Do you like how Dawkins, Hitchens et al. represent atheists?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by francois, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    I rather like Richard Dawkins. I've been on a kind of reading spree of his books lately and I think the atheist community is lucky to have him to represent them. He is a very clear thinker and communicator. However, I think he could do a little better to not sound so arrogant. In some of his speeches and writings, he does appear to think that atheists are superior to others.

    In one of his speeches he talks about a woman who outgrew her religious upbringing "and she grew into the mature, well-balanced atheist she is today." I know it doesn't have to be interpreted as being a relative term, as in meaning atheists are more "mature" and "balanced." But it did come off that way and many in the audience seemed to laugh at his arrogance, and dare I say, bigotry. For some reason at the moment I'm having difficulty coming up with more examples, but at many times in The God Delusion he seems to imply that atheists are smarter than theists. While he may be right and there may be evidence that supports that assertion, it isn't an attitude one should wave around and flaunt. It doesn't make you (and other atheists) look good.

    Overall, I very much like how he handles himself and consider ourselves lucky to have such a wonderful person to represent us. There's that other guy Christopher Hitchens... I've seen him on interviews and whatnot. He comes off as very strident and arrogant. Maybe this is just how these people develop as a result of having controversial and unpopular opinions, but I have to say that the arrogance many atheists exhibit really annoys me.

    Maybe it's just me... but there's that whole "Brights" community. The Brights are a community of atheists trying to come up with a name and identification that doesn't carry the same bad connotations as atheist. But even that name, Brights... it's almost implying they're bright people. Perhaps brighter than you are, if you're not an atheist. Annoys me.

    Do you guys get that too? That proselytizing atheists often come off as arrogant?
     
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  3. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    evangelism by any other name...
     
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  5. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    Actually, I find thiests' stubbornness and refusal to acknowledge any logical explanation of anything contrary to what they believe (no matter how absurd it is) just as annoying, if not more, than Dawkins' or Hitchens' arrogance.
    In fact, you could almost even say that the theists' stubbornness is also a form of arrogance.
    ex. ...
    Theist: What I believe is right and if you don't believe the same thing I do, you're going to hell forever. :shrug:
     
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  7. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    I don't see their style of proselytizing as the same as those of religions. There's quite a distinction. Atheists who try to convert, usually do so by logical argument. They aim to get people to come to the conclusion by themselves to realize there is no god. They try to get them to realize there is no god, or there's likely to be no god, by means of critical thinking.

    A few centuries ago, sure, it would be acceptable. But considering what we now know, there isn't much excuse for an intelligent and well-educated person to believe in the supernatural. So there may be some atheists who try to convert through intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, etc., but overall, they try to get theists to think for themselves and come to a logical conclusion.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Dawkins and Hitchens are awesome. If it appears arrogant to reject the supernatural, then so be it. Frankly, I don't see how belief in something as silly as ghosts should be respected. Atheists are smarter. Smarter people become atheists. It's about time someone stood up and said out loud that the emperor is wearing no clothes.
     
  9. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Evangelism by any other name...

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  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Evangelism in the name of reason is no sin.
     
  11. John99 Banned Banned

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    Depends on who is dictating what reasonable is.
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    The evangelists never think so, not even when the end result is a gulag.

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  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Well in this case the end result is an appreciation for the scientific truth and a rejection of irrational fear.
     
  14. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    When I hear a guy constantly shrieking "the theists are here!!!! they will destroy us!!! save yourselves!!!" I get the part about the irrational fear; the scientific truth however, escapes me.

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  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    That's not irrational, it has happened before.
     
  17. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Well we did try it with atheists in power and that was way worse; all the theists combined could not compare:shrug:
     
  18. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Communism was at least a rational systematic approach to solving the basic problems of civil organization. Atheism is obviously not a panacea, we still need good government.
     
  19. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    All Dawkins and his ilk have done is polarised people; no doubt a greater percentage of future generations of theists will be more likely to be home schooled on his/their account, with less than ideal consequences.

    Not to mention the damage he causes to science every time he opens his mouth.
     
  20. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Should he not stand up for reason and science? He's actually extremely nice about it. I really don't get all the accusations of arrogance. It's probably because the religious are used to being off-limits. In fact, his book is probably a direct result of religious conservatives trying to insert their views into our secular government. If anything, they have been the polarizers. If not for the idiots trying to pass off Intelligent Design as science, Dawkins might have remained only a successful author of books on evolution.
     
  21. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    The change is in education and is more a result of negligence than anything else; all Dawkins is doing is stoking the fire. Its not even a concern in the UK.

    I could not care less about the arrogance, I care more about the social polarising and scientific misrepresentation, especially in the light of poor grasp of scientific principles in the young people today, who apparently lack the ability to distinguish fact from fantasy and/or misrepresentation. Perhaps Dawkins himself is a person who merely fumbles and does not mean to deliberately mislead; the consequences though are the same and are not healthy, not for scientific progress, nor for education. I sincerely hope his brand of polemic does not gain popularity.

    He should stick to popular science books, at least there the damage is not irrevocable.

    And over here, I am tempted to quote Johann Hari:

    "For a brief period, Thomas Paine supported Napoleon and his acts of aggression, believing they were expressions of revolutionary Enlightenment values. In reality, they were squalid expressions of realpolitik. "
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  22. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    What scientific misrepresentation are you talking about?
     
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    He ignores the absolute necessity for empirical data in scientific claims.
     

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