Atheist Meme of the Day: “Of course we should ask that question”


Scarlet letter I’ve decided to make it Quotations Week on the Atheist Meme of the Day. Here’s today’s Atheist Meme of the Day, from my Facebook page. Pass this on; or don’t; or make up your own. Enjoy!

“I listen to all these complaints about rudeness and intemperateness, and the opinion that I come to is that there is no polite way of asking somebody: have you considered the possibility that your entire life has been devoted to a delusion? But that’s a good question to ask. Of course we should ask that question and of course it’s going to offend people. Tough.” -Daniel Dennett

P.S. Thanks to Jerry Coyne for posting this quotation on his blog. I’d never heard it before, and am gobsmacked. That Dennett is one smart cookie.

Comments

  1. says

    A nice little Dennett gem is “Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Having,” if you’re not in the mood for the more massive Consciousness Explained or Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.
    Most days I think Dennett has just hit the nail on the head regarding so-called “rudeness”. Some days, though, I wonder if there are better ways to ask even that sort of question; “better” in the sense that, pedagogically, they will more easily lead folks to understanding that they might be wrong…

  2. says

    My RSS reader says this post use to be entitled:
    Atheist Meme of the Day: “No Atheists in Foxholes” is Bigotry”
    Did you change it.
    If so, changing is a good idea. I don’t think it is bigotry, just a common observation of human nature. And I am an atheist.

  3. JL says

    Dennett’s a smart guy. Too bad he promotes the pseudoscientific crap that is current evolutionary psychology.
    As far as this particular quote goes, I think it’s a reasonable point. But there’s a time and place to ask that question. I don’t spout politics, for instance, at friends of different views when we’re just hanging out socially, or at my stepmother when I visit her house. I’m happy to spout them at pretty much everyone when it’s in the arena of public discourse, or at friends who I know enjoy long political discussions. I think you get something similar with religion.

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