Apistevist – A Clarification

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Back in October I wrote a piece entitled Apistevist – A Term With Potential in which I talked about a new secular adjective that I had (then) recently discovered, and also its limitations as perceived in my eyes. Just as the word Atheism illustrates ones lack of belief in a deity (or deities), Apistevism illustrates ones lack of blind faith. However I felt that there was a limitation as to how far one can truly take the definition as applicable to their real life.

When it comes to belief in a deity (or most anything else in the supernatural realm) then I have no problem with the terminology. But I feel that one can not TRULY say that they are 100% Apistevistic in nature, just as one can not truly say that they are 100% Atheistic in nature. In terms of Atheism, what I mean here is that one can not say for sure that there is nothing, no deity or deities. That is a positive claim that requires evidence, and most logical thinkers understand this and don’t take it that far.

As for Apistevism, the story is more or less the same. Its about the proof that one has. Or as the case is, DOES NOT have.

The last piece I wrote got a bit of interaction from opponents to my viewpoint. There were comments from 2 or 3 people as well as a mention on a blog called The Fluffy Atheist . I even searched the term Apistevist in Google out of curiosity if my piece would show up, and I was surprised to see it as link #4. I certainly do not see myself as being ANYWHERE near intellectually on par with someone like Richard Dawkins, but I do thank Google’s algorithm for the ego boost.

Criticism of my work is fine by me. A large number of my (and of really, anyones) life lessons come from allowing themselves to be exposed to other viewpoints then just there own. But after taking into consideration the views of my opposition, I still stand with my conclusion of before, which is that the word Apistevist can logically only go as far as the supernatural realm. But I do have a bit of a clarification to make.

In my last post, I had this quote:

Every time you turn on the tap for a drink of water. Every time you open a can of food, or eat out at a restaurant. Life in the modern era is full of scenarios where we all mindlessly roll the dice. This is not necessarily a bad thing either, its just a part of life. A person that is a TRUE apistevist (took the philosophy to heart in all areas of life) could not exist in today’s modern world. One who has absolutely NO blind faith whatsoever, would either be forced into isolation far from consumer civilization, or committed.

Many people interpreted this as to be surrounding the mechanics of the situations described. For example, one does not blindly believe that water will come out of the tap when I put it on, or that food will be in that can or box when I open it to eat it. Past experience is enough to make the assumption of water or food presence in their consecutive containers, allowable in a logical sense.

However, my argument was not as much with the presence of the substances in their containers,  but more with their safety.

For example, today so far I consumed some coffee. Yesterday I consumed some food at my place of work, as well as a bit more at a restaurant, and a bit more here at home.

I had no doubt that water would come out of the tap making my coffee and teas of the day possible. I had no doubt of the presence of food for me to consume both at my workplace, at the restaurant and here at home. And I really had no doubts about the safety of all of it.

My half filled can of coffee, various teas and various opened food articles here at home have past evidence of their pure nature. In that, I didn’t get sick or die previously.
However, the tap water that was used to make the coffee and the teas. The meals I ate at work. The food I ate at the restaurant. Even the teas I drank both at work and at the restaurant. I am unfamiliar with the origin, processing and otherwise the handling of all said substances.
This is why I use the adage “rolling the dice”. I am not absolutely sure about the safety of, arguably, a great many variables in life. One could even apply it to brand new electronics. I have no evidence that my brand new smart phone will not explode due to some product manufacturing error.

I have had my phone for over a year, so I can now safely assume it will not explode. Same with the various open food containers in this house, coffee and teas included. I have past evidence to back up my claim of their neutral nature.
But I do not yet have any evidence to support such a claim of the other unopened coffee cans stored away in the cupboard.

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13 Responses to Apistevist – A Clarification

  1. Oh cool. I don’t mean to spark some sort of angry debate or anything. It’s cool to see you revisiting this.
    The only thing I’d add, that perhaps I failed to completely communicate, is that I don’t think one need take these risks on faith. Personally, the risk of something with an unknown origin like that, even taking it to the level that there is no possible way to know if it is likely to be safe, one would rather be as I mentioned, reverting to the default position ie “I don’t know,” and then finding out through trying it.

    I’d like to, for the sake of explanation, to imagine a scenario, in which you need to eat, but all you can find is some sort of wild mushroom (perhaps in some sort of survival scenario). Assuming that there is no way to work out the safety of it, and you decided to eat it. It would be fairly easy to say that you are taking this on faith alone, but I’d argue that rather that one is recognizing the risk, and weighing the odds, in favor of eating it. In this situation, one wouldn’t need to know the actual likely probability, but rather eating it is based on the potential to allow your survival, again assuming the default position. The thought being something along the lines of, “I have no idea if this is safe or not, but it’s better than nothing.” Of course, one could just as easily decide that the risks are not worth it, based on other factors. In a modern world however, one can also rely on laws and regulation to make sure that most daily activities are going to be safe.

    Then again it is also a very subjective concept which would likely be different for each individual. It’s because of this, I’d argue that it is possible to be 100% apistevist, but perhaps that most people wouldn’t be. And in a modern society, I can’t see it causing much issue with ones life.

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    • Oh I can’t edit that. Oh well. Just an aside, I forgot to mention the absolute idea of safety. I’d say that even with prior experience, one wouldn’t expect something to be absolutely safe, unless one had faith, but rather that it was extremely unlikely to be unsafe, as there is some inherent risk with literally everything. I’d suggest that recognizing this risk doesn’t put restriction on it’s usage either.

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      • mbman says:

        /// Oh cool. I don’t mean to spark some sort of angry debate or anything. It’s cool to see you revisiting this. ///

        Actually I noticed that my previous post had made it to the #4 spot on the Google results for the word Apistevist (im guessing where you came across it the first time). That was entirely unexpected. But it also meant that I would be clarifying my argument with most anyone who came across it. Which is why I decided to take care of it ahead of time then link it. Thus any further posts will be critical of my ACTUAL views, not one I didn’t make clear.

        But I suppose your right, in that one can view the question of whether or not something is safe from an agnostic viewpoint. Most atheists tend hate such a “misuse” of the term, but I can’t think of a more fitting one offhand.

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      • mbman says:

        And anyone is free to debate me, angrily or not. All that one requests is, to at least consider the other side.

        That seems obvious. But I find that once many attach themselves to the side of logic, they forget its a 2 way street. Which gets annoying after awhile.

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      • What I had meant, when I mentioned an angry debate, was more that I thought it wasn’t really something worth getting all huffed over.

        I think that for the most part, while technically not correct, agnostic is a good way to describe it.
        Thanks for the discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Faith- Why I reject it in all forms | Fluffy Atheist

  3. This is obviously an old article, and I certainly have no intention of stirring up any conflict. I just felt obliged to share my own thoughts on this article. I read the first one, and I have no qualms whatsoever with your feelings for a need to clarify ‘apistevist’ when using it to describe oneself.

    I do, however, have to admit that I was a bit taken aback at the statement:

    “…just as one can not truly say that they are 100% Atheistic in nature. In terms of Atheism, what I mean here is that one can not say for sure there there is nothing, no deity or deities.”

    While I tend to be on the side of viewing the English language as a living language that grows and changes according to the times and the way we use words day-to-day to describe our experiences, I can’t help feeling strongly about what appears to be a strong point of confusion for theists and atheists alike.

    I’m quite sure you’ve been exposed to this explanation elsewhere on your own, but for the sake of clarity…

    Describing oneself as a theist or atheist deals only with the question of whether or not the individual being described holds a belief in a deity/deities. It does not make any assertions or statements knowledge about the factual existence of deities.

    The question of possessing knowledge about the existence of a diety/deities is more accurately described by the words gnostic or agnostic. Even then, saying one is gnostic or agnostic still does not assert that an individual *does* know whether a deity does or does not exist, it merely addresses whether the individual thinks that it is possible to know whether a deity(or deities) exist.

    So, for example, a person could be an agnostic theist, an agnostic atheist, or a gnostic theist or gnostic atheist.

    A person (like myself) who would use the words gnostic and atheist to describe themselves would hold the position that it is possible to know whether a deity (or deities) exist, and would lack a belief that any deities do exist. While holding that position, that same individual could make no claims whatsoever about having any absolute knowledge on the subject.

    Therefore, it’s possible to be 100% atheistic (and 100% gnostic) without presenting any positive claims asserting that there are in fact no deities of any kind (they would only be saying that they believe it is possible to know, and that they do not believe in any deities).

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    • mbman says:

      This is an old post, but its an ongoing conversation (judging by the traffic coming into it) so any and all conversation is welcome.

      As for your critique, I disagree, because you have to have proof in order to state with credibility “I know *deity* exists” or “I know *deity* DOES NOT exist”. I know that calling yourself an atheist does not put a person into this catagory by default (there are shades of gray behind most every label). But I have come across people that flat out stated that there is nothing beyond.

      I understand the sentiment, and lean heavily in that direction to. But I would never state such as fact. Because it is blind theism, reversed.

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      • krang's brain says:

        “blind theism reversed” — aka gnostic atheism, which I think I’ve only met a few of in my entire life. Most atheists are agnostic atheists, by far. And when I meet a gnostic atheist, I usually poke around and they end up clarifying, ‘of course I can’t be SURE if it’s an unfalsifiable God I guess, but you knew what I meant!’

        Liked by 1 person

      • mbman says:

        Its good that they realize the error of their logic. Though its always been a bit of a head scratcher as to why you would need to clarify this in the first place.

        You gotta back up your claims. Science does a good job in showing why the concept of a creator is irrelevant and unessesary, but that is not absolute dismissal.

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  4. Brian King says:

    I think, at some point, any discussion of gnosticism or it’s reverse gets to be more about definition of terms, and semantics than over whatever the discussion started about. Gnosis means knowledge. How do we define knowledge? Most use ‘justified true belief;’ or something similar. But, if we use that term, note that it doesn’t include any degree of certitude. Just justified. So, how justified, and what justification o we need. Does our justification need to make use 100 sure? Is that even possible? Without certitude, can you have knowledge? It all seems to fall into a matter of defining terms. For me, I subscribe to fallibilism as a decent default, as I think it reasonable to assume (and it is an assumption) that there are no omniscient humans, and then I assume that evidence is the path to knowledge, and that one can have knowledge, even without certitude. You CAN be right, and justified in thinking yourself so, even if you aren’t 100% sure. Oh, another assumption I make, must be said, there is a reality out there and that it’s not mine alone. Obviously, I must make assumptions, and anyone else does to. I find that assuming that the apparent outside world is real, and that using evidence one can make predictions about it seems to be the safest, most reliable set of assumptions.. It’s a popular position, it seems, to assume that the whole world is indecipherable without a special friend who can do anything wants except lie, and he’s whispered truths to you, but I find those assumptions less likely, and less reliable for making predictions in the world we all assume exists. Apistevism, I think, can be 100% rational, and based on evidence. Even those that aren’t perfect at creating belief based on evidence, I might say are apistivest, if they make that their goal, and, when they find they have faith, not evidence based beliefs, correct them.

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  5. Erick says:

    It depends on the definition. When we use the word “God”, we’re not generally talking about something even possible to begin with.

    We’re talking about an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, all-knowing, omnipresent, personal, anthropomorphic cosmic creator outside space and time.

    Given the definition above, you can logically 100% gurantee there is no God.

    But when we’re talking about aliens creating universes, what can we do?

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