Friday, May 18, 2012

Atheists can be fucking irrational too.

There are some in theist and atheist thought communities who like to think atheists are wholly rational or like to think they are rational simply by maintaining a response to theistic claims. Being an atheist does not necessarily mean you are rational and it is a mistake to ever believe that. The following is a short list of beliefs held by some atheists. Some are funny and some are dangerous.

Beliefs in astrology:
Astrology can be a fun work of fiction. Doing a simple content analysis of an astrology column will show you that the advice given is so general that you can redact the astrological sign for which the advice is intended and the column can apply to any sign. It could be a fun escape from reality just as long as you still remember that it is fiction. I've encountered a number of atheists who believe in the "power" of astrology. I urge them to go back and re-visit those thoughts/beliefs. Some continue to believe(and this is apparent in larger communities too), that signs dictate who you should and should not date, which jobs you will gain, and what you should eat. That line of thinking is very silly. My advice is to gather a number of columns from different cities and compare the content. From there you ought to catch the non-specificity of the column and that it only has meaning because YOU want it to have meaning.

Beliefs in ghosts/spirits:
You can be an atheist and believe in ghosts and spirits but I surmise that you have not thought it through. Shows like "Paranormal Activity" are not evidence for ghosts/spirits. The same kind of skepticism you direct toward theistic claims ought to be applied to those beliefs too. You may very well be justified in your own personal experience(I don't see how), but no one else should believe you until you produce solid evidence which can be verified independently of you.

Beliefs in the inferiority of women:
This comes from the white male privilege wing of the atheist community. They tend to believe women are objects to be possessed, rape jokes are funny(they are not), and beat the drum of "some things are better, so shut up bitch with the complaining". The latter is not professed that demonstrably but that's the tone. Proponents of that bull shit think women are not fully capable of making their own damn decisions, believe they should "know their place" and any time a woman is documenting her experience or demanding respect/change, she's whining. They also believe "feminism" is some kind of dirty word and women's issues are minor problems which do not deserve major exposure. They hold that view because at some point they would have to get off the fucking stage. This belief is very damaging to the atheist community. We need women and their voices.

Beliefs against vaccinations and medical science:
Practicing medicine is not a perfect exercise or science but that's why it is called a practice and not a perfection. Many medicines and shots have side effects and those side effects can vary from person to person but that is not a reason to have wild and crazy views about medicine or vaccines. Unfortunately since a news article was printed in The Lancet about how vaccines cause autism(they do not), much noise has been dedicated towards trashing vaccinations, distrusting doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and health care professionals. Some of the opposition is due the notion of "all bureaucratic institutions or institutions with structure that are connected to the government are sinister". The paranoia there is due to giving a lot of credit toward an institution you think is purposely and sneakily defrauding you or in this specific case, drugging you and your kids up. The peer reviewed journals, the experiments and the evidence in no way suggests some vast conspiracy is being cooked up in order to keep you down. Vaccinations do work. Over-representing cases which are not the norm, or professionals who engage in malicious conduct is unfair to the entire community. Go look at the hard facts and stop thinking everybody and everything is out to get you. You cannot be that important. 

With respect to autism, many are still searching for a "cause". I'm sure it is tough to deal with an autistic child and some people go out of their way to provide what looks like an answer but that "answer" produces medical and scientific stagnation.

Beliefs against "evil pharmaceutical companies":
This is a position which was once professed by Bill Maher. You can probably find it on youtube but it mirrors the same exact paranoid bull shit which I previously discussed.

No single person or group has a monopoly on rational thought. Combing through our own thoughts and their implications to ourselves and others is a tough process but it is not a process we should be shy about doing.




1 comment:

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