Right after Penn Jillette went bonkers and took up atheism as his cause, he was on Red Eye making the case for his new religion. Like all converts, he was proselytizing because he was full of doubt. Logically, the reason people try to recruit is for confirmation. If scads of other sensible people are signing up for the cause, the cause must be a good thing. So, he was trying to get the others on the panel with him to go along with his new cause.
He also employed a little trick I suppose has become popular with the atheist movement. It works like this. If you cannot or will not fully embrace the belief in a living god, then you are an atheist. This is an attempt to widen the pool and normalize atheism by declaring it the default position.
In other words, left to their own devices, humans will not believe in the supernatural and instead will embrace the pure reason of atheism. I guess that means wearing dildos on their head and fighting otters. Or maybe it means dating transexuals. Regardless, the implication is that religion is a made up thing with out any basis in the natural world. The fact that this is provably false does not factor into the equation.
Penn Jillette is a fine entertainer and a lot smarter than most people in the entertainment rackets, but he is full of baloney. Indifference to religion and the supernatural is exactly that, indifference. I don’t believe in God, but I don’t disbelieve either. Logically, I can never know if there is or there is not a God or gods or some other supernatural force at the heart of existence. I know I can’t know and have no strong beliefs about the matter.
Atheists are certain or at least they claim to be certain. I doubt that, but even taking them at face value, they claim to know that which cannot be known, which means they believe. Atheism is just another mass movement with its own set of beliefs. One of those beliefs is that the pious atheist must make war on the Christians. Like those annoying people giving away copies of The Watchtower, atheists make being a public nuisance the highest calling.
Anyway, this showed up in my twitter feed the other day.
— Daniel Dennett (@danieldennett) May 16, 2015
The link goes to this Salon interview the atheist crackpot Daniel Dennet and the alleged end of religion. Dennett is a great example of how someone can be brilliant in one area and a total loon in most others. Noam Chomsky is (was?) a great linguist, but he is otherwise nutty as a fruitcake, indulging in all sorts of deranged theories.
That Dennett interview reads like the sort of stuff you find from survivalist websites. The final reckoning is coming and you better be prepared!!! He so desperately wants to be right that any scrap of data that can be interpreted as proof is waved around like the missing link. In the end, he just comes off like a madman struggling to keep it together.
For the most part, eccentric old coots like Dennett are harmless and often entertaining. His lectures are probably great fun, even when he slips into his crazy talk. In my student years, the best teachers were those mad old guys who no longer cared about convention and simply said what was on their minds. They made the material interesting.
The trouble is these crackpots are not always harmless. Dawkins and Dennett have argued for banning religion by force. Dennett argued in his book Breaking the Spell for removing children from parents who are religious, which is most parents. Specifically he advocates the end of privacy laws and religious liberty so the state can raise children free from religion.
Dawkins, of course, thinks it is OK for the state to gather up the unfit and exterminate them so none of this should be surprising. Celebrity atheists seem to care as much for being offensive as they do about atheism. There’s reason to believe that the attraction of atheism is it lets these guys be an ass in public.
Over 50 years ago Whittaker Chambers exposed the reality of Utopians like Dawkins and Dennett in his great take down of Ayn Rand. In the end, all of these theories end up in a bloodbath.That’s because the Utopians hate humanity. Humans are irrational and messy, which means human society will be irrational and messy. Utopians hate that so they inevitably conclude that the way to paradise is to kill the humans.