An author called James A. Lindsay has a new book out in December called "Everybody Is Wrong About God".

Here is a link to his blog where he has given a preview of the preface and chapter list.

I thought the premise of the book was quite interesting and relevant to a lot of the discussions I have had with theists. For those who don't click through to the link I took his central message to be that he distinguishes between God (in whom he does not believe) and "God" who does exist.

The scare-quoted "God" represents what God means to theists and these couple of paragraphs sum up his view:

"Many atheist interest groups currently and ambitiously seek to “normalize” atheism, to make it a normal part of society. Once we understand “God,” we will understand why atheism, as anything that could be misconstrued as a thing, cannot be normalized. As we will see, the first thing “God” means to almost every believer is nearly always “how I understand moral values.” Second (or thereabouts), and intimately related, comes “how I contextualize myself in my culture/community.”

Atheism, from the believer’s point of view, is therefore always heard as a rejection of those values, hence we see rampant mistrust of atheists. We must understand that, alongside everything else it does, religion acts to form moral communities, which allow for a bypassing mechanism to our natural distrust of unknown others under the perception of shared moral and cultural values. Those values are grounded in the idea people call “God.” Atheism stands in negation to those values, as understood by the believer, and so the “theism versus atheism” conversation is doomed."

He goes on to say that the term atheism has become so tainted that we should move past it. He mentions the term post-theism in the preface but I've no idea what that is - I guess the book expands on it.

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I'm sorry you cannot come to graps with the difference between evidence based faith and feel-it-in-your-heart-because-you-like-it based faith...but throwing out vacuous terms like "orthogonal concept" isn't going to fill in any holes. Post-modernesque Kuhnian narratives are a decade ago...and you certainly won't drive forward any debate of any kind on an atheist website with radical-relativism and french-philosophical-blah.

Bacause there's a page break right above your comment, Davis, I'm not completely certain what you were responding to but I figure it's probably this:

Why not?

I have faith in the efficacy of vaccines, even though I know they aren't 100% effective.   Having faith in ideas (or in people) just means that you believe in them enough to make decisions on that basis.  

Faith isn't the opposite of rationality it's an orthogonal concept.

from "Dr." Bob.

I'm glad to hear that post-modern narratives are "over."  (You certainly could have fooled me!)

But it's important to note that many religionists seem to be under the impression that such twaddle (or more generally, "moral relativism" or morals-based-on-your-whim-of-the-moment) are the only possible alternative to what they believe.  That's bullshit, of course.

But morals ARE relative. If they weren't, there wouldn't be so many different positions held by intelligent people!

Post-modernesque Kuhnian narratives are over

But how many of us do you think know what that is?

Thomas Kuhn, author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions? 

Who knows? I don't, and I've been through post-graduate studies in philosophy. From my education, that is the link I'd make. Even so, I'd be hard-pressed to explain what post-Kuhnian implies. Perhaps anyone interested in figuring it out might start here

Kuhn wrote an annoying book that wouldn't go away for the longest time. Post-modernists totally devoid of education in the sciences lapped up his theory that in each age Science was yet one paradigm radically different from the next and that our new pradigm is just one more subjective world view. He implied that science isn't the objective rational entity (at least as much of one) as we think it is.

This book has been torn to shreds by the likes of Popper and North American philosophers (like several decades ago) but it kept on circulating in those departments of meaningless french philosophy and post-modern-blah-blah-heads.

Dr. Bob's narrative (like those of many who don't know Kuhnism is dead...mostly scientists who've recently read it and undergraduate arts students who go to latin-american-feminist-hegomony-studies classes) is very similar to the Kuhnian paradigm meme only he throws in meaningless postmodern terms like "orthogonal concept" to make it all the more difficult to respond. Add to that the cultural relativism...and you have a splendid package of clay that falls apart into a puddle of "who knows".

Yes Dr. modernism is quite dead. It is breathing it's last sad breaths. And yes...Kuhnism is dead. Utterly discredited a hundred times over.

I'd say don't explain Kuhn for me, I'm still behind on what post-modernism means, other than it being a way of thought that undoes modernism, which was a way of thought to undo previous ways of thought.

I know deconstructionism's in there somewhere, too.

I'll back off now!

Or you believe in them because you know they work, like your car, or the bathroom taps. 

Sure, however you want to phrase it.

Believing in ideas because they "work" in certain applications is not irrational. 

I think of the quote:

"A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." - Max Planck

It's also up to us to prove we have a coherent morality.

Simon, do those who need the proof of our morality understand coherence?

I doubt it.

One of the objectives of Atheist Ireland is to normalize the words “Atheist” and “Atheism” within society. Without going into the whole “Atheism is a worldview” debate again, the word does fall on the ear of the theist with many misconceptions. This is because it is used in a derogatory sense by them. This attitude took hold in the middle ages when it was much easier to castigate people who fell outside of the norm, which was strict belief in an Almighty God. The Churches have propagated the meme of atheism being anti-religious or anti-god or even it being Satanic and are quite happy to do so.

If people are so immature that they need to be told how to be moral with a strict set of rules then they do need a “god of morality”. However atheism is a mature position. We do not need or seek the comfort of some sky daddy or the promise of immortality to live our lives. We have a much higher moral code (imo) because we create our “rules” though careful thought and an ongoing discussion about ethical actions that aim to do the greatest good whenever possible.

Theists don’t distrust of fear Atheists because of any moral or cultural differences. They fear us for reasons they don’t want to contemplate. They fear us because we might be right in not believing what they believe. What if atheism is true and there is no god and therefore no afterlife? If theists could grasp how unlikely it is that they will not continue to experience things after they die then belief in god would disappear soon after they realised that.

In that sense atheism is a negation of their beliefs. The theists need to learn that we Atheists are not denying the existence of their god(s) or trying to prevent them from believing those things. We just do not believe what they believe and don’t want them to proselytize to us.

Atheism is becoming less tainted and more accepted as a normal position to hold. It is growing rapidly around the world and leading people into the light of reason.


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