Scepticism vs Atheism, or, fuck you papa skeptic

What is and isn’t scepticism?  Recently someone blundered into an unforgivable special pleading.  The claim, presented as an edict, that scepticism, and the skeptic movement should have nothing to say about untestable claims.

By extention, this would directly imply that sceptics and scepticism should have nothing to say about religion, since religion is primarily all about untestable claims.  Despite the obviously spuriously nonsensical claims that this stance does NOT give religion and religious claims a free pass, the exact end result is to do just that.

While I first heard about this second hand, 1 2   I was so shocked I had to look into original source. because this kind of delusional garbage only directly harms the ‘movement’.

While I am more than fine with treading gently over the delusional beliefs of the religious while they learn about the concepts inherent to sceptical and critical thought, applying these concepts to EVERY aspect of life should be the goal of every rational person.  This includes the ‘spiritual’ aspects.

The attitude that scepticism should hide from untestable claims is, frankly, offensive in the extreme to both those who have been shafted and fleeced by use of these claims, and those of us who extracted ourselves from the unsubstantiated claims of religion and spirituality through the rigorous, and often painful, application to all aspects of our lives.

The squeamish wish to cringe from the possibility of offending the self delusional.  Jamie Ian Swiss and those who follow his edicts are no friend or supporter of mine.

Accomidationalist attitudes like this that exceed accomidationalism and move into protection of the irrational are beyond disrespectful to us true sceptics, they are disrespectful and harmful to the human race.

Enabling and protecting human-kind’s largest source of baseless and commonly harmful irrational claims is not humanistic, it is not rational, it is not sceptical, it is not moral, ethical or justifiable.  It IS lazy, cowardly, simpering and pandering to bullies.

If you personally do not wish to face down the bigger questions, that’s your choice, but to attempt to direct the entire movement away from the front lines of irrationality  to presume to be the self appointed speaker for the whole movement, and to attempt to withdraw the support from people who ARE fighting the larger battle on the front lines.

If you have an attack of politically correctness, or an aversion to putting your shoulder to the wheel and dealing with the big issues, fine.  Don’t.
If you don’t want to spread your effort beyond a small focused window, don’t.
But if you want to block others from doing this, get out.  You are not welcome here with us.
As for organisations.  If Jamy speaks the thoughts and goals of the JREF.  Then I cannot support the JREF any more, as apparently they do not support me and those I walk with.
JREF – I ask you this question.  Is it your stance to call for this NOMa nonsense?  Does the JREF truly support the idea of Non Overlapping MAgisteria?  Because if it is, I question the rationality of this, and I refuse to support this.
Why?  What does scepticism say about untestable claims?
Simple, the sceptical view of a claim is that it is invalid until it is supported by evidence.  As the late great Christopher Hitchens pointed out.  “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.
And I would take it a step further.  That which can be asserted without evidence, SHOULD be dismissed.

~ by scawalrus on May 24, 2013.

4 Responses to “Scepticism vs Atheism, or, fuck you papa skeptic”

  1. It is a rather shocking thing to hear, isn’t it? DJ Groethe reiterated in Kamloops what Jamy Ian Swiss said. There seems to be an arbitrary distinction being made between “scientific skepticism” and “skepticism”. In my mind, those two words are synonymous. I did talk to DJ about it some. I wouldn’t mind at all if e.g the JREF was simply concentrating on testable claims. This would create a distribution of labor that makes some sense, and I got the feeling from DJ that this what he means (not so sure about Jamy…). But it’s confusing things to separate them in such a fundamental manner. And, yeah. There is no way that having no opinion on acceptance or rejection of a claim ISN’T a free pass to the claim.

    So, we end up accidental allies on those things that the JREF is willing to take on, but not necessarily on those that I take on. That doesn’t make us allies in my book. As I said in the podcast, “The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.”

    • I don’t remember if it was with you guys I first heard it or with Skeptically yours – (either way it was just a virtue of which one turned up on my playlist first, both were in my same download chunk.) But it surprised me a lot that this tac would be a serious statement in public. Certainly coming out of the mouth of someone who is supposed to be sceptical and evidence based.

      To hear this kind of thing coming out of the mouth of a politician, someone like Bill Maher, or some religious apologist. Would not surprise me, they are shown themselves to be inconsistent with application of philosophy to different parts of their life.

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