The other day I followed a thread from Splendid Elles to a post by Dawkinswatch asking “Why are you an Atheist?”
You can visit that blog to see what happened, but apparently Dawkinswatch is under the impression that we are all simply misguided unbelievers in the supernatural. Elles did a splendid job of blowing his “argument” out of the water.
At first, my inclination was to leave this one alone, as it would be easy to write Dawkinswatch off as a merely a raving loony. But then I thought about my tagline, and I realised that there are many, many people on this planet who think likewise, and quackery needs to be addressed. In that light, Dawkinswatch, I call you out.
To begin, let me correct the statement that “you are materialist rather than true atheist.” Materialism is the philosophy that, if I may be overly brief, only matter can be proven to exist. Nontheism is an absence of belief in any sort of deity. Atheism is the rejection of belief in any sort of deity, and thus a rejection of the tenets of religion, which have belief in a deity as a central premise. Materialism implies nontheism, but materialism and atheism are not mutually exclusive. The statement seems to imply that a “true” atheist is someone who is a disbeliever on non-material grounds. What this means (a spiritual atheist?) I am not quite sure.
For the record, I personally lean more towards naturalism, which takes the slightly broader view that all phenomena can be explained through natural causes, or laws of nature. There is more than matter in the universe – energy and forces also exist. Also, matter is sometimes more than the sum of its parts, which is termed emergence. What I don’t believe is that a supreme deity exists because it says so in a book.
From his posts I think it is clear that Dawkinswatch does not actually understand atheism, that it is such a foreign notion to him that he cannot comprehend it. I honestly think he believes atheists are like naughty children – that they know the rules, but intentionally disobey them. What is my evidence for this assertion? Just look at the list of reasons he puts forth for becoming an atheist:
- You read the works of Voltaire and became a convert?
- You are a secret Luciferian posing as an Atheist.
- You are a Communist?
- You went to church when you were younger but never
- experienced God?
- You want to make yourself God and do not like competition?
- You are a postmodernist and you believe that that there is no ultimate truth?
- You read the works of Charles Darwin and are writing manuscripts of the next “My Atheist Struggle”?
- A Catholic Priest made a pass at you and you blame God?
- You are secretly in love with Richard Dawkins and have not told your parents that you are not like other men?
- You are not convinced evil exists.
- You believe the ten commandments are harmful to the well being of human kind.
- You are following a trend?
In fact, from this list alone, we can derive the following conclusions about Dawkinswatch:
He does not actually grasp what atheism is (2, 5, 10,12)
He does not grasp causation OR correlation (3, 4, 6, 7, 11)
He is a homophobe (8, 9)
He has not actually read any Voltaire (1). Or Darwin (7).
Let me make this perfectly clear. Atheism is not a misguided disbelief in “reality” for the purpose of acting immorally. It is the recognition that there is no actual reason for belief in a god. In the same way we grow up to realize that there is no Santa Claus, or Tooth Fairy, or Easter Bunny, many realize that the idea of a deity (or deities) is no more than a fiction.
And that, Dawkinswatch, is why we are atheist.