Sunday, August 4, 2013

Strict Rationalism: Separating fantasy from reality

The dictionaries we use for the English language have a problem. The definitions often inappropriately mingle supernatural phrases with phrases grounded in reality. Take the word belief. I pointed out before to zero fanfare that some religious zealots refer to atheists as non-believers while others call atheism a belief system. People have gotten into the habit of distorting meaning in language and this inhibits intellectual progress for everyone.

Belief, Merriam Webster's dictionary states "1. a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing. 2. something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group. 3. a conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence."

Faith, According to Webster's includes "a firm belief in something for which there is no proof."

Fact, according to Webster's dictionary, once you dig down beyond the "archaic" descriptions, is described as an actual occurrence, actual existence, a piece of information having objective reality."

Truth, as defined in Webster's dictionary has become so convoluted and homogenized that it includes religious references and phrases outside the scope of physical reality. Until you click on the link called "truth defined for kids" then it strictly refers to facts and evidence in the definition.

The official dictionaries carry far too many words emotionally tied to social stratification that have no benefit in reality. Jargon that it exclusive to certain groups of people that reinforce cohesion and barriers between people.

Is it the purpose of dictionaries to accumulate words simply because they are made up and used by people regardless of their functionality, or should dictionaries serve as an anchor to logic and effective critical thinking skills?

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