Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ten effortless anti-atheist debunkings

| »
FAIL: Cat with cheese slice on face
There’s something amusingly appropriate about a cat with cheese slapped onto its face

From Human Events, a conservative rag on par with the WorldNutDaily in terms of credibility, comes this silly little piece by Benjamin Wiker where we’re presented with ten tactics that the writer is sure will leave any atheist stumbling for words before his intellectual superior. As you can imagine, the only reaction triggered in atheists will be eye-rolls and quick dismissal of their interlocutor as being a clueless twerp.

And so, just because I do love to poke fun at idiots whilst tearing their nonsense apart, I give you: Ten Ways to Debunk Ten Stupid Anti-Atheist Tactics.

1. Discuss the Fermi Paradox. Atheists love aliens because they always assume that, a) brainy creatures gushing out of every galactic cranny shows that Earth is low-rent cosmic real estate, and b) the smartest aliens will be atheists. Against this giddy optimism, the famous physicist Enrico Fermi asked a quite innocent question: If Earth is a typical planet, and there are lots of planets in the universe, then why haven’t any extraterrestrial critters dropped by, or even sent us a text message (“ur nt solo, n btw ur nt vry smrt”)?

The Fermi Paradox is facile and foolish and constitutes no credible argument against the existence of extraterrestrial life. This sort of thinking is the equivalent to peering underwater in the ocean and, if you don’t immediately see any fish swimming nearby, claiming that there’s no life in the seas. The Universe is a very, very, VERY big-ass place, large enough for it to take millions, or even billions, of years for even light (which travels at around 300,000 miles per second) to make any comparatively significant distance from one area to another. This understandably means that there could very well be plenty of planets that harbor extraterrestrial life dispersed throughout the cosmos, lifeforms ranging from the sophisticated to mere fungi or bacteria. The thing is, with the size of the Universe taken into account, there could be billions of them, and we’d still be too far away to ever get to see them, much less contact them. And as for alien messages: Again, there could be millions of them whizzing around, but that we can’t detect because A) they haven’t reached us yet (and perhaps won’t within the next few thousand generations), or B) they’ve traveled for so long that the signals have decayed into white noise, indistinguishable from background interference.

Also, not all atheists believe in aliens, just as not all theists believe in ghosts. But it is statistically very probable, to the point of near certainty, that there is some form of life out there, somewhere. Thing is, though, it probably isn’t aware of us just as we aren’t aware of it. Yet.

Finally, also notice how the existence (or possible, if unlikely, lack thereof) of extraterrestrial life, and atheists’ belief in it, has nothing to do with atheism. My, what a good start.

2. Join Mensa. Atheists are obsessed with their IQs and they love to flaunt their membership in an organization of people dedicated to self-congratulation. The atheist assumption is that religion is a sure sign of evolutionary atavism. A devout believer whipping out his Mensa card is entirely incomprehensible and ultimately indigestible.

First of all, only join Mensa if you wish to be mocked as a pompous blowhard, as something that being a card-carrying Mensa member seems to turn people into. Also, atheists are no more “obsessed” with IQs than anyone else. The fact that atheists statistically possess an average IQ that’s slightly higher than the rest, whilst tantalizing at a glance, is irrelevant. Raw brainpower is a poor substitute for critical thinking and common sense, and common examinations tend to conflate them as one when they are distinctly separate.

Also, atheists don’t believe (or “assume”) that religion is derived from an evolutionary blockage or anything of the sort. Religion is a human construct that came about as the fledgling human race required more and more sophisticated answers to explain the workings of the world around them. It’s just that as time goes on, science is progressively taking over as a superior method of understanding reality than superstition and blind faith.

3. Bait and Switch # 1. Atheists love to talk about the Spanish Inquisition. Get them, ever so casually, to talk about persecution by zealous believers in general, and then the persecution by zealous Marxists in particular. Finally, since atheists like math, have them compare the number killed by the Inquisition over several centuries (2,000-6,000) with the number killed by devout Marxists in one century (100,000,000).

Because, of course, the best way to debate an atheist is to mislead him/her down a twisting road towards a preconceived goal and to segue from the religiously fueled barbarity of Catholic monarchs to the politically driven social reforms and revolutions that had fuck-all to do with atheism.

Once again, guys: Playing the Marxist/Lenin/Hitler/Mao/Pol Pot/etc. card is not going to win you any points in a debate. It will make you look like an ignorant twerp who’s grasping at some very weak logical straws.

4. Bait and Switch # 2. Despite their pretence to moral relativity, atheists will still grant that Adolf Hitler was epically evil. Having gotten them to admit this point, offer to read aloud some of the most offending passages from Mein Kamp (a special copy of which you just happened to be carrying). After about a half-hour, suddenly strike a quizzical look and say, “Wait a minute,” removing the dust jacket, “How did that happen? This is my copy of Margaret Sanger’s The Pivot of Civilization! Say, wasn’t she the founder of Planned Parenthood?”

Someone please explain to me just how this is supposed to be any sort of an argument? Like, at all? So, the founder of the modern-day reproductive rights movement was a bit of a whacko and remains controversial just about everywhere. I fail to see how this is an argument against atheism. Or, really, anything at all.

5. Learn to talk like William F. Buckley. A comfortable prejudice for American atheists is that religious believers all speak with a heavy Southern accent and use small words.

I’ll take some baseless stereotyping with my weird assumptions, Meg. It’s not our fault if some of the loudest and most belligerent anti-atheists in the US are of the “redneck” variety. That’s not a smear; it’s a confirmed observation.

6. Have Lots of Children. Atheists love humanity as long as there is less of it. They are especially grieved by biologically prodigious believers who seem to be taking Darwin at his word, but for all the wrong reasons. Nothing is more irksome than to behold their own future self-imposed extinction amidst the swelling tide of the God-fearing.

Err … what? So atheists hate humans and children now?

Also, the number of children religious folks have is quite irrelevant. It’s not to whom they’re born that determines their religious beliefs (or lack thereof), but their subsequent exposure to the real world and its conflicting ideas.

7. Host a Darwin Read-a-loud. Invite some atheist friends to read and discuss Darwin, and then read some purple passages from his Descent of Man where he waxes eloquently on the importance of eugenics, the biologically based moral and intellectual inferiority of “lesser races,” and the inevitable evolutionary extermination of the “negro” and the “Australian.”

First of all, the argument that “Darwin supported eugenics” is a lie. As for the rest – so a 19th-century man who laid the foundation for modern biology also held the same prejudices and views that were the norm during that age. Wow, how destructive towards atheism (which has nothing to do with Darwin and vice-versa)!

8. Talk about the Impending Crash of the World Economy. Ideas have consequences, and some of the worst economic ideas were hatched by John Maynard Keynes. Make clear to your atheist interlocutor that the wide-scale adoption of Keynes’ conception of government as the grand fiddler micromanaging the economy through narcotic stimulation with freshly printed money is the single most important cause of the current American and European financial implosion. Then mention ever-so-casually, “Wasn’t Keynes an atheist?”

Great, economics claptrap. And again, that some random atheist may be responsible for bad things ≠ an argument against atheism. Just like Fred Phelps ≠ a representation of all Christians. For fuck’s sake, learn your logic.

9. Stage a Nietzsche Practicum. Atheists love the nihilistic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who famously declared “God is dead.” More exactly, they love it in theory, but invariably cringe at the practical implications Nietzsche quite logically drew out: without God, there is no moral order and the strong should devour the weak, for “life itself is will to power.” Invite your favorite atheist to meet you for lunch to discuss Nietzsche. Order the most expensive meal on the menu, steal his iPhone while he’s in the bathroom, and then at the end, stick him with the check. Then on the way out snatch the keys to his Saab and speed away in it singing at full lung, “I love Nietzsche! He’s really rather peachy. A world devoid of moral qualms is far more fuuunnnn…than one that’s preachy teachy!”

Right. Atheists can’t be moral if they don’t believe in God. And also, to prove that your belief in God makes you morally superior to atheists, you need to steal his iPod and his fucking car and behave like a snotty little 13-year-old git with terminal insufferability. (Though, since when do atheists all have Saabs? I’m more of an Aston Martin man, myself, but I digress.)

10. Assault Them with Charity (cont’d. from No. 9). Drive around the block to the restaurant again, and pull up to your fuming atheist friend. After returning the keys to his Saab and his iPhone, and shelling out your share of the tab, say “I just can’t bring myself to act as if God doesn’t exist.” Then, forever after treat him with unfailing kindness, as if he were Indian Untouchable and you were Mother Teresa.

“Sorry, I tried acting like an immature little dipshit to prove how morally superior I am to you, but now I’m gonna go back to being a condescending brat and I still totally expect us to be friends for – hey, what was that for?!

And cranks like Wiker then whine about how atheists act all mean and derisory and condescending towards people like him. T’is truly a mystery.

(via Diaphanitas)