A New Category of Atheism: Super-Positivism

Jul 16, 2011 1 Comment by

Quite often in debates, someone arguing against religion will get criticised for only highlighting the bad points, or the bad people, noting that this is a generalisation. Occasionally this gets turned around on the atheists. Sometimes it gets turned around in a silly way, such as mentioning dictators who were atheists. But it is also used to generalise atheists into one category. Sometimes people think that all atheists are positive atheists, who explicitly state that they believe there is no god. All that can be said in response is that this is not the case.

Individuals may define themselves as positive or negative atheists depending on a definition of a god. Some people will have developed logical arguments against the existence of certain types of god, usually with some simple property which appears to be logically impossible. Others would rather assume a position of less certainty. However ultimately all of these people will argue rationally.

There is one subgroup of the positive atheists though, who will not have a logical justification for the existence of no god, regardless of definition. To these people, no type of god exists. Let’s call these people the super-positive atheists and set them apart from the positives. We have three groups of atheists, the negative, the positive, and the super-positive.

It is this third category of the super-positives that causes most of the problems in debates. There is little difference between the religious and super-positive atheist, as both have beliefs without reasoned support. So when someone generalises all atheists as super-positives, all of the typical arguments come out such as “you can’t prove there isn’t a god”. There are many situations when the religious accidentally generalise all atheists as super-positives.

And it’s fine to accidentally generalise, after all, atheists frequently generalise in return, or in the first place. And just as many religious groups will state that extremists give them a bad name, the super-positives give atheism a bad name.

Super-positivism is normally an aggressive response to religion, which is fair enough, given the megalomaniacal, condescending, and unintelligent nature of most organised, institutional religion. However super-positivists have the onus on them to investigate their own beliefs just as the religious do. Super-positivists make debating difficult, and work against a lot of what positive and negative atheists would hope to achieve.

It doesn’t take much to spot a super-positive atheist. Just browse internet forums or video sites. Some super-positivists take their mission of pure rebellion against religion too far, getting rather enthusiastic about the subject and trawling the internet for pseudo-scientific evidence against the religious position, usually by misinterpreting real science. You can see them a mile off, as they normally don’t notice the obvious mistakes in someone’s argument and continue with their own sequence of attack.

This third group annoyingly diversifies the atheism spectrum. If positives were a 7 on Dawkin’s scale, the super-positives would be 8. If one includes agnostic positions into the description of any one person, the range of atheist opinions becomes greater. Whilst this leads to much more interesting discussion, it rather hinders the aim of the new atheist, as a united front against religion would probably work better to counteract.


About the author

I am the founder of Atheism Network.

One Response to “A New Category of Atheism: Super-Positivism”

  1. seeOred says:

    Let’s say I assert two things:

    Only a supernatural entity (i.e. one that is exempt from the application of any rule of cause and effect) qualifies for the “god” title; natural entities are not real gods no matter how cool they may otherwise be.

    In the absence of any rule of cause and effect, nothing can remain coherent and/or cohesive. Since no relationship can be maintained between parts or between events, no such set of unrelated events can form an entity.

    Does that make me a super-positivist?