The Problem of Internet Atheists

by Max Andrews

There are many problems in philosophy such as the problem of evil, the problem of miracles, the problem of historical knowledge, the problem of what there is (Quine), the Gettier problem, and several others in various fields.  However, I’ve noticed a problem with the ‘internet atheist’ community.

Before I continue I want to give a general indication for what I mean by an internet atheist, which can include several agnostics as well. An internet atheist will have certain giveaways such as: trolling, one who cites Richard Dawkins as a philosophical champion, appeals to the tactics of PZ Myers (anyone who reads PZ Myers and is quite aware of logic, fallacies, and social etiquette may suffer from face-palm syndrome–the problem of excessive disappointment resulting in the face resting on one’s palm followed by a deep sigh), being completely oblivious of opposing views, as well as the following properties…

Internet atheists have this habit of coming out of no where. What I mean by that is they have the habit of plowing their way into conversations.  For instance, while writing this last sentence I received a tweet from some internet atheist (Illin Lane Craig, original and brilliant name, I know) about some tweet I made several days ago in which I said that the OT law didn’t treat women immorally and that the problem was a societal issue. (Read trolling tweet here.) I could provide more tweets but I honestly have no desire to go back and read them.

Shakespeare is disappointed with internet atheists.

This brings me to my next point. The vast majority of internet atheists rest comfortably behind the veil of anonymity. This gives them the perceived freedom to say whatever they want. Being anonymous has its tactical advantages for trolling but not much profits from it. I understand if someone keeps their identity anonymous because if their material were linked to them it would create a problem in the offline world. That’s understandable. However, I seriously doubt that’s the case with internet atheists. This also allows for profane, vulgar, insensitive, vociferous, visceral, instinctual, emotional, and clamorous language. It truly is the case that if there were more symbols on a keyboard then the internet atheist community could master the English language (or any language, we all know more use of profanity symbols entails the mastery of a language…psh… obviously…) I know that I’m horrible with the English language, just ask my blog editor!

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