Atheists: when disbelief does not equal logic or critical thinking.

I've joined atheist forums all over the internet and even started my own local group of free thinkers to get together and have conversations that include logic and critical thinking, but I've started to notice something. A phenomenon that burst my smug little atheist bubble. There are so many articles and book and studies that say atheists are smarter, more logical, more open minded... I've come to understand that this statement is false. That's right.. I said it. Being an atheist does not automatically mean you are talking to a logical, intelligent, or even kind person. There are atheists who don't believe in vaccines, who do believe in ghosts, and will argue against you if they feel their truthiness is right even against facts and logic. I've personally been on many band wagons until I learned more, put the facts together and jumped off as quickly as possible.

One of these bandwagons was the anti vac crowd. I was 19 and I grew up with a friend who hadn't been vaccinated. I never really thought about why until I read some anti vaccine argument online. Vaccines cause Autism?! What a terrifying thought! And, in the anti vac community one tends to forget that without them far more children would be dying than getting autism even if it were true- which it's not. It didn't take much researching to find out that it was a load of bull. The main argument is that the perservative, thermisol, derived from mercury can cause autism. Autism is diagnosed about the same time that the MMR vaccine is given and it's a classic case of corelation not equally causation. Dozens of studies all conclude that vaccines do not cause autism. But one more piece of logic is missing and that is, as I mentioned before, that the sheer number of children who would die from these childhood killers (and they're called killers for a reason) makes any risk or autism completely worth it. The anti vac crowd takes the selfish stance that their child is more important than all the other children who would die should herd immunity vanish.

Another hot topic is circumscision. There is the intact crowd which believes that no child should have their genitals cut up and mutilated and every baby should go home intact. Then there's the pro circ crowd who's best argument is "everyone does it!". I've heard all the argument- it prevents STD's! Cutting up a boy's penis just in case he might get an STD later, or an infection for that matter, is like cuttin out a baby girl's breast tissue because she might get breast cancer later. Not only that, but cut American men get more STD's than intact European men. Condoms go much further than genital mutilation. I've also heard that babies don't feel pain or that it doesn't effect sexual pleasure or performance. 20,000 nerves are cut away. Tell me that doesn't effect pleasure. Women, how would you like to lose that many nerves from your clit? Doesn't sound all that pleasant, does it? Male genital mutilation was originally introduced in order to control masturbation. In some cultures it's purely religious. Either way there's zero reason to do it and much reason not to. And yet many atheists seem to be on the pro circ crowd. They seem to take insult with the term "genital mutilation" when used for males, but not for females. While I understand that no cut man wants to admit that his genitals have been mutilated against his will, mutilation is what it is by definition and it's no different from female genital mutilation.

The last big topic I've seen is veganism. While most vegans tend to be athiests, non vegan atheists tend to hate vegans. Why? Some believe it's because that they don't want to admit that they're doing something wrong. Atheists will abandon logic and jump on arguments like "but it's unnatural!" ignoring the fact that they're carrying a cell phone, typing on a computer, wearing polyesther blend clothing and eating hot pockets with a glass of milk- none of which is natural. Now, I can understand if an atheist says "i dont' care about animals or my health or the environment to screw it". This isn't a rejection of facts or logic- it's just.. well, being an asshole. But the fact is that most atheists assert argue things like: animals don't feel pain, they don't suffer, the death is painless, vegans are weak and unhealthy, it wouldn't make a difference, etc. They get mean and nasty and insulting out of defensiveness instead of being honest. The two best ways of dealing with your vegan friends or family? A. don't attack them every time they mention having a veggie burger for lunch. B. be honest and tell them you just don't care about animals/health/the environment C. listen, research, and become vegan.

When I became an atheist I had the crazy notion that other atheists were all really great people and super intelligent. While atheists are, on average, more intelligent than theists, it's not always true.. and they tend to not apply that intelligence to many things. It's true what they say- you really can't tell anything about a person by their atheism except their atheism.

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Comment by Tom Pandelaere on May 10, 2010 at 5:17am
I think you were expecting too much to begin with. People are atheists because they dislike religion. There is no other reason. Some disapprove of religion for rational reasons, others out of personal spite. I don’t care if you are a vegan. I wouldn’t even care if you were a cannibal.

I even admire you somewhat, because I eat fish nearly every day, and I would never have the self-discipline to give it up, even though I know that the seas are being pillaged on a gargantuan scale. There is nothing like a delicious salmon, trout or halibut. That said, I can enjoy tofu as well. I nevertheless only wear leather shoes.

I think vaccinations should be applied at an ad hoc basis, depending on which diseases are most likely to occur in a given environment. I am slightly autistic myself, but I shall never believe that is because of a jab I had.
As for circumcision, it’s not common in Europe, and I’m pleased to be a complete human being.
Comment by Burton Rosenberger on May 9, 2010 at 11:12pm
yeah that was my mistake I should have specified it was "made" from a bacteria vs "is" a bacteria :)

@ Bill / Jim
I currently eat a diet which includes hemp seed which has been turned into a powder. Mixing it in a little at a time with foods I eat through the day and its not bad. Smoothies, pancakes, dips, veggie patties, hemp milk even all taste good :) Also you can throw your ground flax seed in there too.

remember to post in the right thread lol, just noticed this post was in the wrong thread BUT since the thread I wanted to post off of was born out of this topic it all works
Comment by SecretWombat on May 9, 2010 at 9:50pm
There's only one thing atheists agree on - that there is no god. Even within groups that you think would share common ground (feminists, conservatives, left-wingers, pro-lifers, etc.) you'll find a broad spread of opinions. At first I was surprised that not all atheists shared my views on all topics, then I thought atheists were just more argumentative than other people. Now I think it's just people who argue on the Internet are just more argumentative than other people - myself included. And when you're arguing with people you don't get to see their non-argumentative side, likewise when you're disagreeing you aren't looking at what you agree on, so you end up thinking the disagreement is ALL they stand for.

It's nothing to do with intelligence, it's to do with different belief systems. Not all ideologies are religious after all.
Comment by Jason Spicer on May 9, 2010 at 4:52pm
Bill, you're supposed to strip the flax seed pods right off the stalk with your teeth. That way you don't need to buy petroleum-based floss. And you spit out the empty pods, either to use for mulch or as in insulating floor cover to replace carpet in order to allow sheep to be released back into the wild.

And Burton, I'm not sure if it was a typo, but B12 is a molecule produced by bacteria. It isn't a bacterium, though.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on May 9, 2010 at 2:48pm
@Burton, That's interesting I wasn't aware of hemp's amino acid complement. That said I could be a vegetarian if I could get the 9 essential through inhalation.
But until they make something palatable out of hemp I don't think you will find it on many menus.
Comment by Burton Rosenberger on May 9, 2010 at 2:33pm
@Jim DePaulo
Hemp has all 9 amino acids, and its a plant :) Though I do eat many other plant sources to get a range of amino acids.

Don't forget Iron, many people who are vegan don't get the iron because they did no research and don't realize they have to eat their iron and calcium sources close to each other.
As for B12, and vitamin D you find deficiencies in meat eaters too. B12 is a bacteria its not meat derived, so you can still get it without a supplement from plant sources if you dont wash them well (ie keep the dirt lol) but I do a supplement once a week to be safe. For vitamin D its easy, just get outside in the sun for 15 minutes a day.

As for human meat, its too salty, you would have to mix it with bleached wheat flour, water, modified corn starch, yellow corn flour, dextrose, salt, yeast, cellulose gum, natural flavoring (vegetable source). Cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, (may contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated corn oil and/or partially hydrogenated canola oil and/or cottonseed oil and/or sunflower oil and/or corn oil). TBHQ and citric acid added to help preserve freshness. Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an anti-foaming agent. ... Oh wait that's a "fish" fillet patty at Mcdonalds :)

@ myself reflecting:
I feel left out of the "7 levels of veganism," even though its a joke it has some truth to it, as I am wondering if I should even call myself vegan.

I still buy leather products, however I know and understand the "value" of having them. I drive, be it a 35mph car. I do inquire about what is in my food when out but normally I dont have to because I have done pre-research online before going out; I ask at family gatherings too. I eat a vegan diet, but I am not a typical vegan. I have found it to be a very healthy way to eat if you have done your research (as Jim DePaulo pointed out)

That said sure I am against animal cruelty, who isn't? I would go back to calling myself a "vegetarian" if people didn't assume this includes dairy, chicken, fish, or eggs at times lol. I think I need a new name to call myself so I don't easily get lumped in as quickly with people I don't associate strongly toward. "Dietary vegan" sounds good, I have always told people "I eat vegan because its healthy, but I am not vegan." What bothers me is the "whew" look on their faces and in their voice when they here this. Its like they are thinking "yes he is not a loony." The next words out of their mouths are "but where do you get your protein from," then I am like "oo an opportunity to educate someone where the school system as let them down," in my head of course.

I don't find myself advocating, but if someone starts to talk about issues they are having which I know can be related to diet I suggest they try to include more plant sources, or cut out dairy, oil etc. Or if they start making claims to someone else saying "eat olive oil its healthy for your heart," then I might jump in and point out Dr Esselstyn's research.

As for "defending" eating vegan that's fairly easy given all the studies pointing to it as a healthier way to eat, so I have never had any issues with people questioning this. But you can be perceived as "devout" trying to "convert" when everything coming out of your mouth is a foreign idea you stout as near absolute in terms of nutrition. People will assume your just crazy, they cant fathom the fact everything they have learned in school might be wrong.

I wait to see what they have to say / offer / and do to judge them if I can. Sure we are all going to "prejudge" someone but that is a survival mechanism and if you don't speak out on those prejudgments then everything will be smoother.

Well I am off to the gym, this vegan / non-vegan has a date with a hard workout :)
Comment by Lorien on May 9, 2010 at 8:56am
Foreskin.... I didn't know I was missing it till my teen years. And didn't know it was an issue until about 10 years ago! Had I known 20 years ago, my kids wouldn't be. They never asked about it today. Still don't get what the big issue is about. I'll have to ask my parents the next time to find out why they decided to do it but I think they thought it was the normal practice back then for health reasons.

As for animals feeling pain, the last time I cut a tree, it bled sap in response - LOL.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on May 9, 2010 at 7:22am
I don't hate vegans, but I do hate assholes.
Comment by Christopher on May 9, 2010 at 6:26am
I'm not vegan myself, but the beginning of your post brought up some humorous memories of incidents that were baffling to me when they first occurred. I had an atheist friend who was the embodiment of the "mad at God" version of atheists the Christians think we all are. He was a trip. The guy was badly damaged upstairs for reasons I wont get into, but he turned out to be a wifebeater, dabbled in Druid rituals, and ended up melting down, getting fired, loosing his house, leaving the state, etc. The other atheist friend of mine had an affair, started heavily using every drug immaginable, other than opium, and ended up fired, divorced, and homeless, and kicked one of my dogs the LAST time he was at my house. The most baffling of all, for me at least, is the bi-sexual atheist I know who's a hard core Republican! I kid you not... baffling. I told her "you're an atheist and bi-sexual, you know they hate you right?"
I suppose the point of this post is I had this same epiphany about heathens about eight years ago, so "I feel your pain". lol
Comment by Darren Cubitt on May 9, 2010 at 2:54am
So, you regard anyone who chooses to draw an arbitrary line about what is acceptable to eat in a different place than you as being less intelligent? Sucks to be you.

I recommend you listen to episode 8.8 of The Non Prophets (, starting at 49:07, for a discussion of why vegans like you annoy people like me.

Short version: You are free to be vegan, but I don't want you shoving your supposed superior morality down my throat any more than I want a Christian doing the same.



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