Dictionary atheists and Bigfoot skeptics – a critique

Simple people go for simple targets.

If you can’t spell epistemology or evidence, but you know in your heart that Dowsing doesn’t work, or homeopathy, while you would at the same time never apply your skepticism to your or other people’s beliefs in the supernatural because it either doesn’t occur to you or because it is deemed politically incorrect by your skeptical peers, you are clearly well-suited to be a true skeptic™, and likely to pay good money to visit TAM or join a local Skeptics in the Pub at some point.

Something similar applies to those who at a young age and without much effort have seen through the lies and tales of organised religion and its holy books and who have shaken off those superstitions to become proud members of a worldwide growing assembly of nonbelievers. These dictionary atheists may proudly proclaim their lack of belief in gods and regard this as a major intellectual achievement, while remaining sheltered from any realisation of the obvious implications of such a worldview.

Dowsing or Bigfoot skeptics and dictionary atheists have one thing in common, and that thing is that their intellectual achievements are shallow and trivial and their methods of reaching conclusions intuitive rather than scientific or rational.

There isn’t a more pathetic view than that of a self-proclaimed atheist or skeptic of this kind. You can find them within the organised Skeptic movement, for example in JREF, or anywhere in the atheist movement, for example at recently created places like skepticinc, where those atheists found shelter who are afraid or incapable of actually thinking through the consequences of rejecting religious doctrine, for example with regards to the standing and rights of women, or homosexuals.

It is amazing to realise how these self-proclaimed champions of reason can fail to meet the most basic standards of rational or reasoned thought when it comes to anything beyond their current scope of enlightenment.

Skepticism applied to Bigfoot or UFOs is fine, but let’s not apply it to religion or economics, because we might offend someone, or behold, have to question our own dear beliefs!

The same goes for the dictionary atheists. Jahweh, Allah, Thor, Ra, Zeus? How utterly ridiculous! Man, I’m so clever to see through this! Just like 5-year olds realising that Santa isn’t real.
But clearly it is too much for those aces of reason to consider what the fact that holy texts are not true may mean for the society of today. They don’t seem to be able to compute that if the Christian god doesn’t exist and the Christian holy book is not a verbatim missive from him, then those morals that Christians today cite to legitimise and justify discrimination of homosexuals or subjugation of women do not apply.

Atheism+ is the view that there are consequences to be derived from the fact that holy texts are not the word of any gods, that therefore moral and ethical tenets based on and derived from these texts are invalid, and that hence social justice and equality questions should be a natural inclusion in atheism.

Those who insist on the dictionary definition of atheism, while ignoring the obvious philosophical and moral consequences of such a position as pointed out above, just as the skeptics who will throw their skeptical faculties at Dowsing, homeopathy or moon landing truthers while ignoring the elephant in the room that is religion(or economics), are a truly pathetic bunch as far as I am concerned.

To be congratulating oneself proudly for an intellectual achievement any 5-year old can figure out is just sad. And actively ignoring, denying or negating the obvious conclusions that may and should be drawn from an atheist or skeptic worldview just because this could mean being faced with a requirement for introspection and analysis of one’s own beliefs or opinions, is even more pathetic. I wouldn’t want any of these clowns to be part of Atheism+, or a skeptic movement that doesn’t shy away from applying skepticism to whatever topic comes along, even if it may offend some people.

Don’t get me wrong, debunking homeopathy or Dowsing is important, and not believing in gods is the right thing to do because gods are not true, but there is absolutely no reason to be wallowing in smug self-congratulation over these trivial achievements, while at the same time laughing arrogantly at religious believers or 9/11 truthers because their convictions are so very ridiculous.

Skeptics and atheists like those, who will stay within the sheltered confines of their established values and beliefs and never dare to venture outside of them, are an embarrassment.

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