[personal profile] wingedbeast
A tactic that resurfaces every so often is the argument by which the apologist or evangelist claims that an atheist isn't an atheist, but actually an agnostic. This seems to happen more in popular theist claims of arguments they did make than in actual arguments, these days. The argument usually employs a dot and a much larger circle, representing total possible knowledge and total knowledge known by humankind on Earth respectively. The point of the argument is that one cannot claim to falsify a nonfalsifiable concept, like God, without knowing everything, therefore one cannot be an atheist.

This fails for multiple reasons, all surrounding how labels work, as a concept.

The first thing you should understand about labels is that they aren't magic.

Whenever you talk to a nonbeliever, one of the first things you have to know is that they, very likely, know their own mind. They know what they believe, what they do not, and their own experiences. These aren't infallible people, but they know their own minds well enough that you telling them that a different label applies is, at best, going to get them to call themselves something else... provisionally.

That change isn't going to bring them any closer to your beliefs. It's not going to make them confused or make them treat your beliefs as any more likely.

And, that's the best case scenario. A more likely scenario is you will make yourself out to be arrogant, rude, and condescending for your belief that you can dictate to someone else what they really are and are not.

Of course, that's what labels aren't. What they are is going to be something more involved of a discussion.
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