There’s two blogs I read every day, and, nowadays when most of what I do is study and work, two blogs that I read, period:
those are Pharyngula and Evangelical Realism.
Deacon Duncan, the author of Evangelical Realism, had a wonderful series of posts about a book by one Vox Day, a smug mouthpiece of American wingnut assfuckery, called “The Irrational Athiest”.
For Vox, the irrational atheist is irrational because he fails to believe in (apparently) the Christian God (probably a very specific, sectarian version of said God, too).
I will waver the opportunity to explain why an atheist would not be irrational by failing to do that. First, that’s not the business of this post, and secondly, DD did it way better than I ever will.
I will, however, give a few examples of how this particular atheist can be irrational, and how I feel and what I think about my personal irrational behavior.
A. Depression and anxiety – the plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data. I’m aware of that, and the following is no exception. However – every single atheist/agnostic I know is to a moderate or severe form anxious or depressed. Personally, I suffer from a condition called “GAD” (General Anxiety Disorder). There’s uglier things to suffer, but I can definitely say that “suffer” is the right verb in this context. In one respect – it makes me very prone to atheism: as someone who is anxious, I have a serious, OCD-esque problem believing what I’m told, until I repeatedly confirm it time and again. Before I “became an evolutionist” (which came way after I became an atheist) – I read and re-read TalkOrigins countlessly. I just could not believe.
With God it was easier – there were endless attempts at finding evidence for the kind of God I was told exists, and none were successful.
B. Self-promoting bias
I have the uncanny tendency to ascribe success to myself and ascribe failure to others. This is probably true for all people, but since we’re talking atheists (well, an atheist, anyway) – it extends to me, too.
C. Rationalization –
The hallmark of apologetics – I’m doing it right. Rationalization, I’d bet, is the most prevalent habit of irrationality practice by humans. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to not lose our heads. Even though as an anxious person I often “counter-rationalize” (I try to explain why what I’m doing is wrong when it’s ostensibly right), I, like the rest of my fellow creatures, practice good ole’ fashioned rationalization more times than none.
D. I carry my cell-phone to everywhere I go. Including the bathroom, the shower, next to my pillow, you name it.
When I was a young soldier, being away from home and away from my sick, deaf parents, I developed a pathological need to be constantly next to my cell phone in case they send me an emergency SMS. Mom now dead and dad being under the keen eyes of his girlfriend, long redundant, I still maintain this habit.
Well, this can get weirder, but I think I made my point. My bet is that atheists can be and probably are as irrational as the next guy. Basically, theists and atheists belong to the same species of irrational apes – it’s just that atheists are unquestionably sans one extra irrational conviction: that there is some invisible agent watching us and intervening in our daily lives.