Category Miscellaneous

I’m banning…

  Inspired by John Rentoul’s ‘Banned List’, I will compile an eclectic list of things that we should no longer be…


  Today, I discovered that the bloggers on this network aren’t just intelligent machines that generate text on a page…

The ‘Atheist Skeptic Dialogue’ Will Fail

Many people are becoming increasingly fed up with what I will call ‘the Rift’ that has occurred in atheist and skeptic communities. Largely, the Rift is confined to online spaces, but seemed to originate around mid 2011 in the conference scene. It seems to only affect a subset of atheists and skeptics, as when I speak to atheists I encounter in my ordinary life (and by far most people I know are ‘non-card-carrying atheists’), they have no idea that it even exists. So the problem, albeit something we should try to fix, is not really something that affects atheists or skeptics as a whole, but just those who inhabit one corner of the internet.

Michael Nugent, of Atheist Ireland is one of the people fed up with the Rift. He would like to move beyond it, and has admirably taken the trouble to propose a dialogue to try to sort things out. I strongly believe that it won’t work, for two main reasons:

In this situation, a dialogue is in principle non-workable.
The dialogue itself is not structured in an appropriate way for its purpose.

I want to start with the second reason, as it is the weaker of the two.


I’ve recently changed my mind over some important questions after encountering some new arguments. This is a good thing – we should always be willing to alter our opinions in proportion to the evidence. In this post, I will attempt to circumvent the intellect and appeal to your sense of conscience, to convince you of the new things I’ve learned.