Atheists Eat Their Own

New Atheism, the movement that holds that religious belief should be strongly criticized and countered because it is dumb, delusional and dangerous burst on the scene early in the 2000’s with a flurry of best-selling books by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. Motivated in part by the perceived religious motivations of the 9/11 attacks and George Bush’s overt religiosity and fueled by the easy communication of blogs and discussion boards, New Atheism quickly grew into something of a movement. Foundations, conferences and rallies have since provided a sense of community and identity to the nascent cause. And yet, while there has been much fanfare about the growth of New Atheism, at nearly a decade out the movement appears to be employing the same attacks against itself that it once leveled against the religious and with greater effect.

Overt acts of sexism and harassment by men in the movement against participating women have recently splintered the movement. New Atheism has also dividing over what it means to be an atheist; whether the movement is merely skeptical of religion or obligated to advance certain social and political concerns like feminism, gay rights and social and economic justice. In short, some want to offer a progressive agenda, or what has been dubbed ‘Atheism+’. Atheist journalist Nelson Jones gives a good overview at the NewStatesman:

A number of incidents have served to crystallise the sense that all is not right in the world of unbelief. Most notoriously, there was “Elevatorgate”, an late-night incident in a lift during an atheist conference in Dublin during which the blogger Rebecca Watson was propositioned. Her subsequent public complaint about the man’s behaviour and sexual harassment within the Skeptic movement drew criticism from Richard Dawkins himself and fuelled an ugly flame war. She received, and continues to receive, rape and death threats…

…The first item on the Atheism+ agenda, then, is a cleansing one. [Jen] McCreight [A founder of the movement at PZ Myers Freethought blogs] herself says: “We need to recognize that there’s still room for self-improvement and to address the root of why we’ve been having these problems in atheism and skepticism.” Greta Christina has gone so far as to devise a checklist of goals to which atheist organisations should aspire, including anti-harassment policies and ensuring diversity among both members and invited speakers. “To remember that not all atheists look like Richard Dawkins.”

Not long after this article was published skeptic Jen McCreight ceased blogging at FreeThoughtBlogs over the harassment she received from her criticism of her fellow atheists. Beyond the blog wars, major players in the atheist movement like Dawkins and PZ Myers and Sam Harris are vociferously at odds over all sorts of issues. While the blog comment sections and discussion boards of atheists have always been offensive and irrational places for believers, they are now verbal torture chambers for fellow atheists.

As a Christian I would normally avoid commenting on the internecine battles of groups that don’t include me. It is no skin off my nose that atheists are attacking each other. But I think the current state of affairs is instructive when it comes to understanding the modern atheist movement and human nature.

The first thing to understand is that ‘New Atheism’ is primarily the domain of young white males. And not ordinary young white males, but the sort whose lives consist largely of the consumption of video games, pornography and internet trolling. Psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo described this group recently in his book The Demise of Guys. While many of the leaders of New Atheism appear to be respectable enough folks, New Atheist leaders like PZ Meyers, Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne have been idolized by troops of young men because they justify their chosen lifestyles. Whereas it was once expected that a man in his twenties would do something productive and profitable like advancing a career or starting a family, now we have millions of young men who feel completely content to squander their lives engaging in artificial combat to conquer digital worlds while satisfying themselves with virtual relationships. They are ripe for the picking by folks like PZ Myers who created a legion of trolls by whipping fan boys into a frenzy against imagined evil religious hordes. There is little wonder then that the fun was spoiled when real women started showing up at the party, with all their expectations of social maturity and common decency. Their presence, and the insistence by certain atheist leaders that the some of their followers need to grow up was like Peter Pan telling the lost boys to leave Neverland and get a life.

While this was true for the minions, for leaders of New Atheism it has never been about mere skepticism. New Atheism is closely allied with progressivism because they share a common enemy. Progressives see atheism as useful to diminish the power of conservative faiths that are the primary bulwark against leftist agendas. Of course the fan boys in the atheist movement aren’t nearly so high-minded – they see religion as bulwark against their chosen lifestyles. As much as this mindless passion causes young men to rail against religion, they are useful to leaders on the left. That is why the movements in the sixties could encompass both the high-minded feminist notions of ‘equality’ alongside the ‘free love movement’ which consisted mainly of mainstreaming sexual promiscuousness. To advance, both required diminishing traditional and religious beliefs about family even though they shared little in common with regard to actual goals. They were literally strange bedfellows.

The reason conflicts have arisen in the atheist movement is the reason conflict inevitably arises in all human movements – the selfishness and hubris that is inherent to human nature. This comports with first and foremost truth advanced by Christians that all men are sinners – that is by nature we are selfish, proud and corruptible creatures. This is why the very atheist hordes PZ Myers used to command against the religious now clog his inbox with messages of contempt. It is the reason the very folks Richard Dawkins inspired to be rationalists now label him a misogynist. And it is why Sam Harris, whose books partly inspired the New Atheist movement, is now labeled among the ‘5 Most Awful Atheists‘ by some of his peers. Atheists imagined that religious belief itself exacerbates conflict and once it was done away with reason would reign – now they prove that a devotion to reason is no remedy for the inherent human tendency to advance one’s ambitions over the interests of others.

Atheists often cast aspersions on the Church because there are multiple Christian denominations. ‘How can there be one truth with so many different variations?’ goes the reasoning – all the while ignoring the basic creeds that Christians overwhelmingly adhere to and the fact that the Church experienced no significant splits for over a thousand years of its existence. They tout their movement as one motivated by reason and thus immune to the vagaries that plague many religions; yet they can’t deal with basic matters amongst themselves with common civility.

If we can test the truth of a proposition by the consistent agreement about its basic tenants among its proponents, then New Atheism, a small movement that is splintering almost as soon as it has begun, is almost certainly false.

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12 Responses to Atheists Eat Their Own

  1. Tristan Vick says:

    “If we can test the truth of a proposition by the consistent agreement about its basic tenants among its proponents, then New Atheism, a small movement that is splintering almost as soon as it has begun, is almost certainly false.” –Jack Hudson

    ???

  2. Tristan Vick says:

    “It we can test the truth of a proposition by the consistent agreement about its basic tenants among its proponents, then Christianity, which began as a small movement and splintered almost as soon as it begun, is almost certainly false.”

    !!!

  3. jackhudson says:

    That’s the point – if true (and ignoring no great schisms occurred in the church for a thousand years) it would seem that the fact that new atheism is full of factions within a few years of it’s initiation that it is almost certainly false. That is if the argument atheists make against Christianity is true. Of course I don’t think the argument atheists make about disagreement is true, and that disagreement is merely an emanation of human nature as Christianity defines it.

  4. subayaitori says:

    Also, I think we cannot ignore the fact that Marcionite Christianity (Marcionism) was practiced before the final book of the NT was even written.

    Not only this, there were already schisms forming in the main religion set up by James and Peter as evidence of their disputes with Paul on what constitutes “true faith” in Christ attest to. There is no denying that Paul’s Christian theology differed greatly from theirs.

    Additionally, there were also the Syrian-Egyptian Christians along with the various Gnostic branches of the Christian faith bidding for power not even fifty years after the death of Jesus.

    The book of John in the NT even incorporates Gnostic elements and has long been thought by Biblical Historians to be a revised Gnostic text fitted into the canon. Then there were about half a dozen Proto-orthodox Christian movements springing up during Paul’s own time.

    All this just goes to show that it seems like Christianity experienced its fair share of schisms and differences of opinion from the onset.

    So, unless you deny this progression and development of Christianity, I don’t see how you can make the claim you did when you stated “…no great schisms occurred in the church for a thousand years).

    Unless I am mistaken about your claim, it just rings patently false. Christianity began fracturing from the get go.

    Finally, you seem to take it for granted that atheism has been around for thousands of years too. As long as there has been the belief in God, there has been those who do not share that belief. Two thousand years of Christianity is equivalent to two thousand years of atheism. Yet you see more varieties of Christianity during that two thousand years than you do varieties of atheism. Only now that atheism is becoming something more, do you notice any difference. But that has nothing to do with whether or not the claims of atheists are true or false. All you have pointed out is that they disagree with each other. That’s perfectly acceptable when their is no standard of atheistic belief to adhere to, no core ideology, no tenets to compel conglomeration. Within atheism is the dismissal of an opposing truth claim, but beyond this, there is nothing to say what beliefs atheists general hold, or, for that matter, whether or not they are in agreement of any of them.

  5. jackhudson says:

    *Face Palm*

    Tristan, I have to say the great difficulty in dealing with these posts is that in order to answer them one must walk through the most rudimentary reasoning skills and carefully parse out all the logical fallacies that are presented. It is exhausting when dealing with atheists, because they routinely engage in shotgun styles of arguments, meaning they blast away with everything regardless of its relevance to logic, reason or common sense. And 90% of their arguments are tu quoques, a logical fallacy I don’t think most understand, though they employ it constantly. And so to respond one must sift through a lot of crappola, at which point little is left. I will do what I can.

    So let me be clear – I will readily concede there were disagreements between early Christians. Hey, if you want, one could say that Judas acting as a traitor was an act of disagreement. And while more knowledgeable folks would distinguish between disagreements, heresies (of which there are many, as Christ promised) , and schisms of which there are very few (though the the major one did not occur until Great Schism of the 11th century) even if there an infinite number it would be irrelevant to my argument since I do not hold to the notion that we can test the truth of a proposition based on the agreeableness of its adherents. In fact I think such a notion is nonsense – I was applying the typical atheist argument, which says Christianity isn’t to be believed because of disagreements between denominations’ to atheism itself.

    So if you think the disagreements between adherents of a belief system are a reason to reject that belief system (as in the fact that various denominations exist in Christianity), then there is as much reason to reject atheism as there is Christianity. If you agree with me that such differences are just as likely to be the result of the inherent capacity for human nature to be self-serving and corrupted by ambition, then there is no reason to reject either on those grounds – but one would be in agreement with the Christian view of human nature, causing one to be inclined to accept the Christian view of the world, in part at least if not in whole.

    Finally, you seem to take it for granted that atheism has been around for thousands of years too. As long as there has been the belief in God, there has been those who do not share that belief. Two thousand years of Christianity is equivalent to two thousand years of atheism. Yet you see more varieties of Christianity during that two thousand years than you do varieties of atheism. Only now that atheism is becoming something more, do you notice any difference. But that has nothing to do with whether or not the claims of atheists are true or false. All you have pointed out is that they disagree with each other. That’s perfectly acceptable when their is no standard of atheistic belief to adhere to, no core ideology, no tenets to compel conglomeration. Within atheism is the dismissal of an opposing truth claim, but beyond this, there is nothing to say what beliefs atheists general hold, or, for that matter, whether or not they are in agreement of any of them.

    I certainly understand atheism is nothing new – the name is derived from an ancient Greek word after all. I am the one who laughs at New Atheists for calling themselves ‘New’ atheists and shoveling the same old ideas. The only thing ‘new’ about Dawkins and Myers is that they are nastier and louder. Of course atheists think the science is somehow now uniquely supportive of their beliefs, but they have always claimed that as well. So same old beliefs with the addition of misogyny, incivility and downright hypocrisy. While this should certainly give descent people pause before associating themselves with such a movement, it is not in and of itself a reason to reject atheism. There are all together better reasons to do that.
    Hopefully this clarifies the matter for you Tristan so that no more time is wasted on points irrelevant to the main argument.

  6. Tristan Vick says:

    Well, I think I see the point you’re making now, but I want to briefly clarify what I mean above.

    I was mentioning that any perceived heresy would have been viewed as dissent, regardless of the time in which it arose. I think one can make a strong case that there were heretical forms of Christianity which arose almost within the same time frame as the Christianity which would become the orthodox faith. But that this, in itself, only goes to show that there has always been schism within the Christian faith, whether it is simple theology or more specific, such as core doctrine and teachings.

    This brings me to your second point.

    I think you may simply be defining schism too broadly, as an entirely different denomination with variant practices and some similar but mainly dissimilar beliefs. If that’s the way you are defining it, then yes, I agree that Christianity probably didn’t experience a massive schism until much later. But that said, you cannot define schism so broadly and then narrow it for when you talk about atheism.

    By your broad definition, atheism hasn’t schismed at all. Atheism plus isn’t even a new variety of atheism. It’s the same old atheists practicing humanism, equality, and supporting skepticism as per usual. It’s merely a new term to help atheists identify with other like minded atheists. In other words, there are no dissenting views from stereotypical atheism. They are the same views!

    The only problem is, as far as I can tell, many atheists felt that the new term was needless, or rather superfluous. I can assure you, I have had this debate with many of my atheist peers who simply think its a useless modifier, because its not describing anything new.

    There are others, who have invested themselves into trying to make Atheism a political and cultural movement, and forcibly wedge it into the lime light (Richard Carrier comes to mind), and they have reacted rather poorly to the negative criticism by their fellow peers.

    But all this shows is that atheists are independent thinkers, will disagree, and aren’t above name calling–sadly enough.

    But ignoring the cheerleaders like Carrier, who are more bluster than anything, I have to disagree with you that this disproves the truth or falsity of atheism. That would be proving a negative. The burden isn’t on the atheist.

    Before you claim this is irrelevant to your point, keep with me a moment longer.

    Your claim, if I understand it, is that atheists will dismiss the veracity of a religion if its claims are dissimilar from a different group of the same religion. But isn’t this simply holding the religious claims up to scrutiny? As you of all people should know, if two competing claims are dissimilar, then they both can’t be true.

    The problem comes down to evidence, something both sides typically lack. I’ll paint a broad example.

    Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all claim to originate in the faith of Arbraham. They are often called the Abrahamic religions, or the Great Monotheisms, for this reason.

    Now, for the sake of the argument, assuming their religious claims are equal–then we run into serious problems.

    For example, Jews and Muslims do not believe that Christ died and resurrected. Or if they belief he died, they are certain he did not rise again. Christians say Christ rose after 3 days.

    These competing claims are problematic, because lacking the necessary evidence which would bring finality to either sides claim, we are uncertain which is the true claim and which is the false.

    Notice, however, there is nothing which says all three cannot be wrong.

    So the skeptic reserves judgement on whether either of them are correct, but we can make the provisional assumption, given our understanding of history and science, and knowing that resurrection claims are widely spread but never verified, we can safely assume they are all wrong–at least until evidence is forthcoming which would persuade the most hardened skeptic.

    This is why the assumption they are all wrong is valid–it’s taken provisionally. Which means, we skeptics will correct our mistaken assumptions when they are proved, beyond a shadow of doubt, to be mistaken. That simply hasn’t happened, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many skeptics (and I am not just talking about atheists, but other religions like Buddhism, where the good Buddhist does not believe in Christianity–most likely–for the same reasons the atheist doesn’t).

    Now you can dismiss this broad example, but the reasoning still applies for the smaller denominations and offshoots of Christianity. If there was an undeniable truth, there wouldn’t be any schism. But having Christianity fractured into so many varieties of faith, it becomes the Christians burden to test the competing claims of each schismatic faith in order to get at the underlying truth, should it exist. Why? Because Christianity is dealing in revealed religion–which makes very specific claims.

    Atheism doesn’t do this. Atheism simply dismisses theism, and the only claim it makes is that theism is wrong–for reasons a, b, and c. But atheists are often times strict realists or skeptics also, so they are often compelled, not because of their atheism, but due to their skepticism, to dismiss a religious ideology that is in conflict with a competing ideology where neither ideology can be proved right or wrong–meaning the only thing certain is that neither can get over the hurdler of passing the test of scrutiny. And in human experience, things that don’t hold up under scrutiny are usually wrong–hence the provisional assumption they are all wrong.

    I hope that shows how what I said ties directly into your point, and perhaps, and helps acts as an explication of the same from the atheist perspective.

  7. Tristan Vick says:

    Pardon my many errors. It was cut and copied from my mobile, and I didn’t have the proper time to edit.

  8. jackhudson says:

    I was mentioning that any perceived heresy would have been viewed as dissent, regardless of the time in which it arose. I think one can make a strong case that there were heretical forms of Christianity which arose almost within the same time frame as the Christianity which would become the orthodox faith. But that this, in itself, only goes to show that there has always been schism within the Christian faith, whether it is simple theology or more specific, such as core doctrine and teachings.

    If one accepts every form of dissent as a schism, then yes, though this is the ordinary definition of schism. Of course if this is ture, then there is certainly a schism in atheism!

    I think you may simply be defining schism too broadly, as an entirely different denomination with variant practices and some similar but mainly dissimilar beliefs. If that’s the way you are defining it, then yes, I agree that Christianity probably didn’t experience a massive schism until much later. But that said, you cannot define schism so broadly and then narrow it for when you talk about atheism.

    Actually you are arguing above that the definition of schism is narrower than I defined it – and I never actually used the word schism with regard to atheism in my original post. Certain atheists have talked about their being a schism in New Atheism, but I haven’t described it that way. It would seem you are the one changing the definition depending on who you are talking about Tristan.

    By your broad definition, atheism hasn’t schismed at all. Atheism plus isn’t even a new variety of atheism. It’s the same old atheists practicing humanism, equality, and supporting skepticism as per usual. It’s merely a new term to help atheists identify with other like minded atheists. In other words, there are no dissenting views from stereotypical atheism. They are the same views!
    The only problem is, as far as I can tell, many atheists felt that the new term was needless, or rather superfluous. I can assure you, I have had this debate with many of my atheist peers who simply think its a useless modifier, because its not describing anything new.
    There are others, who have invested themselves into trying to make Atheism a political and cultural movement, and forcibly wedge it into the lime light (Richard Carrier comes to mind), and they have reacted rather poorly to the negative criticism by their fellow peers.
    But all this shows is that atheists are independent thinkers, will disagree, and aren’t above name calling–sadly enough.

    As I said above, I don’t think ‘New Atheism’ is all that New. It’s just loud and uncivil. And atheism+ appears to be loud and uncivil + a Progressive political agenda.

    But all this shows is that atheists are independent thinkers, will disagree, and aren’t above name calling–sadly enough.

    Fair enough though I do find it ironic that when atheists disagree atheists say, ‘See we are independent thinkers!’ when Christians disagree atheists say, “See, what they believe obviously isn’t true!’ In short, atheists contradict there notions of intellectual rigor.

    But ignoring the cheerleaders like Carrier, who are more bluster than anything, I have to disagree with you that this disproves the truth or falsity of atheism. That would be proving a negative. The burden isn’t on the atheist.

    I was applying a test atheists themselves have devised. Obviously their beliefs should be able to meet their own criterion for testing the veracity of a belief.

    Your claim, if I understand it, is that atheists will dismiss the veracity of a religion if its claims are dissimilar from a different group of the same religion. But isn’t this simply holding the religious claims up to scrutiny? As you of all people should know, if two competing claims are dissimilar, then they both can’t be true.
    The problem comes down to evidence, something both sides typically lack. I’ll paint a broad example.
    Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all claim to originate in the faith of Arbraham. They are often called the Abrahamic religions, or the Great Monotheisms, for this reason.
    Now, for the sake of the argument, assuming their religious claims are equal–then we run into serious problems.
    For example, Jews and Muslims do not believe that Christ died and resurrected. Or if they belief he died, they are certain he did not rise again. Christians say Christ rose after 3 days.
    These competing claims are problematic, because lacking the necessary evidence which would bring finality to either sides claim, we are uncertain which is the true claim and which is the false.
    Notice, however, there is nothing which says all three cannot be wrong.

    Inherent in your argument is that all their claims are equal – I would say that is where you are off, I don’t think all three claims are equal, but some are false and one is true and there is more reason to believe one rather than the others. I don’t think such evidence is lacking at all. Now it is certainly possible all three are false (just as it is possible that atheism is false), but that doesn’t detract from the belief that one is true.

    So the skeptic reserves judgement on whether either of them are correct, but we can make the provisional assumption, given our understanding of history and science, and knowing that resurrection claims are widely spread but never verified, we can safely assume they are all wrong–at least until evidence is forthcoming which would persuade the most hardened skeptic.

    I a previous ‘hardened skeptic’ I find that a little narrow. I start with whether the materialist/ naturalistic narrative is true, and finding it to be lacking in evidence, I consider the notion that the universe and life are the product of intention. From there one can certainly reason down to the most likely of religious narratives that best comport with what one knows of human nature and history.

    This is why the assumption they are all wrong is valid–it’s taken provisionally. Which means, we skeptics will correct our mistaken assumptions when they are proved, beyond a shadow of doubt, to be mistaken. That simply hasn’t happened, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many skeptics (and I am not just talking about atheists, but other religions like Buddhism, where the good Buddhist does not believe in Christianity–most likely–for the same reasons the atheist doesn’t).

    Actually, that is horrible logic. The notion that an idea is unproved does not at all mean we can assume the idea is wrong. At best this might make one an agnostic claiming that one can’t know the truth of a matter due to lack of evidence. But again I reject your notion there is no evidence for the larger notion of the existence of God, against the notions of materialism and naturalism, and for preferring Christianity over other explanations for our understanding of human nature.

    In fact, one of the points of this post is that the bad behavior of atheists is best explained by the Christian description of human nature – all men have the inclination toward selfishness, anger and dissension. One of the best evidences of the truth of Christianity is the attitudes and behaviors of New Atheists!

    Now you can dismiss this broad example, but the reasoning still applies for the smaller denominations and offshoots of Christianity. If there was an undeniable truth, there wouldn’t be any schism. But having Christianity fractured into so many varieties of faith, it becomes the Christians burden to test the competing claims of each schismatic faith in order to get at the underlying truth, should it exist. Why? Because Christianity is dealing in revealed religion–which makes very specific claims.

    You seem to have completely ignored the entire point of this post, and your own previous arguments. Think about these statements:

    “If there was an undeniable truth about atheism, there wouldn’t be any schism. But having atheism fractured into so many varieties, it becomes the atheist’s burden to test the competing claims of each schismatic belief in order to get at the underlying truth, should it exist.”

    This is exactly what you have argued isn’t the case. Or try this:

    “If there was an undeniable truth about the origin of the universe, there wouldn’t be competing theories. But having cosmology fractured into so many competing theories, it becomes the scientist’s burden to test the competing claims of each theory in order to get at the underlying truth, should it exist.”

    Of course, this is nonsense.

    As I have already explained, there are of course two possible explanations for dissent amongst adherents of any sort (including atheists). Possibly one or more ideas are wrong, or humans have an inherent tendency to create factions based on their own selfish interests. The latter understanding has been repeatedly demonstrated. Also, it is rarely the case that smaller denominations disagree on major claims of Christianity – Catholics, Protestants, and the Orthodox churches agree the fundamental creeds. They differ on a number of peripheral claims and often on practice, but you stated earlier differences are a sign of intellectual vigor – which would be equally true of Christianity. As C.S. Lewis explained, there is a ‘mere’ Christianity or a basic set of core beliefs all Christians share. So denominations don’t deny these basic truths at all.

    Atheism doesn’t do this. Atheism simply dismisses theism, and the only claim it makes is that theism is wrong–for reasons a, b, and c. But atheists are often times strict realists or skeptics also, so they are often compelled, not because of their atheism, but due to their skepticism, to dismiss a religious ideology that is in conflict with a competing ideology where neither ideology can be proved right or wrong–meaning the only thing certain is that neither can get over the hurdler of passing the test of scrutiny. And in human experience, things that don’t hold up under scrutiny are usually wrong–hence the provisional assumption they are all wrong.

    I now atheism likes to depict itself as a mere negation, but no atheist who calls himself an atheist ever merely lacks a belief in the existence of God or gods. This is particularly true of the movement I am discussing, New Atheism and its descendants who claim there is much evidence to support their view of the world, and movements and rallies and conferences and publications can be derived from these views. A set of beliefs bind atheists together and drive them apart – they don’t merely ‘not believe’. The core of their belief is materialism/naturalism – and the simple fact is if materialism/naturalism isn’t true, then atheism isn’t a valid premise.
    And materialism and naturalism certainly aren’t true.

  9. Tristan Vick says:

    Technically, science and religion are different things.

    Which is why your swapping out a worldview for a very specific scientific field of study is a false dichotomy.

    A worldview consists of various cultural and socio-political perspectives. Atheism and Christianity are just competing perspectives.

    But science is a methodology. Cosmogony is a more specific methodology still.

    So using “cosmology” makes no more sense than using the term “pedagogy.”

    But this actually depicts why it is a false dichotomy.

    Worldviews aren’t necessarily about testing claims. In the first place, science wants to test the competing claims, even as science can be part of a larger worldview.

    Above, you say something similar with regard to the three monotheisms, which I called equal for the sake of the argument. You said they’re not, and rightly so. Only by testing them can we discover which one the false one is!

    I actually think we’re in agreement on this, but I don’t see what got you confused at the end, when you call, basically the same demand for scrutiny, nonsensical.

    Maybe you’re just getting hung up on the wording?

    Anyway, it’s probably not that important–I mean, clarity is always better, but without going back over everything we wrote I won’t be able to address your last comments.

    I will say my logic isn’t “horrible” as you seem to think. It’s based off the fact that metaphysical naturalism succeeds where metaphysical theism simply leaves open ended question marks. Based on this criteria, the provisional assumption becomes valid from a naturalistic point of view. Which I hold (I’m still referring to metaphysical naturalism, not naturalism proper).

    It only doesn’t make sense to you, because you’re taking the position of a theist, and outright dismissing naturalism in all of its forms. But that was part of the reason why I brought it up. I don’t think you can dismiss naturalism when theism leaves so many open ended question (I am thinking of assumptions). But if there is not guarantee that a particular metaphysical assumption will be verified, ever, then we can professionally assume otherwise. Even dismiss it on a provisional basis. Meaning, if evidence should verify any metaphysical assumption, we are free to change our minds.

    That’s not bad logic. That’s just logic taken to its natural conclusion.

    What I am more curious about, which you hinted at above, is when you were a “hardened skeptic” and a “naturalist” would you say that you had a “solid” or a “soft” worldview in place before your conversion to Christianity?

    What I mean by this is, did you hold firm beliefs about the world, or were you still forming your beliefs about the world when you began testing them?

    One of the differences I see between those who go from skepticism to religious belief, and those like me which go from religious belief to skepticism, is that many of us who turn toward skepticism later in life had already established firm beliefs–which we then attempted to hold up to scrutiny.

    Many of those who went the other direction, I have found, often had no firm set of beliefs in place. Many of them were still soul searching, so to speak, and looking for the worldview that worked best for them. Most of these people, and I know many of them, called themselves “skeptics” or “naturalists” for the very reason that the beliefs they held consisted of the secular beliefs they got from society, or else, were simply left with because they lacked the appropriate context to have acquired religious beliefs, etc.

    Now I’m not claiming it’s always this way, but it seems there is a general rule in the direction of skepticism to belief and belief to skepticism, depending on the solidity of the prior to held sets of beliefs.

    I’m just wondering, because you mention, from time to time, that you were a skeptic and a naturalist.

  10. Tristan Vick says:

    Gawd, I hate auto-correct. Just mentally replace the stranger errors in your head.

    Such as when auto correct replaces “provisionally” for “professionally” for some stupid reason.

  11. […] an interesting article titled Atheists Eat Their Own, Christian writer Jack Hudson discusses the so-called Atheism+, sexual harassment and the […]

  12. Timothy S. says:

    I have noticed the pure lack of respect for fellow atheists and agnostics as well, particularly at PZMyers. There have been numerous posters who are flat our censored, and banned when they voice concerns in how they may be represented to the public.
    The organizations have taken it upon themselves to represent Atheists and Agnostics. Especially where the law is involved.

    I am finding there are many Atheists whom find it to their benefit to branch off into old atheism where secular humanists standards where respectful to the non-secular cause.

    Some of us do study theology along side science and engage the public for the pure purpose of spreading non-secular understanding. Some of us do see the importance of religion in society and our goal is not to destroy religion but to broaden acceptance of everyone’s beliefs. The tactic the new atheists have brought to the public is not by any means moving non-secularism forward on a positive note. And believe me many are becoming aware of this.

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