Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Atheist “Logic”

Atheists seem to revel in imagining themselves to be following the laws of reason and logic. What a steaming pile of wrong that can be. It’s true, atheism is logical. No one here is arguing otherwise. I’m just pointing out that atheists are not logical. Atheists often suffer from many of the very same delusions religious believers hold dear.

Take the view held by many atheists and theists alike that atheism and science are either one in the same or somehow linked. They couldn’t possibly be more wrong (and some atheists and theists already know this). Science is an active pursuit of truth, whereas atheism is the result of being unmoved. An atheist can be a scientist… but then again, so can a theist. Many of the best scientists have been believers, and the contribution of theists to science is in no way diminished by their belief in gods, nor has it prevented believers from developing ground-breaking theories and discoveries.

There’s just nothing remarkable or unique about atheists. Nothing about atheism makes someone more logical, intelligent, open to new ideas, or even correct. Some atheists manage to make atheism into a statement of faith by claiming things they cannot prove, like “There are no gods.” Many more will read that sentence and ignore key words like “some,” and will feel an emotional rage building in them. They will have a strong desire to leave a comment saying, “ALL ATHEISTS DON’T DO THAT!” And while they’re right, no one here is claiming otherwise, so… why angrily state a redundancy?

The failure to think and act logically is a failure possessed by all of humanity, from young to old, male to female, rich to poor, theist to atheist. Each of us was born ignorant and trusting in a confused world of lies and errors. We have very few tools for determining truth from fallacies and fictions, and we are filled with emotions and prejudices we cannot always control.

We are foolish creatures, one and all, only a few clumps of grey matter away from swinging in trees. We’re little more than apes who are aware that we will die, and who have developed an advanced array of gadgets and systems to distract us from this fact.

We’re so illogical as a species, the few among us who dedicate their lives to helping make the world a better place are often systematically destroyed, while we just sit idly by as great tyrants hurt people. Some of the good ones are remembered as heroes after we snuff them out, others are forgotten, ignored, or even demonized as monsters for not being utterly perfect in every way.

It’s not necessarily an issue of malice on our part. I wouldn’t be surprised if ignorance causes as many problems as immorality. Even the best of intentions never achieved anything without a wise hand to guide it.

None of us are perfect. Some atheists appear to believe that by convincing themselves of the inferiority of believers, they must somehow be better by comparison. They are not, because how one feels about gods is utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

There is logic in atheism, but there is very little logic coming from atheists.

6 comments:

  1. One only needs to look around reddit.com/r/atheism for a few minutes to see exactly what you're talking about. Bravo, well said.

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  2. I'm having a hard time figuring out your point. Atheism and science are not causally linked but they are correlated. As shown by members of the AACS are ten times more likely to be atheists than the general public.

    Your points about ignorance are entirely fair. Lack of religion does not automatically lead to Utopia. Given the level of qualification of your statements about atheists they are no doubt true of some atheists somewhere. I don't however see them as true for the majority.

    Additionally, a worldview based on ancient myth and superstition is an inevitable barrier to advancement and progress. A barrier that can be overcome but a barrier nonetheless.

    Which leaves me thinking "and your point is?"

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  3. I was totally with you until "how one feels about gods is utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of things." That may be true much of the time; however, when how one feels about gods informs one's ability to rule justly in matters of law, or how competently one teaches a roomful of kids, or how a father treats his daughter after she's been raped it is significant. It's also significant that the ability of women to get proper health care is imperiled by god-fearing politicians.

    I know many believers who are not harmful, though it pains me to watch them brainwash their children and vote Republican, but who are people who, in many respects, are probably my superiors. But, and you will not often hear me say I'm better than anyone, I have no qualms saying I am a better human being than a guy who kills his daughter because she's talked to a man, or been raped by one. I hope I haven't fallen into the Some Mistaken For ALL Trap, I just think atheist high-horsing when it comes to believers acting in ways that impact a lot of people, or even just one person extremely negatively, is entirely called for. In the grand scheme of things, in a world of imperfect beings, the argument between atheism and faith matters.

    I wish more religious believers were as embarrassed and ashamed by some of their more radically fundamentalist co-religionists as thoughtful atheists are by those folks who are like-minded on the topic, but less judicious and eloquent.

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  4. I'm having a hard time figuring out your point.

    Alright, let's see if I can clarify.

    Atheism and science are not causally linked but they are correlated. As shown by members of the AACS are ten times more likely to be atheists than the general public.

    I bet most of them are men, too. Should we criticize women for being unscientific? There are different underlying reasons at work in those cases, but institutional representation is inherently not a good measure of correlation.

    Even if every scientist alive today was an atheist, they would still owe an immeasurable debt to theists for their past work. There's no reason to pretend science and atheism are in any way related. Atheism is small and may one day be obsolete. Science is more important than atheism will ever be... it's almost insulting to link the two.

    Given the level of qualification of your statements about atheists they are no doubt true of some atheists somewhere. I don't however see them as true for the majority.

    It's tough to say. I wonder if there are any good surveys regarding atheists and their attitudes and views. That's certainly something I need to check out. I will go out on a limb, however, and say that the majority of atheists somehow link or associate atheism and science, as well as atheism and logic (though I think the latter has a little more footing).

    Additionally, a worldview based on ancient myth and superstition is an inevitable barrier to advancement and progress. A barrier that can be overcome but a barrier nonetheless.

    That's not true. Atheism as we know it isn't all that old (our modern interpretation isn't attested until the 19th century), and many civilizations have risen to great heights from our humble beginnings when we first climbed down from the trees. Our greatest discoveries and advancements nearly all took place in the absence of atheism, most in societies utterly saturated with religion. Fire, agriculture, the wheel, metallurgy, gunpowder, a whole host of simple machines, writing, math... I could go on for ages here.

    What's more, there's no reason to think that modern advancements like computers relied in any way on atheism in order to be invented. Religion is largely a non-factor (good or bad) when it comes to most human activities, and I think it's unfair to suggest religion is an "inevitable barrier to advancement and progress."

    Just as an example of why I find this unfair: by the "logic" presented here, slavery would still be prevalent (it's actually more prevalent than we imagine... but roll with it and assume I'm talking about above-the-table slavery here). There just aren't enough atheists, now or at any time, to have abolished slavery in most places.

    The Bible is blatantly pro-slavery, yet it was Christian Abolitionists who are largely responsible for putting an end to slavery in the West. It wasn't the very new and tiny group of burgeoning atheist philosophers and thinkers who pushed society towards that bit of progress, it was the very religious people who, by any measure of "logic," should have defended slavery as a Godly institution.

    People are just not logical. Sometimes that's a wonderful thing, like when so many Christians ignore what it says in the Bible and decide to support the rights of gay people, women, or non-Christians. You are essentially projecting a fundamentalism on all Christians which is not warranted.

    If we want to talk about potential harm and associate all members of a group with the worst examples we can find, atheists are going to lose (thanks for ruining it for us, Stalin and Mao).

    Which leaves me thinking "and your point is?"

    I should elaborate on that with another post. I imagine logic as a virtue people imagine they possess when they don't, like the atheist equivalent of Christian "righteousness."

    Thanks for being so civil; very refreshing.

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  5. Yes, some politicians and regular citizens are inspired by their religion to impose awful conditions on others, but there are arguably just as many who are inspired by their religion to work for good. To take one cliche'd example, Martin Luther King Jr. was heavily inspired by his religious beliefs to be one of the biggest catalysts in the civil rights movement. To paint people like him (and there are many others!) with the brush of the old bigots like Santorum is incredibly unfortunate.

    At the same time I don't wish to let people like Santorum get painted with the brush of people like King Jr., as that would be arguably more unfortunate! Just because someone is a Christian doesn't mean that they deserve respect and adoration, but just because someone is a Christian doesn't mean they deserve to be smeared and slandered and called evil. We all hate it when theists try to smear US with the brush of Stalinism and the Chinese Cultural revolution (Don't even get me started on Hitler!), so why should we try and do the same to them?

    A nuanced approach to things like this is really what is needed, and some atheists lack the apparent finesse to carry across the logical, rational message, and end up sounding arrogant and pig-headed.

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  6. God, save me from your followers. There should be an equal quip for Atheism. Let's see... ahhhh... I'm stumped.

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