Friday, April 27, 2007

The response which was posted here is removed since the misunderstanding has been cleared up entirely and without prejudice.

As always, I agree with just about everything you have to say on this subject. What we may need to start calling "vulgar atheism" is a secular version of Bonhoeffer's "cheap grace": a short path to difference and distinction, and an easily hefted club with which to beat nonconformists (including, unfortunately, one's natural political allies).

A left that fails to defend freedom of conscience, period, is not going to be an effective force against authoritarianism. And a scientific worldview that tosses logic out the window is not going to be an effective force against obscurantism.

This stuff would infuriate me, if it didn't depress me so much.
Thank you, Phila. I am glad we agree on so much. It's frustrating to see people who are supposed to be intelligent being so petty and irrational while insisting on the highest standards from others while insisting on their right to be sloppy and pointlessy rude. Clearly it's a form of self-ingulgence and one-ups-manship, getting the most attention. And, as this episode shows, they're willing to give up the core values of freedom to satisfy their preferred ideology. And anyone who refuses to go along with their club rules will be ridiculed and shunned. As if I wanted to play with them in the first place. Working with them is a pain in the neck and nothing will get done. I'd rather have a handful of responsible adults to work with than all the admirers of the snark masters combined.
And, as this episode shows, they're willing to give up the core values of freedom to satisfy their preferred ideology.

Or to stray dangerously from those values, at any rate.

I've devoted a lot of energy to arguing that the debate over religion is a glue trap set up by the Right. I think they're very happy to have people arguing over ontology while they carry us along in their hellbound handbasket.

My experience is that people don't want to hear about it, though. I haven't generated quite as much anger as you, possibly because fewer people read me, or because I tend not to single out other bloggers for critique, or maybe because my arguments are considered too goddamn silly or rarefied to respond to...I really don't know.

Personally, I respect PZ Myers and Interrobang a great deal. Actually, I'd find American atheism a bit less stultifying if PZ occupied the position held by Dennett or Dawkins...he's a lot smarter and more interesting than either of them, IMO.

Still, far too much of the religion debate does boil down to superficial identity politics, and I think that's precisely why the Right promotes and benefits from it. I don't expect everyone to agree with me that The Sickness Unto Death is in many respects a more accurate and useful account of the human condition than The God Delusion...but I'd at least like them to notice when they're being played for suckers by the GOP noise machine.

I understand your anger, and share the political and moral convictions from which it springs. And I admire your energy. Having butted my head against this wall, I'm pretty much reduced to indirection and irony, these days. The coward's way out, natch....
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