Posts Tagged ‘ The backlash ’

Look out, he’s got a whip

Feb 19th, 2012 10:35 am | By

And last item on your exciting breakfast menu, all items with complimentary orange slice and sprig of mint, the Daily Mail on Dawkins as sekrit descendant of slaveowners.

Never mind, don’t get excited, it’s just the Telegraph article, reported. It does add one stupidity of its own though -

Equality groups are now calling on him to apologise for his family’s past.

Are they? Really? Groups, plural? Independently of reporters phoning them and asking for a quote? Can you name as many as one?

Plus they added an illustration.



Ancestors of Richard Dawkins are believed to have been linked to slavery

Filthy. They’re a filthy crew. We knew that, but it’s worth saying anyway.… Read the rest

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Argumentum ad haircut

Feb 19th, 2012 9:33 am | By

There’s a separate, unrelated hit piece on Dawkins in the Sunday Times, which I haven’t yet read because of the paywall, but a comment at RDF quotes from it, and that’s quite informative by itself.

I’ve just been reading an article in today’s (19/02/12) Sunday Times By Camilla Long. It’s the front page of the News Review section and has a photo of Richard on the front page of the section. It really is the most appalling article. The very first sentence gives a flavour of how it will go, “Richard Dawkins has an extremely unfortunate face in that he always looks angry, even when he is quite calm.” I don’t know who she met, or if she has even

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The disgraceful Telegraph article on Dawkins

Feb 19th, 2012 9:03 am | By

The Telegraph hit piece on Dawkins is out (as many of you already know; it’s nearly 5 in the afternoon in the UK, while it’s only a fresh-faced nearly 9 in the morning here on the west coast of the US). It’s even worse than I expected it to be, and that’s saying something. It’s vicious slavering bullshit. It’s a disgrace to journalism.

He has railed against the evils of religion, and lectured the world on the virtues of atheism.

Now Richard Dawkins, the secularist campaigner against “intolerance and suffering”, must face an awkward revelation: he is descended from slave owners and his family estate was bought with a fortune partly created by forced labour.

It’s not “awkward.” We’re all … Read the rest

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And another one, and more, and more

Feb 18th, 2012 5:08 pm | By

This one also from the Telegraph, by someone called Stephen Bayley (by which I mean, as you may remember, that I haven’t heard of him before, not that he’s obscure or beneath my lofty notice). It has no content, it’s just a brief volley of abuse.

…Richard Dawkins, a fanatic disguised as a scientist. And surely, in the powerful counterproductive sway of his noisy arguments, proof of the existence of God? Terrible to awake in that groggy matutinal state when things lodge in your addled brain and hear shrill, ugly, cruel arguments on the radio. Atheists seem to be very good at dogma. Dawkins seems not to understand that his own zealotry is itself a sort of religious quest. And

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Telegraph does research, discovers that Dawkins has ancestors

Feb 18th, 2012 4:41 pm | By

Well now that’s a new wrinkle – a Telegraph reporter phoning Dawkins to say, “Oi! Do you realize your ancestors owned slaves in Jamaica in the 18th century? What have you got to say to that? One was named Henry. They owned many slaves. Do you feel any guilt about it?” Then when Dawkins cuts the call short because it’s so stupid plus he has a lecture to prepare, the reporter phones back (despite having been dismissed, which seems quite ill-mannered) to say, “Natural selection has a lot to do with genes yeh? Well, some people might suggest that you could have inherited a gene for supporting slavery from Henry Dawkins.”

Did you ever? And that’s not even all of … Read the rest

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Beware the frumious bandersnatch

Feb 18th, 2012 10:13 am | By

Polly Toynbee thinks secularism is not such a terrible idea. She’s not completely persuaded by claims that secularism is ruining all the things.

…the faiths are glad to circle their wagons round [the queen] against the unbelievers. Each has their own divinely revealed unique truth, often provoking mortal conflict, Muslim v Copt, Catholic v Protestant, Hindu v Muslim or Sunni v Shia. But suddenly the believers are united in defence against the secular, willing to suspend the supremacy of their own prophets to agree that any religion, however alien, from elephant god to son of God, is better than none.

They can all feel their victimhood now, facing what Baroness Warsi called a rising tide of “militant secularisation

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NPR throws mud at Dawkins

Feb 17th, 2012 11:50 am | By

Oh noes, says Barbara J King at NPR, that mean Dawkins guy is the keynote speaker at the Reason Rally. That will wreck the whole thing, right?

No, but Barbara J King does her best to make it so by predicting it, as pseudo-concerned atheist-bashers so often do.

In a 2006 interview with Steve Paulson at Salon (during his tenure as professor of public understanding of science), Dawkins suggested that greater intelligence is correlated with atheism. He also said that when it encourages belief in the absence of evidence, “there’s something very evil about faith.”

Yes; and?

Here is what he said in the full version – note first of all that it’s the interviewer who introduces the word … Read the rest

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Thou shalt not bear false witness

Feb 4th, 2012 5:20 pm | By

From a few days ago, the same old dreck – the priest George Pitcher calls Richard Dawkins “shrill.”

First there’s the usual boring empty non-argument -

The narrow and rather meaningless argument to which Dawkins confines himself is the incessant charge that there is no “evidence” for God. And evidence, of course, is defined only within the strictures of his own empirical scientism. The problem is that faith isn’t primarily evidential, as he demands it to be, but revelatory – and we would claim no less true for all that in explaining the human condition.

Oh yes? We need a “revelation” to explain the human condition? And when we have one, it’s reliable? Please.

That contemptuously lazy pass at justifying … Read the rest

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“Evil in one of its purest forms”

Feb 1st, 2012 10:14 am | By

Are we seeing a new trend? A new variety of passive-aggressive accommodationist mendacious gnu-bashing?

Ray Moscow alerted me to a new* entry in the genre at something called The Slacktiverse by someone called “Froborr.” It starts with: I’m an atheist. That’s my identity. It would be traumatic to change that. It’s just as traumatic to change the other way around. It ends with: Therefore, Greta Christina and other overt atheists are evil.

There’s a lot in between, of course, but that’s where it ends up.

Greta Christina posted last month[1] that, “For many atheists, our main goal is persuading the world out of religion.” She goes on in the same post to establish herself in favor of that position:

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The real privilege

Jan 28th, 2012 10:44 am | By

Someone commenting on Scofield’s Tikkun post endorses the claim that “new atheists” are totes privileged.

The literature, social spaces, and most widely recognized voices of atheism are predominantly populated by Western, white, male, heterosexual, cis, middle class (and above) people…[T]he lopsided demography of our communities tends to draw upon otherwise privileged life experiences, and as you have illustrated, this privilege inadvertently shines through in our literature and our actions.

True up to a point, but there’s another way to view that, which Scofield seems to be not just overlooking, but perhaps self-disabled from even recognizing.

Many of those “voices of atheism” are privileged, but what is the most conspicuous kind of privilege they have? It’s actually not anything mentioned … Read the rest

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“New atheists” are privileged racist homophobic imperialists

Jan 26th, 2012 3:00 pm | By

Be Scofield tweeted me about a new article of his at Tikkun, apparently hoping I would dislike it enough to give it publicity by saying why I dislike it. Ok, sure, why not. I do dislike it. Why do I dislike it? Well because it quite unbashfully calls “the New Atheists” racist.

It also claims that “New Atheists” see everything from a privileged point of view.

Racism In the New Atheist Movement

When Greta Christina says that religious people should be actively converted to atheism or Dawkins likens religion to a virus that infects the mind they are effectively saying “we know what’s best for you.” This is the crux of the problem with the New Atheists. They’ve identified

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Still alive

Jan 2nd, 2012 1:02 pm | By

Whenever I see Joe Hoffmann’s latest burst of hatred at Da Noo Atheists, I decide to ignore it because he obviously loves the attention. (He’s like Michael Ruse that way. Exactly like Michael Ruse. Ruse writes a stupid generalized sneer about noo atheism, gets flack for the stupidity and generality, writes an aggrieved response to the flack. Repeat. Repeat repeat repeat. This is what Hoffmann has taken to doing.) Then other people don’t ignore it, so once the pleasure of seeing the post ignored is no longer available, I shrug and don’t ignore it too.

So the latest one, the New Year edition, is pathetically titled “Re-Made in America: Remembering the New Atheism (2006-2011).” As if he could make … Read the rest

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You did ask

Dec 23rd, 2011 11:32 am | By

I was asked what I think of the quotes from the NO God Blog and Al Stefanelli quoted in Chris Stedman’s most recent Letter to the Atheists. Ok; what I think.

The first one is from a post titled “A Point was missed” on what appears to be a blog on the website of American Atheists. It’s not signed. It’s short. It’s dated April 29, 2010. It seems about as random, as an “example” of anything, as one could get. The bit quoted is very badly and stupidly worded; no disagreement there; but so what? I don’t even know who wrote it. I certainly don’t take it as representative of anything. It’s nearly two years old. What on earth … Read the rest

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Are we making progress yet?

Dec 22nd, 2011 11:43 am | By

Julian has a new installment of Heathen’s Progress out, in which he sums up the progress so far, by repeating what he’s said in the previous installments, with links, then in the last couple of paragraphs asks if that’s progress, and tells the reader to tell him. It’s all rather stately and solemn, as if he were a government commission, but let’s do our best to help.

Since this series is called Heathen’s progress, I thought I’d take the opportunity of the festive break to see if I’d actually made any.

Back at the beginning, I explained that my purpose was to move the God debate on from the stalemate it seemed to be stuck in, to see

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Not another one

Dec 19th, 2011 12:59 pm | By

Hey guess what the war is over!

This year has marked, I believe, the beginning of the end of the war between science and religion. Creationism cannot last. The New Atheists are now old (or departed). And between these camps the middle ground continues to expand.

Has it all, doesn’t it. The air of easy omniscience, the disdain for atheists, the gloating at the death of one particular atheist, the false dichotomy, the warm uncritical affection for the middle ground, the stupid assumption that it’s “extreme” (not to mention old, or dead) to think science and religion are not in every way compatible.

Indeed, many folks have been hard at it, doing a new kind of peace work. Some

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Religion is about literal doctrines after all

Dec 12th, 2011 10:07 am | By

So after weeks of heavy breathing, Julian’s Heathen’s Progress arrives at what we already knew – that believers actually do believe the tenets of their religion.

So what is the headline finding? It is that whatever some might say about religion being more about practice than belief, more praxis than dogma, more about the moral insight of mythos than the factual claims of logos, the vast majority of churchgoing Christians appear to believe orthodox doctrine at pretty much face value. They believe that Jesus is divine, not simply an exceptional human being; that his resurrection was a real, bodily one; that he performed miracles no human being ever could; that he needed to die on the cross so that

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We drift and dabble

Dec 11th, 2011 11:42 am | By

Oh goody, another more in sorrow than in anger rumination on Atheists Are As Bad As Theists And Vice Versa for a Sunday.

For a nation of talkers and self-confessors, we are terrible when it comes to talking about God. The discourse has been co-opted by the True Believers, on one hand, and Angry Atheists on the other. What about the rest of us?

What does he – Eric Weiner – mean “co-opted”? What does he even mean “what about the rest of us” – what about them? “Angry Atheists” haven’t “co-opted” anything, and the rest of us are just as able to speak up as the people Weiner is trying to portray as marginal.

It’s such a typical and … Read the rest

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There goes the neighborhood

Dec 1st, 2011 4:41 pm | By

I saw Joseph Hoffmann’s post saying how tiny atheism and atheists now are a few days ago, when it was new, and decided to ignore it*, on the grounds that it was little different from its many predecessors and that nobody except one indefatigable fan was paying any attention so why bother. But then I saw that PZ had done a post on it, and then I saw that Eric had, so starving the beast is not an option, therefore I might as well do my share.

What does it say? That atheism is not good enough.

I cannot imagine a time in the history of unbelief when atheism has appeared more hamfisted, puling, ignorant or unappealing.

Is this

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Residual respect for an enduring institution

Nov 29th, 2011 1:05 pm | By

I did an interview with Geoff Whelan of QED which is now posted.

One of the questions was

Are you dismayed when those who you would think naturally would support a strong atheist position turn their criticism against those who directly challenge religion? Is there something about free thinkers that encourages dissent? Or are we talking about Dennett’s belief in belief, in the sense that someone may realise on an intellectual level that religious belief is false but that they still have residual respect for an enduring institution?

Funny, PZ has a post about yet another example of that kind of thing, just today. The yet another example is yet another by Joseph Hoffmann, yet again in the … Read the rest

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Sandals with socks? A whiff of wet dog?

Nov 10th, 2011 3:16 pm | By

Another rather heavy-breathing piece by Julian in his “Heathen’s Progress” series. Once again he’s saying very much what “new” atheists have been saying all along, so why is it again that he’s so annoyed by “the new atheists”? Loud voices was it? Bad haircuts? Garlic breath?

I’m very much in sympathy with this view*, and this series is largely an attempt to try to find more constructive points of engagement that can only emerge if we ditch lazy and tired preconceptions about those with whom we disagree. At the same time, however, I’m all too aware that “you just don’t understand” is a card that is often played far too swiftly and without justification.

On the one hand, but on … Read the rest

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