Spotted on the web: [Platform] Atheist

We have criticized agnostic as a synonym for disinterested, and if you disagree, you should read our article. True agnostics can be thoughtful and dedicated to their philosophy, so it’s a tad insulting to imply they just don’t care. My atheist friends might be even more offended that their belief is not only equated with agnosticism, but also with the same carelessness.

Platform AtheistNow, I know many people think agnosticism and atheism are the same, and to be sure, there is a term that covers both under one areligious umbrella: freethinker. But in case you didn’t know, an atheist (Greek a+theos = without god/gods) definitively rejects divinity, whereas an agnostic declares divinity is beyond our knowing. So an atheist is committed to a worldview — theoretically as committed as a good Christian, Jew, Muslim, Jain, Buddhist, or Zoroastrian.

In that light, being platform atheistic is not the same as being platform agnostic. While an atheist may not evangelize for a specific platform or method, she has a hard opinion, even if that opinion is no platform exists. You see the problem here. Not believing in God doesn’t halt your software development. Good luck if you eschew all operating systems.

So our opinion is this malapropism arises out of the (ignorant) confusion betwixt atheism and agnosticism. Or perhaps from the religious fervor with which some developers hew to their chosen platform. This comment on the thread seems to comport with the atheist’s view of the faithful:

Platform Atheist2

Just don’t blindly use words unless you know what they mean!

— Otto E. Mezzo

3 thoughts on “Spotted on the web: [Platform] Atheist

  1. Andy Hammond

    Many atheists are aware of and sensitive to this distinction.
    “Yes, I think I use the term “radical” rather loosely, just for emphasis. If you describe yourself as “atheist,” some people will say, “Don’t you mean ‘agnostic’?” I have to reply that I really do mean atheist, I really do not believe that there is a god; in fact, I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one … etc., etc. It’s easier to say that I am a radical atheist, just to signal that I really mean it, have thought about it a great deal, and that it’s an opinion I hold seriously.”
    — Douglas Adams, from an interview with American Atheists; quoted from Warren Allen Smith, editor, Celebrities in Hell (2002); excerpted by Positive Atheism (2007)

    1. Otto Post author

      Thanks for this comment. I don’t know why there’s such confusion, really. The two words don’t even look alike, except they both start with “a”.

  2. Pingback: Evangelist | Lexicide

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