Monday, January 08, 2007

Are You A Cuddly Atheist, Or A Nasty One?

RJ Eskow, over at ‘The Huffington Post’ has written a piece entitled “15 Questions Militant Atheists Should Ask Before Trying to "Destroy Religion", the main thrust of which is that atheists can be divided into two camps: one, which is nice to religion, and the other, which is nasty and militant, and is completely indistinguishable from those equally nasty, but less intelligent, religious fundamentalists

I have to admit that it is a rather well-written article, though I do not accept that the arguments it puts forward are terribly valid, though I do not intend to deal with them in detail because (a) they reek of disingenuousness, and (b) I can’t be arsed.

Suffice to say, I find it extremely amusing that anyone can attack atheists for making unsubstantiated statements about religion, when the whole basis of ALL religions is based on unsubstantiated statements. It seems that rigorous evidence is only required of atheists, and that if they choose not to provide it then they are branded ‘fundamentalists’. On that basis, however, ALL religious believers are similarly fundamentalists. In which case, I have to agree with Eskow, Dawkins is wrong, for there are no religious moderates, since no believer is able to provide rigorous evidence to substantiate their theistic beliefs - that’s why it is called FAITH!!!

I also notice a similarity between Eskow’s piece and many other attacks on atheism, in that they ignore the real issues; they maintain that their ‘beliefs’ are justified despite all the evidence that the object of their devotions does not exist in the real world.

Whilst theologians and philosophers are able to put forward sophisticated arguments that god’s non-existence in the real world is immaterial, since by convoluted reasoning they can prove that in itself is not evidence that god doesn’t exist, the fact is that the only evidence that god does exist, has been produced by elegant experiments and scientific advances in neuropsychology. Religious experiences are linked to dysfunctional neurophysiology or neurochemistry; in other words, god exists only inside the heads of believers.

But let’s examine Eskow’s complaint a little futher: militant atheists - or, in my case, anti-theists - are wrong to attack religion so vehemently. Apparently, non-believers are supposed to allow ‘people of faith’ to continue to exercise control over the rest of us, even though their faith does not meet the criteria for what epistemologists call ‘justified belief’. Yet neither Eskow nor any of the other apologists for religion provide us with adequate reasons why we should allow these de facto delusional and irrational ‘people of faith’ to have ANY say in how the rest of us conduct ourselves.

People like Eskow are simply trying to divert attention from the real issues, rather like the arguments of sophisticated theologians and philosophers. However, it is not necessary to involve oneself in a convoluted philosophical argument with these people in an attempt to rebut their sophism; as an equally sophisticated philosopher, Georges Rey has said in ‘Philosophers Without God’:

“Pace the efforts of especially many recent philosophers to (as it were) mystify the topic [i.e. arguments justifying god’s existence], the reasons for atheism are not dependent on any arcane philosophical issues, but merely on the sort of common sense that is used and supported by ordinary reasoning about most any non-religious topic (this recourse to philosophy where ordinary common sense will suffice I call the “philosophy fallacy”, which seems to me endemic or religious discussions)."

In conclusion, whilst I admit to being an anti-theist and a misoclere, my opposition to religion is a direct consequence of those who subscribe to it forcing their irrational and delusional particular form of faith on those who do not share it. They are the militants, not me.

So, fuck off, Mr Eskow.


beepbeepitsme said...

I am neither. I am a pain in the ass type atheist. :)

Papalazarou said...

I am the only type of atheist I know of - rational

I guess though, that I'm one of those intolerant fuck-off anti-theists

But I am cuddly noentheless

CyberKitten said...

The Merchant of Menace said: Yet neither Eskow nor any of the other apologists for religion provide us with adequate reasons why we should allow these de facto delusional and irrational ‘people of faith’ to have ANY say in how the rest of us conduct ourselves.

Damned straight. It's OK from them to whitter on about their beliefs untouched but just try reasoning with them and they cry foul... As you say - it's not exactly as if they have a leg to stand on!

Alan Mackenzie said...

I need a cuddle, for various reasons, but I don't cuddle up to 'you know who' in the sky.

Drunken Tune said...

When I read it, I saw him attacking the nonexistent atheist tactic of generalizing religions and their horrors without subtlety. That's like attacking the high school loner who reads Ayn Rand! You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din - I mean Old Git, for taking the time to respond to such a steaming pile of crap article.

The Merchant of Menace said...

Good to have you visit, DT, but when it comes to responding to "steaming pile[s] of crap article[s]" you are doing an exemplary job of rubbishing the nonsense that these theo-morons spout. Further, I am pleased to note that you also fail to fall for their old trick of demanding respectful discourse, by which they mean that one should accept their sophistries as worthy of serious consideration and that their so-called is faith beyond rational challenge.

Here's raising my glass to you: Slainthe Mha!