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An Unfriending

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A Facebook friend, KL, posted the following status update:

KL is so tired of hearing about atheists molesting children, blowing people up, forming malitias in order to kill cops attending a funeral, etc. Er wait...

I commented:

The atheists spent most of the previous century murdering millions of peasants and eradicating Jews. It’s about time the religious types got in on the evil.


Stalin took the place of the deity and Hitler was a Catholic.


Don’t forget Mao and Pol Pot. Atheists win the body count by tens of millions.


The only difference between a religion and a dictatorship is the object of worship. In a dictatorship, usually there is a person who actually exists, and in a religion, the object of worship is usually imaginary. In both, there is blind obedience to something inane, a means to identify and dehumanize the out-group, and people who are willing to die/kill for something stupid. People perpetrate evil in the name of their beliefs (religion/politics), not in the name of their lack of belief (atheism).


Atheism is as much a faith as any other religion. You appear to be saying that some atheists are murders not because of their faith, but because of their politics. That’s the “no true scotsman” fallacy. Stalin and Mao were atheists *and* mass murders. Nice try at moving the goalposts, though.

Or, to flip the fallacy the opposite way, those pedophiles are not representative of any religion we attach to them. The deviance is separate from the faith. In other words, they’re about as Catholic as Hitler…


You seem to be trying hard to misunderstand my point.

The political philosophy takes the place of the religion. All the familiar trappings of traditional religions are there. Instead of a bible, an imaginary friend, or circumcised genitalia the shibboleth is the flag, the uniform, the little red book...

And if you think religious types need to catch up, I think you should review some history books. What century doesn't have crazy religious murderers?


O.K., then, why did you start with a crack suggesting that religionists are responsible for bad stuff and implying that atheists are free from such moral defects?

I say crazy murderers are part of the human condition. You may pretend I am ignorant of history, but atheists still win the body count. Treating people as means instead of ends makes for a more efficient killing machine.

My contention that atheism is a faith actually embraces your conflation of politics and religion. Similar to bibles and flags, atheists worship the idea of science as means to truth.

Instead of missing your point, I find it unsharp. Did you not mean to imply some sort of religionist inferiority?


Dogma does cause people to do bad stuff. A lack of belief in something does not, cannot, because it stands for nothing. It's a fact that people blow themselves up, and others, in the name of religion (traditional and political). Let's say Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were atheists with respect to all traditional religions. They still didn't kill in the name of beliefs they didn't hold. They killed in the name of the ridiculous and/or misguided beliefs they did uphold, their political religions.

If science were a faith, it would be the best one we could have because it allows for improvement, if performed correctly is blind, and has no authority other than supporting data. If Hitler had "worshipped" science, he would have arrived upon a more complete theory of evolution, one that does not support his idea of racial superiority. Dogma (in religion and politics) is mostly static. The only time religion changes is to suit a political sentiment or to keep from becoming so irrelevant as to go extinct.

But you're missing another point here. There is no "faith" in something that can be proven, so "faith in science" is nonesensical. Yes, I know, science has gaps, but scientists don't have faith in what they don't know. That's religion's job.

I certainly do imply that religious thinking is inferior, but not necessarily religious people. Unless, of course, they are trying to kill people because of their religion, which seems to be on the news every day.


It is nonsensical to assert atheists have a lack of belief or faith. That one rejects magic says nothing about what one accepts. Every person has a framework.

How can you support or prove your assertion that Mao was misguided? Now it is my turn to wonder if you are up to speed on history; but, we can likely agree that Mao was a awesome success by his values. Mao killed in the name of his beliefs, which included an essential denial of god. You run in circles trying to find just the words that can absolve atheism from its ugly history.

Further, how can an atheist prove anyone is misguided? By rejecting an absolute, one accepts the absence of an absolute.

I am familiar with the atheist contention that the existence of god is not required to hold “normal” moral values. The argument is incomplete. Ultimately, it becomes an expression of faith or an appeal to democracy (tyranny of majority). The Golden Rule is subjective. And it is of little use in making hard moral choices.

Science is, in fact, a faith. It is a reliance on scientific method as means to determine truth. Which is not a question of science at all, but a matter of philosophy and epistemology. Just like what we’ve been calling religions. Dancing in more circles of definitions will not logically separate a faith you like from those you find inferior.

How do you separate “religious” thinking from the blind faith of science? You claim the religionists hold inferior beliefs. I claim we all hold faiths and counter that then you have no ground upon which stand in judgment. Your argument requires more than observation and experiment; it is beyond scientific method. My argument lies where yours must go, into the nature of knowledge and experience.

Evolution is example of faith and of dogma. It uses the tools of science to support a philosophical faith. There is no scientific method behind macro-evolution; it is impossible to run duplicate trials.

The evolution/selection theory does not change, evidence must be fit to it. And absence of evidence is never an obstacle to the faithful. They “trust” that “missing links” will be found. Talk about an object of worship! Evolutionists may as well spend their time waiting for a sign of next messiah.

To say that scientists don’t have faith in what they don’t know suggests you are not versed in the criticism of science. Picking one example out of the headlines, are you aware that the earth has not warmed for the last 15 years? Globalistical Warmening is the work of scientific faith. Science is as corrupt and corruptible as any other discipline practiced by humans.

To claim that religionists have inferior thoughts but are not inferior people is glib. Your original point was to mock them. Your condescension rests on illogic or unawareness. Your argument is right off the playground: “my faith is better than your faith”.

Thanks for the exchange.


First thing I heard on the news this morning: Catholic sex scandal continues.


Sounds like someone has been reading Conservapedia. Good luck with that.


As a devotee of science, you must realize that snark is not logical argument. You’re losing where it counts.


That wasn't an argument. I simply don't care about talking to a deluded person I don't know about this. It's pointless and boring to hear all the same creationist arguments but less eleoquently than their sources. Are you a fan of Kent Hovind? You need more PowerPoint slides.


We were having a pretty well-mannered exchange. Now you switch to personal attacks. If I am deluded, then counter the argument. If you cannot, then concede that atheists are no better than anybody else.

Show me where I have contended anything “creationist”. To point out the flaws in evolution-as-science is not to endorse an alternate view..

I find it sad—and sometimes pathetic—that powerful scientific minds cling to such a flawed theory. They could be devising something more robust, but their faith binds them to foolishness.


Personal attacks? You're trying to inflate my FB post into an atheist's manifesto.

I don't need to counter your arguments. Others can and do better than I. And the more this goes on, the less I am interested. I've heard all this before: the dictator argument, faith in science/evolution, gaps/flaws in science, atheism is a religion… In my opinion, all of those arguments are already settled. If you're not aware of that, I don't really care.

If you have a better way of arriving at truth than the scientific method, I’d like to hear it and I’m sure many others would. As far as I can tell, it is not perfect but works a lot better than praying for data....


You’ve called me deluded and not eloquent. Those are personal attacks.

When did I endorse prayer? That’s another strawman to stand beside your creationist claim (which are also personal attacks in your context).

If, in your opinion, the matter is settled, then you are not acting from observation and experiment. You have made a philosophical judgment. Opinion is not the scientific method.

Further, isn’t something “being settled” a working definition of dogma?

If you’ve heard the arguments before, then counter them. You claim to be uninterested, and uncaring about my awareness. I suggest that is merely cover for an inability to field an effective argument.


Dude, get a life. You'll have to take my word for it, I don't care to be in a debate with you or anyone. That is not my passion. Why is it so important to you to discuss this with someone you don't know?


You’ll love this…I have the time because it is Good Friday and the markets are closed.

I am seeking truth and better arguments. Clarity is easier with people we do not know. Personal history and assumptions do not get in the way.

It’s important because the kind of wisecrack you posted can be a precursor to or support of persecution for faith. Would you tolerate a similar smear noting that a black person committed some crime and therefore white people are superior?

If you’re going to post insults in public, you risk that someone might challenge them. This time, you got me.

At this point, KL unfriended me.


Posting on FB superior sounding ideas to please the faithful. One should not have to support/defend statements made. A person could appear uncool by having to take a position rather than blathering slick pronouncements.

One should not have to support/defend statements made.

I think this is a maxim for our current culture. Post-modernism is all about feeling and display. It is tribalism.

When first commented, I didn’t know this guy was an atheist. And although he signals his membership in several atheists groups, he can’t seem to produce even the standard arguments.

To me, it would be a hollow life.

I also found it interesting that he never let it go. If he did not want to be bothered, and defending the implications of his statement are not his passion, why not drop it?