So I got some DMs the other night about my last post:
“Hey you completely misunderstood and misquoted me and then ran with it. I didn’t say athiests are arrogant for not believing in god.
I said they’re arrogant for claiming that they absolutely know there isn’t one and never was. When they do. And it smokes. Im playing
With ideas. Anyway go ahead and be disappointed and constantly certain that you know everything.”
I couldn’t DM back because C.K. doesn’t follow me. He only follows one person on Twitter: Colin “The Butcher of Comedic Timing” Quinn, which is actually pretty funny. He didn’t reply to my @tweets either, so I’ve been morally waffling over whether to post this. Either way seems cruel. I like Louis C.K., so I want to give him his say. But I also like Louis C.K., so I want to spare him his say. But in the end, I figure this is the only way to communicate with C.K., and arrogantly explain it is he who “smokes.”
I quoted C.K. twice: “Atheists are arrogant” & “You can only see for two miles.” I’m fairly confident those are accurate. And atheists do not believe in gods, so “atheists are arrogant” means that people who do not believe in gods are arrogant. As for misunderstanding the gist of the bit, I know several others in the audience who walked away with the same understanding, and no one else has contacted me regarding my “misunderstanding.” Giving C.K. the benefit of the doubt, maybe he simply failed to fully convey his point—his silly, Straw Atheist point.
No atheist I know is so epistemologically dull as to assert that they absolutely know there isn’t a God. (And are there people who think God once existed but he, like, died of a stroke or something?) We tend to think of the possibility as so very unlikely that hedging our bets seems a needlessly philosophical exercise. We’re also technically agnostic about other things for which there’s no evidence, like leprechauns and unicorns.* But society doesn’t care so much when we “arrogantly” dismiss these other very unlikely things as obvious bullshit. And I’m far from certain why.
I’m far from certain about many, many, many things. I’m certain of very little in the grand scope of things, and considering the ever-expanding nature of human knowledge, I think most honest people would say the same. How does consciousness work? Where’d the universe come from? Why is matter set up to self-replicate—hydrogen to helium through genes and people?! No one knows! That’s the awesome thing about living in reality. You don’t need leprechauns or gods to be amazed (and baffled) by the world. And with some things, it’s important to get your ass off the philosophical fence and say, “Come the fuck on!”
Who knows if it’s OK to stone gay people to death? Who knows if women should be executed for adultery? It’s arrogant to presume you know the answer, right? We can’t be philosophically certain that God’s edicts are for reals, yeah? What about same-sex marriage? Access to contraception and reproductive rights? Are those dim North Dakota fucks on to something? Can’t possibly know. What about this Washington Times fuck-wad who supports Ugandan efforts to make homosexuality punishable by death? I mean, if God supports—demands those things, and we can’t know if God exists…
Clearly, C.K. has not argued the above points, but we live in a world where God is used to justify all sort of deplorable things (and a little good too, so shut up), and dodging behind detached intellectual exercises in this age provides philosophical cover for those awful things. It’s just weak sauce. Weak fucking sauce, Louis C.K.
Anyway, you get the idea, and I should get going. It just rained here, there’s the fainest rainbow on the horizon, and I’m gonna go mug me an Irish midget. Who knows, right?
*There’s bound to be a Philosophy 101 student who’ll say that the existence of leprechauns can be tested while God is metaphysical, unknowable. Well, to that person: Go fuck yourself.
UPDATE: I found this elvish, little man ranting about gold, and I thought it might be a leprechaun, but when I got closer I realized it was just Ron Paul.