AronRa and Words – “The Details are Everything”

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."
-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

In my experience, if you can't say what you mean, you can never mean what you say. The details are everything.
-- Lord Durano, Babylon 5: “Into the Fire”

Words, their meanings, their usages and implications are frequently the subject of arguments all their own, when dealing with the issue of beliefs and believers. With sufficiently indistinct or nebulous definitions, many theists will look for wiggle room or vagaries to avoid the ultimate meaninglessness of the belief system they stake so much on.

This situation has not escaped the attention of AronRa. In discussion and debate, he regularly spells out his terms and their meaning with specificity so well focused that many of his opponents may realize ahead of time that, referring to what Humpty Dumpty said above, he means to be the master of those words or at least declare the specific sense in which he uses them. I suspect that Aron has had to do this so often that he has many of these critical definitions memorized verbatim.

Back in 2012, Aron was good enough to record several of the most used terms involved in the discussion of matters religious and spiritual, along with his take on their meaning. The link above gives the full list; some of the more notable words and definitions follow:

  • Atheist: One who is not convinced that any actual deities really exist.
  • Apistevist: one who eschews or rejects faith as a method for knowing things.
  • God: (1) A magical anthropomorphic immortal, central to most religions, typically a primarily spiritual being whose continued existence may be independent of whichever physical form(s) it may choose. (2) The name by which the sole or dominant divinity is known by virtually major religions: Hindu, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikh, and even some Buddhists where applicable.
  • Knowledge: Justified belief as contrasted with speculation or conjecture; a demonstrable and measurably accurate understanding of -or familiarity with- a given subject, topic, or study.
  • Belief: Something one may hold to be true even if they cannot show it to be true –regardless of their level of conviction or experience.
  • Reason: [1] The use of logic and evidence as opposed to emotion. Being reasonable, able to be reasoned with, willing to correct one’s position if given good reason to do so. [2] An evident explanation, facts compelling rational consideration of specific conclusions over those that are neither indicated nor supported by evidence, or which are disputed by the evidence.
  • Rationalism: A secular perspective that belief should be restricted only to that which is directly- supportable by logic or evidence, that while many things may be considered possible, nothing should be believed to be true unless positively and empirically indicated.
  • Fact: A point of data which is either not in dispute, or is indisputable in that it is objectively verifiable.

I am nowhere near as facile as Aron is with these words, any more than I approach his skill at frustrating those who would test his depth of understanding of atheism and theism. Still, you know that old joke about how you get to Carnegie Hall, right?

Practice, practice, practice.

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Comment by Loren Miller on August 3, 2016 at 6:23am

Welcome to the gang, Ben!

Comment by BenGee on August 3, 2016 at 12:12am
  • Atheist: One who is not convinced that any actual deities really exist.
  • Apistevist: one who eschews or rejects faith as a method for knowing things

I just found myself.

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