Famous atheist quote, adopted
A snarky one at that.
The quote below is well-known, you must have encountered it if you’ve ever meddled in the broader Richard DawkinsIntellectual Universe, or had the misfortune to run into one of his eager disciples online.
The “one god further” argument
I’m going to use Dan Brown’s version — author of The Da Vinci Code, for you illiterates out there — from his 2017 book Origin, as I happen to have it at hand and I always find it hilarious what Dan sells as highbrow insight. (Also somewhat dreadful, as it sells well.) I can swap this with an alternative version, should I get a cease and desist order, although to be fair, Dan also borrowed it, so we share the the same cauldron as far as intellectual property hell goes:
“By a show of hands,” Kirsch continued, “how many of you believe in any of the following ancient gods: Apollo? Zeus? Vulcan?” He paused, and then laughed. “Not a single one of you? Okay, so it appears we are all atheists with respect to those gods.” He paused. “I simply choose to go one god further.”
The crowd clapped louder still.
He said in 2017 that he based the character of Kirsch on Elon Musk (I assume he would deny this today), but it’s a lot goonier than that, there’s all sorts of mainstream, popular science people mixed in from the 2000s and 2010s; Edmond Kirsch is like a test tube baby created from the pubes found at the green room of a TED event cca. 2015.
It’s abysmal, even for Dan. My kind of perfection.
“One god further” adopted to Hegemonic Liberalism
By Hegemonic Liberalism I mean the one that we’re all suffering under as of today. The one that betrayed the positions it still nominally held in the 1990s. One that “in its current, corrupted form, is zealous destruction, an autocrat wearing a skin suit of a once liberating spirit, preserving only its worst aspects, amplified”.
My core idea is that absolute power corrupts. It’s nothing new, really. Yet it can’t get through the thick skulls of contemporary so-called Liberals, who are busy cheering on the (re-)establishment of a Solzhenitsynian hell world. I’m just not tolerating intolerance, the smarter ones would argue. Science says so, argument is over, they would say as they put on the fact checker armband.
They believe that liberal absolute power is somehow exceptional to this rule, incorruptible.
So, as an optimist, never giving up the hope that I can find a way to get trough to them, I put on my Google Glasses and a turtleneck, and channel my inner Kirsch:
You, a liberal, believe that all other ideologies are susceptible to corruption by absolute power.
I fully agree with you on that. I just simply choose to go one ideology further.
“The crowd clapped louder still.”
Cover image from a Youtube video, yes, Richard says it with great confidence and a no nonsense delivery. Related tweet:
“We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” ― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2006)
"Science says so, argument is over, they would say as they put on the fact checker armband."
That's why I have been reading you for six years. I like this kind of humour and you are insanely smart, so I always liked to read your takes.
This substack platform seems nice. I hope this kind of independent writing get a bigger place in this world... You were always independent, I respect that. I hope you get far with this project...
Hilarious and very astute. Another brilliant post George.