My fellow SINner Don Severs has a post comparing atheism to animal rights and pro-life stances, which I found a bit disturbing. Don says:
We carnivores tolerate vegetarians at our potlucks. We are respectful, and sometimes admiring, of their celibacy from flesh. But that’s all. We’re not going to feel bad about eating meat, or put up with continuous harangues or emotional diatribes about it. If you don’t like eating meat, don’t do it.
This seems to be the attitude liberal believers have toward atheists.
Well, yeah… vegetarian arguments are crappy arguments (animals have no rights, sorry to bring it to you); and when they try to keep me from eating meat, or are self-righteous enough to compare me to Nazis, I won’t tolerate them – I’ll post a picture of me having a BBQ and pork chops. And I certainly don’t admire making choices out of irrational beliefs or any kind of celibacy, for that matter.
Atheism is a rational conclusion. Vegetarianism and animal rights movement are attitudes that (usually) stem from appealing to emotion (or other faulty reasoning processes).
Same goes for the pro-life bit:
This seems to be the attitude abortionists have toward pro-lifers. “You have some good arguments, but some of us still support legal abortion. We don’t feel bad about it, in fact we think it’s a good thing. Dead babies have no effect on us. We don’t think you’re wrong, we just don’t care about your arguments. Our position on abortion causes no moral or social pinch for us. Leave us alone.”
Certainly “dead babies” is appealing to emotion; that’s not a “good argument”. It’s a crappy one. I do think pro-lifers are wrong: no one gets to tell women what to do with their bodies, let alone superstitious wackos.
So, when Don says he’s been tainted by intransigence and unreason, I don’t buy it.
He says the counter-argument to pro-life accomodationism is:
I’m pro-life for a far more important reason. When people get abortions, suffering increases. So, I can’t apply Live and Let Live to abortionists. They don’t Live and Let Live when it comes to fetuses.
Of course no one on their right mind would let live fetuses (or spermatozoids), that doesn’t mean “suffering increases” (you see, appealing to emotion). It does not by a long shot. If you were really concerned about abortions and suffering, you’d do your homework and find out that having an abortion causes less suffering than giving birth to an unwanted child.
So there you have it – being pro-choice, eating meat and atheism are (more or less) rational; and when it comes to rights (like eating meat and having abortions) we shouldn’t take it so lightly or give in so easily to irrational arguments.