Sunday always comes too late… and atheist still can’t ride the Reason Bus.

As an atheist, I find it really difficult to understand the pervasive stupidity of most other atheists.

On AtheistBlogger, we have the fascinating tale of an atheist responding to an e-mail with far too many exclamation marks in it.  Instead of just realising that it’s the product of a diseased mind, our atheist friend decides to waffle pretentiously.  The original message read:

Robert, I know Christians have done evil as well! I’m a sinner Saved by grace! By the way it is impossible to be an atheist and be intellectually honest! You can be agnostic at best!  In order to be an atheist you have to know everything there is to know! Since you and I do not Know everything there is to know, it is possible for God to exist in the area you do not know: BY DEFINITION AGNOSTIC AT BEST if you are intelectually honest!? I believe you are!!!!! [source]

The question is, basically, how can we prove the ‘non-existence’ of God (that is, we can prove that there is nothing which satisfactorily fits a reasonable interpretation of ‘God’).  The writer distinguishes between an ‘atheist’ (meaning somebody who affirms the non-existence of God) and an ‘agnostic’ (meaning somebody who freezes in indecision).  I can understand the question.  You can understand the question.  Everybody can understand the question.

You also know what a response would be.  It would be either ‘Here’s how we can show that there’s no God’ or ‘Yes, I agree with you that I cannot prove a negative.  That’s not what I mean when I use the word “atheist”.’ Continue reading “Sunday always comes too late… and atheist still can’t ride the Reason Bus.”

Show me your ways. Teach me to meet my desires with grace… the modern Atheist dialectic

Check out this trainwreck from ProudAtheists.wordpress.

Check out this trainwreck from Andrew Bolt.

As social creatures, we rely on the social discourses to provide us with the social identities to understand ourselves.  We’re the products of cultural progressions which go back generation after generation.  What happens when you identify as an atheist, but the social discourse doesn’t support you?  What happens when you’re a conservative, but the social discourse doesn’t support you?

I talk a lot about my conservatism and why the link between conservatism and the most extremely ugly prejudices, intolerances, and nastinesses are undeserved.  I don’t discuss my religious views often.  I often wonder why this is.

The fundamental and most problematic feature of modern secularism is that it isn’t actually secularism.  It’s just a way for religious influence to render itself invisible inside the cultural and political frameworks.  While people can point to the obvious examples of insidious religious influence — such as the prohibition on homosexuals from marrying, such as the refusal to acknowledge intersexuals, &c. — it’s significantly more difficult to engage with the more deeply entrenched aspects: are our views on justice, virtue, and morality influenced by religious views to the extent that they cannot be explicated without reference to them?  Even more troubling, are our views on science and education influenced by religious views to the extend that they cannot be explicated without reference to them? Continue reading “Show me your ways. Teach me to meet my desires with grace… the modern Atheist dialectic”

Blood runs through your veins, that’s where our similarity ends… Atheists still annoy me

I’m an atheist.

While I receive some prejudice from the extremely religious sorts, I receive a lot more prejudice from other atheists.  It could have something to do with the way I describe my atheism: ‘I’m an atheist, but I find Dawkins, Myers, and Hitchens insufferable morons when it comes to the philosophy of religion.’

There’s this aghast ‘How dare you?!’ type rant I receive which ends with the other atheist invariably questioning whether I really am an atheist.  While religious types are quite happy to accept that I don’t believe in God — though they might think I’m deluded or deceived for not doing so — it’s only ever been atheists who flatly refuse to believe my religious persuasion.

It seems such a minority of us atheists — the maligned amongst the maligned — look on the public discourse and feel a great deal of shame for what it’s become.  We don’t have the intellectual engagement that we used to have.  We don’t have the wit or the subtlety.  Instead, we have elderly white males acting like oafs, reciting the equivalent of ‘I don’t need to understand it in order to dismiss it out of hand.’  Indeed, they’re quick to criticise people dismissing science along similar lines. Continue reading “Blood runs through your veins, that’s where our similarity ends… Atheists still annoy me”

There’s no point in walking in to fuel the talk… But sometimes people should be welcome to complain

Over on …in the woodshed, there’s a post about seeking encouragement from the story of the Hebrews in the Wilderness.

Naturally, I disagree with the post in the strongest terms.  That’s not the interesting bit.  The interesting part is this:

Yet after a couple of days in the desert, the Israelites started grumbling to Moses: “Would that we had died!” It reminds me of that story about Holocaust survivors, liberated by the Americans one day, and complaining the next day because they got tomato soup instead of chicken soup. The problem was that their hearts were still enslaved to Pharaoh, the principle being that you can get the people out of slavery, but you can’t get the slavery out of the people. At least, not without a long, loving process. Israel failed to see that they were free, but their hearts and minds were still in bondage to the oppressor.  — …in the woodshed.

I hear sentiments like this a lot regarding people who’ve had a rough trot having the audacity to complain about something trivial.  In the analysis given by …in the woodshed, the trivial complaints are caused by a psychological enslavement: they complain because they are still oppressed in their hearts.

The reality is quite different.  We are lucky to live in an age where we have quite a considerable amount of research about all sorts of behaviour: complaining is but one of those.  Research into complaining put on its grown up pants back in 1992 with ‘Complaining Behaviour in Social Interaction‘ by Alicke et al. in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.  The article inspired quite a bit of further research, including a particularly good article which I can’t find online.  I suck.

The general idea is that it’s not always the content of the complaint which is the relevant aspect.  More philosophically, in situations where the content is relevant, the trivialisation of the complaint is a defence mechanism of the empowered protecting their self image as rescuers (they expect to see gratitude for their actions and the complaints are seen as negating the gratitude: by rescuing, there is a social dynamic of the rescuer to the rescuee, even if the ‘rescuer’ in the dynamic is not the person who physically performed the rescue). Continue reading “There’s no point in walking in to fuel the talk… But sometimes people should be welcome to complain”

Everything looks perfect from far away… but I’m sure this stinks from space

Just when you thought the Hun could not best itself in contributing meaningfully and intelligently to the public debate, they asked Gary Ablett to discuss the problem of decaying moral standards in the community.

I know that when I want moral, spiritual, political, or life advice, I always turn to my local neighbourhood crack fiend ex-footballer.

In fairness to him, he notes Proverbs at the outset: ‘He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.’  In that spirit, we should judge Ablett on the basis of his words and not his former actions.

I believe without a doubt that our nation is in crisis and is in its current predicament because we have deliberately disconnected ourselves from our Christian heritage and history. We are a nation that was originally founded upon the word of God and established on the authority of biblical truth. Our political system, our judicial system and most of our schools and hospitals were begun by godly men and women who based their lives and work on godly principles. — Gary Ablett

Yeah…

There is a sad lack of diversity in the debate of social cohesion.  The left denies that there is a problem: culture is the creation of the ruling class to oppress the minority by reinforcing the hegemony.  This means there is very little opposition to the populist, radical right who want to fill the culture void with low-brow, aggressive, pub talk. Continue reading “Everything looks perfect from far away… but I’m sure this stinks from space”

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

War, war, war, war. I want to declare a war… which is probably not a good intro to this topic.

We now have The Colbert Report on ABC2, Australia.  This brings me great joy.  There also isn’t much lag between the two either.  Tonight’s episode is listed as the 4th of January episode.  Due to time differences, we’re seeing these episodes not even twelve hours after they’re broadcast in the U.S.  Woot.

The interview guest was Erick Erickson, editor for RedState.com — a fairly large right wing blog.  He was asked whether he stood by comments he’d made that Linda Douglas was akin to Joeseph Goebbels.

Yeah…  He did…

Somewhere along the track, conservatism became somewhat synonymous with stupid.  I can say this because I — lo and behold — am conservative.  When the majority of self-professed conservatives (who these days, inexplicably, are mostly libertarian nutcases crowing that they shouldn’t have to pay taxes… which isn’t at all conservative), being conservative is the sort of thing one tends to keep to oneself.  It’s a terrible secret that we must hide from our friends — much worse than being gay, owning a ute (you’ll have to help your friends move), or being a furry.

Okay.  Maybe it’s not as shameful as being a furry.  That stuff’s pretty nasty.  But it isn’t something you can generally bring up in polite conversation.  It’s far easier to just let the ‘liberals’ whitewash you with their left wing paint than have to explain why you disagree with just about every person who identifies as conservative in the media, but you also disagree with the fundamental assumptions of the ‘liberals’.

And it’s getting harder.  Erick Erickson’s comments aside, it’s almost impossible to find a conservative in the media who isn’t a rabid moron.  Try to find one.  Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single (funny) conservative comedian.  I can’t think of any television shows which present conservatism in a positive light.  I can’t think of any intelligent books written by a conservative.

And the very worst part is that we brought it on ourselves.  Over the past forty years, we let obnoxious loud mouths be the public face of conservatism.  We used fear — rather than reason — as our standard discourse.  And, worse, we got far too cosy with entirely the wrong sorts of sentiments. Continue reading “War, war, war, war. I want to declare a war… which is probably not a good intro to this topic.”