My response to Ellen Johnson's response to the Sam Harris essay

From: Will
Sent on: Thursday, October 4, 2007 8:31 PM
Sam Harris essay:

Ellen Johnson Response:

My response:
Ellen Johnson quotes Chapman Cohen as saying ?[atheism] is really a thoroughly, honest, unambiguous term??
But is it?  In my mind, it is a thoroughly ambiguous term because it tells me nearly nothing about the person who self-identifies as an atheist.
The only thing that the name tells me about the person is that they do not believe in the existence of gods.
How do they come by their atheism?  Are they atheists because they subscribe to the rationality of metaphysical and methodological naturalism or are they atheists because they are rebelling against their parents?
We know they do not believe in gods but do they believe in pixies? No?
Do they believe in Free Will? Many atheists do believe in Free Will which in my opinion is a supernatural belief.
Do they believe that Reason exists in a plane of reality above and separate from nature? Objectivism is also a supernatural belief.
Are they concerned for the future of the human species?
Are they dedicated to living a moral and ethical life?
Is it their mission to become the best possible person they can be?
Do they recognize the value of reverence and awe of nature?
When a person tells us she is an atheist we do not know the answer to any of these questions.
To me, the name Naturalist encompasses all of these questions.
To me, Naturalism is positive, expansive and life-affirming.
I do not choose the name Naturalist because I want to be liked by theists, I choose it because I want to like myself.
Will Davidson

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