Atheists: when disbelief does not equal logic or critical thinking.

I've joined atheist forums all over the internet and even started my own local group of free thinkers to get together and have conversations that include logic and critical thinking, but I've started to notice something. A phenomenon that burst my smug little atheist bubble. There are so many articles and book and studies that say atheists are smarter, more logical, more open minded... I've come to understand that this statement is false. That's right.. I said it. Being an atheist does not automatically mean you are talking to a logical, intelligent, or even kind person. There are atheists who don't believe in vaccines, who do believe in ghosts, and will argue against you if they feel their truthiness is right even against facts and logic. I've personally been on many band wagons until I learned more, put the facts together and jumped off as quickly as possible.

One of these bandwagons was the anti vac crowd. I was 19 and I grew up with a friend who hadn't been vaccinated. I never really thought about why until I read some anti vaccine argument online. Vaccines cause Autism?! What a terrifying thought! And, in the anti vac community one tends to forget that without them far more children would be dying than getting autism even if it were true- which it's not. It didn't take much researching to find out that it was a load of bull. The main argument is that the perservative, thermisol, derived from mercury can cause autism. Autism is diagnosed about the same time that the MMR vaccine is given and it's a classic case of corelation not equally causation. Dozens of studies all conclude that vaccines do not cause autism. But one more piece of logic is missing and that is, as I mentioned before, that the sheer number of children who would die from these childhood killers (and they're called killers for a reason) makes any risk or autism completely worth it. The anti vac crowd takes the selfish stance that their child is more important than all the other children who would die should herd immunity vanish.

Another hot topic is circumscision. There is the intact crowd which believes that no child should have their genitals cut up and mutilated and every baby should go home intact. Then there's the pro circ crowd who's best argument is "everyone does it!". I've heard all the argument- it prevents STD's! Cutting up a boy's penis just in case he might get an STD later, or an infection for that matter, is like cuttin out a baby girl's breast tissue because she might get breast cancer later. Not only that, but cut American men get more STD's than intact European men. Condoms go much further than genital mutilation. I've also heard that babies don't feel pain or that it doesn't effect sexual pleasure or performance. 20,000 nerves are cut away. Tell me that doesn't effect pleasure. Women, how would you like to lose that many nerves from your clit? Doesn't sound all that pleasant, does it? Male genital mutilation was originally introduced in order to control masturbation. In some cultures it's purely religious. Either way there's zero reason to do it and much reason not to. And yet many atheists seem to be on the pro circ crowd. They seem to take insult with the term "genital mutilation" when used for males, but not for females. While I understand that no cut man wants to admit that his genitals have been mutilated against his will, mutilation is what it is by definition and it's no different from female genital mutilation.

The last big topic I've seen is veganism. While most vegans tend to be athiests, non vegan atheists tend to hate vegans. Why? Some believe it's because that they don't want to admit that they're doing something wrong. Atheists will abandon logic and jump on arguments like "but it's unnatural!" ignoring the fact that they're carrying a cell phone, typing on a computer, wearing polyesther blend clothing and eating hot pockets with a glass of milk- none of which is natural. Now, I can understand if an atheist says "i dont' care about animals or my health or the environment to screw it". This isn't a rejection of facts or logic- it's just.. well, being an asshole. But the fact is that most atheists assert argue things like: animals don't feel pain, they don't suffer, the death is painless, vegans are weak and unhealthy, it wouldn't make a difference, etc. They get mean and nasty and insulting out of defensiveness instead of being honest. The two best ways of dealing with your vegan friends or family? A. don't attack them every time they mention having a veggie burger for lunch. B. be honest and tell them you just don't care about animals/health/the environment C. listen, research, and become vegan.

When I became an atheist I had the crazy notion that other atheists were all really great people and super intelligent. While atheists are, on average, more intelligent than theists, it's not always true.. and they tend to not apply that intelligence to many things. It's true what they say- you really can't tell anything about a person by their atheism except their atheism.

Views: 125

Tags: atheism, circumscision, ghosts, logic, vaccines, veganism

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Comment by sacha on May 8, 2010 at 12:24pm
well said, Jay
Comment by JayBarti on May 8, 2010 at 12:21pm
everyone is only jumping on one thing- veganism. and all i see is mud slinging and name calling- no logic or critical thinking.

Ummm not everyone, quite a few people I respect on this site are vegan, they just don't expect everyone to agree with them. A few even showed up here to welcome you and say they supported your opinion.

Most people who did disagree with you, were actually polite for the most part. Some might have been more curt then others but no-one actually called you a name.

I don't expect everyone to agree with me, in fact I sometimes expect there be an argument of some sort. Are you looking to only interact with people who agree with you on everything you think is important? That will never happen as people simply have different priorities and agendas.

As I said earlier your actual vegan section of your post was a little light on actual information, and as I and others have pointed out a bit condescending. The earlier parts I mostly agreed with even though the rhetoric was a little over the top, both are however at the core of how we treat those who cannot decide for themselves. Of course I agree children should be well looked after, who doesn't.

Veganism seem to be more an ideology, and thats fine, it is just not an ideology for me.

Much like the idea of just because you are an atheist doesn't mean your actually intelligent, all atheists are also not expected to share the same opinions. Thats why we have sections of the site for those who want to talk about these things with like minded people.
Comment by sacha on May 8, 2010 at 12:15pm
Stephen Moore has spoken the most logical, polite, and calm words here. One should consider just reading Stephen Moore's comments over again.
Comment by Фелч Гроган on May 8, 2010 at 11:44am
Heather: but i want to point out that i think it's pretty funny that everyone agreed with everything up until the "self righteous vegan" part.

And didn't the self-righteousness just blossom when I was "vitriolic" by pointing out the flaws and inconsistencies in their humanitarianism. I'd like you to point out where people were calling names. That sounds like you're inventing non-existent reasons to be offended just to claim the moral high ground.
Comment by Stephen Moore on May 8, 2010 at 10:59am
Thanks for demonstrating my point though- of everything I mentioned.. everyone is only jumping on one thing- veganism.

And of course, it's not because there is a weakness in the point that you're making, but the readers' complete and utter failure at critical thinking.

Or, perhaps if you're going to make claims like "be honest and tell them you just don't care about animals/health/the environment" and "listen, research, and become vegan" you'd better be prepared defend the claims. Do you understand just how arrogant, insulting and condescending those two comments are?* And how lacking in what you post is about: logic and critical thinking?

*Not that I mind arrogance, insults and condescension, but if they're going to be employed, back it up with argument worthy of one's arrogance, insult and condescension. And be prepared to receive it back.
Comment by Susan Stanko on May 8, 2010 at 10:38am
Ah, I see, If we don't agree with you in everything then we are not using logic or critical thinking. Good to hear that you know everything.

How's that for being a dick. (Since you don't seem to know what that is exactly)
Comment by Heather on May 8, 2010 at 9:55am
okay- there are now too many posts for me to really read and respond to all of them- sorry guys.. i'm just too busy. but i want to point out that i think it's pretty funny that everyone agreed with everything up until the "self righteous vegan" part. of course they had no problem with the self righteous other parts because they agreed with them. Thanks for demonstrating my point though- of everything I mentioned.. everyone is only jumping on one thing- veganism. and all i see is mud slinging and name calling- no logic or critical thinking. If anyone would like to talk to me personally about veganism without being a complete dick (which i see many of you can't manage) then feel free to message me and we can have a logical and thoughtful discussion.
Comment by Susan Stanko on May 8, 2010 at 9:11am
LOL, Black Magick Woman.
Comment by Фелч Гроган on May 8, 2010 at 5:12am
@Colin - mighty sensitive aren't you ? What did I say other than if the meatless leave me alone, I don't care; and that their meat-free lifestyles collapse in a heap on the subject of pets, which they claim to love whilst suppressing the dissonant hypocrisy of keeping an animal captive for their entertainment. If you think my expressing that is 'vitriol' then you should just unplug your 'puter and never touch this internet thingy ever again - for your own psychological wellbeing.
Comment by Stephen Moore on May 8, 2010 at 4:54am
I don't hate vegans, but I do detest holier than thou attitudes. And such an attitude seems to be rife amongst vegans. And you illustrate this quite well, Heather, when you suggest we non-vegans

A. don't attack them every time they mention having a veggie burger for lunch.
B. be honest and tell them you just don't care about animals/health/the environment.
C. listen, research, and become vegan.


I adhere to A quite fine, and C can simply be seen as advocacy. But when you, or indeed anyone, claim B, well, I'll just offer you a cup of coffee. It's a bullshit argument to assert that I have no care for such things, and undermines everything you wrote before you came to writing about veganism. It is a strawman common to many advocates for a vegan diet, and something of a non sequitur, too.

Argue your advocacy of a vegan diet, and argue it strongly. Just avoid the evangelical tendency to holier than thou carping, and try not to insult me in the process.

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