Richard Dawkins Thinks All Religious People are “Evil”

A few weeks ago, Tweety Dawk tweeted:

Don’t get distracted by the question, as lots of people easily answered his “challenge” in the comments section of his tweet.

Note the first sentence, where Dawkins’ anger causes him to drop the mask for just a second.

It is not “Very few faith-heads are evil like Taliban or IS.”

It is “Very few faith-heads are as evil as Taliban or IS.”

Y’see, all those “faith-heads” are evil, it’s just that some of them are not as evil as others.

People like Dawkins complain when others refer to New Atheism as militant, extreme, and fundamentalist. But if people like Dawkins think all religious people are evil “faith-heads”, isn’t it rather obvious that New Atheism is militant, extreme, and fundamentalist?

And for the record, Richard, I do not think you, or your New Atheist comrades, are evil.

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

44 Responses to Richard Dawkins Thinks All Religious People are “Evil”

  1. Crude says:

    Not to mention, it’s a tremendously ignorant question. All he has to do is take one look at North Korea.

  2. TFBW says:

    I’m happy to answer Richard’s question in one word: “ideology”. In fact, “ideology” seems far more relevant than “faith”, if we take “faith” in the sense of “the Muslim faith”. After all, unless we want to classify Marxism as a faith, look at what Marxist ideology did for the death toll of the twentieth century.

    But yeah, Richard is telling us more about himself than anything else by presenting us with such a flimsy rhetorical challenge. Have you also noticed where his classification of “faith-heads” as “evil” leaves him on the global morality scale? Why, in the not-evil minority, of course! Not that I think he particularly intended this: I’m sure he doesn’t intend to proclaim himself holier than thou, even if that’s what he does every damn time he says anything about religion and/or morality. He’s not trying to be a self-righteous prig — it’s an entirely unintended side-effect.

  3. ccmnxc says:

    Is this further evidence that the New Atheism is (to take a page out of Bog’s book) a mind virus? After all, look at the ravages it has had upon the imagination; Dawkins can’t seem to think of anything aside from faith that makes possible evil comparable to ISIS and Islamic extremism, as if the 20th century never happened. I guess one could pull a Daniel Dennett and argue that guys like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, et al were theists who raised themselves to the level of deities, but I can’t see that going awfully well.

  4. Mike says:

    Atheists like Dawkins and Harris are good thinkers … it is not their fault that those who listen to them are stupid or misunderstand what they are to say … like in this case 😉

  5. Dhay says:

    In Sam Harris’ 04 November 2014 blogged video entitled, “Meditation and the Nature of the Self”, soon after 53:00, he says that, “When we understand evil in causal terms it will be a species of mental illness.”

    He then illustrates this with the story of the guy who shot and killed several people from a tower because of a brain tumour which, if diagnosed and treated — he seems to have chemotherapy in mind, because in this case, and in discussing the appropriate response to other crimes, his constant refrain is that if we could give them a pill to prevent their behaviour, we would, wouldn’t we.– if diagnosed and treated, both the mental illness and killings could have been prevented.

    Looks like, If we put Harris and Richard Dawkins in the same room, the consensus which is likely to come out is that religion is a mental illness which should be medicalised and treated by pills.

  6. Kevin says:

    Atheists like Dawkins and Harris are good thinkers … it is not their fault that those who listen to them are stupid or misunderstand what they are to say … like in this case

    I just woke up and my sarcasm detection system is still booting up…this was sarcastic right?

  7. Ilíon says:

    What is this ‘evil’ of which Dick-to-the-Dawk speaks?

  8. TFBW says:

    What is this ‘evil’ of which Dick-to-the-Dawk speaks?

    Religion.

    Okay, that’s a teensy bit unfair. He would admit that evil can exist outside of religion, if pressed on the matter, I’m sure. He’d just say that it was a great enabler of evil, or something.

    So what is this “evil” of which he speaks? I honestly haven’t figured it out yet, and I’d love to see him thoroughly questioned on the subject. My vague summary of it so far is, “something something zeitgeist something improving over time.” The trouble is that the whole “zeitgeist” thing is a relativist term which isn’t compatible with an objective trajectory of “improvement” (or decline, for that matter), so even that vague summary contains an internal inconsistency.

    For further reading on this subject, I suggest going to doubtingdawkins.com and expanding the links under point #3: “If Evil Doesn’t Exist, How Can Religion be Evil?”. Section 3a looks at it from the perspective of his writings in River Out of Eden, and section 3b looks at it from his pronouncements in The God Delusion (which is where he incorporates the “zeitgeist” concept into his work). Disclosure: I was the primary author of these sections, subject to the site owner’s editorial control.

    Short version: if Dawkins thinks that design is an illusion produced by the process of Darwinian evolution, then he should conclude the same of morality. Basically, Dawkins suffers from a severe morality delusion. Either that, or he should be frank that his version of “morality” is nothing more than “behaviour of which he approves, personally.”

  9. Billy Squibs says:

    Argh! So many accordions. I look forward to reading through your thoughts TFBW. BTW, I Tom Gilson over on thinking Christian is beginning a project that you might be interested in. Or not.

  10. Billy Squibs says:

    Hmm! My above typo might cause some confusion.

    ” BTW, I Tom Gilson over on thinking Christian is beginning a…”

    This might be taken to be a horribly worded claim that I am Tom Gilson and I is beginning a new project. That “I” magicked itself into the sentence and is best ignored. It should read:

    ” BTW, Tom Gilson over on thinking Christian is beginning a…”

  11. TFBW says:

    Argh! So many accordions.

    I disclaim all responsibility for the site design. In fact, I warned the site owner that the approach was death as far as search engines are concerned. I contributed to that project in a “writer” capacity, rather than a “technology” capacity, however, so I shrug with regards to his web design decisions.

    Tom Gilson over on thinking Christian is beginning a project that you might be interested in.

    Noticed that, thanks. I’m a Christian, and I write, but I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” at this time. Tom’s welcome to approach me if he thinks otherwise, though.

  12. Billy Squibs says:

    Ah, that’s OK, TBFW. Just thought I’d mention it.

  13. Billy Squibs says:

    TFBW that is. What does it stand for BTW?

  14. TFBW says:

    The meaning of “TFBW” is left as an exercise to the reader. 🙂 It’s not hard to find out. Extra points if you can figure out what it’s derived from though. That’s a bit more obscure.

  15. Billy Squibs says:

    Would you be “famous” perhaps?

  16. Jim says:

    The only sure way of improving the quality of life is by moving closer to reality. Eg. Farming productivity has improved greatly over the past 10,000 years since it first began and this is not due to the rain god, it is due to scientific progress. This is also true for Medicine, the Justice System, Cooking and every other sphere of endeavor. We have made great progress toward reality in recent centuries and this has enabled many millions of people to live better than their ancestors in the most peaceful world human beings have ever known. Religion is going in the opposite direction (i.e back to Iron Age Theocracies) and does great harm to civilization. So it seems a fair thing to say that anybody who participates or promotes backward looking theocracies like Islam and Christianity is, in fact, participating in a evil act to varying degrees.

  17. Kevin says:

    One, religion and science are compatible. There is no reason you can’t have both.

    Two, you could equally say that anyone who participates in political activity is participating in an evil act.

    Three, the capacity to do evil has been amplified by science.

    And finally, being religious does not equate to theocracy.

  18. TFBW says:

    Jim, that is an extraordinarily simplistic view you have there. While I’m inclined to agree that being in touch with reality is a good thing, in and of itself, that’s about as far as the agreement goes. Other parts of your comment are riddled with implicit assumptions which are either false, or question-begging.

    You set up a false dichotomy between science and religion (rain god vs. scientific progress), failing to acknowledge that strong theists like Newton were responsible for a substantial portion of scientific progress. You imply that we have moved closer to reality in the Justice System, similarly failing to note the historical contribution of Christianity, specifically, in that area (assuming you refer to justice in the West).

    In fact, your whole comment is so far divorced from reality that it’s hard to know how best to refute it. You seem to be living in an alternate reality where the philosophy of atheism is unequivocally responsible for scientific progress, justice, and greater human happiness, whereas its major mark on the 20th century came via Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, who don’t strike me as the kinds of examples you want.

    For someone who harps on the subject of “reality” so much, you sure need a reality check.

  19. Jim says:

    Kevin
    RE: “One, religion and science are compatible. There is no reason you can’t have both”
    Yes we can have both but is it the best option? Faith Vs. Evidence is a fairly clear choose between how we learn about the world around us.

    RE: “Two, you could equally say that anyone who participates in political activity is participating in an evil act”. Political activities are very broad and so you could not make this sweeping statement but adherence to a iron age theory of how the world was created is by definition against progress and so against improvement in human well being.

    RE: “Three, the capacity to do evil has been amplified by science.”
    Indeed but what is the option. Living as primitive cave people in a constant state of fear and starvation (which is where we would be without science and our improved understanding of reality).

    RE: “And finally, being religious does not equate to theocracy”
    It does if you a follower of Islam or Christianity which are both still very political organizations (especially in the USA and Middle East)

    TFBW
    Glad we agree on improving our knowledge of the universe (ie moving toward reality) is generally a good thing. As you say Newton was very much a Christian. I would also have been a Christian (or Muslim or other depending on where I was born) if I lived in this time because religious explanations were the best scientific explanation for the world around us but great progress has been made since that time and we now know (99.99’% certainty) that Human Beings were not created in the Garden of Eden, etc, etc.

    Anyway Gentlemen
    We are probably all products of our childhood. I was raised in Australia where openly religious people (i.e. going to church etc) are very much a minority and often treated with some disdain. Growing up from 1962 to now I can only recall meeting a handful of such people. If you grew up in a very religious environment it is probably hard to accept a purely secular society but I assure they do exist and work very well here.

  20. ccmnxc says:

    Just because I’m curious and bored, I’ve got a question for you, Jim.

    How do you know that science progresses us and brings us closer to reality? If the measure for reality and how close we are to it is science, then the answer is going to be circular and thus a non-answer. Or, rephrased, if science is the exclusive (or even primary) means of helping us understand reality, we have to assume that science, is in fact, bringing us closer to a more perfect understanding of reality before we can evaluate how successful it is at doing such a thing. After all, science constantly revises its understanding of the world, and cutting edge science one day could very well be obsolete the next (see geocentricism and Newtonian Mechanics). But at the same time, I do not see how we can exclude new facts or data popping up that revive old theories as well, so it isn’t as if we can say with anything approaching certainty that science progresses on account of the fact that we know *that* theory is wrong.
    It seems progress is typically referenced between where a person (or science in this case) is at a given time in reference to the goal. In this case, the goal will be total understanding of the natural world. But since we do not have such an understanding, how can we evaluate scientific progress in reference to it?
    Further appeals to reliability won’t work either. Newtonian Mechanics is very reliable. In fact, it is so reliable that it is still in used today despite the fact that it doesn’t fit with our standard models of relativity and quantum mechanics (which might themselves conflict with some theory in the future). The Ptolemaic system was so successful that it was around for centuries. Again, predictive success =/= the theory being true.
    So again I must ask, how do you know that science is progressing and bringing us to a better knowledge of reality as opposed to going in circles chasing its own tail (given enough time) or taking us in the completely wrong direction?

  21. TFBW says:

    Faith Vs. Evidence is a fairly clear choose between how we learn about the world around us.

    Oh good grief — another willing victim of the Boghossian mind virus. So which category do you put Newton in? Faith or evidence? I presume it’s “evidence”. That being so, there is no incompatibility between his scientific capabilities and his religious outlook. Your argument is based on a false dichotomy between a scientist and a superstitious straw-man, plus a one-dimensional view of knowledge. The nicest thing I can say about it is that it’s simplistic.

    … adherence to a iron age theory of how the world was created is by definition against progress and so against improvement in human well being.

    Adherence to that view gave us such things as the principle that everyone is created in the image of God, and is therefore of intrinsic worth. The Darwinian narrative, on the other hand, begat eugenics and social Darwinism. If that’s progress, I’d say it blows your theory about progress being harmonious with human well-being out of the water. I mean, if you embrace the Darwinian narrative in all of its implications, then “human” and “well-being” aren’t even particularly well-defined or fundamentally important. If the Darwinian narrative is the reality of the matter, then “human well being” (given your own subjective views on the matter) can be your hobby if that floats your boat, but don’t expect everyone else’s reality-based outlook to be similarly benevolent. It’s survival of the fittest, after all.

    RE: “And finally, being religious does not equate to theocracy”
    It does if you a follower of Islam or Christianity which are both still very political organizations (especially in the USA and Middle East)

    Don’t be absurd. I’m not going to defend Islam, which is genuinely theocratic in certain parts of the world, but no Christians in the USA are trying to overthrow the government and replace it with a ruling priesthood. Claims of “theocracy” against Christianity in the USA are nothing but hysterical fear-mongering wrought by those who despise the idea that Christians might still exert some influence in the democratic process. Meanwhile, atheist activists like the FFRF are desperately promoting the view that “separation of Church and State” means that all governance must be effectively atheistic.

    … great progress has been made since that time and we now know (99.99’% certainty) that Human Beings were not created in the Garden of Eden, etc, etc.

    What’s that figure based on? Current levels of smugness among leading evolutionary biologists? Are you factoring in the historical tendency for revolutionary change in science, during which yesterday’s near-certainties become outmoded theories, and yesterday’s pseudoscience becomes the new dogma?

    If you grew up in a very religious environment it is probably hard to accept a purely secular society but I assure they do exist and work very well here.

    I’m Australian too. What you’re not taking into consideration is that we are far from a secular society, because Australia’s past is much more religious. You were born in an era when 88% of Australians self-identified as Christian in some way, down from around 96% in the first quarter of the 20th century. Somewhere around the late sixties (read into that what you will), there was a sudden upward trend in “no religion”, which had been under 1% before then. It’s been generally rising ever since. Church attendance is a different story, but I don’t have figures for it, and I consider it less important.

    Australia is still majority Christian, but, more importantly, the folks who were born here and identify as “no religion” were born into a society of Christian values. They may not have the religious foundation for their values, but it’s the set of values that they were brought up with, and thus take for granted. That’s eroding over time, of course, but the full effect of secularism is going to lag behind the actual rise of “no religion” by at least a generation simply because of social inertia. That process may be accelerated by immigration from places like China, where “no religion” is far more common, and they don’t have the same Christian heritage.

    So, in short, don’t think of Australia as an example of a secular society: it still has mostly Christian fuel in the tank at this point in time.

  22. Jim says:

    Hello cmnx

    Imagine you have pneumonia. Would you rather go and see a modern doctor now and receive the appropriate antibiotics or go back in time to visit a 17th century doctor who would likely apply the “Curative Powers of Mercury”? If you think the modern doctor is a better option then you should admit that medical science has moved closer to reality and improved our standard of living over time.
    This is how I know science is bring us closer to reality. It is observable all around us in the modern world.

    RE your comment …
    “If the measure for reality and how close we are to it is science, then the answer is going to be circular and thus a non-answer.”

    Science is observing reality not creating or defining reality so it is not a circular process.
    Reality is happening on it’s own accord and Science is a separate process to record or report on reality. I assume you are getting your ideas about science creating reality from quantum mechanics but I think you you are reading too much into the lay person’s description of quantum physics.
    Latest research looks like pulling the stranger aspects of quantum mechanics back into simpler terms.. http://www.wired.com/2014/06/the-new-quantum-reality/

    Your concerns about the relationship between science and reality being circular can be lifted simply by taking a scientific instrument such as a ruler and measuring the height of a chair. You will see that the chair does not depend on the ruler for it’s height.

  23. Michael says:

    So it seems a fair thing to say that anybody who participates or promotes backward looking theocracies like Islam and Christianity is, in fact, participating in a evil act to varying degrees.

    Dawkins wrote, “Very few faith-heads are as evil as the Taliban or IS”

    He is describing all religious people as being evil.

    You have changed the topic to “acts” and have failed to rationalize how all religious people are evil.

  24. Jim says:

    Hi TFBW
    Appreciatte your energy. Think the chances of either of us writing something that will change the other persons world view is pretty much zero. Seems like the only thing we might be able to agree on is the importance of Isacc Newton so we may as well leave it at that.

  25. Jim says:

    Michael
    RE: “You have changed the topic to “acts” and have failed to rationalize how all religious people are evil.”
    To paraphrase from “forrest gump” movie. Evil is as Evil Does. I do not really think of anybody in terms of evil. Even Bin Laden was just a bloke with some very bad ideas (probably made worse by war experiences). To say somebody is evil means they never do anything helpfull to anybody. This is never true. Pure evil is a supernatural concept that does not exist in reality which is why I do not use it. Perhaps that is part of the problem with your reaction to Dawkins comment. He is not (I believe) saying that Christians and Islamists are terrible people who go around kicking dogs and such. No doubt many of them are lovely people with great intentions but they are inadvertently (or not) participating in the evil acts associated with the way women and gays are still subject to iron age laws in large parts of the middle east. On the Christian side there is the issue of their attempt to influence eductaion and politics in the USA. The correct thing to do is prevent the waters from being muddied with supernatural concerns when we are facing very real problems of pollution, climate change, over population, etc. This is a time for very clear, feet on the ground thinking.

  26. Dhay says:

    Jim > RE: “Three, the capacity to do evil has been amplified by science.”
    Indeed but what is the option. Living as primitive cave people in a constant state of fear and starvation (which is where we would be without science and our improved understanding of reality).

    Not a lot of reasoning and critical analysis went into that assertion. Which tells me, very clearly, that you’re a bullshitting time-waster.

  27. TFBW says:

    Jim said:

    Think the chances of either of us writing something that will change the other persons world view is pretty much zero.

    Oh well, at least you can admit to being closed-minded about it. Still, an argument doesn’t have to end in someone changing their world view in order for it to be productive. There does, however, need to be genuine engagement of opposing views, and you’ve declined to engage any of my points.

  28. ccmnxc says:

    Hello cmnx

    Imagine you have pneumonia. Would you rather go and see a modern doctor now and receive the appropriate antibiotics or go back in time to visit a 17th century doctor who would likely apply the “Curative Powers of Mercury”? If you think the modern doctor is a better option then you should admit that medical science has moved closer to reality and improved our standard of living over time.
    This is how I know science is bring us closer to reality. It is observable all around us in the modern world.

    But this is simply an example of predictive success and reliability in the medical field. I will go to a modern doctor because they have a good track record in comparison to those of previous centuries. But as I stated before, we have major examples of theories with predictive success and reliability that are not tenable given current scientific theories. I’ll add another onto this list, though: QM vs. relativity. Both tend to be standard model now as I pointed out earlier. All evidence also indicates that they are not at all compatible. Yet they maintain great predictive success, and they allow us to better control nature (see GPS). So unless we can non-trivially distance medicine from the examples I provided, there is nothing stopping me from saying that current medical theories might enjoy reliability and control over nature but may still end up being incorrect.

    RE your comment …
    “If the measure for reality and how close we are to it is science, then the answer is going to be circular and thus a non-answer.”

    Science is observing reality not creating or defining reality so it is not a circular process.
    Reality is happening on it’s own accord and Science is a separate process to record or report on reality. I assume you are getting your ideas about science creating reality from quantum mechanics but I think you you are reading too much into the lay person’s description of quantum physics.
    Latest research looks like pulling the stranger aspects of quantum mechanics back into simpler terms.. http://www.wired.com/2014/06/the-new-quantum-reality/

    Your concerns about the relationship between science and reality being circular can be lifted simply by taking a scientific instrument such as a ruler and measuring the height of a chair. You will see that the chair does not depend on the ruler for it’s height.

    A couple comments:
    1. I am not suggesting that science determines and defines reality so much as noting that a popular understanding of the enterprise of science is that it (observes and) discovers reality. However, we cannot epistemically justify that it is in fact discovering reality unless we presume that we already know reality to begin with. We cannot know that science’s discoveries aren’t illusory in terms of whether they bring us to a closer understanding of reality. Now, perhaps you don’t share the above view of science, but the point is that we cannot use what we use to discover reality as a means for discerning how much we know without assuming in advance that science is indeed discovering reality.
    2. Regarding your measurement comment, all I have to say is this: science is a lot more than measurement. Measurement only provides data, but we have to fit data into current theories and models and see how they compare with already established theories and models. To say “Look, science brings us closer to reality because it has given us new data and measurements” might be true, but then without some coherent system to organize everything, the data is meaningless and thus doesn’t actually bring us much anywhere.

    Regards.

  29. Billy Squibs says:

    I think it was pretty clear that after the false dichotomies, the shoddy understanding of history, the goalpost moving, the factually vapid rhetoric and at least one informal fallacy that Jim would bail the moment he met with some push-back to his passionate yet poorly researched comments.

    Still, I must marvel at his ability to fire off multiple issues each time he posts whist also assuring us that this is the time not to muddy the waters. Please take your own advice, Jim. Also, please do your opponents the honor of actually accurately representing their best arguments and stop attempting to feed us the bullshit you have presented here. That’s not a personal attack, Jim. Rather, it’s a challenge to your ideas based upon the comments you have presented here. Of course, this actually requires you to first understand your opponent’s position. Sadly I don’t think you have much knowledge beyond distortions and atheistic sloganeering.

  30. Ilíon says:

    Short version: if Dawkins thinks that design is an illusion produced by the process of Darwinian evolution, then he should conclude the same of morality. Basically, Dawkins suffers from a severe morality delusion. Either that, or he should be frank that his version of “morality” is nothing more than “behaviour of which he approves, personally.”

    Well, to give him credit, he *does* say that … when it suits his rhetorical purpose. And when it suits his purpose, he says the opposite.

  31. Michael says:

    Jim: Pure evil is a supernatural concept that does not exist in reality which is why I do not use it.

    Richard Dawkins uses it. That’s kinda the topic of this thread, y’know.

    Perhaps that is part of the problem with your reaction to Dawkins comment. He is not (I believe) saying that Christians and Islamists are terrible people who go around kicking dogs and such.

    What you personally believe is irrelevant. The fact is that Dawkins refers to religious people as evil faith-heads. Sounds like something a bigot would say, don’t you agree?

    No doubt many of them are lovely people with great intentions but they are inadvertently (or not) participating in the evil acts associated with the way women and gays are still subject to iron age laws in large parts of the middle east.

    Like people concerned about the welfare of cats and dogs inadvertently (or not) participating in the evil acts associated with animal rights terrorism, right?

    On the Christian side there is the issue of their attempt to influence eductaion and politics in the USA.

    Everyone gets to participate in a democracy. Only people with authoritarian tendencies have a problem with that.

  32. Jim says:

    Well, I have taken all your kind suggestions on board and following is my best reply. I fear you will not be so impressed.

    As suggested by some I am going back to the original tweet by Dawkins…
    “Very few faith-heads are as evil as Taliban or IS. Yet what else but faith is CAPABLE of making people do such evil? ”

    and the analysis made…
    It is not “Very few faith-heads are evil like Taliban or IS.”
    It is “Very few faith-heads are as evil as Taliban or IS.”
    Y’see, all those “faith-heads” are evil, it’s just that some of them are not as evil as others.

    If I understand the theme of this blog correctly we are all quite upset that Dawkins has inderectly stated that all religious people are evil. (No doubt you will correct me if I am wrong).

    I dont think this analysis is correct (no doubt you are much suprised at this point)..
    Why did Dawkins use the term “faith-head” instead of “religious people” or such?
    At first I also thought it was just a very derogatary term for all relgious people but then I recalled him speaking about the innocent children being indoctrinated before they are old enough to decide for themselves and this compassion for the innocent young must also apply to anybody else who has never had the chance to learn about science and modernity. These people are not faith-heads they are innocent victims of their circumstances. Dawkins is not saying all religious people are evil he is deliberately targeting those people who have the capacity and oppurtunity to choose between reason and faith but choose to persist with faith even when there is a clear choose to be made between evolution and creationism, for example (there are many other but this is the most obvious and well known).

    I fear this defense will not appease you because I it seems from the comments that many of you do maintain your faith (which I assume includes belief in the Bible) and yet are clearly very well educated so would fall into Dawkins Faith-Heads category.

    Perhaps I am wrong it is almost impossible to know anything about what somebody is like from the words the key into a blog.

  33. Dhay says:

    Richard Dawkins > Very few faith-heads are as evil as Taliban or IS. Yet what else but faith is CAPABLE of making people do such evil?

    Try war. In ancient times it was common for the invader to spare a city’s inhabitants if it surrendered, but to slaughter them if they resisted. The Romans had a reputation and history of extreme brutality towards their enemies. A Roman slave revolt was put down with the crucifixion of every survivor. Gas chambers, anyone? Pogroms? Pol Pot? Sparta? Dresden? Genghis Khan? Then there’s the nuclear holocaust which so very nearly happened at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Where’s faith or “faith-heads” in those?

    He not a deep thinker, Dawkins, is he. Or is it just that any extravagant claim will do in his personal war against religion.

  34. Michael says:

    Jim: If I understand the theme of this blog correctly we are all quite upset that Dawkins has inderectly stated that all religious people are evil. (No doubt you will correct me if I am wrong).

    I’m not upset at all. I am pleased. I am pleased that Dawkins, in yet another twitter fury, has dropped the mask to provide evidence. Evidence for what? Evidence that he is militant, extreme, and fundamentalist. “Evil faith-heads” is the language a hateful extremist would use. It is also evidence that Dawkins is closed-minded. When anyone gets to the point where they view the opposing side as “evil faith heads,” they are no longer open to the possibility that the “evil faith heads” could be right.

    At first I also thought it was just a very derogatary term for all relgious people but then I recalled him speaking about the innocent children being indoctrinated before they are old enough to decide for themselves and this compassion for the innocent young must also apply to anybody else who has never had the chance to learn about science and modernity. These people are not faith-heads they are innocent victims of their circumstances.

    Such touching compassion for The Children. This is one reason why Dawkins would like to make it illegal to raise children in a religious tradition. Do you agree?

    Dawkins is not saying all religious people are evil he is deliberately targeting those people who have the capacity and oppurtunity to choose between reason and faith but choose to persist with faith even when there is a clear choose to be made between evolution and creationism, for example (there are many other but this is the most obvious and well known).

    In other words, Dawkins attacks others as “evil faith heads” because they dare to think differently than Dawkins.

    I fear this defense will not appease you because I it seems from the comments that many of you do maintain your faith (which I assume includes belief in the Bible) and yet are clearly very well educated so would fall into Dawkins Faith-Heads category.

    Actually, I appreciate your honesty. In your mind, we are evil because we are faith-heads. I see your Gnu leaders have taught you well.

  35. Ilíon says:

    Everyone gets to participate in a democracy. Only people with authoritarian tendencies have a problem with that.

    I’d say these people are more ‘totalitarian’ than ‘authoritarian’.

  36. Kevin says:

    And how, pray tell, do you determine that posters aren’t educated? Because we aren’t atheists? I certainly hope not, Jim. There are numerous points brought up by posters here that you have failed to sufficiently address, I would suspect the education imbalance to tilt the other way just based on this one thread…which is not sufficient to determine education.

  37. Kevin says:

    Oops. I misread you, Jim. I’m really sorry lol. That’s what I get for posting after being up over 24 hours. I’ll just go away now!

  38. Billy Squibs says:

    I recalled him speaking about the innocent children being indoctrinated before they are old enough to decide for themselves and this compassion for the innocent young must also apply to anybody else who has never had the chance to learn about science and modernity. These people are not faith-heads they are innocent victims of their circumstances. Dawkins is not saying all religious people are evil he is deliberately targeting those people who have the capacity and oppurtunity to choose between reason and faith but choose to persist with faith even when there is a clear choose to be made between evolution and creationism, for example (there are many other but this is the most obvious and well known).

    Yes. It’s that one quality of Richard we can all agree on – his compassion for the innocent young. He’s known to shed a tear for them each night. Legend has it that if you catch one of the tears in a test tube and drink the distillation you will become as rational and compassionate as he! A secular saint if ever there was one.

    Here’s the thing Jim, you forgot to a) explain what you mean by indoctrination and b) demonstrate how the religious education of children is a form of abuse. I assume you can link to some peer reviewed research that back up your claim because saying it don’t make it so. So please provide us with some evidence – preferably evidence that applies only to those brought up in a particular religious environment and can not be applied to those brought up in an anti-religious environment.

    Also, are you suggesting that people who are educated and yet “persist in faith even when there is a clear choose to be made between evolution and creationism” are evil? I find it difficult to read your defence of Dawkins in a more charitable way. What of it if an adult believes in a six day creation? Why is this belief a matter of morality over, say, Richard Dawkins statement that not aborting a down’s syndrome unborn is an immoral act?

    Finally, could you now stop with the false dilemmas and bald assertions? At some point you are going to have to stop oversimplifying the world and regurgitating words from the atheism 101 playbook and actually start having a conversation with us. That actually involves listening amongst other things. Littering the comm box with claims that you have failed to provide any supporting evidence for, while also assuming the worst of us that “persist in the faith”, is not a good beginning, middle or end to a conversation.

    Frankly, Jim, I maintain that you are here to spout bullshit whilst ignoring every possible countervailing point and reasonable response that might be raised. I would not appreciate that from a fellow Christian and I don’t appreciate it from an atheist. But please prove me wrong. I would suggest focusing on one objection that you have raised above (one of your 10 or so) and then listening to our responses.

  39. Jim says:

    Billy,
    a) explain what you mean by indoctrination
    http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/indoctrination
    b) demonstrate how the religious education of children is a form of abuse
    I never used these words!! You are puting words in my mouth and then going on to demand I prove them!
    You should also turn the auto-correct on your spell checker off to avoid accusing me of “false dilemmas” and “bald assersions”. But your critic of me was substantially kinder than your first.
    RE:
    “Also, are you suggesting that people who are educated and yet “persist in faith even when there is a clear choose to be made between evolution and creationism” are evil? ”
    My language was not so good here, how about if we rephrase that sentence a little bit too..
    “Also, are you suggesting that people that know the creationism story is very unlikely to be true but still persist in advocating for it are evil? ”
    Which pretty much boils down to asking me if I think lying is evil?
    Does this makes sense?
    This is the basic issue between faith and science. Form a scientific point of view faith is so close to lying that it is not worth distinguishing.
    Of course I do think lying is a form of evil.
    On the other hand it is not lying if people really do believe that their faith has been correct all along and that evolution is bullshit. If such people are genuine in this belief then I do not think they are evil but I do have concerns about how sensible they are.

  40. Michael says:

    Jim: This is the basic issue between faith and science. Form a scientific point of view faith is so close to lying that it is not worth distinguishing.

    Oh, please. And what makes you think you are qualified to tell us about the “scientific point of view?” Because you faithfully read all the books of your Gnu Leaders?

  41. Billy Squibs says:

    Jim, is religious indoctrination any different than atheistic indoctrination or a parent instilling general moral principles in their child?

    “demonstrate how the religious education of children is a form of abuse I never used these words!”
    But you did claim that they were “innocent victims of their circumstances”. I can only read and interpret the words that you wrote. When you talk about the victimhood of those brought up in a religious tradition then I think it is perfectly reasonable for me to interpret your words as I have done. It’s how RDs think about such matters. That would be the same RD that you are attempting to defend.

    My language was not so good here, how about if we rephrase that sentence a little bit too..
    “Also, are you suggesting that people that know the creationism story is very unlikely to be true but still persist in advocating for it are evil? ”
    Which pretty much boils down to asking me if I think lying is evil?
    Does this makes sense?

    It helps. Unlike RD you aren’t calling us all evil. But please define “evil” in the context of your worldview – which I assume to be naturalism? How exactly do you determine that somebody is genuinely holds that 6-day creationism is true as opposed to them lying?

    This is the basic issue between faith and science. Form a scientific point of view faith is so close to lying that it is not worth distinguishing.

    This is absolute cobblers. Again the false dilemma and bald assertion!
    1) Please provide evidence for your claim. You have yet to do so at any point in this thread.
    2) Please explain what you think faith is.
    3) Please explain what you think the Bible means when it uses the word faith.

    Lastly, correcting my typos (one of which wasn’t a error) is quite rich considering your posts contain factual, grammatical and spelling errors. I’m in no way concerned with the latter two so can you please not try to score cheap points? I’m interested in getting you to actually provide evidence for your claims.

  42. Jim says:

    Thanks all for your responses. Have been working on a new post to Bill and Michael but am struggling to keep new topics from creeping in which will be more likely to spawn more debate than a meaningful resolution. So I am going to bail. Best wishes for 2015.

    Apologies for the correction, I did not know that false dilemma is another term for false dichotomy.

  43. Michael says:

    Jim,

    You’ve just learned, the hard way, that the New Atheist talking points come from a position of intellectual weakness. Perhaps you should rethink the notion that all religious people are evil faith-heads, given it is rooted in primitive, superficial thinking and bigotry. Those of us who are enlightened are not intellectually intimidated by such antics from the kids table.

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