Atheists who love Science!

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Atheists who love Science!

A group for science enthusiasts of all types -- professionals, amateurs, students, anybody who loves science.

Website: http://www.thinkatheist.com/group/science
Members: 923
Latest Activity: on Wednesday

Discussion Forum

CuriosityStream, anyone?

Started by Pope Beanie. Last reply by Pope Beanie on Wednesday. 1 Reply

Neanderthals used fire in caves:

Started by JadeBlackOlive. Last reply by Unseen Jun 8. 8 Replies

Fossil Dog

Started by JadeBlackOlive. Last reply by Unseen Jun 8. 13 Replies

Pre-Clovis civilization in Florida

Started by JadeBlackOlive. Last reply by Belle Rose May 15. 4 Replies

Teeth vs. Tools

Started by JadeBlackOlive. Last reply by JadeBlackOlive Apr 28. 2 Replies

‘Trickle of food’

Started by JadeBlackOlive Apr 15. 0 Replies

Diet affects the evolution of birds

Started by JadeBlackOlive Apr 14. 0 Replies

How Dinosaurs Grew From Hatchlings to Adults

Started by JadeBlackOlive. Last reply by JadeBlackOlive Apr 6. 18 Replies

Think your DNA is all human?

Started by JadeBlackOlive. Last reply by SteveInCO Mar 27. 9 Replies

Small, Brainy T-Rex Discovered

Started by JadeBlackOlive Mar 14. 0 Replies

Fossil analysis pushes back human split

Started by JadeBlackOlive. Last reply by Reg The Fronkey Farmer Mar 11. 3 Replies

Mysterious cosmic radio bursts found to repeat

Started by JadeBlackOlive. Last reply by JadeBlackOlive Mar 3. 2 Replies

Jawless fish brains

Started by JadeBlackOlive. Last reply by JadeBlackOlive Feb 16. 4 Replies

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Comment by Pope Beanie on January 30, 2011 at 2:17am

Meh, color me skeptical. As in Michio Goes To Hollywood.

Besides, I think they're using the wrong frequencies.

Comment by Sydni Moser on January 29, 2011 at 10:12pm

Obsessed and Scientific - Documentary

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.

Meet Michio Kaku, world-renowned theoretical physicist and author of the book Hyperspace.

Meet Rob Niosi, a hobbyist building his own full-scale home replica of H.G. Wells’ time machine.

Meet Larry Haber, the entertainment lawyer representing the family of John Titor, an alleged time traveller from the year 2036.

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.

 

Watch this for FREE HERE:

Comment by Free Thought Monk on January 26, 2011 at 3:09pm
I thought we were all deposits of star-stuff, resulting from some sort of vacuum fluctuation creating something from nothing.  You are suggesting  we merely began in Africa?  Back to my science books I guess. lol
Comment by Don on January 20, 2011 at 8:54am

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."    

Comment by Pope Beanie on January 20, 2011 at 1:59am
Aha, I did not know this. The dictionary I use most often says denies the existence of God, but now I see another def using lack. Frack!
Comment by Pope Beanie on January 20, 2011 at 12:59am
Therefore, one who lacks a belief in gods is missing something that is ostensibly needed.
I'm actually not so sure about what Fred meant.
Comment by NuKrit on January 20, 2011 at 12:14am
Lol Don, that is some awesome dissection.  Good to know.
Comment by Don on January 19, 2011 at 8:45pm

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.

Comment by RockyTIJ on January 19, 2011 at 7:35pm

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"?

Comment by Don on January 19, 2011 at 6:01pm

Fred writes, "Take the definition of being an atheist.  What is it now.  All in Chorus.  Atheist: a person that lacks belief in gods or a God."

 

This common definition is NOT a definition that any atheist should accept.  

 

Please let me take this opportunity to point out here that it's a mistake for us (or anyone) to define atheism as a "lack of belief in gods."  Why?  Because that is the theists' definition of the word.  Many dictionaries offer this definition--but dictionaries are largely written by theists who fail to recognize their implicit bias. 

 

The word "lack" carries the connotation of deficiency, the sense that what is lacking is something to be desired. By definition, to lack something is to be in need of whatever one lacks.  Atheists know that belief in god is nothing to be desired.   We don't lack theistic belief; instead, we simply do not have it. 

 

The better and more accurate definition is: "the absence of [belief in] gods." It's from the Greek; "a" meaning "not" or "without," and "theism" meaning [belief in] gods.

 

As George Smith has written:

 

"Atheism, therefore, is the absence of theistic belief. One who does not believe in the existence of a god or supernatural being is properly designated as an atheist.  Atheism is sometimes defined as 'the belief that there is no God of any kind,' or the claim that a god cannot exist. While these are categories of atheism, they do not exhaust the meaning of atheism--and are somewhat misleading with respect to the basic nature of atheism. Atheism, in its basic form, is not a belief: it is the absence of belief. An atheist is not primarily a person who believes that a god does not exist, rather he does not believe in the existence of a god."

 

Atheism: The Case Against God (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1989)
 

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