This is some thing I wish more people would realize.

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Tags: Atheism, Picture

Comment by Unseen on January 24, 2013 at 11:46pm

Every disbelief is a belief by simply rephrasing. Example: "I have a disbelief in any god" becomes "I believe there are no gods." Semantically, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two. They make exactly the same assertion.

Comment by Unseen on January 24, 2013 at 11:51pm

@Jimmy - One has only to point out that atheism is based on science and (the lack of) evidence, whereas his belief is baseless and requires him to believe that the universe was made by a magical wizard.

Comment by Strega on January 25, 2013 at 12:19am

@Unseen - Not really.  You can't grammatically have a disbelief in no gods.  That would be a double negative and you would have to stand in the corner :)

Comment by Freek on January 25, 2013 at 2:39am

There is no logical conviction in having a belief based on an investigation. We just need to distinguish between reasonable beliefs based on the facts we know and beliefs people hold not based on facts at all.

Exactly, but not believing in something is not a belief system. When facts or reason lack, it is logical to not belief in something. And that, to me, in the case of God, is what Atheism is about.

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on January 25, 2013 at 3:00am

Example: "I have a disbelief in any god" becomes "I believe there are no gods." Semantically, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two. They make exactly the same assertion.

You're right that the conclusions are the same. The difference is how one arrives at the conclusion; via rejection or affirmation.

You can't grammatically have a disbelief in no gods.  That would be a double negative and you would have to stand in the corner :)

I do not not not not not not not not not not not not not believe in God.

Thus my disbelief in God is tied up in nots.

Comment by SteveInCO on January 25, 2013 at 10:23am

Hah, I had to count those to be sure you weren't a theist mole committing a Freudian slip and revealing more than you wanted us to know.

Comment by Unseen on January 25, 2013 at 6:25pm

@GM

Every affirmation can be rephrased as a semantically equivalent disaffirmation. 

The fact remains that there's a severe logical problem to say you've arrived  at a conclusion and then say "I don't believe that."

Comment by Unseen on January 25, 2013 at 6:54pm

@Strega

"I have a disbelief in no gods" makes perfect sense viewed as an elliptical sentence, and we all use elliptical sentences. An elliptical sentence is one with missing words. Some are easier to understand than others. For example, "What the f***!" is understood as meaning something like "What the f*** are you telling me?" or "What the f*** is this?" and we understand the meaning by filling in the missing words in our head based on context.

Your elliptical sentence, "I have a disbelief in no gods" means "I have a disbelief (in the idea that there are) no gods." This can simplified to "I believe there are gods," removing the double negation along the way. All you did was construct a grammatically confusing and poorly constructed expression of belief in gods, even if you didn't realize that was what you were doing.

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on January 25, 2013 at 7:30pm

The fact remains that there's a severe logical problem to say you've arrived  at a conclusion and then say "I don't believe that."

How would this apply to a three-year-old who has no concept of God?

Through his unawareness he neither believes in God nor has he arrived at any conclusion. That is soft atheism. 

What if someone else arrives at a conclusion that you don't believe?

Crackpot: God is real.
Me: I don't believe that.

Where is the severe logical problem?

What if you haven't reached a conclusion regarding God at all?

Crackpot: God is real.
Me: I don't know if I believe you or not.

The difference between hard atheism and soft atheism is a matter of how one arrives at the same conclusion so they are not semantically equivalent. Or in the case of soft atheism, the term may refer to the suspension or absense of any conclusion.

Comment by Unseen on January 25, 2013 at 8:42pm

The fact remains that there's a severe logical problem to say you've arrived at a conclusion and then say "I don't believe that."

How would this apply to a three-year-old who has no concept of God?

Through his unawareness he neither believes in God nor has he arrived at any conclusion. That is soft atheism.

What if someone else arrives at a conclusion that you don't believe?

Crackpot: God is real.
Me: I don't believe that.

Where is the severe logical problem?

What if you haven't reached a conclusion regarding God at all?

Crackpot: God is real.
Me: I don't know if I believe you or not.

I'm puzzled you misunderstood me so drastically. The relevant case would be more like this:

You: I've concluded that God doesn't exist.
You Again: I don't believe that, though.
Me: Why don't you believe your conclusion I find that rather hard to parse.

The difference between hard atheism and soft atheism is a matter of how one arrives at the same conclusion so they are not semantically equivalent. Or in the case of soft atheism, the term may refer to the suspension or absense of any conclusion.

I thought I knew what hard and soft atheism meant, and a little research bears me out. Here is how Wikipedia puts it:

Positive atheism (also called strong atheism and hard atheism) is the form of atheism that asserts that no deities exist. Negative atheism (also called weak atheism and soft atheism) is any other type of atheism, wherein a person does not believe in the existence of any deities, but does not explicitly assert there to be none. (source)

In other words, soft atheism is what I and others call atheist-agnosticism. We don't believe God exists, but we aren't closing our minds.

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