Too often I see people arguing that words have intrinsic definitions. They like to argue things ‘by definition,’ claiming that something is true because it says so in the dictionary, or because they can define a word however they want, as long as they use it consistently. I see this argument a lot when discussing things such as if atheism is a religion, if marriage is only between a man and a woman, or “if a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound?” The thing is, words don’t mean anything objective. This might sound odd, because words have definitions and when people disagree on what a word means, they often go to the dictionary to prove what the word “really” means. However, though the dictionary might be exhaustive, it is not authoritative. Dictionary editors are historians of usage, not legislators of language.
Despite his recent controversies, Bill Cosby was on to something: kids really do say the darnedest things. Though through their innocence come not only incidental puns and comical misconceptions, but often unadulterated truth.
This article was originally posted on illinissa.com.
Once in a while, the famous Facebook page I Fucking Love Science (IFLS) will post a meme or link condemning the pseudoscientific, such as this venn diagram:
The CFI On Campus team is excited for the rest of 2015. From working on the 2015 CFI Leadership Conference (July 30 - August 2 in Amherst, NY) to continuing to develop resources and plan for the future of CFI On Campus, we're looking forward to an eventful and productive year.
But, of course, CFI On Campus isn't really about us–it's about the freethinking students who build community and advocate for skepticism and secularism every day on their campuses. And based on the incredible work they did in 2014, we're just as enthusiastic about what the future holds for freethinking students in 2015. While it's fresh on our minds, we'd like to highlight just a few of the many accomplishments of CFI On Campus affiliate groups in 2014:
This week, we're highlighting the Secular Society at Elon as Affiliate Group of the Week. We met Broadway Jackson III, group leader and then-intern of the Secular Coalition for America, at our CFI Leadership Conference this past summer, and were impressed with his thoughtful contributions during workshops. He continues to contribute his thoughts from time-to-time on The Course of Reason, including the following run-down of his background, his group, and his view of the future of secularism.