The following article recently appeared on the Washington Post’s website: Richard Dawkins: Atheism’s asset or liability?
We learn some of the context behind in the latest flare-up in The Atheist Wars, namely, the fights have been so mean and vicious that the leaders of the two sects tried to hash out an “agreement.”
It may go down as one of the shortest-lived peace accords on record.
Late last month, two heavy-hitters within organized atheism, activist Ophelia Benson and scientist Richard Dawkins, reached a detente of sorts about online debate and posted it on their separate websites.
“Disagreement is inevitable, but bullying and harassment are not,” the statement reads. “ If we want secularism and atheism to gain respect, we have to be able to disagree with each other without trying to destroy each other.”
Before the virtual ink was dry, Dawkins had stepped in it again.
“Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse,” Dawkins said on Twitter, where he has almost 1 million followers. “If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.” Another tweet applied the same logic to “mild date rape” and “violent date rape,” and still another compared “mild pedophilia” and “violent pedophilia.”
Gotta love that atheist sense of morality.
The article has quotes from various atheists:
But the unfortunate reality is that newspapers and other big media outlets have been making him into the major face of organized atheism — and it’s creating an image of us that turns a lot of people off.”
On the other hand, Dawkins seems to embody everything that people dislike about atheists: He is smug, condescending and emits an unpleasant disdainfulness. He doesn’t ever seem to acknowledge the good aspects of religion, only the bad. In that sense, I think he doesn’t help atheism in the PR department.
In his two or three recent Twitter combats, the most striking thing is he does not listen to anyone except his fans, no matter how reasonably things are put
“I’m a fan of Richard Dawkins. I know he means well. But damn, it’s annoying having to defend him. More importantly, I shouldn’t have to!”
Anyway, the reason I keep bringing these Atheist Wars to you attention is because they contain two important lessons:
1. It is interesting to note that atheists become annoyed and offended when Dawkins “does not listen to anyone except his fans, no matter how reasonably things are put,” yet this is the very same trait that most atheists display when dealing with religious people. Atheists think it is okay to mock and attack religious people, but when the same approach is used against another sect of atheists, suddenly we have a problem. Such primitive tribalism.
2. Atheists posture as if they champion reason, evidence, and science. But if that was true, why do the Atheist Wars even exist? Why can’t all these people, who are supposedly committed to reason, evidence, and science use reason, evidence, and science to arrive at a peaceful consensus. They have had years to do this, yet the Atheist Wars continue. All I see are two sects of atheists using reason, evidence, and science to suport their own side and attack the other side.