IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 22nd June 2022, 06:31 AM   #1
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Richard Dawkins: Less than the model atheist some think he is?

Here in this place, not so much for the "Paranormal" part, obviously, as the "General Skepticism" part. Hope I've got that right.

This OP is mostly some posts I've copied from the thread about the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial, in order to prevent a derail there, and because this discussion, should it take off meaningfully, interests me. I'm no expert, and haven't even read Dawkin's work as far as his actual specialization. But I've enjoyed his God Delusion, and liked his Magic of Reality enough to gift it to two kids who I thought would love it (but who, as it turns out, did not, neither of them; but no doubt they will when there're a year or two or three older, or so one hopes). And I've also enjoyed his talks and interviews where he discusses atheism. Personally I've found his views both very reasonable, as well as clearly articulated and argued.

Which is why I was kind of surprised to find that apparently not everyone thinks of Dawkins as a model atheist, not everyone finds him inspirational. Hence this thread, to explore that POV further.

This OP is, like I said, simply some posts copied from the other thread, plus this short introduction.


Originally Posted by dann View Post
(...) unlike you, I'm not too fond of atheists like Dawkins).

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Oh really? Why not?

(I realize Amber's atheism is itself a tangent, and our views about Dawkins an out-and-out off-topic diversion. If you like you could start a separate thread; nor do I mind starting a separate thread myself around this discussion, even if that discussion spans no more than just a handful of posts. If I find that I have anything meaningful to add to or follow up on your response, then I'll just go ahead and do that, start a separate thread, rather than responding here.)

But I'm curious: What's not to like with Dawkins and his atheism? I find his views very reasonable, and remarkably well articulated.

Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
That Dawkins has become a publicity whore, for one thing.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
Read a book without preconceptions. Yes, OK. But appeals like, "Please read it with an open mind. Please.", from a guy who's supposed to be some kind of skeptic?! Why does he encourage me to please read right-wing drivel with an 'open mind'?
Dawkins is not the only atheist nowadays who seems to focus almost exclusively on the bad kind of religion, the one that isn't our kind of religion. Besides, he always tended towards Social Darwinism. I'm with Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould on that one.
So Dawkins has discovered that there is no god. Of course, there isn't. It's common knowledge in the civilized world. That don't impress me. Neither does the atheism of Amber Heard.

Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Never trust anyone who tells you that they don't need evidence for their position, but you need evidence if you want to disagree with them.
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 06:42 AM   #2
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
That Dawkins has become a publicity whore, for one thing.

Not sure why you think that. Sure, he's making his views on and arguments about atheism very public, via his books as well as his talks. In the process he's helping make atheism more visible, and the arguments for atheism better articulated, and the imbecility of the arguments for theism and by theists very obvious. Why is that not a good thing?

Would you like to discuss some more what you find objectionable about what he's doing? Why exactly you think he's a "publicity whore"?
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 06:49 AM   #3
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 102,552
There are some valid criticisms of some of his proclamations but to me a lot of it seems to be "tall poppy syndrome" and what fuels that rather than valid criticism.

Plus of course the usual growing up of people - when we learn our "heroes" have feet of clay it is often taken as a personal afront, it's one of the reasons I really dislike the idea of role models.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 06:58 AM   #4
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,179
I've mainly listened to, rather than read Dawkins on this. To me, he mainly seems to be speaking to people within a kind of (I'm not quite sure the correct terms) rationalist, materialist, progressive humanist frame. If you accept that frame, then you've pretty much accepted his conclusions. If you don't, then his conclusions won't follow. The whole thing ends up feeling pretty pointless to me. It's just shooting fish in a barrel.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:03 AM   #5
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,179
To be fair to him, I doubt Dawkins, or indeed anyone, could write popular science type books on God and actually fairly consider both sides. Lots of the thinking from the pro-religion side relies on an understanding of Aristotle, and the world view that went with it. That is entirely alien to his audience. To seriously consider that, a lot of work would have to be done to educate the average reader. The only practical strategy is to not really consider or understand the other side, and just assume this materialist view is correct and knock down religion based on that.

Last edited by shuttlt; 22nd June 2022 at 07:04 AM.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:08 AM   #6
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by dann View Post
Read a book without preconceptions. Yes, OK. But appeals like, "Please read it with an open mind. Please.", from a guy who's supposed to be some kind of skeptic?! Why does he encourage me to please read right-wing drivel with an 'open mind'?

Hadn't seen that tweet before this. Can't really comment on this, because I'm not even sure --- that is, I don't even know --- what that book was about, or even that it is "right wing" stuff.

Speaking in general terms, might someone who tends to lean to the left, when speaking about something right-wing-leaning that he's found interesting, and speaking about it to others who like him are generally left-wing leaning, not preface his views on some such work in those terms? I'm not sure his doing that is in itself troublesome. But of course, whether or not it is troublesome would be a function of what that book was about in the first place, which like I said I've zero clue about.


Quote:
Dawkins is not the only atheist nowadays who seems to focus almost exclusively on the bad kind of religion, the one that isn't our kind of religion.

I recall an exchange he'd had with someone, I forget who, where he'd said that while he agrees that most people's theism is harmless enough; but he thinks that lays the foundation for the toxic theism of the few whose theism is in fact ...toxic; that is, the former prepares the groundwork where the latter can flourish.

That seems a pretty reasonable POV. Maybe that's why he focuses on the bad kind of religion, as opposed to the harmless, milquetoast kind that, for instance, he's himself been brought up in?


Quote:
Besides, he always tended towards Social Darwinism. I'm with Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould on that one.

Okay, can't comment on that without reading your links and all, later when I'm free. Afraid I'm not sure what that's about, even, so you may be right about that for all I know at this point.


Quote:
So Dawkins has discovered that there is no god. Of course, there isn't. It's common knowledge in the civilized world. That don't impress me. Neither does the atheism of Amber Heard.

Come on, that doesn't sound very fair. Of course he hasn't "discovered" it. He's simply articulating widely his reasons for it. Not sure why you think that in itself is not a good thing.
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:10 AM   #7
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Never trust anyone who tells you that they don't need evidence for their position, but you need evidence if you want to disagree with them.

Sorry, what? Are you saying Dawkins take that stance? Would you like to expand on that?
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:14 AM   #8
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
There are some valid criticisms of some of his proclamations but to me a lot of it seems to be "tall poppy syndrome" and what fuels that rather than valid criticism.

Plus of course the usual growing up of people - when we learn our "heroes" have feet of clay it is often taken as a personal afront, it's one of the reasons I really dislike the idea of role models.

Ha ha, that was a new one, had to look that up: "tall poppy syndrome"!

Agreed, though, that making "heroes" and "models" of people is not a great idea. Maybe I should have worded the title of the OP differently, because seeing someone, anyone at all, as some kind of a "model" is usually not a great idea, agreed. (But what he hell, although I suppose I can still go back and edit the title of my OP, I guess I'm still well within the edit window, but I won't bother.)
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:17 AM   #9
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,179
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Hadn't seen that tweet before this. Can't really comment on this, because I'm not even sure --- that is, I don't even know --- what that book was about, or even that it is "right wing" stuff.
Effectively he is the normie version of the "great replacement is real" take in the UK. He's about as "far right" as you can be, and still appear from time to time on TV. He's certainly not extreme when compared to the UK population. His take is basically that immigration is leading to all sorts of problems, this risks empowering the "far right" and European culture and history is a treasure that needs to be protected.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:27 AM   #10
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I've mainly listened to, rather than read Dawkins on this. To me, he mainly seems to be speaking to people within a kind of (I'm not quite sure the correct terms) rationalist, materialist, progressive humanist frame.

Agreed, I think.


Quote:
If you accept that frame, then you've pretty much accepted his conclusions. If you don't, then his conclusions won't follow. The whole thing ends up feeling pretty pointless to me. It's just shooting fish in a barrel.

Not really? That is, the former leads to the latter, sure, if you follow through on it; but not many do, do they? Many like to think of themselves are rational, including many theists; but not many realize that their supposed rationalism does not sit in well their theism.

I remember Dawkins mentioning a pedigreed geneticist, I forget who, in an interview, who apparently actually said, in so many words (I'm quoting from imperfect memory): "I understand that rationalism and science clearly contradicts the articles of my faith. And so I reject rationalism and science, and choose to embrace my faith instead." Rare is the theist who cleary thinks that way: although when they do, that is their right, absolutely. Most people imagine they're being rational even when they're embracing superstitions, and for them, to be shown that they're mistaken, surely that's a good thing?

Agreed, in a way it is "shooting fish in a barrel", but there's a lot of those fishes-in-barrels around in the real world, that could do with being shot at so conclusively!
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:30 AM   #11
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Effectively he is the normie version of the "great replacement is real" take in the UK. He's about as "far right" as you can be, and still appear from time to time on TV. He's certainly not extreme when compared to the UK population. His take is basically that immigration is leading to all sorts of problems, this risks empowering the "far right" and European culture and history is a treasure that needs to be protected.

Oh really? I had no idea.

While I disagree in the strongest possible terms with that view (at an admittedly superficial level, because I haven't after all heard his actual arguments as far as that), but I'm not sure that has anything to do with the atheism part. Surely it would be a kind of ad hom to criticize his atheism, when what one is disagreeing with is his politics?
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:33 AM   #12
theprestige
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: The Antimemetics Division
Posts: 59,547
Tall poppy syndrome is a good metaphor, but a terrible analogy. Usually the tallest poppies are the healthiest poppies, the ones doing the best job of taking in nutrients and growing into poppies.

But people who achieve celebrity status are not necessarily doing the most healthful things for themselves and others. Kim Kardashian is certainly "taller" than a lot of other people in whatever category of people. But she's not healthier than the rest of her cohort. The criticisms leveled at her cannot be cavalierly dismissed as "tall poppy syndrome".

Darat casually sidesteps the problem by alluding to "tall poppy syndrome", but I think he shouldn't. If there are real criticisms, they should be considered, not dismissed. At least in this thread.
theprestige is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:38 AM   #13
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 102,552
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
...snip...

Darat casually sidesteps the problem by alluding to "tall poppy syndrome", but I think he shouldn't. If there are real criticisms, they should be considered, not dismissed. At least in this thread.
Perhaps I should have mentioned it as the first part of my first post..... oh I did.... "..There are some valid criticisms of some of his proclamations ..."
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:39 AM   #14
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 102,552
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Tall poppy syndrome is a good metaphor, but a terrible analogy. Usually the tallest poppies are the healthiest poppies, the ones doing the best job of taking in nutrients and growing into poppies.
Are they - like to see the evidence for that claim.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 07:50 AM   #15
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,179
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Oh really? I had no idea.

While I disagree in the strongest possible terms with that view (at an admittedly superficial level, because I haven't after all heard his actual arguments as far as that), but I'm not sure that has anything to do with the atheism part. Surely it would be a kind of ad hom to criticize his atheism, when what one is disagreeing with is his politics?
Certainly it's ad hom. He is attacked from the left because he is a reasonable man's way in to bad thoughts. He is attacked from the right because he is "containment". There are probably worse authors for you to read if you want a popular style explanation of what is actually being claimed on issues like immigration. It will take you well beyond anything you would get on CNN, or the NYT, but I think his goal is to try to sell some kind of 1990s liberalism as the solution.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 09:43 AM   #16
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Certainly it's ad hom. He is attacked from the left because he is a reasonable man's way in to bad thoughts. He is attacked from the right because he is "containment". There are probably worse authors for you to read if you want a popular style explanation of what is actually being claimed on issues like immigration. It will take you well beyond anything you would get on CNN, or the NYT, but I think his goal is to try to sell some kind of 1990s liberalism as the solution.

shuttit, thanks for very clearly spelling out Dawkins's politics here. (He's from the UK, as are you, and no doubt his politics is something many/most are familiar with over there.) I'm thinking, that probably explains why so many people don't seem to like him; it's possible that that spills over from disagreeing squarely with his politics. Probably more that, than the poppy stalks thing.

Me, I don't much care about his politics. I hadn't known about it, and I'm glad I do now, because it gives me a more rounded picture about the man; but I don't think that affects how I feel about how he writes and talks about atheism. And of course, altough you don't have to be a scientist in order to be an atheist, but that he is one (a scientist) adds heft to his words (on athiesm, not his politics); so that I'd like to read up one or two his books on evolution, maybe Selfish Gene. His politics, though? I don't think I much care about the details of what he thinks and why, although like I said I'm glad I now know broadly what his views are. That said, if you have any short talks/interview of his on politics that you have readily available, I don't mind listening in for a bit. (Don't trouble yourself searching for it, please, if you don't have anything readily available; after all if it's a question of searching something out, then I can do that just as well as you.)
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 10:03 AM   #17
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,179
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
shuttit, thanks for very clearly spelling out Dawkins's politics here. (He's from the UK, as are you, and no doubt his politics is something many/most are familiar with over there.) I'm thinking, that probably explains why so many people don't seem to like him; it's possible that that spills over from disagreeing squarely with his politics. Probably more that, than the poppy stalks thing.
Well, there was the Dear Muslima thing, and his comment about mild paedophilia not being so bad. He's an old man, who hasn't really adapted to modern politics. I don't think what ever value he brought in his books and talks is undermined by any of that. You mind find reading into the Dear Muslima thing interesting.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Me, I don't much care about his politics. I hadn't known about it, and I'm glad I do now, because it gives me a more rounded picture about the man; but I don't think that affects how I feel about how he writes and talks about atheism. And of course, altough you don't have to be a scientist in order to be an atheist, but that he is one (a scientist) adds heft to his words (on athiesm, not his politics);
Why does being a scientist add weight?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
so that I'd like to read up one or two his books on evolution, maybe Selfish Gene. His politics, though? I don't think I much care about the details of what he thinks and why, although like I said I'm glad I now know broadly what his views are.
I think there is some overlap between his politics and his God stuff. Part of the argument there was whether you need God and some dusty old book to found morality. Writers like Dawkins have a progressive "Whig history" view in which rationalism replaces God as a foundation for morality. That brings you into the realm of "ok, what actually happens when you try to do that?". Which I think leads you into the realm of politics. There are plenty of arguments going back a long way that this is optimistic.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
That said, if you have any short talks/interview of his on politics that you have readily available, I don't mind listening in for a bit. (Don't trouble yourself searching for it, please, if you don't have anything readily available; after all if it's a question of searching something out, then I can do that just as well as you.)
I'm probably better on attacks on his views on humanist morality than I am on his own videos. There are plenty of them. Humanism came up all the time in the old 4 horsemen talks and, beyond the normie postwar views that anybody with his background would be likely to have, I would say that that underpins his politics. A quick search for, say "Dawkins morality" will turn something up. One particularly funny and unrelated interview is when he met Brandon Flowers of The Killers. Mormons and New Atheism do not mix well.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 10:35 AM   #18
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Well, there was the Dear Muslima thing, and his comment about mild paedophilia not being so bad. He's an old man, who hasn't really adapted to modern politics. I don't think what ever value he brought in his books and talks is undermined by any of that. You mind find reading into the Dear Muslima thing interesting.


Why does being a scientist add weight?


I think there is some overlap between his politics and his God stuff. Part of the argument there was whether you need God and some dusty old book to found morality. Writers like Dawkins have a progressive "Whig history" view in which rationalism replaces God as a foundation for morality. That brings you into the realm of "ok, what actually happens when you try to do that?". Which I think leads you into the realm of politics. There are plenty of arguments going back a long way that this is optimistic.


I'm probably better on attacks on his views on humanist morality than I am on his own videos. There are plenty of them. Humanism came up all the time in the old 4 horsemen talks and, beyond the normie postwar views that anybody with his background would be likely to have, I would say that that underpins his politics. A quick search for, say "Dawkins morality" will turn something up. One particularly funny and unrelated interview is when he met Brandon Flowers of The Killers. Mormons and New Atheism do not mix well.

About the highlighted: Not so much on atheism per se, broadly speaking, but on how he writes and talks about it. No doubt because of his background, a great deal of what I've seen him write and say centers around how all of this complexity we see, that in the normal course might have us thinking about some Creator, can be so easily and elegantly explained simply by nataural selection, by evolution. No doubt you and I can present the argument just as well, broadly at least; but his specialized knowledge base as a bona fide evolutionary biologist means he can add both a convincing level of detail, as well as, I guess, a certain heft, to that part of what he says, and therefore to his larger argument about atheism.
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 12:25 PM   #19
dann
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 16,653
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Come on, that doesn't sound very fair. Of course he hasn't "discovered" it. He's simply articulating widely his reasons for it. Not sure why you think that in itself is not a good thing.

When I used the word "discovered", I didn't mean that he was the first person in the world to do so. I agree with most of his arguments against Creationism. It is his arguments for sociobiology that I disagree with. Richard Lewontin was an atheist, Stephen Jay Gould an agnostic, I think. They just didn't make a very big deal out of it. Their disagreements with Dawkins were not about religion.

The sentences that your quotation refers to was meant to say: To some of us, religion is pretty unimportant. We grew out of it or never had it in the first place. It wasn't something that we had to struggle against at any personal level. We never had to come out as atheists or, if we did, people would have said, 'Of course, you are. Who isn't?' (Not quite true in the case of a few family members, but very true in the case of everybody else, or at least in the case of people whose opinions mattered to me.)

I understand that this is very different for many Americans who had to come out to and cope with people to whom religion was an important aspect of their personality and lives.

To put it another way: I am an atheist, but I don't identify as one. It's much the same way that I am a human being, but I also don't identify as one. I never had to. I never met any aliens.
And I think it is preferable to grow out of religion without having to put up a big fight to do so because circumstances have been created where people just don't need religion anymore and can let it go. In fact, it is the one and only way to put a stop religion. This was what my thread The Death of Religion – not with a bang but a whimper was about.
Unfortunately, in most of the world, it is also a privilege, but it is a privilege that I would like to share with the rest of humanity. Telling them that they are stupid because they take comfort in believing in a god is too bloody easy. And the only point of it is to say, 'Look at me! See how superior I am to those of you who still believe in that stuff!' And people like that haven't even managed to get that one thing right.

My beef with Dawkins is about sociobiology and politics, and shuttlt has provided you with references to his stance on immigration, which I do think has something to do with his atheism. Whenever people get upset about foreigners as foreigners, you know, the ones who unlike us 'have no right to be here', they justify it with something that is somehow associated with those foreigners, be it the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, their music, the food they eat, they way they talk or their religion. The latter was what 'seduced' some latent right-wing atheists into going berserk over the Cartoon Controversy. Muslims suddenly came to incorporate everything that was bad about religion to the extent that some of those former atheists have embraced Christianity as our kind of religion unlike their kind - or at least see it as the least bad one.

As a Dane, I know all about the beginning of the Cartoon Controversy, which was never about religion and always about offending a religious minority in Denmark. The paper Jyllands-Posten would never dream of offending the Christianity of many of its readers (some municipalities in Jutland still had a large percentage of actual Christians), but by offending a minority of foreigners, few of whom subscribed to the paper, they could profile themselves as brave crusaders for democracy - without any adverse consequences for themselves, they thought. However, their idea blew up in their face because they forgot that this particular minority religion may have been a small and thus impotent minority in Denmark, but it was a majority in many other countries, and some of those countries bough an awful lot of Danish dairy products (but very little pork, if any at all).

Internationally, those journo-jerks became heroes to atheists who had no idea what had actually happened. I remember the threads in this forum!

As for Douglas Murray’s book The War on the West, which Dawkins thinks "is utterly superb" and wants us to read "with an open mind":

Quote:
A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract.
The War on the West (Kirk Reviews, April 26, 2022)

Dawkins now seems to have found a potential new audience of people who may appreciate his (very discerning) kind of atheism and his sociobiology.

To skeptics it goes without saying: Never read anything 'with an open mind' no mater how utterly superb somebody tells you it is.
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 22nd June 2022 at 12:43 PM.
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 12:32 PM   #20
Skeptic Ginger
Nasty Woman
 
Skeptic Ginger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 92,236
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
....

Which is why I was kind of surprised to find that apparently not everyone thinks of Dawkins as a model atheist, not everyone finds him inspirational. Hence this thread, to explore that POV further. ....
I'm not sure "less than a model atheist" is very clear. I was expecting something pertaining to cracks so to speak in his no-god beliefs.

Dawkins has for a long time drawn the ire of some people who prefer atheists not be too outspoken. I don't find him too outspoken at all. I think he's exactly right speaking his mind about god beliefs being nonsensical. I don't buy Gould's non-overlapping magisteria. It's hypocritical, IMO.

Anyway, that's my understanding of the objections to Dawkin's POV. Given I'm not one of those people, I may have it wrong about what their objections are.
Skeptic Ginger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 12:50 PM   #21
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'm not sure "less than a model atheist" is very clear.

Agreed, that phrasing was unfortunate. As Darat points out, and I actually agree with him, that it's silly to see someone as a model somthing. Nor was that what I was actually going for, what I wanted to find out was what people found to disagree with, as far as his atheism. Given that I myself could find nothing there that I found myself disagreeing with.


Quote:
I was expecting something pertaining to cracks so to speak in his no-god beliefs.

Dawkins has for a long time drawn the ire of some people who prefer atheists not be too outspoken. I don't find him too outspoken at all. I think he's exactly right speaking his mind about god beliefs being nonsensical.

With you there, all the way. I find it compelling, what Dawkins has argued in his God Delusion, that it is unfortunate, this convention that we all buy into, that it is somehow gauche, discourteous, bad manners, not gracious, whatever you want to call it, to go all out pointing that religion is utterly naked, and often actually vile on top of that. Somehow that's ...not done, for no good reason than that's how it is. And it's more than time that particular convention, so convenient for the theists, is consigned to the trashcan.


Quote:
I don't buy Gould's non-overlapping magisteria. It's hypocritical, IMO.

Again, I'm fully with you there. (On the other hand, to be entirely frank, I'd never ever heard of Gould, nor of this non-overlapping magesterial thing. I only came across it in Dawkin's God Delusion, and found his refutation of it entirely compelling. But my point is, I'm seeing only one side of the story here, as presented by Dawkins. Not that that I believe there's any other valid side to the story at all, but still.)


Quote:
Anyway, that's my understanding of the objections to Dawkin's POV. Given I'm not one of those people, I may have it wrong about what their objections are.

So far in this thread, we've had three possible explanations: first, the poppy thing; second, his apparently right wing politics (that I had not been aware of, so that was good to know about); and three, his allegedly MCP ways. None of which are about his atheism at all, and appear to be more ad homs than anything else.

If there's valid criticism to be made about how he discusses atheism, then absolutely, I'd like to know of it. I mean it's entirely possible others have caught on to flaws in his work that I myself haven't. Let's see if anyone can come up with anything.
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 12:53 PM   #22
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,179
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
About the highlighted: Not so much on atheism per se, broadly speaking, but on how he writes and talks about it. No doubt because of his background, a great deal of what I've seen him write and say centers around how all of this complexity we see, that in the normal course might have us thinking about some Creator, can be so easily and elegantly explained simply by nataural selection, by evolution. No doubt you and I can present the argument just as well, broadly at least; but his specialized knowledge base as a bona fide evolutionary biologist means he can add both a convincing level of detail, as well as, I guess, a certain heft, to that part of what he says, and therefore to his larger argument about atheism.
Clearly in terms of what gets taught in American schools, evolution has been a live issue at times. Most non-fundies accepted it more than 100 years ago. I don't think it has been a serious topic of contention in the UK since the 19th century. Like I said before, it's kind of a shooting very elderly fish in a barrel exercise.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 05:17 PM   #23
Venom
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 5,850
I'd take Dawkins over that numbskull Brett Weinstein any day, warts and all.

And I'll take Douglas Murray over some of the more odious characters pushing secular far-right politics in Europe.
Venom is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2022, 09:02 PM   #24
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ngunnawal Country
Posts: 77,001
Clarification:

"Tall poppy" is a phrase that originated in Australia, and it refers to the cultural tendency to cut the heads off people who stick their necks out too far. It certainly does not have a connotation of being healthy or doing a good job of anything.
__________________
Слава Україні
Героям слава
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 12:32 AM   #25
dann
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 16,653
Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'm not sure "less than a model atheist" is very clear. I was expecting something pertaining to cracks so to speak in his no-god beliefs.

Dawkins has for a long time drawn the ire of some people who prefer atheists not be too outspoken. I don't find him too outspoken at all. I think he's exactly right speaking his mind about god beliefs being nonsensical. I don't buy Gould's non-overlapping magisteria. It's hypocritical, IMO.

Anyway, that's my understanding of the objections to Dawkin's POV. Given I'm not one of those people, I may have it wrong about what their objections are.

Dawkins has also drawn the ire of some people who have got nothing at all against atheists being 'outspoken', but who have got much against racists and eugenicists speaking their mind while telling people to suspend their skepticism.
Here's a guy who has been following Dawkins much closer than I have. (The 'Four Horsemen' really didn't age well!)
Quote:
As a movement, New Atheism owed more to 9/11 than to any particular intellectual breakthrough. The attacks on the Twin Towers pivoted the world away from the Cold War against godless communism and into a new order where the West’s enemies could be denounced for their faith rather than their disbelief. Handily, New Atheism separated old-style Freethought from any social critique, producing an atheism that could lend its ‘progressive’ – even radical – colouration to Islamophobia and liberal imperialism.
(...)
It’s an example of a trait embedded deeply within the New Atheist DNA (as it were): a tendency to regard the masses as ignorant fools who need the guidance of their philosophical superiors. Where an older, Marxist-derived atheism explained religion as a product of alienating social conditions, Dawkins and co. attributed it to the gullibility of the populace. The elitism in that perspective informed their political orientation, allowing them to embrace a liberal interventionism in which enlightened Westerners dragged the ‘backward peoples’ into modernity by their hair.
What happened to Richard Dawkins? (Overland, Feb 8, 2020)

'People are religious because they're stoooopid. Me know is no god!'
Paraphrasing every other contribution to the Religion and Philosophy forum.
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 23rd June 2022 at 12:35 AM.
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 12:34 AM   #26
dann
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 16,653
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Clarification:

"Tall poppy" is a phrase that originated in Australia, and it refers to the cultural tendency to cut the heads off people who stick their necks out too far. It certainly does not have a connotation of being healthy or doing a good job of anything.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 12:42 AM   #27
lionking
In the Peanut Gallery
 
lionking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 49,971
lionking has a birthday
Originally Posted by dann View Post
I donít think that contradicts arth. It might have been used in ancient times but only became commonplace in the antipodes.

Not that it matters much.
__________________
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Sir Winston Churchill
lionking is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 12:58 AM   #28
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ngunnawal Country
Posts: 77,001
Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I donít think that contradicts arth. It might have been used in ancient times but only became commonplace in the antipodes.

Not that it matters much.
Agreed.
__________________
Слава Україні
Героям слава
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 01:13 AM   #29
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 102,552
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Clearly in terms of what gets taught in American schools, evolution has been a live issue at times. Most non-fundies accepted it more than 100 years ago. I don't think it has been a serious topic of contention in the UK since the 19th century. Like I said before, it's kind of a shooting very elderly fish in a barrel exercise.
Perhaps try looking at what is going on in the 21st century? Creationism being taught in UK schools has been very much on the agenda since academies were allowed. Religious schools have again increased.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 02:56 AM   #30
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,179
Originally Posted by Venom View Post
I'd take Dawkins over that numbskull Brett Weinstein any day, warts and all.

And I'll take Douglas Murray over some of the more odious characters pushing secular far-right politics in Europe.
None of them particularly speak to me, but I guess I'd counter with the following.... Dawkins speaks with the End of History optimism of the era he rose to prominence in. To my mind, that era is dead with many of it's hopes unrealised, and assumptions now in doubt. Weinstein may well be wrong, but he is at least talking about the problems that the boomer world of Dawkins is leaving in its wake.

Finally, Murray.... have you read many authors to the right of Murray? If you've been exposed to a significant amount of him, you are doing better than most in considering the other side.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 03:43 AM   #31
llwyd
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Helsinki
Posts: 1,114
Well, he seems pretty ignorant about history, theology and philosophy - and thus does always seem to address American fundamentalists, which are really an easy target intellectually, and not even seeing the mainstream Christian tradition. The older generation of atheists used to be rather well versed about the things they opposed, and often rather devastating about them. So, Dawkins seems pretty one dimensional and uninteresting about religion but obviously is quite fascinating and informed about science.

Last edited by llwyd; 23rd June 2022 at 03:44 AM.
llwyd is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 04:59 AM   #32
Ethan Thane Athen
Master Poster
 
Ethan Thane Athen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,498
Well he gets Kudos for working with Nightwish and being (for a time) married to Lalla Ward and I'm quite happy about him being an outspoken atheist...most of the time...

He doesn't come across as being particularly pleasant as an individual though and he does, occasionally, fall foul of his own, white, middle-class, person of a certain generation upbringing and put his foot in it in unhelpful ways that detract from the otherwise good things he has done....

So, some good work but seems a bit of a knob.
Ethan Thane Athen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 05:04 AM   #33
Steve
Penultimate Amazing
 
Steve's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Sydney Nova Scotia
Posts: 11,260
No such animal as a "model atheist". Sticking such a label on a person is frankly ridiculous.
__________________
Caption from and old New Yorker cartoon - Why am I shouting? Because I'm wrong!"
Steve is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 07:26 AM   #34
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by dann View Post
When I used the word "discovered", I didn't mean that he was the first person in the world to do so. I agree with most of his arguments against Creationism. It is his arguments for sociobiology that I disagree with. Richard Lewontin was an atheist, Stephen Jay Gould an agnostic, I think. They just didn't make a very big deal out of it. Their disagreements with Dawkins were not about religion.

The sentences that your quotation refers to was meant to say: To some of us, religion is pretty unimportant. We grew out of it or never had it in the first place. It wasn't something that we had to struggle against at any personal level. We never had to come out as atheists or, if we did, people would have said, 'Of course, you are. Who isn't?' (Not quite true in the case of a few family members, but very true in the case of everybody else, or at least in the case of people whose opinions mattered to me.)

I understand that this is very different for many Americans who had to come out to and cope with people to whom religion was an important aspect of their personality and lives.

To put it another way: I am an atheist, but I don't identify as one. It's much the same way that I am a human being, but I also don't identify as one. I never had to. I never met any aliens.
And I think it is preferable to grow out of religion without having to put up a big fight to do so because circumstances have been created where people just don't need religion anymore and can let it go. In fact, it is the one and only way to put a stop religion. This was what my thread The Death of Religion Ė not with a bang but a whimper was about.
Unfortunately, in most of the world, it is also a privilege, but it is a privilege that I would like to share with the rest of humanity. Telling them that they are stupid because they take comfort in believing in a god is too bloody easy. And the only point of it is to say, 'Look at me! See how superior I am to those of you who still believe in that stuff!' And people like that haven't even managed to get that one thing right.

Okay, I understand that POV. And I suppose that criticism is perfectly valid, from where you stand.

However, I suppose you do realize that where you stand isn't where everyone stands. For from it. Many of us have grown up theistic, and some at least among us have actually --- yes, even in this day and age --- had a painful journey, shattering even in parts, from there to here, to shedding all of that baggage. And regardless of that personal transition thing, there's the fact that many of us are actually surrounded --- yes, even in this day and age --- by hordes of folks who do, still, believe all of this. Even the creationism thing. And if not literally creationism, then an "Ah look how wondrous, this evolution thing that God has worked out for us!" appended at the end of it all. So well, while I agree, sitting where you do all of this is passe, and hopefully that will one day be so for everyone, but for many this is still an issue. To be in a place where it's not an issue, and has never been an issue, that, as you rightly observe, is a privilege, and one not enjoyed by all. Dawkins's clearly articulated arguments might have helped me, for instance, some years ago, if I'd encountered them before resolving all this myself in my own way; and even today they do offer one tools with which to face arguments from theists IRL (not that I, at any rate, go out of my way to seek out such arguments, but still).


Quote:
My beef with Dawkins is about sociobiology and politics, and shuttlt has provided you with references to his stance on immigration, which I do think has something to do with his atheism. Whenever people get upset about foreigners as foreigners, you know, the ones who unlike us 'have no right to be here', they justify it with something that is somehow associated with those foreigners, be it the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, their music, the food they eat, they way they talk or their religion.

Agreed fully 100% with your POV, as far as that. I hadn't known about Dawkin's right-wing advocacy; but now that I do, I agree, I do see him a bit differently than I did before this.

Still, can't say it changes how I view his arguments on atheism, or how I view his books and talks.

But absolutely, I better understand now why he doesn't seem very popular around here. And agreed, as far as his politics, he does come across as a bit of a dick.


Quote:
The latter was what 'seduced' some latent right-wing atheists into going berserk over the Cartoon Controversy. Muslims suddenly came to incorporate everything that was bad about religion to the extent that some of those former atheists have embraced Christianity as our kind of religion unlike their kind - or at least see it as the least bad one.

As a Dane, I know all about the beginning of the Cartoon Controversy, which was never about religion and always about offending a religious minority in Denmark. The paper Jyllands-Posten would never dream of offending the Christianity of many of its readers (some municipalities in Jutland still had a large percentage of actual Christians), but by offending a minority of foreigners, few of whom subscribed to the paper, they could profile themselves as brave crusaders for democracy - without any adverse consequences for themselves, they thought. However, their idea blew up in their face because they forgot that this particular minority religion may have been a small and thus impotent minority in Denmark, but it was a majority in many other countries, and some of those countries bough an awful lot of Danish dairy products (but very little pork, if any at all).

Internationally, those journo-jerks became heroes to atheists who had no idea what had actually happened. I remember the threads in this forum!

As for Douglas Murrayís book The War on the West, which Dawkins thinks "is utterly superb" and wants us to read "with an open mind":




Dawkins now seems to have found a potential new audience of people who may appreciate his (very discerning) kind of atheism and his sociobiology.

To skeptics it goes without saying: Never read anything 'with an open mind' no mater how utterly superb somebody tells you it is.

I guess this discussion would be a derail here: but while I read and understand your POV on "Islamophobia", and specifically the cartoon thing, but I'm afraid I don't find myself able to agree. It's possible those guys published the cartoons with motives that weren't 100% free of blemishes (that is, innocent of real real-world considerations, including their impression of how that might affect their sales, etc) --- but still, I don't think I can think kindly or sympathetically about Muslims getting their undergarments in a twist over their precious Prophet being made fun of. I don't think I'm remotely "Islamophobic" myself, not even remotely --- but I don't see why people must treat them with kid gloves, the Muslims I mean as far as thier religious sensibilities, them and them alone, and just because they say they are special, when we don't extend that same courtesy to other theists that subsribe to other brands of religious superstitions.
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 07:29 AM   #35
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
No such animal as a "model atheist". Sticking such a label on a person is frankly ridiculous.

Agreed, actually. Like I said upthread, that phrasing, in the thread title, was unfortunate. Not quite what I was going for, even.
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 07:42 AM   #36
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,179
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Okay, I understand that POV. And I suppose that criticism is perfectly valid, from where you stand.

However, I suppose you do realize that where you stand isn't where everyone stands. For from it. Many of us have grown up theistic, and some at least among us have actually --- yes, even in this day and age --- had a painful journey, shattering even in parts, from there to here, to shedding all of that baggage. And regardless of that personal transition thing, there's the fact that many of us are actually surrounded --- yes, even in this day and age --- by hordes of folks who do, still, believe all of this. Even the creationism thing. And if not literally creationism, then an "Ah look how wondrous, this evolution thing that God has worked out for us!" appended at the end of it all. So well, while I agree, sitting where you do all of this is passe, and hopefully that will one day be so for everyone, but for many this is still an issue. To be in a place where it's not an issue, and has never been an issue, that, as you rightly observe, is a privilege, and one not enjoyed by all. Dawkins's clearly articulated arguments might have helped me, for instance, some years ago, if I'd encountered them before resolving all this myself in my own way; and even today they do offer one tools with which to face arguments from theists IRL (not that I, at any rate, go out of my way to seek out such arguments, but still).
I'm curious. If it isn't too much of a derail, what was it that turned you away from theism? It's always seemed to me that if the sorts of arguments that Dawkins provides are going to convince you, you are already 95% of the way there anyway. Just constructing religious questions in a way that Dawkins answers seem like answers feels like you've already accepted the frame of the question on the side you are almost certainly going to come down on.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Agreed fully 100% with your POV, as far as that. I hadn't known about Dawkin's right-wing advocacy; but now that I do, I agree, I do see him a bit differently than I did before this.
I don't think Dawkins is anti-immigration, or racist, and certainly not right wing. He was pro-remain over Brexit and quite vociferously so. He's just not from this generation and sees the world in a way that would have been progressive in the 1990s.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Still, can't say it changes how I view his arguments on atheism, or how I view his books and talks.
I think I have said this already, but one of the things he was doing was selling a vision of society without God. I accept that nobody here may agree, but there is certainly a version of this that says actually we do need religion. If you remove religion, that leaves a void that we fill with something very religious-like that is by no means guaranteed to be an improvement. The politics touches on the positive vision he was selling.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I guess this discussion would be a derail here: but while I read and understand your POV on "Islamophobia", and specifically the cartoon thing, but I'm afraid I don't find myself able to agree. It's possible those guys published the cartoons with motives that weren't 100% free of blemishes (that is, innocent of real real-world considerations, including their impression of how that might affect their sales, etc) --- but still, I don't think I can think kindly or sympathetically about Muslims getting their undergarments in a twist over their precious Prophet being made fun of. I don't think I'm remotely "Islamophobic" myself, not even remotely --- but I don't see why people must treat them with kid gloves, the Muslims I mean as far as thier religious sensibilities, them and them alone, and just because they say they are special, when we don't extend that same courtesy to other theists that subsribe to other brands of religious superstitions.
Now you are wandering into Dawkins territory.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 09:28 AM   #37
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,535
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I'm curious. If it isn't too much of a derail, what was it that turned you away from theism?

The irrationality of it all. It simply stopped making sense.

I remember my first "doubt", back when I was a child, younger than 10 certainly, was, even given everything one is taught about religion is true, why on earth would one "worship"? What kind of utter backside-orifice of a father figure insists that his children grovel around worshipping him? I suppose when still in my early teens I'd moved from theist to agnostic, already (although I don't believe I was acquainted with those terms --- or again, maybe I was and I don't remember). Then I turned to thinking about religion again only around mid-twenties or so, and it was quickly evident, with a bit of reading up and a bit of thinking, that the whole God proposition is entirely unevidenced, unsupported, and therefore insupportable.

In short, and like I said, what turned me away from theism is that it stopped making sense.


Quote:
It's always seemed to me that if the sorts of arguments that Dawkins provides are going to convince you, you are already 95% of the way there anyway. Just constructing religious questions in a way that Dawkins answers seem like answers feels like you've already accepted the frame of the question on the side you are almost certainly going to come down on.

I don't think I got any new arguments from Dawkins. But yes, I did find him articulating what I thought, and sometimes thought dimly, far better and in far greater detail than I could have, myself.

For instance, that chapter he devotes in God Delusion to discussing how the God explanation does not really explain how the complexity, as well as the Prime Mover argument. I'd worked that out on my own, I guess: but I found Dawkins articulating it far better than I could have.

Plus I found him dealing with some theistic arguments that I hadn't even encountered at all ever, like the separate-magesteria business.


Quote:
I don't think Dawkins is anti-immigration, or racist, and certainly not right wing. He was pro-remain over Brexit and quite vociferously so. He's just not from this generation and sees the world in a way that would have been progressive in the 1990s.

Oh, ok. Thanks for spelling out that nuance. I'd started to think of him as rabidly right-wing, but in your UKian frame of reference of course. (Not that I'm particularly interested in his politics, of course; and had he actually been an all out racist I'd still not have changed my views on or my appreciation of his atheistic arguments; but still, that's good to know.)


Quote:
I think I have said this already, but one of the things he was doing was selling a vision of society without God. I accept that nobody here may agree, but there is certainly a version of this that says actually we do need religion. If you remove religion, that leaves a void that we fill with something very religious-like that is by no means guaranteed to be an improvement. The politics touches on the positive vision he was selling.


Now you are wandering into Dawkins territory.

Regardless of what Dawkins says or thinks about any of this, I stand by what I'd said in that post of mine. I don't think I'm at all Islamophobic, and I'm totally against the kind of racial profiling that was very much a thing some years back. But I can't for the life of me imagine why one is to be sympathetic to the Muslims' sensitivity over their Prophet, while not extending the same courtesy to Christians' sensitivity over Christ and Pope, or ...whatever, Buddhists' sensitivity over their (Tantric) deities, or whatever else.

Now if people took the line that no matter what the religion, no theistic superstitions were ever to be ridiculed: well, I'd still disagree; but at least I'd find that view balanced. Wrong, but balanced. I'd still disagree with it, but at least I wouldn't find such a view insane. But to hold that every other religion is fair game for ridicule, but only the Islamic Prophet is off bounds for jokes, because Muslims insist that should be so: that view strikes me as not just wrong, but actually insane. That's a patently ridiculous POV, is how I see it.
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 09:40 AM   #38
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,179
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Regardless of what Dawkins says or thinks about any of this, I stand by what I'd said in that post of mine. I don't think I'm at all Islamophobic, and I'm totally against the kind of racial profiling that was very much a thing some years back. But I can't for the life of me imagine why one is to be sympathetic to the Muslims' sensitivity over their Prophet, while not extending the same courtesy to Christians' sensitivity over Christ and Pope, or ...whatever, Buddhists' sensitivity over their (Tantric) deities, or whatever else.
These blah-phobias are magical words. Your views can be pathologized or not as convenience dictates. It's like trying to stay within the terms of service of a social media company.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Now if people took the line that no matter what the religion, no theistic superstitions were ever to be ridiculed: well, I'd still disagree; but at least I'd find that view balanced. Wrong, but balanced. I'd still disagree with it, but at least I wouldn't find such a view insane. But to hold that every other religion is fair game for ridicule, but only the Islamic Prophet is off bounds for jokes, because Muslims insist that should be so: that view strikes me as not just wrong, but actually insane. That's a patently ridiculous POV, is how I see it.
It's not just because Muslims insist. They've got a bunch of privilege stack progressive politics they can hide behind as well. It's not like they invented the rules of this game where people prefer to allow underage rape gangs to carry on unmolested than risk being called racist.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 12:19 PM   #39
dann
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 16,653
Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I donít think that contradicts arth.

Wasn't meant to!
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2022, 01:35 PM   #40
dann
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 16,653
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Okay, I understand that POV. And I suppose that criticism is perfectly valid, from where you stand.

However, I suppose you do realize that where you stand isn't where everyone stands. For from it. Many of us have grown up theistic, and some at least among us have actually --- yes, even in this day and age --- had a painful journey, shattering even in parts, from there to here, to shedding all of that baggage. And regardless of that personal transition thing, there's the fact that many of us are actually surrounded --- yes, even in this day and age --- by hordes of folks who do, still, believe all of this. Even the creationism thing. And if not literally creationism, then an "Ah look how wondrous, this evolution thing that God has worked out for us!" appended at the end of it all. So well, while I agree, sitting where you do all of this is passe, and hopefully that will one day be so for everyone, but for many this is still an issue. To be in a place where it's not an issue, and has never been an issue, that, as you rightly observe, is a privilege, and one not enjoyed by all. Dawkins's clearly articulated arguments might have helped me, for instance, some years ago, if I'd encountered them before resolving all this myself in my own way; and even today they do offer one tools with which to face arguments from theists IRL (not that I, at any rate, go out of my way to seek out such arguments, but still).

No reason to suppose I realize. I explicitly said so:
Quote:
Unfortunately, in most of the world, it is also a privilege, but it is a privilege that I would like to share with the rest of humanity. Telling them that they are stupid because they take comfort in believing in a god is too bloody easy. And the only point of it is to say, 'Look at me! See how superior I am to those of you who still believe in that stuff!' And people like that haven't even managed to get that one thing right.

I understand that atheism is different for people who had to struggle to come to terms with the fact that an ideology that was more or less forced upon them as children was total BS. But it is nevertheless important to realize why most religious people need to believe, as Randi put it. There are some evil bastards out there who take advantage of that need in the name of religion, but in general religious people tend to fairly normal, fairly nice and not particularly stupid.

Quote:
Agreed fully 100% with your POV, as far as that. I hadn't known about Dawkin's right-wing advocacy; but now that I do, I agree, I do see him a bit differently than I did before this.

Still, can't say it changes how I view his arguments on atheism, or how I view his books and talks.

But absolutely, I better understand now why he doesn't seem very popular around here. And agreed, as far as his politics, he does come across as a bit of a dick.

I'm glad that we agree on that.

Quote:
I guess this discussion would be a derail here: but while I read and understand your POV on "Islamophobia", and specifically the cartoon thing, but I'm afraid I don't find myself able to agree. It's possible those guys published the cartoons with motives that weren't 100% free of blemishes (that is, innocent of real real-world considerations, including their impression of how that might affect their sales, etc) --- but still, I don't think I can think kindly or sympathetically about Muslims getting their undergarments in a twist over their precious Prophet being made fun of. I don't think I'm remotely "Islamophobic" myself, not even remotely --- but I don't see why people must treat them with kid gloves, the Muslims I mean as far as thier religious sensibilities, them and them alone, and just because they say they are special, when we don't extend that same courtesy to other theists that subsribe to other brands of religious superstitions.

OK, you can't sympathize with Muslims who get upset with a paper making fun of "their precious Prophet," but consider this: To them, he is precious. You don't want him to be precious to them, and neither do I, but the fact remains that he is. So the question is why.

Muslims in most of the Western world are a minority. They arrived in the Western countries fairly recently with their customs from their countries of origin, including their religion. They emigrated because of poverty to work at the bottom of the job hierarchy in Western countries, i.e. they did not have the kind of lives that made it easy for them to give up on religion the same way most of us here have. What they did have was "their precious Prophet," who was a consolation to them in their suffering. That's how religion works. Two generations ago, you could still hear people in my country say, 'I wouldn't know where I'd be without my religion'. Muslims feel the same way.

In general, their children also had bigger difficulties in the educational system of the Western countries then the children of people whose ancestors had lived here for generations. It used to be difficult enough for the children of rural areas to adapt to the school system when their parents moved to the big cities. Imagine what it is like when that rural area was in Anatolia and the city is Berlin or Copenhagen.

So many of the second-generation immigrants also didn't do too well, and they were told that it was because they were stupid, had low IQs due to genetics, and in general just didn't belong here and should go back to where they (= their parents) came from. All they'd got, sometimes, was their bitterness and "their precious Prophet." And some of them, very few, all things considered, decided that life was not worth living and the best thing they could do was to go out in a blaze of glory in celebration of "their precious Prophet."

And consider that there have actually been much fewer of those guys than there are of genuinely homegrown misfits who become school shooters. The typical school shooter is not a Muslim.

But then there are also the children of immigrants who succeed in the educational system of the countries that their parents moved to. Guess what happens "their precious Prophet?" In my experience as a high-school teacher, they tend to forget about him much the same way the parents of their schoolmates who weren't immigrants forgot about "their precious Savior." It's how the death of religion works, for most people. It dies when people no longer feel a need to believe. Some of those kids have bitter fights with their parents about this. Some of the acquiesce and go through the motions until they can decide for themselves. Some of them become cultural Muslims. Their lives are secularized. Very few, again in my experience, practice religion the same way their parents did.

So if atheists are serious about ending religion, they should be working for social justice, for securing comfortable lives for everybody. Dawkins and his new idol, Douglas Murray, want to do the opposite. They want to cleanse 'the West', not so much of religion, as of the people who worship the bad religion because those guys and "their precious Prophet" ruin civilization.

As if that were actually the way to get rid of religion: persecution. If those pretend atheists had actually studied the history of Western civilization, they would know how well the persecution of a religious minority worked to get rid of it in Rome.
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:56 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.