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We knew this was going to happen

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on April 2, 2009

About a week ago, Massimo Pigliucci posted a link to this article on Facebook. That posting generated a lot of comments, to the point where Massimo had to intervene to stop it. This article was prone to be jumped upon by those on the other side of the issue, as is the case with most infighting in any group. And that was in fact what happend at the Vox Popoli blog which proclames (emphasis added):

Baggini’s efforts are well-placed, but one thing he misses in his essay is that the New Atheists, having seen their “error theory” repeatedly blown away and shown for the logical and empirical nonsense that it is, are in the process of shifting to what can be described as the “compartmental” theory. This hasn’t yet made its way down to the run-of-the-mill internet atheists, whose primary form of “debate” still consists of calling people stupid despite the fact that all of the available evidence demonstrates rather conclusively that the objects of their ridicule are, as a point of fact, rather more intelligent than the atheist himself.

First, I would like to see what evidence he is referring to when he says that “all of the available evidence demonstrates rather conclusively that the objects of their ridicule are, as a point of fact, rather more intelligent”, because I suspect he’s using a very unorthodox definition of evidence here.  Second, I consider myself to be one of those ” run-of-the-mill internet atheists” they are referring to here, and while I have done my fair share of calling stupid people out, I think, and hope, I’ve only done it when they actually said or did something stupid, not solely because they believe in God. I don’t think that believing in God makes people stupid. It makes them wrong and misguided, but not stupid. Nevertheless that is not the point I want to concentrate on in this entry.

What I want to point out is the hypocrisy of the entry by Vox. See, on the one hand he criticizes the atheists for calling others names, specifically “stupid”. Then, without batting an eyelash he turns around and says the following (emphasis added):

Atheism will always exist. As it is written, there have always been fools who have said in their hearts that there is no God.

Bit hypocritital no? First he says that our primary form of “debate” is calling people stupid, which of course must be wrong, then he turns around and presents his argument/debate which basically amounts to nothing more than calling us fools. Now, I’m nothing but a mere run of the mill internet atheist, who is mentally inferior as demonstrated by all the available evidence, but this sort of reasoning sounds a little….well…..stupid foolish to me!

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17 Responses

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  1. Badger3k said, on April 4, 2009 at 12:07 AM

    ‘Dude – all you had to do was mention “Vox Day” and we’d all understand the mountains of stupidity that name brings with it. This is the “I’m in mensa so I’m smarter than you even though I can’t find my way out of a paper bag” guy. Poor little Teddy. Having had the misfortune to read some of his “writing”, I think it’s a bit hypocritical him talking about calling people stupid.

    Whadda Tool.

    • Boer said, on April 5, 2009 at 5:50 AM

      Well then, Badger3k, I take it you have “real evidence” to back up your assertion that Vox “can’t find [his] way out of a paper bag”? Or are you merely proving his point about name-calling again?

  2. Beelzebub said, on April 5, 2009 at 7:13 AM

    I don’t think being recognizably smart precludes being religious. I’ve met or known of too many witty, articulate, accomplished, etc. people who are also religious to believe that. The difference between the smart and the dumb religious adherent is the same as with any other belief — the smart person has simply rationalized it at a higher level of sophistication. There are very many religious people who give the matter no thought whatsoever, or who put the matter on the back burner for further consideration at a later point in their lives. Inevitable personal subjugation to religious belief has more to do either with 1) initial exposure early in life, or 2) some kind of sporadic need or stress encountered within life. You can’t discount simple peer pressure, but that’s another early-life stressor, usually. In other words, either your brain is altered by upbringing, predisposing you to accept some kind of cosmic intentionality, or somewhere along the line you need faith as a crutch to get you through a difficulty in life. In my experience, number 2 is the weaker faith and tends to collapse the moment the underlying need or stress is relieved. Number 1) is the pernicious aspect of religious meme programming, and it exposes a person to religious thought-susceptibility more or less for the duration of his or her life. Even when the need appears to have abated, often going into latency for years or decades, one seems to be open to its recrudescence. Vox Day himself is an example of this. He evidently had a religious upbringing, fell out of faith, but then reentered at the relatively young age of late-twenties. I don’t think anyone can seriously deny this pattern, and it seems to work independently of intellectual achievement.

    Statistically, it’s been shown in case studies that highly intelligent segments of the populace tend toward less faith, but there are a number of ways to explain this outside the obvious one that smart people can see through the deception of religion. Sadly, once the mind virus is allowed to incubate, there is often no cure.

  3. Bisch said, on April 5, 2009 at 9:52 AM

    I don’t think being recognizably smart precludes being irreligious. I’ve met or known of too many witty, articulate, accomplished, etc. people who are also atheists to believe that. The difference between the smart and the dumb irreligious adherent is the same as with any other belief — the smart person has simply rationalized it at a higher level of sophistication. There are very many irreligious people who give the matter no thought whatsoever, or who put the matter on the back burner for further consideration at a later point in their lives. Inevitable personal subjugation to atheist belief has more to do either with 1) initial exposure early in life, or 2) some kind of sporadic need or stress encountered within life. You can’t discount simple peer pressure, but that’s another early-life stressor, usually. In other words, either your brain is altered by upbringing, predisposing you to accept some kind of cosmic unintentionality, or somewhere along the line you need atheism as a crutch to get you through a difficulty in life. In my experience, number 2 is the weaker atheism and tends to collapse the moment the underlying need or stress is relieved. Number 1) is the pernicious aspect of atheist meme programming, and it exposes a person to irreligious thought-susceptibility more or less for the duration of his or her life. Even when the need appears to have abated, often going into latency for years or decades, one seems to be open to its recrudescence. Beelzebub is an example of this. He evidently had a irreligious upbringing, became a believer, but then reentered irreligiosity at the relatively young age of late-twenties. I don’t think anyone can seriously deny this pattern, and it seems to work independently of intellectual achievement.

    Statistically, it’s been shown in studies that highly intelligent segments of the populace tend toward more faith, but there are a number of ways to explain this outside the obvious one that smart people can see through the deception of atheism. Sadly, once the mind virus is allowed to incubate, there is often no cure.

    Neat, huh?

    • Skepdude said, on April 5, 2009 at 10:20 AM

      Bisch,

      Exercise in futility I am afraid. It would be neat if it did make sense the way you obviously intend it to, except that you’d be hard pressed to show how there is “peer pressure” at any point in anyone’s life to push them towards atheism, or how is it that statistically it has been shown the intelligent people flock to faith. That my friend is not making an argument it is called making shit up, and making shit up never gets you anywhere.

      Sure you can replace religious with atheist and you could still read the thing coherently, but that wouldn’t make it any less of a pile of crap. What are you 5? Hey let’s go through with your idea, let’s take the bible and replace every mention of God an Jesus with his Noodely Appendage. I promise you it still reads the same. You may actually be onto something here.

      • Bisch said, on April 7, 2009 at 10:10 PM

        No peer pressure with atheism? Talk about making shit up.

        Bro, you have your anecdotal evidence and I have mine. All my college-educated, highly intelligent engineer friends are christians. IQs well above 125 every one of them. So?

        • Skepdude said, on April 8, 2009 at 9:11 AM

          Really? Who is actively pushing people to be atheists? Is someone knocking on your door on Sunday morning trying to get you to read “The God Delusion”? Are the presidential candidates praising atheism or God? How many atheist evangelical shows do you see on TV on Sunday mornings? Did you have a semi-celebrity (Steve Harvey) go on a TV show (Tyra Banks show) and tell girls that if they hear the guy they are dating is religious they should run the other way because he has no moral compass? Just how exactly are peers pressuring us te be atheists?

          And, Bro I have no anecdotal evidence. At my other article regarding Vox I linked to at least 3 sources that contradict his statement.

          And don’t make the mistake to assume that otherwise smart people don’t make stupid mistakes. I have come to learn that wheb something is ingrained in someone’s mind it is very very hard to grow out of it, regardless of your IQ or level of intelligence. This is not a debate about intelligence in general. It is a debate about specific behavior, religious belief, so let’s not change the topic here.

          • Bisch said, on April 8, 2009 at 9:50 AM

            You said “you’d be hard pressed to show how there is “peer pressure” at any point in anyone’s life to push them towards atheism.” Any observation of young people first going to college would easily show that one’s religious belief is ridiculed in class and out. The whole university system is decidedly anti-theism.

          • Skepdude said, on April 8, 2009 at 10:12 AM

            Oh I’m sorry, now you’re talking about a different issue. If you want to commingle religion and science, you will get what you are asking for, just the same as I would if I walked onto your Church during Sunday mass and started talking about the naturalist worldview.

            You want to talk about religion in college, do it in a religious studies class. You want to talk about religion in a physics or biology class, you will rightfully be told to can it. By the way, I have gone through undergraduate and am wrapping up graduate school and guess what, not even once in any of my classes was any person’s religious beliefs ridiculed by a fellow student or professor.

  4. Beelzebub said, on April 5, 2009 at 5:06 PM

    It’s the old ploy that atheism is just another faith, like religious faith. That used to impress me, except that in its simplest (canonical, if you will) form atheism isn’t an active belief, it’s the lack of belief. Religion is an active belief system that is actively hammered into youth. You don’t see atheist Sunday school. You don’t see atheists mandating that their kids memorize every word of The God Delusion (not that I know, anyway — and if it ever happened I would condemn it strongly).

    • Bisch said, on April 7, 2009 at 10:18 PM

      Y’all keep saying that atheism is no form of faith, a belief system, but it doesn’t make it so.

      If you say that atheism isn’t hammered into youths through the indoctrinating public school system, then I guess I got nothing else to say. Atheism, better, naturalism, is an active belief system that is actively hammered into youth.

      • Skepdude said, on April 8, 2009 at 9:16 AM

        Show me how it is a belief system? What do I as an atheist believe in? What is my faith?

        What classes in the school system directly indoctrinate you to be an atheist? Which classes specifically push atheism at the expense of religious belief?

        Atheism is not naturalism, however you define it. Atheism is an expression of lack of belief with respect to one, and only one, supernatural myth God. Atheism does not necessarily exclude other forms of supernaturalism. Atheism has nothing to say about unicorns or fairies. Does this make it clear that your statement is wrong?

        • Bisch said, on April 8, 2009 at 9:54 AM

          Your faith is in what are generally taken as scientific truths, but are incorrectly believed to be.

          Biology classes indoctrinate and push atheism at the expense of religious belief.

          So how many atheists do you know that also don’t reject all supernaturalism? I know of none. In practice, naturalism and atheism are the same thing.

          • Skepdude said, on April 8, 2009 at 10:06 AM

            “Your faith is in what are generally taken as scientific truths, but are incorrectly believed to be.” – Such as gravity maybe? Let me clear something up for you, science is a method, not a set of “truths”. Science has proven itself over and over and has earned more and more of our trust on the way. I consider science the most reliable method we have devised to get as close to the truth about the natural world as we can. Reliability and faith are completely different.

            “Biology classes indoctrinate and push atheism at the expense of religious belief.”-Bullshit, it is not their place to push either. Pick up your High School biology book and tell me exactly where do they specifically push atheism? Are you equating not talking about religion during a biology class as pushing atheism, because that would be ridiculous!

            “So how many atheists do you know that also don’t reject all supernaturalism? I know of none. In practice, naturalism and atheism are the same thing.”-Yet more wrong statements. Do you know anything about atheism? But to answer your question, my parents are strident atheists and they believe in giving someone the bad eye, they believe that doing a cancer biopsy “wakes” up the cancer and the person dies soon afterward. There may be an overlap between atheism and a naturalist worldview, but not necessarily all the time. Disbelieving on kind of woo does not mean you disbelieve all kinds of woo. You’re confusing atheism with skepticism. Atheism does not necessarily lead to skepticism.

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