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

← OUR VIEW: Atheist preachers, prophets and killers (vote in poll)

OUR VIEW: Atheist preachers, prophets and killers (vote in poll) - Comments

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 1 by Bernard Hurley

Is this real or have I finally gone totally bonkers?

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 16:09:38 UTC | #511852

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 2 by God fearing Atheist

Another atheist extremist went on a rampage last week, taking hostages at the Discovery Channel building and demanding the network do more to proselytize evolution and fear about environmental Armageddon. Before he harmed anyone, police shot the terrorist dead.

This is the nutcase's manifesto. Religion is only mentioned once - "4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed." - the rest is a rant about the environmental impact of human population growth.

I'm not sure why atheism is the whipping boy here ... ah yes, the article was written by a religious nutcase.

Updated: Sun, 05 Sep 2010 16:27:37 UTC | #511858

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 3 by godsbelow

This article is so preposterous that it really doesn't merit any serious comment.

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 16:31:04 UTC | #511860

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 4 by AtheistEgbert

Who ever said responsible journalism was dead?

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 16:46:34 UTC | #511872

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

Colorado Springs is a hotbed of delusional thinking.

I only could last 2:24 into the '' Holy Baby " video. Is there a pool on the one who can go the longest into this tripe?

Updated: Sun, 05 Sep 2010 16:51:44 UTC | #511874

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 6 by mirandaceleste

Comment 5 by Neodarwinian :

Colorado Springs is a hotbed of delusional thinking.

I only could last 2:24 into the '' Holy Baby " video. Is there a pool on the one who can go the longest into this tripe?

I watched the entire 24 minutes. It's painful and creepy as all hell. But it's also a chillingly effective (I'm assuming) example of childhood religious indoctrination, and it's targeted at babies, which makes it all the more disturbing.

I haven't yet watched episode two, though. I think I'll need a stiff drink before I do.

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 17:21:18 UTC | #511883

The Wolf's Avatar Comment 7 by The Wolf

Those who commit atrocities to fight for the cause of Darwin

the 'cause of Darwin'? Am i missing something here, did Darwin start some sort of a cult or religion?

Im all for free speech, and this stupid article has given me a good giggle over my tea and biscuits

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 17:30:46 UTC | #511894

Philoctetes                                        's Avatar Comment 8 by Philoctetes

I assumed this was another ironic and sarcastic piece taking the piss out of religious believers, then it dawned on me that the author might just be serious. Words beginning with "W" and rhyming with "Banker" come to mind.

I am in complete agreement with Comment 3 by godsbelow "This article is so preposterous that it really doesn't merit any serious comment." Which is why I've contented myself with a silly one. What's more I hope only silly and sillier comments will follow

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 17:39:23 UTC | #511900

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 9 by Jos Gibbons

Per capita, do athiests [sic] provide as much charity as members of traditional religions?

Yes, atheists are at least as charitable as members of traditional religions

No, atheists less charitable than members of traditional religions

I don’t know

I don’t care

Given that it must be merely a statistical fact whether atheists have at least as much charity as do members of traditional religions, what is the point of this poll, as if we were discussing if you’re pro–life or pro–choice? Are we trying to measure the level of ignorance, both honest and dishonest, and apathy of the public? If so, the results will be most revealing. But if the second answer outvotes the first, theists – don’t crow about it as if it proved anything. FWIW every statistical method ever used to compare atheism to religion on a moral basis, including charity, has shown the “at least as” condition is putting it mildly.

Atheist preachers, prophets and killers (vote in poll)

Some people will expect me here to question the applicability of preacher as a synonym for any defender or critic of any idea, or of prophet in a context which explicitly repudiates that very concept as valid, or “atheist killers” for implying in a rather post hoc manner the two are connected, or using a plural noun in an article about one nutter. However, for brevity, I will not discuss those in any more length than in that last sentence. I’d just like to point out it’s not the subject of this poll. “Vote in poll” – I can’t!

It's much like any old religion

Comparisons need examples to be demonstrated or refuted. I shall refute them as they arise. For now, I’d just like to point out that, if criticism of religion really is like religion, this only serves as an objection to the criticism of religion if not serves as one to religion too. It amazes me how often people who like religion see an alleged similarity to religion inherent in that which they dislike as their trump card in objecting to it.

Another atheist extremist went on a rampage last week, taking hostages at the Discovery Channel building and demanding the network do more to proselytize evolution and fear about environmental Armageddon.

“Another” is meant to distract us from how poor this example is, as is the lack of a source where we can read more about this. The comments section suggests there is much which this summary has overlooked ... like it being the exact opposite of what the guy thought. (Take, for instance, him being anti–procreation – hardly a fan of social Darwinism).

Darwinian theory has a strange effect on people who are “crazy, wicked, or both.”

Any idea does (or is at least used an excuse; we’re talking about crazy people here). Luckily, there are almost no genuinely crazy people per capita. But religion can have horrid effects on good, normal people, which is billions of people.

Eric Harris, Jokela High School shooter Pekka Eric Auyinen and Holocaust Memorial Museum shooter James von Brunn espoused an evangelical loyalty to Darwin and atheism.

Shooters in general show almost no logical whereabouts. Wasn’t one of the most famous school shootings justified by, “I don’t like Mondays”? (They wrote a whole song about that.) No reference to evolution by any horrid person when giving their pretexts has ever shown the faintest understanding of how natural selection actually works. Surely, if ignorance kills, we ought to do more to espouse what evolution really means?

Those who commit atrocities to fight for the cause of Darwin are similar to those who commit atrocities for the sake of Jesus or Muhammed. They are con men, striking out in hatred and justifying their acts with figures greater than self.

The thought of Muhammad being a figure greater than someone else is a head–scratcher for me. In any case, please try to understand one key point: there is a continuum of how accurate are claims that person X advocated Y. When people say Darwin supported something, they almost never understand the difference in what Darwin said is the case and what Darwin said he wanted to be the case. This alone makes such claims far dumber than noting that “Kill the infidels” and similar phrases are spread throughout the Torah, Bible, Koran and Hadith.

Of the few atheist proselytizers, a tiny fraction kills people and blows things up for the cause.

Name me one example of anyone who ever used the nonexistence of a god as their explicit reason to do something we otherwise recognise as abhorrent. “For the cause” requires that this be done to prove the point. There have been some bad atheists; there have also been some bad people with moustaches.

Darwin wanted nothing to do with atheists and understood the ultimate limits of science.

Even if science is rubbish, this has nothing to do with atheism, but I’m not even convinced on the basis of any quotations of his which I have seen he thought science had ultimate limits, let alone that he was right (as the weasel word “understood” suggests). What we do know is he noted what science didn’t know in his lifetime. But more or less every example he cited has now been cleared up. (That blue–eyed cats are deaf remains the main mystery.)

Darwin didn’t waste time trying to disprove creation theory

That’s exactly what he did. Creationism was the one thing he could dare say was wrong. He couldn’t even bear to deny Lamarckism, but creationism was a different story.

Just as James Dobson and other evangelists cultivate audiences in order to spread their beliefs, so do atheist evangelizers.

The main thing people like RD do when talking to audiences is encourage them to be honest about the non–belief they already have.

Myers, who grabbed attention by vandalizing sacred religious property

You mean he stuck a nail through a cracker? That people would otherwise have eaten with their sharp teeth? Hm.

young and energetic

He’s 53.

Myers preaches with fire and brimstone against the mere tolerance of religious beliefs of students.

Religious evangelists actually do threaten you with fire or brimstone. Myers just says people he disagrees with him are wrong to an extent that is hard to not find hilarious. It is worth noting how ambiguous is the word “tolerance”. Myers has never supported discrimination against theists. What he has said is we should be honest about how much we feel they conflict with our standards of reason.

He refers to the faithful as “intellectual cowards.”

That is a lie. I can only find him using that phrase once on Pharyngula, and it is referring to people who leant disproportionate credence to a single creationist’s allegation that a historical account of creationism–evolution trials was unkind in its description of creationism as a “myth”. Whatever stance you take on either that issue of how Myers reacted, you cannot say he views all theists in this way.

He said any suggestion that atheist teachers respect the religious beliefs of students angers him, and “you do not want to see me when I’m angry.”

It’s amazing how important this author feels it is to take movie references out of context to make them seem sincere on another’s behalf. The fact that none of the rest of the sentence has either quotations or a link should lead you to question what Myers really said. Whenever I’ve seen him discuss the tolerance issue, he has made the distinction between multiple meanings of it which I referenced above, but which the author of this article cannot.

it would be a strain to be sensitive to the religious beliefs of a school student’s family without saying “bulls---.” He called prominent British biology philosopher Michael Ruse, who promotes reconciliation of faith and evolutionary theory, a “Clueless godshite.”

Oh no! He used insulting rhetoric typical of discussions of all topics bar religion! Oh no! He did it for religion instead! Oh no!

“I made him cry,” Myers boasted in Copenhagen.

I saw that speech. It was not a boast. It was an explanation as to why Ruse has so persistently moaned about a two–word phrase once used to describe him whenever he has discussed Myers, and why when Myers now has renewed need to discuss Ruse he needs to give some background to their history.

Now listen to Myers, who was quick to defend his followers after atheist James J. Lee took hostages at Discovery in an effort to force more atheist televangelism.

More atheist televangelism? Is there any at all? Please remember, you were the one who put that t at the start of televangelism. Name me one TV show which has exhibited that. Also, if Myers can’t mention Lee’s failure to represent what is normal of atheists without accusations of being like religious clerics, then shouldn’t the same apply to politicians who hate the BNP?

Myers listed 19 reasons why atheism differs from religion, including this: “They (atheists) don’t make claims that taking courses in Darwinism will clear up your mental health issues.” Really? Here’s Myers’ blog headline from April 28: “Sometimes, it really is hard to tell faith from a mental illness.” So, if believers in God would learn from Myers, they would lose the signs of mental illness.

Who said anyone would lose a mental illness they had if they became atheist? Not Myers. He said there is something hard to distinguish from mental illness to be found in those who are not atheists. He never said it was mental illness, nor he say it was curable, by leaving religion or otherwise. Like any biologist, Myers is aware there is very little that can be done to make a person sane.

faith in a philosophy that can never be proved or disproved

Are there literally no forms of intermediate evidence for which this author cares?

All you’re lacking are orphanages, AIDS hospices, missionaries, and thousands of charitable foundations. Get on it.

I realise NBGA is not thousands of charities, but that charities seldom advertise themselves by irreligiosity does not mean they do not receive heathen funds. Do you really think that, before NBGA, no atheist ever gave money to any charity?

Friend him on Facebook

Can you enemy someone on Facebook?

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 17:54:07 UTC | #511907

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 10 by Dhamma

Had Mao Zedong discovered evolution it would be no less true than had the Pope done it. I accept evolution because it's the reality.

Atheism is about a non-belief, not morality. There are very bad atheists no doubt, it has nothing to do with our non-faith. That I'm positive the earth revolves around the sun has little effect on my morality. I won't stone anyone for thinking otherwise.

Had atheists been highly immoral due to lack of belief in a deity, it would still be the sensible thing to be if you find it to be true. The positive side of the reality is that it's even suggested atheists might be more moral than the religious due to various reasons. At least I haven't found anything that suggests otherwise, and even if I did, it wouldn't impact my views on what's the reality.

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 17:57:25 UTC | #511908

The Plc's Avatar Comment 11 by The Plc

PZ rules. What a guy.

Everyone who ever committed a bad dead is by definition an atheist, as there is always at least one theistic deity that any person, good or bad, doesn't believe in. You can say Moses was an atheist, as he repudiated all the gods that weren't Yahweh. Same for Jesus.

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 19:48:01 UTC | #511959

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 12 by Stevehill

He's not worth any bandwidth. Nor I suspect is the Colorado Springs Gazette: circulation 88,000, bankrupt 2010.

The decline continues: 58,000 by 31 March.

I'll give them two years.

Updated: Sun, 05 Sep 2010 20:11:02 UTC | #511971

Austin K's Avatar Comment 13 by Austin K

That show is creepy.

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 21:05:46 UTC | #511995

SeanSantos's Avatar Comment 14 by SeanSantos

It disappoints me that so many people from my state push this kind of crap.

On a side note, although I try not to have any particular "litmus test" for whose opinion I find valuable, I have to say that quoting "Dobson, then-leader of Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family" as if he's some kind of pleasant wholesome religious fellow automatically loses the speaker any moral high ground they might have tried to build up. Dobson uses slander and conspiracy theories to make fundamentalists afraid of non-existent threats, and in fact that's the only "useful" thing he seems to accomplish (useful only in the sense that it increases the funding and reputations of his allies).

The fact that the man continues to be quoted as if he has some sort of moral or intellectual authority continues to baffle and irritate me.

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 02:50:23 UTC | #512117

littletrotsky13's Avatar Comment 15 by littletrotsky13

And the poll gets funnier: Are atheists at least as charitable as tratitional religions?: Yes:86% No:4% Don't know:3% Don't care:7%

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 10:36:53 UTC | #512251

spmccullagh's Avatar Comment 16 by spmccullagh

What this is clearly demonstrating to me is that the human condition generates "extremists" in all walks of life - religious, athiests, or whatever.

Surely then, rather than trying to get rid of what these idiots are blaming their actions on, we should try to find out the real cause(s) of extremism?

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 12:45:42 UTC | #512331

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 17 by Mark Jones

Comment 16 by spmccullagh

How is it you can see God so clearly, yet for 12 days you've still not figured out the correct spelling of atheist? :-)

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 12:58:06 UTC | #512344

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 18 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 16 by spmccullagh

Surely then, rather than trying to get rid of what these idiots are blaming their actions on, we should try to find out the real cause(s) of extremism?

And how do you propose we do that?

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 15:00:16 UTC | #512431

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 19 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 10 by Dhamma

Had Mao Zedong discovered evolution it would be no less true than had the Pope done it. I accept evolution because it's the reality.

Had Mao Zedong discovered evolution then millions of his fellow countrymen might not have starved to death. China might have adopted rational agricultural policies instead of relying on chanting his sayings over paddy-fields and dancing Feng Shou Wu. Sometimes the truth can be important to millions - far too important to be left to the religious leaders or politicians.

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 15:24:14 UTC | #512442

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 20 by Stafford Gordon

I thought that this must be a spoof, but instead I discover it's a rant from another, apparantly, desperate and deranged individual.

It's frightening and confusing enough stuff for adults, so I can imagine the effect it has on children.

S G

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 17:41:02 UTC | #512496

Akaei's Avatar Comment 21 by Akaei

(Would you believe I, the epitome of succinctness, found the max. 1000 character count stifling?)

This article is incredibly dishonest.

The associated poll is also dishonest. First, the poll, "Per capita, do athiests provide …" Will the religious 86% of Americans BELIEVE the average atheist is more charitable than their self? All we learn is popular opinion. This is a blatant push poll. And perhaps we should disqualify donations to religious institutes from being considered charities. How would that effect opinion regarding "providing charity?" Regardless, it's still just the opinion of the poll-takers. How is that relevant?

What does the Discovery Institute (a creationist think tank) have to do with the Discovery Channel? Nothing. Why is Laugesen quoting polemics?

James J. Lee grievances were with the human race, mostly due to overpopulation. Why did Laugensen omit that? Why did Laugensen insist Lee had an agenda was to reprogram Discovery Ch with evolution?

Whether Laugensen's deficiency is a lack of competence or honesty he has deprived himself of credibility.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 06:37:25 UTC | #512794

Akaei's Avatar Comment 22 by Akaei

Comment 16 by spmccullagh :

What this is clearly demonstrating to me is that the human condition generates "extremists" in all walks of life - religious, athiests, or whatever.

Surely then, rather than trying to get rid of what these idiots are blaming their actions on, we should try to find out the real cause(s) of extremism?

By "whatever" I'm assuming you mean journalists, a la Wayne Laugesen.

Extremism is a result of ideologies. I would be more than happy to get rid of those. Can we start with catholicism?

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 06:43:57 UTC | #512797

zengardener's Avatar Comment 23 by zengardener

Another brilliant article by the Onion.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 09:50:07 UTC | #512870

Randy Ping's Avatar Comment 24 by Randy Ping

Discovery Channel does suck, however. It used to be a good channel, lots of (watered down) science content, great nature docs etc... but look at the average daily line up now: Gang shows, UFO's and haunting nonsense. I wouldn't mind them doing shows about people who think they've encountered ghosts and what-not if they actually approached it from a scientificaly honest point; but no, they pull out these idiot "paranormal investigators" (pseudoscientific gobshites), psychics and excorcism con-men. The guy may have been a total fucktard, but he was right about how Discovery Channel has betrayed their mission.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 15:58:01 UTC | #513106

Axeman33's Avatar Comment 25 by Axeman33

Comment 21 by Akaei :

(Would you believe I, the epitome of succinctness, found the max. 1000 character count stifling?) This article is incredibly dishonest.

The associated poll is also dishonest. First, the poll, "Per capita, do athiests provide …" Will the religious 86% of Americans BELIEVE the average atheist is more charitable than their self? All we learn is popular opinion. This is a blatant push poll. And perhaps we should disqualify donations to religious institutes from being considered charities. How would that effect opinion regarding "providing charity?" Regardless, it's still just the opinion of the poll-takers. How is that relevant? What does the Discovery Institute (a creationist think tank) have to do with the Discovery Channel? Nothing. Why is Laugesen quoting polemics?

James J. Lee grievances were with the human race, mostly due to overpopulation. Why did Laugensen omit that? Why did Laugensen insist Lee had an agenda was to reprogram Discovery Ch with evolution? Whether Laugensen's deficiency is a lack of competence or honesty he has deprived himself of credibility.

Yeah, it's funny how he places atheism as the cause to this guys rampage but doesn't even touch upon the fact that relgion promotes over population (which as you stated was the real cause of this horrific event).

Fri, 10 Sep 2010 15:31:28 UTC | #515577

UnderINK's Avatar Comment 26 by UnderINK

I'm not seeing the same video everyone else is. I'm getting a Catholic TV game show. I would really like to see this nauseating video but NOBODY has the link for it.

Sun, 12 Sep 2010 06:20:52 UTC | #516426

Akaei's Avatar Comment 27 by Akaei

I'm not sure how to confirm it as reliable but I believe these are the demands of the assailant:

http://savetheplanetprotest.com/

Mon, 13 Sep 2010 04:05:17 UTC | #516846