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The atheist who tried to steal Christmas - Comments

Osiris's Avatar Comment 1 by Osiris

Interesting as the author who accuses someone of "stealing Christmas" completely ignores the fact that Christmas as we now have it was stolen from pagans in the first place.

Happy Saturnalia or Winterval.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 19:53:56 UTC | #903064

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 2 by Dhamma

Shouldn't Richard be thanked for providing an alternative view? A view most people will never encounter in the forest of Santa, Thor and Yahweh that penetrates every aspect of society.

Science evolved despite the disease of religion, not because of it. This article is wrong on so many levels. Religion poisons everything.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 19:57:54 UTC | #903068

Ode2Hitch's Avatar Comment 3 by Ode2Hitch

Yawn.... and that goes for many of the comments located under the original article.

Will soon be purchasing The magic of reality for my nephew and my best friends son.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:03:13 UTC | #903071

Mithracalin's Avatar Comment 4 by Mithracalin

You know it seems like the Author really missed the thesis of the book in his review: The title even states "How we know what is True." The assertion within the Magic of Reality is that, "Science can tell us what is true, here is how." By simply stating factual evidence this reviewer seems to interpret bias against religion, because equal time and care is not given to religious or magic explanations for physical events.

This seems to lead Larry Taunton to the conclusion that the book is a scientific bible, created specifically for indoctrinating children. I am confused how citing scientific fact, and empirical evidence is indoctrination. As I understand it, these are the literal opposite of dogmatic indoctrination of youth.

    "This is not because the book is void of factual or even interesting information; it is, rather, due to the         context in which Dawkins arranges the facts, slanting the table in a manner that is oddly reminiscent of     those he accuses of indoctrinating the young."

This carries over to the fallacious argument that atheism is a religion, and that we (particularly us on this website) are converts spreading the Gospel of Dawkins. Overall the review seemed a plaintive appeal to respect the somehow equally valid religious explanations alongside the scientific versions. Trying to compare Atheism to a religious movement is just a symptom of this overarching failure in thinking.

-=Mith=-

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:12:34 UTC | #903075

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 5 by Sean_W

I don't think he read the book. There just ain't no way to justify being that hostile toward this book.

-how embarrassing for him

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:13:44 UTC | #903076

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 6 by Tyler Durden

Never mind, kiddies, that it was the Judeo-Christian tradition (not Cinderella) that gave rise to the very science Dawkins occasionally practices and the civilization from which he draws most of his moral and intellectual sensibilities.

Mr Taunton really needs to read some history, philosophy and psychology.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:25:07 UTC | #903080

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 7 by Jos Gibbons

The atheist who tried to steal Christmas

Taunton clearly didn’t read RD’s recent open letter to David Cameron.

Oxford University's professional unbeliever is out to spread holiday cheer with a new children's book, The Magic of Reality

It’s been out since September. Also, the only sense in which Oxford ever employed Dawkins professionally was as the Charles Simonyi Professor. Does Taunton have any idea how many atheists work in Oxford?

the professor has loaded neither toys nor goodies on his sleigh

The iPad version of TMOR seems like a toy to me.

Faith. Religion. Spirituality. Meaning.

No two of those things are synonyms.

Since the publication of his 2006 best-seller, The God Delusion, Dawkins has been railing against religion

Since he wrote the book, he’s agreed to be interviewed about it! NO!

Dawkins thinks that people of faith —any faith— are potentially dangerous and must be opposed

Well, more its doctrines and the insistence on not critiquing them or denying them the perks they demand and are accustomed to than the people involved …

Dawkins seems to think that the Amish might just as easily have flown planes into the Twin Towers as a band of radical Muslims

Dawkins is perfectly aware different religions call for different things. He’s aware the Amish would never so much as fly a plane, let alone hijack one. Indeed, his main criticism of the Amish is that they don’t give their kids a fair shot at enjoying the fruits of post–1835 tech.

it is all religious extremism

Straw man! Dawkins bothered to explain how moderation enables extremism, so he had to notice they were different things.

Dawkins offers a 271-page volume intended to help the young know the truth of things, or, more accurately, the truth as Richard Dawkins understands it

Which specific claims in the book does Taunton think are RD’s opinions rather than truth? Does he dislike atomic theory, perhaps, or the description of how Earthquakes work? No, seriously, I demand explicit examples to defend his drawing the distinction he does.

The implicit thesis of the book is that religious explanations of "reality" are silly and utterly incompatible with the scientific endeavor.

Oh yeah, that was the impression I got when reading about atoms and redshift and so on. No, wait, no it wasn’t. Dawkins calls for conclusions to be based on evidence, and for conclusions that don’t adhere to this to die out. Only in the special case of religion, one he doesn’t pick out in TMOR, does anyone object, and not a single person bothers to explain why.

Dawkins's purpose [is] to airbrush out those things that don't fit neatly into his thesis. Thus, he at once hails Sir Isaac Newton as perhaps "the greatest scientist ever" while ridiculing people who believe in God. That Newton was a deeply religious man is conveniently ignored.

No it’s not. Dawkins asks that conclusions be based on evidence, and Newton in this sense failed on the religious and alchemic fronts, the latter never being defended on the basis of the things he got right. Dawkins is perfectly aware Newton got some things right and some things wrong, but we don’t need to inherit Newton’s mistakes. His “I don’t get it, so God did it” approach to a problem Laplace subsequently solved with maths Newton could easily have managed was clearly the wrong one to take. And one way science is superior to everything else is that it can concede even its greatest scientists were fundamentally wrong on many points even in their own field; for example, Dawkins is well–aware of how Newton missed relativity and quantum effects.

ignoring things is necessary if the thesis of the book — indeed, if the thesis of Dawkins's life— is to stand

What are these theses?

This leads him to profoundly mischaracterize the religious views he presents.

Either give at least one example of how he does that, or admit he doesn’t.

he repeats his error of seeing religion as monolithic. Jewish traditions are lumped with those of the Tasmanians, the Christian story of Jesus with that of Cinderella, because one is as absurd as the other. Never mind, kiddies, that it was the Judeo-Christian tradition (not Cinderella) that gave rise to the very science Dawkins occasionally practices and the civilization from which he draws most of his moral and intellectual sensibilities. Dawkins seems to think that revealing such details to children is to risk religious fanaticism in them at some future date. Or does he really just not know these apparently trivial bits of history?

Jewish and Christian claims are as unevidenced, and therefore as absurd, as the examples Taunton cites. That societies in which Christianity, rather than a Tasmanian religion, got control of a lot of money and minds AND managed to do some science that actually got somewhere doesn’t remotely imply a correlation between the two. Newton, incidentally, was not a Trinitarian, and had to keep quiet on the matter not to have been sorely punished for it. And by the way, Christianity and Islam can’t be right, and yet Muslim societies in history had an earlier scientific era, and the ancient Greek one that posited Zeus had an even earlier one. More recently, Muslim scientist Abdus Salam made important contributions to particle physics – although, of course, he drank alcohol and was declared an apostate for it. Somehow I’m reminded of Newton.
The fact is our modern scientific knowledge is not the least dependent on any religion, and the scientists of our era have become far less religious and have enabled the populace doing the same. Nor is ethics; Christians’ practices have generally become simultaneously more ethical and less in line with the Bible, and it was all because of secular forces leaving them no choice. As for “intellectual sensibilities”, does Taunton mean formal logic, which comes from ancient Greece? Does he mean subtler epistemological ideas due to more recent philosophers who never used religious premises to make their case?
Far from Dawkins trying to deceive kids, it looks like Taunton is trying to deceive adults.

Factual errors aside

Give an example of a false statement TMOR makes.

the irony of Dawkins' crusading is that he is crusading at all. In so doing, he has unwittingly mimicked the Christian missionary and evangelistic efforts that he so hates.

Taunton, crusading doesn’t mean literally any effort to persuade others, and it certainly does not have a definition that guarantees any effort to persuade others of the paucity of a way of thinking such as religion amounts to an example of such thinking. Therefore, your point is invalid. The problem with missionaries isn’t that they try to convince others, it’s that they want tax exemption and encourages childhood indoctrination and discourages the application of thinking and other epistemic techniques to core doctrines, and make claims for which they have no evidence and expect others to buy into them.

Many readers will no doubt recall his campaign to plaster the sides of London buses

It wasn’t his campaign, though he agreed to finance it with a maximum of £5,500.

The clear purpose of that initiative and many others is to convert the unenlightened.

Oh, its purpose is clear, is it? To a person who doesn’t know it was the brainchild of Ariane Sherine? The purpose was “to place "peaceful and upbeat" messages about atheism on transport media in Britain, in response to evangelical Christian advertising”, but I had to listen to her to know that because it’s not clear. Theists, ironically, always think they can divine things they cannot.

Indeed, Dawkins is an atheist evangelist, preaching his faith with the fervor of an Old Testament prophet.

Moses threatened ten plagues on Egypt if the pharaoh didn’t immediately give in to a very large demand. Dawkins accepts invitations to discuss books he published, said invitations being issued because so many people voluntarily bought those books.

He portrays himself as a kind of liberator, freeing the world from its bondage to religion while building his own megachurch of unbelief

Where does he portray himself that way?

Something of an object of worship himself, his website plays host to the largest atheist congregation outside of North Korea, promoting all things Richard Dawkins: books, videos, trinkets and, of course, atheism — or, more precisely, Richard Dawkins' version of atheism. It has become the basis of a movement. His converts have conferences and Sunday meetings, and they have even created campus groups to reach the lost.

You could compare these practices to religions if you wanted, but that would be to focus your analysis to narrowly, because special interests in general indulge in these things. There are campus groups for water rafting.

he helped launch — no kidding — an atheist summer camp. One imagines children roasting marshmallows as Dawkins reads some titillating passage from The Origin of Species or, more likely, The God Delusion. That must not have worked out too well, so the professor wrote The Magic of Reality, which is, in effect, The God Delusion for kids (though somewhat more insightful and less bombastic).

No–one who has read TGD and TMOR could characterise the latter as a modified form of the former, as they have few observations in common. Also, Taunton’s description of camp events is, as his choice of words suggests, entirely in his imagination. He has never taken part in any of its activities; if memory serves me correctly, all he did was make a £100 donation and signing one item in the camp. Oh, and it’s not an atheist camp; it encourages skeptic approaches to questions concerning supernatural and paranormal matters, including religious ones. Either refute the arguments they use or admit it’s reasonable to make them.

Of course, it was Dawkins who labeled as child abusers those parents and teachers who instruct their charges in a given view of life.

That’s a lie. RD called the labelling of children as being followers of a specific faith, and the teaching of the Hellfire doctrine, child abuse. He never called religious instruction in general child abuse. Taunton has literally rescinded his right to be taken seriously as a journalist by saying otherwise.

And yet The Magic of Reality does precisely that.

TMOR advocates a view of how to think, not a view of life. Don’t conflate the two.

slanting the table in a manner that is oddly reminiscent of those he accuses of indoctrinating the young

Please give an example of a genuine similarity that shows this reminiscence.

indoctrinating the young

That would be teaching them what to think; he is teaching them how to think.

Dawkins would rob children of the true magic of life: meaning

Dawkins concedes plenty of meaning in life: what his works have taken apart is religious misconceptions, including those regarding what makes life meaningful.

the magic of Christmas — and that of reality itself — is not found in the tangible

How about the provable? Either provide at least a shred of evidence for a religious claim or stop making them.

Taunton is founder and executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation and the author of The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief

Unbelief isn’t corruption. Incidentally, the FPF says, “We seek innovative ways to defend and proclaim the Gospel and prepare Christians to do the same”. If Taunton really thinks that’s the kind of thing Dawkins is doing, perhaps he should be more tolerant of the effort.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:33:05 UTC | #903082

stellier68's Avatar Comment 8 by stellier68

(...) But ignoring things is necessary if the thesis of the book — indeed, if the thesis of Dawkins's life— is to stand (...)

The thesis of his LIFE?

....and I use to think that Jacques Cousteau was a deep man!

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:33:39 UTC | #903084

Carlinlives's Avatar Comment 9 by Carlinlives

Comment 6 by Tyler Durden :

Never mind, kiddies, that it was the Judeo-Christian tradition (not Cinderella) that gave rise to the very science Dawkins occasionally practices and the civilization from which he draws most of his moral and intellectual sensibilities.

Mr Taunton really needs to read some history, philosophy and psychology.

This statement is frighteningly stupid. Pre Chrisitian antiquity is blazing with the the scientific light of the Eqyptians, Persians, Chinese, Phoenicians, Sumerians, Greeks (THE GREEKS for christ sakes), Babylonians, Aztecs, etc. It took the Church to nearly stamp it all out!

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:35:55 UTC | #903085

Stonyground's Avatar Comment 10 by Stonyground

Does anyone remember the ads for the 'Topic' chocolate bar that said 'A hazelnut in every bite'? OK now we have 'Larry Taunton, a factual error on every line'. It would be laughably easy to rip this article apart line by line, but I can't be bothered, he is just another flea. OK just the first factual fuck up just to show how easy it is.

"Since the publication of his 2006 best-seller, The God Delusion, Dawkins has been railing against religion and its many manifestations."

Since some religiously motivated idiots started flying planes into buildings I think you will find. You were only out by five years I will grant you but missing the significance of those five years would require either unforgivable ignorance or willful blindness. Atheists all over the western world have always been inclined to live and let live and have been prepared to put up with religious people discriminating against them and interfering in their lives just for a quiet life. The 9-11 incident is what changed that, we atheists decided that we are not going to put up with religious people committing mass murder on behalf of imaginary gods any longer.

Is it really a mistake to say that all religions are the same? All of them believe in a pile of made up crap that isn't true. All of them have members who are prepared to murder people who point out this simple fact to them rather than face the truth. All of them have apologists like Larry Taunton who think that killing people who disagrree with you isn't that bad.

Sugesting that the Amish are totally benign also shows your ignorance. I suppose that driving a horse drawn buggy into the World Trade Centre might have appeared to be more benign, who knows?

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:36:48 UTC | #903086

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 11 by Mr DArcy

Happy New Smear!

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:37:10 UTC | #903087

Aztek's Avatar Comment 12 by Aztek

Just reading the comments to the article. They cause significant pain to my brain. (Of course, the pain might also partially have to do with all the facepalming.) Some of the commentators are smart, but some of them are seriously confused, even compared to Larry Taunton.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:42:03 UTC | #903089

G*O*D's Avatar Comment 13 by G*O*D

Notice the timing. He stole Christmas last summer.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:42:42 UTC | #903090

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 14 by Neodarwinian

Yawn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:48:29 UTC | #903092

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 15 by Chris Roberts

So to save the next generation from this sort of religious extremism — it is all religious extremism — Dawkins offers a 271-page volume intended to help the young know the truth of things, or, more accurately, the truth as Richard Dawkins understands it.

Because truth is subjective, as we all know.

It hurts too much to read any more!

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:52:04 UTC | #903094

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 16 by Paula Kirby

Having been present at both Richard's Oxford discussion with John Lennox AND the lecture that John Lennox gave in Scotland the following week, in which he completely and dramatically misrepresented what Richard had said at the Oxford event, I always follow articles by Lennox and/or Taunton (they seem to be pretty interchangeable) with considerable interest, simply from a 'Spot the Misrepresentation' point of view.

Here are a few in this article that leap out at me immediately:

This time, Oxford University's professional unbeliever is out to spread holiday cheer with a new children's book, The Magic of Reality. Christmas is, after all, the season of magic, and lest children confuse sugar plum fairies and flying reindeer with the observable and repeatable, the professor has loaded neither toys nor goodies on his sleigh but a heavy dose of "rational skepticism." So gather around, children, and hear a new tale of Christmas.

Er, really? MoR is a Christmas book? Is that why it was published in September in the UK, and October in the USA, and makes (so far as I can recall from memory) no - or virtually no - reference to Christmas, and has no Christmas images on its cover? Just because Larry Taunton got it as a Christmas present (Santa probably thought he needed it), doesn't mean it was written for Christmas, or is a Christmas book. Since the whole premise of Taunton's argument seems to be that Richard Dawkins set out to destroy the spirit of Christmas for children, the whole article does rather collapse on this point.

Disregarding all nuances of religious beliefs and practices, Dawkins seems to think that the Amish might just as easily have flown planes into the Twin Towers as a band of radical Muslims.

Indeed? Astonishingly, Taunton appears to have forgotten to provide a link to where Richard has said, or even suggested, any such thing. He also appears to have forgotten that Richard quite regularly makes it clear that he thinks radical Islam the worst and most dangerous, by a long way, of the many varieties of religion on offer. Forgotten? Or simply chosen to misrepresent?

Furthermore, he repeats his error of seeing religion as monolithic. Jewish traditions are lumped with those of the Tasmanians, the Christian story of Jesus with that of Cinderella, because one is as absurd as the other.

Well, this one isn't a misrepresentation, at least. Indeed, he seems to have understood rather well: one myth is very like another in terms of its explanatory power, or lack of it. So sorry Richard didn't single out your particular religion for special treatment, Larry: but you see, when it comes to explaining reality to children, your religion is just as inadequate and downright unhelpful as the others. It is not Richard's fault that your religion is fiction.

Never mind, kiddies, that it was the Judeo-Christian tradition (not Cinderella) that gave rise to the very science Dawkins occasionally practices and the civilization from which he draws most of his moral and intellectual sensibilities.

Now, now, Larry. Doesn't your religion have a commandment saying, 'Thou shalt not steal'? I'm sorry, but you simply cannot claim science and morality and intellectual sensibilities for Christianity. They are not Christianity's property. Here's a clue: all these things ALSO exist and arose in societies that didn't historically practise Christianity. It is simply and plainly dishonest to look back and say, 'In centuries gone by, just about everyone in our country was Christian. Therefore everything they did arose because of Christianity. For far too long the religious have been getting away with this hijacking of all that is good in humans - such as their quest for knowledge and their innate sense of morality grounded in empathy with others - and then phonily attributing it to their particular religion: no matter how much or how bloodily their particular religion fought to quell such impulses in the past.

When Lennox, a mathematician and philosopher of science, asserted that the museum had a Christian heritage, Dawkins heaped scorn on the very idea. He carried the point by sheer force of personality, but he was wrong. The museum was, in fact, founded with money from the sale of Bibles. Contributors deemed it an appropriate expense and means of glorifying God and his creation. But Dawkins would have none of it.

Did he? Really, Larry? 'Heaped scorn'? Are you sure? You chaired the event, and recorded it and put it out on DVD afterwards, after all, so you are in a good position to know exactly what was said, and how, and whether it constituted 'heaping scorn' or not.

Taunton is quite right that Richard contradicted Lennox's assertion that the museum was probably dedicated to the glory of God, and also that Richard was mistaken in that - something he later acknowledged, when it was pointed out to him. But 'heaped scorn on the very idea' ? I have a transcript of that whole event. It has proved useful on several occasions when either Taunton or Lennox have been trying to put their own spin on events that evening, and I quote from it again here:

JL: ... I believe this building was probably dedicated to the glory of God ...
RD: No it wasn’t, actually [laughs]
JL: Wasn’t it? Oh right
RD: Rather the reverse!

I am sure many users of this site will have witnessed Richard heaping scorn on ideas before now. If this was meant to be another example, it was a decidedly feeble one. Both his comments were a laughing, lighthearted interpolation, 7 words in total - not enough to 'heap' anything. As anyone present on the night or who had seen the DVD of the event would know. That includes you, Larry Taunton.

Nowhere has this mimicry been more laughably apparent, however, than in Dawkins' efforts to proselytize children. In 2009, he helped launch — no kidding — an atheist summer camp. One imagines children roasting marshmallows as Dawkins reads some titillating passage from The Origin of Species or, more likely, The God Delusion. That must not have worked out too well, so the professor wrote The Magic of Reality, which is, in effect, The God Delusion for kids (though somewhat more insightful and less bombastic).

Oh goodness, where to start?

So what if Richard had helped to launch an atheist summer camp? Are atheists to fight against the religious indoctrination of children with one arm tied behind their backs? But in fact, he didn't. The Camp Quest idea was not Richard's; he played no part in setting it up and no part in running it. His sole involvement was a modest 3-figure donation to cover the cost of sending a camp leader on a short training course on how to make learning fun for children. That was it. For Taunton to turn that into an image of Richard trying to foist TGD onto children is just ludicrous. It took me a moment to work out what it reminded me of, and then it came to me: it's a level of dishonesty and personal spite that is highly reminiscent of Alister McGrath's nasty little book, The Dawkins Delusion.

As for Magic of Reality being TGD for kids, the accusation is laughable! Taunton himself points out that, in it, Dawkins treats all myths in exactly the same way: religion is not singled out. MoR is not about religion. It is a young person's introduction to science, and the sections on mythological stories that were at one time seen as 'explanations' of the natural world form only a small proportion of each chapter: indeed, the chapter on atoms has no myth section at all (since none of the gods or other mythical characters mankind has invented ever knew about atoms). I can only suppose that the science sections went whizzing over Taunton's head and that he therefore failed to register them.

Of course, it was Dawkins who labeled as child abusers those parents and teachers who instruct their charges in a given view of life.

Naughty, naughty, Larry. What happened to 'Thou shalt not bear false witness'? Dawkins has labelled two types of religion-related behaviour as 'child abuse'. One is telling children they will burn for eternity in hell if they don't believe. The other is labelling a child a 'Christian' or a 'Muslim' etc before the child is old enough to have made her own choices in the matter. Nowhere has Richard said anything that could be fairly paraphrased in the way Taunton has done here.

And I really have to ask. Why do believers so often resort to such blatant dishonesty and such grotesque distortions in order to make their points? The more I read by Christians, the more disgusted I am with Christianity, and certainly the more contemptuous I am of Christians' claims that morality stems from their religion! Stop lying, stop twisting, stop distorting, stop misrepresenting - until you do, you have no right to even an equal claim on morality, let alone a superior one.

And yet The Magic of Reality does precisely that. According to Dawkins, it is meant to be read by children or, better yet, by parents to their children. It is a sort of anti-religious catechism.

No. It's an introduction to science. The fact that science and the scientific method are in themselves antithetical to religion is entirely down to religions being the product of human imaginations rather than a quest for evidence and reason. If you don't like that, Larry, blame the people who invented them. Meanwhile, science education will continue - despite the best efforts of Christians like you.

On the contrary, Dawkins would rob children of the true magic of life: meaning.

No, Larry, not meaning. Neither meaning nor morality depend on your fables. Meaning comes from whatever inspires us, whatever makes us feel our lives are worthwhile. It is something we make for ourselves. The sheer arrogance of suggesting that another person's life can have no meaning if they don't subscribe to your particular set of beliefs is just breathtaking: Christian humility at its finest. And frankly, if the 'meaning' of your life leads to the production of lame, unoriginal, dishonest articles such as this one, then perhaps it's time you found a different one.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:54:09 UTC | #903095

Stonyground's Avatar Comment 17 by Stonyground

Our posts crossed. Thanks to Jos Gibbons at #6 for taking the time to do what I was too lazy to do.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:56:12 UTC | #903096

Beethoven's Avatar Comment 18 by Beethoven

Ok, so if a christian has given money to the Natural history museum then it has christian heritage?

Now if an atheist has given money to any organization then we must count that organization as having atheist heritage.

This guy believes in virgin births and dead bodies walking and rising to the clouds. Need I say more about his intellectual abilities?

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:59:00 UTC | #903097

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 19 by aroundtown

It seems to me that Larry wants to vigorously defend religion and draw absurd correlation's to defend his points of attack. I have no problem with fairy's and the like but I prefer they be considered what they are - fantasy notions of the Human mind. It's when people actually believe a fat jolly guy exists is where the problem occurs for me. Unfortunately early indoctrination which purports superstition as being real can help in laying the ground work for continuing into other falsehoods down the road in life. Again I have no problem with Santa, just tell children it is make-believe fun for that time of year and I think they would enjoy it just as much. As for the religious persuasion I don't feel that is healthy to the mind in any form. Just my two cents

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:59:30 UTC | #903098

Carlinlives's Avatar Comment 20 by Carlinlives

Many the reader comments below the story are pretty encouraging --for the USA Today,that is. Almost seems like the theists are outnumbered.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 21:13:25 UTC | #903100

Carole's Avatar Comment 21 by Carole

Bravo Paula.
I do hope Larry Taunton gets to read that.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 21:25:23 UTC | #903103

Quine's Avatar Comment 22 by Quine

Larry has nothing but hot air, as was also the case with Lennox.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 21:30:26 UTC | #903104

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 23 by aquilacane

Disregarding all nuances of religious beliefs and practices

Ah ha! I accept your challenge and counter with:

Disregarding all nuances of scientific evidence and facts

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 21:59:38 UTC | #903109

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 24 by Schrodinger's Cat

it was the Judeo-Christian tradition (not Cinderella) that gave rise to the very science Dawkins occasionally practices and the civilization from which he draws most of his moral and intellectual sensibilities.

What a silly argument. Science arose despite Christianity....not because of it.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 22:00:42 UTC | #903110

Hideous Dwarf's Avatar Comment 25 by Hideous Dwarf

I thought the article was brilliant! The funniest thing I've read in ages, right up there with Wodehouse and Pratchett. If it needs debunking I certainly couldn't do better than Paula Kirby (Comment 16) has already done.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 22:00:44 UTC | #903111

cgrous's Avatar Comment 26 by cgrous

There’s book-reviewers and there’s book-Tautoners. The later doesn’t need to read books to practice Tautonery.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 22:08:12 UTC | #903113

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 27 by Alan4discussion

Larry Taunton is a close associate of John Lennox

Who obviously looks at the wonders of science and scientific literature, through crap-coloured spectacles.

But ignoring things is necessary if the thesis of the book — indeed, if the thesis of Dawkins's life— is to stand.

But for the odd quotes one could easily conclude that this idiot had not read the "Magic of Reality" or (bearing in mind it is for educating children), was too thick to understand it - unless he is simply being dishonest.

This leads him to profoundly mischaracterize the religious views he presents.

Having read the book, it is my view that detailed explanations of the various mythical beliefs and associated scientific views, were clear and accurately portrayed. That must bring us to the mental shambles Taunton uses as "thinking", in presenting such comments!

Dawkins .. .. .. .. .. . Or does he really just not know these apparently trivial bits of history?

I love the ironic comedy, when the village idiot accuses informed people of ignorance.

Of course, it was Dawkins who labeled as child abusers those parents and teachers who instruct their charges in a given view of life. And yet The Magic of Reality does precisely that. According to Dawkins, it is meant to be read by children or, better yet, by parents to their children. It is a sort of anti-religious catechism.

He really does need an utterly perverted view of "reality" and "science" to dribble out this sort of clap-trap! It is a well written and beautifully illustrated science text-book or reference book!

Larry Taunton is founder and executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation and the author of The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief.

That perhaps, explains the delusions of corruption emanating from his compost heap of thought processes.

In the final analysis, The Magic of Reality lacks, well, the magic that a children's book must possess.

How can you tell this posturing clown has no idea about evaluating ANY children's book?

On the contrary, Dawkins would rob children of the true magic of life: meaning.

..Or more precisely: would (fortunately) "rob" children of the "meaning" in Taunton's "true" delusional stupidity, by providing a proper and inspiring understanding of science!

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 22:10:58 UTC | #903114

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 28 by Alan4discussion

Comment 18 by Beethoven

Ok, so if a christian has given money to the Natural history museum then it has christian heritage?

I do believe that various gangsters, charlatans and fraudsters (Madoff etc) were noted for giving (some) money to charity, so as to be seen a local benefactors! The concept of Robin Hoods, is not new!

Criminal heritage???

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 22:19:02 UTC | #903115

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 29 by Steve Zara

More than that, Dawkins thinks that people of faith —any faith— are potentially dangerous and must be opposed. Disregarding all nuances of religious beliefs and practices, Dawkins seems to think that the Amish might just as easily have flown planes into the Twin Towers as a band of radical Muslims.

Who do people such as Tauton consider it acceptable to blatantly lie like this? I really would like to know what they think they are up to. Do they believe that they are protected from responses to their lies because they are religious?

Someone with honesty would make a claim about what Dawkins has said or written and backed that claim with evidence. Saying what Dawkins thinks is beyond the reach of evidence and so a cowardly accusation.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 22:21:10 UTC | #903116

andy walker's Avatar Comment 30 by andy walker

"Never mind, kiddies, that it was the Judeo-Christian tradition (not Cinderella) that gave rise to the very science Dawkins occasionally practices and the civilization from which he draws most of his moral and intellectual sensibilities."

Now if I remember from university correctly the origins of much of our intellectual tradition for example the application of empirical evidence to test a hypothesis were pre-Christian Greeks? I think I would also describe the judeo- Christian view of science as rather close minded - as an example think of those enlightened intellectuals giants who put Gallileo on trial.

As for morals well I could write a book on that point but lets just cover the main highlights - crusades against muslims or pagans, sale of indulgances to guarantee a place in heavan, heresey and witchcraft trials galore and of course a punishment book containing such treats as burning at the stake and hanging etc etc. So, I think it's safe to say that if RD draws moral and intellectual sensibilities from civilisation their probably not the ones influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition!

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 22:23:27 UTC | #903117