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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A placeholder

I'm going to get back to this Washington Times article by Suzanne Fields, but meanwhile see for yourself. I do like the idea of placing copies of 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists in hotel rooms, but I don't otherwise see a lot of merit in the article. But I'll discuss it more deeply when I'm less pressed for time - maybe this evening. I think an article like this provides a teachable moment.


Brian said...

Another silly article. I didn't know that atheists believed in nothing. I certainly believe many things. Just don't believe in supernatural (whatever that is) things.

Robert N Stephenson said...

Inteesting how this is simply called silly yet it is well written and even well thought out. The articles does use some of the dismissive langauge of the modern atheist, but I think that is deliberate and easily highlights the very point she is making.

Only the modern atheists think it is their right to abuse anyone who does not believe in what they believe - or to be honest, this is just how arguments are often displayed.

Reason does not rest in the amount of clever chiding you can deliver, or even how many high fives you can score of your atheist neighbour.

For as long as there has been religion there have been atheists, so it isn't a new venture of human existence of thought. Sadly, as I researched recently, there has been no evolvement of the atheist mind set from the day even when I held such a position. Even sadder the same arguments as presented many hundreds of years ago still exist - yet, while the atheist stood aside and shouted obsentities the religious thinkers helped create and shape the modern world.

I liked the article, naturally but to be honest with the atheist here - just how many people;s lives are turned around because someone says only science has the answer?

Russell Blackford said...

Nonsense, Rob. The article is badly argued, badly written, and basically rubbish. I don't know how such drivel gets published. It is also extremely arrogant, yet it has the hide to call other people arrogant. Sheesh. But I'll have more to say about it later.

Brian said...

Robert, you must live in another universe than I. Many believers threaten atheists with this or that punishment. They are happy to heap abuse. So it isn't only, and not even typical of all atheists. But you're right that reason doesn't rest with those chiding believers because they can chide.
Just because atheism has been around a long time doesn't lesson its worth. You say it hasn't evolved, but that's obviously false. In Socrates day he was called an atheist, not because he didn't believe in any gods, just the wrong one. So that's a big evolution.
What same arguments? The ones that fail dismally to show there is a god? It's true that many people have been religious, but that's because being an atheist got you killed up to a few centuries ago and that was also before Hume and Darwin. If you can't conceive of an idea, you can hardly follow it.So for many centuries it was inconceivable, at least in christian Europe, that the universe had no creator. There were no atheists shouting obscenities because any open atheist was a dead atheist, if he had the insight to be atheist.
Who says only science has the answer? If you're talking about the natural world, then science is the only game in town, no religion has ever given reliable knowledge of the world. If you're talking maths and logic or philosophy, then science isn't the game you're playing and nobody says it is in that case.