Saturday, 3 January 2015

Atheist Twaddle Versus the Real Deal

Disgusting Fellow Travellers

It's hard being an atheist these days.  There are a lot of dishonest folk amongst our ranks.  There are also a lot of sentimental "do gooders" attempting to make themselves feel good by blathering on about morals and ethical standards.  There are also masses of atheists who have Christian hangovers.  Consequently, when one heard of the "cloud" project to draft the Atheist Ten Commandments, one's reactions ranged from cringing with embarrassment to frustration at the obtuse confusion which presently reigns within our atheist ranks. 

Consequently, one feels obliged to write a brief commentary on the "Atheist Ten Commandments".

Firstly, one needs to divorce oneself from the ostentatious chutzpah contained in the title "Ten Commandments".  This is nothing more than a cheap attempt to ape the Christian's God.  We atheists don't believe in commandments of any sort which purport to define morals, or ethics, or right or wrong.  There are no commandments because there is no Commander.  There is no sin.  There is no moral evil--, at least not in any absolute sense.  Rather basic one would have thought, but these days foolishness appears to be bound up in the heart of the camp-following pop-atheist.  Far better, and exponentially more credible, would have been a title such as Atheist Ten Hypotheses--and even that gets mighty close to pretension.

1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.

This is fine as far as it goes.
  But open-mindedness means that to be a serious card, carrying atheist, one has faced the somewhat unfortunate verity that one can never be certain about anything.  Face up to it.  Harden up.  Just as there is no absolute ethic, there is also no absolute epistemic certainty about anything.  To presume or posture otherwise is puerile.

Moreover, the true atheist will have a good handle on what constitutes "new evidence".  Unfortunately, what constitutes "new evidence" for oneself may not at all carry water for an atheist pretender.  To take a modern example: there is an outfit running around in Syria that is enslaving, raping, beheading, and torturing people as it endeavours to re-establish a Caliphate.  "New" evidence says they exist and the reports of their actions are neither propaganda nor exaggerations.  It seems we ought to be open-minded and willing to alter our present beliefs now that we are confronted with this evidence.  We have always thought that rape was wrong, but this is in service of a greater good.  Maybe our atheist nose wrinkling at rape has been a Christian hangover, now that there is evidence of a society being built upon systematic rape and subjugation of women. Who are we atheists to say that such a society is wrong.

Let's assume that one studies this evidence coming out of the Levant, and concludes that structuring society in the hierarchical ordering pattern applied by ISIS has certain merits that mean it ought to be seriously considered.  Let's imagine, further, that one changes one's stand to endorse rape in certain circumstances and for certain end-goal reasons.  To be genuinely open-minded in the face of this new evidence coming out of Syria is to be a true atheist.  But, dollars-to-donuts, most fellow-travelling atheists would not just baulk at such an adjustment or development in beliefs in the light of new evidence, they would take great offence.  Not serious atheists, you see. 

2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.

This working precept (at least the first part) gets close to the heart of the matter.   Truth is a bourgeois concept--a just so story we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel comfortable.  The hardcore atheist knows that there is no such thing as truth--neither cosmologically, morally, ethically--whatever.  At best there are only "likelihoods" which may be true, but possibly false.  The real object is power and how to get it. It's better to get power, before the already powerful get us.

But the latter part of this precept--not believing what you wish to be true--is just nonsense.  Since truth is a relative and nebulous concept, what is wrong with wishing something were true and believing it to be so.  After all, what one hopes and believes to be true often works out to be such (at least in some relevant, personal sense).  To deny this is flat out dishonest and self-deceiving.  After all, atheism is a philosophical position which has certain attractions.  Most of us--in fact one would be tempted to say, all atheists-- proceed on the basis that we wish atheism to be true and therefore believe it.  We can never know whether it is true or not.  Let's face it, the proofs for atheism are somewhat ephemeral, shall we say.  So, let's grasp the nettle and stop being silly little children.  We wish atheism were true.  We want it to be true. And we consequently believe it to be true.   There's nothing wrong with that in the slightest.  It's the only way to operate in a random universe.  And all us atheists believe that ultimately the universe is random.  So, "grow up" would be our  challenge to the vast horde of fair-weather atheists out there.
3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.

What on earth is the "natural world", pray tell?  How does it contrast with the "unnatural world"?  

4. Every person has the right to control of their body.

Oh, puleeeezzze.  Stop spouting such sentimental hogwash.  Some of the most important and significant atheists (in terms of their power to command and control) walked this terrestrial ball in the previous century.  Their names are well known to us all: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro--they were all hard-core, professing serious atheists.   They are atheist heroes and exemplars.  The achieved power.  Their atheism led to their killing millions upon millions of other human beings.  Not one of us can claim they were acting inappropriately or inconsistently with atheism. 

There is simply no way (ethically, epistemologically) an atheist can assert "every person has the right to control of their body".  This is nothing more than sentimental middle-class claptrap.  It has nothing to do with atheism.  

5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.

Except that "full" and "meaningful" are relative terms.  They are also rather vacuous and subjective.  As an atheist, one is entitled to believe that the atheists, Stalin and Molotov lived full and meaningful lives.   There is every reason, from an atheist's perspective, to insist that their lives were also good.  As long as these verities are understood and accepted, the fifth principle can stand as read.  But it does not tell us much either.  

Serious atheists realise that terms like "good", or phrases such as a "full and meaningful life" have no ultimate or absolute reference point of any kind.  So they are little more than sentiments without content.  How we detest infantile, sentimental atheism! It is really just Christianity in drag.

6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.

One yawns at this point, and asks, "Whatever for"?  Why should an atheist be mindful of the consequences of one's actions?  Once again this is a sentimental harking back to some sort of absolute moral standard which we atheists know does not exist.  Or, if it were to exist, atheism would be a lie.  So at this point we become somewhat embarrassed to be associated with such pseudo-religious claptrap. 

Why should the atheist be responsible for his own actions?  To whom would he be responsible?  There is no cosmic ruler or god to whom one must account. Such sentiments betray atheism.  They reflect not just wishful thinking, but hangovers from the Christian religion and the Christian god.  When will the camp-following atheists grow up and "get a life"?  At this point one feels afflicted by the syndrome of some very stupid, embarrassing advocates.  

7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.

The atheist has no claim to pass judgement upon the perspectives of other people.  Therefore, the way one wants to be treated has no bearing upon the way others may want to be treated.  For example, there is such a thing as a servile or slavish mind.  One may demand a certain kind of behaviour for oneself, but a servile mind may well be pained by such treatment.

Then again, take those ignorant, superstitious Christians.  They deserve to be hectored, pilloried, mocked, and abused all over the place, wherever they are found.  What they deserve, they should get.  We have thought about their perspective, and conclude they are creatures whom evolution has passed by.   If folk cling to such ignorant superstitious prejudices "treating others as you would want them to treat you" is pious nonsense.

And what about the old atheist utilitarian ethic: the greatest good for the greatest number?.  This has long been advocated by serious atheists, who then incidentally suppose that they can perform the requisite calculus to work out what would be the greatest "good" for the "greatest number".  But this useful relativist perspective has very little to say about how one should treat others.  After all, the utilitarian perspective justifies making examples out of some, for the good of all.  An innocent party whipped to an inch if his or her life to make a public example, and so deter others from crime, would be a condign atheist outcome.  There would be nothing wrong with it.  No objections, at least, from true atheists.

8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.

Once again, to whom are we responsible?  Atheists don't believe in higher powers.  Let's be brutally honest: they believe fundamentally in might making right.  That's the way the natural world works.  The strong have a right to take advantage of the weak, precisely because they are strong, and the weak are weak.  Surely this is what evolutionism tells us is the neutral position of the cosmos.   That is why Lenin and company--atheists all--did what they did, and rightly so.

Why on earth a consistent atheist should be responsible for "future generations" escapes us.  Where on earth did the sky hook come from to hang that sort of piffle from?  Atheism has no intrinsic principle calling for responsibility towards others, let alone future generations.  This sort of sentimental rubbish is a carry over from Christianity and the sooner it is stripped away from robust, consistent atheism the better for all.  At the very least, it will expose the closet Christians amongst atheist ranks. 

9. There is no one right way to live.

Great.  So there are plenty of "right ways" to live.  Whilst a consistent and faithful atheist might have phrased the matter more carefully and accurately by observing something like, "there are a multitude of ways to live", one thinks one understands what is being got at.  

But, shiver me timbers, mateys,  If Principle 9 is to be taken seriously, then it utterly contradicts and obviates the other nine principles.  If this principle is true--and it gets very close to the heart of the atheist position--the other nine principles are rubbish. 
10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.

The bottom line is this: for the consistent atheist, the world would be a whole lot better place than it now is, if all the so-called atheists would start living consistently with atheism.  The real enemy to our making progress is our so-called friends and fellow-travellers who are more like wannabe Christians than try-hard atheists.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent. Thanks for taking the time to show how feeble we sound when we try to be righteous without righteousness.