Has atheism caused more atrocities in the world?
Let’s have an adult conversation.
First, let’s find out what “atrocity” means:
So it appears we have two elements.
- Physical violence or injury
- Extremely wicked or cruel
As you might be able to infer, the above has objective and subjective elements.
The infliction of violence on someone can be medically measured. That is the objective part. If you don’t inflict violence or injury, you cannot have been said to commit an “atrocity.”
What constitutes “extremely wicked” or “cruel” obviously is subjective. What you might consider cruel someone else might not.
- Armed conflicts
- Between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.
“Armed conflict” is violent. Humans are primates. Primates who cannot peacefully resolve their differences resort to violence to force the other to do what they want.
Killing is violent. That’s the point. The problem we have is related to Western liberalism. Western liberalism is a religion, minus the Jesus. But it is a religion that has a worldview. The worldview is that “we are right” and “you are wrong.” It is moralized. No black and white. So our opponent, say, Saddam Hussein, is “literally Hitler.” We were told that if we refuse to invade Iraq we are “appeasers” like “Neville Chamberlin.” That Saddam would “use WMD’s” and “take over the Middle East.” We heard stories of multiple “atrocities,” such as “babies ripped from incubators.” I’m not kidding.
People bought this bullshit. Why? Because it uses your sense of empathy and caring against you. It weaponizes your good will. That, my friends, is cynical. It is manipulative. And it works.
Guilt manipulation is used to control and silence you. “Don’t you support the troops?”
Translation: “Don’t question the war or you are a heartless bastard.”
It is done with the fake Holodomor. If you call out the bullshit, you are a “enabler of atrocities,” who “support children being killed (the most vile form of guilt tripping),” the “rape of women,” blah, blah, blah.
It invokes a cognitive frame related to the Holocaust, which actually did happen. It is called transition. You invoke one frame to shift to another.
Holocaust shifts to Holodomor.
Guilt manipulation and emotional hijacking. It is irrational. Things exist or they do not exist. But your sense of good or bad is unrelated to the objective existence of something. You average person literally cannot reason. They are told what to think. The upper-middle classes can think, but they are heavily indoctrinated by “respectable” Western liberal media outlets like the oligarch Bezos owned “Washington Post.” David Ignatius is literally the voice of the U.S. propaganda state.
The use of the term “atrocity” has become propagandized. It is used to control the masses and quell dissent while enabling escalation of war. It is a provocation. The reality in Ukraine is that the Russians likely did some killings. But we don’t know the details, and the UK blocked an investigation at the UN. As we speak, there are no released autopsy reports. No forensic evidence from independent bodies. Nothing. Why? Because the West doesn’t care. It is a red herring.
The biggest shill ever has been the vilification of communism. For example, the Hoover Institution was created and funded by Ukrainian far right bourgeoise. They “escaped” from communism. This propaganda outlet funds war criminals like Kissinger and Rumsfeld. It has funded the “Mao killed the sparrows so we all died” Frank Dikotter, the literal British Intelligence agent Robert Conquest, who worked for the Atlee government in Britain. He used to feed propaganda to media outlets directly. He created the “Butcher Stalin” narrative that persists to this day. He received an award from President Bush for his propaganda efforts. Look it up.
Wikipedia is literally being edited by the CIA and FBI. Ever wonder why most of the communism articles referring to people like the propagandist Nicholas Werth, Stephen Courtois. or the goddamn liar Timothy Snyder? Stephen Kotkin is the only non-ghoul among them. Check citations, folks.
It is a leading money printing machine for right wing, anti-communist scholars, war criminals, and fascist collaborators. No surprise that the leading anti-socialist, anti-Soviet propagandists, climate change deniers, and “intellectuals” get paid by this institution. Some examples: Robert Conquest — He was literally a paid propagandist who worked with the British Foreign Office’s Information Research Department. This was literally a propaganda outlet commissioned by the Labour Atlee government. Conquest would write press releases and directly feed them to the BBC and other media sources. Conquest decided to fashion himself a “historian,” and set about writing a series of anti-Stalin, anti-Soviet ahistorical propaganda books, which became the dominant narrative for Stalin and the Soviet Union as unprovoked mass murdering nightmares. Conquest’s work was largely debunked by the historian J. Arch Getty, who had access to the Soviet Archives. The “death toll” for the Soviet Union was radically decreased. Frank Dikotter — Hack Mao writer, famous for the “Mao killed the sparrows so now we are fucked” book. Dikotter has a propensity to mischaracterized Mao’s phrases out of context to purposefully deceive. Alexander Solzhenitsyn — Ultra right wing anti-Soviet writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize not for his writing, but for political purposes. Wrote primarily about the Soviet Union, a place so bad it gave him life-saving medical treatment so he could live until old age. Was sent to prison for being himself. During a live speech said that the U.S. had become “morally decadent” because it dared to stop carpet bombing Vietnam and killing innocent people to “stop communism.” Stephen Kotkin — Stalin author. Donald Rumsfeld — War criminal. Henry Kissinger — Even bigger war criminal. Condoleeza Rice — You be the judge. Thomas Sowell — Sleepy former academic and capitalist apologist. Billionaires like to go big, particularly the right wing ones. This is their propaganda outlet, for the production of right wing, anti-communist propaganda dressed up as actual scholarly work. Former dignitaries who spent their lives contributing to war crimes or helping to implement them (Kissinger is a book by himself), the 2003 invasion of Iraq, etc. The institution is associated with Stanford University to give it credibility. More money juicing. The Hoover Institution is the academic version of Fox News. Funding One of the leading financial supporters is the Hoover Institution is the Koret Foundation. It is a big funder of far right foundations. Nearly 60 percent of the $64 million provided by the foundation between 2010 and 2012 went to causes tied to Taube and Koret board members, Koret’s lawsuit alleges. That includes $3.2 million to right-wing political causes, according to the San Francisco Chronicle: $1 million for the American Values Initiative at Hoover, where Taube and Koret’s executive director are on the board; and smaller grants to the Ayn Rand Institute, the Federalist Society and the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Another is the Scaife Foundation, which is a leading funder of climate change denial groups.
Poisoning the Well
(also known as: discrediting, smear tactics, appeal to ethos [form of])
Description: To commit a preemptive ad hominem (abusive) attack against an opponent. That is, to prime the audience with adverse information about the opponent from the start, in an attempt to make your claim more acceptable or discount the credibility of your opponent’s claim.
Adverse information (be it true or false) about person 1 is presented.
Therefore, the claim(s) of person 1 will be false.
Tim: Boss, you heard my side of the story why I think Bill should be fired and not me. Now, I am sure Bill is going to come to you with some pathetic attempt to weasel out of this lie that he has created.
Explanation: Tim is poisoning the well by priming his boss by attacking Bill’s character, and setting up any defense Bill might present as “pathetic”. Tim is using this fallacious tactic here, but if the boss were to accept Tim’s advice about Bill, she would be committing the fallacy.
I hope I presented my argument clearly. Now, my opponent will attempt to refute my argument by his own fallacious, incoherent, illogical version of history.
Explanation: Not a very nice setup for the opponent. As an audience member, if you allow any of this “poison” to affect how you evaluate the opponent’s argument, you are guilty of fallacious reasoning.
Exception: Remember that if a person states facts relevant to the argument, it is not an ad hominem (abusive) attack. In the first example, if the other “poison” were left out, no fallacy would be committed.
Tim: Boss, you heard my side of the story why I think Bill should be fired and not me. Now, I am sure Bill is going to come to you with his side of the story, but please keep in mind that we have two witnesses to the event who both agree that Bill was the one who told the client that she had ugly children.
Variation: The appeal to ethos involves rejection of an argument based on a character attack of the person making the argument.
Gertie: Tony says that the movie starts at 8:00 tonight.
Jane: Well, Tony is misogynist pig!
Gertie: Hmm, we better double check that time then.
Fun Fact: To understand how powerful priming the audience with adverse information can be, consider the Rosenhan experiment where eight mentally healthy students and researchers briefly feigned auditory hallucinations in order to get admitted to psychiatric hospitals. After admission, they said they were no longer having hallucinations and acted normally. One of the patients, who was also a student, was taking notes for the experiment which was interpreted as pathological “writing behavior” by one of the hospital staff.
Walton, D. (1998). Ad Hominem Arguments. University of Alabama Press.
Atheism has committed less atrocities than others. But don’t overly focus on the ideology. History and context matters, too. Too much reductionism loses the focus.
The most genocidal ideology ever created has been Nazism, which is ethno-nationalism.