Only The Sangfroid

Mark is of fair average intelligence, who is neither perverse, nor morbid or suspicious of mind, nor avid for scandal. He does live in an ivory tower.

These are his draft thoughts…

I am the fossil. We are the fossil… Creationism is obviously false and atheists humiliate themselves

I’m an atheist and I have been so for a rather long time.  For my religious beliefs, nobody has ever thrown a stone at me, tried to burn me at the stake, or nailed me to a tree.

Apparently, this isn’t the normal experience for Australian atheists.  Apparently, all Australian atheists live in a world of isolation and desperation — ‘like the only atheist in the village‘, says Catherine Devey.  Thus, it was vitally important that an enormous conference was held in Australia.

Actually, that’s a lie.  It wasn’t important at all and, instead, all it did was whip up the religious rabble and give them legitimacy for several weeks in the media circus.  We suddenly had to care about Senator Fielding’s asinine religious views.  And weren’t they stupid views that he espoused?!  My word, it was like ‘watching a cat speak‘, wasn’t it?  Why was it that he was given a platform to advocate his barbarian beliefs?  Because the Atheist Convention wanted to discuss these topics.

And then we get the usual round of self righteous diatribes in the columns of the metro newspapers.  The uneducated froth and foam of the ridiculously absurd mouthpieces of the oppressed atheist community could not be better material for the malign fringes of the Christian campaigners.

Here are some classics from the article already mentioned:

What do you actually believe in? Truth.

I’m fairly sure she means ‘Justifiability’ here.  Dropping the ‘T’ word is a free kick to the theist: because any appeal to truth is going to end up viciously circular in the end.  For example, ‘How does an atheist know what’s true?’  With a hand wave they dismiss several thousand years of philosophy in order to babble incoherently about empirical beliefs, not realising that they’re inadvertently engaging in the very debate they’re dismissing.

Isn’t atheism just another religion? No. A religion believes in supernatural power. Sure, Dawkins is super and natural – but he’s not supernatural.

What the hell does this even mean?  Think about it for two seconds and you realise that it’s entirely without meaning.  Where in any religion does it say that the divine is ‘supernatural’?  It’s not like there are two groups of people ‘Naturalists’ and ‘Supernaturalists’.  So a religion believes in what atheists consider to be ‘supernatural’.  At the same time, most (Dawkins and Hitchens explicitly so) seem to believe in a chain of material events which does not lead to an infinite regress.  That sounds more supernatural than anything claimed by any theist.  (P.S. The answer to the regress is to say that the material chain had a non-material origin.  You’re still not admitting a deity and it has the added bonus of being coherent).

Why are you atheists so angry? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then anger is in the sphincter of those people whose beliefs are being confronted. No one who agrees with Dawkins has ever called him strident.

Pop-culture atheists are so angry because they’re the attention-seeking adolescents with authority issues who never learnt how to express themselves in socially appropriate ways.  Take, for example, Hitchens’ exceptionally sensible ‘Evolution explains why women aren’t funny’ thesis:

Let’s also keep in mind that the reason why nobody who agrees with Dawkins has called him strident is the same reason why nobody who agrees with, say, Margaret Thatcher has called her ‘Milk Snatcher’.  Generally, one doesn’t criticise the people with whom one agrees.  Catherine Devey might behave differently.

So, in the end, Devey has contributed towards making the world more difficult for atheists in Australia by legitimising the moronic religious opinions of people like Fielding, by espousing obviously vacuous ‘arguments’ in favour of her beliefs which makes other atheists seem similarly vacuous, and by adding more credibility to the opposition’s claims that atheists are just disgruntled, dogmatic haters.  Thanks, Catherine Devey!  Don’t you have a ‘comedy’ show coming up?  Oh…

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