Here’s a video that shows two famous atheist thinkers, Peter Singer and Richard Dawkins, talking about animal rights. Singer makes it clear how his atheism is important to his arguments, as they are premised on the belief that humans are just animals. In fact, at about 3:45, you’ll see Singer make the clear connection between atheism and animal liberation:
Here’s what he said:
That’s why I don’t think we can justify eating them. Once we accept the Darwinian picture that we are not some specially created species that has been given the God-given right to rule over the other animals, we REALLY have to move towards not buying all these products that come from animals and that really embody the suffering those animals experience.
Translation: Once we embrace the atheistic view of man in relation to other creatures, where there is nothing special about our species, we must move towards the position of animal liberation.
Dawkins nods in approval and helps Singer rationalize why it is okay to eat some animals (apparently, Singer and Dawkins like to eat oysters, so there has to be some escape hatch). But Singer presses him, causing Dawkins to admit he is less moral than Singer for eating meat and he even compares himself to a slave owner. That he willingly compares himself to a slave-owner tells us that he connects his atheism to animal liberation.
Rather than stop eating meat, Dawkins acts as if society is making him do evil and hopes Singer’s “consciousness raising” will one day change society so that we all become vegetarians.
If you think about it, that’s a rather pathetic rationalization. Dawkins realizes that his atheistic views of evolution naturally lead him to the vegan lifestyle, but thinks he has to eat meat because society expects that of him. But doesn’t society also expect him to respect religion or even be religious? Then why doesn’t that societal pressure have an effect on him? When it comes to religion, he is the loud and brave dissenter. When it comes to a steak dinner, he’s completely helpless before the powers of social conformation. Yeah, right. Dawkins should just be honest and admit he eats meat not because society made him do it, but because he likes it. But he can’t be honest, because his atheism has him thinking he is immoral.