Militant Atheist Wall of Wisdom v.2

  • I think we should probably abandon the irremediably religious precisely because that is what they are – irremediable. I am more interested in the fence-sitters who haven’t really considered the question very long or very carefully. And I think that they are likely to be swayed by a display of naked contempt. Nobody likes to be laughed at. Nobody wants to be the butt of contempt. – Richard Dawkins
  • What about the many of us who feel that the best thing for science—and humanity as a whole—is not respectful dialogue with evangelical Christians, but the eradication of evangelical Christianity? The sooner that religion goes away, the sooner these ills will abate. “Dialoguing” with evangelical Christians (and granted, not all of them hold the beliefs I’ve just mentioned) only enables superstition—a superstition that, one would think, would be resolutely opposed by a scientific organization like the AAAS. – Jerry Coyne
  • My objective is to make more atheists. I am an evangelist for atheism.” – Richard Carrier
  • Somehow—and this will never happen, of course—it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with religious belief. – Jerry Coyne
  • Amen to this: Somehow—and this will never happen, of course—it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with religious belief. – Eric MacDonald

  • “It is evil to describe a child as a Muslim child or a Christian child. I think labelling children is child abuse and I think there is a very heavy issue, for example, about teaching about hell and torturing their minds with hell.”It’s a form of child abuse, even worse than physical child abuse. – Dawkins
  • So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible or that the planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon. – Nicholas Humphrey (quoted in Dawkins’ God Delusion)
  • Sir: It is good of the Pope to apologise for the sexual abuse of children by priests (report, 23 November). But such physical abuse, unpleasant as it is, may do less permanent damage to the children than bringing them up Catholic in the first place. To take just one example, it is hard to see the threat of hell fire as anything other than mental child abuse.- Richard Dawkins
  • just because some pedophile assaults are violent and painful, it doesn’t mean that all are. A child too young to notice what is happening at the hands of a gentle pedophile will have no difficulty at all in noticing the pain inflicted by a violent one. Phrases like ‘predatory monster’ are not discriminating enough, and are framed in the light of adult hang-ups. – Richard Dawkins
  • Like, umm, the word “atheist”? There is a straightforward dictionary definition of that word, of course, but one thing you quickly discover if you actually interact with a lot of atheists is that the meaning in practice varies a lot. I have met atheists who believe in reincarnation; atheists who think Chopra is on to something with his ‘universal consciousness’ claims; – PZ Myers
  • Why can a woman not love two men at the same time, in their different ways? And why should the two — or their wives — begrudge her this? If we are being Darwinian, it might be easier to make the case the other way, for a man sincerely and deeply loving more than one woman. But I don’t want to pursue the details here. I’m not denying the power of sexual jealousy. It is ubiquitous if not universal. I’m just wondering aloud why we all accept it so readily, without even thinking about it. And why don’t we all admire — as I increasingly do — those rare free spirits confident enough to rise above jealousy, stop fretting about who is “cheating on” whom, and tell the green-eyed monster to go jump in the lake? – Richard Dawkins
  • Our writings and actions are sincere attempts to rid the world of one of its greatest evils: religion. Whoa, there’s that accusation of “fundamentalism” again! What, exactly, is fundamentalist about noting the evils of faith? – Jerry Coyne
  • I want to urge those of you who are not scientists to try to convince those who are to stop pussyfooting around with religion and confront the reality of what it is and always has been — a blight on humanity that has hindered our progress for millennia and now threatens our very existence. – Victor Stenger
  • In an interview with the Guardian, he said: “When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told – religious Jews anyway – than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see. – Richard Dawkins
  • “I saw a picture of this woman,” Dawkins says. “She had one of the most stupid faces I’ve ever seen. She actually said, ‘Christians should be allowed to work for British Airways.”‘ – Richard Dawkins
  • Yet when asked how he reacts to creationists in his evolution course, Myers joked about being tempted to “kick them in the balls.” Myers can’t see that he’s stooped to the same level as a group he calls “stupid.” – Here
  • So yes, I agree. There is no valid god hypothesis, so there can be no god evidence, so let’s stop pretending the believers have a shot at persuading us. – PZ Myers
  • Such a God is supposed to play a central role in the operation of the universe and the lives of humans. As a result, evidence for him should be readily detectable by scientific means. If a properly controlled experiment were to come up with an observation that cannot be explained by natural means, then science would have to take seriously the possibility of a world beyond matter. – Victor Stenger
  • At the very least, Wood cannot argue against the fact that I am no less a philosopher than Aristotle or Hume. My knowledge, education, and qualifications certainly match theirs in every relevant respect. – Richard Carrier
  • I traditionally celebrate my birthday by punching god-botherers in the forehead. Some of those people may have been victims of my fists, and are badly bruised. Others, more cunning, put the marks on their heads so that when they see me coming, they can say, “Hey, you already got me!” Either way, the appropriate remark to individuals you see with these smudges is, “I’m sorry, I hope you get better soon.” – PZ Myers
  • Science is our weapon, our god-killer….If I actually believed Jesus was coming to end the world, I’d be preparing by stocking up on timber and nails. They were pretty effective last time….I have a different metaphor for us, my brothers and sisters in atheism. We are not sheep; there are no shepherds here. I look out from this stage and I see 4000 pairs of hunter’s eyes, 4000 hunter’s minds, 4000 pairs of hunter’s hands. I see the primeval primate hunting band grown large and strong. I see us so confident in our strength that we laugh at our enemies. I see a people thinking and planning, fierce and focused, learning and building new tools to conquer new worlds. You are not sheep. You, my brothers and sisters in atheism, are a fierce, coordinated hunting pack — men and women working together, and those other bastards have cause to fear us. So let’s do it: make them tremble as we demolish the city of god. – PZ Myers
  • So, don’t just walk up to them and start talking, as you might startle the parent causing a *Palinesque ‘Momma Grizzly‘ scene. Be stealthy but not stalkerish, and definitely avoid the ‘**Schrodinger’s Shopper Syndrome,’ particularly around sale items.After a pleasant and generic greeting, along with a compliment on how cute their kids are (***even if they’re ugly as hell), squat down and tell the child, loud enough so the parent can hear, “Did you know that if you don’t behave yourself, you will be be tortured and burned to the brink of death and kept in severe and writhing pain forever and ever and ever, with no hope of ever getting away!” Now, you will need to step away almost immediately, taking care to quickly move out of ****kick/punch/bitchslap range. So, practice is important. If successful, you will witness a conniption of epic proportions. – Al Stefanelli
  • So, scientists and science organizations are being disingenuous when they say science can say nothing about the supernatural. – Victor Stenger
  • Of course, “spiritual” and its cognates have some unfortunate associations unrelated to their etymology—and I will do my best to cut those ties as well. But there seems to be no other term (apart from the even more problematic “mystical” or the more restrictive “contemplative”) with which to discuss the deliberate efforts some people make to overcome their feeling of separateness—through meditation, psychedelics, or other means of inducing non-ordinary states of consciousness. And I find neologisms pretentious and annoying. Hence, I appear to have no choice: “Spiritual” it is.- Sam Harris
  • I must confess, though, that I too chafe at the thought that the religious people will never learn they’re wrong. And I sometimes wish that the faithful could be resurrected for a few brief minutes after death—just so I could tell them, “I told you so!” – Jerry Coyne
  • I call everyone now to pick sides (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you now a part of the Atheism+ movement, or are you going to stick with Atheism Less? Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid….. Atheism+ is our movement. We will not consider you a part of it, we will not work with you, we will not befriend you. We will heretofore denounce you as the irrational or immoral scum you are (if such you are). If you reject these values, then you are no longer one of us. And we will now say so, publicly and repeatedly. You are hereby disowned. – Richard Carrier
  • Let’s nip this line of thought in the bud right here. Yes, I think that all human actions are predetermined and not under some kind of dualistic control. Nevertheless we all, including incompatibilists like myself, act as if we have choices, for our feeling of agency is strong. So please don’t say that I shouldn’t make “should” statements because of that. I will act as though I have free choices even though I don’t. – Jerry Coyne
  • First BTW, and I don’t call myself an atheist, I call myself an antitheist. I can’t say for certain there is no God, but I can certainly say I wouldn’t want to live in a universe with one, some cosmic Saddam Hussein who set things up….You talk about this god of love and everything else. But somehow if you don’t believe in him, you don’t get any of the benefits, so you have to believe. And then if y’does anything wrong, you’re going to be judged for it. I don’t want to be judged by God, that’s the bottom line.
    - Lawrence Krauss
  • Boghossian: What would it take for you to believe in a God?

    Dawkins: I used to say it would be very simple, in would be the Second Coming of Jesus or a great big, deep booming voice saying, “I am God and I created”, but I was persuaded.. even if there was this big booming voice and second coming in clouds of glory, the more probable explanation is that it’s a hallucination or a conjuring trick by David Copperfield ….a supernatural explanation for anything is incoherent

    Boghossian: So, what would persuade you?

    Dawkins: Well, I’m starting to think nothing would, which, in a way, goes against the grain, because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming. – Peter Boghossian/Richard Dawkins

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8 Responses to Militant Atheist Wall of Wisdom v.2

  1. Kevin says:

    If that is reason, I am so glad to be unreasonable.

  2. dph says:

    Great list. My only problem is I can’t read anything Richard Carrier writes without suffering from debilitating fits of riotous laughter. I keep seeing his self-proclaimed legions of fans around the world eagerly awaiting his next round of self-proclaimed expert Bayesian analyis

  3. Michael says:

    I like this one:

    Even those of you who are well read in philosophy of religion have probably not heard of Richard Carrier. So who is he? Carrier begins by pointing out that he is a “world renowned atheist” and that he is noted for his work in history and philosophy. For those who doubt Carrier encourages them to google! So I did. After just a few minutes of research I discovered that Carrier holds a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University, is notorious for his doubts over the historicity of Jesus, writes lots of articles for online atheist websites and “is a world-renowned author and speaker” (according to his own website at least) although I cannot find any quotes to that effect from anyone other than himself. – Here

  4. dph says:

    Michael,

    Read this Carrier post about his contribution to an auction, then read the second comment, which Carrier is “not sure” whether it is satire. Comedy gold.

  5. Michael says:

    LOL! Yeppers, I guess it would be hard to tell if you too were standing in Carrier’s big shoes.
    I think you might enjoy this oldie:
    http://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/an-amusing-interview/

  6. dph says:

    Michael,

    Fantastic! Carrier is the gift that keeps on giving.

  7. Dhay says:

    >◾At the very least, Wood cannot argue against the fact that I am no less a philosopher than Aristotle or Hume. My knowledge, education, and qualifications /certainly match/ theirs in every relevant respect. – Richard Carrier

    The link you provide doesn’t work for me, either here or where you quote it earlier, but if one searches for these two sentences, there’s many links to read what other people have thought of them. At http://www.richardcarrier.info/contrawood.html –Carrier’s reply to Wood — Carrier has changed his mind about what he philosophical expertise he should claim, and now claims the slightly different: “At the very least, Wood cannot argue against the fact that I am as much a philosopher as Aristotle or Hume. My knowledge, education, and qualifications /are comparable to/ theirs in every relevant respect.[30]” The “/” marks denote the changed words, not that there’s a significant change from the original, at face value.

    Carrier thinks there *is* a significant change in meaning: in footnote [30] he says, ” I previously used the phrase “no less a philosopher than” with respect Aristotle and Hume, which Wood then took out of context as a reference to my equivalence to them in fame or accomplishment, rather than what the context clearly established as my meaning, which is my equivalence to them in being a philosopher.” I look forward to him claiming, with similar plausibility, that his having stamped out a campfire or two establishes his equivalence to me in being a firefighter.

    To be fair to Carrier, Aristotle certainly knew very little indeed of philosophy — most of it happened subsequently; and Aristotle certainly never went to university or attained any formal qualifications in history, like Carrier has: Carrier’s CV (http://www.richardcarrier.info/cv.pdf) says he has a PhD in Ancient History (Thesis: “Attitudes Toward the Natural Philosopher in the Early Roman Empire (100 B.C. to 313 A.D.)”) — a history qualification, not as philosophy qualification, and I can envisage that a historian researcher of ancient attitudes towards certain ancient philosophers, it being the attitudes of others that he wrote the dissertation on and not the philosophies themselves, could in principle and possibly in practice write that thesis on ancient attitudes without actually knowing what those philosophers said and certainly without actually knowing how to do philosophy himself; Carrier also has a MPhil in Ancient History (“Majors: Greco-Roman Philosophy, Religion, and Historiography”) — again a history qualification, not a philosophy qualification; plus a MA in Ancient History, again a history qualification, not a philosophy qualification; so Carrier can definitely claim to be on an equal footing with Aristotle insofar as neither of them has any formal qualification in philosophy.

    And to continue being fair to Carrier, if his PhD had been on Victorian attitudes towards firemen, and if his MPhil had majored on Victorian civic history, public services and public finances, he would be an ideal candidate for the next senior fire officer post, wouldn’t he. Wouldn’t he? Well, probably not.

    And if he had written a PhD thesis on the Victorian public’s attitude to Brunel, I should consider that to be evidence that Carrier was a competent engineer, and that I could confidently drive over Carrier’s next bridge, or that I should expect Carrier’s next engine design to be other than total rubbish? Well, probably not.

    As regards Carrier’s website’s claim that, “Richard Carrier is a world-renowned author and speaker. As a professional historian, published philosopher, and prominent defender of the American freethought movement, Dr. Carrier has appeared across the U.S., in Canada and the U.K., and on American television and London radio… His books and articles have received international attention….”, I note that Carrier is easily outdone by Erich von Däniken, whose website (http://www.daniken.com/e/index.html) claims, “Erich von Däniken, the world’s most successful non-fiction writer of all time, has written 55 books and e-media on the topic and has sold over 65 million copies worldwide…”; so if Carrier’s “world renown” and book sales is evidence for the validity of his philosophy, there’s likewise massive evidence that aliens used to visit the Earth.

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