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3 AM Philosophy

If ~Bp is held as atheism, then ~B~p can be held as theism else you are guilty of special pleading.

“Weak Atheist Special Pleading Argument”
(WASP argument)

I wanted to see if I could simplify my atheist special pleading argument because people have once again been talking about it. This is a little more explanatory I think, with a much more succinct summation at the end.

As simplified as I can make the argument:

If ¬Bp is held as atheism, then ¬B¬p can be held as theism else you are guilty of special pleading.

*JUMP TO BOTTOM TO SKIP ALL THE LOGICAL STEPS TO JUST GET TO THE SUMMATION OF THE ARGUMENT*

Given the general form of φ V ¬φ

Then given any proposition p you have p V ¬p

This means it is the case that p is True (p) or (V) is not-True (¬p).
“not-True” here being synonymous with False.

p V ~p is simply therefore saying that it is the case that p is either True or it is the case that p is False.

Given the predication of belief, where B is “Believes” or “Believes that” then is either the case that you believe p (Bp) or it is not the case that you believe p (¬Bp).

Given then the form φ V ¬φ:

Then if φ =Bp:
φ V ¬φ
(Bp) V ¬(Bp)
Bp V ¬Bp

The scope of the negation therefore is it is the case that you believe p or Bp or it is not the case that you believe p (¬Bp).

Now suppose p=”God exists”. It is either the case that p=”God exists” or ¬p=”it is not the case God exists” or ¬p=”God does not exist”.

Given it is generally accepted that if you believe God exists you’re a theist then:

Bp = “Believes that God exists”

and If one does not believe p then by shown above one must hold to ¬Bp then:

¬Bp = “Does not believe that God exists”

Theism would then Bp=”Believes that God exist” and the non-acceptance of Bp would be ¬Bp which is often referred to as “weak atheism” or merely “lacking a belief that God exists”.

You now have:

Theism= Bp = “Believes that God exists”
Weak atheism = ¬Bp = “Does not believe God exists”

Some people wish to refer to weak atheism as merely atheism where “weak” case here just refers to holding to a position of “does not believe” (¬Bp)

Atheism = Weak atheism = ¬Bp = “Does not believe God exists”

Given then ¬p=”God does not exist” and “weak” referring to merely holding a position of “does not believe” then not believing ¬p would be ¬B¬p.

Then ¬B¬p would mean “does not believe that God does not exist”.

Since “weak” is a position of “does not believe” then if one does not accept the negation of p that “God does not exist” then ¬B¬p would be “weak” theism.

B¬p entails ¬Bp logically (If you believe “God does not exist” you “do not Believe God does exist”.
So B¬p must also be atheism in what is called the “strong” case.

Conclusion:

Theism (strong) = Bp = “Believes that God exists”
Weak atheism = ¬Bp = “Does not believe God exists”

Atheism (strong) = B¬p = “Believes that God does not exists”
Weak theism = ¬B¬p = “Does not believe God does not  exists”

If someone wishes to claim weak atheism as atheism then someone else can also claim that weak theism as “theism” and to deny them otherwise is simply being guilty of special pleading.

______________________________

*Summation with out all the logic steps:*

If strong atheism (B¬p) is “Believes that God does not exist”
then weak atheism (¬Bp) would be “Does not believe God exist”.

Then strong theism is (Bp) “Believes that God does exist”
then weak theism (¬B¬p) would be “Does not believe God does not exist”

If one asserts weak atheism (¬Bp) is to be held as “atheism”
Then someone else can assert that weak theism (¬B¬p) is to be held as “theism”

If you deny them that then you are guilty of special pleading.

3 comments
  1. Atheism, Theism and Agnosticism: Square of Opposition and Semantic Collapse (Short version) – Great Debate Community™

    […] If atheists label “weak atheism” (~Bsg) as atheism, instead of the normative Bs~g, theist can rename the subcontrariety of “weak theism” (~Bs~g) as theism, and by failing to allow them to do so you’re guilty of special pleading. (See WASP argument: https://greatdebatecommunity.com/2020/02/27/if-bp-is-held-as-atheism-then-bp-can-be-held-as-theism…) […]

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