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The Dick Dawkins Summer Camp

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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't agree with organised religion and I guess in this way I can come off as confusing. I think a lot of organised religion (a lot like politicians :D) is corrupt, self-serving and often destructive. But so many make the jump from this, to all religious people. Every person I've met in my entire life who holds religious beliefs holds them with dignity and would be mortified like anyone else if they offended someone with something they said.

    The problem is, some new-age thinkers who want to prove that they know-it-all hold up their atheist flag (even though it's pretty much a null position and doesn't need a flag as such) and point at the flaws of organised religion and then throw that onto everyone who believes in any kind of divinity. There is an unpleasant ideology in the UK today in that anyone who dares believe in religion is seen as an anti-abortionist anti-state anti-woman anti-homosexual bigot.

    I am all for the seperation of state and church. I think in the UK we are already 99.9% there and those who think we aren't probably just have nothing better to do with their time except moan about it. In some countries like Iran there is obviously a long way to go, but that's their journey to take and certainly not for us to go and protest about.

    I certainly don't think organised religion has always been the best thing, but it's certainly at times been better than nothing. Instead of hospitals for centuries, we had the monastaries. Instead of counsellors and advisors, we had priests. Religion served as a binding and guiding force in society and has affected our culture massively - our morals today are intrinsicly linked with the teachings of Christianity whether you are atheist or believer.

    I think it's fair to say organised religion has seen it's hayday - just look at the figures these days and you will probably struggle to find many churches full to the rafters for sunday service.

    But what I and a few others object to is some people who want to assert their rejection in a strong way, saying that all those with religion are ill educated etc. and presuming them to be bigots - just because religion is no longer the #1 thing in society doesn't give people a right to villify everyone of religion. I'm not saying that is occuring here at all, but it definitely does occur, and Richard Dawkins is the poster child of a non existant battle that some think exists between atheists and religious people.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    his earlier works, particularly in popular science in 'The Selfish Gene' and 'The Blind Watchmaker' are brilliant examples of rigourous popular scholarship.
    Unfortunately he's no theologian. He would produce better work if he educated himself in what many people actually believe rather than railing against a minority. It's the majority of religious people he wants to prove wrong, but he doesn't actually know what many think.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    I don't agree with organised religion and I guess in this way I can come off as confusing. I think a lot of organised religion (a lot like politicians :D) is corrupt, self-serving and often destructive. But so many make the jump from this, to all religious people. Every person I've met in my entire life who holds religious beliefs holds them with dignity and would be mortified like anyone else if they offended someone with something they said.



    The problem is, some new-age thinkers who want to prove that they know-it-all hold up their atheist flag (even though it's pretty much a null position and doesn't need a flag as such) and point at the flaws of organised religion and then throw that onto everyone who believes in any kind of divinity. There is an unpleasant ideology in the UK today in that anyone who dares believe in religion is seen as an anti-abortionist anti-state anti-woman anti-homosexual bigot.

    I think a strawman atheist has begun to to be created in this thread. I simply haven't met people who are atheist and who behave this way. I discuss religion with as much vigour as I discuss politics, football and how I think things should be done at work; I don't shirk away from discussing the ridiculous in religion the same way I wouldn't sensor myself when discussing what a bell-end Dave Cameron is. You're also starting to paint the picture of frothy-mouthed atheist towering over a cowering, meek religious type, and let's be fair, the imposition on ideology is largely religion's trick.

    But what I and a few others object to is some people who want to assert their rejection in a strong way, saying that all those with religion are ill educated etc. and presuming them to be bigots - just because religion is no longer the #1 thing in society doesn't give people a right to villify everyone of religion. I'm not saying that is occuring here at all, but it definitely does occur, and Richard Dawkins is the poster child of a non existant battle that some think exists between atheists and religious people.

    As I stated earlier, Dawkins doesn't equal atheism. Dawkins equals Dawkins - that's all. I also think there is a lot of ground that still needs be wrestled away from religion and brought into the secular realm: stopping public funding of religious schools would be a good starter for ten.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think anyone who puts their religious beliefs on the side of a bus is a fundy, to be completely honest.

    As for evidence of the Big Bang, there's plenty of evidence to show expansion of the universe. But there's precious little evidence of a Big Bang, other than what Wikipedia (sourced by others on this thread) calls 'speculation'. The universe is expanding but nobody has been able to come up with a plausible reason for why it is or how nothing can expand into a Universe.

    Evolution is different. There's circumstantial evidence of it, particularly around DNA profiling, but you'd have expected to find evidence of transitional animals by now. Some of that could be mis-cataloguing, but hey.
    bus.jpg 30.9K
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    Unfortunately he's no theologian. He would produce better work if he educated himself in what many people actually believe rather than railing against a minority. It's the majority of religious people he wants to prove wrong, but he doesn't actually know what many think.
    Why would being a theologian give any credibility to his arguments? You don't need to do a course in homeopathy or mind reading to make a judgement regarding their validity. And how would you answer someone like philosopher Dan "Santa Claus" Dennett, who has done in depth studies into people's religious beliefs and the way they've developed throughout history, and still comes to the same conclusions as Dawkins?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit, you're dodging the issue again. Transitional fossils? Missing link? You're parroting all of the language of a fundie without giving an explination of what exactly these terms mean. What is a transitional fossil? Every fossil is transitional between something and something else. You can't expect anyone to take you seriously if you just stick your fingers in your ears at the first sign of anyone trying to question your views.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think a strawman atheist has begun to to be created in this thread. I simply haven't met people who are atheist and who behave this way. I discuss religion with as much vigour as I discuss politics, football and how I think things should be done at work; I don't shirk away from discussing the ridiculous in religion the same way I wouldn't sensor myself when discussing what a bell-end Dave Cameron is. You're also starting to paint the picture of frothy-mouthed atheist towering over a cowering, meek religious type, and let's be fair, the imposition on ideology is largely religion's trick.

    Perhaps the reason you don't see it, is because you excuse the behaviour? I have no idea how you don't. I mean, don't get me wrong, the vast vast majority of atheists or apatheists (people who can't be bothered :p) are absolutely fine, we are talking about a vocal minority here. But there is a minority that is vocal and aggressive about this. And what's more, it's not just innocent banter like talking about the cock that is David Cameron, but it can be accepted because religion is seen as bad. I don't believe atheism or religion is conspiring to get one over on the other, more that some vocal atheists (and there are vocal theists as well) cross the lines of accepted discourse and are not challenged for doing so, because religion and people who are religious are seen as a legitimate target.
    As I stated earlier, Dawkins doesn't equal atheism. Dawkins equals Dawkins - that's all. I also think there is a lot of ground that still needs be wrestled away from religion and brought into the secular realm: stopping public funding of religious schools would be a good starter for ten.

    Well the religious schools I don't know too much about, but really I think every child is entitled to a state funded education, so if they go to a religious school I don't think they should be excluded from that i.e. either go to a secular school or lose out. That is stopping people's religious freedom isn't it? As all schools religious or not still have to conform to OFSTED's standards, it's just a different choice.

    As for Dawkins = Dawkins, I agree with you - and I admit I don't know 100% what he stands for and his perspective on things, my point really was in chipping in that he is held up as the poster boy by people who call themselves atheists (which is why I say atheists, but you could call them something else - I have called them antitheists in the past!) and these people imo act improperly not in attacking religion, but in crossing the line between fair and respectful discourse and more akin to the anti-fascist group a few weeks ago 'protesting' against the BNP, in which they violated their freedoms.

    I didn't really intend to get drawn into an all out argument suffice to say I agree with Kermit when he says:
    "Atheism is a religion like any other and it has more than it's fair share of fundy nutcases."

    though it does depend how you define atheism, some could call me a weak atheist or an agnostic depending on perspective. But it's pretty hard to disagree that there are some atheists who take it too far just like any other group of people, and in that their 'perspective' of atheism is just as flawed in it's absolute belief as is a religion.

    Note though that some who hold religion could count as atheist by some definitions, they admit there are plenty of holes and they can't be sure that there is a divinity, they don't claim to 'know' it, but rather than this is what they believe. In exactly the same way you might claim you don't 'know' your partner has not cheated on you, you have no proof of such, but you trust them and believe in their fidelity.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    ... but you'd have expected to find evidence of transitional animals by now.

    Evolution happens every year as the flu virus mutates, as a simple example. Right before our very eyes.

    Remember too that most fossils are found due to the type of soil they fell into when they died. So unless the preservation environment was perfect at the time of death, I am sure most fossils will never be found because they just disintegrated into the ground.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What was the book in which the demons planted dinosaur fossils to make people doubt God? :)

    People will believe what they want to believe, regardless of logic. The difference with scientists studying evolution or cosmology is they don't have an agenda to discredit religion for their own gain - the evidence speaks for itself.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Perhaps the reason you don't see it, is because you excuse the behaviour? I have no idea how you don't. I mean, don't get me wrong, the vast vast majority of atheists or apatheists (people who can't be bothered :p) are absolutely fine, we are talking about a vocal minority here. But there is a minority that is vocal and aggressive about this. And what's more, it's not just innocent banter like talking about the cock that is David Cameron, but it can be accepted because religion is seen as bad. I don't believe atheism or religion is conspiring to get one over on the other, more that some vocal atheists (and there are vocal theists as well) cross the lines of accepted discourse and are not challenged for doing so, because religion and people who are religious are seen as a legitimate target.

    I’m not quite sure what behaviour we’re talking about. I’ve never come across someone aggressively putting across atheism to a religious person – or at least with no more fervour than anything else would be discussed. But, even if we grant that there are a small minority of hard-line atheists – something I’m perfectly willing to do – I’m not sure what can be gleaned from that. Religion and religious ideas should be subject the same level of scrutiny that every other point of contention should be. Even Dawkins, who isn’t as strong a critic as, say, Hitchens, has never in all the debates I’ve seen, and literature I’ve read, gone after someone on a personal level. He’s a strong critic of supernatural belief and doesn’t pull punches when talking about it. People caricature and misrepresent him because he’s a cogent critic of something they believe in, and so it serves them to do so. Now, I’m not a massive fan of the guy, but he’s an intelligent guy who puts his points across well.
    Well the religious schools I don't know too much about, but really I think every child is entitled to a state funded education, so if they go to a religious school I don't think they should be excluded from that i.e. either go to a secular school or lose out. That is stopping people's religious freedom isn't it? As all schools religious or not still have to conform to OFSTED's standards, it's just a different choice.

    Every child should be entitled to a state-funded education, I agree, however, if you want separation of church and state, which I very much do, then you have to take religious indoctrination out of state-funded education. Every child should receive a secular education from the state. If parents want to cram religion into their kids’ heads then they can do it on their own time - I’m not having them do it using my money.
    As for Dawkins = Dawkins, I agree with you - and I admit I don't know 100% what he stands for and his perspective on things, my point really was in chipping in that he is held up as the poster boy by people who call themselves atheists (which is why I say atheists, but you could call them something else - I have called them antitheists in the past!) and these people imo act improperly not in attacking religion, but in crossing the line between fair and respectful discourse and more akin to the anti-fascist group a few weeks ago 'protesting' against the BNP, in which they violated their freedoms.

    Read The God Delusion and watch a couple of his debates. It’s as good a starting point as any. I don’t suspect you’ll come out loving the guy, but at least you’ll have an accurate representation of what he believes.

    People should always be ready to have their views questioned; it’s how you advance a society. The problem is religion often wants, and is frequently is afforded, special dispensation. That’s what a lot of people take issue with.

    I didn't really intend to get drawn into an all out argument suffice to say I agree with Kermit when he says:
    "Atheism is a religion like any other and it has more than it's fair share of fundy nutcases."

    though it does depend how you define atheism, some could call me a weak atheist or an agnostic depending on perspective. But it's pretty hard to disagree that there are some atheists who take it too far just like any other group of people, and in that their 'perspective' of atheism is just as flawed in it's absolute belief as is a religion.

    Atheism isn’t a religion. It’s a single stance on a single issue. Kermit’d like it to be a religion because he feels that’d somehow level the playing field. The fact is there aren’t dogma, doctrine, tenets, and deities attached to atheism; it’s simply a lack of a belief. What Kermit may have an issue with is strictly enforced secularism, but that’s something different.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Big post ;) but I do agree with what you're saying and you're right people should be happy to have their views challenged, even me god forbid. But I still believe there are a vocal minority who step over the line at least what I would feel comfortable saying - they do actually cause offense to those who are religious. Joking about jesus being nailed to a cross is offensive to Christians but c'est la vie. It seems this minority want to prove they have the right to say what they like and forget about considerations of how it might make people feel. And I did qualify my agreement with Kermit's statement by saying "though it does depend how you define atheism".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    how would you answer someone like philosopher Dan "Santa Claus" Dennett, who has done in depth studies into people's religious beliefs and the way they've developed throughout history, and still comes to the same conclusions as Dawkins?
    I would treat his views with more respect, that's all. The end doesn't justify the means and I don't think Dawkins has done the research that writing a book like the God Delusion necessitates. It makes him look ignorant, when we know that is not true.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    I would treat his views with more respect, that's all. The end doesn't justify the means and I don't think Dawkins has done the research that writing a book like the God Delusion necessitates. It makes him look ignorant, when we know that is not true.

    Whereabouts does Dawkins fall short in his critique of religion in The God Delusion? Genuine quesion. I've read the book and didn't think he came across as ignorant - far from it in fact.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is bullshit.

    Dicky "dickhead" Dawkins hasn't set up an 'atheist camp', he isn't involved with it whatsoever. He made a small financial contribution, that's all.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As to transitional fossils - can we just clarify what we mean

    I understand the term to mean fossil remains of a primitve creature that undeveloped traits that are seen more developed in life-forms to which it is related.

    Given that's my understanding, and apparently evolutionary science's understanding of the misconcieved term (all creatures, forever and all of time are transitional - since nothing ever ceases random evolution - though as the human race demonstrates, evolutionary factors are vastly reduced once environmental factors are removed from development), then there are a huge number to pick from.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It makes him look ignorant, when we know that is not true.

    Which is a perfect illustration of knowing one thing and believing another.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    stargalaxy wrote: »
    There's plenty of people in this country whom I hate with a passion. But there's one particularly smug bastard who always gets my goat - Richard Dawkins. How anyone can treat him seriously after he was mocked in South Park, I don't know.

    garrisondawkins.JPG

    This cocktrumpet is a man who wastes no opportunity to tell us that people who believe in God are stupid and deluded, a man who condemns the brainwashing that religious nutters carry out in summer camps in the USA. So what does he decide to do? Ah yes, he decides to start one up himself!

    According to the Mail, (yes, I know) they will have the chance to "sing along to John Lennon's Imagine and have lessons in evolution". The reporter excitedly tells us that "There will even be a £10 prize for the child who can disprove the existence of the mythical unicorn" and that the day will finish with the "Kim-bi-ya budding atheists will belt out 'Imagine there's no heaven...and no religion too'." Wow, I bet children all around the country can hardly wait! :rolleyes:

    When religious fanatics and nutjobs run summer camps, it's called called brainwashing. When a pure as driven snow atheist such as Richard Dawkins does it, it's something completely different. What a cunt.

    Over to you for your reasoned and relevant contributions/musings/bile etc...
    Steady on! I seriously haven't read beyond this first post (and you're just going to have to take my word on that, like Joe Don Baker said in 'Whacko!'), because I want to say without any further imput that this sounds like a wind-up on somebody's part. Dawkins doesn't have the keenest sense of humour, but he knows you can't disprove anything, and I don't think he'd joke about that. He'd have an aneurysm if he tried.

    I can remember, well over ten years ago, him once telling the Independent that 'natural' crops were far more dangerous than GM versions. He was actually making a point about the simplistic way genetic modification was being reported, but the paper's journalists, specifically a bloke named O'Connor (forgotten his first name) assumed he was defending GM crops, and put this on the front page. Sarcasm is a dangerous thing in Richard Dawkins' hands...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I had a feeling the thing had been over-egged. He has his own forums, but they're a little too busy for me... http://richarddawkins.net/forum
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Uncle Joe wrote: »
    Steady on! I seriously haven't read beyond this first post (and you're just going to have to take my word on that, like Joe Don Baker said in 'Whacko!'), because I want to say without any further imput that this sounds like a wind-up on somebody's part.

    It's just StarGalaxy parroting The Daily Mail, don't worry about it. You'll notice that as soon as the thread got down into details and substance, he had nothing else to say.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The fact is there aren’t dogma, doctrine, tenets, and deities attached to atheism; it’s simply a lack of a belief.

    No, it's the belief in a lack of belief. It's far more doctrinous (is that a word? is now) than simply not believing in something.

    You don't spend £200,000 on bus adverts for a lack of belief.

    To finish off with my own views, I'm firmly agnostic on the issue. I've had too much Catholic education to ever believe in the One True God, but I think people like Dawkins take their atheism to sinister levels.

    My point was not that the traditional monotheistic view of the world is correct, rather that the atheistic view does not have proof. Even the wiki articles linked to say that much of what is said is pure conjecture.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    No, it's the belief in a lack of belief. It's far more doctrinous (is that a word? is now) than simply not believing in something.

    You don't spend £200,000 on bus adverts for a lack of belief.

    To finish off with my own views, I'm firmly agnostic on the issue. I've had too much Catholic education to ever believe in the One True God, but I think people like Dawkins take their atheism to sinister levels.

    My point was not that the traditional monotheistic view of the world is correct, rather that the atheistic view does not have proof. Even the wiki articles linked to say that much of what is said is pure conjecture.

    You're trying to equate theism and atheism again, and you can't. I understand why people who have a belief in God, or who are least unsure, would want to equate the two positions, but convenience plays no part in validity. At its strongest atheism is an active disbelief; for me this means I've been presented with the case for the supernatural, and found it completely lacking in validity - as well as being patently absurd. You can glean nothing more about me by my using the atheist label; you've no idea what my opinion on the bus adverts is; you've no idea whether I believe in homoeopathy; you've no clue about my political leanings.

    Sam Harris argues that atheists should drop the term. He says that we don't have terms for non-astrologers or people who don't believe that Elvis has reincarnated, so why bother with non-theist? I'm a little ambivalent on the matter, but think that the term is useful and shouldn't be abandoned just because people are trying to mess with it.

    The proof argument is silly. I don't have 'proof' that a lot of things don't exist - I've never been able to disprove Big Foot. In fact I don't have 'proof' that anything doesn't exist. It would just be ridiculous to operate under the assumption that a thing for which there is no evidence, did exist.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    It is a religion like any other. Atheism is couched in scientific terms but there's no empirical evidence for the Big Bang or for evolution. No 'missing link' fossils have ever been found and nobody can explain how nothing blew up one day into a Universe.

    Self identifying as an athiest does not mean that you are also procalaiming you DO believe in evolution, or anything else, it means you DON'T believe in gods.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've mentioned this before CptCoatHanger though, if atheists feel a lack of belief why do they go out and parade it? Just like non-astrologers don't etc.

    Obviously atheism doesn't have a unifying doctrine like most theism, but if you look at the conduct of some atheists in pronouncing their atheism and advocating atheism strongly (even provocatively) then that reflects on everyone who uses that label really. That's the reason in the past I've called them antitheists because I think it's a more appropriate label - just like we called misandrist and hysterical feminists 'pop-feminists' as they were painting a bad picture of all feminists (which now ridiculously as a consequence of those who 'went too far' some women feel feminism itself is an extreme anti-man perspective to hold... when it should just be about equality).

    There are certainly people who can take any given belief and push it to an extreme, and atheism is no different. That shouldn't stop people being atheist, but it is important to acknowledge that there are varying shades of grey, and that some things are over the line - just like how some feminists I imagine condemned some of the misandry that came from the pop-feminists.

    Feminism has garnered the wrongful image, that it's about man-hating mouth-frothing women who all believe men are inferior and rapists and such, because of the 'vocal minority' or polecemists as someone once labelled them who either in an innocent attempt to stir debate or a slightly more sinister motive possibly anger at patriarchy have said some outrageous things and supported some outrageous perspectives.

    Atheism is the same and as it is becoming an increasingly held perspective as typical monotheistic religion is dying out, the 'vocal minority' atheists are swelling in number and growing in boldness. Just look at the bus adverts, even though they were quite tame, it's a sign that some parts of atheism aren't just about 'not believing' anymore, but rather pro-actively stopping others believing. Whether just like with feminism this is just to stir debate and make people question things, or whether it's because there is animosity towards religion, it doesn't matter. I condemn those who make a target of 'the other side' wrongfully in whichever debate.

    I mean, if you consider your definition, I am an atheist (with an appreciation for the cultural implications of religion ;)), so I certainly have no reason to argue against my own opinion. I'm not going to preach that we need more religion in society, that any lack of morality is down to the decline in attendance in church, or any other such nonsense.

    But equally, and importantly, I'm not going to join the 'polecemists' and say that religion has caused every ill in this world and that we will all be better off when it's gone, because that's nonsense too.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    .
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Just look at the bus adverts, even though they were quite tame, it's a sign that some parts of atheism aren't just about 'not believing' anymore, but rather pro-actively stopping others believing.

    Is that a bad thing though? Male and female circumcision, female subjugation, religious intolerance, religious 'superiority', sexual intolerance, complete blindness to what science HAS proved in the recent decades, etc .. I think atheists are entitled to raise issues to show that there are other equally plausible schools of thought because these religious beliefs often infringe on our own day-to-day freedoms.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy: I’m not a strong critic of large parts of religion because I’m an atheist. I’m a critic of large parts of religion because it’s a dangerous, absurd, degrading, patently wrong, and reason-destroying entity. If I go too far slamming a person for a religious view they hold (and I’m talking about some of more innocuous views) then it’s because I’m a dick, or not sensitive enough, or on some sort of intellectual jolly, perhaps. Not because I’m an atheist.

    People try to load up atheism and present it to be something it simply isn’t. They do so because they believe it helps bolster the position in which their religious beliefs are held. If atheism and theism could be equated then maybe that’d be the case, but it isn’t, and you seem to accept that.

    If a consortium of astrologers was trying to force astrology into the science classroom you’d hear me on here waxing lyrical about that; If my tax money was going toward schools that only let in people who’d affirmed a strong faith in Elvis reincarnate, I’d be banging on about that too; If Manchester United supporters were trying to claim special dispensation for wearing their team’s colours in school... etc. It wouldn’t be my non-astrology that pushed me to be vocal about these topics, it’d be the rational part of me crying out at the criminality of it. If I went too far criticising astrology – I’d be interested to hear what too far is – then it wouldn’t be my non-astrology to blame.

    All ideas need challenging. Bad ideas need challenging more so. I’m not denying that there are people who bash religion - and if they're doing it in a manner I'd deem inapporopriate then I'd criticise them. Still, has a religion-based debate ever gone further than the heated discussion you’ve had about any other topic? In my experience the taboo of criticising religion tends to keeps debates relatively tame - face-to-face ones, at least.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    I've mentioned this before CptCoatHanger though, if atheists feel a lack of belief why do they go out and parade it?
    Again, an example of you confusing secularism with atheism. People "parade it" because they take the view that religion has a negative affect on society. Such a view doesn't necessitate being an atheist, nor do all atheists agree with such a view (case in point: buddhists).

    And as for putting views on the side of a bus (another misrepresentation that this was in any way Dawkins' idea) making atheist groups the equal but opposite of religious groups that do the same, what a fallacious argument. By that measure, the Lib Dems must be just as extremist as the BNP, because they both advertise their views on billboards. :rolleyes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I didnt say that IWS did I? I was trying to make my point clearly and concisely and I guess on here it gets obfuscated a bit :blush:. It was merely a point that for some what they interpret to be 'atheism' is more than what we are defining as 'atheism' as the lack of belief in anything.

    And as soon as we accept that, then we can accept that some 'atheists', because of their atheist belief or lack of belief, will challenge opposing viewpoints. This is a good healthy part of society I feel, with the feminism analogy being the perfect example. Women didn't get the right to vote by sitting about holding the silent agreement that patriarchy was a bad thing, did they?

    But if we accept the premise that not all atheists are alike, then we must also accept that some atheists can be extreme? No? Whether that truly represents the core of atheism is neither here nor there just like if some 'extreme' feminists decided male babies should be aborted that doesn't truly represent feminism. But it doesn't stop them being feminists.

    So what I was saying if you hark back to my first point, was a criticism of these extremist atheists, who do largely get carte blanche in society because it's a popular perspective at the moment. "A warrior, without a cause." What are they fighting for? Why this adversarial attitude towards religion?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    I didnt say that IWS did I?
    No. It was Kermit that seemed to be equating the two,
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    It was merely a point that for some what they interpret to be 'atheism' is more than what we are defining as 'atheism' as the lack of belief in anything.
    Well then they interpret it incorrectly. They're interpretting secularism as atheism, which it quite clearly isn't, no matter how often one may lead to the other. Again, I bring you back to Buddhists. They're atheists, yet quite obviously in a lot of cases, fully in favour of religion having an important role in society.
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    But if we accept the premise that not all atheists are alike, then we must also accept that some atheists can be extreme? No? Whether that truly represents the core of atheism is neither here nor there just like if some 'extreme' feminists decided male babies should be aborted that doesn't truly represent feminism. But it doesn't stop them being feminists.
    I can accept that some atheists might be extreme, but I can't accept the premise of extremist atheism. To be an extremist, you have to positively affirm something, and generally want some sort of change. Not wanting religion to control society is neither a necessary product of atheism, nor do you need to be atheist to hold such a view. America is far more religious that the UK, and yet there are millions of committed religious people who consider the seperation of church and state to be one of the single most important things upon which their society is founded. In their views, these religious people would be closer to this "extremist atheist" viewpoint than a lot of non-religious people in this country, who are quite happy to continue to fund faith schools, for example. So I can accept extremist secularism, but not extremist atheism.

    Incidentally, isn't femenism the belief in and movement for the equality of women? And therefore, no, the viewpoint you mentioned wouldn't be feminism, any more than black power movements would be an extension of racial equality movements. It's misandry, which is quite different. Don't confuse agenda driven groups tagging along with popular equality movements to be part of the same ideology.
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    So what I was saying if you hark back to my first point, was a criticism of these extremist atheists, who do largely get carte blanche in society because it's a popular perspective at the moment. "A warrior, without a cause." What are they fighting for? Why this adversarial attitude towards religion?
    Sorry, but would you care to name some of these "extremist atheists" that you're talking about? I'm willing to accept that some might exist, but I've honestly never come across one. The only example I can thing of is the banning of headscarves in French schools (which I would support if they had a uniform, but when they don't, seems like a specific attack on religion, which I consider unacceptable). Every secularist I've ever read only wants religion to be treated the same as any other belief system. It's only because of the privileged status that religion enjoys that it is considered "anti-religious" to do so. How is saying the law about carrying knives should apply to everyone, whether or not you think god requires you to do so, an attack on religion, for example? How is saying that motorcycle helmets should either be compulsory, or voluntary, regardless of what religious beliefs you might hold, an attack on religion? Etc, etc. It is this system of automatically holding religious beliefs in higher regard than any other beliefs that secularists oppose.

    And I'm sure you already know many of the reasons for people arguing in favour of secularism. Many of them have already been mentioned on this thread, so I'm sure you don't need me to come up with another list.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yet again we hear claims of Dawkins and his ilk being 'sinister' or fanatical.

    I'm still waiting to hear an explanation of why he should be labelled as such.

    Because if Dawkins is a fanatic or extremist for saying what he says, then every single last religious person is an ultrafundamentalist a thousand times more extreme.

    Now, I wouldn't call the majority of religious people ultrafundamentalists. So let's do away with pretending someone who is simply a vocal critic of organised religion is suddenly 'sinister' or 'fanatical'.
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