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The Definitional Thread

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    (Original post by RamocitoMorales)
    Those are agnostics mate. Atheists assert their beliefs.
    Wrong. Atheists do not believe in God, they DON'T believe that no God exists. I know they sound similar but they mean very different things.

    Also note that they can overlap.
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    (Original post by sicarius1992)
    What about the agnostic atheists?
    Most athiests are agnostic atheists. I am.
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    (Original post by Sereni)
    Most athiests are agnostic atheists. I am.
    I know, so am I. That last post was in response to another user.
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    (Original post by sicarius1992)
    I know, so am I. That last post was in response to another user.
    lol ok. I guess I go into autoreply mode when I see that kind of post. It really infurieates me if people start not only forcing their religion on my but also telling me what I believe. Some people just cant separate the idea of rejecting a believe and beliving the opposite. I just wanna shout that I DONT believe in NO god, is different than I DO NOT believe in god.
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    (Original post by RamocitoMorales)
    Those are agnostics mate. Atheists assert their beliefs.
    What beliefs? We simply think that you shouldn't believe in super natural beings called gods, for which there is no evidence.

    This is simply following straightforward logic, which escapes most theists.
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    (Original post by Sereni)
    lol ok. I guess I go into autoreply mode when I see that kind of post. It really infurieates me if people start not only forcing their religion on my but also telling me what I believe. Some people just cant separate the idea of rejecting a believe and beliving the opposite. I just wanna shout that I DONT believe in NO god, is different than I DO NOT believe in god.
    *High five* I do the same a lot, like trying to get people to understand what agnosticism actually is.
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    I was thinking about the common misconception that Atheists all assert "God does not exist" and that Agnostics assert "I don't know whether God does or does not exist". Why do people have these common misconceptions?
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    (Original post by Sereni)
    lol ok. I guess I go into autoreply mode when I see that kind of post. It really infurieates me if people start not only forcing their religion on my but also telling me what I believe. Some people just cant separate the idea of rejecting a believe and beliving the opposite. I just wanna shout that I DONT believe in NO god, is different than I DO NOT believe in god.
    You do realise that wrong in itself? I DON'T believe in NO God is a double negative, effectively saying "I believe in a God" and I DO NOT believe in God simply means you lack a belief in God. Isn't the distinction you are trying to make is "I do not believe in God" and "There is no God"?
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    (Original post by Facticity)
    "I do not believe in God" and "There is no God"?
    Even so, I treat these two statements the same tbh, I don't see what that fuss is about. Some Atheists like to stress that they simply lack belief rather than affirming that there is no God, but when you hear the same Atheists comparing the existence of God with that of the toothfairy, I think they're making it pretty damn clear that they affirm that there is no God. To say otherwise is just pedantic bigotry in my opinion.
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    (Original post by Facticity)
    You do realise that wrong in itself? I DON'T believe in NO God is a double negative, effectively saying "I believe in a God" and I DO NOT believe in God simply means you lack a belief in God. Isn't the distinction you are trying to make is "I do not believe in God" and "There is no God"?
    A double negative does not mean the same thing as if there were no negatives at all. I meant that I do not believe in God is distinct from I believe in no God.
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    (Original post by Sereni)
    A double negative does not mean the same thing as if there were no negatives at all. I meant that I do not believe in God is distinct from I believe in no God.
    Yes it does, basic english... A double negative makes the positive, that is all, you're playing with linguisitics here :curious:
    Your last distinction however does make sense in terms of language however they effectively mean the same thing. The negative of "no" simply moves around in the sentence making the compound product the exact same. Simple logic.
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    (Original post by slawaccess23)
    Even so, I treat these two statements the same tbh, I don't see what that fuss is about. Some Atheists like to stress that they simply lack belief rather than affirming that there is no God, but when you hear the same Atheists comparing the existence of God with that of the toothfairy, I think they're making it pretty damn clear that they affirm that there is no God. To say otherwise is just pedantic bigotry in my opinion.
    There is a difference, and I remember we debated this before. There is a difference and a very clear one. Your lack of acceptance does not change language and your sight that "If you do not believe in God, it all means the same thing" is wrong. Simple language and simple logic. I do not believe in God simply means a lack of belief in God however an acceptance there can be one and perhaps is one. "There is no God" simply means... well exactly what it says! That there is no God and there cannot be a God. Clear distinction! The former simply lacks belief (like the troubled believer) and the latter thinks the idea of God is ridiculous and illogical. The former accepts God can and might believe, the latter sees God as a nonsensical idea.

    EDIT: I would like to say however I agree with you that a lot of people who claim to be the former i.e. Agnostic Atheists are secretly Positive Atheists mascarading under the veil of rationality. Unadmittently, I would agree many people are a lot more conservative in their atheistic beleiefs.
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    (Original post by Facticity)
    There is a difference, and I remember we debated this before. There is a difference and a very clear one. Your lack of acceptance does not change language and your sight that "If you do not believe in God, it all means the same thing" is wrong. Simple language and simple logic. I do not believe in God simply means a lack of belief in God however an acceptance there can be one and perhaps is one. "There is no God" simply means... well exactly what it says! That there is no God and there cannot be a God. Clear distinction! The former simply lacks belief (like the troubled believer) and the latter thinks the idea of God is ridiculous and illogical. The former accepts God can and might believe, the latter sees God as a nonsensical idea.
    I know exactly what you are saying, I'm not denying anything of what you said. I'm simply saying that in formal debates it makes no tangible difference because neither (usually the case) are willing to accept much of the 'evidences' provided, I might be accused of over-generalizing on this matter. In particular though, those who think its wise to draw analogies between a unicorn and God are not covering themselves in glory by later portraying themselves as people in state where they simply lack belief. And of course there are others that are the most hostile to the concept of a Creator, I don't think I would pencil them in the "lack of belief" section, no matter what they say. Their words speak volumes, but this just my opinion. From my experiences, it makes no practical difference. the distinction does not benefit anybody. Perhaps it provides solace to those who deny God but need some sort of plan B! God knows it won't make difference, the beliefs are as concerning as each other.
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    (Original post by slawaccess23)
    I know exactly what you are saying, I'm not denying anything of what you said. I'm simply saying that in formal debates it makes no tangible difference because neither (usually the case) are willing to accept much of the 'evidences' provided, I might be accused of over-generalizing on this matter. In particular though, those who think its wise to draw analogies between a unicorn and God are not covering themselves in glory by later portraying themselves as people in state where they simply lack belief. And of course there are others that are the most hostile to the concept of a Creator, I don't think I would pencil them in the "lack of belief" section, no matter what they say. Their words speak volumes, but this just my opinion. From my experiences, it makes no practical difference. the distinction does not benefit anybody. Perhaps it provides solace to those who deny God but need some sort of plan B! God knows it won't make difference, the beliefs are as concerning as each other.
    Fair enough, I could accept that. See my edit above.
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    (Original post by Facticity)
    You do realise that wrong in itself? I DON'T believe in NO God is a double negative, effectively saying "I believe in a God" and I DO NOT believe in God simply means you lack a belief in God.
    If we're being strict about logic, the following:
    A: I don't believe in no God
    B: I believe in a God
    are different. You can't just move negatives around to pair them up and cancel them out. A includes the statament "I have no belief" or "I make no claim". B doesn't. B implies A but A doesn't imply B.

    BTW, I'm assuming A is the same as "I don't believe that there is no God". Rather than if it were perhaps said with a bit of a southern US accent: "I don't believe in no God" as an abuse of language really meaning "I don't believe in God". In that case, A and B are a statement and its negation and couldn't be more different!

    (Original post by slawaccess23)
    Even so, I treat these two statements the same tbh, I don't see what that fuss is about. Some Atheists like to stress that they simply lack belief rather than affirming that there is no God, but when you hear the same Atheists comparing the existence of God with that of the toothfairy, I think they're making it pretty damn clear that they affirm that there is no God. To say otherwise is just pedantic bigotry in my opinion.
    An important point to remember is that such atheists wouldn't claim there is no toothfairy either! It can't be ruled out until you've turned over every stone in the universe and checked. In fact, the place you see this kind of comparason is in response to "You can't disprove God. Therefore he exists". The response makes the view on toothfaries crystal clear: "You can't disprove toothfaries either".

    (Original post by Facticity)
    Your last distinction however does make sense in terms of language however they effectively mean the same thing. The negative of "no" simply moves around in the sentence making the compound product the exact same. Simple logic.
    Actually, you've mixed up everyday language and the strict logical view. In everyday language, "I believe not X" and "I don't believe X" may be seen as the same. But in strict logic, they're not. Maybe negatives can move around the sentence to cancel in everyday language, but in "simple logic" it's generally not allowed. It may be viewed as unnecessary pedantry but without it, it becomes impossible for a weak atheist to answer the simple yes/no question "do you believe in a god / gods?" without being miscategorised on what many view as an important point!

    In fact, from your next post, I think you do agree that logically there is a distinction. So that's cool.
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    (Original post by SsEe)
    If we're being strict about logic, the following:
    A: I don't believe in no God
    B: I believe in a God
    are different. You can't just move negatives around to pair them up and cancel them out. A includes the statament "I have no belief" or "I make no claim". B doesn't. B implies A but A doesn't imply B.
    Nope, difference premise (when the statements are broken down) form a compound which in their entirety, A & B mean the same thing. The two "don't" and "no" effectively cancel producing the statement "I believe in a God". You can move negations around, its the basic synthesis of language. Again, A makes a claim by the negatives or to put it into your words "I don't make no claim" meaning "I make a claim". Simple. B implies A and A implies B. I struggle to see why you say they are not the same.

    Actually, you've mixed up everyday language and the strict logical view. In everyday language, "I believe not X" and "I don't believe X" may be seen as the same. But in strict logic, they're not. Maybe negatives can move around the sentence to cancel in everyday language, but in "simple logic" it's generally not allowed. It may be viewed as unnecessary pedantry but without it, it becomes impossible for a weak atheist to answer the simple yes/no question "do you believe in a god / gods?" without being miscategorised on what many view as an important point!
    It is allowed, in fact in logic it is much more apparent than in logic. Seeing as logic is just a collaboration of simple symbols, the negation can be moved around anywhere (obviously the sentence still has to make sense). The statement in logic and language "I DON'T believe in NO God" and "I BELIEVE in God" are the same. In logic, the confusing plethora of words and meaning are not there so in terms of symbols it literally is simple axioms. The axiom being 2 negatives make the positive (language = logic) Therefore they are the same.

    In fact, from your next post, I think you do agree that logically there is a distinction. So that's cool.
    I think you have confused my position. I know there is a definite atheist and agnostic atheist distinction however, the sentences discussed in the first part of this post are the same.
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    (Original post by Facticity)
    Nope, difference premise (when the statements are broken down) form a compound which in their entirety, A & B mean the same thing. The two "don't" and "no" effectively cancel producing the statement "I believe in a God". You can move negations around, its the basic synthesis of language. Again, A makes a claim by the negatives or to put it into your words "I don't make no claim" meaning "I make a claim". Simple. B implies A and A implies B. I struggle to see why you say they are not the same.

    It is allowed, in fact in logic it is much more apparent than in logic. Seeing as logic is just a collaboration of simple symbols, the negation can be moved around anywhere (obviously the sentence still has to make sense). The statement in logic and language "I DON'T believe in NO God" and "I BELIEVE in God" are the same. In logic, the confusing plethora of words and meaning are not there so in terms of symbols it literally is simple axioms. The axiom being 2 negatives make the positive (language = logic) Therefore they are the same.
    Certainly ¬¬X is equivalent to X. That's two negatives cancelling. You may call that an axiom. When I did logic, I actually derived it from another set of axioms. But that doesn't say anything about moving the ¬ symbol around. You can cancel a pair of them when they're next to each other, but you just can't move them around however you like! For example, here are two equivalent statements:
    For all X, Y is true.
    There is no X such that Y is false.

    or in logic speak:

    (\forall x) y
    \neg (\exists x) \neg y

    By your claim that you can move the not signs around how you like and cancel them in pairs, the second statment can be written
    \neg \neg (\exists x) y
    which is the same as
    (\exists x) y

    Well.....
    (\forall x) y and (\exists x) y are definitely not the same! For starters, why have two symbols for the same thing? For a concrete example, suppose x can be a natural number and y is a statement saying x is a prime number. Certainly there exist natural numbers that are prime so the latter statement is true. But not all natural numbers are prime. So the former isn't true. So the two aren't equivalent.
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    (Original post by SsEe)
    Certainly ¬¬X is equivalent to X. That's two negatives cancelling. You may call that an axiom. When I did logic, I actually derived it from another set of axioms. But that doesn't say anything about moving the ¬ symbol around. You can cancel a pair of them when they're next to each other, but you just can't move them around however you like! For example, here are two equivalent statements:
    For all X, Y is true.
    There is no X such that Y is false.

    or in logic speak:

    (\forall x) y
    \neg (\exists x) \neg y

    By your claim that you can move the not signs around how you like and cancel them in pairs, the second statment can be written
    \neg \neg (\exists x) y
    which is the same as
    (\exists x) y

    Well.....
    (\forall x) y and (\exists x) y are definitely not the same! For starters, why have two symbols for the same thing? For a concrete example, suppose x can be a natural number and y is a statement saying x is a prime number. Certainly there exist natural numbers that are prime so the latter statement is true. But not all natural numbers are prime. So the former isn't true. So the two aren't equivalent.
    lol way over my head. Personally I just wanted to draw a distinction between not believing in something and believing that that no such thing exists. Basically my point was that a lack of belief is not the same as a belief in the opposite direction. I don't believe this glass is full is not the same as I believe it is empty. While the latter could be true if the former is true, and is implied by the former, it does not have to be true.

    Anyway I was just saying I am not closed to the possibility.
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    (Original post by Sereni)
    lol way over my head. Personally I just wanted to draw a distinction between not believing in something and believing that that no such thing exists. Basically my point was that a lack of belief is not the same as a belief in the opposite direction. I don't believe this glass is full is not the same as I believe it is empty. While the latter could be true if the former is true, and is implied by the former, it does not have to be true.

    Anyway I was just saying I am not closed to the possibility.
    Yep. I completely agree with you. The two statements you originally said:
    I don't believe that God doesn't exist
    and
    I believe that God exists

    capture that (though in an ever so slightly indirect way). In fact, I didn't spot this as a quick explanation for Facticity.

    (Original post by Facticity)
    ...
    Saying X and Y are equivalent is exactly the same as saying that not X and not Y are equivalent. We can see this with logic tables if you like (let's see how this formatting goes!)

    X | Y | (X<=>Y)
    T | T | T
    T | F | F
    F | T | F
    F | F | T

    X | Y | (¬X<=>¬Y)
    T | T | T
    T | F | F
    F | T | F
    F | F | T

    The tables are the same. So (X<=>Y) and (¬X<=>¬Y) are logically equivalent.

    Take X to be "I believe there is a god", Y to be "I don't believe there is no god". These are the statements we're discussing. You think they're equivalent. So let's go with that.

    Well if you accept (X<=>Y) then you're forced to accept (¬X<=>¬Y). But what's that?

    ¬X is "I don't believe there is a god"
    ¬Y is "I believe there is no god". (by a genuine double negative!)

    But you've already said that you think these statements are distinct. And I agree with you. They are distinct. But at the moment, you're contradicting yourself because you think X and Y are equivalent. Ah!
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    (Original post by SsEe)
    Certainly ¬¬X is equivalent to X. That's two negatives cancelling. You may call that an axiom. When I did logic, I actually derived it from another set of axioms. But that doesn't say anything about moving the ¬ symbol around. You can cancel a pair of them when they're next to each other, but you just can't move them around however you like! For example, here are two equivalent statements:
    For all X, Y is true.
    There is no X such that Y is false.

    or in logic speak:

    (\forall x) y
    \neg (\exists x) \neg y

    By your claim that you can move the not signs around how you like and cancel them in pairs, the second statment can be written
    \neg \neg (\exists x) y
    which is the same as
    (\exists x) y
    I don't want to sound rude here, because I am really not trying to be rude, however I am struggling to see what this has to do with the conversation
    Why are we talking about for all X? And why is the inference Y being true? What do the two stand for?

    Well.....
    (\forall x) y and (\exists x) y are definitely not the same! For starters, why have two symbols for the same thing? For a concrete example, suppose x can be a natural number and y is a statement saying x is a prime number. Certainly there exist natural numbers that are prime so the latter statement is true. But not all natural numbers are prime. So the former isn't true. So the two aren't equivalent.
    You have actually reineforced my point. I was speaking simply in terms of thew logic and the relation between proposition and symbol, not to do with the semantics. "So sayign X is... and Y is .... therefore this does or does not work" is not my point, I was merely pointing out how the compound statement works. Which as you have shown, you can simply move the negation around and it will make the same thing. In logic saying " not X not, Y" is the same as " not not X, Y" which is what you illustrated above. That is all I was commenting on, the symbol relationship. Wherein the manipulation of the negation renders the statement degenerate (the same).

    (Original post by Sereni)
    lol way over my head. Personally I just wanted to draw a distinction between not believing in something and believing that that no such thing exists. Basically my point was that a lack of belief is not the same as a belief in the opposite direction. I don't believe this glass is full is not the same as I believe it is empty. While the latter could be true if the former is true, and is implied by the former, it does not have to be true.

    Anyway I was just saying I am not closed to the possibility.
    I understood that and I fully accept it. I acknowledge the distinction between agnostic atheist and atheist however I do not acknowledge the difference between "I DON'T BELIEVE in NO GOD" and "I BELIEVE in a God." Logically they are the same thing.

    (Original post by SsEe)
    Saying X and Y are equivalent is exactly the same as saying that not X and not Y are equivalent. We can see this with logic tables if you like (let's see how this formatting goes!)

    X | Y | (X&lt;=&gt;Y)
    T | T | T
    T | F | F
    F | T | F
    F | F | T

    X | Y | (¬X&lt;=&gt;¬Y)
    T | T | T
    T | F | F
    F | T | F
    F | F | T

    The tables are the same. So (X&lt;=&gt;Y) and (¬X&lt;=&gt;¬Y) are logically equivalent.
    I am quite aware of truth tables

    Take X to be &quot;I believe there is a god&quot;, Y to be &quot;I don't believe there is no god&quot;. These are the statements we're discussing. You think they're equivalent. So let's go with that.
    Aha! Heres where the confusion stems. I was talking about, as I said before, I am discussing simple proposition and negation not compound statements. If we break down a statement with the negation inside, we can actually move the negation to produce the same result. Your "X" and "Y" here are compound statement, so what you are talking about is a complex sentence comprising of 2 compounds already formed. The logic of that statement is dependent upon the truth value of the individual compounds which is itself reliant upon the truth of the relation between the propostions and negations.

    Well if you accept (X&lt;=&gt;Y) then you're forced to accept (¬X&lt;=&gt;¬Y). But what's that?

    ¬X is &quot;I don't believe there is a god&quot;
    ¬Y is &quot;I believe there is no god&quot;. (by a genuine double negative!)

    But you've already said that you think these statements are distinct. And I agree with you. They are distinct. But at the moment, you're contradicting yourself because you think X and Y are equivalent. Ah!
    Here is where the confusion I described above comes into effect. The truth of these statements are dependent upon the truth value of the individual compounds which are iin themselves reliant upon the truth of the relartion between the propostions and negations. Therefore here we are not talking about logic but semantics. Rather you should take X = I believe and Y = there is God. By saying "I don't believe there is no God" it comes as  \lnot x \lnot y which inversly translates to  x y "I believe there is a God".

    This is my point, the double negative gives the inverse of the statement which translates to the positive statement. Perhaps I am failing to elucidate my point as well as I could, sorry.

    Also I have no qaulms about those two statements being distinct, so I am not sure why we are arguing.

    I was sayign "I DON'T believe in NO God" is the same as "I BELIEVE in God". Not the two you present immediately above.

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