I’m an atheist, that means I’m smart.

I’ve said this on Twitter many times and I thought I would write a post about why I say it. The common theme of Movement Atheism is:

Atheists infinitely rational ubermenches, theists stupid redneck hillbillies. Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennit are infallible and if you disagree with them, even in topics unrelated to the topic of existence of Gods, you must be a theist and thus stupid. 


While even in my hardcore Movement Atheism days I would have never agreed to this, but that sort of superiority complex did consume me briefly but I did snap out of it fairly quickly and since then Atheists have been consuming much more of my patience than the hardcore evangelist Christian crowd.

Let me make my position clear because if I don’t I will inevitably get a flood of comments accusing me of being a theist. Even still, I might be accused of being a stealth theist. So for the record:

I do think disregarding religion was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I did to it though rational means. However, just because my conversion to atheism was rational, doesn’t make everyone else’s conversion was done rationally nor does it mean that me or other are rational about other things. The only thing being an atheists is or should ever mean is that you deny the existence of a deity. You made one decision I agree was right on one subject, and nothing else.

With that said I will go over a few reason why I’ve always said this, then go on to the reason I wrote this entry. The final straw on the camel. Some of these are minor disagreements and some of these are pretty major.

Christopher Hitchens. 

My favorite of the 4 horsemen for sure, however he was an avowed Marxist and supporter of the Iraq War. These are minor disagreements compared to others, but it does illustrate that he was not infallible. 

Sam Harris. 

Seriously, screw this guy. While I thought his book End of Faith was good, and he’s a great debator and public speaker on the question of the existence of God, he does advocate racial profiling of Arabs at airports and thinks that the self-incrimination clause of the 5th Amendment should be overturned because it’s a quaint relic from religion and that in the future we should use neurological lie detectors.

BionicDance

A YouTuber who’s known for making the same 5 videos over and over and over and over again. They are poorly argued, repetitive, poorly made, and just serves as a front for her to sell useless crap on Zazzle and to get people to buy her stuff on her Amazon Wish List. Her line is “Don’t just run on automatic; think!” and it seems like all of her videos are running on automatic. They say the same things, argue the same lame points over and over and over and over and over…

Rebecca Watson and P.Z. Myers 

If anyone deserves my full disdain, it’s Watson and Myers. While Watson is perfectly fine objectifying herself in sexy pictures in her Skepchick calendar she’s not OK with you asking her for coffee in an elevator. If you tell her that it’s trivial protest like Dawkins did, then she will announce how evil you are and write you off a “rich old heterosexual white guy.” P.Z. Myers has gone to ridiculous lengths to white knight for her, including banning Thunderf00t from FreeThoughtBlogs for daring to question Elevtorgate and their proposals for having ‘anti-sexist’ rules for further conferences.  They’re also now pimping this A+ Atheism snake oil I will talk about later in this post.

Cult of Dusty

A YouTuber who make obnoxiously shouting videos about how religion is the source of all evil and has even tried to make the point that the world would be a near utopia if religion were abolished.

Pat Condell

Pat Condell broke into the atheist community like a bolt of lightning with his Atheist Challenge video he did for the Rational Response Squad. Then his other videos came out where he started expressing Islamaphobia, citing World Net Daily, Jordan Maxwell and Zeitgeists’ Christ Myth theory giving misleading and often downright bogus information, and promoting the infamous “Jihad Prevention Act” which would have blocked people immigrating to this country and removed citizenship from Americans who ever expressed support for Sharia Law.This guy goes without saying, he’s one of the rare people who was cast out of Movement Atheism for being to fringe. But he is an exception, not the rule. 

You’re Either A Plus Good or Thought Criminal. 

Now this was the final straw for me. Trying to institute a “new wave” of Atheism, (See this horrible  Manifesto) because the second wave was just a bunch of rich old white guys according to Rebecca Watson. This new wave of Atheism is Atheism Plus or ‘A+.’ Apparently this all stemmed from a conversation on one of the blogs at FreeThoughtBlogs, and more importatly one particular comment from Jen McCreight.

Atheists plus we care about social justice,

Atheists plus we support women’s rights,

Atheists plus we protest racism,

Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,

Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

 Richard Carrier breaks it down like this:

A. Atheism and skepticism should embrace diversity (and not just be a bunch of white guys reading a bunch of white guys). In fact, we should be really keen on expanding our experience and horizons in that regard, aiming to learn as much as possible, and provide resources to help all our comrades in arms.

 While I agree, this kind of goes against the protest against racism bit. If you’re going to fight racism, you can stop using “white guys” as a negativism. You should embrace it and hope to expand across ethnic lines. Sure being non-diverse of a group isn’t always great, but it’s not bad to be any ethnicity, white included.

B. Atheist and skeptic communities should encourage everyone to apply skeptical analysis not just to religion, pseudoscience, and woo, but to social, moral, and political policies, theories and activists.

 No. The skeptical and atheist communities should keep their views open to people of all views except that of religion, pseudoscience, and woo. If you want to be a staunch right wing conservative, Marxist, or a moderate but still oppose religion and homeopathy you should be included. If you don’t buy the feminist’s theory or thing Obama is not be best of presidents, you should be free to disagree and still be allowed to discuss the unrelated topic of atheism and skepticism. This is just shrinking the tent, and it’s not to anyone’s benefit.

C. Considering the history of religion and how it has even warped secular life and thought in countries around the world, atheists and skeptics should spend as much time and energy deconstructing illogical and/or inhumane secular policies and claims as they do actively fighting religiously-based interference. We have to be as critical of ourselves and each other as we would expect anyone to be of religion, so we can be sure we don’t make the same mistakes. We must police the rot within, if we are to stand strong against our foes without.

This I can agree with the message that underlies this, but it makes it more malleable and extend it to non-religious issues. Yes, things like female (and male to a lesser extent) genital mutilation is not the greatest bi-products of religion and should be opposed by the skeptical community on the science grounds, and by the atheist community on religious grounds. Opposing the secular stance against, say, the death penalty should not be an official stance of the community if the goal is to broaden the base.

D. In the field of education, atheists and skeptics should help promote courses and curricula that include logic and abstract thought rather than focusing all efforts on science. We need to train kids with a universal toolkit of skeptical and critical thinking about all issues in their lives, not just the scientific, but the social, political, and ideological as well. And we need to take seriously the effort to push for that and make it happen at the fundamental and national level.

Ever hear the story of the family who’s great lovable dog was hit by a car, so they cooked and ate him? That’s how it was reading this. It was a good read and then they just ruined it. Yes, the skeptic, and to an extent atheist groups should promote skeptic and rational thinking in school. But political and ideological opinions? No. People should use reasoning and logic to deduce what political ideology is best, not given on a silver platter. That’s not teaching logic, that’s an ideological agenda for manipulating the youth to your brand of politics.  But see, it’s bad when right-wing conservatives or evangelical Christians do it, but OK if progressive atheists do it.

So now on the the planks of the new Atheist Plus Manifesto.

1. We believe in being reasonable.

This is that all atheists should be rational and follow lines of logic and evidence. If someone isn’t doing this, then call them out. No complaints here.

2. We believe in being compassionate. 

Again, this is the family’s dog story all over again. It starts off by saying that we should have empathy and care for people, we shouldn’t be harsh or insulting unless it’s justified. Then it leaps right into comparing people who “attack” feminism in the same ballpark as racism and sexism.  Whether you agree with them or not, people who oppose feminism aren’t advocating things on the same level as sexism or racism. Then it tries to equate the plight of a woman who was apparently doxed and threatened to the guy who asked Watson for some coffee. Mind if I call you, Dick? I thought you believed in being reasonable, Dick.

 3. We believe in personal integrity

Nothing out of the ordinary here. Be honest, don’t be a hypocrite…etc. Now with that said, no, you don’t have personal integrity, Dick. Go though the comment section here and just see why I say this. People have legitimate concerns and issues with the post and he just attacks and belittles them and offers no acknowledgement to their arguments. Makes irrational comparisons to the Nazis and the KKK. Even just saying “So, one vote for douchery. Got it.” to someone who said simply “I’ll stick to the original atheism, thank you.” Someone did point out how much of a hypocrite you were and now you had to eat your shoe and retract a lot of those comments, however it does illustrate a “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality

Now here’s the bad part. If you disagree with he narrative of FreeThoughtBlogs, (which is pro-feminism, left wing populism, and for indoctrinating children with these values) then you’re a Goldstien. A an ungood thought criminal. As they put it “Atheist Minus” or “A-” minus. And you are not one of “us” but one of “them.”

Let me make this clear; Atheism is not political, it’s a-political. You can make a group of political groups what cater to atheism. Like even the term “Progressive Atheist” which you use in the blog would be perfectly fine. Have a group that appeals and spreads the ideas of progressive politics and atheism.  Just like there can be “The Skeptical Libertarian” which aim isn’t to make the skeptical movement a streamlined libertarian group, but to promote both skepticism and libertarianism. Or like “Log Cabin Republicans” which is to promote conservatism and gay rights, not to make all conservatives gay rights activists. Don’t try and mold a non-belief into a series of beliefs. Atheism is a lack of beliefs; nothing more.

(For a further and more in depth dicection of this A+ blog post and the comments Richard makes, see the video below.)

Stupid Atheists and Smart Christians Exist, Believe It or Not! 

There’s a long history of great thinkers coming from judeo-christian beliefs. Not jsut the usual dead scientists but people like Kenneth Miller, a catholic biologist who argued for evolution in the Dover Trial. Francis Collins from the Human Genome Project who is an avowed Evangelical Christian. And the neurosurgeon Ben Carson just to name a few. I don’t think anyone worth responding to will deny that that there are brilliant Christians who make contributions to the skeptic community. 
There are stupid atheists. I mean just terribly irrational. There are atheist conspiracy theorists, 9/11 Truthers, New Agers, UFO enthusiasts, utopian ideologues, MLM cultists, and the like. The Raelians is an atheist group and tries to sell itself to atheists. Brett Keene the lying, wife beating, e-begging, welfare king is an avowed atheist. And while I disagree with these women and don’t think they’re idiots, many leftists do. S.E. Cupp and Ayn Rand are an atheists and atheism is included in Rand’s Objectivist philosophy.  There’s a host of unpalatable, idiotic or downright morally repugnant people who self apply the atheist label and should never be used as an identifier of a good or rational person because people can reject god for irrational reasons.

In conclusion. 

So in short, don’t think for a second that just because you rejected God, you’re automatically correct about everything else because you’re a rational person. Don’t think that just because someone hasn’t made that leap that they are stupid or at least dumber than you. Just because you’re an atheist AND of a flavor of political thought that your flavor of political thought is the best for all.  Don’t make stupid and absurd claims that a world without religion is a utopia or even “better.” People have rational beliefs and irrational sacred cows where they believe in a god or not.

If your goal is to push for greater acceptance of atheism in the mainstream, great. I’m with you, but Movement Atheism has long left that goal and is now on to more extremist positions. While I still loathe the term “militant atheist” (like we fly planes into buildings or bomb abortion clinics) I can understand why that label gets bandied about. You’re rational in your questioning of God, but irrational in your approach to win hearts and minds. 

13 thoughts on “I’m an atheist, that means I’m smart.

  • Besides Elevatorgate, PZ Myers has other problems. If you want to see how little of a skeptic PZ Myers is (even when it comes to science) All you have to do is Google any of his rants against anyone who doesn’t buy into the religion of global warming.

    Anyone who dares question the models and isn’t a believer is labeled a “denier” and then it becomes a contest to see how many labels he and his cult of followers can attach to them: right wing, bible believing, nut job, creationist, in the employ of big oil, …..

    IPCC climate models are to climate science what
    Keynesian stimulus models are to economics. They both use “models” that rely on multipliers. When your multipliers don’t work your models fail. Garbage in garbage out.

  • More labels? Get over yourselves! It’s quite simple really; there are no gods, and to believe there are is idiocy! That is not arrogant or superior; it’s plain truth!

  • I believe Atheists share more qualities then just disbelief. Most atheists tend to be logical, liberal, intellectual, ect, and that we need to create values in order to unite. The truth is that every dogma that has ever existed, even the Bible, is based on human reason. Therefore, its fair game for Atheists to make some too. Freethinkers can make and follow rules, we just use reason to make them. So I don’t understand your anger.
    I also think Militant Atheism is reasonable.
    Although I believe atheism should win through the highroad, like any good social movement, (MLK, Milk). Cult of Dusty is my guilty pleasure. At his core, he believes in an Age of Reason, and that Christianity is close-minded and bigoted (40% is). While at the same time, I also love The Atheist Voice too. His approach is good too, but all he’s good at is clearing the stigma, but not so at actually getting deconverts. He’s too nice.
    Overall, here is my defense of militant Atheism here in the US.
    Here, in the USA, Church is a business, and we have God in ours pledge, forced prayer (Moment of Silence, although it is respectful in concept), and dollar bill. We also have no representation in Congress. And 40% don’t believe natural selection AT ALL. In other words, Christianity in the USA is aggressive. End of story. We don’t have a lazy, open minded, state church like in the Common Wealths.
    What I’m saying is that annoying Spaghetti monster atheists are needed, we need to fight.
    Most people here think or treat athiests/Nones like 2% of the country.
    What I’m saying is that militant atheism is needed to break the ice. As obnoxious as they maybe, they still generate doubt in the religious community, and show closet nonbelievers that they can speak out if they chose to.
    Religion is silly, and they make it known, so I don’t have to. And they make nice atheists like us look reasonable by comparison, whereas, if there was none, I would have never felt comfortable enough to come out with my beliefs at all. I would have felt alone and thought resistance pointless.

    Overall, Non-belief in the US is more an urban-garage-sound, and if those Militant Atheists want to actually DO something about religion, well then I’m going to support them.
    Set a thief- to catch of thief.

    Overall, I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum from you, but I hope my arguments are understandable at least.

  • Overall, I disagree with you on every point.

    1.I like Sam Harris.

    2. Freethinkers can make rules, and a system of beliefs if we want to, as long as those believes are reasonable, (constitution).

    3. I consider myself a “nice” atheist, but even I know why Militant Atheists are needed. They’re the ice breakers. Sure the really religious get mad at them and they end up hating us more because of them, but believe it or not, they actually reach out to closet nonbelievers who think there alone. Atheism is quiet. There is no way to distinguish an atheist from anybody else as we have no customs or sayings. Not only to obnoxious atheists speak up about thiers beliefs; They also make it known that you can stand up for your beliefs, even obnoxiously, and still get out in one piece.
    That your not alone.

    I hate to break this to you, but 50% of the nation still hates gays, and 40% still believe Genesis, so in our generation. We’re not out of the woods yet! I don’t think we should be putting our swords down just yet.

    I believe both militant and nice atheists need to work together, and respect each others methods.
    Militants spread the word.
    Nice guys get rid of the “selfish, immoral, hopelessness’ stigma.
    Militants make us look mean, but I have yet to have deconverted anyone with just ‘polite’ conversation. You have to step on some toes to get the point across. Religion is silly. Militants make it known.

  • @Jack Dunn.

    Beleve all you want; atheist only means you are without belief in God. Atheists are not more logical or intellectual, just intellectual and logical people tend to be atheist. There’s plenty of moronic, idiot atheists who say stupid things like you.

    There is no “forced prayer” in the US and the words God in the pledge and on money is such a stupid gripe. Oh the oppression of be spending money and having to see the word God. I think it’s a bigger problem that we have a pledge of allegiance than the word God in it.

    There was an atheist in congress, Pete Stark (D-CA)from 1975-2013 and literally nothing magic came from it. I’d be better off voting for a born-again politician than an atheist one because what I think his policy positions would be. If you’re the kind of asshole who votes for a politician because of his religious views then you’re absolutely no better than the idiots who voted against Obama on the sole basis that they thought he was a Muslim or that the Republican contender was a “good Christian.” No better.

    Militant atheist did it’s job. It got atheists out of the closet and it’s not a pejorative label anymore. It served it’s purpose and now it’s absolutely pointless. Not just pointless but counter-productive.

    Your disagreements:

    1. You like a racist shit bag who has no respect for the 5th Amendment.

    2. Freethinkers aren’t the same as “atheists,” The only thing you and I have in common that I know of, is we just both are probably right one one issue; There’s no god. I’m not interested in being a cringeworthy SJW nor MRA. Neither has anything to do with not believing in a god. If you want to put that label on a “freethinker” then do it, I just won’t use that term.

    3. Like I said, the ice has been broken, it’s why Rational Response Squad is defunct. Good job, guys. You can go home now.

    (4) And if you get rid of religion they’re not going to be magical scientifically accurate people who are no longer bigots. They will focus on other unscientific things and find other rationelle for their bigotry. Atheists tend to like anti-scientific nonsense like astrology, anti-GMO, anti-nuclear, Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways… etc. Atheist lead governments haven’t been any less homophobic than religious ones.

    I know in your mind that getting rid of religion will solve all the world’s ills but it won’t People will still be stupid. You can’t expect anyone to stop being a biggoted science illiterate by attacking religion, you attack bigotry and scientific illiteracy instead.

    I’m not a “nice atheist” I’m a realist. I don’t believe turning everyone into a non-believer is a panacea or a worthwhile effort. Bigots gon’ bigot and idiots gon’ idiot. You’re proof of that.

  • “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no god.'”
    [Psalms 14:1]

    And I don’t mean that atheists are fools, they just act that way.

    There’s no such thing as magic. There’s only miracles. There’s a huge difference.

    God and Jesus don’t have magic wands, potions, spell books, or any other B.S. that atheists think that God and Jesus have, because God and Jesus only make miracles.

    The only “magic” that I’ve heard about is science. Only that’s not magical (because magic doesn’t exist), that’s natural. There’s a huge difference.

    I don’t believe that Adam and Eve and every other Bible story where God punishes, makes things that some of them are actually man-made (I.E., languages, books, etc.) are true stories. They’re just fables with no historical basis at all. Except the story about a Palestinian king fleeing his city got the date he fled and the time he died wrong. It was 20 years off his actual death date.

    And the Bible isn’t a “book,” it’s a collection of books, each ones with stories in them. And the Bible is mostly true, since if it were all true, God would be a hypocrite.

    And I’m not a creationist, I’m a Catholic evolutionist and I, obviously, also believe in the Big “Bang” – which was actually the universe expanding, since there’s no sound in space.

    God can’t be created or destroyed, according to the Bible, as much as energy can’t be created or destroyed, according to the first law of thermodynamics. So, technically, that makes God the ultimate source of energy that our common ancestor’s ancestors came from.

    Call me a hypocrite if you will, but, since Jesus taught us (we’re all God’s Children, anyway) to love our enemies (according to Matthew 5:43-44), I love my enemies, too; even though I hardly get along with them.

    And I also bless and pray for myself, as much as I do that to my enemies.

    Don’t believe me? Well, God bless you.

  • You’re not rational or a realist, you’re acting foolish.

    “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no god.'”
    [Psalms 14:1]

    I don’t mean that atheists are fools, they, again, just like you, act that way.

    There’s no such thing as magic. There’s only miracles.
    Jesus doesn’t have any wands, spell books, potions, or any other nonsense that atheists think He has. He can (as much as God can) make miracles.
    Miracles are natural, not magical. There’s a difference.

    God can’t be created or destroyed, according to the Bible (and the Bible is mostly true, since Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, Noah’s Ark, Sodom, David & Goliath, and every other story where God punishes are just fables), as much as energy can’t be created or destroyed, according to the first law of thermodynamics. Therefore, God is energy.

    And, obviously, I’m not a creationist. I’m an evolutionist and a Catholic.

    “But I say unto you, love your enemies, pray for those who judge you, and bless those who curse you.”
    [Matthew 5:43-44]

    I’m not a bigot, either, but I can act that way, even though I love my enemies. I even bless and pray for myself.

    Last of all, Jim (or whatever your real first name is), if you have Jesus in your username, then why are you an atheist? Answer me that, and only say the answer in your response, nothing else.

    Period.

  • (Sorry, I posted twice, I thought it didn’t go through.)

    I look at everything a philosopher has to say before making overall judgements about them. Harris has his moments but overall he has done wonders for New Atheism.

    And yes, I know about the non-religious atheists in Congress.
    And yes, I watch Hement and thunderfoot too. (I just recently watch the solar roadways video.) And I know about the long homophobia in China. Homophobia is natural too.

    “I know in your mind that getting rid of religion will solve all the world’s ills”

    Stop making assumptions about me, and putting words in my mouth.

    Understand that I grew up in the Bible belt. You know- THAT 40% of America. The straight up creationists. Have you ever heard a Biology class room groan and jeer when Natural Selection page comes up on a power point?

    There are prayers at football games, my graduation, pretty much anything. Coming out as an Atheist can actually get you kicked out of the Boys Scouts. Its on our money and in our pledge. The Christians around here literally think Atheists are all evil. If I refuse to pray with them, then I’m the rude asshole.
    I recognize all your sentiments and see that you want a more mature atheism. But where I live you can’t even make an Athiest club. They’re going to get pissy at you either way.
    My point is that around here, the ice is FAR from broken. It might be cracked, but not broken. I don’t know where you live, maybe you live down here too, but here in small town Texas, we need more militant atheists. And thats MY reality. So I’m a realist too.

    I hope I’ve given you a little more understanding on my perspective.

  • Oh, and thanks for calling me a bigot, moron, and an idiot.

    I think Militant Atheism is still needed, and you don’t. I offered you a formal opposing opinion and never resorted to name calling or sarcasm. The only one acting like a ‘spaghetti monster’ atheist here is you. The funny part is that you’ve made me rethink my position towards them.
    I hope you do well with your blog and act a little more mature towards opposition in the future.

  • @Dunn

    1.
    >”I know in your mind that getting rid of religion will solve all the world’s ills”

    >Stop making assumptions about me, and putting words in my mouth.

    That was what you were going for. You claimed that atheists are more logical, liberal, and rational. It’s a correlation causation fallacy. Your implication was clear.

    2. I grew up in California and there was still prayer at football games and graduations, groans about evolution in the classroom. You know what the more secular kids in the class and I did about it? Grin and bear it. I have more of a problem with people who participate in March Against Monsanto and anti-vaccination ralliess because those are far more harmful as is than worst case scenarios of what you presented. How many of those people are mildly secular to atheists?

    3.
    >…we need more militant atheists.

    Militant atheism is the reason why there’s so much hostility. O’Hair did more harm than good when she went on TV and insulted and degraded the religious. It’s like, GEE I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY PEOPLE HATE ME FOR BEING AN ATHEIST! ANYWAY BACK TO GOING AROUND AND CALLING ALL THESE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE CRAZY AND IDIOTS. That’s helping.

    4.
    >Oh, and thanks for calling me a bigot, moron, and an idiot.

    Because that is what you are. You prejudge people based on their religious views just like those crazy evangelical assholes who bash you. You’re totally oblivious to it, and you whole heartily accept things as fact which are demonstrably false like making people more secular will make them more open to scientific facts.

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