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"Atheists these days aren't miserable enough!"
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:03 am    Post subject: "Atheists these days aren't miserable enough!"  Reply with quote

... and are dishonest to boot - or at least they are according to alleged 'atheist' Damon Linker:

Quote:
In a controversial column from last March, I argued that most contemporary atheists are being fundamentally dishonest in claiming that godlessness "is not only true but also unambiguously good for human beings." It most certainly is not, I claimed, referencing passages of philosophy and poetry to show that, viewed honestly, atheism is "utterly tragic" — and that the denial of this tragedy amounted to little more than "sentimental, superficial happy talk."

Many readers were not amused. A number of the most indignant critics limited themselves to colorful variations on "how dare you say that!" But some gave a more substantive reply, wondering if I meant to imply that a genuinely honest atheism would involve living in a state of perpetual psychic misery.

That's a fair question — and one I'd like to answer by making a case for existentialism as the most honest form of atheism.

Existentialism differs from the greeting-card version of atheism so prevalent today, in taking its cue from the realization that life without God is hard.


This is a ploy I've seen used before - imply that only Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre et. al. were true atheists and that modern-day non-believers haven't "earned" their right to non-belief.

To fillet this load of old pony in detail would take too much of my time and give the article and its thesis more head-room than it merits - kudos to the many commentators who have bothered to take it on and skin, gut and bone it. Aside from glaring errors of hard fact (Linker, January 2014: "... an existentialist like Albert Camus"; Camus, November 1945: "No, I am not an existentialist"), Linker assumes that (a) existentialism entails atheism, ignoring the numerous theistic existentialists such as Kierkegaard; and (b) treats atheistic existentialism as the only meaningful and valid - and, what's even worse, honest - kind even worth talking about, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of atheists are not existentialists any more than Camus was.

Despite being a very high-profile, world-renowned professor of genetics and therefore a busy man (even more so as he's writing another book at present) Jerry Coyne lays down the smack in a way I couldn't have bothered to do.

This car crash of an article is perhaps one of the most egregious examples of psychological projection I've ever seen. Linker's laughable Sturm und Drang idea of atheism seems to picture him as being arrested at the level of the quintessential angsty fifteen year-old just getting into black metal.

Very poor Damon - 2/10.
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Mr Spock
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doctor David Starky is my favourite atheist.
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Mr Spock
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doctor David Starky is my favourite atheist.
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trentvoyager
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Spock wrote:
Doctor David Starky is my favourite atheist.


Well he's miserable enough for all of us - atheist or not!
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He does come across that way when he's presenting! That said, when he's being interviewed and he's nicely relaxed he does come across as a nice chap.
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Ketty
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really enjoy David Starky.  He's an excellent historian.  I first became aware of him when he was a presenter on Talk Radio before it went all sports-oriented.  

Hmm, that's just brought back some happy memories . . .  
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Jim
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent historian?
Is that supposed to be ironic?
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Mr Spock
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim wrote:
An excellent historian?
Is that supposed to be ironic?


He is an excellent historian!  
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Jim
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, depending on whether or not one wants a historian who wears his bias as a badge of honour, i suppose.
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good many of them just do, though, Jimbo - look at Niall Ferguson.


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