The Uncredible Hallq: The Martian invasion fleet
I think Chris is overlooking the context in which I make use the Nagel quotation. However, I ought to be clearer, because I am suspecting that the quotation is used by others as an offensive as opposed to a defensive, apologetic. (Perhaps someone has some examples). If it an attempt to show that atheism is irrational, it commits the ad hominem fallacy. If it is an attempt to show that both sides in the theism controversy have possible irrational motives, it does its job.
People on both sides of the fence become "at home in theire universes, and as such, become accustomed to the psychological comforts of their own world-view. If someone on the other side is trying to explain my beliefs in terms of wishful thinking, then I will point out that wishes work both ways. We are humans, not machines. When C. S. Lewis says that he became a Christian even though he didn't want to be one, and certainly had no desire for life after death, and that he came to believe because he thought the evidence for Christianity was good, there is no good reason to psychoanalyze that away, even if you think Lewis's reasons weren't good ones.
Of course, Chris's point about the Martians is a legitimate one. I want to believe my wife is faithful to me, and I have good reason to believe it.
We should examine our motives in this controversy, and encourage others to do so as well. A kind of atheist apologetic is out there that makes all atheists out there out to be intellectual saints and theists out to be wishful thinkers. I'm sorry, but that atheist apologetic just doesn't fit the facts. I'm arguing against that atheist apologetic, not against atheism, when I use the Nagel quote.