Quote of the Day(!): Syed Iftekharuddin and a Terrible Straw Man of Atheism

Quote of the Day(!): Syed Iftekharuddin and a Terrible Straw Man of Atheism December 6, 2016

In a post from last year on the growing number of nonbelievers in the Middle East, a chap called Syed Iftekharuddin has just got involved. He stated this:

atheists believe in separation of church and state

atheists believe in secularism

atheists believe in gay rights

atheists believe incest is ok

atheists believe open marriage is ok

atheists believe porn is ok

atheists believe abortion is ok

atheists believe euthanasia is ok

atheists believe sex outside marriage is ok

atheists believe life evolved without god

atheism IS a way of life

atheism IS a philosophy NOT science

you denied god based on philosophical and lifestyle reasons NOT based on science

Wow. I just want to say once and for all, because this happens far too often, that these statements take an awful lot more philosophy than “I do not believe in God”. I just cannot believe that a rational person could much such crass statements. “I do not believe in God” says absolutely nothing about porn, extra-marital sex, science and lifestyle.

This is such a common trope and it really gets my goat. It is no wonder that such simplistic thinkers also swallow dire religious tropes with consummate ease as well.

Let’s now put his claims to the test.

I believe in separation of church and state – YES (and what is wrong with this?)

I believe in secularism – YES (and what is wrong with this?)

I believe in gay rights – YES (and what is wrong with this?)

I believe incest is ok – NO

I believe open marriage is ok – NO (unless with truly, fairly consenting adults and no harm is done by it, and I would need to see research on the effect of such arrangements)

I believe porn is ok – DEPENDS

I believe abortion is ok – DEPENDS (i.e., YES, but with caveats)

I believe euthanasia is ok – DEPENDS (i.e., YES, in some cases, but with caveats)

I believe sex outside marriage is ok – Generally NO

I believe life evolved without god – YES

atheism IS a way of life – NO (Humanism, YES, atheism, NO)

atheism IS a philosophy NOT science – YES (but then everything is philosophy, equating atheism to science is one of the worst straw mans I have seen)

I denied god based on philosophical and lifestyle reasons NOT based on science – NOT EVEN SURE WHAT THIS MEANS BUT PROBABLY BOTH (but not lifestyle. C’mon!)

Basically, such claims are terrible straw mans of atheism. If the guy can’t understand this, then he needs to read more.

Let me say this clearly: a belief in a proposition is not a belief system, especially when that proposition is “God does not exist”. You need some serious add-ons to improve on that. That’s why, you know, humanism exists.

It’s also why talk of atheist communities often defers to the saying, “It’s like herding cats”. We all believe different things outside the god question.

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