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

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

  1. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    Not everyone, but many people whom I talk to in real life, or who I read on this forum, in fact I will say the majority of them, will respond to my statement "I don't believe in God" with one or more of those options.

    I addressed this with SAM: how often is a legitimate debate about the Christianity disrupted here? Not often. But there are very few legitimate debates here - generally it is "God will burn homos forever" or something of that nature.

    This may be, but it is not true of my experience. But, I did not say this of religious people.

    First, you're taking me out of context. I meant that it is odd that they demand to define athiesm.

    Second, and I wish you weren't, but you're wrong. Why can't gay couples marry in the US? Why don't some health plans cover birth control? Hell, why have I been heckled picking up birth control pills at Planned Parenthood? Why does the government insist that I should die of preeclampsia rather than abort a fetus if necessary? Why can't my friend Joy have access to fetal stem cells? There are some states trying to ban abortion outright, and don't tell me that their reasons aren't rooted in religion. Why can't I buy alcohol before noon on Sunday?

    These people would have me dead or raped in service of their ignorence of fetal development. You're saying that they aren't trying to police my behavior?

    Now there are non-religious reasons for these things, but they are far outnumbered by the religious reasons.


    **Edit**
    And I don't want to splash all theists with this muck, most are good people because most people are good people. But this is true for a statistically relevent number!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
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  3. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Of course you're going to slag those guys, you're a theist, and an Abramist to boot, following the same beliefs that have held the world in intellectual captivity these past many centuries.

    Why not try to refute their claims instead?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
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  5. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

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    if you had even read what i wrote, you would see that i praised dawkins, and belittled hitchens.

    instead of trying to personally insult my beliefs by saying that they have held the world in intellectual captivity, why dont you attempt to read what i wrote?
    stirring up shit doesnt make you smart, it makes you hitchens.
     
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  7. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Do we care what Hitchens says? He is a journalist.

    One step down on the evolutionary ladder from goo.


    (spot the anti-scientific thought in this post and win my love)
     
  8. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

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    i care, as he lumps me into a group of people i share very little in common with.

    its like saying that all of the dutch were complicit with hitler, just because some of them supported his invasion. its intellectually dishonest, and intentionally inflammatory.
     
  9. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    They were all complicit with Hitler because they all spoke German and drank Schnapps.
     
  10. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

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    exactly.
    same thing.
     
  11. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    No, he's saying you're fine to believe as you like but that religious people have no right pushing their theology on anyone else, or on public policy. For crying out loud, look at the examples he makes in his arguments. He doesn't accuse religious people of thoughtcrime, you know.
     
  12. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

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    show me where hitchens advocates religious thought of any kind, and i might believe you.
    "god is not great" certainly doesnt uphold your statement.
     
  13. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    In his debate with Sharpton, he directly states that personal religion is fine, so long as it's just that: personal. Don't believe me? Watch the vids.
     
  14. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

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    lol im the one that posted the video.
    regardless, how many do you think saw that video as opposed to how many read his books?
    things can be said "in the heat of the moment" to appear more reasonable than you are. havent you ever read anything he has ever written on the subject?!
     
  15. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Religion can't be personal.

     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Unfortunately, the two most widespread religions on earth, Christianty and Islam, are evangelical by nature. The very essence of their belief system--a core value that they believe was an entreaty by their god himself speaking through prophets--includes the necessity of spreading the belief system to others. No exceptions are allowed: not if the others already adhere to another slightly different (from our point of view) Abrahamist cult; not if the others have demonstrated their own belief system to be just as satisfactory a way of life by any empirical, objective measure; not if the others are not competing by counter-evangelism; and--for many of them--not even if the others would rather die or sacrifice their entire community to avoid conversion.

    This is what happens when a philosophy is based on irrational faith rather than reason: It seems perfectly rational to them, that they have not only a right but a sacred duty to push their theology on all the rest of us and to enshrine it in public policy. They believe that if we do not convert to their belief system, we cannot ascend to the heaven that awaits believers in their imaginary afterlife; that we will suffer for all eternity for our stubbornness, blindness and poor judgment; that out of sheer compassion they must take whatever steps necessary to override our own value system and replace it with theirs; and--for many of them--that this cosmic compassion not only permits but commands the violation of secular morality. After all, what are a few million deaths, a few million heartbroken families, the loss of the motifs of a few obliterated cultures, and--for many of them--the destruction of civilization and a return to the Stone Age of tribalism, when those things only matter on this exceedingly temporary plane of mortal existence and pale in comparison to the literally infinite life of unremitting joy that awaits all of us poor confused souls in "heaven"?

    So the question is, where do you draw the distinction between "thoughtcrime" and conspiracy to commit actual crime, which is a felony in my country if not yours? If one person believes he has a right to accost you on the street and preach his religion to you, and to vote for politicians who will slowly enshrine the tenets of his religion into the law of the land, that just seems like democracy and freedom of speech in action. But when an entire community of these people believe that they have the right to marginalize you and start making concrete plans to do so, that is conspiracy. When an entire nation of these people believes they have the right to attack you with violence of military proportions, to overthrow your government, to destroy your cherished institutions like music and dog ownership, and to hold you at swordpoint until you either agree to convert to their religion or agree that you'd just as soon die... This is not freedom of speech, this is not "thoughtcrime," this is not conspiracy. This is pure sociopathic evil.

    We all agree that once religion reaches this stage, we have no obligation to tolerate it. But what are we to do when we see that religions reach this stage over and over, every three or four generations, and it seems to be a basic part of their nature? Do we have to wait until they reach that point every single time and then respond with miiltary defense? How many times can human civilization survive these attacks?

    We have to win every time. They only have to win once!
     
  17. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Ok, so you saw what he said about personal belief.

    Things in the "heat of the moment" to appear more reasonable? A bit unlikely. I've read a few of his essays and media articles but I'm afraid I don't have the time or money to be buying his books. Maybe when my family gets settled somewhere permanently.

    Faith, then, if you will.

    Yes, I'd agree that this is a basic part of human nature. Civilization is grand but those who claim to love their civilization must sometimes act without mercy to preserve it. The question is: how far is one meant to act? What is the appropriate response? It would probably take the imposition of martial law, frankly.

    But have some heart. The internal battle with islam might still be won without bloodshed, although in honesty it will almost certainly come to that. We forget the lessons of the Thirty Years' War (and, all the others) at our great peril.

    True. The Romans forgot that once; and the civilizations before them.
     
  18. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    Oooh! Evolution is not telological, the concept of an evolutionary ladder is a myth.

    Maybe. But the strength of these people rests on their manipulation of public opinion and the law.
     
  19. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    No, journalists are three steps down from goo.

    duh
     
  20. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    Damnit, I thought I got a fabulous vacation in war-torn Etria.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    My point exactly! Civilization has been a ten or twelve thousand year effort of doggedly overcoming our nature. Starting with the pack-social instinct, which programs us to live in harmony and cooperation only with a small band of people we've known since birth. We worked our way, one order of magnitude at a time, up to villages, tribes, cities, states, nations, and today's trans-national regions of relative harmony and cooperation--or at least durable macro-scale peace--such as Europe and South America.

    Religion, which is also a collection of instincts ("archetypes") and therefore also part of "human nature" may have been a positive force early on. It's easy to hypothesize people willing to belay their suspicion of the clan in the next valley, if they were of related cultural ancestry and expressed their religious instincts in recognizable rituals and other motifs.

    But religion stalled out at the tribal level. When the "children of Abraham" split into three sub-cults, the differences were too great for them to regain their sense of harmony and cooperation. Today they live harmoniously and cooperatively only in cultures like America, where the rewards of assimilation are so seductive that it overrides their religious instincts in tandem with all of their other Mesolithic and Neolithic divisive instincts.

    Religion reinforces tribalism, and tribalism is a stall point in the advancement of civilization--look at what religiously motivate tribalism is doing in the Middle East, in the former Yugoslavia, and until a few moments ago in a corner of The Most Civilized Place On Earth, the British Isles. At least the monotheistic religions do this, with their pathetic one-dimensional model of the human spirit. I will withhold judgment on the polytheistic religions, whose fundamental model of diversity--for all I know--may guide their followers into a more embracing society. Same for the "religions" with less emphasis on theism, like the Confucian-Daoist-Buddhist-pragmatist melange that one sixth of the world's population pays lip service to.
    But why is it religion that more often than not forces us to this point? WWI and WWII stand out as counterexamples, major conflicts not ostensibly about religion, but they were all about Europe's atavistic tribalism, which has only abated since it began compulsively secularizing in the wake of those wars. The decision about martial law might not even come to mind if it were not for the large segments of the population who still hang onto their religions and are still regressing into tribalism.
    I do not hold the Muslims of the Middle East entirely responsible for the escalation of this conflict. America has been undergoing a frightening backslide into religion since the Great Intellectual Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s came to an abrupt halt. This brewing conflict is a Holy War, a resumption of the Crusades. One can only hope that dumping the Religious Redneck Retard out of the White House may get America onto a saner course.
    But the Romans were fighting against a tribal people, the Teutons. We take it for granted that Neolithic people are not ready to transcend Neolithic social structures. We expect more than tribalism from civilized people, and we don't reliably get it from supposedly civilized people who are still indulging their primitive instincts for religion.
     
  22. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Hmm. Interesting - what are the "rewards of assimiliation" that cushion the tribal antagonisms?

    Yeah I agree with this - maybe it's because there's less societal terror of death? I have to admit that in my darker moments I give more than a passing thought to the existence of the hereafter.

    I'm going to say: fear of death. Social structure and even national borders are transient. Death is never transient; for many it hovers just over the perceptive horizon, waiting its moment to stride into close, immediate focus.

    Ditto. I think the islamic world is more prone to religious intolerance than some since the state has been one of uninterrupted oligoarchy/thearchy coupled with an authoritarian supremacist interpretation. Intolerance in the rest of the religious world usually - but not always - comprises individuals or tiny cults; only rarely (notable exception: social limitations on homosexuals) does it breach into law, except where ingrained in the legal structure. We have legal remedies for the latter, and socially I think we're working it through, but there is a lot of work to be done.

    Let's hope. What politics need is less confrontation, and more co-operation. In the old days, didn't the US president have to pick his VP from the opposing party? Someone told me that once. That would be a start.

    Good point. Fundamentalism isn't completely dead anywhere, unfortunately. Psychological grip too hard, maybe?

    Look, I'll say this: on the face of it I still hold out a little hope or at least goodwill to theists. Believe what you like, is my motto, so long as it helps the social good in some roundabout way. But there's so much inherent drive towards intolerance that I just doubt it will ever resolve itself.
     
  23. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Praise indeed. :bugeye:

    Although, you did follow up with this, which you can take some credit...

    "but he is an intelligent dickhead"

    It reads quite clear. See here.

    I insult your beliefs? I think the real insult is harbored elsewhere.

    Religion promotes intellectual dishonesty. It creates a world in which supernatural phenomena rule the universe, and if devout to those ideals, promises an individual they may some day join their gods in the afterlife. And if naughty, burns them to a crisp for all eternity.

    One needs to be honest with themselves to believe that as reality.

    It will probably take much more than just 'stirring up shit' to rid the world of myth, superstitions and cults.

    Look at this guy here - Brett Keane - he makes a mockery of atheism but was very popular.
     

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