Atheism By The Books

I don’t have the artistic ability or the subtle wit to create the next Jesus and Mo, but I put together a silly little comic and I thought I’d share it here.

ThesaurusAtheist

The term “Dictionary Atheist” was coined by PZ Myers to describe godless types whose conception of atheism is limited to the dictionary definition: a lack of belief in gods, with no positive claims or values attached or implied. Myers sees this attitude as shallow and unrealistic.

In that Montreal talk, I explained that there is more to my atheism than simple denial of one claim; it’s actually based on a scientific attitude that values evidence and reason, that rejects claims resting solely on authority, and that encourages deeper exploration of the world. My atheism is not solely a negative claim about gods, but is based on a whole set of positive values that I will emphasize when talking about atheism. That denial of god thing? It’s a consequence, not a cause.

However, Myers acknowledges that the values held by atheists vary widely – for example, some reject religion primarily because they dislike its social consequences, which differs from simply deciding on the basis of “evidence and reason” that we almost certainly live in a deity-free universe. Given that diversity, it surely makes sense to acknowledge that disbelief in gods is the only substantive position a roomful of avowed atheists will necessarily share. Dictionary atheism is a baseline that we all arrive at, and build upon, in our own specific ways.

This is the understanding of dictionary atheism that Black Hat, in my comic, is implicitly imparting when (s)he (I have no strong opinions about the sex of either character) suggests that atheism does not lead “inescapably to any particular worldview”. I imagine that most of the people Myers thinks of as dictionary atheists would say something similar – they may and probably do associate positive values with their own atheism, but refuse to assume that those values will be widely shared among atheists in general. Scraggly Hair, on the other hand, is probably the only person who has ever been branded a thesaurus atheist, and harbours no pretensions of speaking for anyone else.

Jaclyn Glenn’s Empirical Evidence that Americans Really Don’t Like Atheists

I already know that atheists are the most distrusted group in America, so I watched Jaclyn Glenn’s latest video with a big a priori. The video documents Jaclyn’s experiment where she and her friends collect donations for a Children’s Hospital on behalf of two different organizations: one Methodist and the other Atheist; … Continue reading

Quilliam Foundation – A Counter Extremism Think Tank

I just found out about this very worthy non profit called the Quilliam Foundation. The organization describes itself as: …the world’s first counter-extremism think tank set up to address the unique challenges of citizenship, identity, and belonging in a globalised world. Quilliam stands for religious freedom, equality, human rights and democracy. … Continue reading

Anti-theism vs science

Whose side are you on? Antitheist or science? It might be an unfair question, but if you had to choose? The findings of the Flinders University study are supported by the research conducted at the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, which was partly funded by the Defense … Continue reading

Jesus sucks

There really should be a rule or something about posting incriminating photos to facebook. Cause you know, it is the internet and the internet is an acrimony machine. A Pennsylvania teenager is facing criminal charges after posting pictures to Facebook of him simulating a sex act with a statue of … Continue reading

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