After reading “What Atheists and Republican Strategists Have in Common.” one anonymous commenter took issue with my assumption that popular atheists try to act as philosophers.
It’s true that there are tough discussions that need to be had, but I think you give the average atheist – even the average outspoken atheist – too much credit. You’re a bit too quick to discount the possibility that many atheists really don’t have any philosophy because they’ve never had any curiosity about philosophical differences. Hemant Mehta, Greta Christina, and so on do not strike me as people who’ve ever taken an interest in even taking an intro philosophy course. These are bloggers, not philosophers.
So it’s true that atheists only have their lack of belief in god in common. Some are interested in separation of church and state and don’t give a wit about arguments for atheism, or what kinds of views atheists might have about moral philosophy or metaphysics. Some are the exact opposite – they’re interested in arguing for atheism against believers but don’t give a wit about separation of church and state.
I think it’s entirely reasonable, particularly in culture war-America, for atheists to be troubled by church-state conflicts and focus their efforts there. And plenty of legal questions about religions are entirely divorced from the question of God’s existence and metaphysics generally, so the philosophical ignorance or silence of political atheists is not a barrier to their goals. I’ll be the first to admit that I benefit from their work, and I’ve engaged in and continue to work on similar projects.
But right now, what I’m looking for is arguments about atheist philosophy, and there I’m having trouble finding reading material. I’ll be posting a response to my latest read Spiritual Atheism by Steve Antinoff tomorrow (go ahead, take another look at the title and then take a guess as to whether I liked it), and I’m always up for book suggestions, but I’d love to be able to add some more blogs to my roster.
A lot of the Catholic blogs I’ve been following spend a lot of time on ethical case studies drawn from the authors’ day to day lives. They connect these experiences back to their faith and philosophy, using the specific to illuminate the transcendent. Plus, the blogging format allows a lot of discussion and talkback. I’d like to be able to find atheists who write in something approaching this vein. Any suggestions? Pulling off the above technique is a major goal for me when I’m writing this blog, so if you have any feedback for me on that front, I’d love to hear it.
Currently, the most ethically oriented blog I read is Common Sense Atheism which promotes a philosophy called ‘desirism,’ of which I’ll confess I still don’t have a solid understanding. I’ve also bookmarked this essay by Ebonmuse of Daylight Atheism, which I plan to write a response to at some point in the future.
So that’s where I am. Where should I go?
P.S. And to forestall the obvious: I’ve got Sam Harris’s The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values on my nightstand and hope to have a response post up next Sunday.