Aronra Atheism and Rocks
I feel [Ra|Aron] is wrong in considering rocks to be atheists but I can understand why he would say this which it seems apparent you do as well so no need to get into that but my take is in order to be atheist you would first have to be aware of what a theist is, and then doubt or deny those claims. Of course a lot of this depends on how one defines atheist and there is debate as to that you know all too well and I am fully aware of your take from reading your paper and just from videos.
Obviously any object or animal or fetus etc is not able to understand what a theist is and hence it is absurd to suggest they are atheist. I am aware you consider a definition as you say is mostly used in philosophy and scholastically but realize what many on youtube consider “common” are not philosophers or from a scholastic background and I would think you are aware how most if not all youtube atheists define the term/label. One who lacks belief in a god or gods and varies on a spectrum up to knowledge claims of gods non existence. I am going by what you would probably hate which is anyone who does not answer “yes” to the “do you believe in god” question is to some degree atheist.
I understand why you don’t accept that but try to see this from the world view of those who do which is like 99% of your average youtube atheists up to and including AronRA and Matt Dillahunty And many of us really get our views from them and have for many years and they can be quite persuasive. And also when you google “atheist” most of the definitions and including the first one that comes up will be and I quote “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.” But note this also disputes Aron’s and a few others take because it explicitly says “a person”. So a rock is out.
I do believe Matt does not take that view and you really need to do a lot of manipulation of reason to take a stand that inanimate objects are atheist or any “ist” for that matter. It really is absurd.
That said, try to understand the reason why they define atheist as such and as you have said before is only for political reasons and you are right, but this is bigger then you, or me, or Aron, or Matt or the ACA. We have a problem with this country on so many levels due to the religious right be it anti science, anti vaxers, climate change deniers, Karans, Chuds, Neo Nazis, KKK, those who want to take away womans and others equal rights and like Trump basically want us to be back in the 1950’s and under fascist rule and teach YEC in public schools as an alternative to evolution and that is just the beginning.
Next there will be courses in flat earth as an alternative to cosmology and geology and astronomy lol. And physics will be considered an outlawed religion. Of course I am stretching it here but I think you know where I am coming from and why it might be worth some concessions and a “choose your battles wisely” kind of thing is to cause friction in a community that has much larger consequences to the planet and people then which definitions we choose over a word or the reasons we have for not wanting to associate with a label because another with less of a stigma still essentially means the same thing which is “I don’t believe in god”.
Aron is a bit obsessed with “truth” so he can be unreasonable if he thinks anyone is lying or feels he is and that is just a really touchy situation because he has been invaluable in other areas and dealing with what is going on in the schools in Texas and trying to fight a system that want to push us back to the freaking dark ages. So he can be over passionate and even unreasonable which I can’t defend but I would ask him where he is getting any definition or the word atheist that implies it can apply to anything but a person able to understand why they are not a theist.
Steve Mcrae Backlash
It’s easy to get swept up in the attitude of a crowd. Many internet atheists hate Steve, but this comes down to how many of us atheists see ourselves. Atheism is just supposed to be a position on a topic, but we are frequently telling each other atheists are more smart and rational and logical and moral etc than theists. This builds a bit of a cognitive bias that ‘I am an atheist, therefore I am rational and logical, therefore anything I say is rational and logical, therefore this person must be using logic wrong’.
Aron wants more atheists because he’s fighting political battles and needs more numbers. I understand this, I do. But most non-theists don’t want creationism taught in schools either. Not only has his ‘rocks are atheist’ annoyed the non-theists that do not like his prescriptivism, but many atheist find his comment foolish too. Not all, of course, there are some that follow him blindly and accept everything he says without question.
Aron Ra Loses
In response to Steve McRae definition of atheist and agnostic I often see people attempting to counter it by citing the dictionary. This is a textbook example of the appealing to dictionary fallacy.
Appealing to definition fallacy (also known as: appeal to the dictionary, victory by definition)
Description: Using a dictionary’s limited definition of a term as evidence that term cannot have another meaning, expanded meaning, or even conflicting meaning. This is a fallacy because dictionaries don’t reason; they simply are a reflection of an abbreviated version of the current accepted usage of a term, as determined by argumentation and eventual acceptance. In short, dictionaries tell you what a word meant, according to the authors, at the time of its writing, not what it meant before that time, after, or what it should mean.
Dictionary meanings are usually concise, and lack the depth found in an encyclopedia; therefore, terms found in dictionaries are often incomplete when it comes to helping people to gain a full understanding of the term.