Is Life Really Absurd for the Atheist?

In an interesting essay Taylor Carr argued, "Our condition is absurd whether God exists or not." I just happened to come across it while looking into existentialism again, having taught it as a philosophy instructor. His whipping boy is William Lane Craig with his contention that life is absurd without God. He contends "Craig under-appreciates the weight of absurdity - namely that he neglects a full treatment of the subject as it has been articulated in Camus, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard" since "absurdity of this sort does not undermine atheism, but recommends it, in that it reveals the absurdity of even life with God." For Craig's limited view of absurdity is
more of a mindset than a reality. It is a problem to be cured. The life of the atheist is absurd only in that she does not acknowledge God, and so has no claim to ultimate significance, purpose, and value. Absurdity on this view is practically a placeholder for irrationality. Craig says of the godless perspective that it is "utterly without reason." The absurd life is living with the irrational belief that we inhabit a godless universe.
By contrast Carr informs us "For Camus, the absurd is fundamental to who we are. Our consciousness is what separates us from the world, what gives rise to absurdity."
Camus finds significance only in accepting life on its own terms, which has everything to do with acknowledging its absurdity. In The Myth of Sisyphus (where Sisyphus is condemned to roll a rock uphill for eternity), Camus describes the absurd feeling as being divorced from one's life. We encounter a tragic divide between our desires for reality and reality as it really is, perhaps most of all in those humbling conscious moments of suffering and trauma. The desires we have for unity, purpose, and order clash with our experiences of a world that seems not to care about us, our dreams, or our plans. The absurdist finds herself a stranger adrift in a foreign world with no lights or illusions, unable to remember where she has come from and unaware of where she is heading. If she denies the absurd, she lives an inauthentic life, as if the world is so little different from her desires that the incongruities presented to her are not really incongruities at all.
Carr explains that
Camus' point is not just that the world has no seemingly in-built meaning to it, but that we, as the conscious and reasoning creatures we are, do not even belong to this world. The human condition is uniquely human in that we are consciously separated from the world in which we live. The same cognition that allows us to reason also isolates us from the rest of the universe...Seeing our condition as it is, seeing the absurdity of life, is not antithetical to happiness, it is, for Camus, paramount to happiness.
You can read Carr's piece right here. The thing that struck me most is that Carr sort of bites the bullet. Christian apologists like Craig argue that life is absurd for atheists. He and others apologists want to go back to the atheistic existentialists of the past who, they claim, truly understand the plight of atheism, as opposed to the so-called new atheists like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens, who are accused of being oblivious to it. I think Carr is on to something and I applaud it. He's correct that Christian apologists like Craig cannot use Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus in their apologetic, for they are first and foremost atheists. In Camus' case the absurd can only be denied through "philosophical suicide, "when we trade in the real world for comforting illusions" like religion (as one example), "which tells us our desires for purpose, order, and unity can be met by God, or by a world beyond this one..."

Think of it this way: The great atheistic existentialists of the past wrestled with absurdity precisely because they rejected the dilemma Craig poses, namely God or absurdity. And they did wrestle with it. It was so intense for Camus that he thought suicide was the problem of our existence. Why not just kill ourselves and end it all?, he pondered. Why would someone ever think abstaining from suicide was THE PROBLEM that humanity faced unless he was forced by other realities to reject god-answers in the first place? The rejection of god-answers must have been so strong that they couldn't come to believe even though the problem of an absurd life stared them down with bulging bloodshot eyes.

That being said, it seems to me the concept of the Absurd can be elastic and changing with the times as science progresses, much like the god of the gaps. In other words, the more we know the less life seems absurd.

Here's what we know:

Evolution is a scientific fact.
From evolution we know there is universal common descent among organisms.
There are examples of consciousness and self-awareness among some higher primates.
There are examples of ethical behavior in higher primates.
So there's no real mystery to the origins of humanity, consciousness or our ethical behaviors.

We also know that:

Because science figured out evolution,
Science will eventually figure out how life originated.
If not, such knowledge is probably beyond scientific discovery.

We also know that:

Because science figured out evolution,
Science will eventually figure out how the universe (and/or multiverse) originated.
If not, such knowledge is probably beyond scientific discovery.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things we don't know, probably more than we do, but the absurdity of life and our place in the universe is becoming less and less absurd the more we know.

We are indeed connected to the material universe and to life on planet earth. There is no real disconnect about this because all organisms are connected by common descent.

Given what we know many atheists adopt cultural relativism as the ethical norm (a non-absolute norm). How is this absurd given what we know? We must simply work out moral obligations between us, and democracy seems to be the bloodless alternative if we choose to live in societies at all.

Furthermore, that something exists in the first place isn't all that bizarre given an equilibrium of positive and negative energy, which is as close to nothingness as we can get. For such an initial state is utterly unstable. As Victor Stenger argued: "Since nothing is as simple as it gets, we cannot expect it to be very stable.” Given the laws of nature, “the probability for there being something rather than nothing can actually be calculated; it is over 60 percent.” As such, “only by the constant action of an agent outside the universe, such as God, could a state of nothingness be maintained. The fact that we have something is just what we would expect if there is no God. [Victor Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2008) pp. 132–33. See also Stenger’s The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From? (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2006), supplement H.]

Is our existence absurd? I don't think so. Even if so, absurd is not the word I would use. Our existence is strangely unique in the universe, something that evokes an astonishing amount of wonder and amazement. We can indeed wonder in amazement at the universe and life without feeling the so-called absurdness that the atheist existentialists spoke about, along with the feeling of Angst (or dread). But absurd? Not in any sense I can see given what we know.