Monday, April 16, 2007

From Atheist to Fundie: Pious Fraud, or S&M Fantasy?

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The story of A.S.A Jones can be found on his site, ExAtheist.com.

A.S.A (Artistically Spreading Antitruths) Jones was a SCIENTIST! For real! A big old materialist who read philosophy and went to college and everything! He really was "one of us!" Then he "saw the light" and realized that premarital sex was evil, homosexuals were abominations, and that he was, too. Amazing how someone can completely empty his ego and retain self-obsession!

I graduated from college with high honors and my prized science degree, but I had lost any motivation to apply that knowledge. I recalled staring at a swarming mass of termites one sunny day, thinking that, from a comparative distance, there was little difference between them and us. I smashed a few dozen with my shoe and ground them into the dirt. What did it matter if these died? What did it matter if they all died? People died every day. The end result would always be death for both the individuals and, eventually, the species.

Humanity had become nothing more to me than an organized network of molecules and enzymes. I viewed people as mere organisms going through their daily routines of metabolizing nutrients and expelling wastes, ovulating their eggs and ejaculating their semen. I knew the psychology of humans almost as well as their anatomies. The hidden things that pulled them this way and that were very evident to me. They were like guinea pigs, only more predictable, and my chief form of entertainment was to see how skillfully I could manipulate them. I knew that I was supposed to care about them, but I didn't. I couldn't. If mankind's goal was to alleviate its own suffering, a bullet to the head was more efficient and made more sense in my thinking than screwing around with medication or disease control.

I read the whole thing and posted a bit about it on Normal Bob Smith's MySpace blog. (Click on " ATHEISM TO CHRISTIANITY - by A.S.A. Jones" on the right-hand column under his blog entries.) Here is the main post:



Long Post...

This is where I stopped reading and knew this to be at least mostly false:

"I tried several other atheist philosophers (he doesn't mention any names other that Sartre? Hm...--alleee) who tried to assign meaning to a life created by chance and I decided that they were all full of crap. If our life is the result of randomness and chance, it is meaningless, no matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise."

No scientist who understands evolution would intelligently claim that "our life is a result of randomness and chance." Yes, there are some who don't, and perhaps chemists don't. I don't know. My question is: what part of "natural selection" implies random chance?

"I set out to take advantage of moral relativism and effectively destroyed any of my remaining conscience."

That has nothing to do with atheism and everything to do with belief. Moral relativism is a position that is far more compatible with Christianity and other monotheistic beliefs than "atheistic philosophy." Note he didn't mention Ayn Rand. Any atheist turning to philosophy worth his salt at least cracks open some Rand. Who hated moral relativism. Hate her all you want--she was VERY flawed--but she was definitely against moral relativism. As was Kant--and Nietsche. How many atheistic philosophers ARE moral relativists? I can't think of any. Anyway, here is why christianity is morally relative. All moral no-nos, dos and don'ts, and all laws--are subject to God's whims. If he changes his mind, the morals change. Yet He is not subject to those very laws. This is basically Might Makes Right. Christian morality is meaningless--no such thing. Morality is about making judgement, and Christians are prohibited from judgement. Just obedience. So I don't know what this moron is talking about. If he is for real, his studies took him in a ... retarded...direction. Leading to Christianity.

"Materialism means life is meaningless." Again, not a position of atheistic philosophers, and directly opposed to the uplifting philosophies of the greatest atheistic and agnostic SCIENTISTS out there: Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins. If he had read the most prominent works of contemporary atheists, he would know that. If he had dipped his toe in the koi pond of an ancient and yes, ATHEISTIC RELIGION, Buddhism, he would know that. Did he live under a rock? Public school? No internet? Or perhaps the self-important ramblings of AN UNDERGRAD? Hmm...


Here's where my brain started rotting. A Being Authored Morality. I can feel the grey matter leaking. The glurge of this urban-legend-type prose rises. He falls to his knees, he humbles himself, he gets all wet and covered with tears, the Dominus--I mean, the Christ pointing an accusing whip--I mean, finger, at him. It's practically sexual, this hedonism. Science provides him no Funnyland, no way to expell the built-up ego that was yearning for spirituality. He couldn't find a way to make it himself. He found no enlightenment from facts, which never owed him enlightenment in the first place. Which he would know, had he taken a little peek at Buddhism, Carl Sagan, etc, etc.

Which proves something important. Atheism is not The Answer. It means nothing in and of itself. When one is a seeker, a reactionary position has no answers, nor does it owe anyone answers. It just is. A negative position cannot be a positive position, no matter how hard you wish upon a star.

I don't have the answer either. Atheism just says "the answer does not lie in belief, and it does not lie in surrender." However, what it CAN do for some people is to wipe away the fog of belief, in order to clear a path for thought. It can't make you happy, or give you what you want. But it can help you be free to do so. Some people just don't know that they are free.

Anyone interested, we have a site about reasons to be atheistic, http://www.graveyardofthegods.org .

I kept going, as my curiosity and frustration rose: was it real or was it fraud? My conclusion is that anyone can become a fanatic. I believe his acceptance of moral relativism helped him accept the moral relativism of Christianity, although he posts against moral relativism on his site. I hope he enjoys his "humility."


P.S. I enjoyed his post called "
THE GAME DESIGNER ARGUMENT WHY GOD'S MORALITY IS OBJECTIVE "

(What is wrong with that phrase? Anyone? Anyone? Hint: "God's Morality.")

In this post, he calls our purpose a game God designed. Life is a game. Yet he says that atheists' lives have illusionary purpose, because they have to make it for themselves. Only a God can give meaning. Presupposition. Sorry. My life is not a game--it's real. I can't even apply a fallacy to this, because it's not an argument, just an assertion.

5 comments:

Jerry said...

I happened to embrace rigorous atheism--not the diluted, adulterated, empiric "atheism" of Richard Dawkins and Carl Sagan--much before I discovered the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Indeed, one of the biggest reasons I found Rand's Objectivism very attractive was because it gave me a solid MORAL foundation to ground my atheism; a foundation that was Objective, i.e., mind-independent, reality-bound, anti-subjectivist, anti-materialist, anti-dualist, and anti-relativist.

No aspect of Rand's metaphysics has yet been challenged successfully, which strongly demonstrates that Objectivism's grounds for atheism is not only robust but a necessary and logical derivative of her metaphysics.

Nonetheless, her epistemology and ethical theories are the most important aspects of her philosopher. Indeed, Rand argued that philosophy *is* epistemology. Right from the metaphysical rejection of dualism and monism till the epistemological defense of the axiomatic nature of sense organs and the rejection of omniscience as a standard of knowledge, Rand's atheism is well-integrated into her philosophy.

That is one of the many reasons why I was delighted to stumble upon her philosophy of Objectivism. I knew atheism was the right answer, i didn't know why or how to defend it. Rand showed me how.

Visit my site: http://ergosum.wordpress.com to see on what grounds I defend my atheism, and also to learn about Rand's philosophy.

Alison said...

I would have embraced objectivism, and I did, for awhile. But I am an anarchist, which differs a bit from Randian principles. i agree with you on her metaphysics.

Atheism is not an answer because it is simply the lack of belief in gods. Atheism is not a movement because it had no underlying principle. It should not be a movement as movements are political, and politics are bas ed on power-motivated lies, much like any religion.

I just can't embrace any kind of collectivism, even if it is in a collective against collectivism.

breakerslion said...

I vote Pious Fraud. His essay has a distinct Plantinga flavor to it.

The Science Pundit said...

Humanity had become nothing more to me than an organized network of molecules and enzymes. I viewed people as mere organisms going through their daily routines of metabolizing nutrients and expelling wastes, ovulating their eggs and ejaculating their semen. I knew the psychology of humans almost as well as their anatomies. The hidden things that pulled them this way and that were very evident to me. They were like guinea pigs, only more predictable, and my chief form of entertainment was to see how skillfully I could manipulate them. I knew that I was supposed to care about them, but I didn't. I couldn't.

Sounds to me like his molocules and enzymes (isn't he supposed to know that enzymes ARE molocules?) are a little out of balance. Someone like that who turns to the big G scares the crap out of me.

breakerslion said...

"I just can't embrace any kind of collectivism, even if it is in a collective against collectivism."

Resistance is futile. :-)