it is a lack of position on a certain hypothesis (god), it does not require belief, evidence, or even awareness of the question.

Is there any value in the term "implicit atheism", then?

nyysjan:

If we can agree to use that definition of belief, then no, atheism does not require any sort of belief.

I kind of assumed atheism would require the belief that you can actually know, because everything else would be more appropriately called agnosticism.

Stephen Sossna:

nyysjan:

Were you born believing in god?

I have no belief in X.
That's a null position, because you have it before you are aware of the possibility of X.

I get what you mean, but I find this argument difficult to make with regard to the existance of a deity, beauce it is pretty central to how you make sense of the world around you. So I wonder if you can actually have a "null" position regarding the nature of the universe.

If you get what i mean, then why is it so hard to understand what i mean?
No, it might be central to how you make sense of the universe, or how many people make sense of the universe, but for lot of people, the whole idea never comes up.

And "Null Position" on the nature of the universe is "I/We don't know", the moment you say "God did it", you have made an assertion that you now need to demonstrate (to my knowledge, nobody has).

Stephen Sossna:

nyysjan:

The term implicit atheism is used to define a person who is an atheist because they have never even heard of the concept of a god (babies, animals, rocks, depending on how wide a net you want to spread, may apply).

Atheism is a null position, because it is not a position in itself, it is a lack of position on a certain hypothesis (god), it does not require belief, evidence, or even awareness of the question.

Is there any value in the term "implicit atheism", then?

Some.
It defines a certain type of atheism.
It's not a very important term, only really used when trying to explain why atheism is not a belief system (because there are no actual beliefs in it), because you kinda start out with it.

Stephen Sossna:

nyysjan:

If we can agree to use that definition of belief, then no, atheism does not require any sort of belief.

I kind of assumed atheism would require the belief that you can actually know, because everything else would be more appropriately called agnosticism.

Now i want to yell at you for mixing two simple, quite easy to understand, terms and concepts with each other.

Atheism and Theism are terms to handle whether or not someone accepts the claim that god exists.

Agnosticism and Gnosticism are terms that handle whether or not someone thinks they know or thinks it is possible to know, whether or not a god (or something else) exists.

Gnosticism is rarely used because it is also used to describe certain sects (not just christian sects) or practices in religion, and some religions seem to frown on saying you are not 100% sure about god existing.
So Agnosticism is mostly used by atheists when trying to explain they don't believe, or are not 100% sure, that god does not exist, or atheists trying to obfuscate the fact that they are atheists (sometimes reasonable course of actions, often just being stupid) because people have fucking insane ideas what the word means (THEY EAT BABIES).

nyysjan:

If you get what i mean, then why is it so hard to understand what i mean?
No, it might be central to how you make sense of the universe, or how many people make sense of the universe, but for lot of people, the whole idea never comes up.

And "Null Position" on the nature of the universe is "I/We don't know", the moment you say "God did it", you have made an assertion that you now need to demonstrate (to my knowledge, nobody has).

I get what you mean when you say that if you have never been exposed to a concept, the "null" position is one of disbelief (technically, anyways). I just assumed that, with regard to the idea of some kind of deity, you either assume one or the other. You can be ignorant to the fact that there is a question, but since you are exposed to the universe, you are going to make some kind of implicit assumptions about it's nature.

But maybe I am just unable to think outside of my own experience here.

nyysjan:

Some.
It defines a certain type of atheism.
It's not a very important term, only really used when trying to explain why atheism is not a belief system (because there are no actual beliefs in it), because you kinda start out with it.

It just seems to me that whenever you are actually talking about atheism, that atheism will be part of a belief system. So I am unsure why we need to state that, if you were either incapable of understanding or not exposed to the question, your default position would be atheism, if that is never the case in any practical discussion.

nyysjan:

Now i want to yell at you for mixing two simple, quite easy to understand, terms and concepts with each other.

Atheism and Theism are terms to handle whether or not someone accepts the claim that god exists.

Agnosticism and Gnosticism are terms that handle whether or not someone thinks they know or thinks it is possible to know, whether or not a god (or something else) exists.

Gnosticism is rarely used because it is also used to describe certain sects (not just christian sects) or practices in religion, and some religions seem to frown on saying you are not 100% sure about god existing.
So Agnosticism is mostly used by atheists when trying to explain they don't believe, or are not 100% sure, that god does not exist, or atheists trying to obfuscate the fact that they are atheists (sometimes reasonable course of actions, often just being stupid) because people have fucking insane ideas what the word means (THEY EAT BABIES).

There is no need to yell at me, I realize my mistake. While I techically understand the distinction between the two, I have trouble imagining someone who is both agnostic and identifies as atheist. That is if you don't believe it is possible to know, how would you make the statement either way? It seems to me you'd have to mentally flip a coin and accept the result, and I am not sure that is possible.

I guess my point is: While it's possible to be an atheist because that is the null position, actual people will not have that position. It's impossible to think "I am an atheist because that is the null position for someone who is not exposed to the question".

Stephen Sossna:

nyysjan:

If you get what i mean, then why is it so hard to understand what i mean?
No, it might be central to how you make sense of the universe, or how many people make sense of the universe, but for lot of people, the whole idea never comes up.

And "Null Position" on the nature of the universe is "I/We don't know", the moment you say "God did it", you have made an assertion that you now need to demonstrate (to my knowledge, nobody has).

I get what you mean when you say that if you have never been exposed to a concept, the "null" position is one of disbelief (technically, anyways). I just assumed that, with regard to the idea of some kind of deity, you either assume one or the other. You can be ignorant to the fact that there is a question, but since you are exposed to the universe, you are going to make some kind of implicit assumptions about it's nature.

But maybe I am just unable to think outside of my own experience here.

Just because people make "assumptions", does not make their assumptions the logical starting point, or even reasonable position to take.
Just because people make up bullshit stories (or believe in bullshit stories given to them) does not make those stories any way valid explanations.
Prevalence of stupidity, is no excuse for it.

If your argument here is that most people are religious, then yes, i would agree, but that has never been the point of my argument.
My point is, was, and will most likely remain, that atheism is not a faith based position, because it is a position that makes no assertions on the nature of anything.
And that is what null position means, and that is why is the starting point.

Stephen Sossna:

nyysjan:

Some.
It defines a certain type of atheism.
It's not a very important term, only really used when trying to explain why atheism is not a belief system (because there are no actual beliefs in it), because you kinda start out with it.

It just seems to me that whenever you are actually talking about atheism, that atheism will be part of a belief system. So I am unsure why we need to state that, if you were either incapable of understanding or not exposed to the question, your default position would be atheism, if that is never the case in any practical discussion.

There are plenty of terms that are not in regular use, because they are not often needed, that does not make the terms useless.
Implicit Atheism is especially useful in conversations where someone claims belief in god to be the natural state of being, and atheism an unnatural position.
As well as conversations on the nature and formation of religion and god concept.

Stephen Sossna:

nyysjan:

Now i want to yell at you for mixing two simple, quite easy to understand, terms and concepts with each other.

Atheism and Theism are terms to handle whether or not someone accepts the claim that god exists.

Agnosticism and Gnosticism are terms that handle whether or not someone thinks they know or thinks it is possible to know, whether or not a god (or something else) exists.

Gnosticism is rarely used because it is also used to describe certain sects (not just christian sects) or practices in religion, and some religions seem to frown on saying you are not 100% sure about god existing.
So Agnosticism is mostly used by atheists when trying to explain they don't believe, or are not 100% sure, that god does not exist, or atheists trying to obfuscate the fact that they are atheists (sometimes reasonable course of actions, often just being stupid) because people have fucking insane ideas what the word means (THEY EAT BABIES).

There is no need to yell at me, I realize my mistake. While I techically understand the distinction between the two, I have trouble imagining someone who is both agnostic and identifies as atheist. That is if you don't believe it is possible to know, how would you make the statement either way? It seems to me you'd have to mentally flip a coin and accept the result, and I am not sure that is possible.

I guess my point is: While it's possible to be an atheist because that is the null position, actual people will not have that position. It's impossible to think "I am an atheist because that is the null position for someone who is not exposed to the question".

1. I am an atheist.
2. I am an agnostic.
And i do not fucking flip a coin, mentally or otherwise and accept the result.
Nobody has shown me any compelling evidence to support a claim for existence of god, so i don't believe in one.
But just because there is no evidence does not mean i can be 100% certain about something, so i accept my lack of knowledge instead making bullshit claims i can't back up.

Just because i am unable to prove or know that god does not exist, is no fucking reason to believe in one.
Hell, i can't prove unicorns don't exist, i'm still don't believe in them, do you?
Are you willing to accept any explanation, no matter how ridiculous, unbelievable or unscientific, just because you don't know that it is not true?

For a while, read that last paragraph as you claiming that people can't be atheists.
And Atheism is the null position, FOR EVERYONE.
It is the position that does not make assertions.

And, just so you know, there are people who are atheists because it is the null position. They might not always start from there, or because it is the null position, but that is where they end up (even if they might not themselves use the exact words).
Logic goes something like this, you recognize that believing in something without a reason is silly, then you examine your belief in god, find yourself having no actual reason to believe, and BAM, atheist.

Stephen Sossna:

There is no need to yell at me, I realize my mistake. While I techically understand the distinction between the two, I have trouble imagining someone who is both agnostic and identifies as atheist. That is if you don't believe it is possible to know, how would you make the statement either way? It seems to me you'd have to mentally flip a coin and accept the result, and I am not sure that is possible.

I guess my point is: While it's possible to be an atheist because that is the null position, actual people will not have that position. It's impossible to think "I am an atheist because that is the null position for someone who is not exposed to the question".

Not at all. Consider this.

Lets take Russels teapot. My claim is there is a teapot behind jupiter that demands you do 30 starjumps RIGHT now or you die.

You would be wise to agree with me if i said "We cannot know there is no teapot there". So youre an agnostic, since you admit we cant know. However youre still not doing the 30 starjumps. Because even though you dont know either way theres no reason for you to waste energy doing 30 starjumps for any old random concept. So youre an atheist, you live as if the teapot doesnt exist. To me being an atheist is about living as though the god concepts are false, as in, not doing anything for a god i wouldnt do anyway. You can live as if the god claims are false and say you KNOW they are false or say you DONT know they false but dont wanna waste time on stuff you dont see a good reason to follow.

If an agnostic never prays, goes to church and lives a life idenitical to an agnostic atheist id consider that person an agnostic atheist.

Agnosticism/gnosticism is "knowing" if the teapot is there. Atheism/theism is deciding if you wanna do the starjumps. its possible to have any combination therein. This is my pet peeve too but I'll try and keep a lid on it :P Its alright, someone has to explain these concepts to everyone at some point.

nyysjan:

renegade7:

nyysjan:

And that's bullshit.
Atheism is not the belief there are no gods and not worshiping anything.
Atheism is the lack of the belief in a god, which is a very different kind of animal (worshiping things has nothing to do with anything, as long as the thing worshiped is not a god).

Which is a very off topic, but the erroneous usage of the term is one of my pet peeves.

That's what I said. Disbelief in gods and no theistic religion.

No, you did not.
you said Atheism is a belief that there is no god.
Which is different, not to mention wrong.

Atheism, at its core, is a null position, lacking both belief and disbelief (it is compatible with disbelief, or belief in no gods, but that is a separate issue).

A: Do you Believe is a god Yes/No
B: Do believe there is no god Yes/No

Your actual statement would have atheist answer Yes on B, and non atheist answering either Yes or No on A.
While actually, atheists would be answering No and A, and could answer either Yes or No and B.

It might sound like semantics to you, but it is actually a very huge difference once you start examining the positions given, and is a big issue of contention in atheism/theism debates where theists often make claims about atheistic position that are not true (like the statement you just made).

Actually, yea, it sounds like semantics because it IS semantics.

Theists accuse atheism of being a religion. I just said atheism is a position on religious belief, that is, my position on religion is that I do not have a religion. Not every belief is religious belief, so don't get the two confused.

If I said "My position on conservatism is that I am not conservative" would that make me "just another kind of conservative"? Absolutely not. My position on religion is that I am not religious and do not believe in a god, hence, I am an atheist. I think what you're describing is agnosticism, taking no position at all ("lacking belief and disbelief").

renegade7:

Actually, yea, it sounds like semantics because it IS semantics.

Theists accuse atheism of being a religion. I just said atheism is a position on religious belief, that is, my position on religion is that I do not have a religion. Not every belief is religious belief, so don't get the two confused.

If I said "My position on conservatism is that I am not conservative" would that make me "just another kind of conservative"? Absolutely not. My position on religion is that I am not religious and do not believe in a god, hence, I am an atheist. I think what you're describing is agnosticism, taking no position at all ("lacking belief and disbelief").

Well you think wrong.
What i am describing is not agnosticism (though i did describe it in one of my posts when quoting Stephen Sossna), but atheism.
Agnosticism/Gnosticism handles knowledge, while Atheism/Theism handles belief (or lack there of).

As for bolded, no, you did not.

Let me quote you again.

renegade7:

Atheism is a statement of belief, believing that there are no gods and not worshiping anything.

That bolded part right there, is where you claim that atheism is believing that there are no gods.
That is a false claim (the bit about not worshiping anything is also false btw).
Many atheists may believe that there are not god, but that is not what atheism is.

And no, it is not just semantics (well, it might be, in the non casual usage of the word), it merely seems so because you seem to not grasp the small, but very definite, difference between the two positions.

nyysjan:

renegade7:

Actually, yea, it sounds like semantics because it IS semantics.

Theists accuse atheism of being a religion. I just said atheism is a position on religious belief, that is, my position on religion is that I do not have a religion. Not every belief is religious belief, so don't get the two confused.

If I said "My position on conservatism is that I am not conservative" would that make me "just another kind of conservative"? Absolutely not. My position on religion is that I am not religious and do not believe in a god, hence, I am an atheist. I think what you're describing is agnosticism, taking no position at all ("lacking belief and disbelief").

Well you think wrong.
What i am describing is not agnosticism (though i did describe it in one of my posts when quoting Stephen Sossna), but atheism.
Agnosticism/Gnosticism handles knowledge, while Atheism/Theism handles belief (or lack there of).

As for bolded, no, you did not.

Let me quote you again.

renegade7:

Atheism is a statement of belief, believing that there are no gods and not worshiping anything.

That bolded part right there, is where you claim that atheism is believing that there are no gods.
That is a false claim (the bit about not worshiping anything is also false btw).
Many atheists may believe that there are not god, but that is not what atheism is.

And no, it is not just semantics (well, it might be, in the non casual usage of the word), it merely seems so because you seem to not grasp the small, but very definite, difference between the two positions.

I'm just gonna go with Wikipedia on this one:

"Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[3][4][5] Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist.[4][5][6][7] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[8][9] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.[9][10]"

Soooo I'm a little confused by your position. What am I supposed to call myself if I don't believe in any gods and don't have any religious or spiritual belief and don't follow worshipful practices? Because "atheist" sounds like a pretty good shorthand for that.

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