27th March 2009

“Atheism is nothing more than the sounds people make when in the presence of unjustified dogma. It's just reason in action.”

Sam Harris

4 Responses to “27th March 2009”

  1. FresnoMikey Says:

    I get Harris’s point and his clever way with words is supeficially delightful. But on deeper examination composition questions without answers arise. This implies that there is something that could be called JUSTIFIED dogma. I don’t THINK so. AND atheism can also be written and read as well as heard. What exactly does “unjustified dogma” mean here? We are to infer “something Ba-a-a-ad” I am sure.
    And to bolster us he counters our worse atheist fear – morality without religion. We are JUST! It’s his spike through the hand and into the termite-infested wood of a non-existent crucifix. He is ripping off the post-Charlemagne Christianity of war and priests worshipping a dead Christ, not a living, loving one. Why not keep going Sam? Work out a allegory of style and content for the Priests of Atheism becoming the life force of pre-Charlemagne Christianity?
    Harris is being clever and cute, but which is he more? I can almost see his fist about to clench like Stalin’s and Hitler’s. Ooo, not cute Sam.
    At worst Harris uses mostly abstractions to sound erudite and to remain above-it-all so as to caputure as many disciples as possible. I agree with all of his arguments. I just wonder if his feel-good composition tells us more about him and us than we want to know.
    Ho-hum.

  2. Chris Says:

    I never liked this particular construction and Harris has far better to offer. Atheism isn’t sounds. It is specifically a lack of belief in a god or gods. I’m sure he was trying to be flip here, kind of “whatcha afraid of anyway?”

    I think it’s a mistake to allow rhetoric to get in the way of clear definitions. With so many theists actively pushing lies about what atheists actually are we do ourselves a disservice by being imprecise about what exactly an atheist is/believes.

  3. Larry Huffman Says:

    Atheism cannot be written seen or heard. Atheism is merely a lack of beliefs…that is all that can possibly be said about it. Any additional items that would be added are particular to the individual and not atheism.

    The sound he is speaking of is atheism rising up in defiance of the unjusitifed dogma. No dogma…no atheists making noise…or protest.

    Also…his implication is NOT that there is justified dogma…just because you do not understand the point he is trying to make, does not make your assumptions correct.

    What he is saying is this…without an unjustified dogma…atheism is not even relevent. Again…that does not imply there is justified dogma…it is saying that dogma is unjustified. And that unjust nature is what makes atheism arise.

    Atheists do not mobilize based on their lack of belief. Their lack of belief makes no sound whatsoever…until an unjustified dogma requires us to, out of reason. Pretty simple to me. My atheism is not what motivates me, it is the unjust nature of religious dogma that motivates me to allow my atheist views to rise. If I never came in contact with religion, I would technically be atheist, but would never have a reason to say I am, thus no sound of atheism. It is prose like and it is quite accurate, actually.

    I would invite anyone to explain to me how atheism can exist without a theistic belief (since the very word directly means a lack of the former)…which is what generates unjustified dogma. Again, adding an adjective expressing the nature of dogma does not infer at all that there is somehow justified dogma. It is simply the unjustified aspect of the dogma (of which many adjectives could be employed based on the topic) that the person speaking wishes to emphasize.

    For example, If I say the big Mt Everest…does that imply there is a little Mt. Everest somewhere. No, but if I am pointing out the big nature of the mountain for my point it makes sense. The round moon…does this imply there is a square moon somewhere. Nope. You see…you cannot rationally make the assumtions you seem to think are there. Your logic with regard to him somehow implying justified dogma exists is just lacking…quite a bit.

    And charlamange? Really? From this? I think you missed the point of the quote so much you began another topic and discussion altogether. Or, you dislike Mr. Harris and so you are trying to find fault where there is none. Or you recently read something about charlamange and wanted everyone to oo and ah over the connection…which does not exist.

    The quote simply is saying that atheism is only brought up at all in the face of religion (which most atheists can agree is based on unjustified dogma). And he clarifies it by saying that it is our reason against said unjustified dogma, that does the prompting to action. Pretty simple…and I assure you, no thought to Charlamange. LOL. That is rich though. Your brain ran away with your logic. Did you just read a book about Charlamange and had to find a way to wedge that in there?

    One more point…if you MUST stand on the implication of a justified dogma…I will pose this. Not all atheists view religious dogma as unjustified. Many atheists are just as superstitious as the religious. Many atheists have positive views of religion despite their lack of belief. So when an atheist discovers the dogma to be unjust, his atheism rises in protest (sound), prompted by his reason.

    Makes perfect sense…unlike your charlamange rant.

  4. Anon A. Mouse Says:

    Very arrogant… Very obnoxious… Very “Holier than thou”!!!

    Sorry Larry, have I “over exampled”, as you have?

    Every person deserves to be heard and every man deserves respect for their thoughts. If we all thought the same thoughts, we would never have conversations. Lighten up Larry, you are out of line!