Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Atheism is not a belief

This is addressing a post of the same title at evangelical Christian Tom Gilson's blog, "The Thinking Christian". Some might think his blog title is an oxymoron but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I do note it is not called the Ethical Christian...

In his post he is addressing a humanist, who calls himself a humanist but Gilson claims this is "disingenuous". Why? Well Gilson makes a number of assertions, which is he claims atheism entails. There is no point defending or analysing that list because his assertions are blatantly false. Have a look. So as far as I can see it Gilson who is being disingenuous.

What I mean is that for each of these points it is certain that some do hold these position, you might agree with some of them, although very unlikely would disagree with how these are stated and likely have a counter-balancing positive answer or statement of the same. However you would also disagree with some too - since I am not you I have no idea which you do agree with and which you do not. There are certainly quite a few atheists who would agree with none, however worded. So it simply cannot be construed that just knowing one is an atheist gives one any clue as to what positions they do hold in Gilson's list.

Gilson's conclusion of what “atheism” entails is quite erroneous, if this does not reflect prejudice on his part, at the very least, it is a dangerous form of argument. Criticising someone for a worldview of one's own construction that one has involuntarily assigned to someone based on their position on one issue, from which is grossly insufficient to draw any other such conclusion, is prejudice. And this is the basis for bigotry which is ironic given this was triggered by another post, in which Gilson was trying to justify God commanding genocide. As is well known, the first step to genocide is promoting prejudice and bigotry. One important way to help avoid future genocide is to condemn bigotry and prejudice wherever you see it. This condemnation certainly applies to Gilson and through his post he makes a mockery of his claim to know what objective morality is. It is not good enough to assert your morality is objective, you have to demonstrate it and you have failed, thereby invalidating your claim.

Postscript: Actually Gilson's list is not remotely plausible, it is full of silly, pointless, erroneous and idiotic points. It does not warrant any explicit criticism but for somee analysis seethe Barefoot Bum's The Thinking Fucktard


The Barefoot Bum said...

Gilson's assertion that "Atheism entails that humans and animals and plants and bacteria and rats and pigs and dogs and boys (google the last four) are ontologically the same thing," is so far beyond a simple mistake and firmly in the completely moronic that it's impossible to take him seriously or grant the presumption of intellectual competence and good faith.

faithlessgod said...


You are quite right although I have not yet gone as far as you in labelling these as you have. I will have one more post to write on this topic then I will move on to more interesting and productive topics.

Ignorance of evidence is evidence of ignorance.

The Barefoot Bum said...

Your statement, "As is well known, the first step to genocide is promoting prejudice and bigotry. One important way to help avoid future genocide is to condemn bigotry and prejudice wherever you see it," is fallacious and incorrect.

The first step to genocide is the belief that genocide can somehow be ethically justified. It is at least logically possible that genocide could be ethically justified by a factually true belief, not just bigotry (by the usual definition of bigotry as false generalization).

For example:

P1: Muslims are generally misogynist
P2: Misogynist people should be killed
C: We are justified in killing Muslims

P1 is definitely true: according to your construction, though, P1 can lead to genocide (if one accepts P2) and therefor should be countered.

Bigotry should be countered not because it can lead to genocide (it's not even a necessary condition, let alone a sufficient condition) but because one attaches ethical value to truth itself. Likewise genocide should be countered not because it is the result of bigotry and prejudice but because killing people shocks one's conscience and empathy.

faithlessgod said...


I think we are talking at cross-purposes here. I was referring to something like the 8 stages to genocide specifically the first 2 stages.

You are correct that bigotry needs to be countered not just because it could lead to genocide. The link to genocide here was becuase this was the original topic under disucssion, hence the use of bigotry by some seeking to justify God's genoicde was apart from amything else ironic and relevant here.