Once in awhile, I run across someone whose writing piques my interest. The following is one such writing from DiosaBella. She has been kind enough to grant me permission to guest post this on my blog.
Lately, I have been seeing quite a stir in the atheist community in where there are two subset groups that are at a disagreement on certain points. There has become much vitriol surrounding these disagreements and it has been reduced to the proverbial poo slinging. However, I will say that an attempt has been made to try to come to some sort of common ground in which to discuss these disagreements and perhaps for each side to see each others point of view. Unfortunately, from what I am noticing as an observer, these two sides are having trouble meeting that goal and the reason for that can be boiled down to one particular thing.
This is not to say that once this particular obstacle has been overcome, that the sky will part and the rays of harmonic understanding from some utopia will shine down on the lot and the two sides will ride off into the sunset together hand in hand because they will completely agree. What I am saying however is that no true discussion or even effective discourse on the matter can be had until this obstacle is overcome.
This obstacle is actually the language in which is used. No, I do not mean profanity. I simply mean when anyone is trying to persuade your audience that your ideas are valid, or more valid than someone else’s point, then one would need to use a common language in which to communicate. When you cannot even speak the same language, it is impossible to communicate any of your ideas. That is simple logic.
It’s best to think of common definitions in order to exchange information, where both parties, at the very least, can communicate. In order to do that, one must understand where definitions come from. Today, anyone can open a browser and find the definition of any given word and call it a day, but they do not just magically appear. Words are based on other words that are called “root words”. Those “root words” are usually based on other words in older languages, like Latin for example. These words help each of us come to a common understanding so that we can at least have a conversation where both parties are on the same page.
One of the words that was being thrown about is the word “regressive”. Its meaning according to the dictionary is : (Merriam-Webster)
a. tending to regress or produce regression
b. being, characterized by, or developing in the course of an evolutionary process involving simplification
c. decreasing in rate as the base increases
All of these definitions relate to the word regressive. The reason for this is because the root word of the word regressive is regress. The definition of regress according to the dictionary is: (Merriam-Webster)
a. an act or the privilege of going or coming back (re-entry)
b. movement backward to a previous and especially worse or more primitive state or condition
c. the act of reasoning backward
In this example, we are using the word regression with the root in regress which comes from the word “regredi” in Latin (which means go back, to return). That word comes originally from an even older latin which is two words re (means back) and gradi (which means to walk).
Continuing with this example, when someone makes a claim that a person, group of persons or ideals are regressive, they are saying that the person, group or ideals are going backwards. There can be no other definition for this word. Not one in which the real world exists.
In recent years, due to technology mainly, we find ourselves running into slang terms that are utilized on the internet. These can be made up of acronyms (LOL=Laughing Out Loud, BAE=Before All Else, STFU=Shut The Fuck Up, etc..) however, these are not words with which to carry on a legitimate conversation in order to have your audience see your point. Using slang can be easier, but even slang is rooted in some sort of real language that has a proper etymology.
It is beneficial for all parties involved to utilize the same language in order to facilitate any real communication and to not do so, would be indicative of that position not being valid enough, or worthy enough to be put forward for general consumption. If there is a point to be made and there is a legitimate argument to be presented for others to adopt, then it must be made clear and understood for one to even put it through the other trials that we as atheist give arguments. Else all we are doing is sitting around, talking gibberish.
Thank you for listening!