Essay talk:A to Z for the Modern Skeptic

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Obviously a WiP. TyTy 12:15, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes. Feel free to suggest more. ADK...I'll acidify your entropy! 12:29, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
'C' -> Chewbacca defense. I'll think of a few more. TyTy 12:36, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
E=evidence TyTy 13:48, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
S = Statistically significant? or just Skepticism? TyTy 01:19, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Q = Quantum woo. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 21:21, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

X - Xenu? Rennie McGreet (talk) 20:47, 15 January 2012 (UTC)


Don't understand the Atheism section. It is confused. I think atheism is not a statement of what exists and what not exists, it is a statement of ethical necessity of the parsimonity of the understanding of the universe. I.e. erecting Occam's Razor to an ethics, or some similar. Rursus dixit (yada³!) 10:20, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Extending my theory: Atheism, as a system, also uses observations and repeatability as ethics (c.f. logical positivism), and since no repeatable observations of gods/God have been made, it is irrational (unsmart, suboptimized, unnatural) to believe in gods/God. It is not the gods/God themselves that are deemed irrational, it is the belief in them that is deemed irrational. Rursus dixit (yada³!) 10:43, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I've said elsewhere that "lack of belief in gods" and "belief that there are no gods" are technically synonymous: you circle the group of objects marked "supernatural deities that people worship" and tick the box marked "I don't believe these exist" and that idea is quite simple. I don't think you can complicate it any more by adding in anything else and say "this is what atheism is". Atheism, like religion too, is really a symptom rather than a root cause so it describes those not possessing a belief and nothing more, nothing less. Of course, this is just arguing the label and definition but this "does not possess a belief in gods" doesn't really extend very well. This is particularly evident when talking about implicit atheism, where someone isn't aware of the choice or even the concept of gods so simply can't be defined as a believer, but "atheist" wouldn't quite describe it properly.
As for separating out "existence" and "belief", well, there's nothing irrational about reality or anything external. Almost by definition it's only the "belief" that you can deem irrational. But that's because of how beliefs and reality - at least, should - be connected. A belief should generate an expectation, if reality doesn't meet that expectation then what you believe is simply wrong as it doesn't match reality - call maintaining that belief "irrational" if you like. But noting this kind of evidence/belief relationship isn't necessarily a property of what most people consider to be "atheism". Implicit non-belief pretty much by its definition cannot have had this sort of reason inform it. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 11:22, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I've probably changed my mind numerous times since writing that. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 11:46, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that "lack of belief in gods" and "belief that there are no gods" are some kind of dissimilar. It's easier to distinguish between X is unknown and X is known to be false. A "lack of belief in X" is more like an ambiguous statement including those two. Effectively both stances should imply I cannot act as if X is true, but regarding future discovery X is unknown and X is known to be false should motivate the notion-holder differently: the X is unknown could very well motivate the notion-holder to be observant of indications whether X is true or false, while X is known to be false would motivate the notion-holder to not search for indication that X is true. Let's say X is decidedly false, then it would be irrational and a waste of capacity to have the eyes open for the possibility that X is true. I.e. according to a perceived rationalist reasoning. Rursus dixit (yada³!) 10:41, 18 February 2012 (UTC)