Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Atheist Wasteland

This is the longest I've gone without a post in the nearly 5 years of maintaining this blog, but I'm back. (and, yes, I really did "maintain" it even through the long absence. You'd be shocked to know know much spam gets posted in the comments and promptly deleted. The post "The Four Horsemen of Atheism" is a particularly popular target for some reason).

Life is constant change and yet many things remain fundamentally the same. Never fear that I have fallen for theistic or woo bullshit! I simply found another outlet for my occasional thoughts (YouTube) and was in thrall to it for some time. It's a much busier and fast paced site and, I have to tell you, I learned much there.

I've found (though I said the words prior to going there) that simply knowing that someone is an atheist, doesn't tell you much about them. Truly, every characteristic both admirable and negative, can be found in those who don't believe in sky fairies. I honestly ran into people who have infuriated and disgusted me as much as any theist I ever met. There is absolutely no guarantee that any wisdom will accompany disbelief - let alone reason and rational thinking.

This said, I also met several of the best people I have run into in life while making and uploading videos to YouTube. The problem is - I met just as many, out of many fewer opportunities, during my years of blogging on EvolutionaryMiddleman! Perhaps I was just incredibly fortunate while here, in having so many atheists share a similar total view of our lives in this universe. Since I can't run an empirical study on it, all is nothing but speculation. I only know this much - finding a fellow atheist in this world will not necessarily be the same as finding a fellow traveler or someone you would actually want to know more about and get closer too. In fact, the odds appear to be against it.

13 comments:

Larry Wallberg said...

Really, there's no reason why any atheist should feel that he or she will automatically have anything in common with other atheists -- except for a mutual rejection of theism (and not always even that).

Unfortunately, we humans love to categorize ourselves, to find out what "tribe" we belong to.

So I guess some of us have found out the hard way: Not only isn't atheism a religion, it's not a tribal designation, either.

Still, I have to confess that I'm always a little bit disappointed when I see an atheist -- an atheist, f'Chrissake! -- who's a fucking idiot. You and I have discussed that, and laughed, because we both feel the same way, even though we know that we're being foolish. But maybe we can't help it; maybe our brains are hard-wired to look at the world through the rose-colored glasses of "team spirit."

My hypothesis about the phenomenon you mentioned in your last paragraph:
I suspect that it's easier to find "fellow travelers" in Blogworld than on YouTube because in our society, a person has to make an unusual commitment of time if he or she is going to bother to read and respond in writing to someone's ideas again and again. Perhaps it's my old-fartness coming to the fore, but I think that communicating through the written word requires much more effort on the part of both the messenger and the recipient than just idly watching a video.

In short: Reading and writing, though old-fashioned, may well provide a more direct gateway from one mind to another than simulated TV does.

Roz said...

Great to see you in 'print' again. I came, I saw, I concurred :-)

the chaplain said...

I second Roz's opinion - I'm glad to see you've returned to the fold. I look forward to reading more from you.

PhillyChief said...

You're just a control freak, Larry. When everything is laid out in front of you, you can skim, skip, go back, reread, and do it all at whatever pace you want. Youtube isn't quite at that point where you can easily scrub through the video, so you're stuck having to sit there and wait to see how it plays out and that puts you at the mercy of the videomaker.

desertscope said...

One thing we should accept is that some people come to atheism exactly the way most theists believe we do:

"An atheist is mad at God."

Aside: It pains me to capitalize the word "god" to mean the primary god of the Christian religions, but that is the perception.

While most atheists I know reasoned their way into atheism, I only know of one theist who reasoned himself into theism: Blaise Pascal (granted, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of formal logic or computer science could easily refute his arguments). In the same vein, though, people could use bad arguments to reason themselves into atheism. The result, unfortunately, would be tenuous at best.

I never tell my son about gods, except when telling him myth stories or when explaining the beliefs of his friends. I never directly answer the question "Is god for real?" I keep this Swift quote in mind, "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."

If I just told my son there were no fairies, he might resemble the atheist idiots you mention. Instead, I want him to come to the logical conclusion on his own.

PhillyChief said...

Correction, he rationalized his indulgence, he didn't reason himself into theism.

Gideon said...
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Spanish Inquisitor said...

Gee, Evo, you have to give me a heads up when you post. I practically gave up on this blog. See? It took me two months since you posted to come back and check. Actually, I'm not sure why I did. I think I was just letting my fingers do the walking down my blog-roll.

I somewhat agree with Larry. I'm partial to writing as a means of communicating, at least on the topic we touch upon here.

It doesn't matter whether you are video-blogging or scrivno-blogging (how's that for a word?). If you're laying yourself out for all to see, psychically speaking, you're bound to run into a lot of people who you will strike up a friendship with, because a lot of the barriers to social communication are dropped when you blog. But you'll also attract a lot of people who think they are a lot like you, because they share one attribute, when they really aren't.

Much like in real life, I suppose.

Of course, then you also attract people like Gideon.

Anonymous said...

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Is this possible?

Gideon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gideon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gideon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

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Is this possible?