The uglier kind of atheism

I guess it’s the holiday season. For some reason, the uglier kind of atheism is showing up throughout my social networks a lot lately.

This is a kind of atheism that takes a scientific failure to prove the existence of a deity as proof that such a deity does not exist. Not only is this logically fallacious, but it is a gross misuse of the very scientific method that these atheists claim to uphold.

Science does not—and never would—claim to know everything. Yet the claim these atheists make demands just that. It requires that science weigh in on the metaphysical, that is, a very thing that positivist science has no means whatsoever to deal with.

This claim of the uglier kind of atheists is, in fact, a claim of faith. It takes an absence of proof as support for a predetermined ideological position. But anyone who dares to point this out invites a fury an atheist’s non-existent hell could never contain.

I do understand where this uglier atheism comes from. It is a backlash to an ongoing social conservative attempt, supported especially by traditionalist conservatives and authoritarian populists, to impose a theocracy on a society that needs to be much more welcoming of diversity. In this sense, ugly atheism is a backlash to a backlash as these conservatives seek to “restore” an imagined homogeneous past.

This social conservative homogeny could only exist by erasing Blacks, indigenous people, and, in North America, even the wider variety of European colonizers who populated the continent prior to U.S., Canadian, and Mexican hegemony. This, too, is unimaginably foolish.

But the uglier kind of atheism responds to such foolishness with foolishness of its own. For me, this is a very sad thing to see.

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