Apistevist – The Final Word


This term first came to my attention some 4 years ago. Thought to be coined by one annoying youtuber back in 2010, it turned out to actually originate with another not so annoying youtuber sometime before that (a fellow by the name of Aron RA). I have my issues with him, but unlike the vast majority of other ideological atheist types in the online realm, he actually puts his platform to good use. Highlighting causes of importance, and helping to further scientific literacy VIA a series of premade video lessons made for teachers that have the desire to educate but not the knowledge.

In truth, this term may well have even predated these 2. Secular conversation (and interacting secular cohorts) predated social media. However, the term may not have gone much further out than the university campus (or otherwise, the limiters of interactivity which are no longer applicable).
Either way, Apistevist has been around for at least a good 7 years. Though interest in the term seems to come in waves (as judged by search engine traffic coming into past entries on the subject), it’s relatively constant.

I have explored the term no less than twice. Once out of curiosity, then a second time due to a need for clarification to my argument. A 3ed exploration came during my aviation fascination phase after I realized that air travel is the perfect vehicle in which to argue my case. And yet a 4th came after a fellow wrote a refutation to all of the above, oh which I decided to explore. Because, what the hell.
I have no qualms about challenging my conclusions. As long as it’s something actually original.

Like many other areas of debate, what I constitute as original may not be apparent. To clear that up for this (and any other topic I cover), all I generally look for is evidence that one grasps a topic outside of ideological dogma. In the case of apistevist (much like atheist, its cousin), I look for evidence that one has pondered the term beyond its definition.

Though I used to respond to all comments as a rule, not so much anymore. Call it wisdom or arrogance, I have adopted a new rule of worthiness.
A good way to get ignored is to argue against me based on the contents of my first post alone. I made mistakes there and made the corrections easily available.
The other obvious one is outlined above. Ideological dogmatism. Or to put it another way, if you think that it is a simple concept and are astounded that I just don’t GET it . . . I don’t have much time for you.

Either way, you get the point. Now on with it. Why this term, label, flair (to quote a Reddit user) should go away once and for all.

When I dispell this concept, it is less about mechanics and assumptions than it is about real-world implications. For example, it is less about whether or not there is tuna in the can or water will come out of the tap than it is about the quality of the aforementioned commodities. Is the tuna safe to eat or the water safe to drink.
Or to use the aviation example, whether the many, MANY links in the chain that lead to your flight are all as strong as they should be.  And not just your current flight crew either. I am talking everything from security personnel at present to mechanical personnel in the distant past. Hundreds have died in past incidents due to old botched repairs later disabling (or in 1 case, literally ripping apart) aircraft.

Japan Air 123

China Airlines 611 

Both incidents were the unfortunate end result of a typically non-serious form of damage known as a tailstrike. If the nose of the aircraft is tilted too much on landing or takeoff, the tail can hit the ground. The most serious case of this phenomenon is probably KLM 4805, though that aircraft had a much bigger problem facing it at the time.

When it comes to my deconstruction of the term Apistevist, some may question the methodology. The more philosophically minded in particular may question the approach. While I acknowledge the criticism, I have to give one of my own. That being, if even I have some trouble wrapping my head around exactly what you are saying, then it won’t be of much help in educating anyone else. Such concepts may work in academia or in academic circles, but this realm is far from it.
Thus, I look for ways to make these concepts applicable to anyone and everyone willing to step outside the box. Simplistic as it may seem, a screwdriver is hardly the right tool to use for hammering a nail.

And now, the final word. To put it bluntly, I consider the term apistevist to be ridiculous and frankly, debunked. If you feel this to be a cop-out, I urge to review my previous works on the subject (available in the Apistevist category on your right).

While I could have left it there, I find the continued usage (and growth) of this term interesting.

There is a philosophical component to this (or lack thereof, as the case seems to be). The same uncritical mindsets that turn ambiguously defined terms such as Atheism into rigid ideological dogmas also serve to keep this term relevant.
However, I suspect that there is more to it. In particular, I suspect it is yet another manifestation of the Nones (for lack of a better adjective coming to mind) being so eager to withdraw from all things theism that they end up throwing away some perfectly reasonable conclusions based merely on the word they are associated with.

One of the most obvious examples of this that I have come across involves atheists absolute disdain with association with the term religion. I have seen some atheists go as far as leaving out part of the definition of the word in order to avoid this association. In particular,  a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. Something that amused me, considering the sacred (yet altered) modern definition of Atheism (lack of belief in).  As contrasted to the former common usage (denial of the existence of). Definitions are important . . . unless they are inconvenient?

Now that I have opened that can of worms, on to a new one.

In the same way that I suspect that many non-believers are repulsed by typically theism centric religion, I also see this phenomenon at play when it comes to the concept of faith (or possibly blind faith).

Like all of the various flavors of Nones out there, I do not disagree with criticism of the concept of faith in the context of religions or deities. I have been there since I was a teenager, and thus we are on the same page.
What I disagree with is the notion that this conclusion can be expanded beyond the context of religiosity and deity. That people can live life without any interaction with faith whatsoever.

The common alternative to my argument is to say that I am talking less about faith than I am about trust. I do not have faith in the safety of tap water, Tuna, or the chain of events applicable to (and preceding) my flight on a given aircraft. I trust in the safety and competency of all involved.

To be perfectly honest, the first thing that comes to mind is “What is the difference?!”. What is being said is basically the same thing, just using different words.

“I have faith that this unopened drink will not poison me”

“There is a high amount of probability that this drink will not poison me”

Here is where many will say that I am being incoherent, or deliberately dense. In a nutshell, one conclusion is based on past evidence, and the other is not. However, even taking that into consideration, this is still relatively easy to dismiss.

Keeping with the food safety example, it is all about knowing the origins of this food and where this trail ends at any given time. I had previously applied this to individual packages, but the trust aspect can be lengthened right to the batch. If one can of tuna from a batch is good, then one can argue that this likely applies to the whole batch. In fact, I suspect food safety testing is based on this principle (being that its impossible to test literally EVERY ounce of food or drink entering a given market).

While the Apistevist can indeed use the above argument to back up their usage of the term, the fact remains that there will always be a cutoff somewhere. Every batch ends and is followed by a new one. Thus, you are back to square one.

But wait!

This is not entirely correct, because of the aforementioned quality assurance testing. Organizations and governments are always testing product quality, therefore it is not a leap of faith to trust any given package of anything.

To which I would respond . . . yes, it is indeed still a leap of faith. One can argue that testing and assurances make a product more trustworthy and less of a gamble, but that just means that your faith is now in the tests. That the procedures are up to snuff and are in no way compromised. Which is a pretty much impossible guarantee to make because even if malicious intent or incompetence are not an issue, risks change.
The human experiment (particularly in the scientifically driven modern age) is littered with cases of “Whoops! We dun fucked that up!”. From DDT to Asbestos to bisphenol A, what was harmless even in my youth is constantly changing.
Who would think that commonly used reusable plastic water bottles that I saw around high school in 2003 would now be viewed as hazardous waste? My peers (and millions of others!) had faith and/or trust in the safety of the bottles. Whoops!

What I am building up to may well be an impossible standard. If you look at everything in this way, then it becomes literally impossible to guarantee the safety of pretty much anything. Therein making participation not just in a consumer society, but really LIFE, impossible.

Thus making the culmination of following the apistevist philosophy . . . insanity?

If there is any rhyme or reason to this series, it is to illustrate how unnecessary the term (and otherwise illustrating ones total and complete lack of faith) is.

Before I brought it up here, few readers probably considered the safety and or quality assurances on food, tap water, aviation or any other aspect of their lives. But that is not a bad thing.
For one, having that on your plate is not good for one’s mental health. And for another, the fact that we can live life without thinking about these things is a testament to how far we have come.

I argue against apistevism due to its incoherence. But I also take issue with the secular community in general for placing far to much weight on labels. A healthier future can only result from being less tied to these barriers and more open to uniting for the good of the commons.

Apistevist – A Term Revisited

​It has been a long time since I last touched on this topic. In fact, I had intended to not ever touch on it again. I have grown bored of delving into irrelevant topics. A category that entails pretty much anything that has no impact on my (or anyone else’s) day to day life. The logic being, why concern yourself with altogether irrelevant topics and informationl when one can use their brain power for something more stimulating. I could say something more important, but who would I be kidding. 

Having said that however, it seems that there is more that can be done with this term. First, because I had a person write a rebuttal to my piece (to which a friend of mine wrote a rebuttal to them. Both will be shared later). And also because there is chatter on this topic in different places online (mainly Reddit) that is worth exploring. 

I’ll start with the rebuttal. Starting with a few comments on my previous posts, it was done in a publicly shared note on Facebook. The link to the note is below, and i’ll quote what is necessary. 

I Am An Apistevist 

In other words, I do not make decisions based on “Faith” (religious or any other version of blind faith). 

However, some do present twisted arguments pointing to my alleged use of faith nonetheless.

 Here is one argument from the site “The Thought Zone”:

 “When it comes to a testing of the Apistevist philosophy, I don’t think there is any better an example to use then Air Travel (…). When you get on board a plane, the moment that airplane starts taxiing out to the runway, you have put your life in the hands of the pilots. For better or for worse, you’re largely out of control of your fate. (…) unless the plane is also being flown by a familiar pilot, your still basing the your accretion* on faith. Even if unknowingly.” 

How misleading is that?

Not at all. I also don’t see myself “twisting” anything, but I will hear you out first. 

Faith = Absolute certainty not needing empirical evidence—as opposed to “doubt” which is the contrary of Faith. In fact, most fundamentalist religions present the lack of Faith as punishable. Faith is not open to being corrected nor criticized. One does not have Faith with a healthy dose of skepticism! That’s absurd.

I would say that bringing up the rules and regulations of fundamentalist religion in a context that has nothing to do with fundamentalist religion is absurd, but again, I will hear you out.

So, when I go on a plane, although I have reasonable expectations that the flight will end well (relative trust), I still have enough doubt in me to know it could go wrong. In no way does that fit the usage of the word “Faith”.

The reason why I argue that EVERYONE comes across moments of faithfulness in life, is because few of us give any of these questions a second thought. 

The food at the restaurant arrives, you eat it. You run a cup full of water (or crack open a water bottle), you drink it. You grab a can of recently purchased tuna from your pantry, and make lunch. You board the plane and do whatever people do on planes between point A and point B. 

Most do not weigh the risks of consuming from the plate in front of them, the water in their hand, or that can of tuna. And most people do not ask “Am I on the next Air France 447?!” whilst they sit at the gate. And for good reason. Such a life would be crippling. Nevermind just being limited by a fear of air travel . . . try getting something to sustain yourself at the supermarket. 

 Unless there is a reason to make us give this normally invisible dynamic of life any thought (for example, drinking water in a place like Flint MI, or a knowing of a recent recall on canned tuna as you open one), we do not give it a second thought. In this sense, faith does not really strike me as a bad thing, or a negative. It’s just like any other unavoidable constant in life . . . It just is. 

What is absurd to me, is this aversion (often seen in many non-theists) to ANY concept that can even be distantly connected to religiosity in any way. In this context, it is the concept of faith. Another that comes to mind is Atheism as a religion . 

When understood in context, there is no reason for either concept to be incompatible with an Atheist or other Non-theist stance. Despite this however, I often see such individuals use copious amounts of mental gymnastics to keep from in any way touching something they perceive as being purely irrational. 

When I fly I am an apistevist. I do not use Faith in any way—I still mainly use doubt and skepticism with a healthy dose of reasonable expectation—enough to know the odds are in favor of the trip ending well, while not being 100% sure it will. —That is not even close to ressembling faith. It’s called “Reasonable Expectation”, supported by track records and empirical evidence. —Simply said, it’s Reason. 

All I see is another performance of mental gymnastics caused by me forcing you to think about the concept. Capped off with an intellectual buzzword. Such buzzwords are often utilized by those that apparently fail to deduct that a true embodiment of the words would never have to use them. It would be obvious.

I do appreciate the reply, however. Even if it all ends up being pointless in the end. And yes, accretion (assertion) was a typo. 

I will now present my friends rebuttal to you. If it seems like he is talking down to you from a point of intellectual superiority . . . Your hunch is correct. 

He is.

Regard this bumbling fool who bears no faith – not in God, not in anything at all – who makes no motions for he doubts that his legs might break his fall.  This Adonis is not moved by any vision, for he doubts his eyes; he is not moved by any calls, for he doubts his ears; he is not moved by any pains, for he doubts his skin.  What can we make of this lord?  He can make nothing: he cannot think for he doubts even his doubt! Is this our lesson, that we must bear some faith, that we need only dig so far to bury our foundations?

The faithless contend this absurdity.  “We must keep digging!” they call out, as if they are under threat from the sun itself.  Soon they shall suffocate, for they have taken a risk to alleviate another.  For all choice involves risk.  All belief or matter of fact is uncertain and our faithful commitment to the proposition puts us too at risk.  Yet to fail to commit, to fail to bear some faith, is too a risk.  While those who are not so intellectual that we might build with our hands a system of knowledge begin to scrap together bricks and mortar, the truly faithless lose themselves in tunnels where they seek to pour their concrete if only they can find an end to their digging.

Do not take this lightly.  Faith is easily subverted.  Motivated digging – the kind involving map and compass – might rightly undermine any great system of faith.  No castle is so mighty that it cannot be defeated without firing a single arrow or heaving a battering ram.  Even so, the deeper the foundation, the less likely subversion becomes.  Faith in the Adonai is blown away as if by the wind, but faith in one’s own legs takes an army of shovels to subvert, and each small chunk broken forcefully from the earth takes effort.  

This is where those “intellectual” atheists demonstrate their rashness, parading their apistevist peacock tails and beating their chests.  They claim to never stop digging, to truly doubt all that can be doubted.  They demonstrate how intellectual they become when they claim to have spotted Earth’s molten underbelly after having heaved only two spades.  Yet these apistevists are no fools.  They do not in fact doubt their legs, their skin, their ears, or their eyes.  They only rest their rhetorical hyperboles on such notions proclaiming to fawning women and envious men that they are so virtuous, so strong and determined that if they were to want, they could dig and dig and never stop.  But what is more compelling is that in their ignorance, they believe that they already have!  They stand upon loose clay and declare that they have hit bedrock!

So, you self-proclaimed faithless, I doubt that you only doubt.  You walk upon the face of the Earth as does anyone else.   You are the evidence that faith and doubt are partners, that you can only build upon a dug foundation.  Cease your rhetoric; no longer pit partner against partner with fanciful falsehoods that faith commits to certitude or that doubt is all-encompassing.  You yourself undermine your claim and betray your paralysed Adonis.

Anyone with the inclination to respond to the author of this rebuttal can reach him on Twitter HERE . 

And now, will move on to Reddit.

Some might say the core of the massive digital universe that is online intellectual conversation. But to the platform’s credit, the other voices tend to be far more visible on its services than anywhere else. On this topic (Apistevism), and any other. 

This first post, I’ll admit, is such low hanging fruit that it is almost cheating. However, it highlights the quite ubiquitous problem within the secular debate community that is a lack of respect for how some choose to identify and align. The following excerpts are sourced HERE

you are seriously citing a man who probably would have qualified as an apistevist, as an authority on why apistevism is incoherant?

you might as well cite carl sagan to show that atheism in incoherant. 

This was also quoted in the comment area of the OP’s rebuttal (by the OP) along with the following quote from Bertrand Russell (for context).

Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment.

But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true. 

Somewhat amusingly, this phenomenon is even present in OPs comment area, directed at himself (though he seems to not care). Someone telling him that he is just as much of an Atheist as NDT. NDT being Neil Degrasse Tyson, self identified agnostic but forcibly labeled atheist (wherever they have a hand in the information flow, anyway).

The OP’s response doesn’t really surprise me however, being that the OP engages in the very same behavior towards Bertrand Russell. 

Rather than rebuttaling people individually, I will try to craft responses towards arguments generally. It’s easier this way, since many of these things are embraced by so many.

1.) When it comes to identifying Apistevism as being incoherent, I personally do not need to point to any authority. I’ve written about the term 3 different times (4 now), and only discovered Russell now. As such, I would be careful before assuming that the quotes usage was as appeal to authority. 

It’s possible to come to your own conclusions, but adapt your technique to the environment you are in. Though the secular community at large tends to think themselves freethinkers, I have found them far more authority and ideology driven than they often care to admit. 

As such, the quote may be less of an appeal to authority and more of a tool to try and connect to the audience at hand. 

2.) I have said it before, and I will say it again . . . this disrespect of how people choose to identify is both unnecessary and utterly ridiculous. I have even argued it as intolerant. 

I understand the root of this train of thought. At least in the United States, the atheist cohort tends to be looked upon even less favorably than the scummiest of the scum within society (think pedophiles, rapists, and the like). Indeed, Atheism has an image problem. But the answer to that is not, and has never been, even secular segregation.  

A lacking of even a basic teaching of philosophy in education systems world wide has resulted in millions of atheists viewing said philosophy as being the only logical conclusion. When combined with various mental  behaviors unknowingly left behind by previous religious beliefs, the results can be . . . Interesting. Altering that paradigm is close to impossible. Which is why I don’t even try to do it anymore. Having said that however, the problems facing us as a species are very real. Something that many Atheists recognize, as there is a movement to build an Atheist voting block.

Which is where I come in and say, why does it have to be an explicitly Atheist voting block? Why not a Secular, Rational, Humanist, WHATEVER, voting block? Does the macro label REALLY matter that much?! I get that Atheism has an image problem. But that is small potatoes to the much larger problem that is LIFE ON EARTH! Like the rest of the left, the Atheist cohort  quibbles over  labels, whilst the religious right teams up and elects crooked Donald. 

We know that there exists an untapped potential of MILLIONS of voters that self acknowledge outside the boundaries of religious belief, but that also do not self identify explicitly as Atheist. Rather than condescending to (and thus annoying!) these people by referring to them as “Atheists in denial” (and other forms of Intolerant behavior), why not put self interest aside and unite as one.

I say self interest, because the Atheist community does have a lot of resources tied into it. Indeed, there are millions that just identicy under the label. They are not who I am talking about. 

What I am referencingl, are the many different types of Atheism specific (or oriented) organizations. Everything from political activism organizations, to online businesses like monetized YouTube channels, podcasts and merchandise distributers. I would not go as far as to saying that such economic reliance automatically eliminates impartiality. That said however, it’s hard not to take it into consideration.

3.) When it comes to the Russell quote, there may be more nuance than meets the eye. 

From what I understand (as a layman talking to a philosophy scholar by trade), Russell had started off on a mission of sorts to categorize the world in rational terms. Which explains the very black and white quote perfectly (and also why it’s so appealing to both Atheists and Apistevists). However, it would seem that Russell ran into the obvious roadblock that is, you can’t necessarily so easily compartmentalize the world. So like any good scholar, he acknowledged this and moved on. 

If this is an extreme oversimplification, feel free to let me know below. 

I think I have about picked that bone clean. Thus I will move on to another, sourced from the same reddit thread.

This one amuses me in its convenient usage of definitions. Dare I say, another common technique of the type of intellectual opposition were dealing with. 

This habit of playing fast and lose with definitions isn’t new. Many within the Nu-Atheism movement define Atheism as “A lack of belief in a God or God’s”. This is not only a new twist to the former “Denial of the existence of a God or God’s” definition, but also a definition that does not stand up to even basic scrutiny. I have explored this myself HERE , and im sure I’m not the only one.

Then there is the Atheism as a religion thing. Many Atheists (when fighting this notion)  exclude a part of that definition out of convenience. Or maybe, inconvenience. 

And here, we have fast and lose usage of the definition of faith. Though the paper “The Problems Of Philosophy” is supposed to entail all forms of unjustified belief, the Apistevist argues that such a critique is invalid due to their selective interpretation of the definition of faith. One would think it to be transparent that misuse of a term does not legitimize a philosophy. But apparently not. 

One person in the thread (just after this exchange) argues that my method of argumentation is not really effective, due to the 2 sides having at least 2 working definitions of the same word. I can’t grant this however, because even if side B argues on the basis of this alternative definition of a word, that definition is still incorrect. It’s not a problem of ambiguity in translation. It’s a problem of “That is inconvenient to my argument . . .Drop that part!”. 

Such semantics (if not flat out sophistry) would not be tolerated coming from a theist in favor of their stance of choice. I like to think that I am just holding EVERYONE to the same standard. 

Moving on, we come to this excerpt, again from the same reddit thread. In response to the inquiry “How is this different than Agnostic Atheist?”

an agnostic atheist can believe in homeopathy, ghosts, crystal healing, and all other kinds of magical woo, just not a god.

an apistevist couldn’t

My critique of this is solely based on my annoyance of useless labels.

In this regard, I am certainly more militant than most. I do not affix to myself, really any labels anymore. They (to me) represent the ultimate form of conformity, and the single biggest hurdle to our very civilization. Yes, this is why I take atheist intolerance so seriously. Because it is, in a sense, literally a life or death struggle. These days, in seeing the terror of the left (and in all honesty, almost everyone) after the recent election, one could almost be prone to concluding that it’s to late. But whether or not that is an overstatement, by and large, lesson NOT learned.

A  lesson that has come to me with the passage of time, is that people love boxes. Preformed and prefabricated, little assembly (or in this case, critical examination)  necessary. Labels make life easier.

Some may feel that I am assuming that all whom embrace labels are purely ideologically driven atomotons. Indeed, that is a generalization worth calling out. But I make the claim on solid ground. I do not just passively observe the many different movements and interactions of group’s online, but also in the real world. It interests me. Looking for patterns and trying to figure out what makes groups tick.

Rather than a contrarian, I prefer to be a fly on the wall. From an intellectual perspective, the “fly on the wall” approach is helpful for approaching any number of topics. First off, because emotion is out of the question. And 2ed, because I feel no ties, loyalty, or really any connection to any entity or ideology.  

I used to have various flair that I wore with pride (so want to see that movie now!).

 Agnostic Atheist, Liberal (or these days, Classical Liberal), progressive, pro choice, Metis and who knows how many more. I used to carry them around like the rest of the commons, mostly for the same reason as them (a feeling of obligated nesessity). But the more I begun to grow intellectually (one could say that I was a late bloomer), the more tight fitting that these labels became. Until the time came when I realized that growth would not be found in fighting to conform, it would be found in throwing out the moulds. It’s this vantage point that also enlightened me to the risk of these labels. Though regarded as a necessity for ease of discussion,  in ALL areas of discussion, these labels are more often than not just barriers. Chatter happens, but everyone has a side. Those that don’t, are typically assigned one. 

But though I caution against the practice of over-flairing, I don’t bother people just about where they visibly align themselves. It’s a  choice. 

Having said all of THAT however, is it REALLY necessary to add flair that tells people that your not prone to pseudo science? 

Though many questions come to mind when I hear or see “I am an atheist”, one of them has  never been “I wonder if *Atheist* believes in karma, or acupuncture, or Feng Shui?”. This seems more something to be taken care of on a whack-a-mole basis. Not to mention that I’m sure that even Apistevists have some leftovers that are embedded deep enough to be as of yet, undiscovered. An example from myself, was using the term “touch wood” without thinking in conversation (sometime ago). Practically as soon as it was out, my rational self said “Wait a minute!”.

It happens.

And thus concludes my 4th (and presumably, final) installment on the term and philosophy that is Apistevism (along witn a few other things). 

Can An Apistevist Use Air Travel?


In the last while I have watched a fair bit of flight-disaster oriented shows to pass the time. Shows like Mayday, Seconds From Disaster and the like. Though that may sound somewhat morbid, it’s actually quite fascinating and informative.
Learning about the history behind the various kinds of aircraft utilized throughout history (Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner pictured above).

When it comes to Mayday, indeed, many of these stories do end on a sad note. Though there is arguably no safer method of travel than by air, major accidents of these airliners do tend to end in (potentially) hundreds of fatalities. Watching shows about some of those flights (Swiss Air 111, Air India 182, Bashkirian 2937 vs DHL 611) is sad since you know what is coming. However, there are also many situations (some that even the flight manual and training do not cover) that pilots do manage to recover from.

Take China Airlines flight 006 which had an engine flameout 41,000 feet. The loss of the engine caused the 747 to bank over and then eventually enter a dive towards the Pacific. Though normally a death sentence for any flight crew in this situation (AND the plane, since the airframe stress can rip it to pieces), this crew managed to pull out of the dive, with about 10,000 feet to spare, or about 20 seconds (and you thought the freefall exhibition ride was scary!).
It turned out to be pilot error (the crew failed to descend to a suitable hight for an engine restart, and the caption failed to use his rudder to counteract the lost thrust of the engine), but even so, that was one hell of a feat of flying. Both for the passengers (ALIVE!) and the plane (loss of the landing gear door and minor damage to the horizontal stabilizers).

Then there is TACA 110, which had both its engines stalled by heavy rain and hail (then later disabled by fire). Unable to make it to any nearby airports, the pilots decided their only option was to ditch in a channel. Until a barely more suitable option (a wide and grassy levee beside the channel) presented itself. Despite the weird circumstances, all survived.


United 232 (actual plane pictured above) had its 2ed engine fan disk fly apart mid-flight. Due to that engines location being just under the vertical stabilizer and rudder, the shrapnel created by the exploding disk destroyed the all of the planes hydraulic systems. Since almost all of the planes flight controls depend on hydraulics, this type of problem is often unrecoverable (Japan Airlines 123 , Turkish Airlines 981 (another DC 10) ). Despite the odds being stacked against the 4 pilots (one a DC10 instructor that happened to be on board the flight), they got the flight on the ground. There was a loss of life. However, a whole lot less than other similar situations.

But moving on, though those are some success stories, one should not underestimate the efforts of those that just happened to be dealt with an unrecoverable situation. Though the plane ended up crashing (often with total fatalities), those deceased pilots often tried their very best to fix the situation, right to the end. This should not be forgotten.

This entire post (thus far) likely seems at odds with its title. A post that could have been named “Why I Have The Utmost Respect For Airline Pilots” instead of “Can An Apistevist Use Air Travel?”. But I will shift now to how it’s relevant.

I listed a number of aircraft distress scenarios above (some that ended well, others that ended in tragedy) in order to give one a feeling of what can happen. Though the vast majority of flights will go without issue, some will not.
When it comes to a testing of the Apistevist philosophy, I don’t think there is any better an example to use then Air Travel (car accidents are more numerous, yes. But not nearly as well reported as air disasters).

When it comes to the Apistevist philosophy, I found in my initial research that there seemed to be 2 definitions. Those without religious faith, and those without any blind faith.
I went back to Google to confirm this, but I noticed that the first place one would check for information on the term (Richard Dawkin’s page) seems to be gone.
That explains the traffic boost to my explanation of the term in recent times. But its also unfortunate, because I do not want to come across as being an “expert” on the term when I am most certainly not. I am just a blogger stating my opinion.

But whatever the intellectually accepted definition is now, for the purpose of this piece, I am using the all blind faith definition.

In my past posts on this topic, I argued against the validity of the term’s all blind faith definition due to me seeing it as impossible to really live that way. Though my first post was unclear on my actual views, I cleared the misunderstanding with this one. At the time, my argument was based on foodstuffs obtained at a store or in a restaurant. Air travel had not occurred to me at the time, but it fits perfectly.

When you get on board a plane, the moment that airplane starts taxiing out to the runway, you have put your life in the hands of the pilots. For better or for worse, you’re largely out of control of your fate.
As demonstrated above, there is often no real reason to have any doubt about the competency of the pilots (or the rest of the flight crew). This was unfortunately untrue for the passengers and flight crew of Germanwings Flight 9525, but this is a very rare situation. Also, a plausible situation rectified by most airlines almost immediately after the discovery of the problem (many airlines now require 2 people in the cockpit at all times).

I had one recent commenter on my first Apistevist piece explain to me that I may be misusing the word faith when trust could be more applicable to the situation. This might be true.

As defined by Merriam-webster:


: belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

: an arrangement in which someone’s property or money is legally held or managed by someone else or by an organization (such as a bank) for usually a set period of time

: an organization that results from the creation of a trust

Full Definition of TRUST


a :  assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

b :  one in which confidence is placed


a :  dependence on something future or contingent :  hope

b :  reliance on future payment for property (as merchandise) delivered :  credit <bought furniture on trust>


a :  a property interest held by one person for the benefit of another

b :  a combination of firms or corporations formed by a legal agreement; especially :  one that reduces or threatens to reduce competition

archaic :  trustworthiness

a (1) :  a charge or duty imposed in faith or confidence or as a condition of some relationship (2) :  something committed or entrusted to one to be used or cared for in the interest of another

b :  responsible charge or office

c :  care, custody <the child committed to her trust>

in trust

:  in the care or possession of a trustee


However, here is faith as defined by the same source:


: strong belief or trust in someone or something

: belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs

: a system of religious beliefs

Full Definition of FAITH

a :  allegiance to duty or a person :  loyaltyb (1) :  fidelity to one’s promises (2) :  sincerity of intentions
a (1) :  belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) :  belief in the traditional doctrines of a religionb (1) :  firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) :  complete trust
:  something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially :  a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>
on faith
:  without question <took everything he said on faith>

When it comes to situations that deal with “faith”, I understand that not all are equal. In terms of our relationship with people, often times a more applicable word to use would, in fact, be trust. Mainly when dealing with those that you are familiar with (you have previous evidence to make a decision).

However, when it comes to air travel, unless you know the pilot personally (or at least know their previous flight record), I would argue that it is less a matter of trust or confidence then it is a matter of faith. It’s right in the definition of the word (  firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) :  complete trust). 

It strikes me that a part of the reason why many secularists may reject the word Faith in any form could be the same reason many reject the notion of Atheism as a religion. Both faith and religion are most commonly associated with the irrational and the unthinking, so it’s not surprising that secularists would reject the labeling.

That said, however, though people do at times wrongfully use the words religion or faith to describe atheism (often because they can not see outside of their own context), one should not be completely hostile to both terms, since at times they may well, be fitting.

As written HERE, atheism as a philosophy is not a religion. But some aspects of the community do qualify under the definition of the word. Though this is not inherently negative, it becomes so if you deliberately misrepresent the definition in order to further your argument.

The same goes for faith.

Someone who is secularist is obviously not religiously faithful. But as life has it, blind faith is not always just applicable in a religious context. Though we often have both confidence and trust based on past experiences with people (thus evidence), such a relationship always starts based on faith.

When it comes to air travel, there are different ways to in which one can look at the situation. For example, a flight on an airline and a plane for which you have past experience with could be viewed as a trip based on trust (one DOES have past evidence to support this assumption).
However, unless the plane is also being flown by a familiar pilot, you’re still basing your assertion on faith. Even if unknowingly.

Apistevist – A Clarification


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 one’s 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. It’s 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, anyone’s) life lessons come from allowing themselves to be exposed to other viewpoints than 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 smartphone 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.

Apistevist – A Term With Potential


There is a term being utilized by some in the atheist community. Some have even dropped their previous chosen personal adjective (atheist) in favor of this new term. That term is Apistevist.

Coined by a youtuber running a channel called Bionic Dance back in 2010, the term illustrates a person’s lack (or rejection) of faith. It was coined around the same principal as atheism is based. The “a” prefix negates what follows, so an atheist negates a belief in any form of theism. In the same way that atheism has origins in the Greek word “atheos” (without gods), the word apistevist is also sourced from Greek. The Greek terms “pistis” or “pistevo” both describe faith, so as such “Apistevist” describes a lack of faith.

On the surface, it seems like a good and seemingly well-reasoned term. But one must remember to specify “religious faith”, or the term becomes illogical.
Most uses of the term (as noted in Google search results) seem to take this into consideration, but some do not. Whether this is out of error or ignorance I am unsure, but I will outline why it matters here.

One may negate a belief in god, ghosts or any number of other mythical or supernatural entities without losing logical credibility. This is obvious and is known by anyone who has embraced reason. But at the same time, no one is COMPLETELY devoid of all blind faith.

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.

I have no issue with the term Apistevist (I can not say the same for Bionic Dance, the youtuber that coined the term, however). But I caution how it is utilized and defined in conversation and debate. The key is religious.

One who claims to lack (or reject) religious faith, is on perfectly reasonable intellectual ground. One who claims to lack or reject ALL faith is not only irrational but also fundamentally mistaken.


I realized that I was not entirely clear in my explanation of my argument, so I wrote a supplementary piece HERE clarifying my stance. Further, I also wrote a piece using my argument in the context of Air Travel (a context that seems to encompass my criticisms of the philosophy perfectly).

Thank you for reading.