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← Response to Dinesh D'Souza op-ed

Response to Dinesh D'Souza op-ed - Comments

Janus's Avatar Comment 1 by Janus

Well, that was pretty awful.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 10:32:00 UTC | #81369

crazy4blues's Avatar Comment 2 by crazy4blues

Again, D'Souza is an American right-wing errand boy, and has latest mission is to trupment right-wing Christianity of the stripe of George Bush. Like Ann Coulter, this latest writing assignment for the Republican Party is to whip up the ire of "Christian" voters so that they can elect republicans. At this point, exploiting this demographic is the only way Republicans can win.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 10:40:00 UTC | #81370

Gymnopedie's Avatar Comment 3 by Gymnopedie

Dinesh D'Souza: Dishonest or Deluded?

Probably a good mix of both. His example, as the author points out, of using Thomas Jefferson as the Christian founder of the nation shows a blatant ignorance of American history, not to mention a very sloppy attempt to rewrite American history. He does avoid calling Jefferson a Christian outright, but I think he implies it quite conspicuously. Dishonest? For sure.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 10:48:00 UTC | #81374

savroD's Avatar Comment 4 by savroD

D'Souza and all his like-thinking compatriots need a holding pen. Let's give em Texas. There they can outlaw abortion, gays, and Atheism. I think they should agree to have to be called the "Christiliban". I coined that one!

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 10:52:00 UTC | #81376

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 5 by Matt H.

"Well, that was pretty awful." wrote Janus.

How so? One only needs to look at the recent debates D'Souza has been a part of to understand where Kelly is coming from here. You don't even need to look at that hive of scum and villainy that is his column in USA Today.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 10:53:00 UTC | #81377

Janus's Avatar Comment 6 by Janus

Oh, don't get me wrong, I agree with Kelly. It's just that the article is written amateurishly.

But, well, that's what you expect from the RRS.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 10:59:00 UTC | #81381

Nebularry's Avatar Comment 7 by Nebularry

I would like to suggest that we christen "D'Souza Dilemma" a bona fide pathology.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 11:07:00 UTC | #81386

konquererz's Avatar Comment 8 by konquererz

Dinesh D'Souza just irritates the hell out of me! He says things that are patently false and acts like its common knowledge! He says things about current science that is provably false that leads others into the dark ages of thought. He deserves every bad review he gets.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 11:12:00 UTC | #81387

DarwinsPitbull's Avatar Comment 9 by DarwinsPitbull

Janus,

Whats the point of ridiculing RRS? Every one who tries to help the cause of atheism, should be welcomed and not pushed away. Not every atheist is going be a professor, philosopher or neurologist. They are at least trying to help, even if you think its "amateurishly".

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 11:17:00 UTC | #81391

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 10 by Matt H.

I agree with DarwinsPitbull. The RRS have never claimed to be intellectuals in the same category as Dawkins, Harris, Dennett and Hitchens. If you listen to their podcasts you'll see that they put across their side in a colloquial fashion, something quick and easy for the average Joe to understand. I don't mean that in a degrading way, of course. Not everyone is into reading essays and theses whenever they want to hear a side of the argument.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 11:26:00 UTC | #81393

jimmm33's Avatar Comment 11 by jimmm33

Awful?

I understand what she wrote.

Is a journalism degree required to be an outspoken atheist? We all have a role. Any voice is welcome.

It might be more helpful to offer constructive criticism rather than just stating it's awful. This is the kind of thing theists love. "Oh, even other atheists think it's awful". I can hear them now.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 11:31:00 UTC | #81395

Janus's Avatar Comment 12 by Janus

I'm not one of those atheists who wish that the RRS would vanish because they somehow tarnish the reputation of atheists everywhere. I agree that every little bit helps, and the RRS has helped the cause of atheism more than a little bit. They certainly help it more than I do (or ever will).

The RRS' style is fine for blogs and podcasts, but now it looks like Kelly is hoping to get her stuff published by some papers. If she wants that to happen (and if it happens, if she doesn't want to tarnish our reputation, heh), she has to stop writing as if she were flaming a troll on a forum.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 11:36:00 UTC | #81398

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 13 by Fanusi Khiyal

While reading it, one must wonder if he is either a blatant liar or simply downright deluded.


I assure you that this isn't an either/or scenario. This, by the way, is the same guy who said, quote

'There has never been any history of Sunni/Shia strife in Iraq before 2003'.

He is also the guy who thinks that the 9/11 jihadists struck because they were outraged by MTV and Britney Spears and so on.

Someone confine this man before it's too late.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 11:42:00 UTC | #81403

oxytocin's Avatar Comment 14 by oxytocin

Janus, I was actually rather impressed with Kelly's scholarship, relative to what I had seen from her previously. I agree that the RRS's methods tend to border on "antics", often appearing amateurish and infantile, but I thought that this piece bucked the trend. I agree with those above who promote the wisdom of accepting all sorts of people from various walks of life who promote reason and education. If we look to history, we will find that many successful movements employed varied strategies. The beauty of the non-theistic position is that we can feel free to agree or disagree with any of our brothers and sisters...since there is [hopefully] no faith involved, we need not be unified in the minutiae of our thoughts. Conversely, disparity between beliefs amongst the faithful is an important problem for any religious endeavor.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 11:44:00 UTC | #81406

ChrisMcL's Avatar Comment 15 by ChrisMcL

It's difficult to criticize a fellow atheist, unless that atheist is criticizing another atheist.

Atheists really need to get over their worship of fellow atheists. Some atheists just have some bad ideas (me?). I admire Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, the folks at RRS, and many other prominent atheists. But being perfect is reserved for imaginary sky-daddy's. Our atheist heroes can be as flawed as anyone. How about if some of us try to curb our knee-jerk reaction of calling into question the integrity of anyone critical of our atheist brothers and sisters.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 12:07:00 UTC | #81417

LoneStarTravis's Avatar Comment 16 by LoneStarTravis

savroD,

Let's not give Texas to these religious crazies.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 12:15:00 UTC | #81420

rcphelan's Avatar Comment 17 by rcphelan

No, D'Souza is actually brilliant, jumping in to be the most likely one to make money from attacking "the new atheists" (who is not sick to death of that term already?), given his obvious ties to a great publishing agent.

In the Hitchens debate he disdainfully rejected Dawkins with the usual scientists-should-not- comment-on-history reprimand. Then he, incredibly, goes on to use David Hume as his best example that God must exist because nothing about the future can be assumed from past experience, therefore the (possible) existence of miracles must always be conceded, and, with it, the great flaw in the scientific method is exposed. I am sure Hitchens realized he was stuck with a real loony here and just wanted to get away as soon as possible.

Reading D'Souza I cannot assume that my head will necessarily soon explode, but.....BOOM.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 12:24:00 UTC | #81424

Diacanu's Avatar Comment 18 by Diacanu

D'souza is gunning to be the male Coulter.

Like we needed the female one in the first place.

Ugh, the horror.

Well, maybe the world would be boring without villains, but damn, I would sure be willing to suffer that boredom for awhile to at least try it out.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 12:45:00 UTC | #81431

sapient's Avatar Comment 19 by sapient

Oxy said: "Janus, I was actually rather impressed with Kelly's scholarship, relative to what I had seen from her previously. I agree that the RRS's methods tend to border on "antics", often appearing amateurish and infantile, but I thought that this piece bucked the trend."

Thanks Oxy for having the decency to see this piece for what it is. We realize that some of our stunts have made it hard for people who quickly judge books by their cover to not understand just how intellectual we can be here at RRS. Our antics in the past have been designed specifically to reach the layman. Major media publications want material that is more scholarly, and so therefore this entire year will be a demonstration in just how scholarly we can be, at least in this one aspect from Kelly.

Look forward to at least one piece per week that will debunk theist talking heads in a scholarly manner. Hopefully 2 per week... time and troll permitting.

Janus, will you be able to keep up the act of posting discouraging comments within seconds of Kelly's posts going on RDF for the next 50+ pieces that will be coming this year? Or will you at some point decide to admit the pieces she will be writing are not even in the realm of amateurish? And would more accurately be described as college level or higher.

For those interested in the fact that Kelly has not yet finished college, keep in mind she held a 4.0 and is half way through a 5 year Masters program in psychology, before having her third child made it too hard to juggle it all. In those 2 years she made honors in both english lit and composition. She plans to return to school soon, will gain easy acceptance in to one of three Ivy League Schools, and will one day hold the credential that will make people who value a piece of paper over actual intelligence, happy.

For more on this issue, see Matthew Chapman's Youtube video about this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dARv4_31krY

Lastly, if anyone would actually like to engage in the discussion of these issues with Kelly, she will entertain comments in her blog on RRS website throughout the year.

Hopefully she will have the opportunity this year to actually write these articles, as opposed to responding to trolls and hate when the stories are posted. I will be trying to respond to some of the criticism off site, while she will (hopefully) only take the time to respond to people in her own blog.

If any of you get behind this project, please feel free to utilize this particular post of mine to answer other trolls in the future, when deconstructive criticism and trollish behavior ensues. Each time we have to respond to a troll takes away from our time to respond to someone of importance... like Dinesh (yes, I know we wish he wasn't important, but he is).

Here is the blog:
http://www.rationalresponders.com/blog/kellym78

Here is the feed:
http://www.rationalresponders.com/blog/428/feed

And you can find a widget for your website that will catalog Kelly's efforts on our myspace page:
http://www.myspace.com/rationalresponse

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:14:00 UTC | #81443

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 20 by Bonzai

Our antics in the past have been designed specifically to reach the layman. Major media publications want material that is more scholarly, and so therefore this entire year will be a demonstration in just how scholarly we can be


So you are operating under the assumption that the layman is stupid? Talk about elitism.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:18:00 UTC | #81450

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 21 by Steve Zara

I am not a huge fan of the RSS, but I have to disagree with Janus. This seemed a lucid, well-written and useful article.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:19:00 UTC | #81451

sapient's Avatar Comment 22 by sapient

This is the type of stuff I hope the intellectuals here will rip apart so we don't have to...

"Our antics in the past have been designed specifically to reach the layman. Major media publications want material that is more scholarly, and so therefore this entire year will be a demonstration in just how scholarly we can be


FROM BONZAI:
So you are operating under the assumption that the layman is stupid? Talk about elitism. "


STRAWMAN... someone light a match.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:38:00 UTC | #81458

Dower's Avatar Comment 23 by Dower

The RRS' style is fine for blogs and podcasts, but now it looks like Kelly is hoping to get her stuff published by some papers. If she wants that to happen (and if it happens, if she doesn't want to tarnish our reputation, heh), she has to stop writing as if she were flaming a troll on a forum.


I spent 40 years on the copy desk of a major Illinois newspaper. Kelly's article held my attention from the first word to the last. She definitely has the writing style that would grab the attention of religion page editors.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:42:00 UTC | #81461

Janus's Avatar Comment 24 by Janus

Looks like I'm being perceived as the stereotypical RRS hater, which is amusing considering I was among the few people on this website who applauded the RRS for the holy spirit denial thing on Youtube. Well, I guess it's my fault for posting that one-liner.

I do think that Kelly's article reads like a forum post. A good forum post, mind you, and one that I would be proud to be the author of, but it's written in a style that would make me flinch if I was reading it in my local newspaper. The same thing could be said about Sapient's reply to Michael Shermer, if anyone remembers that.

Here are two examples of what I'm talking about:

"While reading it, one must wonder if he is either a blatant liar or simply downright deluded. (Maybe this could be the D'Souza Dilemma: Dishonest or Deluded?)"

This is a childish insult. Yes, you're right, D'Souza is dishonest and deluded, but stating it so bluntly makes you look bad. Most importantly, if you have to insult him in such a way, do it at the end of a paragraph _after_ you've given evidence that he is in fact a deluded liar. It's not something you say in an article's introduction.


"The fact that anybody with even a shred of logic or knowledge of history would make it past his opening salvo without lighting it on fire is a miracle of its own."

First, it's obvious that this sentence is meant to sound clever and witty. It doesn't.
Second, same complaint as above. It makes you sound like you're flaming a troll on a forum. You should explain why it's crap, then say it's crap. Or even better, _imply_ that it's crap. A certain degree of subtlety is a must in professional writing.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:44:00 UTC | #81462

Dower's Avatar Comment 25 by Dower

This is a childish insult. Yes, you're right, D'Souza is dishonest and deluded, but stating it so bluntly makes you look bad. Most importantly, if you have to insult him in such a way, do it at the end of a paragraph _after_ you've given evidence that he is in fact a deluded liar. It's not something you say in an article's introduction.


No different than what Hitchens does.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:48:00 UTC | #81465

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 26 by PrimeNumbers

When I read the article I didn't notice that Kelly of RRS had written it, until I reached the negative comments. I felt it was a good commentary, to the point, and it made valid points.

As for style - really it's substance that matters, and that people read it that matter.

We can't all be elquent speakers like Hitchins, but sure as hell can do a better, less annoying job than McGrath, and Kelly certainly does a better job than, and I'd like to say that I'm thinking that I'd like to say, McGrath.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:49:00 UTC | #81466

Dower's Avatar Comment 27 by Dower

A certain degree of subtlety is a must in professional writing.


As a retired professional newspaper editor, I am inclined to say that is a bunch of crap.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:50:00 UTC | #81467

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 28 by Mr DArcy

Being a mere peasant, I cannot possibly comment on the style in which other posters phrase their comments. To me, as long as the meaning is clear, then I can make my mind up about something.

I agree with the gist of what O'Connor has said. The man D'Souza is a consumate showman selling snake oil. Maybe he would like to be the next Billy Graham or the like. What the hell. The man believes in miracles, he holds an absurd position and should be ridiculed as such. The scientific method is based on faith according to D'Souza. The bollocks that this man spouts should be carefully collated and used in evidence against him.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:58:00 UTC | #81472

BaronOchs's Avatar Comment 29 by BaronOchs

I appreciate the RRS, and I thought this article was allright but *sticks head and neck above parapet* patchy in places. Like:

the entire basis for belief in any god is faith, the definition of which is the antithesis of reason,


That may be right but it begs the question what definition of faith? or who's definition? What about Kant and the moral postulate, an argument for faith that was -I'd say- entirely unconvincing but not antithetical to reason (just pants).

. . manifests itself in the fanaticism of its adherents


Clearly not all adherents, and fanaticism is not logically the outcome of rejecting reason anyhow, it might just make you stupid or ridiculous, but unfanatical.

Whether you call this invisible and undetectable being Yahweh or Allah is of little consequence


I don't get the meaning or purpose of such a statement, of little consequence to whom? Probably not people who actually believe in yahweh or allah?!

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 14:01:00 UTC | #81473

Janus's Avatar Comment 30 by Janus

As a retired professional newspaper editor, I am inclined to say that is a bunch of crap.


Okay, a certain degree of subtlety when it comes to insults.

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 14:12:00 UTC | #81477