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- Look at these poor girls' feet, Samantha. How sad. They couldn't even figure out what a high heel designer shoe is for if they ever saw one.
- On the other hand, Carrie, I'm sure the boys must be very dextrous with their funny toes. Hmmm...
Meh, color me skeptical. As in Michio Goes To Hollywood.
Besides, I think they're using the wrong frequencies.
Is time travel possible? In this fascinating short documentary, director Jay Cheel explores the real-life theories behind the science of time travel and the strange subculture of enthusiasts who are obessed with it.
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Meet Rob Niosi, a hobbyist building his own full-scale home replica of H.G. Wells’ time machine.
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Do these people know something about the world that the rest of us don’t? Obsessed and Scientific is a quirky look at the intersection of science-fact and science-fiction.
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Paul writes: "The dictionary I use most often says denies the existence of God, but now I see another def using lack." Let's keep in mind that the word we're defining is "atheism," not "atheist" (which is another reason why Rocky's suggestion doesn't work). Yes, some sources may define atheism as the denial of the existence of God, but that construction, too, looks at the word from the theist's stubborn perspective. First, it presupposes God's existence; second, it casts the atheist's position as contrarian, which, in its simplest and purest form, it certainly is not. The "denial" definition places the atheist in the position of saying, "No, he does not!" to the theist's claim, "God exists." But that's mistaken, because the essence of atheism is belief; or rather, that is, its absence. The atheist does not necessarily assert that gods do not exist. Indeed, whether gods exist or not is beside the point. The atheist may be indifferent to the question of whether gods exist. He is simply without theistic belief. That's it.Michel, "shortage" doesn't work for the same reason "lack" doesn't work. What's more, a shortage of something is merely an insufficiency. By definition, when a shortage of a thing exists, there is usually some of it, but not enough. I realize this is a small point, but it is not an insignificant one. When we atheists define atheism as "the lack of belief in gods," we are unwittingly admitting that something necessary is missing in us. A lack is a deficiency.
When we say that atheism is "the lack of belief in gods," we are accepting the theists' pitying view of our attitude. Atheists are too often hesitant and apologetic about their views, but when it comes to defining the essence of our outlook on existence we should not compromise. We are not deficient in theistic belief. We are without theistic belief. George Smith (below) advocates the phrase "absence of belief," but that phrase does not belong to him, of course, and it predates his book by decades. As the language evolves, all dictionaries revise their entries periodically. Eventually, I'm sure, atheists sitting on dictionaries' usage panels will correct the obdurate and mistaken notion that many dictionaries persist in advancing when defining "atheism."
Rocky writes, "What's wrong with simply, 'an atheist is one who does not believe in a god or gods'?"
Nothing. But that's what "absence of belief" means--it means there is not a belief. It is not there. Period. Absence equals non-existence. When something is described as absent, there is absolutely no implication that it "should" be present.
In the phrase "lack of belief," by contrast, the pejorative connotation is plain and unarguable. A lack is deficiency--by definition. Therefore, one who lacks a belief in gods is missing something that is ostensibly needed. That's why the definition is flawed; it reflects an obvious bias.
Personally, I don't see a lot of improvement with "absence of" over "lack". Both imply something that "should" be there but that's missing.
What's wrong with simply, "an atheist is one who does not believe in a god or gods"?
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Posted by Brad Snowder on July 9, 2017 at 1:08am
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