Lack of Atheist Support for Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson?

Let's start of with a few basic identifying points: I am an anti-theist gnostic atheist. I understand what I am implying by claiming 'gnostic'. Imagine atheism is as the theory of gravity is. Would you contest someone stating gravity is a fact despite not knowing every tiny detail? If so, then nothing I am willing to expel energy saying will change your mind on my gnostic atheism. Some my wonder why I'm making a defense about this here. My point will be clear as I progress.

The anti-theist part of my personal label is a distinct need to see religion end. One could even call me a 'moderate anti-theist' since I have a rank and file of religions that must go now, down to religions I won't even waste a breath on judgement nor condemnation. Now that my base foundation for my opinion is established...

Why is there a vacuum of failing support around Dr. Tyson? This has become so problematic that atheists are making hate videos about Dr. Tyson... just because he is a declared agnostic. This isn't anything new,  people. He has been saying this for years.

I know how this happened, of course. I have an idea why this happened. The hatred for Dr. Tyson fully spawned with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzSMC5rWvos

This is, admittedly, an abbreviated version of this: http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/listen/2011/05/25/an-america...

Here is where I take issue. Several issues really:

This man is an active scientist and pursuer of space exploration. It is not in his job title to disprove religion, though he will do so when the claim enters his realm of science. He makes an active effort to explain how and why religion is wrong in the dictum of the natural universe. Other than that, he has never really cared any more than his need to improve education.

He works in a field that is only 4-6% known fact and the remaining features are undetermined. Assigning a term insisting that he knows anything as fact is frankly foolish. He has not spent time understanding why religion interferes with his science, he only spends enough time to slap it out of his science when he can do so factually; then it's back to the stars.

He has picked a path out for his life that he has traveled since he was 9 years old. It is safe to say that he knows more about his own beliefs than others know them.

Then there is the rejection he gets from the atheist community... one that really gets me more irritated than all the rest: why are fellow atheists rejecting him for not sharing their perception of what he believes? Where have I seen that behavior before... oh, right... theists have a nasty habit of doing that.

Those of you that are mad at him at this point, there is one last reason that I am aware of: you feel he misrepresented us. Boohoo. Let's reflect a little on this, shall we? He keeps saying he doesn't want to be apart of a movement because he is way to busy with science. So it is safe to estimate that his take on the atheist community is not always going to be accurate because of his lack of contemplation. Is it about stars? Science? No? Then it isn't on his mind. Has he contributed to your bevy of evidence? Yes? The what are you bitching about? Rejecting someone based on terms you demand of them is fucking wrong. While you're complaining about Dr. Tyson isn't the hero the atheist community needs and he is letting everyone down because of it, he has been building the title "astrophysicist" into a cool thing again. He educated with entertaining programs. He is about to have "The Cosmos" brought back to television... ON FOX! One of the least educational standard television stations is getting one of the most appealing science shows of our time!

Now... I don't want to dwell on bitching about this. When making a complaint, rather than just saying "you're wrong"; I find it more effective to explain what I believe to be the right perception. This is where that explanation of my labels come in. But first, I hate labels... however, they do consolidate a lot of information into a few words. Then all you have to do is garnish them with a few details to give people a rough idea where you stand. The reason I hate them is that within and without the atheist community, too much is assumed of me. Within, I am assumed to be a "militant atheist", which I am not. I was... but that wore out fast (which will be explained shortly). Externally, it is assumed that I have something against God, Yahweh, Allah, Krishna... whatever. I don't. Also about to be explained.

Gnostic Atheist: I believe that from all venues of scientific thinking combined, we can conclude God is not real with 99.999999% accuracy based on fact. Like gravity. Or why bicycles work (seriously, look it up... we still haven't figured that one out completely: http://why.knovel.com/all-engineering-news/635-engineers-disprove-c...). Easy enough to grasp, I think.

Anti-Theist: this is where I come under the most contention. I believe religion is poison. Here is where I leave most anti-theists: humiliating a theist just drives them back in a faith-hole and brings them to protect themselves with their ring of irrationality. Respecting them is approving of their psychosis (mass delusion). We know from psychology that this only reinforces the madness. So respect is out of the question, too.

It struck me when I was listening to Penn Jillette go on about how he appreciates the humanity of proselytizing yet doesn't like the insanity of believing in God. He mentions that it would be inhumane for a Christian to think you are going to hell by the hands of God and not say anything (putting aside the obvious immorality of the religion in the first place). It then dawned on me that we (the humanist part of us) are also sometimes calling out due to some moral integrity. I suddenly felt a little Christian-like again. If this is the same tactic they use that I'm embracing, how is this going to ever gain footing?

Granted, they do a fine enough job converting themselves off of God with their missed Armageddon dates and what have you... but I don't recall being deconverted. I don't recall anyone I know being deconverted by anyone else. It's always a personal realization. I'm sure it happens... but it can't be that often. I've heard fellow atheist brag about their conquests in deconverting people... but I never get to meet these people in question. It seems odd that someone would take the dramatic change in world views of another and yet not be associated with them any further. Most of the well known debaters like Aron Ra mentioned that the "armor of faith" is almost impossible to overcome. But I want to help liberate people....

It finally occurred to me when Dr. Tyson was going on about how scientist of faith are less likely to exist the more they statistically know about science... capping it off with the top of the top are only 7% religious. He was referencing something else (suggesting if you wanted to know how people are religious, start with understanding that 7%), but the point of lack of education being related to faith became clear. Of course, my first response was to try to educate people away from God with reason and science. The "Armor of Faith" shot right up. I realized that if Aron Ra, Dawkins, and Harris had issues getting around it, I'm not going to fair much better.

After much thought... I recalled some quote that made an enormous amount of sense in this. I forget the movie... but the quote was something to the effect of "if you tell them the truth, they might be skeptical; but if you allow them to have the information they need to conclude the truth on their own, they will be more inclined to accept fact when they drew the conclusion themselves." You can't simply tell them they are wrong. You will have a hard time still presenting the facts and evidence and then telling them they are wrong. But... if you allow them to become educated, present them with facts, let them apply critical thinking all on their own... they will be quicker to see the truth than just telling them the truth. Heh... this is an awful long way to go to simply say Dr. Tyson is doing exactly what he needs to do so get off his ass. He gets them excited about the stars and space... and once they get to know it a little better... it hits them: "I don't see God anywhere up here. Oh well, God is boring."

As a note to this rant/opinion/suggestion... at some point, we might have to accept that faithful people are actually brain damaged. No shit. So... if this is true, talking to the faithful maybe as useful as a poopy-flavored lollipop. With that said, the harder you fight them; the more they struggle. Yet, we need to protect the youth from the damage. So... in my anti-theist agenda, I have taken to promoting education instead of directly attacking religion. Directly attacking the controlling power rarely has a positive outcome. I make no bones about faith being a joke... but I honestly think it is too late for them if they are devote enough and old enough. I want to protect and secure the next generation. That is why I am a huge education advocate. With this considered... I honestly would prefer to keep Dr. Tyson in the role he plays now and not the role we want. It would be awesome to have him out himself as an atheist, but then he would be cutting off some access to the people- namely the children- within faith. Fuck that. I hope he stays right where he is. WE know he is on our side. We don't need our precious egos stroke to be able to say we have the worlds sexiest astrophysicist in our ranks. They need him more.... and we need him to stay with them so he can wash that haze out of their mind. More info on that here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.00...

and here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AJU49PpHqo

Any supporters of Dr. Tyson? Anyone still supporters of me??? Hahaha. If so, you might like to give my interview of Dr. Tyson a read. If you like it, share it. http://news.yahoo.com/neil-degrasse-tyson-space-mining-future-nasa-...

Views: 279

Tags: Neil, Tyson, anti-theism, atheism, deGrasse, gnostic, science

Comment by Robert Karp on May 8, 2012 at 10:32am

Totally jealous of your interview with NDT, not be confused with NPH! 

I think atheist's rants are unfounded however, at the same time I get it. I mean he's a brilliant man, incredibly intelligent and we would love for him to speak for us. Who wouldn't. However for NDT his passion for science is enough for me, because the default position makes him anti-religion as well. So although he is not at the forefront of the atheist movement, I have no problem with that. He is at the forefront of the movement of science and reason and that is enough for me and it should be enough for everyone else.

Comment by Atheist Exile on May 8, 2012 at 10:45am

NdGT is a scientist first. Plus he's the new host of the new Nova. Plus he's a public figure trying to rally support for science. His self-identification as an agnostic is fine with me. If it takes certainty to be an atheist, then I would call myself an agnostic. It's just a label for crying out loud. Sometimes, I swear some atheists haven't entirely shed their religious baggage . . . they can act like believers sometimes.

I think NdGT is doing what's best for NdGT. He's an eloquent, charismatic, charming champion of science and skepticism. Isn't that good enough. He's doing more than most for atheism and science . . . and don't forget: science often leads to atheism.

Or agnosticism.

Comment by JD Stockman on May 8, 2012 at 2:19pm

Fanaticism is a habit I have realized is one of those traits you don't know you have from days of being holy and devout. I realized recently, in fact, that I am... was... a fanatic. Arguing to win and be right is a fanatical behavior in my opinion. Speaking to the person, about the person, for the person... that is genuine morality. I understand why Dr. Tyson says he doesn't have the energy to be an atheist. There are entirely too many variable to account for and he will be far more effective just education and letting the results of that education do the work for him.

Comment by Mabel on May 8, 2012 at 2:19pm

I'm going to let him get away with it, partly for reasons Atheist Exile stated a few hours ago, and partly because I know a successful 'wiggly worm out' when I see one lol.

We atheists know he is more on our side that the theists side, wink. Personally, I think he was basically saying the subject is too complicated for him to contribute the time it would take to seriously debate the matter, and be able to continue the standard of his life's goal of educating people about science.

Comment by JD Stockman on May 8, 2012 at 2:34pm

The links just before the self-aggrandizing advertisement for my poor ailing interview is actually some insightful theories. Give the two a read/watch.

Comment by JD Stockman on May 8, 2012 at 3:17pm

Good point Mabel. 

Comment by Jeremy Jenkins on May 8, 2012 at 3:30pm

Bravo for this impressive post, not gonna lie I agree 100%. I mean, literally, the similarity that I was going to reply is almost word for word. He's an amazing guy, regardless too. kudos on this!

Comment by JD Stockman on May 8, 2012 at 5:01pm

Thank you for the support, sir. :D

Comment by Eric Diaz on May 8, 2012 at 6:47pm

Tyson has said that his goal is to teach people to think critically and then set them loose. you cant do anything else for them. I was disappointed when he danced around saying he was not atheist, since it seemed that he piles atheism with activism as a whole. But truth be told, is not a big deal. Carl Sagan was the same way, and Einstein. Also most people think atheist = There is No god....rather than atheist = I believe there is no god.  

Comment by Katrin Schwarz on May 8, 2012 at 8:11pm

Excellent post - I agree with you.  If Dr Tyson were labeled an atheist (militant/evil in the minds of many) then he would probably encounter much more opposition as he attempts to promote scientific education. In my opinion the strength of scientific education lies in exchanging knowledge for superstition and dogma and the strength of militant atheism lies in causing people to realize that there are well accepted alternatives to theism's superstition and dogma.

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