(Table of Contents)
by Cliff WalkerOriginal: August 13, 1999
Revision: October 6, 2000
1. What Is Atheism?
a. Regular Atheism.
i. Vilifying One-Fifth of Humanity.
ii. Noncognitivism: "The God Idea Makes No Sense."
iii. Three Coordinates of Atheism.
(1) Strong Compared To Weak.
(2) Definition Compared To Position.
(3) Claims versus "Deep" Reality.
iv. The Weak Definition: The Absence of Theism.
(1) Historical Precedence for the Weak Definition.
(2) The Meaning of the Word Atheism.
(3) The Meaninglessness of Word Meanings.
(4) Advantage Through Inclusiveness.
(5) Who Prefers the Strong Definition?
(6) When Theism Even Crosses Our Minds.
v. The Strong Position: "No Gods Exist."
(1) The Case for the Strong Position.
(2) Liberal Scientific Method and Philosophical Inquiry.
vi. Atheist As Vitriolic Smear Word.
b. The Philosophy of Positive Atheism.
i. Insisting upon Truthfulness: The Highest Ethic.
ii. Seeking a Dignified Expression of Atheism.
(1) Faith as a Product of Evolution.
(2) The Theist Has Reasons to Believe.
(3) The Atheist Who Wouldn't Evangelize.
(4) Standing Our Ground.
2. What Is Theism?
a. Our Use of the Word God.
b. Any Power Greater Than Ourselves?
c. Pantheism or Naturalistic Religion.
d. Universalism: Choose Your Own Theism.
e. Deism or Naturalistic Revelation.
f. Revealed Religion.
g. Traditional Concepts of Monotheism.
i. Monotheism and Polytheism.
ii. Monotheism Breeds Intolerance.
iii. Monotheism's Polytheistic Tendencies.
h. The Supernatural or Transcendent God.
i. The Unknowable God.
3. Discussing Atheism with Others.
a. The Presumption of Atheism.
b. Alternate Explanations.
c. Understanding the Word God.
d. Solidification and Isolation.
e. Sophistry: Logical and Rhetorical Fallacies; Faulty Reasoning.
i. Unacceptable or Insufficient Premises.
(1) Begging the Question.
(2) False Dichotomy.
(3) Straw Man.
(4) Reductio ad Absurdum (Slippery Slope).
(5) Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (False Cause).
(6) Non Sequitur (It Does Not Follow).
(7) Faulty Analogy.
(9) Hasty Generalization.
(10) Suppressed Evidence (Half-Truths).
ii. Irrelevant Premises.
(1) Ad Verecundiam (Appeal to Respect; Overreliance on Authorities).
(2) Appeal To Tradition.
(3) Ad Populum (Appeal to Popularity; Appeal to the Masses).
(4) Ad Hominem (Appeal To the Person).
(5) Genetic Fallacy.
(6) Appeal To Ignorance (Ad Ignorantiam).
(7) Argument from Adverse Consequences (Appeal to Fear).
(8) Special Pleading.
(9) Weasel Words; Oxymoronic Language.
(10) Strange Loops and Meaningless Questions.
iii. Misuse of Statistics.
(1) Observational Selection (Representativeness).
(2) Statistics of Small Numbers.
(3) Composition and Division.
(4) Misunderstanding of the Nature of Statistics.
iv. Problems in Pseudoscientific Thinking.
(1) Anecdotes Do Not Make a Science.
(2) Scientific Language Does Not Make a Science.
(3) Bold Statements Do Not Make Claims True.
(4) Heresy Does Not Equal Correctness.
(5) Rumors Do Not Equal Reality.