AS67: Cognitive Dissonance on Atheist Celebrities, Part 1

Tom and Cecil are back! Talking with these guys is the absolute most fun. They are such a great blend of humor and insight! This time we’re discussing the phenomenon of atheist celebrities. We rehash a bit of the Dawkins Twitter stuff simply because it’s germane to the discussion, but we also go on to talk about the topic more broadly. Also, should we separate ideas or books from the people who write them? Or is it ok and natural to reject ideas or writings of bad people out of a reaction to their personalities? These and other questions, ANSWERED.

4 thoughts on “AS67: Cognitive Dissonance on Atheist Celebrities, Part 1”

  1. I haven’t listened to part two yet, so its possible this was somehow addressed, but I have to point out a bit of your own cognitive dissonance with this topic 🙂

    You are willing to take Dawkins and others “targeted” by politically and socially progressive atheists at face value when they explain themselves and don’t assume ulterior motives or hidden subtext, but then you call the angry atheists who call him out for various comments “contrarians”. (and I’m mainly referring to sexist and racists comments, not down syndrome abortions)

    Now if the angry comments all basically boiled down to insults or the like, I’d be inclined to agree, but there has been many a podcast and blog post outlining exactly why people are so angry about specific Dawkins (or Harris, Shermer, etc) comments, and so you should take their word for it too. They aren’t trying to just maintain their identity of outsider like you hypothesized.

    And even if on some level they were, so what? If their arguments aren’t based on anything but enjoying drama, their arguments alone should be easy enough to knock down without tone trolling them for being emotional about it as if emotion is evidence enough for being wrong. And even if they don’t accept an apology or a clarification, assume they have reasons why, and seek those reasons out before jumping to conclusions the way you contend they did with Dawkins in the first place.

    All this talk about contrarians reeks of derailment from the argument (and by argument, I mean THEIR arguments for being angry) Not saying you must participate in the arguments, but why tone troll?

    1. I think this is definitely a valid concern. I believe I sort of addressed it at the time but I think it’s worth putting some more words into it. I’ll talk about it next week. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Sorry for the late comments on your podcasts, just getting caught up. Minor disagreement with the architect analogy. I don’t think people’s issue with Greta Cristina for example, is criticism of her designs, to carry on with the analogy, it’s a problem with her. If she did in fact say “all men are rapists” as the tweet claimed, that’s no better than saying “all black people are criminals”. Would you employ, or suggest your friend employ an architect you knew was a racist?
    Would you give David Duke a platform on your podcast to discuss, and sell his cookbook, if he had one, and help increase his public exposure, and credibility? Maybe you would, but I wouldn’t.
    The only justification I could see for having him on would be to call him out on, and argue against his racism.

    1. I wanted to add after hearing part 2 that yes sometimes the author does matter. Nothing David Duke might have to say about cooking makes up for what he says about race, or justifies financially supporting him by buying his cookbook. Sure the idea is what ultimately matters, but what the idea is, and who said it matters.

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