So recently I did a post about Matt Dillahunty where he told a caller that he was wrong on the callers usage of the word “disbelief”. Now to clarify, in some colloquial dictionaries “disbelief” is described as either not having a belief or believing p is false. It is somewhat ambiguous in general usage, however in epistemology the word “disbelief” is held to be an epistemic status of believing p is false. (see my post “Matt Dillahunty tells a caller he is wrong about “disbelief”…when the caller was right.)
Ok, one could bicker about the semantics here and if someone wants to use a word one way they are of course more than allowed to do so, but I ask they least be consistent about it at the minimum. How can you profess to have a rational view on things if your system is internally inconsistent? Let me explain…
Matt during his phone call expresses to the caller that “disbelief” was “not assuming you’re right” and during a Facebook exchange Aron Ra expressed that “disbelief” was “lack of belief”…so to be clear here:
Matt Dillahunty: Disbelief = “not assuming you’re right”
Aron Ra: Disbelief = “lack of belief” and “A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.” which Aron accepts as “disbelieves” to be understood as “lack of belief”.
I also clarified this with Aron a few times and he even cited what he thought was a philosophical source…
Philosophical basics is not a “philosophical source” and in fact if Aron had bothered to read about the source it clearly points out the person who started the site had no philosophical training:
“A brief history of Philosophybasics.com
This website was originally created in 2008 as a personal project by Luke Mastin. He has no official training in philosophy, and this site is intended as an entry-level resource by a layman for the layman. ” (emphasis added)
This is however just an interesting side note here…the real point of this post was to ask if it is the case that:
Matt Dillahunty: Disbelief = “not assuming you’re wrong”
Aron Ra: Disbelief = “lack of belief”
then is American Atheist using it differently than a member of their board of directors and a regional director?
Aron insists disbelief is “lack of belief” and Matt said it is “not assuming you’re right”. So if we use those for what American Atheist says we end up with:
Atheism is not “lack of belief” and atheism is not “not assuming you’re right”.
So this rather leads me to a confused state. American atheist insists atheism is not a disbelief in Gods, but Aron insists it is the disbelief in Gods and going by Matt’s usage:
Atheism is not “not assuming you’re right” = Atheism is assuming you’re right? (double negative)
So if anyone wants to help clarify this as it seems Matt’s and Aron’s usage is at odds with American Atheists usage let me know. This is why I argue it makes more sense to have more precise use of these terms to avoid such ambiguity. (And in the literature, disbelief is held to be p is false…not merely not believing)
Contact me directly if you think you can sort this mess out…