Why Atheists are Kind of Assholes

I read an article on Salon, about a woman who gave birth to a premature baby that didn’t survive. The point of her article was tell everyone how much she hates when people tell her her baby is in Heaven.

But actually her point is more than that. Her point really is to make sure you know that she is atheist. And to tell you, that you are dumb for not being one. Because this is what good atheists do. They talk about how the “great thinkers” like DeGrasse Tyson and Sagan give her comfort, when they reassure her that you are just a tiny speck in a much bigger universe (that has no purpose).

So her belief is that we are just specks of dust. So I wonder if she would get more comfort, if her friends reminded her, when she talked about the grief of losing a baby she never even knew, that it doesn’t matter, she was only a speck of random DNA dust anyway, so any incidental feeling of connection or purpose to that speck, is just a sorry illusion. nevermind it.”

Because, afterall, isn’t this what the Dawkins and the Penn Jillettes, and the Steve Novellas are hear to constantly remind everyone else? Is that how her friends should respond in the future, so she then doesn’t have to write any more blogs talking about how sad she is losing her speck of dna?

The atheists say we are nothing. They say life is meaningless, and you are just an accidental robot. Heck, they even don’t think we should grieve over abortions, so why does this woman want to remind us that she is grieving over a baby that lived eight hours?

Basically, atheists are hypocrites really. But as Penn Jillettte likes to says, he doesn’t think there is anything the slightest bit wrong with hypocrisy.

I think the article should be, please stop telling me your are sad about a speck of meaningless DNA. Its an illusion.

OR, perhaps atheists should stop trying to tell others that their beliefs are wrong. That would be novel.

link to the Salon article

300 thoughts on “Why Atheists are Kind of Assholes

  1. There are a number of take-homes.

    One of which is that rights are won or lost in the political arena.

    For most of history, men owned and controlled women. Things have changed.

    If you don’t like it, you could join a really conservative organization, like ISIS. They know a woman’s place.

  2. Alan Fox: More like a guideline then.

    BTW I’m bursting to be an asshole pedant myself. Chacun a son goût ou à chacun, son goût. Better now, sorry. 😉

    Ce n’est rien

  3. phoodoo:
    DNA_Jock,

    What about the baby’s rights dipshit?

    It gets its rights when it is born alive.

    Even your god agrees with that.

    Wake up, phoodoo. Time to start thinking like a grownup.

  4. Birth does not alter the metaphysical status of the infant; it marks the end of the conflict between the woman’s right to bodily self-determination and whatever “rights” the infant might have.

    The interesting fact about human beings is that we treat infants as if they have rights so that they can become persons who actually do have rights.

  5. keiths: That’s not very logical. If a fact is relevant to a discussion, why declare it off limits?

    It seems even more logical by the moment to me.

    keiths: The topic was KN’s continued anger toward vocal atheists, particularly of the New variety, and the irrational behavior it evokes in him. Calling someone an “atheist asshole” despite not having read a word of her article is a prime example of that. That he eventually apologized doesn’t negate the irrationality of that sort of behavior

    Apologies, I thought the discussion was how much of a dick Phodoo was willing to be to prove his point. KN’s main error to me in this affair was agreeing with Phodoo’s assessment of an unread article , for which he apologized. As for anger at vocal atheists, why would that require an apology anyway? One can be both an atheist and an asshole.

  6. phoodoo:
    hotshoe_,

    Is being cut out of someones stomach considered being born?

    Lordy, lordy. If you can’t figure that out, you’ve got more problems than we can possibly deal with.

  7. phoodoo:
    I haven’t seen anyone answer if the boyfriend of a girl who has an abortion deserves the same right to expect people to help him grieve exactly as he wants them to.

    By your theory of how much a person deserves to grieve, not much.

    Phodoo,you are very confused how grief works. Perhaps you should volunteer at a hospice and experience how three dimensional people experience loss

  8. Kantian Naturalist:
    Birth does not alter the metaphysical status of the infant; it marks the end of the conflict between the woman’s right to bodily self-determination and whatever “rights” the infant might have.

    The interesting fact about human beings is that we treat infants as if they have rights so that they can become persons who actually do have rights.

    Exactly

  9. Kantian Naturalist,

    I completely agree. But we should at least be willing to admit we are making a practical decision over a moral one. Unfortunately most new atheists wouldn’t know what morality means if it slapped them in the face. You get the Lizzies of the world arguing that the society decides what is moral based on the majority. Except it also involves not hurting others feeling unless they are feelings she doesn’t agree with.

    Likewise the atheists here want to argue that it is moral to bends ones wishes towards someones need for grief consoling, except if that consoling necessitates religious overtones, it is no longer really necessary to consider the grief stricken one’s desires THAT MUCH! Best to just be quiet and listen, because this is what is most satisfactory to the atheist.

    Likewise I guess the atheist has no problem with Dawkins and Tyson and the clique expressing there is no Heaven, despite who it offends, but the same folks probably have a pretty big problem with the Westboro Baptist Church I reckon.

    Penn Jillette was surely speaking for more than just himself when he said there is nothing wrong with hypocrisy.

  10. Likewise, none of these brave new atheists has been brave enough to tackle the issue of this woman equating her loss to the same as some who has has actually lost a child-you know like a child they knew and loved. They just let it slide, because she is like, you know, one of us-a feminist atheist. We like this kind.

    I detest their squirrely ethics. They would say anything to think they are winning a debate, rather than be honest.

  11. newton,

    As for anger at vocal atheists, why would that require an apology anyway?

    Who said it required an apology? Newton, you’re kind of going off the rails here. Perhaps you should reread the comments in question.

    KN and I were discussing his habitual, irrational reactions to vocal atheists. His calling Priscilla Blossom an “atheist asshole” was a prime example of that. He apologized for it — an apology I did not request — and after his apology it was still a prime example of his habitual, angry reaction to vocal atheists — meaning that it was still highly relevant to our discussion. If a fact is relevant to a discussion, why would I declare it off limits merely because it had been apologized for? Your “rule” makes no sense.

    If I were demanding an apology for something he’d already apologized for, you’d have a point — but I haven’t demanded any apologies at all. I’m simply discussing the topic.

    If you want to apply your goofy rule to your own comments, feel free, but don’t expect others to take your rule seriously.

  12. phoodoo:

    Likewise the atheists here want to argue that it is moral to bends ones wishes towards someones need for grief consoling, except if that consoling necessitates religious overtones, it is no longer really necessary to consider the grief stricken one’s desires THAT MUCH! Best to just be quiet and listen, because this is what is most satisfactory to the atheist.

    I repeat:

    For example, you failed to draw some obvious distinctions in your comment:

    1) everyday life vs. a period of grieving, and

    2) lying to make someone feel better vs. choosing one’s true statements with discretion and compassion.

    Do you understand why those distinctions are relevant, or is this going straight over your head?

    Right over his head, apparently.

  13. phoodoo:
    keiths,

    keiths,

    Are you aware enough to realize that if there was a poll about who the biggest atheist asshole on this site is, you would win that by a landslide?

    This is by people who supposedly agree with your worldview.

    You would also win it on a few other websites.

    Take it to noyau, boyo,

  14. Elizabeth:
    Can people take the Noyau stuff to Noyau, please?

    I think when you start a thread about why a good chunk of the population are assholes, you are already in noyau.

  15. phoodoo: Likewise, none of these brave new atheists has been brave enough to tackle the issue of this woman equating her loss to the same as some who has has actually lost a child-you know like a child they knew and loved.

    Lots of us have addressed precisely this.

    phoodoo: ou get the Lizzies of the world arguing that the society decides what is moral based on the majority.

    Would you please back this assertion up with a citation or retract it.

  16. Elizabeth:

    phoodoo: [Y]ou get the Lizzies of the world arguing that the society decides what is moral based on the majority.

    Would you please back this assertion up with a citation or retract it.

    Oh, Muade, no. Not yet another thread on why atheists can’t have morality according to some random theist’s blinkered view of 1) atheism and 2) morality.

    I feel a headache coming on.

  17. A lot of rubbish thinking could be avoided if people actually accepted the cousinship of animals.

    Most of our laws and moral codes are derived not from principles, but from wants and desires that have their roots in biology.

    I love an infant (or a kitten) not because some sky lord made rules, but because young critters trigger feelings.

    Not everyone (apparently) has such triggers, and much of our law and moralizing seems to address people who don’t empathise.

  18. phoodoo: Likewise, none of these brave new atheists has been brave enough to tackle the issue of this woman equating her loss to the same as some who has has actually lost a child-you know like a child they knew and loved. They just let it slide, because she is like, you know, one of us-a feminist atheist. We like this kind.

    Again Phodoo, I suggest you visit the local Nicu and discuss your view with both the parents and staff that the babies there are not equally loved and that grief should limited by the age of the child.

  19. petrushka: A lot of rubbish thinking could be avoided if people actually accepted the cousinship of animals.

    Yes indeed. Here’s a rather nice essay on that very topic: “Why I Identify as Mammal“. To whet your appetite for the full read:

    Human exceptionalism — expressed in our treatment, use and abuse of other animals, and in the damage we do to the natural environment — has paved the way for enormous harm. It seems clear, then, that identifying exclusively as human has its pitfalls.

    We are in need of new perceptions of self, ones that acknowledge our close relationship to the rest of life on Earth. Thinking of ourselves not as human, but as mammals, provides an accessible path to a greater awareness of what we have in common with other species.

    In general we are accustomed to thinking of ourselves in a phylogenetic sense, as primates, and it is also common to categorize human beings in more inclusive terms, as animals, organisms and even as fluxes of vibrant matter.

    Human beings are all of these things and more, of course, but I would argue that it is important to remember our status as members of the mammal clade, a membership we share with a family of fellow creatures whose resemblance to ourselves is perennially surprising, seductive and suggestive.

    Consider some other options: Thinking of ourselves as primates strikes a little too close to home. It’s like being told you look like your brother; nobody wants to hear it. On the other hand, defining human beings as animals spreads the net too wide. I accept on principle that I have a lot in common with a tuna or a mosquito, but the acknowledgment doesn’t compel me on a visceral level. When I consider what I have in common with a bear, however, or a squirrel, or a whale, I recognize an inherent sympathy that is at the center of my being.

  20. petrushka,

    I love an infant (or a kitten) not because some sky lord made rules, but because young critters trigger feelings.

    And they smell good. Although not good enough to eat (usually).

  21. Elizabeth: Lots of us have addressed precisely this.

    Would you please back this assertion up with a citation or retract it.

    Please back up the assertion that you have addressed precisely this, with a citation, or retract it.

  22. phoodoo:
    newton,

    So to you a miscarriage is exactly the same tragedy as having your seven year old daughter killed by a drunk driver?

    Nope never said it was , but she didn’t have a miscarriage did she? We are not talking about abstract philosophical point, we are talking about a specific woman

    “My daughter was born three years ago. I went into pre-term labor at 22 weeks gestation, and try as they might, the doctors could not keep her here with us. Her short life, just eight hours long, has marked my life and my husband’s life deeply.”

    How about the tragedy of your child never having a chance at life, dying in your arms?To only have eight hours with your tiny helpless dying child? That is who you think is a whiny asshole, let that sink in. If you want to pray for something. pray that you never find out first hand what she and her husband experienced.

  23. newton,

    She never even held the child, she never knew this child. Her experience is the same as someone who had a miscarriage.

    People have abortions at 22 weeks, and I doubt you have a problem with this.

    Hypocrisy is your playing field.

  24. phoodoo: People have abortions at 22 weeks, and I doubt you have a problem with this.

    Is there any possibility that god will ever soften a christian’s heart to become aware of the difference between losing a hoped-for pregnancy where the parents have already become involved with their future child, and aborting a problem pregnancy?

    Well, I should add that abortions at 22 weeks are very rare, and essentially never obtained unless the fetus is dead or so damaged that it won’t be able to survive birth. Unless the woman has been prevented from having an early abortion of an unwanted pregnancy by church or government interference, these late abortions are always of wanted pregnancies which have turned into tragedies.

    So our correct moral, empathetic, human response to the woman who has a late miscarriage or a late abortion (22 weeks) is the same in either case: “I’m sorry for your loss.” and maybe “Is there anything I can do for you now?” or “Let me know if you’d like to talk about it”.

    Your response would be totally harmful, going by everything you’ve said so far. Maybe you would behave differently in person, but balance of probabilities … Congrats yet again on setting such a fine example of christian love!

  25. phoodoo: She never even held the child, she never knew this child. Her experience is the same as someone who had a miscarriage.

    People have abortions at 22 weeks, and I doubt you have a problem with this.

    You seem to be missing several massively important points.

  26. hotshoe_: Is there any possibility that god will ever soften a christian’s heart to become aware of the difference between losing a hoped-for pregnancy where the parents have already become involved with their future child, and aborting a problem pregnancy?

    Well, I should add that abortions at 22 weeks are very rare, and essentially never obtained unless the fetus is dead or so damaged that it won’t be able to survive birth.Unless the woman has been prevented from having an early abortion of an unwanted pregnancy by church or government interference, these late abortions are always of wanted pregnancies which have turned into tragedies.

    So our correct moral, empathetic, human response to the woman who has a late miscarriage or a late abortion (22 weeks) is the same in either case: “I’m sorry for your loss.”and maybe “Is there anything I can do for you now?” or “Let me know if you’d like to talk about it”.

    Your response would be totally harmful, going by everything you’ve said so far.Maybe you would behave differently in person, but balance of probabilities … Congrats yet again on setting such a fine example of christian love!

    Beautifully put.

  27. phoodoo,

    Imagine you are a theist hoping to comfort a grieving atheist. Do you really fail to see the difference between

    1a) refraining from saying “your baby is in heaven now”, and

    1b) pretending to be an atheist?

    Now suppose you are an atheist hoping to comfort a grieving theist. Can you really not see the difference between

    2a) refraining from saying “your baby’s not in heaven,” and

    2b) pretending to be a theist?

    Apparently you can’t grasp the differences. If you could, you wouldn’t have made this inane statement:

    Likewise the atheists here want to argue that it is moral to bends ones wishes towards someones need for grief consoling, except if that consoling necessitates religious overtones, it is no longer really necessary to consider the grief stricken one’s desires THAT MUCH! Best to just be quiet and listen, because this is what is most satisfactory to the atheist.

    It is possible to offer comfort to someone without lying to her.

  28. phoodoo:
    She never even held the child, she never knew this child. Her experience is the same as someone who had a miscarriage.

    People have abortions at 22 weeks, and I doubt you have a problem with this.

    Hypocrisy is your playing field.

    So your position is there isn’t any difference between giving birth to a possibly viable child and a miscarriage? That a certain amount of time is required for a person to get to ‘know’ their child before they ‘deserve’ to grieve the loss?

    From the author

    “There was no time for a traditional baptism while she was alive but her NICU doctor performed the rite for her while we held her in our arms for the first time, our tiny, frail, lifeless daughter whose eyes never even got a chance to see. It felt bizarre to me, but I allowed it because my husband was suffering and it seemed to bring him some comfort. “

  29. hotshoe_: Is there any possibility that god will ever soften a christian’s heart to become aware of the difference between losing a hoped-for pregnancy where the parents have already become involved with their future child, and aborting a problem pregnancy?

    Some Christian’s hearts, right?

  30. Atheists seem to be so utterly … other to phoodoo. Nothing they say computes. The doctrine seems to be that how one feels is entirely prescribed by what one believes.

  31. Allan Miller: Atheists seem to be so utterly … other to phoodoo. Nothing they say computes. The doctrine seems to be that how one feels is entirely prescribed by what one believes.

    I think it’s probably true that in the vast majority of cases, nothing that theists say makes sense to atheists — and also conversely. There’s a huge gap between them, and overcoming that gap requires more intelligence, empathy, and communicative skill than most people have.

    For most theists, being human is so deeply tied to religious convictions that they find it very easy to completely dehumanize anyone who doesn’t share those convictions. (Theists also have a long history of dehumanizing those who don’t share their particular brand of theism, but atheists are utterly beyond the pale. In fact, people of faith have a long and quite bloody history of regarding atheists and agnostics as enemies of humanity.)

    At the same time, most atheists think that theism is basically a kind of collective insanity or massive failure of empirical reasoning. This is not full-on dehumanization but something quite closely related: a failure to recognize that some people have spiritual needs that are as important to them as emotional and psychological needs are to non-theists.

    It’s extraordinarily difficult for theists and atheists to recognize and affirm each other’s shared humanity.

  32. Allan Miller:
    Atheists seem to be so utterly … other to phoodoo. Nothing they say computes. The doctrine seems to be that how one feels is entirely prescribed by what one believes.

    Only if one proceeds under the assumption of good faith

  33. KN:

    It’s extraordinarily difficult for theists and atheists to recognize and affirm each other’s shared humanity.

    Lizzie:

    I don’t see why.

    I don’t either.

    KN, do you think that most of us here are struggling to “recognize and affirm” the other side’s humanity? If so, how did you get that impression?

  34. KN,

    At the same time, most atheists think that theism is basically a kind of collective insanity or massive failure of empirical reasoning. This is not full-on dehumanization but something quite closely related: a failure to recognize that some people have spiritual needs that are as important to them as emotional and psychological needs are to non-theists.

    That’s silly. Of course atheists recognize the existence of “spiritual needs”, which are mostly emotional needs under a different label.

    Emotional needs explain why guys like Mung, phoodoo, fifth, Gregory and Erik cling to their theistic beliefs despite being unable to rationally defend them.

    Emotional needs explain why Francis Collins, who is surely smart enough to perceive the shortcomings of Christian dogma, nevertheless remains an evangelical.

    Emotional needs explain why you personally fight so hard to legitimize your own spiritual beliefs and insulate them from criticism.

    We (atheists) recognize the existence of emotional needs in ourselves and in theists. Their existence doesn’t obligate us to indulge them, however, especially if doing so would be irrational.

  35. Kantian Naturalist: It’s extraordinarily difficult for theists and atheists to recognize and affirm each other’s shared humanity.

    Elizabeth: I don’t see why.

    I think you may be a rare example to us all. 🙂 I confess to finding it difficult to have any kind of sensible conversation about religious belief with with a person of strong religious belief. I don’t get the concept and I suspect I lack the emotional need that Keith refers to that might make me curious. On the rare occasion this arises, I tend to bite my tongue or change the subject. I’m happy to live and let live but proselytism and inappropriate religious remarks in social situations irritate me. Mind you, I don’t for one moment internally demonise faitheists as not human – just emotionally needy.

    It’s religious authority that many religious leaders still seem to assume is justified that we should strongly resist.

    ETA eliminate passive

  36. keiths,

    KN:

    It’s extraordinarily difficult for theists and atheists to recognize and affirm each other’s shared humanity.

    Lizzie:

    I don’t see why.

    I don’t either.

    KN, do you think that most of us here are struggling to “recognize and affirm” the other side’s humanity? If so, how did you get that impression?

    I’m equally bemused. My views on others’ beliefs are similar to those of H. L. Mencken:

    “We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.”

    I certainly don’t consider theists inhuman. Inhumane, on occasion, but not inhuman.

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