How important are dictionaries?

RatDog
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How important are dictionaries?

Language changes over time.  The English we speak now isn't the same as the English we spoke 100 years ago.   Language varies over regions.  English is not quite the same in England, Australia, and the United States because we have different dialects.  It's probably impossible to stop language from changing.  I'm not even sure it would be a good think if we could stop it.  

The question I'm asking myself right now is what should be done when people disagree about the meaning of a word.  Should dictionaries always be the final authority on what a word means?  If so which dictionary has the most authority?  Can people in a discussion simple agree with each other on a specific set of definitions?  What happens when people can't agree?  Is there any point to having an argument over what the proper definition of certain words should be?  Every argument I've seen about definition on this site seemed utterly pointless.  

The world is more connected now then at any other point in history.  People from all over the world can connect with each other online.  I wonder what affect this connection will have on language.  I wonder if dictionaries will become more important or less.  

 

 

 


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I'm with you

You've hit on a pet peeve of mine.

I think words derived from linguistic parts should be required to keep at least some connection to their etymology.  Otherwise, why use for example Latin, Greek or French at all?  A perfect example is the definition of atheism.  Clearly, this word can be divided 2 ways: a + theism or atheos + ism.  Anyone with a fundamental understanding of how words are put together will recognize this, will say which meaning they are referring to, and will  hopefully move on to discuss more interesting ideas.  

I believe that any dispute over a word should start with its appearance into English, its development into new meanings, and whether a meaning beyond its linguistic roots was ever justified.  Just because a dictionary has a meaning listed doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good one, or that any intelligent person should use it.

I'll tell you what else drives me crazy, since I'm now venting: Wikipedia.  People are constantly going to wikipedia for meanings of words, then crowing "See, I told you so."  Recently, in discussing free will, someone told me sentience was any physical system with an organized relationship between input data and and output behavior.  Ridiculous, says I.  Then comes the link: "See, I told you so, that is what it means in science" as if a few scientists' lab definition of a term for the purpose of experimentation has miraculously made it the new truth of our reality.  When I informed the person that "sent" means "feeling," and that it should be used for people and maybe animals, on the principle that since I feel, I might reasonably assume that other living things do too, I was faced with open mockery: "Words change.  Words evolve.  They mean whatever people want them to mean."  No.  They.  Don't.

 

This is NOT okay.  It's a product of a growing middle-class with a poor English education but with a vague sense that they are educated, extending the power of democracy into an area where the majority really should not rule.  There are patterns to things, like verbs, or like words derived from Greek and Latin, that some people can't see due to ignorance.  I don't mean that in a derogatory way-- I mean that they don't know what the patterns are.  I will NOT let these people rewrite the language just because they are the majority-- that would make it impossible for anyone with a brain to carry on a meaningful conversation.

And that, in my opinion, is doubleplusungood.

 

/rant

 

PS if this thread is a response to anything you've said in debate with me, please remember that words mean whatever people want them to, and I have a wiki link to prove that my meaning is the right one. Sticking out tongue


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bennyboy wrote:You've hit on

bennyboy wrote:

You've hit on a pet peeve of mine.

I think words derived from linguistic parts should be required to keep at least some connection to their etymology.  Otherwise, why use for example Latin, Greek or French at all?  A perfect example is the definition of atheism.  Clearly, this word can be divided 2 ways: a + theism or atheos + ism.  Anyone with a fundamental understanding of how words are put together will recognize this, will say which meaning they are referring to, and will  hopefully move on to discuss more interesting ideas.  

I believe that any dispute over a word should start with its appearance into English, its development into new meanings, and whether a meaning beyond its linguistic roots was ever justified.  Just because a dictionary has a meaning listed doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good one, or that any intelligent person should use it.

I'll tell you what else drives me crazy, since I'm now venting: Wikipedia.  People are constantly going to wikipedia for meanings of words, then crowing "See, I told you so."  Recently, in discussing free will, someone told me sentience was any physical system with an organized relationship between input data and and output behavior.  Ridiculous, says I.  Then comes the link: "See, I told you so, that is what it means in science" as if a few scientists' lab definition of a term for the purpose of experimentation has miraculously made it the new truth of our reality.  When I informed the person that "sent" means "feeling," and that it should be used for people and maybe animals, on the principle that since I feel, I might reasonably assume that other living things do too, I was faced with open mockery: "Words change.  Words evolve.  They mean whatever people want them to mean."  No.  They.  Don't.

 

This is NOT okay.  It's a product of a growing middle-class with a poor English education but with a vague sense that they are educated, extending the power of democracy into an area where the majority really should not rule.  There are patterns to things, like verbs, or like words derived from Greek and Latin, that some people can't see due to ignorance.  I don't mean that in a derogatory way-- I mean that they don't know what the patterns are.  I will NOT let these people rewrite the language just because they are the majority-- that would make it impossible for anyone with a brain to carry on a meaningful conversation.

And that, in my opinion, is doubleplusungood.

 

/rant

 

PS if this thread is a response to anything you've said in debate with me, please remember that words mean whatever people want them to, and I have a wiki link to prove that my meaning is the right one. Sticking out tongue

atheos --> would mean godless or without god not a position that there is no god but the position of the person who is described such. a-theos would be a position of no god. Language is studied  as having diachronic and synchronic drifts. The dyachronic is how the lexical word changes through time. The synchronic is all the ways it is used ina particular time and/or culture.

English language is terrible about all sorts of things. It really sucks.

 

 

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Quote:atheos --> would mean

Quote:
atheos --> would mean godless or without god not a position that there is no god but the position of the person who is described such. a-theos would be a position of no god. Language is studied as having diachronic and synchronic drifts. The dyachronic is how the lexical word changes through time.

Now that is the type of language discussion we should be having.  It's so much more educational than:

-"Atheism" means only a lack of belief in God.

-Okay, my beagle is atheist.

-*headslap* no it only applies if you can comprehend the concept of God.

-Your momma's an atheist.

 

Smiling


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bennyboy wrote:Quote:atheos

bennyboy wrote:

Quote:
atheos --> would mean godless or without god not a position that there is no god but the position of the person who is described such. a-theos would be a position of no god. Language is studied as having diachronic and synchronic drifts. The dyachronic is how the lexical word changes through time.

Now that is the type of language discussion we should be having.  It's so much more educational than:

-"Atheism" means only a lack of belief in God.

-Okay, my beagle is atheist.

-*headslap* no it only applies if you can comprehend the concept of God.

-Your momma's an atheist.

 

Smiling

agnostic simply means " I don't know".  Bishop Leslie D. Weatherhead wrote a book called the Agnostic Christian and pleaded with Christians and theologians to be agnostic about things they really did not know rather than speculating.  Yea your beagle has got to understand thye concept of theism then say it ain't true to be an atheist. But atheos or that thype of atheism from the Greek would mean those pagan godless assholes (though they may believe in several gods or a different god).


 

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

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RatDog wrote: Language

RatDog wrote:

Language changes over time.  The English we speak now isn't the same as the English we spoke 100 years ago.   Language varies over regions.  English is not quite the same in England, Australia, and the United States because we have different dialects.  It's probably impossible to stop language from changing.  I'm not even sure it would be a good think if we could stop it.  

The question I'm asking myself right now is what should be done when people disagree about the meaning of a word.  Should dictionaries always be the final authority on what a word means?  If so which dictionary has the most authority?  Can people in a discussion simple agree with each other on a specific set of definitions?  What happens when people can't agree?  Is there any point to having an argument over what the proper definition of certain words should be?  Every argument I've seen about definition on this site seemed utterly pointless.  

The world is more connected now then at any other point in history.  People from all over the world can connect with each other online.  I wonder what affect this connection will have on language.  I wonder if dictionaries will become more important or less.  

Made a video about this a while ago. Hope it helps. Long story short: Some words/concepts are more useful than others. Use the ones that are most useful, and if you want to avoid an argument over definitions, then build a 'bridge' between your language/word/concept to the other person's language/word/concept. Then you can both use the words as you mean them (like Humpty Dumpty Eye-wink ) and who cares what the 'right' definition is? Words are just tools for communication after all. The 'right' definition is the one you intend to convey. Dictionaries only list popular word usages, not 'official' definitions.

(Obviously, this requires that the other person is dialoguing in good faith and is intellectually honest. For example, if you're arguing with a thick-headed creationist or a pomotard, then they'll refuse to accept your bridge and attempting to communicate will be pretty much pointless. But them's the breaks if you're talking to such a person in the first place.)

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Quote:who cares what the

Quote:
who cares what the 'right' definition is?

I do, and I'll tell you why I think you should, too.  Words are not individual entities, and they are not random sounds attached to any given symbol that one wants to express in the context of a single conversation.  Our linguistic roots, especially in Greek and Latin, connect words to each other through the common meanings of word parts.  They present a massive web of interconnected meanings that give English much of its value.  The ability to coin new words in sensible ways, or to understand unfamiliar words when we read them, depends on a loyalty to the literal roots of our language.

Of course, words and their parts are often used in increasing levels of abstraction.  As you rightly said in our video, words are largely metaphorical.  For example, "produce" means to lead forward; one might imagine producing a sheep as tribute to a king or something.  It's not unreasonable to go from there to saying that to produce something means to bring it into someone's life.  We can metaphorically "produce" an idea for the king, despite there being nothing to lead.  One might produce a car, causing it to come into existence and being presentable for use by the public.  Okay, now the symbols for "produce" and "make" are overlapping.

However, just to say that "produce" is equivalent to "make" is to rob the word of the richness of its symbolism.  What happens if you want to use the word to mean "lead forward?"  You can't: everyone will just present you with wiki links that show why you have it wrong.  What happens if you want to look at "deduce" or "reduce" and get a sense of what they might mean?  You can't, or worse, you might try to falsely relate those words to the process of making: "When I deduce, I'm making a connection between observations and my new theory."

 

Oh, the horror!


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Oops I'm not sure we're on

Quote:
But atheos or that thype of atheism from the Greek would mean those pagan godless assholes (though they may believe in several gods or a different god).

Oops I'm not sure we're on the same page, after all.  "Theism" as I understand it is theos + ism, with the cut letters just being a product of the process of joining.  Atheism means:

1)  (a + theos) + ism = atheism = believe there's no God.

2)  a + (theos + ism) = atheism = lack of belief in God.

 

Although I have to concede that in English, we're probably more sensitive to prefixes than suffixes.  So most would probably take "atheism" to mean "not theism."

Has anyone here actually studied enough Latin to know how multi-part words are ordered and formed, and how Latin thinkers would deal with issues like this?  I'd be interested in knowing more-- just no wiki links please. Sticking out tongue


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bennyboy wrote: I will NOT

bennyboy wrote:
 I will NOT let these people rewrite the language just because they are the majority-- that would make it impossible for anyone with a brain to carry on a meaningful conversation.

And that, in my opinion, is doubleplusungood.

 

And how do you propose to stop them? People have been changing language ever since it was invented. I don't imagine we will stop now. Although, I imagine many poets will get angry when poetry starts getting written text message style- its coming. 

 

Really, our entire language is a butchered combination of latin and greek combined with words from dozens of cultures, mashed up, mixed, blended and is now in the process of being shortened. The meat has already gone through the grinder, no point in trying to put it back together now. 

 

Personally, I think it is ridiculous when people argue over the meaning of a term. Once a person clarifies what they meant, I don't really see a point to arguing about it, even if you think they are using the term poorly. IME, most people who turn to arguing about the "proper" definition of a word because they have no good response against the substance of the core argument.  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

Personally, I think it is ridiculous when people argue over the meaning of a term. Once a person clarifies what they meant, I don't really see a point to arguing about it, even if you think they are using the term poorly. IME, most people who turn to arguing about the "proper" definition of a word because they have no good response against the substance of the core argument.  

I agree with this sentiment completely.  It would be so much better if people tried to understand each others' ideas, and respond to them.

And yet, sometimes nitpicking seems unavoidable.  For example, when asked if I believe in God, and I say I'm agnostic, outrage inevitably follows, though I really just want to express the idea that I don't know whether God exists.  Would you accept my assertion that I'm not an atheist, because I don't know what I think about the question?

Experience tells me that I must now lubricate my posterior and hope the pain is minimal. Sticking out tongue


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Beyond Saving wrote:bennyboy

Beyond Saving wrote:

bennyboy wrote:
 I will NOT let these people rewrite the language just because they are the majority-- that would make it impossible for anyone with a brain to carry on a meaningful conversation.

And that, in my opinion, is doubleplusungood.

And how do you propose to stop them? People have been changing language ever since it was invented. I don't imagine we will stop now. Although, I imagine many poets will get angry when poetry starts getting written text message style- its coming. 

 

Really, our entire language is a butchered combination of latin and greek combined with words from dozens of cultures, mashed up, mixed, blended and is now in the process of being shortened. The meat has already gone through the grinder, no point in trying to put it back together now. 

 

Personally, I think it is ridiculous when people argue over the meaning of a term. Once a person clarifies what they meant, I don't really see a point to arguing about it, even if you think they are using the term poorly. IME, most people who turn to arguing about the "proper" definition of a word because they have no good response against the substance of the core argument.  

 

If anyone is interested, I read a book on the development of creole languages.  Creole is a technical term if you are a linguist - creole languages have a grammar while pidgin languages do not.  Creole is typically a language developed by the children of immigrants where many immigrants who speak different languages are thrown together.  Examples are West Africa, the Caribbean islands, and Hawaii.

Languages evolve and linguists trace that evolution by word usage as well as word pronunciation. 

Bastard Tongues by Derek Bickerton

http://www.amazon.com/Bastard-Tongues-Trailblazing-Linguist-Languages/dp/0809028166/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305170794&sr=1...

It was available at my library, so there is no need to spend money to read the book unless you wish to.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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bennyboy wrote:Beyond Saving

bennyboy wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

Personally, I think it is ridiculous when people argue over the meaning of a term. Once a person clarifies what they meant, I don't really see a point to arguing about it, even if you think they are using the term poorly. IME, most people who turn to arguing about the "proper" definition of a word because they have no good response against the substance of the core argument.  

I agree with this sentiment completely.  It would be so much better if people tried to understand each others' ideas, and respond to them.

And yet, sometimes nitpicking seems unavoidable.  For example, when asked if I believe in God, and I say I'm agnostic, outrage inevitably follows, though I really just want to express the idea that I don't know whether God exists.  Would you accept my assertion that I'm not an atheist, because I don't know what I think about the question?

Experience tells me that I must now lubricate my posterior and hope the pain is minimal. Sticking out tongue

Let's look at this differently.  Do you believe in a god?  I used to consider myself agnostic also, but when you question the core of the meaning... well I now just say I'm atheist when asked.  What I actually believe is much more complicated than one word would describe, though 'atheist' fits me better than any other.  Or agnostic atheist, which I believe is what you may be.

Also, for my 2 cents in language, I was 15 when I was introduced to English, and most of my learning was contextual.  I didn't have the luxury of detailed study until later.  I tend to lean towards what Beyond has said regarding meaning simply because I'm biased towards it.  Since I'm also anal, I do tend to nitpick, however.  It is a delicate balance, and when I am in an immigrant community, which is often, I grow frustrated at way English is rapped and pissed on, but as long as I understand the person, communication has occurred.  Isn't that the point of language?

 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:Let's look at

Ktulu wrote:

Let's look at this differently.  Do you believe in a god?  I used to consider myself agnostic also, but when you question the core of the meaning... well I now just say I'm atheist when asked.  What I actually believe is much more complicated than one word would describe, though 'atheist' fits me better than any other.  Or agnostic atheist, which I believe is what you may be.

I'm currently arguing this issue in another thread, so I don't want to get into it too much.  I'm just pointing out that this kind of semantics is unavoidable.  Sometimes the definition of a word IS the debate.

 

Okay, I can't resist.  I think to be an atheist, you have to either a) not think about it and therefore lack an opinion about the existence of God; b) think about it and decide you either lack a belief or actively disbelieve.  But if you think about it and haven't come to a conclusion yet, you can't say you're atheist.  It's rude when someone says, "I don't know," and others say, "Okay, well then you must be _____."  Geez, let a guy think for a while before you associate him with a bunch of baby-killers or a pack of kool-aid drinkers. Sticking out tongue

 

But that's unlikely to happen.  The argument you've just given is almost inevitably going to come up, quite possibly with a 2-axis diagram, wikipedia links and uncontrolled mockery. Laughing out loud


RatDog
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natural wrote: RatDog

natural wrote:

RatDog wrote:

Language changes over time.  The English we speak now isn't the same as the English we spoke 100 years ago.   Language varies over regions.  English is not quite the same in England, Australia, and the United States because we have different dialects.  It's probably impossible to stop language from changing.  I'm not even sure it would be a good think if we could stop it.  

The question I'm asking myself right now is what should be done when people disagree about the meaning of a word.  Should dictionaries always be the final authority on what a word means?  If so which dictionary has the most authority?  Can people in a discussion simple agree with each other on a specific set of definitions?  What happens when people can't agree?  Is there any point to having an argument over what the proper definition of certain words should be?  Every argument I've seen about definition on this site seemed utterly pointless.  

The world is more connected now then at any other point in history.  People from all over the world can connect with each other online.  I wonder what affect this connection will have on language.  I wonder if dictionaries will become more important or less.  

Made a video about this a while ago. Hope it helps. Long story short: Some words/concepts are more useful than others. Use the ones that are most useful, and if you want to avoid an argument over definitions, then build a 'bridge' between your language/word/concept to the other person's language/word/concept. Then you can both use the words as you mean them (like Humpty Dumpty Eye-wink ) and who cares what the 'right' definition is? Words are just tools for communication after all. The 'right' definition is the one you intend to convey. Dictionaries only list popular word usages, not 'official' definitions.

(Obviously, this requires that the other person is dialoguing in good faith and is intellectually honest. For example, if you're arguing with a thick-headed creationist or a pomotard, then they'll refuse to accept your bridge and attempting to communicate will be pretty much pointless. But them's the breaks if you're talking to such a person in the first place.)

>

Thanks, your video was helpful.  


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Beyond Saving wrote:bennyboy

Beyond Saving wrote:

bennyboy wrote:
 I will NOT let these people rewrite the language just because they are the majority-- that would make it impossible for anyone with a brain to carry on a meaningful conversation.

And that, in my opinion, is doubleplusungood.

 

And how do you propose to stop them? People have been changing language ever since it was invented. I don't imagine we will stop now. Although, I imagine many poets will get angry when poetry starts getting written text message style- its coming. 

 

Really, our entire language is a butchered combination of latin and greek combined with words from dozens of cultures, mashed up, mixed, blended and is now in the process of being shortened. The meat has already gone through the grinder, no point in trying to put it back together now. 

 

Personally, I think it is ridiculous when people argue over the meaning of a term. Once a person clarifies what they meant, I don't really see a point to arguing about it, even if you think they are using the term poorly. IME, most people who turn to arguing about the "proper" definition of a word because they have no good response against the substance of the core argument.  

I agree that it is fairly ridiculous to argue over the meaning of words.  I think that substance is much more important then form.  Still, I understand why people would want other people to define words the same way they do.  It is a lot easier to communicate when everyone uses words the same way.  I just wish people wouldn't take it to such extremes.  I wish people would just stop once it becomes obvious they aren't going to change the other persons mind, and them move on to talking about the substance of the argument.   


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bennyboy wrote:Ktulu

bennyboy wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

Let's look at this differently.  Do you believe in a god?  I used to consider myself agnostic also, but when you question the core of the meaning... well I now just say I'm atheist when asked.  What I actually believe is much more complicated than one word would describe, though 'atheist' fits me better than any other.  Or agnostic atheist, which I believe is what you may be.

I'm currently arguing this issue in another thread, so I don't want to get into it too much.  I'm just pointing out that this kind of semantics is unavoidable.  Sometimes the definition of a word IS the debate.

 

Okay, I can't resist.  I think to be an atheist, you have to either a) not think about it and therefore lack an opinion about the existence of God; b) think about it and decide you either lack a belief or actively disbelieve.  But if you think about it and haven't come to a conclusion yet, you can't say you're atheist.  It's rude when someone says, "I don't know," and others say, "Okay, well then you must be _____."  Geez, let a guy think for a while before you associate him with a bunch of baby-killers or a pack of kool-aid drinkers. Sticking out tongue

 

But that's unlikely to happen.  The argument you've just given is almost inevitably going to come up, quite possibly with a 2-axis diagram, wikipedia links and uncontrolled mockery. Laughing out loud

I imagine that as long as I call myself and agnostic atheist I'm going to have to talk about the meaning of these two words many more times.  Based on that assumption I don't really feel any pressing need to talk about it now.  


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RatDog wrote:Language

RatDog wrote:

Language changes over time.  The English we speak now isn't the same as the English we spoke 100 years ago.   Language varies over regions.  English is not quite the same in England, Australia, and the United States because we have different dialects.  It's probably impossible to stop language from changing.  I'm not even sure it would be a good think if we could stop it.  

I actually thought that this was a good metaphor for evolution. Most people can't imagine evolution happing gradually, but it's very hard to imagine a language changing, which we know to happen. So the inability to visualize evolution shouldn't derange it.

RatDog wrote:

The question I'm asking myself right now is what should be done when people disagree about the meaning of a word.  Should dictionaries always be the final authority on what a word means?  If so which dictionary has the most authority?  Can people in a discussion simple agree with each other on a specific set of definitions?  What happens when people can't agree?  Is there any point to having an argument over what the proper definition of certain words should be?  Every argument I've seen about definition on this site seemed utterly pointless.

I've seen a number of people starting to nitpick on definitions because they were losing the argument (ie the definition of omnipotent suddenly becomes 'the ability to do everything that is logically possible'). But I think starting a discussion with defining certain (ambiguous) words, and maybe using a different word for the second meaning of a word, so you won't confuse them (like TAGs logical constants and logic being used as if they're the same).

RatDog wrote:

The world is more connected now then at any other point in history.  People from all over the world can connect with each other online.  I wonder what affect this connection will have on language.  I wonder if dictionaries will become more important or less.  

Back when people still had to write letters, and wait a week for a response, everything you said was meaningful, every word valuable. If you wanted to express yourself, you would find the perfect combination of words, before you would write it down.
But nowadays a word is worth nothing, we write millions of them every week. Most people don't even bother to write properly, because the other person will understand it anyway. I think this is very bad for a language.


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bennyboy wrote:Quote:But

bennyboy wrote:

Quote:
But atheos or that thype of atheism from the Greek would mean those pagan godless assholes (though they may believe in several gods or a different god).

Oops I'm not sure we're on the same page, after all.  "Theism" as I understand it is theos + ism, with the cut letters just being a product of the process of joining.  Atheism means:

1)  (a + theos) + ism = atheism = believe there's no God.

2)  a + (theos + ism) = atheism = lack of belief in God.

 

Although I have to concede that in English, we're probably more sensitive to prefixes than suffixes.  So most would probably take "atheism" to mean "not theism."

Has anyone here actually studied enough Latin to know how multi-part words are ordered and formed, and how Latin thinkers would deal with issues like this?  I'd be interested in knowing more-- just no wiki links please. Sticking out tongue

The use of the original Greek was to those that did not believe in the right god (though having a god) according to the community or society using the term. The English usage of atheism as one who holds there is no god is contemporary with the enlightenment period. It is not latin it is Greek. My background in theology included 4 years of Greek.

 

Theos is the Greek term for God."a" is the negation. It's usage was like our term "godless'...Those are a godless people....applied for example to a tribe who had many gods but not the right one like Zeus or later in Christianity... the Christian God.

 

 

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 OK, if other people want

 

OK, if other people want to work on the definition of atheism, that is fine by me. However, what I see as the issue here is more related to the definition if the word “dictionary” itself.

 

Really, languages do change and it would not be realistic to expect them not to. For me, I see a dictionary not as an anchor that exists to fix a language at some point in time but rather to act as a snapshot of what is going on at that point in time. It can help to make sure that we are “all on the same page” and it can help us to understand how we got there through the etymology of specific words.

 

That much being said, there is a limit to the value we place even on that. Some words are so old that they have moved around the old world (mother and father are similar in many indo-european languages from what I gather). Other words can be so new that they end up used as loan words in languages which are so distantly connected that the derivations would have to track through a modern language to get to an older root (telephone or toilet as examples).

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bennyboy wrote:Ktulu

bennyboy wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

Let's look at this differently.  Do you believe in a god?  I used to consider myself agnostic also, but when you question the core of the meaning... well I now just say I'm atheist when asked.  What I actually believe is much more complicated than one word would describe, though 'atheist' fits me better than any other.  Or agnostic atheist, which I believe is what you may be.

I'm currently arguing this issue in another thread, so I don't want to get into it too much.  I'm just pointing out that this kind of semantics is unavoidable.  Sometimes the definition of a word IS the debate.

 

What thread? post the link, I would be interested to read it.

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TGBaker wrote:bennyboy

TGBaker wrote:

bennyboy wrote:

Quote:
But atheos or that thype of atheism from the Greek would mean those pagan godless assholes (though they may believe in several gods or a different god).

Oops I'm not sure we're on the same page, after all.  "Theism" as I understand it is theos + ism, with the cut letters just being a product of the process of joining.  Atheism means:

1)  (a + theos) + ism = atheism = believe there's no God.

2)  a + (theos + ism) = atheism = lack of belief in God.

 

Although I have to concede that in English, we're probably more sensitive to prefixes than suffixes.  So most would probably take "atheism" to mean "not theism."

Has anyone here actually studied enough Latin to know how multi-part words are ordered and formed, and how Latin thinkers would deal with issues like this?  I'd be interested in knowing more-- just no wiki links please. Sticking out tongue

The use of the original Greek was to those that did not believe in the right god (though having a god) according to the community or society using the term. The English usage of atheism as one who holds there is no god is contemporary with the enlightenment period. It is not latin it is Greek. My background in theology included 4 years of Greek.

 

Theos is the Greek term for God."a" is the negation. It's usage was like our term "godless'...Those are a godless people....applied for example to a tribe who had many gods but not the right one like Zeus or later in Christianity... the Christian God.

 

Color me embarrassed.  I know that's Greek and not Latin.  Brain storm! Smiling

 

Again, this is a good example of how I would like to discuss a word when issues arise.  +1

 

Since I have a certified Greek Biblical scholar here, let me throw out something that I've always wondered.  When the Bible talks about the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," does reading it in Greek shed any light on what the heck that's even supposed to mean?  It's a pretty strange equality to make.  I assume that it was first recorded in Hebrew; did it keep its original meaning in John?


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bennyboy wrote:TGBaker

bennyboy wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

bennyboy wrote:

Quote:
But atheos or that thype of atheism from the Greek would mean those pagan godless assholes (though they may believe in several gods or a different god).

Oops I'm not sure we're on the same page, after all.  "Theism" as I understand it is theos + ism, with the cut letters just being a product of the process of joining.  Atheism means:

1)  (a + theos) + ism = atheism = believe there's no God.

2)  a + (theos + ism) = atheism = lack of belief in God.

 

Although I have to concede that in English, we're probably more sensitive to prefixes than suffixes.  So most would probably take "atheism" to mean "not theism."

Has anyone here actually studied enough Latin to know how multi-part words are ordered and formed, and how Latin thinkers would deal with issues like this?  I'd be interested in knowing more-- just no wiki links please. Sticking out tongue

The use of the original Greek was to those that did not believe in the right god (though having a god) according to the community or society using the term. The English usage of atheism as one who holds there is no god is contemporary with the enlightenment period. It is not latin it is Greek. My background in theology included 4 years of Greek.

 

Theos is the Greek term for God."a" is the negation. It's usage was like our term "godless'...Those are a godless people....applied for example to a tribe who had many gods but not the right one like Zeus or later in Christianity... the Christian God.

 

Color me embarrassed.  I know that's Greek and not Latin.  Brain storm! Smiling

 

Again, this is a good example of how I would like to discuss a word when issues arise.  +1

 

Since I have a certified Greek Biblical scholar here, let me throw out something that I've always wondered.  When the Bible talks about the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," does reading it in Greek shed any light on what the heck that's even supposed to mean?  It's a pretty strange equality to make.  I assume that it was first recorded in Hebrew; did it keep its original meaning in John?

You will find no agreement on Logos ( the Word) because of 2000 years of tradition that biases the exegete. ...I translate it, " In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was toward God and the Logos was a god.  If you look at the original text of John 1:18 it should be translated just as the Jehovah's Witnesses translate. NO one has seen God ever. The only begotten god who is in the bosom of the father has declared ( or explained Him).  If you look at how Philo of Alexander and the Stoics used Logos  you can see that it did not mean God Himself but like a word or a thought and expression of its subject. The word was dog. Logos is that which by speaking or thinking god creates. It is reason.  Sophia or wisdom is done the same way in the period that the gospel was written. But look at how John parallels Proverbs 8  Go creates all things through wisdom. She was there before creation and was the tool by which god creates.  In fact there was a jewish temple  on the island of Elephantine where the Jews worshipped both Yahweh and Wisdom  as his consort.


 

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I think dictionaries report

I think dictionaries report the common usage rather than dictate it. It doesn't matter if people can agree about the definition of a word because they can always agree about what the person meant if they clarify their statements.

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bennyboy wrote:Quote:who

bennyboy wrote:

Quote:
who cares what the 'right' definition is?

I do, and I'll tell you why I think you should, too.  Words are not individual entities, and they are not random sounds attached to any given symbol that one wants to express in the context of a single conversation.  Our linguistic roots, especially in Greek and Latin, connect words to each other through the common meanings of word parts.  They present a massive web of interconnected meanings that give English much of its value.  The ability to coin new words in sensible ways, or to understand unfamiliar words when we read them, depends on a loyalty to the literal roots of our language.

Yeah, see, if you had watched the video, I covered all that, so ... what the heck is your point again?

Quote:
However, just to say that "produce" is equivalent to "make" is to rob the word of the richness of its symbolism.

You are reading/hearing things I did not say. Although the speaker has a definite responsibility for how effectively he conveys the message, the listener also has a responsibility to try to read/hear the speaker's intended message. Communication requires both parties to work. It would help if you quote (or point out the timestamp) what I said specifically that you're taking issue with. Honestly I don't know where your reaction is coming from.

Quote:
What happens if you want to use the word to mean "lead forward?"  You can't: everyone will just present you with wiki links that show why you have it wrong.

Uhhhh.... Like I said in the video, you build a bridge so that the other person understands your meaning when you use the word. If they say, "You can't use the word like that!!!" you inform them that they are an idiotic language Nazi and find someone more reasonable to discuss things with. Or, you say, "If you don't want to hear what I mean, that's your problem, but I use the word my way because it works better for my needs. So, tough noogies."

It all comes down to this: Some words/concepts are more useful than others. Eventually, the more useful ones will win out, because they are more useful.

Quote:
What happens if you want to look at "deduce" or "reduce" and get a sense of what they might mean?  You can't, or worse, you might try to falsely relate those words to the process of making: "When I deduce, I'm making a connection between observations and my new theory."

You are basically arguing that understanding etymology (a conceptual framework about the origins and relations between words and their parts) is useful and so we should prefer to use word roots (from your example) because they help in understanding and communicating ideas.

Gee. That's exactly what I said in the video: Some words/concepts are more useful than others, and we should use the most useful ones. You are in what is called 'violent agreement' with me.

The only issue is how to resolve the situation when one person's preferred word is confusingly different from another's. That's the whole point of the bridge metaphor.

bennyboy wrote:

Quote:
who cares what the 'right' definition is?

I do, and I'll tell you why I think you should, too.

I tend to use 'quotes' to indicate that a word or phrase I'm using should be understood in a particular context. I'll spell it out for you here: There is no 'right' definition in the sense of an official orthodox definition of a word which is 'right' by fiat or tradition. A definition is only right to the extent that it is useful. If old words (e.g. Greek, Latin) and their roots attain a status as having a de facto standard meaning, it is usually because that meaning has been useful in the past. So they will very likely remain useful in continued use. But when times change and their usefulness shifts around, it is not their de facto 'right' meaning which should be preserved, but their tried-and-true pragmatically useful meaning(s) which should be preserved (or adopted).

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bennyboy wrote:Sometimes the

bennyboy wrote:

Sometimes the definition of a word IS the debate.

Correct, but at this point you must realize that you are arguing not over which definition is 'right', but which definition is more useful! That's the point.

Imagine this:

A: "The word 'foo' most correctly means 'bar'."

B: "No, no, no, you uncultured barbarian, the proper meaning of 'foo' is 'baz'! You can't just re-write language!"

A: "You just used 'barbarian' to mean 'boor', but its original meaning is 'foreigner'. Who's re-writing language now?! Besides, Fooster's Dictionary lists 'baz' as an obsolete definition of 'foo', and 'bar' is the official definition used by the National Academy of Foo. So, clearly, 'bar' is the right definition."

B: "No, 'baz' is the right definitinon!"

A: "No, 'bar'!" B: "Baz!" A: "Bar!" ad infinitum

Versus this:

A: "The word 'foo' most correctly means 'bar'."

B: "Although that is a very common definition, and is even included in Fooster's Dictionary and endorsed by the National Academy of Foo, what these people refer to as 'foo' is logically incompatible with 'bar', and the preponderance of evidence shows that nothing fitting the description of 'bar' actually exists. Besides, a simpler interpretation of 'foo' as 'baz', based on the original etymology, is much more useful in practice, because that's what people are actually referring to when they speak of 'foo'. Also, we have lots of evidence of the existence of 'baz', so even if 'foo' didn't mean 'baz', we would have to invent a word to encompass the meaning of 'baz', so that we could speak about it in everyday speech. Thus, I maintain that 'baz' is the more useful definition of 'foo'."

A: "Oh. Yeah. I get it. Of course. That makes sense. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's continue the discussion."

And they lived happily ever after. The End.

bennyboy wrote:

Okay, I can't resist.  I think to be an atheist, you have to either a) not think about it and therefore lack an opinion about the existence of God; b) think about it and decide you either lack a belief or actively disbelieve.  But if you think about it and haven't come to a conclusion yet, you can't say you're atheist.

But to 'lack a belief' does not require you to 'decide' that you lack the belief. It only requires that the belief be absent.

If you've thought about the existence of a god, and haven't yet come to a firm decision on it, you still lack a positive belief in god. And hence, to describe and indicate this lack of belief, it would be useful to have a word availble to refer to this condition.

Because even if 'atheist' did not mean 'one who lacks a belief in any god', we would have to invent a word which did mean that, so that we could talk about such a state of lack of belief in everyday speech.

In practice, it is the presence or absence of positive belief in particular gods which motivates the need for a word to refer to 'one who lacks a belief in any god'. It is the claims of theists that requires a word which refers to the state that they condemn. If there were no theists, we wouldn't need the word 'atheist'. If theists did not target people who lacked their god-beliefs, we wouldn't need the word 'atheist'.

Atheist-as-a-lack is the simplest, broadest, most useful definition for identifying and indicating the people who have a reason to defend themselves against the irrational claims of theists.

Within this very broad category of atheists, there are a wide variety of different people (as wide a variety as people-who-don't-have-the-flu, basically), and hence there are different kinds of atheists within the big tent of basic atheism. We can narrow down the different sub-categories, and many have done so, and you are free to contribute any useful ideas.

But the need for a word to refer to those 'without' 'theism', regardless of their other characteristics, is clear. Even if 'atheism' didn't mean this, we would need to invent a word which did.

But the very simple etymology (whether actual or reverse-engineered from prefix-root-suffix) of 'atheism' makes it the most well-suited word to refer to people 'without god belief'.

So, if you want to use your obscure and ideosyncratic definition of atheism, go ahead. Just don't expect it to prove very useful in conversation with the huge variety of people who share the big tent of 'without god belief'.

One of the best arguments against theism is the mere existence of atheists who merely lack belief in any gods. The word as we use it is very very useful to us. And we use what's most useful. So if you want us to adopt your usage, you're going to have to show us how it is at least as (or more) useful than our definition.

Quote:
It's rude when someone says, "I don't know," and others say, "Okay, well then you must be _____."  Geez, let a guy think for a while before you associate him with a bunch of baby-killers or a pack of kool-aid drinkers. :P

But wait. If you say "I don't know," and they say "Okay, well then you don't have an actual belief in any gods then, so you're an atheist by that definition," in what way are they actually wrong? Again, the true value of a word is in its usefulness (here, in being able to identify those who lack belief in gods under 'big tent' atheism), not in its perceived rudeness. So it's rude. So what? Is it actually wrong?

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bennyboy wrote:When the

bennyboy wrote:
When the Bible talks about the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," does reading it in Greek shed any light on what the heck that's even supposed to mean?  It's a pretty strange equality to make.  I assume that it was first recorded in Hebrew; did it keep its original meaning in John?

Just to really piss you off (JK Eye-wink ), here's a wiki link about the word 'Word', which is actually 'Logos' in Greek: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos

To get Logos straight, it may be useful (see?) to see where it is used in modern English: Biology (the logos of life), psychology (logos of mind), sociology (logos of societies).

Also: Logic, logarithm.

It originally meant simply 'word', as in a literal or spoken word, but it started to gain connotations of 'reason', 'knowledge', 'order', 'structure', 'organization', and later 'the study of', so that people think of biology as the study of life. But it would just as well be considered the logic of life, or the structure and order of the knowledge of life. Today, we often combine all that into the science of life, and indeed Logos as the ancient Greeks used it was well-connected to the precursors of science.

In classical education, Logos (also called dialectic in this context) is one of the Trivium, the three major areas of study, the other two being grammar and rhetoric. Furthermore, in classical rhetoric, Logos (clear reasoning in this context) is one of the three main modes of persuasion, the other two being Pathos (emotional appeal) and Ethos (personal credibility or authority).

Logos (reason), IMO, is distinct from Sophia (wisdom), so that philosophy (philosophia) is more broad and humanistic than mere rhetorical ability (often more rationalization than rationality, in practice) or mere knowledge or study.

Note that in the Bible, God is Logos, and Sophia has no place in the religion (being of a more feminine connotation due to Greek grammar). God is Reason, not Wisdom.

Interestingly, there was/are myths about Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom personified, often referred to simply as Wisdom in English. Apparently (haven't read anything on this) there was even a myth of Sophia in Gnostic Christianity. But of course, the church could brook no goddesses in its patriarchy.

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There is no independent

There is no independent ultimate authority on the meaning and usage of words, so there is no 'right' way to use a word.

The structure and roots of a word may be useful in guessing at the meaning of an unfamiliar word, but are not definitive in any way. Many, many words, including very simple ones, have come come to mean almost the exact opposite of their original usage, so etymology can lead you widely off the mark, and insisting on sticking to an interpretation based on the parts of a simple word is worse than futile. It is ignorant and stupid.

We acquire our understanding of how and where to use all the words we come across from reading, listening, and communicating with others, where we both consciously and sub-consciously adjust our sense of each word and phrase as we encounter them and attempt to use them to communicate with others.

As natural says, when it becomes apparent that you and the person you are talking with have a significantly different understanding of an important word, you need to sort it out. Etymology may be useful, as can those records of most commonly accepted meanings we call dictionaries, even Wiki, since it is some sort of record for what many people understand by a word or phrase.

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natural wrote:bennyboy

natural wrote:

bennyboy wrote:
When the Bible talks about the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," does reading it in Greek shed any light on what the heck that's even supposed to mean?  It's a pretty strange equality to make.  I assume that it was first recorded in Hebrew; did it keep its original meaning in John?

Just to really piss you off (JK Eye-wink ), here's a wiki link about the word 'Word', which is actually 'Logos' in Greek: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos

To get Logos straight, it may be useful (see?) to see where it is used in modern English: Biology (the logos of life), psychology (logos of mind), sociology (logos of societies).

Also: Logic, logarithm.

It originally meant simply 'word', as in a literal or spoken word, but it started to gain connotations of 'reason', 'knowledge', 'order', 'structure', 'organization', and later 'the study of', so that people think of biology as the study of life. But it would just as well be considered the logic of life, or the structure and order of the knowledge of life. Today, we often combine all that into the science of life, and indeed Logos as the ancient Greeks used it was well-connected to the precursors of science.

In classical education, Logos (also called dialectic in this context) is one of the Trivium, the three major areas of study, the other two being grammar and rhetoric. Furthermore, in classical rhetoric, Logos (clear reasoning in this context) is one of the three main modes of persuasion, the other two being Pathos (emotional appeal) and Ethos (personal credibility or authority).

Logos (reason), IMO, is distinct from Sophia (wisdom), so that philosophy (philosophia) is more broad and humanistic than mere rhetorical ability (often more rationalization than rationality, in practice) or mere knowledge or study.

Note that in the Bible, God is Logos, and Sophia has no place in the religion (being of a more feminine connotation due to Greek grammar). God is Reason, not Wisdom.

Interestingly, there was/are myths about Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom personified, often referred to simply as Wisdom in English. Apparently (haven't read anything on this) there was even a myth of Sophia in Gnostic Christianity. But of course, the church could brook no goddesses in its patriarchy.

Here's a little quote to detail more of my previous quote about Wisdom( Sophia) and Logos being interrelated by Philo of Alexandria. Wisdom was worhsipped by Jews on Elephantine:

http://www.catherinecollegelibrary.net/classic/swidler3.asp

Probably from around this time onward a colony of Jews lived at Elephantine, Egypt. From their papyrus letters and documents of the late fifth century we know that not only did the Jewish women as well as the men contribute money to the Temple and that the women could divorce their spouses as well as the men could, but also that in the Temple along with Yahu (as Yahweh was addressed there) the Goddess Anathbethel was also worshiped.(18) In another Elephantine document the Goddess Anath is apparently referred to as the consort of Yahweh: “He swore to Meshullam b. Nathan by Yahu the God, by the Temple and by Anathyahu.”

After the return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile the public worship of the Goddess seems to have been successfully suppressed, being relegated largely to feminine manifestations of God as in the post-exilic wisdom books’ praise of the feminine Hokmah or Sophia. Wisdom, and the growing reference to God’s feminine Presence, Shekinah an Aramaic term first found after the beginning of the Christian era in Rabbinic and Targumic writings. One of the high-cost ways this was accomplished was by the banning of intermarriage. By this time Jewish women in any case could not marry non-Jews; Jewish men also were not supposed to marry non-Jewish women, though in fact they did. The reason foreign wives were not to be taken is that they were seen as thc source of corrupting Goddess worship, e.g., Jezebel and her worship of Asherah. This enforcement of the Deuteronomic prohibition (Dt 7:1-4) took the drastic form of the divorce and driving out by the Jewish men of their non-Jewish wives and children!

The post-exilic Jewish literature, wisdom, apocalyptic and rabbinic, exhibits a growing restriction of women, a hostility toward them and a preoccupation with illegitimate sex as the source of all evil. E.g., the third century Ecclesiastes says “I find woman more bitter than death; she is a snare, her heart a net, her arms are chains” (Eccles 7:26). Second-century Ben Sira has much negative to say about women; thc following is a small sampling: “For a moth comes out of clothes, and woman’s spite out of woman” (Ecclus 25:26); “Any spite rather than the spite of a woman” (25:13); “A man’s spite is preferable to a woman’s kindness; women give rise to shame and reproach” (42:13f.); “No wickedness comes anywhere near the wickedness of a woman, may a sinner’s lot be hers” (25:19), “Sin began with a woman, and thanks to her we all must die” (25:24). Around the year 100 B.C. Jewish apocalyptic literature flourished; it was decidedly negative toward women and sex. The Book of Jubilees, for example, suggested that every woman is a nymphomaniac: “For all their deeds are fornication and lust, and there is no righteousness with them, for their deeds are evil” (25:1). The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs reflects the same attitude: “For women are evil, my children; and since they have no power or strength over man, they use wiles by outward attractions, that they may draw him to themselves. And whom they cannot bewitch by outward attractions, him they overcome by craft” (Testament of Reuben 5:1f.). The Essenes are said by Philo to refuse marriage “because a woman is a selfish creature, excessively jealous and an adept at beguiling the morals of her husband and seducing him by her continued impostures.”

Also:

http://astro.temple.edu/~swidler/swidlerbooks/biblical-affirmation.htm

§5. Hebrew Goddess at Elephantine

Probably from around this time onward a colony of Jews lived at Elephantine, Egypt, an island in the Nile river, opposite Aswan, about four hundred miles south of Cairo. From their papyrus letters and documents of the late fifth century B.C.E. we know not only that the Jewish women as well as men contributed money to the Temple, and that the women could divorce their spouses as well as the men could, but also that in the Temple along with Yahu (as Yahweh was addressed there) the goddess Anathbethel was also worshiped (Arthur E. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C., p. 72; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923).

 

The name Anath-Bethel literally means “Anath the House of El [the God of Heaven]”-cf. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, p. 72. Since in Hebraic culture a wife is referred to as the husband’s “house,” this name suggests that the goddess Anath was understood as the “God of Heaven’s” consort. This is further confirmed by the fact that Yahu (derived from a variant of an older spelling of Yahweh) is called the “God of Heaven” in the same Elephantine papyri (ibid., p. 114) and that Anath is often referred to as the “Lady of Heaven,” especially in Egyptian culture (see Patai, Hebrew Goddess, p. 55). Still further, the Jewish writings of Elephantine also include an oath to Yahu and to Anath, “consort of Yahu”: “He swore to Mesbullam b. Nathan by Yahu the God, by the temple and by Anathyahu” (Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, p. 148). (Alternatively, Kraeling suggests that Bethel in Anath-Bethel is simply an alternative name for Yahu, and offers reasons-Emil G. Kraeling, ed., The Brooklyn Museum Aramaic Papyri, pp. 88-90; Yale University Press, 1953.)

 

Moreover, it is likely that refugees from Bethel, some fourteen miles north of Jerusalem, played an important part in the development of this syncretistic worship in Elephantine Judaism, for Bethel was known not only as a place where Yahweh was early worshiped; Bethel was a place where later the Goddess was also worshiped, as indicated by the calf image there (cf. e.g., Hos 10:5-the cow, the calf, was a symbol of the Goddess, the source of life, fertility; see James, Cult of the Mother Goddess, p. 8 1). After describing temples of the Goddess and of Yahweh alongside each other at Tell-en-Nasbeb in Palestine, Edwin O. James goes on to state:

 

This equipment suggests that it was a centre of the Goddess cult where Astarte was worshipped, probably in later times alongside of Yahweh at the neighbouring shrine, possibly as his consort. If this were so, the goddesses under Canaanite names (e.g., Anath-Yahu comparable to Yo-Elat in Ugaritic texts) assigned to Yahweh in the Jewish community at Elephantine after the Exile can hardly have been an innovation. (James, Cult of the Mother Goddess, p. 80)

 

 

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TG,the Jews seem to have

TG,

the Jews seem to have this thing about words having a magic power to them, at least certain words, to the point that they will not spell them out.

We have had posters here who would use "g-d" when referring to Yahweh, or YHWH.

Your comments on this? I apologise if you touched this in your lengthy expositions, I am a little tight for time.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Hi OPY

Hi OPY,

Yes, language does change. We went through an old, middle, and modern English. Greek went through 4 stages. This is all normal in the indo-Eupureon means of languages.

But we are not to pour in modern meanings with old definitions. For example, when John spoke of the term WORLD, we are not suppose to pour into what 21st century thinking is on world. We are to understand what world meant in 1st century Ad and specifically what John meant.

We are also not to use etymological definitions when we speak lest we comitt the etymological fallacy.

We are to use what the language means via context and modern usage. This is known as usus loquendi.

However, the term atheist etymologically could refer to "Instead of Theism" or the negation of theism as more correct of a notion. This is what was meant. Again, we must understand this term according to the Greeks via Greek Philosophy, and not TG Baker who was a stoner and hippie and smokes the cannabas with his chlldren. No offense TG Baker, I call them as they are. lol.

But what is comes down to is simple. It does not come down to syntax or grammar (PER SA) or even morphology. Though these are all needed. The correct understanding comes down to CONTEXT.

The term nice etymologically speaking meant that you're an idiot. So perhaps I ought to have made a thread that said God thinks you're Nice. (LOL).

But dictionaries deal with a TYPE of definition. Not the only type of definition. And if that, the definition is limited. For example, if we were discussing the definition of freeWill, the Webster's dictionary may be an okay place to start, but not to end.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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BobSpence1 wrote:TG,the Jews

BobSpence1 wrote:

TG,

the Jews seem to have this thing about words having a magic power to them, at least certain words, to the point that they will not spell them out.

We have had posters here who would use "g-d" when referring to Yahweh, or YHWH.

Your comments on this? I apologise if you touched this in your lengthy expositions, I am a little tight for time.

Good to hear from ya bob.  Notice that there are two different competing names for god: Yahweh and Jehovah.  The Jews were afraid of using god's name in vain. The early Hebrew was written just in consonants. Diacritical marks were added later for vowel inflections.  So in order not to use god's name carelessly or in vain ( without reverence, meaning or value) the name Yahweh was substituted with Adonai  meaning Lord when read aloud. When the diacritical vowel inflections were added to the text the vowels for Lord were placed under Yahweh letting the reader know to say "lord" instead of the holy name. That developed into Yehov(w)ah  thus in English Jehovah.  So Jehovah is a screw up of trying to say Lord for Yahweh but I guess achieves the same results by not saying Yahweh. Notice the European switch from v to w. The g-d or G.D. folk attempt to carry on the same reverence not understanding that god is generic similar to El or Elohim and not the holy name itelf: Yahweh.  The use of Elohim was from one source added to the jehovahisitc source so you have two names for God in Genesis  and really two creation stories. But I digress there.

Oh Bobspence1 I liked what you said about the meaning of words they or fluid or sometimes completely abused by a culture and changed . Ain't that Cool . That hot. There a re diachronic and synchronic studies of words. The diachronic shows the lexical changes through time and synchronic with the period of time or location in  question. When I say I ought to go to the store. The meaning today is subjunctive. I should but I am not. It had a much more demanding meaning a  few centuries earlier meaning I am obligated  or it is necessary.

 

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Jean Chauvin wrote:Hi

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hi OPY,

Yes, language does change. We went through an old, middle, and modern English. Greek went through 4 stages. This is all normal in the indo-Eupureon means of languages.

But we are not to pour in modern meanings with old definitions. For example, when John spoke of the term WORLD, we are not suppose to pour into what 21st century thinking is on world. We are to understand what world meant in 1st century Ad and specifically what John meant.

We are also not to use etymological definitions when we speak lest we comitt the etymological fallacy.

We are to use what the language means via context and modern usage. This is known as usus loquendi.

However, the term atheist etymologically could refer to "Instead of Theism" or the negation of theism as more correct of a notion. This is what was meant. Again, we must understand this term according to the Greeks via Greek Philosophy, and not TG Baker who was a stoner and hippie and smokes the cannabas with his chlldren. No offense TG Baker, I call them as they are. lol.

But what is comes down to is simple. It does not come down to syntax or grammar (PER SA) or even morphology. Though these are all needed. The correct understanding comes down to CONTEXT.

The term nice etymologically speaking meant that you're an idiot. So perhaps I ought to have made a thread that said God thinks you're Nice. (LOL).

But dictionaries deal with a TYPE of definition. Not the only type of definition. And if that, the definition is limited. For example, if we were discussing the definition of freeWill, the Webster's dictionary may be an okay place to start, but not to end.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

Oh go blow off John Calvin.  Go say three hail Marys for killing Severtus and saying things about my children . Oh by the way FUCK YOU. No offense dush brain. But the term atheism simply meant godless in the period of the New Testament. Not holding to God by the Jews. It was used againstseveral philosophers because they had a theistic view rather than a traditional view of the Greek gods.  I hope people will really stop listening to your revisioned Calvinistic garbage that distorts even what Christianity was about. 

 

HEY MODERATOR WHEN IT COMES TO HIM SAYING THINGS ABOUT MY FAMILY I HOPE YOU PAY ATTENTION> HE SAID SOMETHING ABOUT MY WIFE ONCE. HE CAN GO OR I WILL. there is simply no excuse for such absurdities.

 

 

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Hi TG

Hi TG,

Put the bong down, and slowly step away. Look, I did not mean to offend. I do not remember what I said about your wife, but both comments were indirect, not direct.

second, I don't care what atheist meant in the 1st century. LOL. Etymologically speaking, we need to go to the very beginning of it's construction via the presocratic era.

Look, let's be friends. God can still choose people even if their parents are stoners. No big deal. I hope there are no hard feelings. Also, I signed my post as respectfully.

As an atheist, I find it extremely amusing that you find Calvinism as a threat to Christianity. This is very funny and abusrd. The correct understand would be Reformed Christianity which was 99% of the Reformation. Let me guess, you're upset over the freewill issue aren't you?

Wow, I'm so surpised.

TG, I will pray for your family and your son that God will give them knowledge of Him, and the stupidity of your heresy. I speak out of respect.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Thanks, TG,glad to see every

Thanks, TG,

glad to see every post of yours - apart from what they have to say, it means you are still around....

I would like to add a slight but important clarification to one of my paragraphs on 'words':

"We acquire our understanding of how and where to use all the words we come across from reading, listening, and communicating with others, where we both consciously and sub-consciously adjust our sense of each word and phrase as we encounter them, in each context, and attempt to use them to communicate with others."

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Hi Bob

Hi Bob,

There is no such thing as a sub-conscious. That is modern secular/theist psychology. Freud worshipped little idols on his window and Jung was into the occult. This is B.S.

Psychology (what we know of psychology of today) is NOT science. Even wannabe scienstists admit this, and lessen the blow by calling to a "soft science." Haven't I already discussed this.

But yes, context is via the analogia writ, spoken, or communicated by other means. We generally refer this to the writ, but spoken is just as well.

Bob, do you dislike me? Look I hope I'm your buddy.

Why do you continue to embrace that which I have refuted with you such as empiricism? We spent several days discussing this until you ran into a dead end. Yet you still embrace the dead end? Weird. Just wondering. Now of course you're going to say that didn't happen, perhaps that is part of the dilusion of atheism.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Jean Chauvin wrote:Hi TG,Put

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hi TG,

Put the bong down, and slowly step away. Look, I did not mean to offend. I do not remember what I said about your wife, but both comments were indirect, not direct.

second, I don't care what atheist meant in the 1st century. LOL. Etymologically speaking, we need to go to the very beginning of it's construction via the presocratic era.

Look, let's be friends. God can still choose people even if their parents are stoners. No big deal. I hope there are no hard feelings. Also, I signed my post as respectfully.

As an atheist, I find it extremely amusing that you find Calvinism as a threat to Christianity. This is very funny and abusrd. The correct understand would be Reformed Christianity which was 99% of the Reformation. Let me guess, you're upset over the freewill issue aren't you?

Wow, I'm so surpised.

TG, I will pray for your family and your son that God will give them knowledge of Him, and the stupidity of your heresy. I speak out of respect.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

Bite be and be reformed.  And we can be friends but i guess i just believe in being respectful or polite to people even assholes like you. Now you have me cursing and I don't curse. Obviously my Christian background was a Arminian.  I saw it as a treat to Christianity then but only see it as a bad detour of many. But I see trinity as a corruption of early and original Christianity. BTW I haven't smoked pot since 1979.  So you are a reformed TULIP? And no I am not upset over the freewill issue. That is a presupposition that would be typical and usually right. I have studied consciousness for about two years constantly and I think it is an illusion. But then we have no choice but to choose. I will talk about the stupidity of your heresy or perhaps pray to the totality of it all You took your post name from John Calvin. Has anyone mentioned that beside me over your long posting? You remind me of an attorney friend who perhaps does not mean to be offensive and has a lot of tongue in his cheek. But I have lines where you don't frickin' cross over even if you are a famous reformer.  Waddya think of Luther?


 

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Hi TG

Hi TG,

No resistance that I will pray for your son? Wow.

Luther is good. He was a reformer. Virtually ALL Reformers were "Calvlinists." Of course, Luther was before, but I am speaking of a term of a system, not the name himself. Monergism would also work or Augustianism, or even the Sovereignty of God.

Luther messed up on the Lord's Supper. When Luther and Calvin met, they discussed 14 things and agreed with all of them except one, the Lords' supper.

Luther had a huge fit and made the Lord's Supper an essential issue. Meaning if you deny his view of consubstantiation you are not a Chrisitan. He was WRONG.

But Calvlin made mistakes too. One of my favorite reformers/puritians was John Owen.

You haven't smoked pot until 1979? Come on. Liars go to hell (LOL).

Your issue on the Trinity is common. You attempted to use your finite, corrupt knowledge and interjected it on the Trinity. The Trinity is valid in objective logic but you denied it's soundness. I get it. 1+1+1=3? right? What about 1X1X1=1? lol.

Christianity is the ONLY system that views the Trinity like it does. NO other has viewed it as Christianity. 

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3). 

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Hehe I was looking for a

Hehe

 

I was looking for a word that would be a case in point for the OP.  Guess I picked the right one with "atheist!"

 

I think it's very difficult to assume that people can infer each other's "intended meaning," since intentions can change throughout a debate.  How often do you see, after a 20-page thread, someone saying, "Oh, well sure if you use THAT meaning your position makes sense, but only a dummy would use THAT meaning.  Of course, I was talking about THIS meaning. . ."

It's probably best in a formal debate to force people to agree on all the terms before beginning.  The problem with an online forum is that usually nobody knows it's going to become a formal debate until you're 20 pages in.  In other words, it may be the nature of forums that every major thread has to end in semantics and name-calling.

 

@TG Baker

Thanks for the history lesson.  It's interesting to think that early Christians may have been the original "atheists." Laughing out loud

 

@Jean Chauvin

Since I was asking about word roots, I've focused on the earlier history.  However, I'm interested in theology in general and I may ask about the reformation etc. later.  Also interesting.


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Hi Benny

Hi Benny,

Yes, that is very basic and very common. One of the first things you learn in logic is to DEFINE your terms. This is crucial but rarely ever done.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Jean, as I have said before,

Jean,

as I have said before, you inhabit a mental world of concepts which has little or no alignment with those which I and most others I engage with here more-or-less share, so I have long since decided it is futile to attempt to engage with you seriously.

Yes, you have refuted stuff, but only within your own peculiar and idiosyncratic personal context, which from my viewpoint has little contact with reality.

If it works for you, cool.

I have a fully developed, and very different (AFAICS) world-view, which works very well for me, and which I continue to refine, and which many people have assured me they find helpful and insightful when I express it regarding topics they are into.

I try to listen to people who have different points of view, as that can often expand my own understanding, but it really only works when there is at least some useful degree of common understanding between us. Otherwise we just talk past each other, or argue, or worse.

Unfortunately, I see little common ground between my PoV and yours, based on past and more recent exchanges. I have far more fruitful exchanges, even with Wowsers1, it seems to me. Even if it just to learn something of yet another variation on the God concept. I have learnt as much as seems worth knowing about yours.

So that is why I will probably continue to mostly ignore you, unless you seem to be making some genuinely new and interesting points.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Jean Chauvin wrote:Hi TG,No

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hi TG,

No resistance that I will pray for your son? Wow.

Luther is good. He was a reformer. Virtually ALL Reformers were "Calvlinists." Of course, Luther was before, but I am speaking of a term of a system, not the name himself. Monergism would also work or Augustianism, or even the Sovereignty of God.

Luther messed up on the Lord's Supper. When Luther and Calvin met, they discussed 14 things and agreed with all of them except one, the Lords' supper.

Luther had a huge fit and made the Lord's Supper an essential issue. Meaning if you deny his view of consubstantiation you are not a Chrisitan. He was WRONG.

But Calvlin made mistakes too. One of my favorite reformers/puritians was John Owen.

You haven't smoked pot until 1979? Come on. Liars go to hell (LOL).

Your issue on the Trinity is common. You attempted to use your finite, corrupt knowledge and interjected it on the Trinity. The Trinity is valid in objective logic but you denied it's soundness. I get it. 1+1+1=3? right? What about 1X1X1=1? lol.

Christianity is the ONLY system that views the Trinity like it does. NO other has viewed it as Christianity. 

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3). 

I have three sons. Perhaps it will do you good to pray for them. You can pray for my chemo and bone marrow transplant if you want. But isn't it a sin to pray for Satan? I stopped pot and LSD when I went to bible College. No my problem with the trinity is from my conclusions of a historical/critical approach to the NT. There was the historical Jesus and his teachings, then someone intpreted him through a Wisdom Motif , then Logos and finally several competing Trinitarian views.  To me it is simply a fabrication as other the other non-factual interpretations or hermeneutics of the person of Jesus into  a Pauline Christ of Faith.

Give me a factual Thomas Jefferson over the legendary one any day.  

I certainly can understand the claims and probably could fashion a few like them. But that does not make them factual or true.  The Lord's Supper if it is anything is the reason the first century followers and Christians thought that they were living in the last generation...last generation...oops last generation.

 

 Didn't happen. He still hasn't eaten and drank anew in that New Kingdom. Perhaps he was wrong. Perhaps his followers put words in his mouth. Perhaps either way invalidates the eschatology of the NT.

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Hi Bob

Hi Bob,

Anyway, when I first came on this site, I assumed that most on here were trained in logic and had a basic understanding of things. I quickly learned that this was not true. So I had to dumb down the argument just so many (most) could simply keep up.

You admit that I have refuted things. WOW. Honest.

So you're taking the "To each their own" approach to life now? Wow. You weren't like that when I first met you. So you are now a relativist? Sapient calls himself an atheist agnostic (very funny).

I have a feeling that you are going to wander off into the New Age Movement or something in the near future. You may deny, but that seems to be the road you are going down.

So Mote It Be!

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Jean Chauvin wrote:Hi

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hi Bob,

There is no such thing as a sub-conscious. That is modern secular/theist psychology. Freud worshipped little idols on his window and Jung was into the occult. This is B.S.

Psychology (what we know of psychology of today) is NOT science. Even wannabe scienstists admit this, and lessen the blow by calling to a "soft science." Haven't I already discussed this.

But yes, context is via the analogia writ, spoken, or communicated by other means. We generally refer this to the writ, but spoken is just as well.

Bob, do you dislike me? Look I hope I'm your buddy.

Why do you continue to embrace that which I have refuted with you such as empiricism? We spent several days discussing this until you ran into a dead end. Yet you still embrace the dead end? Weird. Just wondering. Now of course you're going to say that didn't happen, perhaps that is part of the dilusion of atheism.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

Well Jung used unconscious whereas subconscious is not as used. But unconscious deals with memory, programs and what have you in our neurons or dendrites that we are not aware of or can not be aware of to end in a preposition.  I think some Joseph Campbellites use the term for a transitional area between the unconscious mind and the conscious state.


 

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

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TGBaker wrote: Notice that

TGBaker wrote:

Notice that there are two different competing names for god: Yahweh and Jehovah.  The Jews were afraid of using god's name in vain. The early Hebrew was written just in consonants. Diacritical marks were added later for vowel inflections.  So in order not to use god's name carelessly or in vain ( without reverence, meaning or value) the name Yahweh was substituted with Adonai  meaning Lord when read aloud. When the diacritical vowel inflections were added to the text the vowels for Lord were placed under Yahweh letting the reader know to say "lord" instead of the holy name. That developed into Yehov(w)ah  thus in English Jehovah.  So Jehovah is a screw up of trying to say Lord for Yahweh but I guess achieves the same results by not saying Yahweh. Notice the European switch from v to w. The g-d or G.D. folk attempt to carry on the same reverence not understanding that god is generic similar to El or Elohim and not the holy name itelf: Yahweh.  The use of Elohim was from one source added to the jehovahisitc source so you have two names for God in Genesis  and really two creation stories. But I digress there. 

 

Reminded me of this song.  I was in a university choir that performed this.  The entire piece is very difficult - and we had a Jewish choir director who insisted proper Hebrew pronunciation. The song is usually performed by a boy soprano, but this contratenor is outstanding.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:
Personally, I think it is ridiculous when people argue over the meaning of a term. Once a person clarifies what they meant, I don't really see a point to arguing about it, even if you think they are using the term poorly. IME, most people who turn to arguing about the "proper" definition of a word because they have no good response against the substance of the core argument.  

Yeah... most semi-intelligent types call that "semantics".

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Jean Chauvin wrote:The

Jean Chauvin wrote:
The Trinity is valid in objective logic but you denied it's soundness. I get it. 1+1+1=3? right? What about 1X1X1=1? lol.


 

 

For that matter, SQRT (1-1-1)=1i

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Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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Wow.  So, uh. . . have we

Wow.  So, uh. . . have we decided yet how important dictionaries are?


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bennyboy wrote:Wow.  So,

bennyboy wrote:

Wow.  So, uh. . . have we decided yet how important dictionaries are?

hehe, it's all relative, and I like wiki damn it.

Context dictates relevance, in an ideal world you would define the key terms in the argument prior to.  But for the purpose of communication context would dictate which meaning of the word has more relevance, even if that meaning happened to be the popularly incorrect meaning.  

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Ktulu wrote:bennyboy

Ktulu wrote:

bennyboy wrote:

Wow.  So, uh. . . have we decided yet how important dictionaries are?

hehe, it's all relative, and I like wiki damn it.

Context dictates relevance, in an ideal world you would define the key terms in the argument prior to.  But for the purpose of communication context would dictate which meaning of the word has more relevance, even if that meaning happened to be the popularly incorrect meaning.  

Bingo

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Okay, here's an example I'm

Okay, here's an example I'm curious what you guys think about.  I was involved in a long argument about sentience: what is it, is it material, etc.  I was arguing that sentience is experiential, and that the physical mechanism was irrelevant to the experience (exept for possibly causing it).  Some guy came along and "corrected" me.  He informed me that since there's no way to prove feeling in anyone, it's necessary to define it in terms of information processing.  "BS," quoth I, "Sentience comes from a root meaning 'feeling.'  No definition can work unless it involves someone/thing experiencing."  He got angry and came up with the: "While, meanings change and this is the only definition that makes sense according to science."

This offends me.  I know that science uses a material view.  I know that many people view consciousness as a purely material process.  But to take the feeling out of a word that means "feeling" seems a bit 1984 to me.  Better just to relegate the word to the trash heap and make a new word, I think.  Anyone else?


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 Thunderios wrote:RatDog

Thunderios wrote:
RatDog wrote:
Language changes over time.  The English we speak now isn't the same as the English we spoke 100 years ago.   Language varies over regions.  English is not quite the same in England, Australia, and the United States because we have different dialects.  It's probably impossible to stop language from changing.  I'm not even sure it would be a good think if we could stop it.

I actually thought that this was a good metaphor for evolution. Most people can't imagine evolution happing gradually, but it's very hard to imagine a language changing, which we know to happen. So the inability to visualize evolution shouldn't derange it.

Your right, it’s a great metaphor for evolution.  Languages are a lot like species in how they change.  No one change makes one language into another language, but at some point the present language and the past language become completely different languages.  I’ll have to try using this with a theist some time.

Thunderios wrote:
RatDog wrote:
The question I'm asking myself right now is what should be done when people disagree about the meaning of a word.  Should dictionaries always be the final authority on what a word means?  If so which dictionary has the most authority?  Can people in a discussion simple agree with each other on a specific set of definitions?  What happens when people can't agree?  Is there any point to having an argument over what the proper definition of certain words should be?  Every argument I've seen about definition on this site seemed utterly pointless.

I've seen a number of people starting to nitpick on definitions because they were losing the argument (ie the definition of omnipotent suddenly becomes 'the ability to do everything that is logically possible'). But I think starting a discussion with defining certain (ambiguous) words, and maybe using a different word for the second meaning of a word, so you won't confuse them (like TAGs logical constants and logic being used as if they're the same).

Both of your suggestions are good ideas, but it I might be a bit too much work to define terms in every single conversation.  Still, when dealing with people who are trying to be slippery with their definitions it probably a necessity.

Thunderios wrote:
RatDog wrote:
The world is more connected now than at any other point in history.  People from all over the world can connect with each other online.  I wonder what affect this connection will have on language.  I wonder if dictionaries will become more important or less.

Back when people still had to write letters, and wait a week for a response, everything you said was meaningful, every word valuable. If you wanted to express yourself, you would find the perfect combination of words, before you would write it down.

But nowadays a word is worth nothing, we write millions of them every week. Most people don't even bother to write properly, because the other person will understand it anyway. I think this is very bad for a language.

It has certainly been bad for spelling.  I don’t know how bad it is for language.  I know that language seem to be changing faster.  It wasn’t that long ago that terms such as lol, wtf, and AFAICS didn’t exist, but now things like this have spread to billions of people.  It must be an exciting time to be a linguist.