Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ridicule and reason

Kelly rips theistard Marty Fields a new asshole in an entertaining rant (and gives the same treatment to baldfaced liar Jacob Stein). But I have to grant Rev. Fields a point: "[T]here is nothing new about the atheist challenge to religious belief." He states incorrectly (one wonders if Fields has actually read any of the books in question) that Dawkins et al. resort to ridicule rather than reason. While the luminaries (even Hitchens) do present reasoned arguments, it is increasingly true, especially in the atheist blogosphere, that many atheists, myself included, are becoming dissatisfied with reasoned arguments and are indeed resorting to ridicule.

There is nothing new, at least not intellectually, about the atheist challenge to religion, because Hume nailed the issue in the 18th century. There's nothing new because the religious have given us nothing new since Hume or indeed since Aquinas. (We do, however, have to repeat the "tired old arguments" again and again until they stick.) The best the theists have done since Hume is simply redefine "God" to be entirely meaningless. And I'm entitled to have no belief at all about meaningless propositions.

We atheists ridicule religion because it is not just mistaken, it is actually ridiculous. Completely ridiculous, absurd, laughable and stupid... when it is not horribly evil and sadistic. There's nothing new left to be argued, but, proving themselves completely irrational, indeed utterly impervious to reason, the religious have earned our mockery, derision, and ridicule.


  1. 'Theistard'

    Glad to see that my favorite word did not die with my blog. :-)

  2. Oh my stars and garters, Jacob Stein is The. Worst. Philosopher. EVAR. I have so much respect for the Jewish intellectual tradition and he singlehandedly tries to make it all go away! I take it all back: Rev. Norton is way smarter.

  3. The word lives while this blog lives!

  4. I disagree somewhat. Because even though religion is, in total, ridiculous and worthy of mockery, individual theists may or may not have been exposed to the arguments.

    However, the longer I'm an atheist, the more difficult it is to be respectful of the religious, even in supposedly civil debate forums. Particularly those who seem wilfully ignorant. I just want to smack them upside the head. Because you know they are just not engaging their brains when they argue their position. They're arguing their emotional position. And that dishonesty really fries me.

    Sometimes I go to Yahoo Answers just to kick the Xians. (shameful)


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