New Atheist Kills Muslim Students, and One Day Later, Richard Dawkins Uses it as Springboard to Attack Islam

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35 Responses to New Atheist Kills Muslim Students, and One Day Later, Richard Dawkins Uses it as Springboard to Attack Islam

  1. Allallt says:

    Given that religious people everywhere have used this to accuse atheists of moral nihilism and relativism and for some religious people to continue there victim narrative, I think this is fair (but insensitive).

  2. TFBW says:

    Ideological atheists like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and the Kims in North Korea have legally killed dissenters by the million, and this doesn’t even register as a blip on Dawkins’ radar.

    I was also going to add something about his tweet being in very poor taste, and how he’s desperate to do PR for atheism here (probably digging the hole deeper as a consequence), but I can’t think of anything to say that isn’t painfully obvious already.

  3. GM says:

    It’s a perfectly tone-deaf thing for him to say. Now would be the perfect time for someone like Dawkins to say “Hey, maybe the way we have been expressing our ideology is creating a toxic social environment that is going to agitate people into a frenzied state.”

    Messaging has an effect on ideas. It’s not mysterious. The sheer amount of self-indulgence in the Dawkins tribe has made despising anyone who disagrees with them about ANYTHING sacrosanct. Once hateful acts are combined with a sense of duty, someone is going to get murdered.

    It isn’t “atheism creates killers.” That’s stupid. It’s a specific social atheism that thrives on perpetual rage-mongering that’s going to tilt the scales towards violence. This is going to happen again.

  4. dernostalgischetyp says:

    Now would be the Perfect Time for “The Bright” to sit down and reflect. But just like any other Fundie They are Blocking the Truth because it Puts holes in the oh so perfect Ideologie of new atheism. He makes The Victims into the guilty ones. Instead of just accepting the truth, which is that Radicalism of any kind must in inevitablely end in Blood, done be those that really just need an excuse to be murderous. Today I lost every inch of respect for them that I could have had. Shame on you Mr Dawkins For this lack of empathy.

  5. Allallt says:

    TFBW – Each of the people you named, although atheists, were not motivated by atheism. Each had their own dogma. Pol Pot’s agrarian dogma resulted in him arresting the intelligentsia; does that sound like atheism to you?

    Derno – have you considered that Dawkins is not responding to the murder, but to the overt and immediate response of the religious community to the fact the murderer was an atheist? That, although it’s in awful taste, Dawkins is not victim blaming but re-stating the difference between a murderer and a dogma teaching murder?

  6. GM says:

    Allallt- That’s entirely beside the point. Dawkins claims that he condemns hatred. Yet, he clearly condones and encourages acts that easily fall under the “hateful” category, he just appears to not understand that, or he’s lying. We aren’t demanding that he agrees with us about God, because disagreement does not equal hatred. What we ARE saying is to encourage public scorn and tasteless mockery, especially against something as vague and broad as ‘religion’ or ‘faith,’ carries psychological baggage that’s very dangerous. The New Atheist orthopraxis defends these things not only as safe, but as necessary moral goods. You don’t need to say “go murder people” to incite violence when you emotionally stoke the flames of narcotic hatred in a people group. Any people group is vulnerable to this.

    Just as it’s overly reductive to simply state “atheism made Stalin a mass murderer” so it is with “Atheism had nothing to do with Stalin’s mass murder.” His social conclusion that theism\religion was a threat to the state combined with his willingness to kill for the sake of the state led to mass murder. In the same way, New Atheists view the religious as a threat to society, at least in some way, simply by virtue of believing in God. In light of THAT ideology, which is impossible without atheism, we simply are calling this behavior out as dangerous in the same way that you rightly call out militant religious extremists.

  7. dernostalgischetyp says:

    what GM said

  8. TFBW says:

    Allallt said:

    Each of the people you named, although atheists, were not motivated by atheism.

    Yeah, atheism is rubber, and theism is glue. You can always claim that theists are motivated by their theism when they do something atrocious, but atheists? Never. Atheism motivates nothing. It sounds like one hand clapping.

    Whatever — the atheism aspect is largely irrelevant in this case. Dawkins says that there’s only one ideology that preaches the legal killing of dissenters, but here we have numerous examples of ideologies which practice the killing of dissenters on a massive scale, and he fails to notice them. I suspect he’s failed to notice precisely because of their association with atheism, or their lack of association with religion, if you prefer.

    This is beyond confirmation bias. The man’s ideological slant is so severe that he’s blind to the freakin’ obvious when it fails to match his world view.

  9. Kevin says:

    Dawkins got around that by saying there’s only one ideology NOW, meaning we can’t use Stalin to refute him.

  10. “Dawkins got around that by saying there’s only one ideology NOW, meaning we can’t use Stalin to refute him.”

    The North Korean government, on the other hand, is pretty murderous and still in power.

  11. TFBW says:

    North Korea is not even the only example. While the extraordinary bloodbath of the 20th century has thankfully dwindled, murderous secular totalitarian dictatorships are hardly a thing of the past. North Korea just gets all the attention because it’s the biggest threat to the West. We also have the curious blend of communism and Buddhism in Myanmar, where being of the wrong ethnicity or religion can easily get you killed, even if you are not openly dissenting.

    Even if we grant Dawkins the “now” qualifier, Islamic extremism is far from the only extant example of lethally intolerant ideology. It’s not even clear that it has the largest body count — it’s just the one which draws the most attention to itself. Most other actors would rather keep their executions under wraps, away from public scrutiny.

    Whatever. Dawkins is just trying to divert attention.

  12. Allallt says:

    Racist killing, which is still a massive problem globally (and no one has doubted it), is not the same issue as killing dissenters. Perhaps you can accuse Dawkins of a focussing so narrowly that he excludes other problems from his criticism (and that’s criticism I would support fully), but you can’t say this Tweet expresses ignorance.
    It’s insensitive.
    It’s focussed to the exclusion of problems in political dogmas (and, as I notice everyone’s reluctance to say it, Christian militias — washingtonpost.com/world/africa/tens-of-thousands-of-muslims-flee-christian-militias-in-central-african-republic/2014/02/07/5a1adbb2-9032-11e3-84e1-27626c5ef5fb_story.html)

  13. GM says:

    I can definitely say his tweet expresses ignorance, because it is ignorant, or it’s dishonest. To ignore the effects of his brand of invective is ignorant or deliberate handwaving. One or the other. You pick.

  14. TFBW says:

    Allallt said:

    It’s focussed to the exclusion of problems in political dogmas …

    Are you interpreting him as saying, “there’s only one religious ideology that preaches the legal killing of dissenters?” That’s not what he said. Political ideologies are also ideologies, you know. But let’s assume you interpret him correctly. Does that mean he’s implying that atheism is a religious ideology which does not preach the legal killing of dissenters?

  15. Allallt says:

    Name the current political ideology that preaches the killing of dissenters. Not political ideologies that permit killing, but ones that explicitly say that the penalty for disagreement is death.
    If you can, I will recant my earlier comment and admit to my own ignorance.

  16. TFBW says:

    Allallt said:

    Racist killing, which is still a massive problem globally (and no one has doubted it), is not the same issue as killing dissenters.

    I assume that this is in response to my mention of Myanmar. Your statement, while true, is irrelevant unless you also assert that the government in question doesn’t kill dissenters, which it does. The fact that they may also kill (or facilitate killing) for other reasons, such as simple ethnic differences, merely underscores how willing they are to shed blood as a general response to perceived problems. Set aside the religious and ethnic persecution aspect: they are still a paranoid military dictatorship which responds to opposition with lethal force. I don’t know enough about the goings on there to tell you when the last protester was killed, but there were newsworthy-scale incidents in 2007, which is recent enough.

  17. Michael says:

    Given that religious people everywhere have used this to accuse atheists of moral nihilism and relativism and for some religious people to continue there victim narrative, I think this is fair (but insensitive).

    I’m glad you agree it is insensitive. But it is deeply insensitive. What would cause such deep insensitivity? I would hypothesize it is hate. Hate, and bigotry, could easily account for such insensitivity. Is there a better explanation?

  18. Michael says:

    A Christian woman accused of distributing the Bible, a book banned in communist North Korea, was publicly executed last month for the crime, South Korean activists said Friday. – Here

  19. TFBW says:

    Allallt said:

    Name the current political ideology that preaches the killing of dissenters.

    They’re mostly variations on Marxism-Lenninism. In North Korea, they call it “Juche”, for what the name matters. Marxism-Lenninism has a long history of classifying its own form of government as “revolutionary” and dissenters as “enemies of the revolution”, so dissent is roughly equivalent to declaring yourself an enemy combatant. Individuals tend to be arrested and disappeared (for practical reasons, I suppose — less likely to make a martyr that way), but open slaughter is always an option in the case of large protests.

    Look, I’m not digging particularly deeply here — this is general knowledge backed by a bit of Wikipedia. I can only assume that if you’re asking the question, then you’re either tremendously sheltered, or looking to win on some kind of technicality. Are you telling me that Marxism-Lenninism (and offspring) is a thing of the past, or that it does not embrace the killing of dissidents? If not, then what’s your beef?

  20. GM says:

    The other elephant in Dawkins’ room is, he’s entirely ill-equipped to even interact with critiques of Islam: he’s magnificently illiterate of all subjects dealing with religion. The crisis facing Islam today is a complex interaction between history, culture, geopolitics, institutional clerical leadership and exegesis of the Koran. Any ONE of these things is going to take a lot of work to understand exactly what is happening in global Islam vs political Islam vs radical Islam and then comment on any of it with authority. That’s not even me giving the tenets of Islam the benefit of the doubt. But in the face of all the hard work that needs to be done even from a purely academic perspective, let alone actually taking steps to solve the problem, Dawkins sets up a Twitter account and croaks out “Religion is 4 stupid!”

    Thanks Rich, but sit down and shut up.

  21. Allallt says:

    The accusations against the Bible-distributer are spying, Bible distribution and organising dissenters. The execution cannot be confirmed. Which crime she was killed for is not explained. However (I’m trying to confirm the 2009 story now) if it did happen and is common practice, then I will admit to my ignorance of another ‘ideology’ ‘now’ ‘the preaches the legal killing’ ‘of dissenters’. (The quote marks are used to highlight all the criteria that must be filled before I admit to ignorance; I realise all the words actually appear in order.)
    Making your government entirely atheist is a demonstration of ridiculous condescension and bigotry, but it is not killing people for dissent.
    If you don’t mention current ideologies, you know I’ll rebut by asking why you don’t think Christianity teaches death to dissenters. Literal reading does require that, and people have historically followed it. But that is not a thing “now”, “that preaches the legal killing of dissenters”. There has been reform. I acknowledge that.

    As to why he’s being so insensitive, I wouldn’t like to speculate. But I never imagined I’d like the guy. My step dad told me how unlikable he was in person when Dawkins lectured my step dad at university (a lesson I learned before he was a celebrity).

  22. GM says:

    Oh man, just read ANY report on human rights in North Korea. There’s documented testimony of refugees that report 10-20 year hard labor sentences for standing on newspaper clippings with the Dear Leader’s picture on it. Guess what they’ll do if you publicly decry his authority?

    By the way, a “literal” reading of the Bible doesn’t get you to anything close to authorizing a Christian to kill a “dissenter.” It’s not a matter of literal or figurative, it’s about manipulating very basic traditional exegesis to get what you want. Misappropriating Old Testament case law for justifying authoritarian atrocities committed by those in Church office is the result of only 2 possibilities:

    1. Mind-boggling stupidity.
    2. Willfull ignorance in pursuit of power.

  23. Allallt says:

    (2) (a) teaches the legal killing (b) of dissenters.
    (3) an ideology

    10 years hard labour does not fit this. Can you see why? … I’m still open to bring shown an article that suggests this is being practiced out side of Islam.

    As for the Old Testament not teaching the legal killing of dissenters, how do you explain Deuteronomy 17:12, Exodus 22:19, 2 Chronicles 15:12-13, Zechariah 13:3, Deuteronomy 13:7-12 (I could go on, but you get it)? The only train this does not fit the criteria is because it’s not currently being practiced.

  24. GM says:

    Where did I say the Old Testament does not include laws that sentenced blasphemers to death?

    I said the Inquisition misappropriated those laws out of the old Mosaic covenant onto the Church of Jesus Christ. If you would like to attempt to show that was actually an accurate, rigorous exegesis of the Bible that informed faithful normative Christian ethics, you’re welcome to try. But to do that in a compelling way, you’re going to have to at least try to understand and express what the Bible even IS, and that’s just for starts. You would then have to talk about things like covenental theology (e.g. What does it mean for the Hebrews to be “God’s chosen people?”) and what the relationship is between the life/teachings of Jesus Christ and to the various covenants made throughout scripture. If every law and directive in the Bible could be verified as an attempt to establish God’s IDEAL for the life of man, it would be a profoundly stupid book. As it happens, it is not.

  25. TFBW says:

    Allallt, what about the answer that I gave some time ago. You haven’t responded to it. Does Marxism-Lenninism and its derivatives meet your requirements of not? If not, why not? Mao may not be ruling in China any more, but it’s still essentially the same communist government in power. They’ve reformed since then, to be sure, but not enough to fall outside the category that you are describing. This is the government that brought us the “Tiananmen Square” or “June 4” massacre of protesters in 1989, which they justified legally by describing the protest as a “counter-revolutionary riot”. See that “counter-revolutionary” part? It’s the label they put on dissenters when they want to (legally) use extreme measures, whether that means lengthy incarceration, summary execution, or ordering the army to open fire on a crowd of unarmed civilians — all of which happened during this incident on a fairly large scale. There hasn’t been anything as high-profile as that in the intervening years (that I can recall), but the government has never backed down on its ruling that the action was lawful and appropriate, despite numerous requests that they do so. Their response (in December, 2009) to the UN investigation on the subject stated, “the timely and decisive measures taken by the Chinese Government at the time were necessary and correct.”

    So here is an example of an ideology (a political ideology, modern Chinese communism, a derivative of Marxism-Lenninism) which teaches the legal killing of dissenters (strong dissent is branded “counter-revolutionary”, and potentially met with summary execution or lethal military intervention). Surely this meets your requirements?

    Caveat: I’m no expert on this subject. I’m gleaning from general knowledge and Wikipedia.

  26. Allallt says:

    TFBW – all apart from the lack of it being contemporary, it fits just fine. The Hong Kong protests from a few months ago shows it’s not the same now.

  27. TFBW says:

    2009 isn’t contemporary enough for you? You think there’s been a policy change? You think that if the Chinese government were asked to back down on its actions in 1989 today, it would do so, when it stood firm in 2009? Do you have any evidence to back that up, or are you simply willing to overlook their attitudes towards past killings so long as they haven’t done any more in the last year or so?

    I’m pretty much done arguing this point. I think my argument would satisfy a disinterested party.

  28. GM says:

    Lol. Do what those kids in Hong Kong did in Beijing and see what happens.

  29. Allallt says:

    2009 isn’t contemporary enough in the context of protestors not being killed, despite protesting, in 2014.
    Given that China’s most recent response to dissenters was not to kill them, i think it’s on you to show it’s the other way around.

  30. Allallt says:

    GM – given that nothing much happened in Hong Kong, why do you predict something extreme would happen in Beijing?

  31. GM says:

    Because the Standing Committee doesn’t have the same kind of authoritative presence in Hong Kong as it does everywhere else in China. Hong Kong falls under CCP sovereignty, but not *necessarily* legislative or even policing authority.

    I know, personally, one of the head student organizers of the Tiananmen protests, and she’s still one of the most wanted people in China. I traveled with her to Oslo when Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. While we were there, we met up with several of her former dissident colleagues and she learned that a close friend from the movement had died in Hong Kong, and she almost went to HK to attend the funeral. I say almost because the State Department told her that her safety wasn’t guaranteed more or less because of the press China was getting about the empty chair at the peace prize ceremony. China was on edge and their feelers were out because the dissidents had a global stage again. But had anything happened to her, it wouldn’t have been an above-board arrest, because she would have been in the jurisdiction of the HKP and not the CCP’s Ministry of Public Security. But the fact remains: She knows as a matter of fact that if she tried to return to China, she would be put in chains and probably executed, if not made to vanish into some hole forever. Yet she saw Hong Kong as someplace she could legitimately go without expectation of legal issues. So, the protesters could protest against the Standing Committee ram-rodding terrible election regulations into the HKLC with reasonable expectations of the protection of Hong Kong law.

    With all that said, Chinese state media still issued ominous warnings of “death and injury” and “unimaginable consequences” if the Hong Kong protests continued for too long or grew much larger. No one here is suggesting China is even remotely on the same level as the Mao days, but you don’t screw around with these people.

    North Korea, on the other hand, is as bad as the Mao days.

  32. TFBW says:

    Allallt, just to be clear, are you using the existence of a recent protest in which nobody was killed as evidence against the proposition that the current Chinese government endorses the killing of dissenters? That is, they didn’t kill anyone during a 2014 protest, therefore they do not endorse the killing of dissenters?

  33. Allallt says:

    TFBW – yes. I am saying the streets of Hong Kong, China, full of dissenters who weren’t killed suggest there isn’t an ideology there teaching that each of those dissenters could be killed legally.
    It certainly takes precedent over an incident in 1989. Trying to make the date 2009 is ridiculous. In 2009 they only said that action, at the time, was appropriate. “[T]he timely and decisive measures taken by the Chinese Government at the time were necessary and correct.” (My emphasis)
    Liu Xiaobo is a dissident, and in prison (not dead).
    Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong and dissidents who are put under house arrest, but not executed…

  34. GM says:

    This is the last thing I’m going to say on this because you’re becoming tedious. Neither of those three activists were directly involved in anything like the Hong Kong protests. Xiaobo could be an exception to that claim, but he’s remembered as convincing students to LEAVE Tiananmen before more were killed, so the government gave something of a “pass.”

    Now that China is a global economic powerhouse, they at least have the awareness that executing any and every high profile author who publishes a dissenting book would cause problems in their trade relationships. This has a lot to do with why their death penalty statistics are state secrets.

    But, this whole argument does not hang on current Chinese political theory and practice. Even IF China has changed its stance that people can be executed for political crimes (it hasn’t) you have done nothing to show that North Korean Marxism does not kill dissenters. All you’d have to do is find me an article that says this does not happen, because I’ve seriously tried and I can’t find anything. I mean! ANYTHING. I’ll absolutely grant that some of the claims coming out of NK (like 200 executed by being fed to dogs) are false, but when virtually everyone who escapes (whI have is literally the only way to leave the country for citizens) tells the same gruesome story of political purges and executions, it becomes difficult (and kind of strange) to dispute.

    Again, you’re free to have the last word. Like TFBW, this wouldn’t be an argument with a neutral party.

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