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An Open Letter to John Derbyshire

Michael Drake

Dear Mr. Derbyshire,

One thing I will never quite understand is why theists so often submit their own personal experience as if it were a form of argument.

While I'm sure, for instance, that your atheist father was a very, very bad man, you might just as well have gone on to consider the case of the child reared by a theistic pedophile.

Your discussion otherwise might at least have had the virtue of being an energetic autobiographic, however, would only that you had addressed the issues with the seriousness you claimed to impute to them. Unfortunately, any pretensions you might have had to seriousness were eviscerated by your casual closing line about there being 'more to morality than mere expedience,' ya-da-ya-da. As if atheists thought otherwise.

Look: Jolly good for you if you want to condition your morality on a desperate ontological postulate. But please don't foist your meta-ethical neuroses on those who understand that virtue, like life, is its own reward.


Mike Drake

[Editor's Note: This open letter is in response to an article published at]


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