Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Atheism - Just another belief

"Atheism is just another belief system you know."

Ah, yet another favorite response used by apologists and theists alike. As though the statement somehow exonerated their extraordinary naivete (theists) and misplaced political correctness (apologist).  

Well I am sorry but it doesn't.  In the words of a man far more eloquent than myself, Ricky Gervais, "atheism is as much a belief as abstinence is a sex position". But, perhaps not surprisingly, the intended audience usually fails to appreciate the hilarious but uncannily apt analogy to their purported "argument".

They will attempt to dismiss the comeback as a mere quip, again as though such dismissal constituted an actual substantive response to the very valid analogy provided.  To avoid this, I prefer to unleash the following questions upon the person who invokes the "just another belief" argument to expose the bizarre intellectual vacuity of such a statement. 

What belief system does one have to subscribe to in order to believe that the Tooth Fairy does not exist? Should it be written off as "just another belief"?

If I claim that the Flying Spaghetti Monster (pasta & tabasco be upon Him) does not in fact exist, is it "just another belief"? 

If said person is not yet cowering in embarrassment from his/her apparent bankruptcy of thought, you should feel sorry for them. Evidently, God did not intend to make all of us equal.

It is indisputable that some beliefs bear more merit than others. Someone claiming a belief that Jesus resurrected himself is not claiming a belief of equal respectability as another who claims that light is composed of discrete packets of energy called photons

Moreover, it is impossible to prove a negative. Bertrand Russell gave us a famous teapot for elucidating that thought experiment rather eloquentlyIt is by no means axiomatic that simply because you cannot prove that something does not exist; a belief that it does, and its counterpart belief that it does not, should be taken to be equally plausible

Monday, March 28, 2016

That is offensive

Today, an exclamation that something has offended you is somehow treated, sadly, as substantive discourse on the merits of the statement made that was allegedly offensive. 

Funnily enough, the same people taking offence at criticism of religion also tend to fall in the group of people (well mostly) who despise liberal US gun laws. In any "debate", it would not be before long before one or more of the following comes up:

Defence 1:
Not all members of a particular religion are terrorists. Most are peaceful.

Riposte: Just like not all gun owners are homocidal nutcases. Most just want to show off their twin-barrelled semi-automatic shotgun to friends to ostensibly compensate for small penis sizes.

Defence 2:
The religion is not evil. People are.

 Riposte:  Likewise, guns are not murderers. People are.

So why are we so eager to defend another's right to vile, potentially harmful (legal disclaimer: not harmful per se, only certain interpretations harmful) supernatural beliefs but are in the same breath immediately dismissive of second amendment rights in the US?   Why the apparent cognitive dissonance? 

To clarify, I am not for gun ownership. I believe it takes no more than a modicum of common sense to see that liberal gun laws are the problem in light of what happened to Australia after Port Arthur.  Only Teabaggers and those willfully blind would choose to ignore the clear evidence available. Don't take it from me, take it from John Howard.

In the same vein, I believe it is high time that society came together to properly examine the role religion has played, plays and will play in terrorist attacks. There is a need to tackle this problem at its root. To bury our heads in the sand and say that religion has no part to play is to display unimaginable callousness and nonchalance to those who have suffered from these attacks. Indeed, imagine putting yourself in the shoes of family or friends of those who had needlessly lost their lives, do you not think it is way more offensive for apologists to provide a blanket immunity to religion and dismissing all criticism of faith as "offensive" or "racist"? It would be appalling, scandalous, downright offensive and also, to state the bleeding obvious, stupid.