Atheists Are Putzes Too: Lawrence Krauss’s Teachable Moment

Atheists Are Putzes Too: Lawrence Krauss’s Teachable Moment February 26, 2018

Atheism is the absence of belief in the existence of God or gods. But you already knew that. Just as faith doesn’t guarantee that people live up to their professed ideals, neither does atheism. That truth has yet again been driven home to me: Atheists are putzes, too.

First came the report that Lawrence Krauss has been accused repeatedly of abusive sexual behavior. Okay, so it’s a case of shocked, shocked that a prominent atheist and skeptic should be snagged by #MeToo accusations.

I've recently been shown that atheists have their fair share of illusions. Some atheists are idiots, too. I should know.
Lawrence Krauss via Jvangiel. CC BY-SA 3.0.

But this came on the heels of the tragic events involving atheist activist Scott Smith’s murder of his wife and his subsequent suicide. I had long though that atheists would be less likely to commit suicide — barring terminal illness — because they don’t believe they’re going to a better place.

Pat Green set me straight, once more, in his fantastic and moving piece, TW! On Dolores O’Riordan, Abuse, Depression, Suicide and Surviving. It turns out that atheists are people too.

Yes, Atheists are Deplorables, Too

Atheists are also white nationalists, as an exchange with an atheist who slowly revealed his white power stripes in a series of exchanges in my post about racism directed at Asian-Americans, which also took a side-trip to the advances in LGBT acceptance represented by the very openly gay skater Adam Rippon and the position behind the NBC mic of openly gayish — but only self-outed after he retired — Johnny Weir.

Here is the exchange. Note: Yes, I was too indulgent. I should’ve banned him right away.  But I take my responsibilities to be a fair arbiter seriously. I don’t want to ban all ideas I object to, cutting off dialog and making the comment section a carefully curated discussion built around my personal beliefs.

In other words, the very sort of echo chamber this racist and homophobic atheist accused me of being in.

Him:

  • Yes, indeed, immigrants from East Asia are far more valuable to America than Muslims (a certain percentage who will inevitably become Islamic radicals) or immigrants from Haiti or Africa. Regarding Weir, he seems to have taken his inspiration from the obviously gay clown who was the emcee in the Hunger Games films. Does Weir realize Caesar Flickerman was played as a joke, a buffoon, someone whose over-the-top gay affectations were supposed to demonstrate the degeneracy and worthlessness of the ruling elites in those films? Weir’s only purpose seems to be to out-Flickerman Flickerman. Rippon is equally in our faces with his I’m gay schtick. If this is the kind of style these flag carriers for gay people want to project, then they should pack it all back into the closet. How I long for the days of Gore Vidal. We all knew he was gay, but we loved him for his intellect and his class. Likewise, seventy years ago when black Americans were trying to prove they deserved to live in a racially integrated America they produced performers like Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole, crooners every bit as polished as Frank Sinatra. Now forty years after the Civil Rights revolution black pop singers look and sound like a thug circus. It’s obvious a lot of people were better off with less freedom. What was given can be taken away, especially when people prove it was a mistake to ever liberate them.

Me:

  • And I long for the days when people like you could only spew their prejudices to their barmates. Your time has past. The world has moved on. Maybe you should go back into YOUR closet. I haven’t had anyone spewing such homophobic and stunningly racist comments before, which is why I didn’t feel the need to explicitly prohibit such comments. I will. Until then, consider yourself warned. I give a wide latitude to conservative comments, but you’ve crossed the line. Consider yourself warned. Next time, you’re banned.

Him:

  • Please forgive me if I struck a dissonant note inside your echo chamber. You need to understand that being an atheist does not necessarily mean one is also a social liberal. If we can think critically regarding religion, we can and will think critically on other issues, too. I hope you will ban me, Stephanie. It will say a lot more about you
  • than it does me.

Me:

  • Forgive me, but telling gays to get back in their closet and they you preferred when black singers were in their place isn’t simply out of my echo chamber. Thank you for reminding me that atheists aren’t immune to such mindless prejudices.
  • I don’t have time to change my “Road Rules” now. But I suspect you already know what would violate them in terms of homophobic or racist statements.
  • Most of my fellow bloggers have already proscribed such sentiments. I haven’t needed to until now. Even the conservative commentators else knew to stay on the other side of the line.

Him:

  • It’s a matter of taste, Stephanie. I’ll take Gore Vidal over Johnny Weir every time. And I’ll bet there are gay people who feel the same way. It comes down to whom do you want to represent you. I’ll also take open debate and a lively exchange of ideas to a politically correct echo chamber. The further left people are today, the more intolerant they are of any kind of real critique or analysis of what they believe. I suspect there is uncertainty driving their intolerance.
  • And btw, if people are going to make fools of themselves, then YES, they should get it back in the closet.

Me:

  • You can certainly imagine someone say[ing], “I prefer Stepin’ Fetchit to Sidney Poitier.” That’s how your comments sound to me. And I strongly suspect that’s how my LGBT and minority readers would hear it, as well.
  • Outsiders may feel uncomfortable with people who are different from they are when they’re being fully The Other.
  • PS: I forgot about your comments about Haitians, Africans, and Muslims. Nope, no prejudice there. Of course, you wouldn’t happen to be in your own conservative echo chamber. No siree.

Him: 

  • I could imagine your “Stepin’ Fetchit” analysis, but that’s NOT what I said. It’s something inside your head, not mine. Most of your critique of my post has been one gross exaggeration, one stereotype, one red herring, one straw man argument after another. But this is common practice for the left. When deceptive arguments do not work, the ban and the flush down the memory hole come next.
Via Pixabay, public domain.

Me: 

  • Your comments have made it clear that you came here to feel superior to liberals by chumming the waters with offensive comments. Sorry to disappoint you, but you’ll have to find a different liberal blog to get banned from.

Him:

  • I get posts from this website regularly sent to my e-mail. Not sure how I got on your mailing list. Perhaps it was all the money I sent to Bernie Sanders via Act Blue, so they shared my information with a lot of lefty websites, including Patheos. And I am an atheist. I wonder if Patheos would sponser a blog by a Nazi atheist? After all, Nazi’s are atheists by definition, doncha know. Most of the e-mail I get goes into the spam box and never read. But I have a hard time ignoring headlines that crow with glee about the demise of the nation I was born into.

Me:

  • Seriously!??? Where did I say anything about the demise of the US? On second thought, I’m tired of this back and forth. I don’t care why.
  • Btw, I don’t think that Patheos sends newsletters to people who haven’t signed up for them. Perhaps you accidentally signed up for the Miracle Girl newsletter somehow. If so, you can unsubscribe. I will continue to write liberal posts, so if that’s the case, Miracle Girl isn’t going to be your cup of tea party.
  • I don’t know what you received, but there’s also a general Patheos Nonreligoius newsletter. If other blogs were also featured, that’s what it was. AFASIK, Patheos doen’t send newsletter based on purchased email lists, either. You have to sign up for a newsletter. That’s why I post a link for my newsletter sign-up landing page at the end of every article.
  • PS: As an atheist of Jewish heritage, I don’t appreciate you comparing me to Nazis. Any other offensive boxes to check off? And btw, I’m hardly far left. I’ve recently clashed with a number of commentators over my posts sympathetic to Jeff Flake and his opposition to Trump.

Him:

  • I’m careful with my words. I didn’t say anything about the demise of the US, either. I said ” … the demise of the nation I was born into.” A significant difference. I was born into the white nation that once was America. Your headline was just another of many crowing about its passing. Understand now? And I understand that any white person who has any sense of racial or ethnic consciousness is considered a Nazi by people with your views. So I was referring to myself as a Nazi. You know, any place in the Patheos collective for a Nazi-atheist blogger? Actually I’m not a Nazi, but I know I will be called one so I might as well accept the label and soldier on. I’m not the least bit surprised you are Jewish. Most of the people cheering the passing of white, straight America are Jewish and/or gay. The only upside to our passing is that once Muslims and other non-whites take political control of the country, I’m sure US foreign policy regarding Israel, Iran and the Middle East in general will dramatically change. And the coming American Muslim majority will do a far better job rooting Jews and gays out of the USA than the Nazis did removing them from Germany. Your delight in changing America will be short lived.

Me:

  • My jaw just dropped. And then I retched. I can’t believe you actually added anti-Semitism to your bile…to a Jewish blogger, no less.
  • And now you reveil your true self. You’re no run of the mill biggot who doesn’t see the depth of his own prejudice. You’re a full-on white nationalist.
  • I’ve already warned you about spewing hatred. Congratulations, you got your wish. I’m banning you. Go darken another corner of the internet. I suggest Reddit or 4chan.

I’ve recently been shown that atheists have their fair share of illusions. Some atheists are idiots, too.

I should know.

The hardest illusions to leave behind are those held about your own beliefs.

Via Anamorfosi, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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