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March 21, 2012

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Isn't that like seeing an ad for a pro-life rally and asking who would rally for the right to violate women?

I also notice that Dick doesn't say where the "quotes"come from, other than his imagination.

It as if I wrote that comments such as "All (without exception) religious people are feeble-minded. Too bad we got rid of forced sterilization for such people. It would have rid us of the scum by now." and just left it as something I assume a certain group would say and then went on to argue that it was a basis to take action. Would I get as many comments as he does saying how wonderful I was for showing how unreasonable that group was?

I wouldn't invest time in a man like Dawkins who can't see that there isn't even an ounce of difference between accepting the possibility that aliens created us and the possibility that God created us. Aliens in that sense would be deemed to be his "god" or "creator". Why can he accept aliens as a possibility of the cause of creation and not God? And he has the audacity to think he can teach on what's reasonable or unreasonable. If Dawkins were to legitimately to promote his doctrine on what's reasonable or not,he would have to prove to people that he can be fair and open to listen to other views to properly assess the facts of reason,but the fact that he doesn't invite Christians shows that he can't exhibit that fairness nor cooperation. That doesn't show a man who's very strong in his convictions. It shows a mortal man who's absolutely afraid to have his feathers ruffled by the presence of Christians having a say at his rally. He's truly afraid and feels threatened that his unorthodox views will be exposed with the presence of Christians at his rally. So,I wouldn't be offended that he didn't invite Christians. I'd be content with the fact that his eery behaviour and contempt at the presence of Christians actually displays that he somewhat believes in his heart that there's(even if it's just an inch)a possibility that he can inadvertently be convinced and converted to believe God if Christians show up at the rally or else then,why would he have anything to worry about if Christians were to be present at his public event? If he's so strong in his convictions,he shouldn't be so greatly offended at Christians coming to his public event.

If only the world didn't take him as seriously.

Wasn't he once voted one of the top minds in Britain?

Listen carefully. Because aliens are not supernatural. You can't get the distinction between life elsewhere in the universe and god?

He doesn't invite christians? Who do you think 'everyone' means?

You are a wonderful example of people seeing what they want to see rather than what is in front of them in black and white.

That doesn't mean these aren't people who use reason.

His target his the people who use reason based on faith, which is not reason at all.

In the movie Expelled

Are you really citing that discredited work? The one that was set up and edited? The one that was roundly criticised by atheists and theists alive? That one? You've lot all credibility.

Dawkins told Ben Stein that he thinks it's possible that human life originated as a creation by aliens.

Dawkins has told that speculation on a number of occasions, and you obviously fail to understand it. Dawkins does not use that as an example of how life originated, because it is simply just as good/bad as saying God did it. Dawkins, BTW, does not subscribe to this theory because there is no evidence to support it.

This from the man who thinks religion and everything else must provide scientific proof.

Like I said, he does not suggest there is any evidence to support the "alien" hypothesis, and he never suggests it answers the question of how life arose.

Okay, he probably doesn't really believe it. But he thinks it's possible, and he's said it. It's unreasonable.

This sounds like a tacit admission that you find his "alien" speculation just as bad as the hypothesis for a Creator God.

This article is just another example of the unfair tactics Dawkins and his associates use to caricature those they disagree with.

I don't see that, but I do see how your article clumsily argues against Dawkins. If this was not the case, you would never have mentioned the hatchet job Expelled? Aren't you ashamed to suggest that film had any credibility, even after it all the mistruths about it were exposed? You do yourself no favours.

But it's an ingenuous invitation because they have told Christians who expressed a desire to come and reason about Christianity they are not welcome at this public event.

Wrong - again! They have stated that they don't want religious people to waste their time prosyltising. The rally is about reason, not religion or prosyltising.

So it's not really reason they're rallying for, but the views they deem to be reasonable: atheism, empiricism, materialism.

I've never heard a credible or coherent argument against not defending those values - and you have not presented one here except a childish attack on Dawkins.

But Dawkins and his friends have deemed certain conclusions to be the definition of reason, not the process of reasoning.

What conclusions? If you want other conclusions to be accepted, present your evidence! This will go alongside the claims of psychics et al.

Those who disagree with them are unrasonable, by definition

If they can't supply evidence to back their reasoning, then yes, they are guilty of being unreasonable, especially when they form a conclusion based on that lack of reason.

The rally isn't about reason and they provide ample evidence of that.

Please give me an example of what would make the rally about reason, in your opinion?

Dawkins said aliens created life on this planet to try to get believers to realize how ridiculous the sound of supernatural creation stories are. It's hypocritical to call the possibility of aliens creating life ridiculous and then turning around to say a supernatural, all knowing, all powerful man in the sky did it in six days. Believers have no more reason to believe a flying spaghetti monster created this universe than non-believers have to believe in Yahweh, or Mohammad, or Thor, Zues, etc. In fact, the same reasons you don't believe Zues and his ilk created this universe are the same reasons we don't believe Yahweh did.

" Believers have no more reason to believe a flying spaghetti monster created this universe than non-believers have to believe in Yahweh, or Mohammad, or Thor, Zues, etc."


Actually I have less reason to believe in the spaghetti monster because the proponents themselves don't actually believe it, and we know exactly why it was put forward. We know it as a fact, and not as a vague anthropological presupposition.

" the same reasons we don't believe Yahweh did. "

I thought atheists were only similar in their lack of belief. Are you saying there is atheist dogma?

http://www.godchecker.com

All of you are clueless.

Oh dear. If I don't miss my guess, STR has caught the attention of some blog or forum. Everyone get a hat.

The link to the "true reason" website email exchange is truly stunning. The American Atheists either really need to get out a little more (anyone see any irony in their 'welcome' to Westboro Baptist? Birds of a feather stereotype together?) or find a new spokesman who isn't such an anti-Christian wingnut.

There's no atheist dogma. There is commonality in unbelief. An atheist does not believe sufficient proof has been provided to demonstrate an existence of any deity. To label that common belief as dogma is the equivalent of saying everyone who doesn't collect stamps share a common hobby of nonstampcollecting.

Joey,

Atheism entails other significant beliefs about the nature of reality. Theism and atheism are the same in this regard. Just as their is a theistic worldview, there is an atheistic worldview. Any objection to talking about "atheist dogma" could be applied to talking about "theist dogma." But I suspect you don't object to the latter.

To say that atheism is *simply* commonality in unbelief is to misunderstand the implications of the atheist's claim: which entails a certain kind of metaphysic, epistemology, ethic. This is not to say the exact same metaphysic or ethic, but the same sort of one.

Joey,

Perusing over the site more I saw another atheist raised the stamp collecting analogy. I guess it must be floating around the atheist blogosphere right now :)

I liked Trent's response to it: "Do non-stamp collectors form non-collecting associations to further the acceptance of non-stamp collecting?"

I guess we could add: do non-stamp collectors also start non-stamp collecting blogs and think of pithy analogies about how there is nothing that unites non-stamp collectors.... like maybe they all use the non-watermelon-eaters analogy to explain how their is no non-stamp collector group?

"everyone who doesn't collect stamps share a common hobby of nonstampcollecting."


Everyone who blogs, podcasts, YouTubes, book authors, rallies, or otherwise argues that stamps should not be collected may be grouped as a common hobby of nonstamp collecting.

Jonathan,

I appreciate the comments.

You wrote: "I liked Trent's response to it: "Do non-stamp collectors form non-collecting associations to further the acceptance of non-stamp collecting?"

No they don't. However, if the majority of the world based their lives around stamp collecting, made laws based off their stamp collecting dogma, and tried to deny those who didn't collect stamps the same rights they had, then there would be.

I could really care less what people want to believe in. What I care about is when those beliefs are pushed on others. Example: the Christian belief that homosexuality is a sin. Due to that belief, many Christian lawmakers want to deny the right to marry someone from the same sex. This type of marriage would not have any effect on anyone other than those getting married.

That is just one of many examples to be made. Because this great nation is and always has been a melting pot, you cannot base the laws of the land around one dogma. When that happens, you get Nazi Germany.

The reason for the rally is simple, to show people who share a common belief system, that they're not alone. We non-believers do not have regular weekly meetings. As a former believer, and one who used to doubt the belief as I sat in church, I can attest there are more of us in that position than you'd know. The fear of "coming out" as a non-believer is huge due to the fact that the revelation could result in a loss of employment, friends, and even families.

Atheists are the most hated group in America. It's nearly impossible to get elected to any public office as an atheist. There is only one openly atheist congressman in the U.S. This is particularly troubling when you take into consideration there are more people who identify as atheist/agnostic/having no belief than other minority groups who are well represented such as African American, Jewish, and LGBT to name a few. This rally is an attempt to build a foundation to correct this.

Joey,
Please show me a host of examples where identifying oneself as an atheist today frequently leads to loss of one's job.

In regard to the possible loss of friends and family, I'd have to say that this can work both ways. One whose majority of family or friends are atheists may also fear rejection by them if they admit to a belief in some form theism.

As to your response claiming that you "get Nazi Germany", you're conflating prohibiting a legal status by law with dehumanization that leads to mass murder. Prohibiting same-sex marriage is not anything near grouping up all homosexuals and confining them to some prison, let alone systematically murdering them. Also, get this: there are plenty of atheists who are anti-homosexual, as well. Not buying this "Nazi Germany" analogy, sir. Please refrain from hyperbole and gross exaggeration.

Should we prohibit same-sex marriage ? I really don't know, as that depends on the definition of marriage, and there are a plethora of views on that. However, this debate on homosexuality is only one point of contention between so-called "Christian lawmakers" and atheists.

What are the other Christian views in the public square that you think are just dogmatically being applied in legislating law ? Opposing abortion ? That's definitely much less a grey area and isn't opposed mainly by Christians. That's more of a mix of stances on both sides, and they use the same arguments against it.

I really don't think dogma is the issue here. I know of many Christians who will give me a response and reason for their beliefs other than "Because God/the Bible says so". Do some of them reason poorly ? Yes, but that does not mean that they all give the same poor reasoning.

Finally, what is this about atheists being the "most hated group in America" ? Just because theists disagree with them does not mean hate, so please provide me some examples of this hate. I know that there are certainly Christians (along with other adherents to some form of theism) that hate atheists, but it also works the other way around. Each side sees the other as horribly misguided in their metaphysical conclusions, but where I am, I don't see hate crimes going on against either side.

It appears to me that the position you're attacking is that of the televangelist or Westboro Bapists, an extremely small minority of the Christian population.

So atheism is not like non-stamp collecting.


Seriously, Dude, I know many places where I think twice before I tell anyone I'm a Christian for fear of being verbally attacked, and you are going to try to convince me that atheist are the most hated people in America ( including raping murdering pedaphiles) and are discriminated against and you are going to want me to believe it?

I guess if you repeat a lie often enough ......................


Atheists most hated group in America:

The most recent study was conducted by the University of Minnesota, which found that atheists ranked lower than “Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in ‘sharing their vision of American society.’ Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.” The results from two of the most important questions”

This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society…

Atheist: 39.6%
Muslims: 26.3%
Homosexuals: 22.6%
Hispanics: 20%
Conservative Christians: 13.5%
Recent Immigrants: 12.5%
Jews: 7.6%

I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group….

Atheist: 47.6%
Muslim: 33.5%
African-American 27.2%
Asian-Americans: 18.5%
Hispanics: 18.5%
Jews: 11.8%
Conservative Christians: 6.9%
Whites: 2.3%

http://newsjunkiepost.com/2009/09/19/research-finds-that-atheists-are-most-hated-and-distrusted-minority/

Atheists losing employment:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-05-29-fired28_ST_N.htm

That's one of many. Read any message board and you'll find several of the same.

In regards to Nazi Germany, read my post again. I was not comparing the denial of equality to homosexuals to the mass slaughter of Jews. I was merely stating the affect of basing a country's laws on one set of dogma will lead to that type of situation. Or if you'd prefer, the situation in North Korea.

Saying it's only the WBC or evangelists types who are propagating these messages and only represent a small percentage, please direct your attention to Rick Santorum. This man is a serious candidate to lead this country. He wouldn't be a serious candidate if people didn't take his views seriously. In addition, the LDS church requesting their followers in California and Utah to donate to the Prop 8 campaign to deny marriage equality in California. To say it's a small percentage is folly.

Joey,
Thanks for the info. Will have a look at these later today or tomorrow, as the paper on the poll is quite long and I currently can't reach the USA Today website right now.
I apologize for misreading your comment on dogmatic beliefs leading to the equivalent of Nazi Germany. I do agree that dogmatic beliefs should be eschewed, but pointing out the origin of these beliefs and assuming them false is committing the genetic fallacy. It is the reasons for these views that should be evaluated.
As I was saying, though, what are the other political views that you take to be dogmatic and have no sound reasoning behind them ?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-05-29-fired28_ST_N.htm

Like I heard a member of the British Humanist Association ( I think) say once in an interview on Unbelievable!: There is nothing wrong with discrimination based on belief, only on immutable things like race, gender, or orientation.

ArthurK,

Which is interesting, given that "Black Like Me" and "Boys Don't Cry" among other little gems, would dispute that even race, gender, and orientation are immutable, rather than reflections of a belief. And "It's okay to discriminate based on beliefs" a belief unto itself? Sounds this BHA fellow is engaged in some fallacious reasoning.

Joey,

I'm truly sorry that you experience this sense of persecution, fear, and loathing with relation to you religious beliefs (or lack thereof, however you wish to characterize said paradigm). What may we do to make you feel better?

Well, as far as the teacher that was fired, that's not a very good example. She was teaching at a Catholic school, after all. How is anyone surprised at this? What other view than Catholicism do you think they would want their leaders to have?
It would be a completely different story if it were a public school. I would hope that their administration learned their lesson, though. Just because someone applies for a position at their school doesn't mean they share the same beliefs.

James,

Yes, and it's also worth noting that the newsjunkiepost isn't a real news website--it's a leftist op-ed aggregator. But I think Joey's main point isn't really dependent on statistics. There may be no real data to support his contention of oppression, but that doesn't mean that he isn't emotionally affected by feeling isolated or despised by his neighbors. So that is where my sympathy goes to him, personally--though it may do him good to consider that these stories are exagerations and fabrications, and he's not in so much danger as he may fear.

Bennett,
Thanks for the note that the website isn't a real news site, but I was already aware of that. I was speaking of the actual study, which is real. If you look on the newsjunkiepost link, it gives the link to the actual details of the study, which you can't deny are genuine. The real question would be whether the results are really representative of the situation.
I agree, though, that we can't claim to know of anyone's experience in their own lives as far as real or perceived oppression goes. I suppose what I was trying to say was that I don't see evidence of a massive oppression of atheists in my own experience. I really don't see massive oppression from either side in everyday experience, unless you can somehow count online forums. Maybe I'm just fortunate...

James,

About a hundred years ago, Chesteron noted that the great ambition of the moderns was to get it so that publicly stating yourself an atheist was no longer considered in poor taste. They failed in that, but did manage to get it where publicly stating yourself Christian was considered equally poor taste.

The statistics may be genuine, but they don't show what's being claimed. I, indeed, do not think atheists agree with my vision--they have a very different paradigm. I also wouldn't marry one, there's some pretty obvious tensions that would emerge in raising kids, and so on.

That doesn't mean I fear or distrust atheists, many of whom I count among my friends. It simply means I recognize we have very deep differences of worldview, and as a separate issue, I think people with enormous differences in worldview ought not to marry--marriage is a team effort, and all, and I don't want to spend the rest of my days debating with my spouse. I'd rather just find a nice Catholic girl and let her tell me what I think ;)

Bennett,
The question was, however, if these people think atheists don't agree with their vision of America's future to any degree/at all. I think it would depend on what that vision is. While there are atheists that support abortion and same-sex marriage, I know of others who don't. Therefore, some atheists do share at least some of my vision of America's future.

This is probably the misperception of atheism that is being pointed out. However, perceptions of those following a theistic worldview tend to be quite skewed at times, as well. As I was saying, I don't see much oppression from either side at work or in my family.

Very good points, Bennett.

James,

It really just looks like a poorly-constructed survey, all around. If you ask people whether they support welfare, they usually say no. Ask whether they're okay with assistance to the destitute, and they say yes. None of those questions bites into the meat of their conclusion about any given group being feared or mistrusted.

I do agree that, by the way, that I don't see much evidence of anyone being persecuted, except in frantic blog posts. If being Christian were really so celebrated (and if not Christians, then who exactly is this striking majority that dislike Atheists so much, in America?) then I don't think Tim Tebow would get so much flak.

The majority, as far as I can tell, would prefer to just be left to a tepid sort of moralistic therapeutic deism and not think about it any further than that. Being confronted with a real believer (or non-believer) tends to force them into a state of cognitive dissonance and alarm.

Melinda writes, “Even the great advocate of reason falters at least now and then. In the movie Expelled, Dawkins told Ben Stein that he thinks it's possible that human life originated as a creation by aliens.”

Did you not watch that interview? Richard did not falter.

Ben asked Richard, “What do think is the possibility that intelligent design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics, or in evolution?”

Richard answered, “Well, it could come about in the following way: it could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved by probably some kind of Darwinian means to a very, very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto, perhaps, this planet. Now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of our chemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer, and that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe. But that higher intelligence would itself have had to come about by some explicable, or ultimately explicable, process. It couldn’t have just jumped into existence spontaneously. That’s the point.”


Melinda writes, “Now, not only does that answer the question of how life began - it just pushes it into outer space...”

Yes, that was exactly Richard’s point. He was saying the likeliest scenario for our being intelligently designed would be sufficiently advanced alien designers, but even if that were so, those aliens would themselves have had to evolve.

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