Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 24 23:50:30 UTC 2009

At 2:40 PM -0800 11/24/09, Dave Wilton wrote:
>But whether you like it or not, "skeptic" is the non-religious term most
>commonly used within the community of "non-believers" for those who demand
>evidence for statements of belief. Skepticism goes beyond religion, to
>include such diverse topics as opposition to the anti-vaccine movement,
>homeopathy, chiropractic, holocaust denial, creationism, and all sorts of
>new-agey faith-based philosophies to name a few. Basically, skeptics are
>anti-woo. ("Woo" is a great term that hasn't gotten its due by dictionaries
>either.)  I haven't seen any dictionaries catch up to this sense of
>"skeptic" yet, but it is by far the most commonly used term in the so-called
>"skeptical community." (It's impossible to avoid self-referential terms when
>discussing this.)
>And no one doubts that religion is not a force within society.

Just curious--for you, does this express the proposition that
everyone believes religion *is* a force within society, or that it
*isn't* one?

LH, grooving on the multiple negs as usual

>skepticism is over the validity of religions' doctrinal beliefs, not the
>existence and social power of those beliefs. If they weren't powerful ideas,
>no one would care.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
>Alison Murie
>Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 1:03 PM
>Subject: Re: amonokerism
>On Nov 24, 2009, at 2:46 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  -----------------------
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>>  Subject:      Re: amonokerism
>>  Skeptic is another term I considered, but "I'm a skeptic" sounds to
>>  me as though I'm skeptical about everything. Also, about "skeptic,"
>>  my Mac dictionary says,
>>  a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.
>>  a person who doubts the truth of Christianity and other religions;
>>  an atheist or agnostic.
>>  I am not inclined to question or doubt the truth of religions. To
>>  me, they seem so outrageously improbable, they aren't worth
>>  considering. (They may be interesting to investigate as complexes of
>>  thought or orientations of society, etc., but not plausible.)
>>  BB
>I also have trouble accepting any of these terms for myself, but while
>I do not believe in the objective, supernatural existence of a god, I
>certainly believe in the force of the idea of god in society.  In that
>sense religions merit some attention.  Religious beliefs animate some
>of the best as well as some of the very worst activities of mankind.
>The pernicious effects of some of these we can hardly deny the
>existence of.
>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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