"Atheism has a Richard Dawkins problem"

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Musika, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    https://www.dailydot.com/via/richard-dawkins-atheism-bigotry-problem-twitter/

    Just a disclaimer in a possibly doomed attempt to keep this thread on topic , if you want to support the Richard Dawkin, et al problem, there should be plenty of other options available ...eg:

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/religious-nonsense.161034/page-11#post-3536083

    To get a full overview of the "Richard Dawkins Problem", a reading of the whole article is warranted, but to surmise with an excerpt ....

    Prominent secular thinkers like particle physicist Peter Higgs (of the Higgs boson) have also criticized Dawkins for a one-size-fits-all approach to criticizing people of faith, punishing the middle for its extremes. Higgs called Dawkins’ anti-religious furor “embarrassing”: “What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are just not fundamentalists.” Here, Higgs important recognizes the wide diversity of practitioners in every religion.

    In addition to being factually inaccurate, Dawkins’ methods are ideologically dangerous for atheism to be associated with in the current religio-political climate. Anti-Muslim sentiment is spreading across Europe—following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January and the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. In recent surveys, 43 percent of French citizens said they see Islam as a threat to France’s national identity, and between 66 and 74 percent of Germans also confess to having “negative attitudes towards Muslims.”

    These are countries that are far more secular than the United States, yet they—like Richard Dawkins—seem to echo the worst sentiments of Christian conservatives. In recent weeks, GOP presidential contender Ben Carson has said Islam is not compatible with the U.S. Constitution and that the Founding Fathers would never have supported a Muslim president. He is currently polling second in the race.

    Atheists should be wary of turning their disdain for religion into a disdain for the religious, especially at a time when reactionary bigotry is gripping both America and Europe. Dawkins is not wrong to call for a stronger defense of human rights in the Arab world—or anywhere else—but Dawkins, and atheists as a culture, should be aware of the slippery slope of their own fundamentalism. Whether he means to or not, Richard Dawkins is leading the rest of secularism down a hole of xenophobia and cultural bigotry.

    IOW, if one can view atheism as an alternative to social dysfunction at the hands of demagoguery, it doesn't seem tactful to persecute a moderate majority for the transgressions of a fundamental minority.

    I guess at the heart of the matter, is whether one views the function of atheism as a polemic, a rhetoric dictated by diametrical thought, or a means to an end, one that can choose its allies and enemies according to the problems at hand.
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. Both with the assessment of Dawkins and with the take on atheism.

    He is a bit of a bulldog. But in his defense, you don't become a powerhouse in your field - or a popular writer - by taking a moderate stance. A critic who publishes is kind of obligated to take the strongest stance he can - let the other side argue for a moderate middle-ground. Yes, he attacks the worst of them. He's not really writing for the purpose of presenting an even-handed account. But I'd say the theists have had several thousand years of their own say. His is the counter-argument.


    I find a lot of arrogance in atheism. Many tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater, often dismissing any sign of faith as some sort of delusion.

    True, here I debate enthusiastically for atheism, it is really much more about dismantling the particular emotional, irrational and faith-based arguments that are sometimes put forth by theists. i.e. there's a correlation between bad logic and faith, but they're not synonymous. And there are atheists with bad logic too.

    I can't support the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster because its intent is to make a mockery of faith. A free-standing, tell anyone within earshot of the mockery - like on a bumper sticker. That's just mean.

    Criticism has its place, and its place is in a debate, where the opposing side can state and defend their stances, not where one side can build strawmen and then knock them down.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    This is so 2015. It's not a problem anymore. When was the last time you heard of Richard Dawkins? 2015?
     
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  7. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    The last time we heard of him, or the last time we heard someone advocate atheism in a manner like him?
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Twitter is such a strange place, but I did stumble across this, last night:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    More constructively, we might note that atheism has, generally speaking, always been a reaction; that's just the way it worked out in history. The Dawkins problem is a comparison of circumstance and time. Twenty years ago, the problem really was straightforward. The thing is that even where atheistic advocacy has at least some semblance of a foothold in society, it hasn't changed in all that time; to be precise, the argument isn't evolving.

    It starts to look like sloth as a pretense of job security: Going about it this way might seem futile, but at least there will always be something to complain about.
     
  9. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe one can but one doesn't.
     
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I haven't heard anyone advocate atheism.
     
  11. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Then by all means feel free to take such rhetoric to the appropriate thread to avoid derailing this one ...
     
  12. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    ... hence the notion of a particular group owning a particular problem.
     
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    What rhetoric? How could this thread be derailed?
     
  14. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    As perhaps the only available representative of atheism who can see the forest despite the trees, what are your views on the prospects or outcomes of a synthesis of atheism (antithesis) and theism (thesis)?
    Is atheism "bound" to its reactionary origins?
     
  15. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    ... and to think you opened up with the proposal of Dawkins being passé.
     
  16. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    There's no group. Richard Dawkins may be an embarassment to some individual atheists but he isn't a "problem" for atheists in general any more than you're a problem for theists in general.
     
  17. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Shifting the goalposts so that it becomes impossible to hold an individual accountable or representative of anything other than an individual is one way to engage damage control, but as far as human society goes, doesn't appear feasible.
     
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    What is your great hope and plan for this fantastic thread?
     
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I think people like the late Jerry Faldwell were hurting the theist cause. How about you?
     
  20. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    ///

     
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    If discussing your post is "derailing the thread" - perhaps look for the plank before the splinter.
     
  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I think Pat Robertson is hurting theism.
     
  23. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    If one finds the notion of "atheist rhetoric" alien, one is entering at some point prior to the OP which brings Dawkins et al contributions to focus.
    Classic thread derailment 101.
     

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