October 15, 2011

Atheist "Poes": They Make Their Own

“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.” The General Case of Poe's Law is "It is impossible to tell for certain the difference between genuine stupidity and a parody of stupidity." [1]

It is a common attack at someone who uncompromisingly stands for their Conservative and Christian convictions to call him or her a "Poe". That is, someone is accused of being so ridiculous in their beliefs, he or she is essentially acting like a fool and cannot be taken seriously. It is usually just another attempt at the Appeal to Ridicule fallacy in an effort to dismiss the person instead of dealing with the argument itself.

Modern fundamentalist atheism creates its own "Poes". They are hateful and angry, and put people off by their vituperation, lack of logic, constant protests and so on. (And they wonder why they are the least liked group?) I have been hit with loaded questions and venomous attacks that have stunned me with not only their viciousness, but their absurdity: Did I really read or hear that? I thought it was a joke at first!
A tirade was published last month by Al Stefanelli, the Georgia State Director of American Atheists, Inc, entitled Taking the Gloves Off.
In it, Al starts with this…shall we say “provocative”…statement:
It should come as no surprise that the individuals who abide by fundamentalist Christian and radical Islamic doctrines would be the first to cry out that they are being persecuted when their dangerous, damaging and disingenuous beliefs come under attack. Most of these people lack the maturity and intelligence to act in a socially acceptable manner. Many of them are sociopaths and quite a good number of them are psychopaths. All of them are clearly delusional.
Naturally, when I read this, I assumed it was a parody. Here’s someone who likes to poke a little fun at New Atheists by writing a piece that almost could describe their position if it weren’t so extreme. But it’s just a bit too absurd. Obviously an attempt at humor. You know, like Landover Baptist.
Turns out…not so much. Apparently Al is serious. And a lot of appreciative comments indicate he’s not the only one. Which is a bit sad for New Atheism, since if your position is indistinguishable from a parody of itself, then you’ve got a problem.
OK, Edgar Allen. Read the rest of "New milestone: fundamentalist atheism now indistinguishable from parody of itself" here.

Subscribe in a reader