This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Charles Darwin was not the father of atheism

Charles Darwin was not the father of atheism - Comments

alexmzk's Avatar Comment 1 by alexmzk

Less happily, there will doubtless be jolly parties with themes like "The Death of God", at which Professor Richard Dawkins will appear in human form alongside his apostle, Christopher Hitchens, to the rapture of his atheistic disciples. Sinful bishops and rabbis will be forgiven, so long as they repent, and secularists will move among the people, with Darwin's sacred text to guide them, singing "Happy Birthday to Reason."

...yuck.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 06:39:00 UTC | #191559

kraut's Avatar Comment 2 by kraut

And what is the aim of this useless bit of drivel?

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 06:41:00 UTC | #191561

bugaboo's Avatar Comment 3 by bugaboo

Now i remember why i dont buy the torygraph.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 06:45:00 UTC | #191564

Oromasdes1978's Avatar Comment 4 by Oromasdes1978

Normally the Telegraph writes out some thought provoking articles but this is utter drivel!

There is no "Father of Atheism", I would have thought that should be one thing that is abundantly clear. There were many atheists before Darwin became one!

What Darwin has done for atheism, if anything, was to provide people with a starting point for a clearer explanation of how life evolved over millions of generations on this planet.

This article makes it look like Richard Dawkins & co have somehow put Darwin on some ridiculous pedestal - almost like worship.

NO, the reason why we are celebrating Darwin's achievements is because of his contribution to science, his work helped raise people's conciousness about evolution. The world has a lot to thank Darwin for and good on them for doing it.

I for one will be raising a hefty cup of Tea and making a general fuss about it, I promise!

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 06:54:00 UTC | #191576

jimbob's Avatar Comment 5 by jimbob

But it wasn't his science that destroyed his residual faith; it was the death of his 10-year-old daughter, Annie. Darwin's alienation from his former faith was driven by bitter personal experience, not cold, scientific analysis, as those who hail him as faith's nemesis might like to claim.


I wonder if there is a citation or quote to support this assertion!

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 06:57:00 UTC | #191579

Roel's Avatar Comment 6 by Roel

Then why do so many theists have so much trouble with Darwin?

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 06:57:00 UTC | #191580

bitbutter's Avatar Comment 7 by bitbutter

But I just want to suggest that Darwin wasn't the father of atheism;


No shit sherlock. Did you hear anyone saying otherwise, or is this the straw man it looks like?

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 07:16:00 UTC | #191595

henrah's Avatar Comment 8 by henrah

What a vacuous answer to a question nobody asked. It seems that where rationalists are happy to revel in the beauty of the natural order and the splendour of scientific achievement, religious apologists can only see their own idolatry reflected back.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 07:32:00 UTC | #191600

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 9 by Quetzalcoatl

Charles Darwin was not the father of atheism


No! Really?

- Head hits desk -

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 07:39:00 UTC | #191601

Ygern's Avatar Comment 10 by Ygern

Oh good grief.

What's that excellent word Irate_Atheist uses again? It really applies here.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 07:40:00 UTC | #191602

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 11 by Border Collie

I guess these guys have to write something, anything, to get their paychecks ...

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 07:43:00 UTC | #191604

Raiko's Avatar Comment 13 by Raiko

Less commas and more context, please.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 08:05:00 UTC | #191616

Barry Pearson's Avatar Comment 12 by Barry Pearson

My comment has just appeared there:

I wasn't aware that anyone had seriously claimed that Darwin WAS the father of atheism! (There were many atheists before him). So why bother to write this much to say he wasn't?

Some people here haven't caught up with the modern science of evolution. It is hard to over-emphasise just how well-established the science of evolution is, how much evidence there is for it, how modern and up-to-date that evidence is, and how fast, and to what depth, the science of evolution is enriching our understanding of the life on Earth over the last few billion years.

Some people have specialised religious beliefs that contradict evolution. Trying to defend religious beliefs against evolution is equivalent to trying to protect your house against a lava flow by standing in front of it!

A reason that many atheists criticise religion(s) is that religions often attempt to force or constrain people who don't share those beliefs. A good working model is:

"Religions are hobbies".

(More accurately, religious practices are hobbies). If all parties, (governments, religions, religious people, and atheists), work to that model, we can all coexist much better.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 08:05:00 UTC | #191615

Tezcatlipoca's Avatar Comment 14 by Tezcatlipoca

So this article is what happens when you bang away at a keyboard with your head up your ass? I would call it a bunch of tripe. But I like tripe, simmered with chili powder and various other spices, a bit of hominy and topped off with onion and a bit of lemon.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 08:08:00 UTC | #191619

ThoughtsonCommonToad's Avatar Comment 15 by ThoughtsonCommonToad

Crap article but its the Torygraph talking about religion what do you expect.

But it wasn't his science that destroyed his residual faith; it was the death of his 10-year-old daughter, Annie. Darwin's alienation from his former faith was driven by bitter personal experience, not cold, scientific analysis, as those who hail him as faith's nemesis might like to claim.


Because that's the only reason anyone really is an atheist isn't it. They're angry at God.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 08:18:00 UTC | #191629

catskill's Avatar Comment 16 by catskill


"Far better to see Darwin in the theological context of his time. The prevalent Victorian religious mindset was Natural Theology and, if its principal proponent, William Paley, would forgive the paraphrase, it ran that life, the universe and everything was too ordered, too complex, too coincidental and too downright beautiful to have come about by accident. It followed that it all must have had a benign and purposeful creator."


This is funny. The theological context of Victorian times. Creationism. The author makes it sound like this thinking is from a different era, yet this same argument is getting pushed into our schools even today.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 08:37:00 UTC | #191645

MrPinz's Avatar Comment 17 by MrPinz

Has this guy even read any of Richards' books?

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 08:38:00 UTC | #191650

notsobad's Avatar Comment 18 by notsobad

More bullshit from the Telegraph.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 08:44:00 UTC | #191658

mikecbraun's Avatar Comment 19 by mikecbraun

Duh...everyone knows that the father of atheism was Roger Atheism, who invented atheism in his basement in 1943 in Skokie, Illinois.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 08:47:00 UTC | #191660

Thurston's Avatar Comment 20 by Thurston

George Pitcher is an ordained minister so perhaps his contribution was always going to be an answer to a question no one asked.

Comment #201825 by mikecbraun: that really made me laugh.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 09:02:00 UTC | #191675

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 21 by Matt H.

Yet more hopeless drivel from the broadsheet edition of the Daily Mail.

I'm deeply ashamed that my parents still insist on buying it.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 09:29:00 UTC | #191686

eh-theist's Avatar Comment 22 by eh-theist

You guys all missed the point.

Atheism has no father - it was born by means of immaculate conception.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 09:30:00 UTC | #191687

Sciros's Avatar Comment 23 by Sciros

WHAAAT? I thought Darwin discovered that god doesn't exist when an apple fell on him and he was like "sweet an apple" and he ate it and he still didn't give a damn about being naked so he realized the whole Adam and Eve thing was bullshit and that humans and other primates evolved from a common ancestor.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 09:33:00 UTC | #191689

Faithhead's Avatar Comment 24 by Faithhead

But I just want to suggest that Darwin wasn't the father of atheism


Really...

It can't be...

Where's my Bible...

Oh wait, I knew all this already. At what point did his rebucke the fact Darwin's finding tore down one of the strongest and most commonly held Dogma's of the christian(and i'm sure other) faith.

Hahahaha. Good one eh-theist

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 10:03:00 UTC | #191707

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 25 by Apathy personified

Richard Dawkins will appear in human form alongside his apostle, Christopher Hitchens

I, for one, would love to see 'the Hitches' face if he reads that.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 10:06:00 UTC | #191708

Robert Maynard's Avatar Comment 26 by Robert Maynard

I liked the part where they made up that anyone has ever suggested Darwin is the father of atheism, or that his religious opinions have any bearing on anyone elses.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 10:11:00 UTC | #191712

Vaal's Avatar Comment 27 by Vaal

How does this fatuous claptrap get past the editor of a major national newspaper? They should be ashamed at writing such amateur histrionics.

"Dawkins and his apostles, his atheistic disciples, jolly parties with themes like "The Death of God, secularists will move among the people, with Darwin's sacred text"

I regret to inform you, Mr Pitcher, that clothing atheist's with the mantle of religious allegory is a fools errand, as we are the opposite of religion, the opposite of faith without evidence. Assigning ridiculous labels is self defeating bigotry and not worthy of a columnist on any respectable newspaper. It is the tripe that I would expect from David Robertson. Grow up!

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 10:12:00 UTC | #191713

ThoughtsonCommonToad's Avatar Comment 28 by ThoughtsonCommonToad

How does this fatuous claptrap get past the editor of a major national newspaper?


In addition to the "Daily Torygraph" (see above), Private Eye has also dubbed the paper the "Telavivograph"[citation needed], and "The Daily Hurleygraph" or "The Daily Tottygraph" for their frequent printing of the pictures of Liz Hurley and other notable attractive women, or as the "Maily Telegraph"[12] and "Daily Mailograph"[12] for the Eye's opinion that the newspaper sometimes focuses on issues traditionally seen as the preserve of the Daily Mail.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Telegraph#Satire

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 10:18:00 UTC | #191717

Isaksson's Avatar Comment 29 by Isaksson

What the hell was that all about? *points to the article*

Ive come to belive that in order for us as a species to survive, we have adopded many ways of working around our shortcomings.

This might be one option..

As infants we grab hold of our parents and guardians, and as we get just a little bit older and start to explore our world around us, we listen and believe what they say without reservation. (Atleast untill we are able to make up our own minds.) Thus, I think, we are all born atheists.

For whatever reason, we sometime in our amcestral past became self aware, and was able form abstract thinking outside of ou selfes. But we didnt know very much, and we hadnt yet developed the ways to figure things out. That might have been the birth of early religiouse thoughts, as a way of explaining, for our ancestors, the unexplainable.

For a society with a great number of people to coexist, you need some type of thing that unifies them. As a result, its not far fetched to see religion filling this gap. It might at one time have stilled both our lack of knowlage and kept folks in line with the rulers laws, for the sake of prosperity and what not.

So, it would be only natural for parents, that has learned to survive in their particular society by their parents, to teach their kids what they have learned throughout generation after generation.

This, however, I dont think is the case today. People are figuring out that they can survive, and undertand this world without any notions of god/gods, ancestral spirits or whatever, that says you can and cannot do certain things. We have other things that takes the place of religion, and those things only gets better as time moves forward.

I might ofcource be wrong, as im not a scientist or some such. But I wonder if the stonage people could even begin to grasp a notion like this.

In other words, Darwin does not seem to be the bloody father of atheism, evolution was, just as it was the father of religion, as a means of survival. He was the discoverer of evolution. Big fucking difference.

Wether religion is a byproduct of some other beneficial evolutionary happenstance, or the social evolution as we got more numerouse, I dont know.

If an arse like me can play around with my thoughts and form something like this with the bits and pieces I have heard here and there, how come older and more intelligent folk with more experience than me can't?

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 10:20:00 UTC | #191719

clodhopper's Avatar Comment 30 by clodhopper

I demand we dig him up and do a paternity test and report him to the CSA or whateverthefuckreplacedit. I want my maintenance payments backdated.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 10:50:00 UTC | #191731