Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dishonesty About Honesty

Damon Linker seems to think the only honest atheist is a nihilist[1].
If atheism is true, it is far from being good news. Learning that we're alone in the universe, that no one hears or answers our prayers, that humanity is entirely the product of random events, that we have no more intrinsic dignity than non-human and even non-animate clumps of matter, that we face certain annihilation in death, that our sufferings are ultimately pointless, that our lives and loves do not at all matter in a larger sense, that those who commit horrific evils and elude human punishment get away with their crimes scot free — all of this (and much more) is utterly tragic.
Honest atheists understand this.
This assertion is as absurd as it common. It assumes that without a god, there is no beauty in the world. No hope. No happiness. Nothing worth appreciating anywhere.  I wonder if Linker has ever heard of Carl Sagan[2] or Neil deGrasse Tyson[3].  He could not honestly suggest they do not believe what they say about the wonders of the universe.

When reading the article, I was not sure if he had ever actually talked to an atheist at all about their beliefs. I suspected not but also realized he could be one of those theists who, after having their misrepresentations of atheists corrected by atheists, simply ignore it in favor of continuing the strawman.

After a brief conversation with Linker via Twitter[4], I'm left thinking he's the latter.  When pressed, and when he apparently thought it was giving him an edge over me, he recognized that atheists aren't all the same.  In other words, he knows we're not all nihilists like he claimed in the article.  He knows this, yet he still wrote an article suggesting we are.  He lied.

He also displayed an interesting level of arrogance, telling me the obvious[5], as if between the two of us I'm the one who doesn't understand that truth is independent of perception.  It's still amazing to me that people can get so close to getting it and still actively misrepresent atheism is such a drastic way.

It's almost as if they're actively avoiding an honest discussion because they know it wouldn't turn out in their favor.

Well, if they're not going to participate in anything honestly, I guess we're only left with the option of calling out the liars for what they are.  It's a shame.  Honesty would be so more productive.  Which is probably why Damon Linker was pretending to revere it.





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