Tag Archives: language

Words Don’t Mean Anything!

Words Don't Mean AnythingOh look, the stupid religious patrol is out in force again.  This time, a theist is trying to tell me that “meaning of language can be accurately discerned simply from the letters used in the word? By knowing letters you know meaning?”  This is in reaction to my stating that the English-language prefix “a-” means “without”, therefore atheism is the state of being without a belief in gods.  But no!  Words don’t mean anything!  He can just say they mean whatever the hell he wants.

Excuse me while I bang my head on the desk.

Of course, this is the same guy who wants everyone to accept that atheism is a conspiracy to fight against Christianity. Specifically Christianity.  Only Christianity.  Probably only his particular version of Christianity.  But this is a guy who doesn’t understand how science works, or reason, or logic or pretty much anything else. I shouldn’t be surprised that he has no clue how language works either.

Unfortunately, this idiot isn’t alone because I’ve seen the same kind of thing time and time again, people pretending that they get to redefine the language any way they want, insist that everyone use their biased definitions so they can proclaim victory and leave the rest of us gnashing our teeth.  Atheism isn’t a rejection of claims made by theists, it’s a positive claim that no gods exist and therefore must be proven!  This is, as we all well know, just shifting the burden of proof because the theists can’t actually prove their side.

This guy also insists that belief in gods is natural and everyone does it, even people who have never been exposed to the idea. He’s convinced that because mankind came up with gods, that everyone is born believing in them because can’t understand the widespread existence of religion otherwise.  I tried arguing that if someone was born and never had any exposure to any god ideas, not to the concept of gods, not to any religious books, not to anything religious in any way, shape or form, that they would remain an atheist for their entire lives, but he doesn’t buy it.  Everyone is  born knowing gods are real!  If you claim he’s wrong and his arguments are unsupported, then you have to prove he’s wrong, he doesn’t have to prove himself right.

So back to smacking my forehead into the desk.

It really is pointless trying to have any kind of rational discussion with this guy but he pops up in the middle of every discussion there is, forcing people to either deal with his stupidity or ignore him and have him declare victory because we supposedly have no counter for his arguments.  So far as I can tell, he has no understanding of any subject matter under the sun, he’s blatantly ignorant, but assumes that he’s an expert on everything and no amount of evidence presented will ever change his mind.  It’s a complete waste of time.  I probably ought to just put him on ignore and not bother.

Changing Language Doesn’t Change Reality

DictionariesThere are lots of people out there who want to change our language to reflect their agenda.  It’s not just the left, although they seem to be the most adamant about it.  Lefty feminists want to get rid of all male-oriented words and replace them with gender-neutral terms.  Many liberals want to eliminate all words that might possibly cause anyone to be offended, the so-called “politically correct” movement.  There are transgendered people, again, typically on the left, who want to change gender words even further, I’ve seen them try to “transgenderify” them like using “womyn” and the like.  I even saw someone who said we ought to stop calling it the “White House” because that is racist. Never mind it’s painted white or anything.  And on the right, while they’re not so much trying to change the language, they’re trying to preserve it.  They don’t want gays to be able to use the word “marriage”.  What both sides fail to recognize is that the words really don’t matter.  The words are just sounds coming out of our mouths. What matters is the common understanding that people have of what those particular sounds signify and you can’t change that just by rotating characters or inventing new terms.  These things do happen, dictionaries are continually updated to reflect new words introduced into our language, but to do so for a political agenda is stupid.

See, there’s something important to recognize here that I talked about a long time ago.  People need to be able to take a few steps back and look at their arguments to see if they make any sense.  Unfortunately, few do and most are just emotionally attached to their beliefs, not in rationally evaluating them.  The fact is, trying to change words is just a shortcut, an attempt to alter the argument without addressing the problems involved.

The reality though is that it doesn’t matter what the word is, only what you understand the word to mean.  The fact is, my “mailman” has been a woman for more than a decade.  I don’t have to change the language to reflect that fact, only my understanding of the word.  She isn’t a “mailperson”, she isn’t a “mailwomyn”, she is a mailman because that’s the word for the job she’s doing.  Most people simply disassociate gender from the term and allow it to be used for everyone who might possibly be doing the job.

George Carlin had a great bit on this a long time ago and it all still holds true.  Being offended by words makes no sense.  Try being offended by ideas.  That’s all that really makes a difference.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUvdXxhLPa8′]