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Joe Zoch

Amy Peikoff Rebuts Why Atheism is a “Mental Handicap”

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Starting on page 2 of the comments section, Amy Peikoff nicely rebuts Steven Crowder’s specious post against Atheism on the Big Hollywood website.

I think this is a good demonstration of how to advocate the proper ideas without being off-putting, and knowing who your audience is. As you follow the thread you see she makes her case by personalizing it and ultimately wraps it up by pointing the viewer to Ayn Rand.

Often, I see Objectivists (I’ve been guilty of this too) try to refute bad ideas by throwing in the entire Ayn Rand Lexicon, or using jargon only known by those well studied in Objectivism.

Commenting on blogs and news sites is a great way to spread Objectivist ideas, and I think Amy’s approach is a good example.

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The description should say Properly Using Blog and News Site comment sections NOT "the Blog"

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I agree, she did a nice job. The challenge talking to non-Objectivists is to remember that what’s obvious to us is based on long inductive links that take years to make and integrate. It can be so frustrating that it makes me sometimes wish I could lend my subconscious to the other person and just point at the answer and say, “see?” ;) But they have to make those links themselves, and all you can do is start them out. Such as in this case, Amy Peikoff simply questions the premise of the author. He concludes that atheism implies hedonism, assuming that morality is based on religion. Yet she does not believe in a god and is not a hedonist, nor is she a moral relativist. Rather than attempt to write a philosophic treatise on the blog, she simply points him in the direction of the alternative, for him to discover on his own.

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In that comment section is one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen said about Objectivism. Posted by dcase:

Projectiing strong morals is not faith. Ayn Rand took Christian concepts and developed Objectivism which we have no problem with.

;) Said in a way that implies knowledge of the philosophy, and yet even a casual review of Ayn Rand's works would refute the claim. She has a collection of essays called The Virtue of Selfishness!

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In that comment section is one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen said about Objectivism. Posted by dcase:
Projectiing strong morals is not faith. Ayn Rand took Christian concepts and developed Objectivism which we have no problem with.

;) Said in a way that implies knowledge of the philosophy, and yet even a casual review of Ayn Rand's works would refute the claim. She has a collection of essays called The Virtue of Selfishness!

Hmmm ... I think he may be confusing the American sense of life with Christian values. Ayn Rand supplied the explicit moral code that was implicit in much of the American tradition, i.e. work hard, be honest, pursue your dreams, and get rich. Or, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I really think that many Americans confuse Christianity with the American spirit, when the two are incompatible.

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Starting on page 2 of the comments section, Amy Peikoff nicely rebuts Steven Crowder’s specious post against Atheism on the Big Hollywood website.

I think this is a good demonstration of how to advocate the proper ideas without being off-putting, and knowing who your audience is. As you follow the thread you see she makes her case by personalizing it and ultimately wraps it up by pointing the viewer to Ayn Rand.

Often, I see Objectivists (I’ve been guilty of this too) try to refute bad ideas by throwing in the entire Ayn Rand Lexicon, or using jargon only known by those well studied in Objectivism.

Commenting on blogs and news sites is a great way to spread Objectivist ideas, and I think Amy’s approach is a good example.

Do you have a better link? I can't find it on the website.

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Oh god, I read too many of those comments and now my brain is filled with stupid ;)

Some of those guys could write a treatise on context dropping and being concrete bound, because if you are an atheist you obviously are one with Sean Penn, believe in "flawed science" like Global Warming, and "believe in nothing", etc etc...

It's almost as if they can't conceive of morality without a higher being ordering them about like dogs.

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Do you have a better link? I can't find it on the website.

Go to http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/scrowder...cap/#idc-ctools, scroll to the bottom, and select page 2. This the best I can give. ;)

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Do you have a better link? I can't find it on the website.

Go to http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/scrowder...cap/#idc-ctools, scroll to the bottom, and select page 2. This the best I can give. ;)

Thanks, but I realized that my browser was blocking the website. I'm able to see it now.

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Joe (and Amy),

Thanks for the example!

I too have been active in local internet communities. I can't say that I have always been so restrained in my response to counterpoints. I would like to think that I have improved.

Our local paper provides an arena for people to add comments regarding LTEs. Within a couple of weeks, I got frustrated with the level of name-calling and outright hostility of commenters. I have been less active in posting comments recently because of this.

Rather than withdraw completely, though, I have developed a technique. If a letter peaks my interest, I let the goomba's shout their points at each other for a few days. I then read the full set of comments and take notes on any points worthy of addressing. Many of the commenters also link to news items I have not read before, so I learn something. I am now in the habit of composing a blog entry and posting the link in the aggregate of comments.

This has been much more satisfying to me. First, I am able to address several points in full. The web comments allow only a limited number of characters, which puts a limit on how I develop an argument. Second, the goomba's who react violently to my comments never bother to follow the link. Those that have any interest usually leave comments. So, I figure I am reaching some people. I also believe I have developed a reputation for offering reasonable criticism of various issues this way. I draw this conclusion because several regular commenters do not agree with my principles but keep coming back with questions.

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