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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, January 28, 2011

Musings from Atheist Dan

dress2Every great once in a while, an atheist will stop by my blog and bless me with his encyclopedic knowledge and expertise on such subjects as the Old Testament, Ancient Near Eastern religions, and Semitic languages. I sometimes marvel at how much the atheist will know. He's like so smart. A genuine Good Will Hunting. In a way, I am envious. Where could he possibly find the time to devote to such in-depth study? I mean, just one atheist will seem to know a lot regarding a wide range of subjects. In addition to ancient near eastern religions, he’ll know stuff from such fields as biology, archaeology, geology, psychology, all the biblical languages, and history.

Take for instance a comment from atheist Dan (whose profile is conveniently unavailable) left under this post.

He writes,

There are a lot of comments in the article about how atheists don't understand and take liberties with the bible. However research shows that atheists and agnostics score higher than the religious when it comes to knowledge of the "scriptures."

Wow. Research. Like a team of graduate students spent a couple of years meticulously documenting the knowledge Christians have of the Bible and compared it to the atheists' knowledge. I wrote about this "research." It's a survey quiz given by the PEW Research people, and it is a bit of a stretch to classify it as "research." With the questions they asked, I expected the average "church" goer to fail it. But hey. What do I know about genuine research in the light of this atheist's dizzying intellect.

Moving along, he continues,

I personally have never heard a religious person say anything but supportive things about the bible, when in fact the bible is filled with completely off the wall stuff that would make most people very uncomfortable.

Yeah. I've heard that complaint about the Bible. Especially the making people uncomfortable part. But honestly, I am uncomfortable with atheism, too. I mean, all that genocidal killing over in France, Cambodia, Ukraine, and China is pretty off the wall and discomforting. And don't get me started about that creepy Darwinian eugenics thing.

The next comment is interesting:

Atheist Dan cursed the Bible with a expletive in his original comment,

As a work of literature, the bible is a piece of #$%!.

He must had gone back and read my guidelines posted above the combox where I basically stated that if you use profanity to articulate yourself, you're pretty much an idiot. He deleted this comment and submitted an edited version, but prefaced his re-posted comment with these remarks,

Note to moderator: I had one use of "profanity" which I removed in this comment so you can approve it. By the way, I have witnessed much more stupidity from any religious person I have met than people who use profanity. So your heuristic on stupidity is a bit ironic considering the fact that you are religious. For a person who loves a document that supports genocide, slavery, sexism and many forms of offensive material, your distain [sic] for profanity is inconsistent.

The word "heuristic" for those who aren't brilliant, free-thinking atheists, means, involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods. I think what atheist Dan means to say is that he didn't appreciate me pointing out how the use of profanity demonstrates a shallow, lazy mind.

He wraps up his intellectual remarks by writing,

Religious people, particularly the more religious simply have lower intelligence levels than atheists and agnostics. In fact, religious individuals lack reasoning skills because they have been retarded by following unprovable mysticism. It is no coincidence that George W Bush and Sarah Palin, both love Jesus. The stupidity applies equally to all religions, Christians complain about Muslims, but really, its all pretty much the same thing. Low intelligence individuals tying [sic] to figure out the world based upon fantasy and mass delusion.

musicI am guessing he is saying atheists must be more evolved than religious people. Yet according to evolution, all life is a product of its genetics passed along from one generation to the next. Only the fittest survive. Additionally, evolutionary scientists speak about a “religious gene” being passed from parent to offspring. If this is true, as I am sure atheist Dan will have to admit, what exactly can I do? I mean, I am genetically predisposed to be religious. How could I possibly be anything but religious according to my genetic make-up? For atheist Dan to chide me for lacking reasoning skills because I have been retarded by mysticism and Sarah Palin is like beating a chimp for not pronouncing the word “heuristic” properly.

As I noted, only the fittest survive. The religious, according to the article I link, reproduce more than the non-religious. That is usually because the non-religious, particularly hardcore atheists, are consumed with their self-interests that they don’t have children. Children have a way of gnawing at a person’s selfishness. The only recourse for the atheists like Dan to survive is to eliminate all the religious. But here he steps into a conundrum. In order to do such a thing requires for him to support the genocide and other offensive material he objects to.

Man. Consistency can be hard for atheists.

Labels:

12 Comments:

Blogger Shazza89101 said...

Fred, you totally crack me up! You must drive atheist Dan crazy lol. I wonder how close he is to becoming a believer, even if you never found out about it lol?

10:58 AM, January 28, 2011  
Blogger Jon said...

My evolution hurts.

2:20 PM, January 28, 2011  
Blogger Escovado said...

Fred,

Was this an old comment thread this guy restarted? Do you have alink to the post?

7:26 PM, January 28, 2011  
Blogger Escovado said...

Sorry, Fred. I mised link you had to the thread. Those Diogenes comment threads attract atheists for some reason.

7:29 PM, January 28, 2011  
Blogger David Kjos said...

You literally kill me.

8:52 AM, January 29, 2011  
Blogger RealityCheck said...

“atheist's dizzying intellect.”

Sounds a little snarky Fred. Haven’t you heard that such “tone” is tantamount to heartlessness? The tone-police are pretty busy over at Pyro these days but if you’re not careful they just might find some time for you.

“I basically stated that if you use profanity to articulate yourself, you're pretty much an idiot.”

To which Atheist Dan wrote:

“As a work of literature, the bible is a piece of #$%!.”

Ah… don’t you just love it when they go out of their way to prove what you already know? lol

“For a person who loves a document that supports genocide, slavery, sexism…”

IOW, despite he as an atheist having no basis for morality he finds these things offensive. Always one of my favorites.

“It is no coincidence that George W Bush and Sarah Palin, both love Jesus.”

O.k… you’ve got to give him credit here. He did manage to slam both Bush and Palin in a comment that couldn’t have had less to do with either of them. I’m starting to like this guy.

Great post Fred, and a special thanks to Atheist Dan for making it possible. ;-)

3:45 PM, January 29, 2011  
Blogger thomas4881 said...

Does this apply to Dan? -

Deuteronomy 30:11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

9:17 PM, January 29, 2011  
Blogger DJP said...

NOBODY expects the Tone Police Inquisition!

8:03 AM, January 30, 2011  
Blogger buddyglass said...

You like your straw men, huh? Sheesh. Some thoughts:

"all that genocidal killing over in..."

His complaint was with the Christian scriptures. The guiding documents of the faith. Atheism by definition lacks such documents. I'm sure Dan would say that his brand of atheism (which is more likely secular humanism, i.e. ethics sans deity) would surely not permit the atrocities you enumerate. His most likely feels this places him on higher moral ground than Christians, given they by and large approve of the offenses he lists.

"I am guessing he is saying atheists must be more evolved than religious people."

I don't see that he said that at all. Where was evolution mentioned? He said religious people are on an aggregate basis less intelligent, and that this lower intelligence may function as both a cause and effect of their religiosity.

"The only recourse for the atheists like Dan to survive is to eliminate all the religious."

Did you read the study? It speaks only of genetic predisposition toward religiosity. Clearly it's not a guarantee. It also predicts a steady state wherein there is a small (but consistent) segment of the population that lacks the gene(s).

Nurture is one big means by which Dan, and those like him, can seek to increase the prevalence of their beliefs. They can train their own kids (few though they may be) to follow in their non-believing footsteps while simultaneously "evangelizing" (ostensible) believers into unbelief. Basically the same game plan as Christians, except without the "having lots of kids" part.

"Commit genocide against the religious or atheists will eventually die out" is a false dichotomy.

10:04 PM, January 31, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Buddy writes,
You like your straw men, huh? Sheesh

Straw men? What straw men? I see people throw that accusation out all over the place on the blogs and I don't think they know what it means. You don't think this guy needs to be held accountable to his hypocrisy with his chosen worldview?

Moving along,
His complaint was with the Christian scriptures. The guiding documents of the faith.

Where exactly in the Bible does it advocate genocide as a course of action for Christianity? Certainly the atheist will appeal to Joshua and the conquests, but those were hardly innocent people. What philosophical worldview were Robespierre, Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin operating under? I am not concerned about whether a document speaks about genocide. I am concerned with how the believers behave.

His most likely feels this places him on higher moral ground than Christians, given they by and large approve of the offenses he lists.

Who are the "they" in this comment allegedly approving of the offenses he lists? Christians? What group of Christians approves of genocide as an expression of the faith?

I don't see that he said that at all. Where was evolution mentioned? He said religious people are on an aggregate basis less intelligent, and that this lower intelligence may function as both a cause and effect of their religiosity.

Ummm.... How does an atheist, who operates primarily from naturalistic, non-metaphysical axioms explain intelligence? Did an outside force "design" it?


Did you read the study?

Yes.

It also predicts a steady state wherein there is a small (but consistent) segment of the population that lacks the gene(s).

And "genes" are a product of....? They are passed along by...?

Nurture is one big means by which Dan, and those like him, can seek to increase the prevalence of their beliefs.

A more accurate word other than "nurture" according to atheism is "condition." They can try to "condition" their offspring to accept their beliefs, but "conditioning" a dog to react to a bell does not at all improve its intelligence.

"Commit genocide against the religious or atheists will eventually die out" is a false dichotomy.

It's interesting how Robespierre, Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin disagree with you. Oh well.

6:16 AM, February 01, 2011  
Blogger buddyglass said...

"Straw men? What straw men?"

That would be Dan. Not exactly the best example of a "thoughtful atheist". It seemed like the overall message was "Hey check out this guy! Wow are atheists dumb!" That happens in reverse all the time ("Hey check out this guy! Boy are Christians dumb!") and it bothers me just as much then. Not that individual atheists or believers can't be incredibly weak in their ability to support their views (clearly they can), but the generalization from one person to the whole group.

"Where exactly in the Bible does it advocate genocide as a course of action for Christianity?"

It doesn't. But it doesn't have to for Dan's point to have merit. The Bible portrays as a positive thing God commanding his people to commit genocide. Were the targets of that genocide innocent? No, of course not. Then again nobody is. No genocide has ever been carried out against some group that didn't consist entirely of sinners.

I think there are ways to look at the conquests that don't paint God in a bad light (obviously), but I don't expect them to be readily apparent to a non-believer.

In any case, Dan's point might have been more thoughtfully put: "Your guiding documents portray genocide in a positive light. Atheists have indeed committed genocide, but I personally disapprove of that, along with every other atheist I know."

"What group of Christians approves of genocide as an expression of the faith?"

Most of us. Not genocide in general, but the specific genocide undertaken at God's command during the conquest of the promised land.

"Ummm.... How does an atheist, who operates primarily from naturalistic, non-metaphysical axioms explain intelligence? Did an outside force "design" it?"

Heritable traits (which you most likely recognize) along with one's environment determine intelligence. Evolution obviously deals with genetics, but one can discuss genetics, heritability and variations within a population without bringing up evolution. "Change over time in the prevalence of certain genes within a single species" is not what most people mean when they say "evolution".

"And "genes" are a product of....?"

Either naturalistic evolution, theistic evolution, or design. So what? Nothing he said hinges on a particular one of these being true.

""conditioning" a dog to react to a bell does not at all improve its intelligence."

I wasn't talking about intelligence. I was talking about non-belief. You seemed to say that Dan's dilemma was that in order for atheism to survive he must advocate genocide against everybody with the "religiosity gene", but genocide is something he's personally uncomfortable with. That's wholly false, as I pointed out. There are avenues open to Dan (and others like him) by which they can foster the continued existence of atheism without advocating or committing genocide. Namely, condition their children, proselytize others, and recognize that not everyone with the "religious gene" will eventually become religious, since the gene only confers a predisposition.

"It's interesting how Robespierre, Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin disagree with you. Oh well."

I'm not entirely convinced they do, but I'll cede the point for the sake of argument. Again, so what? If they did believe that then they were absolutely wrong, and nothing says Dan (or any other atheist) has to hold a similarly wrong belief.

8:27 AM, February 01, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Buddy. I must have utterly misread the tone of your comment. Please forgive me for that if that is the case.

Unless you had a tone, and then I shouldn't be apologizing.

I must be just too busy today.

8:34 AM, February 01, 2011  

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