I read The Irrational Atheist by Vox Day the other day. The first chapter hooked me and 24 hours later I had plowed through it.
And when I finished it… I was speechless. No, the book didn’t blow my mind and alter my worldview. But it was just a so damn solid book there wasn’t much left to say.
The Irrational Atheist, or TIA for short, got published in 2008 as a response to the New Atheists — the prominent atheists of the 21st century: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennet.
I’m familiar with atheism, as I grew up in one of the Western world’s most godless societies. The lack of God was a rule rather than the exception, and although I still consider myself an agnostic leaning more toward Christianity with time, such an upbringing still influences me. I simply don’t know what to believe yet.
However, I’ve always been a skeptic of atheists. Their arrogance with little base in reality, along with their militarism, always put me off.
One simple heuristic I follow is that whenever someone dismisses something just because, with no arguments besides that it “doesn’t make sense” and “rational people don’t think that”, you should tread carefully.
- Oh, he doesn’t believe in the moon landing? What a goof.
- Oh, he believes in a bearded guy in the clouds? What a goof.
- Oh, he votes for Trump? What a maniac.
This type of behavior occurs among many groups, but atheists are especially fond of this approach to argumentation, or rather lack of. Straight up dismissal and a strong stroke of unfounded arrogance.
Which caused me to read The Irrational Atheist.
The writer Vox Day has written a work unlike any other response to the New Atheists. Whereas other writers have tried to argue with atheists and defend religion using theological points… Vox Day goes on the offensive. He’s determined and wants to advance into enemy territory…
In fact, that’s the greatest proposition of this book. Instead of curling up like a hedgehog and justifying Christianity, like most others in the Religious camp, Day exposes the self-proclaimed rational atheists’ own irrationality.
He doesn’t quote holy scriptures. He examines the New Atheists arguments and conclusions and deconstructs them with simple-to-follow reason, logic, statistical data and stone-cold facts.
And once the dust is settled, you’ll be left with one apparent conclusion:
Turns out that the atheists, the “champions of Reasons”, aren’t very reasonable in their arguments against religion.
Instead, you’ll get the impression of emotional men, obsessed with maintaining the illusion of rationality. The only rational fragment in these men, I suspect, is that they maintain their atheist, Darwinian standpoints because they built their careers and egos on it. Changing their minds could obliterate it all.
I hate book reviews that simply summarize the content in the book. But some of what Day writes about is just too good to not get brought up in advance.
Here are some things discussed in The Irrational Atheist:
Does Religion Cause War?
In school, you probably learned of the Crusades and Thirty Years’ War. Which likely gave you the impression that religion is a terrible thing due to all the deaths it causes, even more, strengthened by the recent Al Qaeda and ISIS.
This impression, which you get from a quick, vane glance in a history textbook, is often used as an argument by the New Atheists.
Vox Day gets knee-deep into the argument and clearly shows you how incompetent the atheists are when it comes to military history and the art of war. (And hint, religion isn’t the primary cause of wars)
The Stupidity Of Sam Harris
I don’t make a point to stay updated on atheism, but I’ve failed to escape Sam Harris and his really stupid face in the media.
Although I thought it was impossible, Day makes Harris appear even more incompetent and lacking consistency. Harris isn’t only completely ignorant on the religions he condemns, he’s also got a hard-on for Buddhism which — when you consider their equivalent of Heaven, Sukhāvatī, and worship of the divine Amitābha Buddha — is kinda retarded.
The “No True Scotsman” Argument
Leftists always say that the Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China and recent Venezuela wasn’t “true” communism and socialism.
This is one variation of the “No True Scotsman” argument.
One form of argument by tautology is known informally as the “No True Scotsman” argument, courtesy of a British philosopher named Anthony Flew. It goes like this:
Assertion: “No Scotsman drinks Jack Daniels.”
Response: “But my uncle Angus is from Glasgow and he drinks Jack Daniels.”
Rebuttal: “Then your uncle Angus is no true Scotsman!”
Similarly, men like Harris argue that atheists can’t commit evil deeds because they have no reason to do so. And when you respond that Stalin and Mao were atheists and they killed millions of people… the reply is that “then Stalin and Mao were No True Atheists.”
The Atheist Hypocrisy
A common theme among the New Atheists is their hypocrisy. They bang their chests like gorillas and proclaim themselves champions of empiricism, evidence, science and so forth — yet, their arguments are often lacking data, logic and critical thought.
For example, Richard Dawkins once wrote in a letter to his daughter:
And next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: ‘What kind of evidence is there for that?’ And if they can’t give you a good answer, I hope you’ll think very carefully before you believe a word they say.
“The scientist may not be much of a father,” Day comments, “but as it turns out, this particular advice is excellent”. He then points out that Dawkins’ controversial claims are completely void of evidence. One of such claims is that being raised Catholic is more psychologically damaging than being sexually abused is.
Day proceeds by providing hard data that the contrary is true.
I strongly recommend this book. No matter if you’re religious, agnostic or an atheist. Vox Day’s writing is intelligent and extremely entertaining. His sharp, acerbic wits take the book and its sound arguments to another level.
Until next time,
— Alexander Contrarian