Continuing the discussion on accusations/questions that are often leveled at atheists, these particular accusations come from theists of all sorts of backgrounds. Fundamentalist Christians are probably the most common of course, but I have head the same accusations from Jews, Muslims, liberal Christian’s and even the occasional pagan.
This article may end up a bit long because I want to tackle several of the most common arguments as well as the historical and philosophical problems with these arguments. I've decided to break this up into a few separate posts, I'll start with the topic of pedophilia because I just ran across an article which argues this.
|Moshi Averick pictured. Smug bigotry was unavailable for photo.|
I recently ran across this article online written by a Jewish Rabbi, Moshi Averick arguing that the moral framework of “atheist philosophy” which makes it completely rational to be a pedophile. Of course there are many problems with his argument, first he acts as if there is a singular moral philosophy from the atheist view point. He takes his views from atheist philosophers such as Michael Ruse, even though Ruse’s ideas are generally not shared by much of the modern atheist movement. Of course, since they align with Averick’s ideas about atheism he assumes they must be the correct ones.
Averick dismisses any atheistic moral philosophies that are not nihilistic in nature as being irrational and then proceeds to dismantle nihilistic philosophy as if it were the sum total of all atheistic thinking. The reason for this, I think, is that theism and nihilism actually agree on several key points that are key to the type of argument Averick is making.
|Well, at least one person seems happy about it.|
Further I would point out that history does not bear out the claim Averick is making. To be fair, he does not argue that there are more pedophiles among modern atheists than there are among theists, which is good since the facts don’t support such a claim. Though to me this exemplifies the most basic problem with such arguments, Averick, and those who argue like him, do their best to posit an argument which is built entirely around bare deduction without reference to reality. They are careful to not allow the argument to make any claims about the real world results we should expect to see if their arguments were correct.
Of course he says that atheism should lead to pedophilia but he is careful to posit this as some portent of future danger rather than actually make a testable claim. This, of course, has all the same hallmarks of pseudo-science. If you design your claim to be untestable the no one can ever refute it.
|Personally I think this place has far more to do with pedophilia than atheists.|
Now, I do not want to suggest that religion is a cause pedophilia either, one has to be clear that correlation does not always amount to causation and I don’t necessarily think religion is to blame for pedophilia, it is often just a convenient cover for it. However, to argue, given the facts, that any sort of theism is going to be a cure for this problem or that a lack of theism will cause it to get worse is just laughable.
|I don't really need a caption here, it pretty much speaks for itself.|
Next up is a discussion about totalitarian regimes and the attempts that have been made to associate atheism with them.