A Manual for Creating Atheists

Peter Boghossian is a New Atheist activist who has a book coming out entitled, “A Manual for Creating Atheists.” This is a book that promises to help atheist evangelists in their quest to proselytize for atheism and confirms that atheism, in the form of New Atheism, has taken on yet another religious characteristic.

I have not read the book, but I assume it will have pretty much the same message as this speech Boghossian gave:

Let me summarize Boghossian’s points. First, he assumes that faith is an epistemology and a method people use to come to knowledge. Then he defines faith “as belief without evidence or belief without sufficient evidence.” So from the start, he goes off the tracks and we’ll get to that in a later posting. Right now, let’s consider his Nine Strategies for converting people to atheism.

1. Meet people where they are.
2. Non-adversarial relationship. Avoid doing anything to come across as the angry atheist
3. Reconceptualize – need to think of religious people as being infected with a virus, they are not well; don’t be upset with people who have caught the faith virus; need more compassion to help convert people to atheism.
4. Faith is not god – do not target God, by arguing about God you are addressing the symptom, not the cause (faith)
5. Faith is not religion – do not target religion; target faith
6. Faith is not politics – discussions about politics will sidetrack the targeting of faith
7. Avoid facts – don’t use facts when people are precontemplative as they will not work; no fact will change their mind
8. Focus – always focus discussion on epistemology – on how people know
9. Belief – divorce belief from morality; faith is simply an unreliable espistemology

Oh my. Okay, if there are any New Atheist readers out there who would like to practice putting their new manual to work, feel free to try and convert me.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in atheism, New Atheism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Manual for Creating Atheists

  1. Crude says:

    Then he defines faith “as belief without evidence or belief without sufficient evidence.”

    No matter how many times this is corrected, certain atheists continue to repeat it.

    2. Non-adversarial relationship. Avoid doing anything to come across as the angry atheist

    Well, he’s lost the lion’s share of the Cult of Gnu right there.

    Okay, if there are any New Atheist readers out there who would like to practice putting their new manual to work, feel free to try and convert me.

    The same goes for me. Dismantling this crap is always a pleasure.

  2. “Dismantling this crap ”

    Honestly, why should anyone WANT to talk to you? You already made the result up in your mind, thus making any discussion impossible. If god himself came down and told you that he didn’t exist, you would find a reason not to believe him.

  3. Crude says:

    Honestly, why should anyone WANT to talk to you? You already made the result up in your mind, thus making any discussion impossible.

    Funny – I’m able to talk with people who disagree with me about various issues. Sometimes they change my mind, sometimes I change theirs. It’s this particular strain of atheist – the Cult of Gnu – that I and others seem to rile up.

    It’s also pretty ironic that you’re making this claim here, in a thread about Petebog – the guy who just wrote a manual about how to treat every conversation with theists as a conversion opportunity. Let me guess: it’s okay if Dawkins, or Bog, or the rest have made up their minds and they eschew conversation. But when I laugh at the inanities of atheism’s most embarrassing subgroup, lordy lordy, that’s quite the intellectual sin?

    If god himself came down and told you that he didn’t exist, you would find a reason not to believe him.

    You may want to use a less inane example. What that really the best you could do?

  4. TFBW says:

    Crude said:

    No matter how many times this is corrected, certain atheists continue to repeat it.

    That’s because you try to correct them with facts. Note Boghossian strategy #7.

    Atomic Mutant said:

    If god himself came down and told you that he didn’t exist, you would find a reason not to believe him.

    Best chuckle I’ve had all day. Almost on a par with Douglas Adams’ “it proves you exist so therefore you don’t” argument.

  5. Mark Novak says:

    typical of religious people…. he hasn’t read the book, but feels qualified to refute its contents. Likewise they usually havn’t read their own book, otherwise they would be atheists.

  6. Crude says:

    typical of religious people…. he hasn’t read the book, but feels qualified to refute its contents.

    Nope. We’re pointing at a talk the man gave where he outlined some of his strategy and working definitions. They’re laughably bad, but we’re inviting people to give it a shot here. Violating one of his ‘rules’ automatically, I see.

    Likewise they usually havn’t read their own book,

    I’ve read it, and for me personally, my belief in God comes before the Bible. It does with many people, as a matter of fact.

    But hey, I understand. You realize Petebog’s methods suck for anyone who actually is aware of the arguments involved. I sympathize with why you won’t use them.

  7. Mark Novak says:

    I don’t agree with him. I think atheists should be more direct. What you describe, in his still to be read book, is very contrived, a little manipulative and probably not persuasive at all. But I understand that your belief in god comes from the bible. That makes no sense. I read the same book and didn’t get that at all.

  8. Michael says:

    typical of religious people…. he hasn’t read the book, but feels qualified to refute its contents. Likewise they usually havn’t read their own book, otherwise they would be atheists.

    typical of Gnu atheists – he hasn’t read my posting, but feels qualified to mock its contents. Sorry Mark, but nowhere do I claim to have refuted any book. Can you acknowledge I am right on that?

  9. Crude says:

    I don’t agree with him. I think atheists should be more direct.

    Of course. 😉

    hat you describe, in his still to be read book, is very contrived, a little manipulative and probably not persuasive at all.

    It’s from the video link. Did you not read the OP?

    But I understand that your belief in god comes from the bible.

    Nope. My belief in ‘God’, broadly, comes from a variety of sources, reflections, beliefs and arguments. I said outright – my belief in God comes before the bible. I’m not alone in this.

  10. James says:

    Likewise they usually havn’t read their own book, otherwise they would be atheists.
    That’s a complete non-sequitur. Simply because one doesn’t accept any of the gods of the three major monotheistic religions or those depicted in polytheistic accounts doesn’t entail atheism. From there, one can simply fall back to a bare, generic theism or even deism without relying on any scriptures.

    Furthermore, simply reading any scripture completely divorced of its cultural and historical contexts should be a non-starter.

  11. Articulate says:

    “I have not read the book, but I assume…” <- under the paragraph announcing the book's publication, under the title of the blog-entry, which just happens to be the same name as the book which you're not critiquing… do I have that right? Assumptions about a book you haven't read, from a video, may well also be non-sequitor. And it would also appear to be a major point of error in the responses wherein one claims to be discussing only the video but not the BOOK about which you began your blog-entry. Which one of these artifacts do you wish to focus the critique? The book you started out with, or the video to which you gesture as as the premise upon which you base your assumptions of claims that may or may not be inside of the book?

  12. Articulate says:

    Crude: Then he defines faith “as belief without evidence or belief without sufficient evidence.”
    No matter how many times this is corrected, certain atheists continue to repeat it.

    What better working and mutually acceptable definition of faith do you propose, so that individuals may continue discourse beyond that sticking point?

    I, too, have encountered the contentiousness around this word, and the semantics therein seem to be problematic for all. I have heard some offer that faith may be synonymous with hope. I have heard some offer that faith is a feeling one has that they know something to be true or real, not just someTHING, but some divinity, some-divine-ONE. It seems as though those are ways of saying one believes, or has come to know, without needing comprehensive or other-witnessed proof. This seems synonymous with believing sans evidence.

  13. Michael says:

    “I have not read the book, but I assume…” <- under the paragraph announcing the book's publication, under the title of the blog-entry, which just happens to be the same name as the book which you're not critiquing… do I have that right?

    Yes.

    Assumptions about a book you haven’t read, from a video, may well also be non-sequitor.

    Maybe. Maybe not. Have you read the book?

    And it would also appear to be a major point of error in the responses wherein one claims to be discussing only the video but not the BOOK about which you began your blog-entry.

    Can you please quote the portion of my blog entry that contains a major point of error?

    Which one of these artifacts do you wish to focus the critique?

    Whichever one is freely available.

    So tell me, are you our first Street Epistemologist?

  14. Michael says:

    What better working and mutually acceptable definition of faith do you propose, so that individuals may continue discourse beyond that sticking point?

    But you would be wasting Crude’s time if you are doxastically closed and have some deep emotional/psychological/political investment in Boghossian’s definition of faith. So are you coming to us from a position of doxastic openness?

  15. Crude says:

    Articulate,

    What better working and mutually acceptable definition of faith do you propose, so that individuals may continue discourse beyond that sticking point?

    I don’t care if the definition is ‘mutually acceptable’ for all people. For some, any definition that doesn’t pack an immediate rhetorical or intellectual punch in their favor will be unacceptable. If a Cult of a Gnu atheist tells me “No, no, I’m not accepting your definition until it can be immediately cashed out to mean believing you have certain knowledge of something with zero evidence!”, dialogue with them is of no concern to me. I’ll stick to pointing out their shortcomings, explaining their strawmen, and more.

    I have heard some offer that faith may be synonymous with hope. I have heard some offer that faith is a feeling one has that they know something to be true or real, not just someTHING, but some divinity, some-divine-ONE. It seems as though those are ways of saying one believes, or has come to know, without needing comprehensive or other-witnessed proof. This seems synonymous with believing sans evidence.

    First – why should I believe any of this, considering you’re offering zero evidence by your own standards?

    Second – ‘hope’ is not at all synonymous with ‘belief or knowledge’. That’s pretty obvious.

    Third – we just had an atheist philosopher come in here and insist that testimony WAS evidence, and suggested that anyone who didn’t believe as much was kind of a rube. I take it you disagree?

  16. Michael says:

    Third – we just had an atheist philosopher come in here and insist that testimony WAS evidence, and suggested that anyone who didn’t believe as much was kind of a rube. I take it you disagree?

    No answer? I’m shocked.

    Actually, his thinking was more nuanced [wink] than that. If he agreed with the testimony, the testimony was evidence. If he did not agree with the testimony, the testimony was not evidence.

  17. Michael says:

    Hmmm. It looks like Articulate has suddenly become Inarticulate. 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s