Atheists, and Dawkins, vs. Xians

I, however, do know you, from that ill-fated Der Trihs pitting by KGS a while back, where you managed to make Der look very open minded, calm and rational by comparison.

The truth of the matter is, the whole issue is simply not important enough for me to have a big shit-fight with you over it. I understand the notion of proving Der’s bigotry is somehow integral to you, your world view, or whatever; however, I could hardly care less. So, I’ll withdraw from the thread with this; if you insist on continuing your ranting and raving, obviously I can’t stop you.

The trouble is, most of the atheists who take such great pains to disassociate themselves from mean old Dr. Dawkins haven’t actually read his atheistic writings or seen his documentaries. They’re either parrotting what other people (who are, most likely, similarly unacquainted with his work) have said about him, or they’re trying to curry favour with theists by implying the existence of common ground when, in fact, there is none.

Dawkins’ crime is in not showing undue deference to religious beliefs. Because he writes about them in the same way he would write about, say, a flawed scientific theory, he is castigated as an irate, strident, bigot. In fact, he is none of those things. I invite anyone who feels differently to prove me wrong with direct quotes.

Of course you’d claim I was not only wrong but irrationally so… and yet you can’t quote a single claim I made which was wrong. Or a single step in my logic which was fallacious.
But, of course, the fact that I must be wrong is proven by your inability to argue why I’m wrong.

Of course, there is no mandate that people must be tolerant of bigotry, accepting of aggressive irrationality or ‘open minded’ about naked bigoted hate.
Of course, all of my claims are backed up by Der’s own words.
But you can’t gainsay them… a process which would be quite simple if the truth was on your side.
Surely though, your inability to find a quote from Der proving me wrong, let alone a mountain of his quotes showing that he’s not bigoted against christians/republicans/whoever? That’s not due to those quotes not existing and you being full of shit.
Oh no. It’s due to me. It’s my fault. I unfairly took away all the anti-facts, and now can’t support your bullshit since there are only facts which contradict your claims.

Sorry, my bad.

No, you just need a spine.
You posted to this thread and made the explicit point that people were just noticing Der’s bigotry to ‘score points’. When challenged on your false-to-facts claim, you retreated, while still arguing that Der was unfairly treated. Even now, instead of addressing the substance of my claims, you’d prefer to say that my annoyance at Der being a bigot is worse than Der actually being a bigot, and you’d much rather make your post about me.

In fact, while I’ve been posting in this thread, I’ve steadfastly attempted to talk about Der’s posts. You’ve steadfastly made personal attacks against me while ignoring the entirety of my argument. Then you whine about not wanting to get into a “shit-fight”… while still adding some more personal attacks against me. Tell ya what, coward, if you don’t want a ‘shit-fight’, why not, ya know, not start one?

No, there is no elaborate proof that Der is a bigot. Any more than there is to prove that David Duke is a bigot. You read Duke’s statements on Jews or Der’s on religious people/conservatives/Republicans/whatever.
Proving that Der’s bigotry is wrong, to people who are bigoted in the same way Der is, is a fool’s errand. If they recognized the moral and logical failings of bigotry, bigots wouldn’t be bigots, after all.

And no, “proving” that Der is a bigot or Duke is a bigot is most certainly not integral to anything. But intellectual dishonesty and factual dishonesty are pet peeves of mine, and the stupidity evinced by Der’s defenders is simply too much. Much like your little song and dance, consisting entirely of ad hominem fallacies without even once touching on a single factual claim. Not once.
Of course, in addition to being cowardly you’re rather hypocritical too. Your first post in this thread contained your pretense of an objection to ad hominem fallacies while your second and third consisted of almost nothing but ad hominem fallacies. Fool.

Ah well, they’ve always said that liars need good memories. Evidently remembering your pretense to intellectual honesty was too hard for you to remember for all that long.

You really are a cowardly little weasel, aintcha?
I know you’re now turning tail and running, but if you want to grow a spine at any point, you could show why my claims about Der aren’t 100% correct.
Of course, you can’t and won’t do that.

You can babble more, though, about how one of the most hate filled bigots that the board has isn’t one, and calling him out using (gasp!) his own words as evidence against him makes me an awful, awful man. Why, using what someone says to point out what they believe is ranting, and raving! It’s pure insanity!
But, you and I both know that the fact of the matter is you can’t honestly argue that Der doesn’t hate religious people, and conservatives, and republicans, and so on. You can’t honestly argue that he isn’t prejudiced against them. You can’t honestly argue that he isn’t obstinately dedicated to his prejudice against and hatred of them.
And, as a result, you can’t honestly argue that Der’s posts don’t exactly fit the dictionary-perfect definition of bigotry.

So you probably won’t even try.


There IS common ground to be sought; theists and atheists are all human beings, with common drives and desires. Yes, there are radical differences in how people attempt to fulfill those desires and pursue those drives, but there IS common ground.

I don’t feel that he is a bigot. I just think that his approach isn’t going to accomplish much good; if anything, it will push more people away from his school of thought. He’s pretty much preaching to the choir at this point, and that’s fine…but right now he just comes across as someone who is rallying the troops for a culture war more than someone trying to inspire people to learn and grow. Maybe that IS his purpose now, maybe he’s given up entirely on trying to reach theists, and he sincerely believes that all that is left is to sublimate them.

I’m another one who is not so much against Dawkin’s message, but the way he chooses to express it.

I think the word ‘bigot’ kind of loses its meaning in this matter. When it comes to religious matters, where the whole idea is that many groups believe that they have an Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent Being on their side; I think bigotry is going to start losing its meaning in this context pretty fast. I mean, if you really believe that someone is going to burn in hell eternally, you almost have to be intolerant of their viewpoint, to try to save their souls! And of course, those that don’t agree that they are going to go to hell are going to respond in kind to religions that have been intolerant of their viewpoint. I go on about this because FinnAgain, you used the word in some form over 30 times already.

It’s just the impression I get. People are very quick to seize upon Dawkins as the poster boy for belligerant atheism, but I’ve read his books and seen his documentaries and I fail to see what people find so objectionable. The language Dawkins uses is tame and measured when set aside language frequently used in art or restaurant reviews, and it is positively obsequious when compared to language used in the political arena. This is an objective claim about Dawkins’ writing.

This, coupled with the fact that mischaracterisations of Dawkins are rarely accompanied by direct quotes, leads me to believe that the majority of his detractors are more familiar with his reputation for bellicosity than the writing which supposedly forms its foundation.

Okay, I concede that, in the most general terms theists & atheists do share common ground. When discussing religion, however, there is none. In the fullness of time, one side is really going to win this argument, and the other is really going to lose.

Why do you think this?

See, this is what I’m talking about. I’d be genuinely interested to know what Dawkins has said or done that has pissed off so many people who should be getting behind him.

I’m with **George **here. I read Dawkins’ book a while ago (I think that was the one I gave to a devout Christian lady, who gave me some Christian tract–C.S. Lewis?–in exchange) and I don’t remember encountering a single sentence or idea where I said “Here, sir, you have crossed the bounds of decency” or “This insulting language will win you no friends” or anything of the sort. I thought it was pretty reserved, temperate, unincendiary, especially after what I’d been led to expect. It was my reading material on a 14 hour flight. and I remember being bored with it for its unexciting themes and absence of earthshaking new ideas.

You mean rallying to him?

I’m sorry, I know that is putting words in your mouth, so to speak. But that’s kind of my point from my previous post. The God Delusion did seem very much to me like Dawkins was saying “OK, I’m through tip-toeing around, I pretty much think that theism is equivalent to believing in leprechauns, and I’m not afraid to say it. WHO’S WITH ME??” He just sounds like someone who is trying to found a movement, and that’s something that is a little too much like just another religion to me.

You realize that you’re putting words (in quotes) stating what you feel Dawkins was saying rather than showing us what he actually said that you found so objectionable?

Cuckoorex, you say he is preaching to the choir, but I say the choir needs preaching to, sometimes. Let them go and sing in a more gentle manner, if they so choose. It is sometimes the radical edges that move the middle.

Dawkins writes about not offering up some kind of special, sacred respect to religion. I think that is actually important. We should not let anyone choose for us what is due more respect than any human is due on any other matter.

Consider how many Christians you know respond to Scientologists. No respect is there. Why is that? I don’t see the difference in Xenu or God in the Heavens answering individual prayers. So why must I offer extra respect and reverance when addressing religious matters, than I would to say, political matters.

I am genuinely asking about these things, because even though I agree with Dawkins’ views, I have not yet been able to actually see myself being ‘disrespectful’ to another about their religion in a face to face discussion.

ETA: PRR, That* is* what the man wrote, though. Right? What Cuckoorex quoted, I mean. That is what I took from it. I have no idea how that could be perceived as a religion, though.

And you realize that I explicity stated that it was my impression of his overall tone and message, and not meant to be interpreted as any kind of direct quote? You want me to go through the book and directly quote passage after passage? I don’t care to, and it doesn’t serve any purpose that I care to fight for. I agree with Dawkins on many things, and in fact it’s tempting to adopt his attitude as well. When in Rome, right? If theists are going to wage a culture war against science and rationality, then why not fight back on their own terms? That’s the overall impression I get from The God Delusion. Maybe he’s right; it just seems to me too much like stooping to the level of those one opposes.

Can you tell us what Der Trihs’ main theses are so we know if we’re on the same page as to whether we should/shouldn’t call ourselves atheists?

Just to clarify, for those who were confused by my use of quotation marks:

(Bolding added for emphasis)

Of course it’s not a direct quote; it’s my impression of his overall message, and I was very explicit in stating that it was my personal interpretation of his message, so I’m not sure where the confusion comes from.

You’d do better to ask him directly. I’d start with “There is no God, and Jesus is his only begotten son.”

Of course I do–but George was very sensibly and reasonably asking you for specific things Dawkins wrote that his detractors find objectionable. Your response, that you have no idea exactly what he said but you didn’t care for his tone in general, just reinforces George’s point.

I am an atheist. I swear to god I am.

You have blatantly misrepresented my response, and you know it. My copy of The God Delusion is currently packed away in a box, along with almost all of my books, in preparation for an impending move. I am not going to go dig out the book to find a precise quote. I’m not even sure what box it’s in. I did read the book three frickin’ times, so it’s not like I just skimmed the cover blurbs to get an impression of the message.

If I had said that I agree totally with everything that Dawkins said, and how he said it, would you still be berating me for not quoting exactly what it is I agree with him about?

I’d also speculate that Der Trihs feels, rather strongly, that religion (or perhaps just Christianity) has in the main done more harm than good. Now this is is trickier to claim as a general principle that any atheist must support, but I think we all acknowledge that some pretty nasty shit has been done in the name of God’s everlasting love. Quantifying that shit, and weighing it against the virtues that have derived from belief is very tricky, because it’s very hard to know what progress in great thinking and culture might have taken place in the absence of religion, but I find it;s easy to confirm that the advances could easily have happened and the horrors that religion brought mostly avoided. I might not agree with the wording, if that is how Der Trihs would express the idea (maybe he’d just say “Christianity is evil” but I think we could get him to elaborate if we really wanted to) but I don’t see how it’s offensive to express it, except to those seeking to find offensiveness.

Which is what I think many defenders of religion do–search for excuses to denounce atheists’ points, demonize them, claim all sorts of non-existent injuries, and then throw up their hands and say “There’s just no talking to people like that!”