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 Jason Spicer on May 9, 2010 at 2:22am
Yeah, good point, Wonderist. Where's my government disability check?
Comment by Wonderist on May 9, 2010 at 12:39am
"While I understand that no cut man wants to admit that his genitals have been mutilated against his will"

Not only do I admit it, it's one of the best counters to the common "What would it take to convince you of god?" My answer: "All he has to do is miraculously restore my foreskin, and I'll believe in him." Of course it's facetious, but it proves the point: Their god can't even pull off such a simple miracle. How difficult could it be? He's supposed to save plane crash survivors, cure cancer, blah blah blah, but he can't restore a tiny piece of flesh??? I shamelessly adapted this from the Why Won't God Heal Amputees? website. Hey, all of us 'cut' men are technically amputees!
Comment by Lorien on May 8, 2010 at 6:36pm
Being an atheist has nothing to do with vegans or vegetarians! Humans evolved to where we are because we ate meat. If we all became vegans a few million years ago, we would not be here today typing away on these stupid keyboards. Atheists are generally more logical and in touch with reality than the delusional theists.
Because you are a Vegan doesn't make you better than anyone here.
BTW, I had to read all those 6 pages of comments to find out what was so interesting that drew all this attention.
Also, being nice is not a requirement of being an atheist... Just ask people that know me -LOL
Comment by Tak G. on May 8, 2010 at 4:53pm
Your observations about the atheist community are spot on. I take it as a sign that atheism is on a steady trickle to the main stream, not all the effects of which are pleasant.
Comment by Prog Rock Girl on May 8, 2010 at 2:27pm
OK, I know my other comment was waaaay back, but: a person can live vegan if they are poor and have several dietary restrictions, IF they feel like eating brown rice and beans every day. And usually the person has to already have purchased cooking utensils, and have a fairly decent kitchen. If you've read the book Nickel and Dimed, the writer talks about how the working poor doesn't get a chance to use some money-saving techniques (like cooking huge meals at home for the week) because they take extra money to start up. In poor neighborhoods there is often nothing but junk food. There are some poor people who are vegan, but usually they at least were raised in the middle or upper middle class.

With any diet there is the issue of adhering to it, and veg is the same. People have cravings and they slip up or they realize they can't do it. I tried to be vegetarian several times, couldn't stick with it and decided there is no point in beating myself up about it.

Wasting food: I've seen people realize there was meat in something they were eating, so they threw the food away. I live with other people who cook meat, and it doesn't save the life of an animal if have some. In many instances there are not a lot of healthy options for a vegan to eat and therefore it often means being a social outcast--either that or start hanging around mostly with vegans, but I don't want to increase my dislike for the rest of humanity, and isolating myself probably would. It is unfortunate, and I would like to see more veg options in mainstream society, but this is one reason people don't stick with it.

These are some reasons, which you can dismiss as excuses if you want...but that proves my point. I don't want to gain even more contempt for the rest of humanity.
Comment by Jezzy on May 8, 2010 at 1:29pm
I agree on a general level, that many Atheists are dumb as bricks. Further, many Xians are extremely intelligent. And, people can actually believe in something false without being stupid.

Sorry to jump on the bandwagon here, but Veganism confuses me. Vegetarianism, I understand. I'm not sure that it's the best for children, but ethically, I can get behind it. I see why people choose that lifestyle, and a lot of us couldn't kill animals ourselves. Veganism I'm not sure is ethically necessary, that's all. It's a step further that I don't entirely understand. It's not as if I'm going to protest the lifestyle for healthy, choosing adults, but I'm not going to choose that lifestyle. I don't think that makes me unintelligent or unreasonable.
Comment by sacha on May 8, 2010 at 12:51pm
Oh Heather, you just made a grand mistake. No one should be silenced here. Not at all okay.
Comment by sacha on May 8, 2010 at 12:24pm
well said, Jay
Comment by JayBarti on May 8, 2010 at 12:21pm
everyone is only jumping on one thing- veganism. and all i see is mud slinging and name calling- no logic or critical thinking.

Ummm not everyone, quite a few people I respect on this site are vegan, they just don't expect everyone to agree with them. A few even showed up here to welcome you and say they supported your opinion.

Most people who did disagree with you, were actually polite for the most part. Some might have been more curt then others but no-one actually called you a name.

I don't expect everyone to agree with me, in fact I sometimes expect there be an argument of some sort. Are you looking to only interact with people who agree with you on everything you think is important? That will never happen as people simply have different priorities and agendas.

As I said earlier your actual vegan section of your post was a little light on actual information, and as I and others have pointed out a bit condescending. The earlier parts I mostly agreed with even though the rhetoric was a little over the top, both are however at the core of how we treat those who cannot decide for themselves. Of course I agree children should be well looked after, who doesn't.

Veganism seem to be more an ideology, and thats fine, it is just not an ideology for me.

Much like the idea of just because you are an atheist doesn't mean your actually intelligent, all atheists are also not expected to share the same opinions. Thats why we have sections of the site for those who want to talk about these things with like minded people.
Comment by sacha on May 8, 2010 at 12:15pm
Stephen Moore has spoken the most logical, polite, and calm words here. One should consider just reading Stephen Moore's comments over again.



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