Tag Archive: atheism


We Are All Laurasians

Until the discovery of Neanderthal admixture in all non-African populations by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the most publicly popular narrative of human evolution and settlement around the globe was the Out of Africa model, which posited that all humans descended from a single population of humans originating in Africa approximately 200,000 years ago who proceeded to settle the globe in the subsequent years, completely replacing whatever archaic hominids may have been occupying the lands that they settled.  The model received a further blow after the sequencing of DNA from a fossil finger bone found in Denisova revealed that Melanesian populations had further admixture with the population to which the individual whose finger was found belonged.

The notion that all humans were completely descended from a single population living in Africa 200,000 years ago appealed to the ideological framework of some on the secular left who saw it both as a rebuke to the Creationist narratives that were held by scriptural literalists as well as a possible means of arguing that race itself was a meaningless concept.  Ironically, just as this worldview was disintegrating, Richard Dawkins placed this T-shirt for sale at his site’s store:

But Dawkin’s design is certainly not the only “We are all Africans” T-shirt design.  Here’s one that is cataloged with a set of “Atheist Designs” at Spreadshirt:

Here is one version from Squidoo that actually directly incorporates the Out of Africa model:

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The Galton Inequality

One of the popular signifiers of Christianity has been the ΙΧΘΥΣ symbol, which has been standardized for use on the rear bumpers of devoutly Christian drivers everywhere, sometimes with the Greek written on the belly as can be seen below on the left.  In response, some secularists produced the image on the right showing a fish with legs and DARWIN written on its body as can be seen below on the right.  Since then there have been an explosion of competing bumper logos symbolizing the ideological combat of Darwinians and Christian Creationists made on both sides.


In a similar vein, Glaivester (hat tip: Eugenicist) has made a parody of the equal sign:

While I like the concept, I think that the execution needs some improvement in two areas. The first is that in the inequality sign (≠), the slash runs in the opposite direction. The second is that, though Glaivester’s version seems to be a parody on the logo of the Human Rights Campaign, the formost LGBT* lobbying organization in the United States, it is quite a bit more elongated than the original logo. As such, using the original logo as a template (the blue background version, on the left), I’ve made my own version of the Galton Inequality, as shown on the left.

I’ve also created a Logos page where I have some variations on the graphic for those who would prefer a different color combination.  Feel free to use and distribute these logos as you see fit.

*Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender, for those uninitiated in gender politics

Atheism

In recent weeks, a YouTube poster with the user name HeyRuka has been held up among a few bloggers in the race realist blogosphere.  As someone with a pseudonymous blog, it is heartening to see a young woman who is willing to argue against the conventional wisdom on racial matters and on video, no less.  However, as Unamused points out in a recent post, her main focus as a video blogger is on atheism.  For example, here she is riffing on antitheism:

While as per my initial post, I consider myself to be an agnostic atheist, I can’t say that I endorse many of her statements.  I personally find the religious thinking to be overly superstitious and I don’t partake in religion myself, but I cannot deny that religious people tend to be more charitable than the nonreligious or that religion provides an important social bond for societies around the world, a fact reflected in its etymology:

From religiōn-, the stem of the Latin religiō (“scrupulousness”, “pious misgivings”, “superstition”, “conscientiousness”, “sanctity”, “an object of veneration”, “cult-observance”, “reverence”), from religō (“I bind back or behind”), from re + ligō (“I tie, bind, or bandage”).

Nonetheless, I consider myself to be an agnostic atheist and I put emphasis on the atheism.  When I brought that up months ago in a  comment on hbd chick’s blog, she gave the following reply:

i’m an agnostic atheist, too, more-or-less. my gut tells me there is no god, but my head tells me that we can’t be sure. but, if i were interviewed for the gss i would definitely respond #2 [NO WAY TO FIND OUT, the GSS option for agnostics].

I respect that viewpoint, but I’d like to use the rest of this post to discuss why given the choice of identifying as an agnostic or an atheist I choose atheist.  As Unamused aptly pointed out, a discussion of atheism cannot be productive unless the ground rules are set.  I also liked Unamused’s definitions of theism and atheism, so I’ll quote them here:

Theism means belief in the existence of gods, so I define atheism, sensibly enough, as lack of belief in the existence of gods.

I would further add, in the same vein, a definition of agnosticism as lack of a knowledge claim concerning the existence of gods.

The reason that I primarily identify as an atheist rather than an agnostic is that identification as an atheist says something about one’s view of reality while agnosticism says something about one’s view of the state of one’s knowledge.  While I do think that acknowledgment of the limitations of one’s knowledge is important and that an atheist who is certain that no being that would qualify as a deity exists is foolish, I think that it is more important to emphasize one’s view of reality over one’s view of knowledge if a choice must be made.

To be clear, I have a basic view of reality that does not include any deities.  I acknowledge that I do not know that I am correct my exclusion of deities and I further believe that, barring the emergence of extraordinary evidence provided in favor of a deity’s existence, it would be impossible for me to determine whether or not deities exist to an extent that would satisfactorily qualify as knowledge.  Nonetheless, it seems to me that quirks of the human mind are a more plausible explanation of the widespread existence of mystical beliefs than the actual existence of God or lesser deities and that given the knowledge presented by modern physics and biology, no deity is necessary to explain the current state of the Universe.

Superstitious Competition

Ron Guhname recently posted an excerpt from What Americans Really Believe by Rodney Stark as a counterpoint to the notion that belief runs along a continuum from religion to skepticism.  It showed that a higher proportion of those who don’t attend church regularly buy into superstitions like Bigfoot, UFOs, and Astrology.

This point reminded me of the results of the 2005 Eurobarometer poll on the topic of Europeans’ beliefs regarding the existence of the divine.  Here’s a map of Europe where the brighter the country, the higher the rate of belief in God (a country where 100% professed belief in God would be white, whereas a country where 0% did would be black).  Translucent areas weren’t included in the poll:


Clearly there’s a wide range of opinions on the topic of God’s existence throughout Europe.  Interestingly enough, most of the countries that have the low rates of belief are in Western Europe rather than in the former Communist states of Eastern Europe.

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