This article may be written with haste (no doubt still bearing the scars thereof), but it is born of necessity. Let us dispel ignorance if afforded a chance to do so.
To be an atheist involves enough stigmatization (for which I blame most atheists) without it now being considered a mold that (type)casts all atheists.
I hate it when I enter a debate and people assume they know what I am going to say because … ooooh, I’m an atheist.
I realise that to announce one’s atheism is to invoke a barrage of assumption about one’s opinion. But when it is the following mold, I get really pissed off:
Atheist = Wikipedia preacher, Liberal, Democrat, arrogant, believes in man-made global warming, believes the official explanation for 9-11…
Let me start at the beginning of the list and work my way through it. I am, of course, speaking only for myself.
Wikipedia preacher – I am no fan of Wikipedia, and you will never see me referencing it, even for a casual discussion. Wikipedia is a crowd-sourced, community-reviewed, informal, and appreciably errant construction that attracts that appeals to people who want to say something meaningful, but can’t bother to treat facts and sources seriously. I don’t care how much Wikipedia helped you in your ‘personal awakening,’ if you quote Wikipedia, you are putting on a clown costume in front of people who know how to be academically honest. Learning how to reference precise and credible sources is the first step towards constructing an argument worthy of even being read, let alone considered. It is for this reason that Wikipedia is so popular with the undergraduate ‘I study science’ atheist. The irony is that quoting proper sources is not something that requires one to be a professional scientist, or even a university graduate; it merely requires that one to dispense with lethargy! So, yes, I am with other groups on this topic; it fucking frustrates me when atheists reference Wikipedia to back up or expand their arguments. And spare me the “it’s convenient” excuse, please. Rather admit that you don’t know where to find credible sources, and that you probably have never engaged any proper source in your pursuit to ‘study’ science. Resorting to Wikipedia in a debate is like picking up a crude club with which to bludgeon your opponent—living in the information age, we should move beyond such intellectual barbarity.
Arrogant – I cannot deny being arrogant, but I was even more arrogant when I was a christian, so, indeed, I’ve made some progress. The occasional bout of self-doubt has done wonders to cure my christian confidence that I just know I’m right. Much of my remaining arrogance is a byproduct of my philosophy in debate with people I don’t know: treat everyone like an idiot until they prove themselves not to be one. Respect, after all, is earned. Those who understand what I say and the context in which I say it, strangely enough, don’t find me arrogant at all. My Facebook page has received many personal messages of heartfelt sincerity, thanking me for my contributions and imploring me to never be silent. It is for that reason that I dip my quill in ink and drag it across parchment.
Liberal – Before I came to Singapore and tasted the fruits of conservatism, I was, indeed, a liberal. Though, today, I am utterly ashamed that I ever trusted a primate species (such as our own) with the right to liberty. I realise now more than ever that primates can live one of two possible lives: wild and naked in the jungle, or clean and caged in a lab where the occasional experiment is performed on them. And the fact that I don’t trust 99% of humans with liberty and freedom has also changed my views on democracy. I can’t possibly see Singapore continue to be as safe, clean, and prosperous as it is now if it were to abandon conservatism for the incessant strikes and plagues of criminal activity that results from freedom being given to those not worthy of it. If it works on a small scale, there is sufficient evidence that it will work on a large scale; the unfortunate thing is that no large western country has tried what Singapore has done, so there remains a false sense of hope for liberalism, despite all evidence that it hastens social decay.
Democrat – I have tremendous respect for Democritus and his concept ‘chosen of the people’ and more so his atomic theory for the universe (a postulation unfathomably advanced for its time). But, as I have come to appreciate that 99% of the remaining Homo (man) species is unfit of the accompanying title Sapien (thinking), I can’t trust them with choosing who rules society. Democracy in its purest form today is populism (majority rule). The common man has no interest in thinking and thus choosing the best leader; instead, they common man chooses the leader that will further his own ambitions to the detriment of all others. To explain my political views adequately would necessitate a lengthy article on its own, but it would appear similar to communism, only nobody would be able to own anything material. Socrates said it is the pursuit of material wealth that prohibits man from living justly, so banning ownership of anything material, to me, seems a prerequisite for improving the current, outdated social and political models we desperately cling to for societal stability.
Belief in man-made global warming – I support the idea of ongoing global warming, but I don’t believe it is man-made. I see the constant harping on our carbon emissions as a way to tax the common man to death for his attempts to suck up some of the remaining oil under the soil. Oil, after all, is the engine that drives developed countries, and the last think the richest nations of earth want (for they behave awfully similar to rich individuals) is that the poor nations now get their turn at filling up the fuel tanks of their budding economies. Why would we allow the remaining fossil fuels to grow the third world when that erodes the possible growth of the first world who could ‘better’ use that remaining energy. One has to be blind to not see how desperate the urge is to convince developing nations that they must not burn their oil reserves, and, instead, opt to be heavily taxed if they do so. The primary goal is to make burning your own fossil fuel more expensive than just buying the energy saving technology given to you in exchange for directing your fossil fuel to nations who would burn it on your behalf. All the planets in our solar system are warming up, and that suggests that the sun is the cause. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, yes, but it is nothing compared to water vapor, which is orders of magnitude more effective at warming the atmosphere of a planet. And, in case you don’t know this, water vapor occurs naturally on a planet like ours (the clouds), and it has never caused us to burn to a crisp. There are cycles, some lasting centuries, when it comes to weather patterns on earth, so, relax, and enjoy spreading your carbon footprint in defiance of those who would spread it on your behalf.
Belief in the official 9-11 story – There are so many discrepancies in the official explanation for what cause the two towers to fall that one has to be deliberate not to notice them. I am not going to give a tired argument more weight by repeating it, but some of the things that just don’t add up in the official story include (1) orange-glowing aluminum leaking from the towers before their collapse. Aluminum does not glow bright orange when melted. Though, I have personally made and tested thermite and it does turn bright orange in daylight. (2) The hole in the side of the pentagon has not a single piece of debris from the commercial jet that supposedly smashed into it. Something weighing 40+ tons cannot crash and not leave a single shred of metal. (3) WTC building 7 just imploded on itself. Nothing hit it, it just caught fire and somehow collapsed without any structural damage. No building that uses steel-reinforced concrete has EVER (EVER) collapsed from a fire. To even suggest the fire caused the collapse is like claiming that hitting a bee at highway speeds is what caused your car’s front to smash in and the engine to pin you down in your seat. Come on! Does anyone who blindly parrots the ‘deductions’ of the ‘scientists’ in the 9-11 story even know anything about science themselves?
I hope that clears it up for some people. Just because I am an atheist and proponent of evolution, does not mean that I am a clear-cut case that will present the same arguments and justifications as every other atheist you have ever had the pleasure of meeting. There is still a thing called individuality, and I consider it the only eccentricity worth developing. I do my own research, my own thinking, and a I come to conclusions that may or may not be what you would expect of an atheist. It is also for this reason that I will debate with practically any theist, on any topic, in the hopes of hearing an original argument.