MegamanX, all of your blather does not alter that you are attempting to define the discussion in terms which you have yourself invented.
Did JLNobody, in his mention of active and passive atheism, also invent the distinction? Did ossobuco, in his/her agreement with my etymology and specifying that there is a distinction between atheists in that some take a "secondary step" (positive/explicit/active/strong), also invent the distinction? Did I use my powers of telepathy and transmit the distinction to their brains?
And yes, you very definitely did expand your defintion of a negative atheist from one post to the next. Initially, you wrote:
Those that have no idea of God cannot be positive atheists because they cannot actively reject the idea but they are certainly negative atheists because they lack belief in the idea.
Subsequently, however, you wrote:
One who knows of the idea of gods but makes no claim as to their existence or nonexistence because one merely lacks belief is a negative atheist.
Therefore, you expanded your definition of a negative atheist.
You are confusing definitions with scenarios. The definition of negative atheism I provided on page 45 up until now has been the same and has always applied to the two scenarios you quoted.
My objections are not based upon your categories, but rather that you attempt to inject into this discussion categories which were not previously consensually acknowledged--you attempt to inject your idiosyncratic definitions and sets of terms, being positive and negative atheists. Your expansion of the definition of a negative atheist is significant because it shows how the idiosyncratic definition you provide obscures rather than clarifies the terms of the discussion--no one here can know when you will invent yet another category, or redefine the existing categories because we are not privy to your idiosyncratic views of the situation.
The distinction between positive and negative goes back hundreds of years. The most recent distinctions are known as weak and strong, passive and active, and implicit and explicit. They are all the same thing, merely different labels. They all make the same distinction. If positive and negative atheism isn't consensually acknowledged then weak and strong, implicit and explicit, and passive and active are all unacknowledged distinctions. Are you willing to go so far as to say those are all unacknowledged?
If you had acknowledged at the outset that your terms are personal and idiosyncratic, that they are particularist, then the discussion might have proceeded to a phase of attempting to determine the global character of your definitions (i.e., what is the complete range of the categories which you specify). However, you offered these personal definitions as though they were statements from authority, as though you were explaining to the ignorant what are timeless and (apart from those who are ignorant) universally acknowledged descriptions of categories of atheists. This is not the case however--you offered your opinion, and offered it as though it were settled fact.
I never said they are universally acknowledged. What I have said, however, is that the other definition, the one that only includes the positive/strong/active/explicit atheists and casts the others aside, is incorrect. The more narrow definition is usually spouted by theists who fabricate a basis to hang their "atheists are immoral" arguments on (the narrow definition also isn't used by many catholics because newly born children would be considered atheists and that would "be perverse," according to the Catholic Encyclopedia) or those who have no idea of what they're talking about. It is also the narrow definition that is most commonly given by agnostics who vehemently reject the broader definition because they don't want to be attached to the stigma of atheism that is entirely fabricated by theists. I made it perfectly clear since I jumped into this discussion that the broader definition of atheism, and consequently the distinctions that would have to be made between the two major groups contained in the broader definition, is not "consensually acknowledged." I have never, not once in my entire life, claimed the distinction I've used is universally acknowledged nor that the labels I have used for the distinction are universally acknowledged. I claimed it was correct--the earth being round was correct but is wasn't universally acknowledged either. Any interpretation of universal acknowledgement is a failing on the part of the interpreter, not my failing.
While were at it, this is one of the most glaringly absurd statements that i've read at this site. You are attempting to suggest that the denial of an idea predates the concept of that idea. One patently cannot deny the belief in a god or gods before the concept of a god or gods exists.
Atheism in the English language predates Theism and Deism by ~90 years. Atheism entered the English language in 1587, theism in 1678, and deism in 1682. In the 1700s the definitions of deism and theism switched places--deism, when it was first introduced, had the same definition as theism now has and vice versa. The reason atheism entered the English language first is because it wasn't a philosophical position at the time and was merely an insult--godless heathen! The opposite position wasn't needed until Pagans and Christians were calling eachother atheists and all hell broke loose.
Wikipedia is a wonderful place to begin the process of fact checking. I use it most frequently to check the spellings of words or names, and to refresh my memory of dates and sequences of events. It is not at all, however, to be considered an oracular source of information. If what i find at Wikipedia is at odds with my recollection of a subject, it leads to to check further into a subject. At no time would i consider Wikipedia to be the final and authoritative source for any information.
Wikipedia's article on atheism has many references. Feel free to get ahold of the references and check out their information for yourself. Public libraries will usually grant each member the ability to order a few books so it will not cost you anything. (My public library allows 10 orders, for example.)
In fact, though, i don't for a moment believe that Wikipedia claims that the concept of atheism predates the concept of theism. I'm not going to waste my time look for whatever sentence or sentences you found there that you have tortured into this ludicrous statement.
"In English, the term atheism is the result of the adoption of the French athéisme in about 1587... Atheist in the sense of practical godlessness was first attested in 1577... The words deist and theist entered English after atheism, being first attested in 1621 and 1662, respectively, with theism and deism following in 1678 and 1682, respectively."
Yeah, I really
tortured those sentences into my "ludicrous" statement.
If you wish to link the portion of Wikipedia which you claim makes this assertion, i'd be willing to look at it--otherwise, i'm not going to waste my time.
You waste your time calling my position ludicrous without even attempting to understand it. You waste more of your time accusing me of being purposely deceiving through the act of torturing sentences. Then you are afraid of wasting your time to provide evidence for all your accusations? So, stating your position more bluntly: I am too lazy to put up evidence but I refuse to shut up, because running my mouth isn't a waste of time but substantiating my blatant blathering is a waste of time. That's an excellent position to have Setanta.