It Figures

I was checking out the reviews for Dan Barker’s new anti-God book and saw this:

In the foreword, Richard Dawkins explains that he got more flak for one particular sentence in the God Delusion than the rest of the book combined: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Apparently, Dawkins wanted to write a book defending the sentence but didn’t know the bible well enough. Who better to take up the mantle than an ex-preacher? So Dan Barker did the job, with one chapter for each description in that sentence. The result is a highly readable smackdown of biblical proportions.

LOL. So Dawkins made a specific claim in his book and didn’t know how to defend it? I’m shocked. Shocked, I say. And yes, an ex-preacher (who also is co-president of the FFRF) would be the perfect choice to cherry pick and take things out of context for a blazing display of confirmation bias. Dawkins fires his arrows and Barker is there to paint targets around whatever they land on.

I wonder if they’ve ever paused to consider that it would not be hard to make most of that description fit…..Richard Dawkins. ;)

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Why Evidence is Irrelevant for New Atheists

Dawkins tweets:

As we have seen, for atheists like Dawkins, there is nothing that could ever count as evidence for God.  But if they ever did decide to count something and acknowledge the existence of God, nothing much changes.  For them, God would go from the “most unpleasant character in all of fiction” to the “most unpleasant character in all of reality.” Thus, rather than deny Him, they would oppose Him.  Instead of being atheists, they would be antitheists or antiGod. Instead of following Christ, they would become antichrists.

In other words, when it comes to New Atheists, the “atheist” position is the veneer.  The anti-God position is the core.  That’s what this new atheist book tells us.

 

 

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The Worst Atheist Book?

Philosopher Edward Feser wrote a short review of Coyne’s New Atheist book:

Faith versus Fact is some kind of achievement. Biologist Jerry Coyne has managed to write what might be the worst book yet published in the New Atheist genre. True, the competition for that particular distinction is fierce. But among other volumes in this metastasizing literature, each has at least some small redeeming feature. For example, though Lawrence Krauss’s A Universe from Nothing is bad as philosophy, it is middling as pop science. Christopher Hitchens’s God Is Not Great was at least written by someone who could write like Christopher Hitchens. Though devoid of interest, Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation is brief. Even PZ Myers’s book The Happy Atheisthas at least one advantage over Coyne’s book: It came out first.

You can read the rest HERE

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Richard Dawkins Continues to Shred His Reputation

Anti-religious activist Richard Dawkins is increasingly be shunned by more atheists and members of the media.  He had a very bad month……

ET TU, BRUTE?

I finally unfollowed and blocked Richard Dawkins on Twitter. He retweeted this, and that was just the final straw…… He’s taken “Dear Muslima” and amplified it with a graphic image and an even more odious comment. And he’s still completely unaware of what’s wrong with it.  Done. No more.  At least it settles one thing: I won’t be attending the Reason Rally. Any movement with that man as its figurehead does not represent me.

-PZ Myers

OOPS!

Richard Dawkins has accidentally tweeted a link to an infamous Neo-Nazi slogan….. Dawkins has since deleted his tweet, confirming that he wasn’t aware of the “obnoxious message” before tweeting the image. He hasn’t yet responded to a further question from Business Insider about the source of the image.

-HERE

A DISILLUSIONED FAN

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m done with Richard Dawkins….. Richard Dawkins does not represent me. He doesn’t represent atheists. He doesn’t represent scientists. He’s a single person with too much power who’s clearly become enamored with himself and needs to be gracefully demoted by the movement he helped build, not followed off the cliff he’s marching it toward.

Chris Sosa

EVEN SKEPTICS UNINVITE HIM

Famed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has been dropped from a science conference in New York City after he shared a video comparing Islamists to feminists on Twitter.

-HERE 

STRANGE

Richard Dawkins deletes creepy tweet about ‘good Muslim’ Queen Rania Al-Abdullah and her ‘beautiful hair’

-HERE

It’s interesting to read the previous fans as they scratch their heads wondering how the author they once loved so much no longer exists.  Here’s a clue for the ex-Dawkins fans. When he wrote his books, he had something called an “editor.”  When he tweets, he doesn’t.

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New Atheist Activist Admits Atheist Fundamentalists Exist

New Atheist activist Jerry Coyne has finally acknowledged the obvious – the existence of Atheist Fundamentalists. Coyne lists some of the characteristic features of Atheist Fundamentalists:

  1. “those dogmatic atheists on the Internet who not only insist that certain viewpoints are ideologically correct, but that youmust conform to them, passing purity tests to be acceptable, and that those who merely question those views are to be demonized and cast out.”
  2. “They also arrogate to themselves the power of censorship: determining who is and who is not allowed to speak.”
  3. “Finally, the Fundamentalist Atheists are convinced, as in Kaminer’s description, that they have absolute truth on their side. But that truth isnotabout God, as the religious atheist-bashers claim. Rather, it’s about politics and society. For the True Fundamentalist Atheists™ are those who insist on not only wedding atheism to social problems, but to social problems whose solution cannot be questioned.”

While it’s pretty clear that Coyne is targeting the so-called A+ atheists (PZ Myers et al.) as Atheist Fundamentalists, he seems oblivious to the fact that his criteria apply to the New Atheist movement as a whole.

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Putting New Atheist Talking Point to the Test

We are often told that the world would be a vastly better place if only we could get rid of religion, as religion is supposed to be responsible for all kinds of miseries and harm (as AC Grayling insisted).   I think this is wishful thinking propped up by confirmation bias, largely because the New Atheist cyber-world is clearly no better than any cyber-community of religious people.

Sometimes, people try to compare whole nations to answer this question, but there are so many different and uncontrolled variables when making such comparisons that I think such analyses are essentially meaningless.   Instead, I think it would be more meaningful to compare different cities from the same nation with similar demographics, but differing degrees of religiosity.

Lucky for us, Gallop did a survey that looks at the religiosity of many different metro areas across the country.  It turns out the most religious area in the USA is Provo-Orem, UT, where 77.2% of inhabitants were highly religious and 12.7% were non-religious.  The least religious area was Burlington, VT, where 17.2% were highly religious and 63.8% were non-religious.

What’s nice is that both areas have very similar demographics according to Wikipedia, even to the point of the median family income being essentially identical.

Burlington:  As of the census of 2010, there were 42,417 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 88.9% White, 3.9% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.6% Asian, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population.There were 16,851 households and the average number of persons per household was 2.13.

As of the census of 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $33,070, and the median income for a family was $46,012.

Orem: As of the census of 2010, there were 526,810 people, 143,695 households, and 116,844 families residing within the MSA. The racial makeup of the MSA was 89.5% White, 0.5% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.7% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.7% of the population.

As of the census of 2000, median income for a household in the MSA was $41,986, and the median income for a family was $46,426.

So let’s compare.  If New Atheist claims about the bad influence of religion are correct, we would expect Orem, UT to have much higher crime rates that Burlington, VT.  To test this “religion-is-bad” hypothesis, I went to city-data.com to get the crime index for both areas (where the higher number means more crime).

Burlington 

Orem

The plotted results are below the fold (with crime index values on Y-axis).

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The Head Fake

So what if Jesus was to reappear on Earth and, in a well documented manner, did things like heal amputees?  In other words, what if God did as the atheists demand and they get their sensational, miraculous, unexplainable gaps?  What next?

Atheists like Michael Shermer and Richard Dawkins would not acknowledge this as evidence for God.  Instead, they would insist that this “Jesus” could be some ETI trying to deceive us.

But atheists like Jerry Coyne would count this as evidence for God.  Provisionally, that is.  According to Coyne:

 At some point I would just say, “Okay, I’ll tentatively say there’s a God,”

He also added:

If only Christian prayers were answered, and Jesus appeared doing miracles left and right, documented by all kinds of evidence, I would say, “It looks as if some entity that comports with the Christian God is working ‘miracles,’ though I don’t know how she does it.”

So if God were to satisfy atheist demands for “evidence,” many atheists would still not believe and others would offer up some mealy-mouthed concession about it looking like some type of god exists and immediately want to know how she does her miracles.

Once we, as Christians, can recognize how this would play out, it becomes rather obvious that all those demands for evidence are a sham.   I do not think God is all that interested in whether or not someone believes He exists.  He is interested in whether or not someone believes they are a sinner.  So, if the Super-Duper miracles were to occur, note the reaction of the atheists.  Would they repent of their sins?  Would they beg for forgiveness?  Would they choose to worship and follow Christ?  No.  Not at all.  They would simply reassert their sins of pride and arrogance.   They would maintain their self-centered perception as judge of all reality.

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Tweety Dawk Blames Twitter

Looks like Dawkins is a little concerned about what he has done to his reputation:

Twitter makes him do it! If “Twitter brevity” is the problem, someone should inform Dawkins about the existence of something called a “blog.” But then again…..

Does Dawkins refer to the religious as “faith-heads” in his book? Or did Twitter Make Him Tweet like this?

religious: 9 characters
faith-heads: 11 characters

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Dawkins Co-opts the Skeptics

Have you heard that Richard Dawkin’s organization has merged with the Center For Inquiry, a secular humanist organization?  What’s interesting is that Dawkin’s organization appears to be taking control of the CFI:

The new organization will retain the Center for Inquiry name, while giving a seat on its board to Richard Dawkins, the British evolutionary biologist who is a superstar in the atheist community for his best-selling books on atheism and science and his outspoken talks against religion.

As part of the merger, Ron Lindsay, a lawyer who has headed CFI since 2008 — and shepherded the Amherst, N.Y.-based organization through a difficult and controversial transition from its founder, humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz — will step down. Taking his spot will be Robyn Blumner, the Dawkins Foundation’s executive director for the past two years.

Normally, larger companies/organizations absorb smaller ones in such mergers, but in this case:

In addition to his celebrity, he brings a good bit of cash to CFI. It has a $5.2 million budget for 2016 and 41 employees, according to numbers supplied by CFI before the merger. In addition to its focus on secularism, CFI has programs on human rights, freedom of expression and the advancement of science. The Dawkins Foundation will bring in an additional $1.3 million to $1.5 million and three employees, a CFI spokesman said.

Apparently, the skeptics at CFI are star struck and salivated over having such a famous celebrity take over their organization.  This, of course, should make for some more entertainment in the future, as atheism (which is supposed to be nothing more than a lack of God belief) picks and chooses the “humanist values” that are supposed to come with it.

In fact, some people at the CFI already seem nervous about Tweety Dawk:

“He’s also his own person, and just like everyone else associated with or employed by CFI, he can and will speak for himself on occasion,” Fidalgo added, “and not necessarily for CFI.”

The wishful thinking of skeptics.  Someone needs to inform Fidalgo that Dawkins is not just someone “associated with or employed by the CFI.”  He now effectively runs it.  Thus, he now defines it.

Which kind of explains why Rebecca Watson, the atheist activist who has been banned from speaking at the same conventions as Dawkins, entitled her reaction as “Center for Inquiry Merges with Richard Dawkins & His Twitter Account.”

And his twitter account.   ;)

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Is Project Reason Gone?

Here is the link to Sam Harris’s webpage for Project Reason.  Click on it.  What do you see?

It looks to me like Project Reason is dead.  Which is weird given that there is no announcement or explanation.  If Project Reason is indeed gone, then Harris is quietly trying to slip it down the memory hole.  But why?

So I looked around on the internet and the only information I could find was in a very brief thread on the forum on Sam Harris’s remaining webpage:

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