Sunday, March 3, 2013

A New Twist to an Old Stereotype

Marcelo Cicconet's February 26 piece is as odd as it is short. In "New Atheism offers better philosophy, faith than religion" he seems to be able to see through a handful of myths and stereotypes about atheists/atheism and yet he still seems intent on promoting a new one.

"However, despite recent attempts such as Dawkins’ 'The Magic of Reality' and Harris’ 'Free Will,' the New Atheists don’t have the same level of success they used to with laying the foundations of a fulfilling atheist life.
As it turns out, the pursuit of happiness is a journey far more complex than understanding the way the brain works..."

These two sentences are packed full of implied misconceptions and apparent projections. Is Cicconet trying to claim that atheists don't lead fulfilling lives? What would such a conclusion be based on? He makes no reference to any sort of survey or study. The false claim that atheists are miserable is not actually new. The idea that somehow an atheist's writing, activism, or engagement with other atheists (or theists, for that matter) leads to being unhappy is somewhat of a new twist. I have yet to come across any atheist who claims that simply being an atheist leads to fulfillment and happiness. I was also unaware that a better understanding of the brain is suppose to automatically lead to happiness. I've certainly never come across an atheist making such a claim.

It may be that Cicconet is looking for fulfillment and happiness in all the wrong places but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with atheists or atheism. In any case, I fail to see how he can justify making proclamations about any group of people being happy/unhappy without even the slightest hint of doing any type of research. Since he names a handful of specific individuals he could have started by arranging to interview them.

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