Friday 13 June 2008

The Atheist Thirteen

Taking up Nullifidian's challenge:

(If you’d like to take part, copy these questions, and answer them in your own words on your own blog.)

Q1. How would you define “atheism”?

Atheism is not believing in god(s). Strictly speaking, a-theism is not believing in a theistic god, so one could perhaps be an atheist and a deist at the same time. Whatever, atheism is not a religion. Nor is it, strictly, the active denial of the existence of gods.

Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?

Anglican. C of E. I went to a Methodist Sunday School.

Q3. How would you describe “Intelligent Design”, using only one word?


Q4. What scientific endeavour really excites you?

Computer technology. This is science that has direct and immediate impact on a huge number of people, in so many different ways.

Q5. If you could change one thing about the “atheist community”, what would it be and why?

If only atheists could agree with each other, some momentum for social change could be built up. But that's a forlorn hope - atheists tend to be independent and freethinking. They arrive at their views by their own considered thinking process, so it's hardly surprising there's no agreed script. The religious have dogma, so they don't need to think about these things....

Q6. If your child came up to you and said “I’m joining the clergy”, what would be your first response?

Surprise. Because, for a start, I don't have any children.

Q7. What’s your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?

The teleological argument: that without God, the universe has no meaning or purpose. Guess what? The universe has no meaning or purpose.

Q8. What’s your most “controversial” (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?

That religious moderates aren't really religious? I don't understand how anyone can be considered truly religious without being devoutly religious. And it's a short step from devout to fundamentalist - that's why I think religion should be stamped out.

Q9. Of the “Four Horsemen” (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why?

Horses (horsemen) for courses: Dawkins for his careful consideration and precise expression; Dennett for his gentle, rational deconstruction of religion; Hitchens for his rapier intellect in a scrap; and Harris for his sublime mastery of language.

Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?

Pope Benny. There are lots of cranky religions out there, but the Roman Catholics have global reach, and their loony superstitions bear down with an alarming weight of numbers.

Now name three other atheist blogs that you’d like to see take up the Atheist Thirteen gauntlet:

1. Pharyngula
2. onegoodmove
3. Julia Sweeney

Hurry up now - there's not much of Friday the Thirteenth left!