Boghossian's Book Will Change Our Nomenclature

I'm writing a few posts about Peter Boghossian's new brilliant book, A Manual for Creating Atheists.In a previous post I mentioned the first thing I had noticed, that Richard Dawkins has had a change of mind! The second thing I noticed about Boghossian's book is that it will change our nomenclature, and this is one of the best things about his bestselling book, although there are many of them.

Nomenclature refers to the names we give to phenomena. I love Boghossian's nomenclature. Richard Dawkins coined the word "meme," which is an idea or behavior that spreads from person to person within a society. Daniel Dennett popularized the word "deepity," which is a statement that seems profound but actually asserts a triviality on one level and something meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has (at least) two meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound, but is essentially false or meaningless and would be "earth-shattering" if true. [From RationalWiki].

Boghossian is changing how we see faith. He defines faith as "pretending to know things you don't know." He says that when we hear the word "faith" we should think of that definition. Why? Because that's exactly what believers are doing. They're playing a childish pretend game. Faith stunts one's intellectual growth. So he talks in terms of the medical and/or psychological professions. Believers are infected with a faith virus. The believer is the host of this virus. And we are in the midst of a faith virus pandemic. Boghossian says, "The pretending-to-know-things-you-don't-know pandemic hurts us all. Believing things on the basis of something other than evidence and reason causes people to misconstrue what's good for them and for their communities." (pp. 31-32).

So he's calling on a potential legion of people who are willing to help cure believers of their faith virus. He calls them "Street Epistemologists" who are equipped with the tactics he presents in his manual. They are to use the Socratic method for instilling doubt within the host of the faith virus. That's what Socrates did with people through a dialectical series of questions. After all, "certainty is an enemy of truth." The wise person is the person who doesn't pretend to know what he doesn't know.

Street Epistemologists should view our interactions with believers "as clinical interventions designed to disabuse them of their faith." (p. 18). We will likely be more successful if we view the believer as a person who needs help. "Your new role is that of interventionist. Liberator. Your target is faith. Your pro bono clients are individuals who've been infected by faith. Street Epistemologists view every conversation with the faithful as an intervention....You administer a dialectical treatment with the goal of helping them become less certain and less confident in their faith commitment (or perhaps cured of faith entirely)" (p. 67).

Since Boghossian's book is going to be a very popular one among atheists he is popularizing this whole nomenclature. It will change the way atheists think about faith, believers, and what we're doing when we engage them.

I love it!


I posted this review on Amazon. If you like it any upvotes would be appreciated. Link