Reality check

In the comments section of a previous thread, Alan Fox writes:

But, as I am sure Coyne and Myers would concur, nobody is trying to force you to change your particular beliefs. Just don’t expect to be entitled to enforce them on others, then you, me , Dawkins etc can all coexist peacefully.

Hogwash.  I am quite capable to peaceful co-existence with atheists, as I have never wanted to enforce my views on them.  We can’t say the same for the Gnu atheists. Jerry Coyne wants it to be illegal for religious parents to give their children a religious upbringing.  Eric MacDonald agrees.  Coyne also says he is only interested in the eradication of Christianity.  Dawkins agrees, as he has said the Gnus are out to destroy Christianity.  Dawkins has also encouraged other Gnus to publicly mock and ridicule Christians, which is consistent with his own history of name-calling and personal attacks on religious people.  As for Myers, he often jokes about committing acts of violence against religious people.   He also takes pleasure in engaging in very public acts of iconoclasm.

 

The Gnus are only interested in “peaceful co-existence” as long as Christians agree to keep their religious views totally private.  Given that they think religion is some sort of evil disease, and religious parents are child abusers, they cannot adopt a position of enlightened tolerance.  To do so would be to tolerate evil, disease, and child abuse.  They will have none of that, which explains their extremism and reluctance to engage in peaceful co-existence.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in New Atheism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Reality check

  1. Alan Fox says:

    So many misrepresentations! Where to start?

    I am quite capable to peaceful co-existence with atheists, as I have never wanted to enforce my views on them.

    Excellent.

    We can’t say the same for the Gnu atheists.

    I think you are wrong. Wrong in the sense there is no Gnu atheist creed and no organised movement. Atheists are disparate individuals with individual views on how a society should referee differing world views.

    Jerry Coyne wants it to be illegal for religious parents to give their children a religious upbringing. Eric MacDonald agrees.

    And how do you think Coyne and MacDonald could achieve such ends? By influencing public opinion so that laws could be changed. They are not organising any sort of coup d’état that I am aware of.

    Coyne also says he is only interested in the eradication of Christianity. Dawkins agrees, as he has said the Gnus are out to destroy Christianity.

    Accepting for the moment your distillation of the current views of Coyne and Dawkins, it is clear they would be talking of an eradication by the free exchange of ideas. There is no military wing of the Gnu movement. There is no Gnu movement to sign up to.

  2. Michael says:

    No misrepresentations on my part.

    First, I did not suggest or imply the Gnu atheists were organizing some coup d’état. That is a straw man you created. I would agree that Coyne and others would like to change public opinion so that a religious upbringing would become illegal. Doesn’t sound like peaceful co-existence to me.

    Do you, Alan, share their objective? Do you think a religious upbringing should be illegal? You have been reluctant to answer that question.

    As for movements, your posturing is hopelessly out of date. Here are just a couple of quotes from one person in the movement – PZ Myers:

    But I wanted to quickly mention two things. One was something weird in my talk. I was (once again) making the argument that there had to be more to the atheism movement than just the dictionary definition,

    This is an excellent bit of work: Adam Lee gives the big-picture perspective on the shifts within the atheist movement.

    Yes, Alan, there is a New Atheist movement.

  3. Alan Fox says:

    I would agree that Coyne and others would like to change public opinion so that a religious upbringing would become illegal. Doesn’t sound like peaceful co-existence to me.

    How far the state should intervene in the rights and responsibilities of parents and the rights of children is a very difficult question. Infanticide, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect are legitimate areas where the law can act for children against parents. Religious indoctrination that involves preventing or limiting a young person’s access to general education is wrong and maybe becomes wrong enough to be considered neglect. If by a religious upbringing you mean involving one’s child in the cultural practices of one’s particular faith, I would not consider that neglect.

    I tried not to force my lack of belief on to my daughter. She attended local Church schools and once asked (she must have been around eight at the time) why she had not been christened. I told her her parents were not religious but, if she wished, she could certainly have a baptism. Initially, she was keen but then seemed to enjoy the notoriety of being an exception among her peers. She is now a practising Buddhist.

    Do you think a religious upbringing should be illegal? You have been reluctant to answer that question.

    You just asked me the question for the first time! No, I don’t think the law needs to get involved where a child is being raised in a religious environment unless it involves indoctrination and exclusion from contact with the wider world.

    Yes, Alan, there is a New Atheist movement.

    I must have not got the memo. Where can I sign up?

  4. Michael says:

    Alan,

    You just asked me the question for the first time!

    No, I asked you this question the last time you were around:

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/jery-coynes-authoritarianism/

    Others also asked you some questions and were under the impression you ran away from them. Are you going to answer them?

    No, I don’t think the law needs to get involved where a child is being raised in a religious environment unless it involves indoctrination and exclusion from contact with the wider world.

    Sounds like a very slippery escape clause. Perhaps you can expand on what you mean by “indoctrination” and “exclusion from contact with the wider world.” For example, if religious parents send their kids to some church activity that involves teaching them the Bible in place of going out to trick-or-treat on Halloween, is that something that should be illegal?

    I must have not got the memo. Where can I sign up?

    You don’t seem to understand what a movement is. They don’t come with sign up sheets, Alan. Why don’t you address the fact that PZ Myers thinks there is an atheist movement? Or would you prefer to ignore that fact about the world?

    Here’s another data point for you to ignore:

    Because of the Internet, the sense of community among atheist leaders has grown to encompass the rest of us who aren’t as prominent. Websites like those of Harris and Dawkins, blogs—or website collections like Freethought Blogs—provide an online community for freethinkers that simply couldn’t exist without the internet. A good essay (like the one Harris put up yesterday) is instantly disseminated throughout the community, heartening us all. And through discussions on websites, we recognize kindred (or nonkindred!) atheist spirits. By lessening our isolation, that also strengthens our movement. – Jerry Coyne

    Alan, are you capable of admitting it when you are wrong?

  5. Alan Fox says:

    No, I asked you this question the last time you were around

    On following your link, I see that you did. Apologies. I don’t bother with a newsreader so missed those responses (I was visiting my mother in UK the week following that comment) In case anyone wants to continue, I’ll link here.

  6. Alan Fox says:

    Why don’t you address the fact that PZ Myers thinks there is an atheist movement?

    Because whether PZ thinks there is a movement or not is not an issue. Maybe he and I mean different things when using the word “movement”. I don’t see any cohesive, organised group of activists; I just see a lot of internet noise.

  7. Alan Fox says:

    Now if you were to ask me do I see a trend. Well, yes do, certainly.

  8. Alan Fox says:

    Perhaps you can expand on what you mean by “indoctrination” and “exclusion from contact with the wider world.” For example, if religious parents send their kids to some church activity that involves teaching them the Bible in place of going out to trick-or-treat on Halloween, is that something that should be illegal?

    No to your particular example.

    Indoctrination to me means instilling dogma as unchallengeable fact and controlling access to facts that may contradict or question that dogma.

  9. Michael says:

    Because whether PZ thinks there is a movement or not is not an issue. Maybe he and I mean different things when using the word “movement”. I don’t see any cohesive, organised group of activists; I just see a lot of internet noise.

    The Reason Rally did not occur on the internet, Alan.

    Here’s another data point for you to ignore:

    “I believe future historians of the decline and fall of religion will come to see the 2012 GAC in Melbourne as a pivotal turning point. Helped by outstandingly efficient organisation behind the scenes, and a series of uniformly excellent talks, the Melbourne conference will be joined in our minds with the Reason Rally in Washington as the ‘Atheist Spring’ of 2012. The buzz of youthful, good-humoured optimism at both events has given our movement a momentum which will prove hard to resist.” – Richard Dawkins

    PZ Myers tells us there is an atheist movement. Jerry Coyne tells us there is an atheist movement. Richard Dawkins tells us there is an atheist movement.

    Alan Fox tells us there is no atheist movement.

    This is a good time for you to admit you are wrong, Alan.

  10. Michael says:

    Indoctrination to me means instilling dogma as unchallengeable fact and controlling access to facts that may contradict or question that dogma.

    So if a Christian was to teach his children Jesus existed, and did not allow his children to read any of the books/articles from mythers, that should be illegal, right?

  11. Alan Fox says:

    Alan Fox tells us there is no atheist movement.

    No there isn’t, as I understand the meaning of movement. I see a trend. I think Dawkins is being optimistic in claiming there is a movement in your quote. No harm in that. He has his agenda. Wasn’t there something about an A+ badge that was supposed to be some kind of badge that Myers declined to add to his blog?

    But it’s undeniable that young people are turning away from traditional religions in droves. I don’t think Dawkins or Myers, say, are leading a movement, they are riding the wave of popularity and exploiting the trend.

  12. Alan Fox says:

    Mike asks:

    So if a Christian was to teach his children Jesus existed, and did not allow his children to read any of the books/articles from mythers, that should be illegal, right?

    Not sure what mythers are but that probably answers the question. I said already that family law is a very difficult area. I suspect that in the UK there would not need to be new legislation. Neglect, as currently defined, would cover indoctrination that was so rigorous and restricting that it could be considered illegal under current legislation.

    Not familiar enough with US law to comment.

  13. Crude says:

    So, the highest profile atheists say there’s a movement. Which they refer to, in attendance at atheist gatherings, sponsored by atheist advocacy groups.

    But Alan doesn’t think there’s an atheist movement. 😉

  14. Alan Fox says:

    à ;Crude

    Did you read Myers post that Mike links to? PZ wants to include feminism, environmentalism, gay marriage, minority rights and science education in the atheist “movement”! Sort of implies Christians are against all these and atheists need to be gay feminist black vegan scientists. I’m not sure I’ll fit in!

  15. Alan Fox says:

    Perhaps arguing against my own point but an illustration of how difficult family law can be can be found here.

  16. Tom Gilson says:

    If family law were uncomplicated, how do you think it should read with respect to this issue?

  17. Tom Gilson says:

    Did it occur to you that if PZ wants to include all those isms into the atheistic movement, maybe it’s because he’s found they’re all things that members of the atheist movement resonate with?

    If so, then

    (a) that certainly doesn’t imply that Christians are against all of them—there’s no logical law that says disagreeing on God implies disagreeing on everything else,

    and

    (b) it certainly does imply that there’s an atheist movement that’s open to gathering all these isms into it.

  18. Alan Fox says:

    If family law were uncomplicated, how do you think it should read with respect to this issue?

    I wouldn’t want family law to be simplistic. As I keep saying, it is a very difficult area, not black and white. All sorts of factors come into play, the age of the child is a primary consideration. I have no real issue with anyone raising their kids in their own religious and cultural traditions. I object when kids are excluded from ideas and information that might allow them to have a broader outlook. The law should intervene when limits to knowledge and freedom of thought are imposed to an extent that it becomes neglect.

  19. Alan Fox says:

    Did it occur to you that if PZ wants to include all those isms into the atheistic movement, maybe it’s because he’s found they’re all things that members of the atheist movement resonate with?

    Rather I think that’s how he would like things to go. I suspect he’ll be disappointed. Let’s wait and see.

  20. Alan Fox says:

    …there’s no logical law that says disagreeing on God implies disagreeing on everything else,

    Well, exactly!

  21. Alan Fox says:

    …it certainly does imply that there’s an atheist movement that’s open to gathering all these isms into it.

    There will be if PZ can get such a movement up and running. My prediction is it won’t have many legs!

  22. Alan Fox says:

    There is a project to document “undiscovered” communities still living in the Amazon rainforest having no contact with the outside World. The evidence is gathered by telephoto lens from a light aircraft so as to minimise disturbance. I guess the plan is to reserve enough rainforest for these people to continue to live unmolested.

    Should we exclude them from civilisation, Christianity, medicine, education? Perhaps we should.

    link

  23. Michael says:

    Alan:

    The law should intervene when limits to knowledge and freedom of thought are imposed to an extent that it becomes neglect.

    With regard to a religious upbringing, can you provide a few examples of what you have in mind?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s