Atheist does not mean liberal - 99% in this site do not see it that way



When I joined ThinkAtheist (I think it was a bit over a year ago) I was ecstatic to find a site which gathers people around a common topic - their atheism. However, I have come to be a bit disappointed on some little things - namely, the off-topics and the way of dismissing conservative opinions.


I've seen great discussions about the existence of God, and/or religion (which I believe should be the core of the site); but I've also seen several people post completely off-topic subjects with comments like "these stupid, religious conservatives believe x and y", etc etc. Now, I am not a "topic nazi" and of course anyone can post whatever they want, but I just want to make clear that there are a LOT of atheist conservatives out there. Therefore, last I checked being an atheist is not equal to being liberal... which is compounded by the dismissive attitude with which liberal atheists regard opinions against their own.


Case in point: AGW. When someone respectfully points out that saying "the science is settled" on this matter is akin to saying "God exists, na na na na na, I can't hear you" on the discussion about God, they get furious, and point at conspiracies by the "big money" and "concentrated power groups". Erm... no, there is no "conspiracy"; there is doubt that we can actually predict climate (and the latest news about current "predictive models" not taking into account this or that, kinda prove my point). And yes, there ARE peer-reviewed texts which state this same thing.


Also, what's with "tea-baggers"? There are of course religious nutjobs who say they represent the Tea Party; but there are liberal religious nutjobs as well. So when one is asking for lower taxes and spend cuts (instead of continuing to burden the economy with more taxes) to kick-start the economy, and as a result one is labelled with a sexual epithet, is not very nice.


To summarize: I am all for having a good old discussion, and sometimes I do not shy away from an argument... but I would like to ask you that, even if the opposing view that you have is often held by religious people, it is NOT automatically wrong (especially when they have nothing to do with religion), and that view, whichever it is, should be a priori respected...



Views: 1052

Comment by Unseen on August 30, 2011 at 2:37am

@Alejandro M   You're right. After decades of false alarms and doomsday prophecies that didn't pan out, and especially their knee-jerk blaming of every problem on human beings, especially American human beings, many have stopped listening. Recently the beehive collapse has been traced to the interaction of a virus and fungus, not cell phones or insecticides. When it comes to the scare over amphibians growing extra legs, that was blamed on people, too, but it turns out that amphibians have probably always had a fairly high rate of deformities like that. And beyond that, such deformities as an extra leg or even two heads doesn't seem to affect their viability very much, so that such genes tend to get passed along.


As for the climate change debate, it's not settled in the public mind and the researchers can blame themselves for that, what with their backbiting, attempts to damage the careers of skeptics, and criticism from insiders indicating some manipulating of the data to get the desired results. And then there's Al Gore, who would be more believable if he weren't heavily invested in a company that might well profit from some of the solutions to the "problem."


Then there was some stupidity, as when we were warned that if the vast North Pole ice sheet melted, it would raise the ocean level by several feet, when in fact ice on water melting has no affect on water level at all. Don't believe me, put some ice cubes in a glass of water. Mark the water line, then go back after the ice cubes have melted. Ice melting off land will affect ocean levels, but there's a lot less of that.

Comment by justin gold on August 30, 2011 at 3:58am

Just been looking at the site I had to stop when i saw a piece bragging Glenn Beck up."Pillar of Fire" it calls him not realizing he is a limp smoking brick since his views got him sacked from fox and this is how backward this site is, Calling for the U.N to be destroyed,what hope have you got when you don't take seriously  the rest of the worlds opinions on matters,the U.N was set up so we don't have to go through any world wars again.

Comment by Michael Klein on August 30, 2011 at 9:21am

Albert Bakker, in 1905 99.99999% of scientists were against relativity. And in 1870 99.99999% of scientists were against evolution.

in 1900 99.9999999% were probably against AGW too. I guess the debate about gravitition isn'T settled either as long as relativity isn't settled...

Comment by Frank Hamilton on August 30, 2011 at 11:02am

There are people who call themselves atheists that are nut cases.  Sociopath Ayn Rand is one.

Libertarianism is based on her principles.  A true Freethinker would never be seduced into accepting "objectivism" as a legitimate idea, a healthy skepticism would prevail.


"Liberalism" as we know it is really a red-herring, it has been co-opted by a ruling elite who uses the term to control a political agenda including a religious one known as the "Religious Left".  Any label should be viewed by Freethinkers, (including Freethinkers) and be treated with a healthy skepticism although I personally use the label Freethinker for myself since I attempt to evaluate any ideology in light of whether or not it imprisons you with its potential for dogma.  Freethought to me is the release from the imprisonment of dogma.

Any organization of "atheists" or Freethinkers should be met with the idea that agreement will not always be there on many issues but one of the defining features of this movement is an open forum to discuss rather than to dictate ideas.  For so long, religion has forced its way onto discussion by denying any criticism of it and thereby eliminating any reasonable discourse.  This is as true of the "religious left" as the "religious right" rendering these separate "sides" meaningless.


Getting "atheists" to agree on anything is like herding cats but this in my opinion this  is a good thing since testing of ideas is a healthy protection against indoctrination.  Deism is not an "atheistic" religion, an oxymoron.  Tom Paine reviled against "atheism" in Age of Reason.  The problem with people taking sides is that they tend to bask under the umbrella of ideology rather than deal with specific issues.


Freethought as I have defined it opens the door for meaningful communication and is an antidote for close-minded reactionary entrenched minds.  I relish meeting with people of a Freethought persuasion because honest dialogue can take place in this fresh aired environment.

Comment by Unseen on August 30, 2011 at 11:31am

It is the nature of science to never be 100% settled. The moment is won't consider criticism or take contrary evidence seriously, it has stopped being science. In fact, I often say that the difference between scientific beliefs and religious beliefs is that, unlike religion,k science has an institutionalized process for changing its mind. At the same time, both science and religion resist changing their beliefs. New data and theory requiring a change in scientific understanding quite rightly run a gauntlet before becoming the new orthodoxy.


Religious people will frequently say about science "That is just a theory" (e.g., evolution) but they don't realize that "theory" is a word with two primary meanings. The more familiar one might be defined as "a hunch or proposed explanation." In science, it also means something like "an explanation making sense of a body of facts." Yes, evolution is a theory and a very good one, but in the second sense, not the first.

Comment by Jimmy Boy on August 30, 2011 at 11:46am

I don't think it matters what flavour of politics one identifies with.  The key for me is evidence: any political policy should be evidence based.

So then the qeustions become more philosophical - like, what are we aiming for politically?  There is no right and wrong there.  The debate can happen about whether a proposed policy is the best way to get there, or whether a policy - even if efficient - is fair and reasonable. 

I completely disagree though that we should a priori respect anyone's views.  Let's respect people not their views.  This is something I really hate about religion: the unreasonable demand for respect...

Comment by Unseen on August 30, 2011 at 1:01pm

@Kasu  Equivocation of what particular term?

Comment by Arcus on August 30, 2011 at 4:34pm

I think hear Hume's Guillotine being sharped..

Comment by Unseen on August 30, 2011 at 4:44pm

Or Occam's Razor?

Comment by Unseen on August 30, 2011 at 5:58pm

When I was in college in the late 1960's and early '70's, a liberal was someone who trusted free speech. The thought of passing rules and laws to throttle almost absolute free speech would have been unthought of. Today, liberalism has turned around 180 degrees and even more than conservatism takes stands that people shouldn't be allowed to say what's on their minds. Today, the conservatives have become the liberals of yore on that particular matter. How the times change.


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