(Some) Atheists love Mockery



The most prevalent expression of atheism on YouTube has the mentality of, “Christianity needs to be mocked out of existence.”

This was confirmed once again today in my short discussion with CultofDusty, on his Blogtv show, in which he said, “Christianity should be mocked out of existence.”

Recently, I’ve been thinking about renaming Easter to April Fool’s Day

I guess that is the problem with a belief in a zombie that supposedly walked on water even though it was not frozen. Funny stuff.

Yes. Ridicule is a really important tool. Now, you know, when you get together with somebody one on one and you want to have a serious conversation and you want to actually get a message across to them, ridicule doesnt work there, of course, but when youre in a public forum and somebody strolls up and says something utterly ridiculous like, you know, the earth is six-thousand years old, for the benefit of the other people in the audience, you cannot just sit there and take that at face value. You have to point out that that contradicts all of science, theres no evidence for it

The BEAST: America’s Best Fiend
-PZ Myers

My thoughts exactly.

What is your opinion on the use of ridicule in a debate between a theist and an atheist? by BibleBeltAtheist

Hello there, and thanks for the question!

Ridiculousness deserves, and invites, ridicule.  Factually inaccurate statements should be ridiculed for their inaccuracy, demonstrably harmful or oppressive beliefs should be shot down with extreme prejudice, and people who would pervert decency in the name of their beliefs about morality should be called out.

That being said, I feel that too many people think that ridicule must always be an ad hominem attack.  There is a dramatic difference between saying, “you believe that a cracker magically turns into the flesh of a carpenter that’s been dead for nearly 2,000 years, and I think that’s absurd,” and saying, “you believe that a cracker magically turns into the flesh of a carpenter that’s been dead for nearly 2,000 years; you’re an idiot.”  Both of these statements are ridicule, and the atheist debater may well believe both statements to be true, but only the first has a place in intelligent debate.  

I’d like to add one additional and somewhat related point here.  Just as there is a difference between ridiculing an idea, or a statement of fact, and a person, there is a difference between a fallacious ad hominem attack, and stating the truth.  For instance, it is ad hominem to say, “the pope is an asshole, and you shouldn’t follow him,” while it is a true statement to say, “the pope knew about and concealed hundreds of child rapes, and I don’t think you should follow that kind of person.”  Again, it may be quite true that any man who knows of and conceals rape, much less the raping of children, is an asshole, only the second sentence should be used in debate.

Is ridicule an effective tool in changing someone’s mind?  I suppose that depends on the person you’re speaking to.  Different people are motivated by different things.  In some cases, ridicule of an idea might cause a believer to begin asking questions, but for the most part I don’t think so.  Honestly, I don’t think much of anything can change the mind of someone who truly believes, but that’s not why we debate.  We debate for the audience’s benefit, not our opponent’s.  That’s what makes forums such as Tumblr so effective, you can debate a believer, and they can sound as crazy as they want while you sound calm and rational, and though you may never change your opponent’s mind, someone who reads your post just might come around.

As a final point, ridicule does have one other very important use.  It’s excellent for calling out people for saying or doing horrible things.  Believers use it toward atheists all the time, and giving them back some of their own bile by occasionally calling one of them a lunatic is not only a fair point of rhetoric, but is absolutely fair play.


Anonymous asked:

Hello! I have been reading your blog for a while, and I notice that there are 2 different approaches to the religious that atheists tend to take. One is the more aggressive, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens approach, and the other is a bit more gentle and sensitive, like Neil Degrasse Tyson. May I ask your opinion on these two approaches? I know you have said that ridicule is sometimes necessary to get people to think out of their box, but I'm uncertain that it produces anything other than the tried and true religious fallback to martyrdom.

Both approaches are necessary. Warranted ridicule is a powerful way of accomplishing 2 things.

1) It limits the spread of the nonsensical. For example, anyone that seriously proposes that the earth is flat would get laughed out of the room, any room. Maybe that is why the people that do believe such a thing only talk about it anonymously on the Internet. It goes without saying that the expression of warranted ridicule inoculates society from such bad ideas.

2) It changes some minds. Not all people are convinced by the sensitive approach. I was one of those. Ridicule shocked me into examining my beliefs.

I think that the believers who fall back into martyrdom instead of actually addressing the issues will not be convinced anyway, no matter how gentle or hard the approach is. The best we can do is to continue to come out as atheists (if needed, unsolicited proselytizing is annoying) and stand in defense of reality and facts in any way we can.

Thanks for the question.
Take care.