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Do Atheists Understand and Appreciate Black Bodies? - Comments

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 1 by aquilacane

too long, sorry

Fri, 04 May 2012 22:33:24 UTC | #939769

Andres Heredia's Avatar Comment 2 by Andres Heredia

indeed^

Fri, 04 May 2012 22:58:52 UTC | #939773

markystar69's Avatar Comment 3 by markystar69

boring...

Fri, 04 May 2012 23:55:06 UTC | #939790

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 4 by mordacious1

Too long and boring? That's not the problem with this post. The problem is that it really doesn't make sense. If he wants to talk about what humanists should do to help the black community, fine, that's a good topic. If he wants to talk about how more African Americans should be included in the atheist movement, great. But linking atheism with the tragic death of that young man and reparations or any other such connections is nonsensical. A more focused article may have better communicated what he is thinking, but this one's all over the map and is confusing, to say the least.

Sat, 05 May 2012 00:28:00 UTC | #939799

Schavuitje's Avatar Comment 5 by Schavuitje

Way too long to keep my interest unfortunately. From what I read it seems to lump people into categories. Blacks, whites, thiests, athiests. Putting people into categories, separating ourselves into different religeous and social groups is a very large part of why history has taken the course that it has right up until this moment. And it's not just black people, of course, who suffer as a result. I am an athiest. I believe in being kind to every man and woman. I live my life to a much higher moral code than most of the religeous people I see around me in society. My friends are my friends because they are good, honest, kind and trustworthy people. They come from many different cultures and ethnicities. Some belong to a religion and some not. I see a world where one person struggles against the next because of differing beliefs or because one is black and one is white. I feel quite sick that I live in a world where the differences in people are something to be afraid of rather than rejoiced and valued. I am an athiest. What is wrong with the way I view the world and what is wrong with the way I live my life? I am honest. I don't steal. I don't covet another mans wife. I am faithful to my own wife. I am polite. Well mannered. Friendly. I treat everyone the same and believe if everyone bahaved the same way that I do, these kind of topics would not need to be written. Please don't think you can speak for all athiests, simply by throwing us all into one pot. People behave badly all over the world in every country. Man to his wife. One town member to another. One religion to another. There are many excuses for why people behave so baldy. Colour is just one of them. Spend less time categorizing people and get everyone else to do the same, and look at every new person you meet as a blank sheet of paper to be coloured in by all the new and wonderful things this new person will bring into yur life. By grouping masses of people like you do in your essay, you are part of the problem.

Sat, 05 May 2012 01:44:02 UTC | #939813

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 6 by AtheistEgbert

I read the entire article, and I do have some problems with particular points, especially the idea that Dawkins is somehow to blame for slavery.

But the biggest problem is the term "atheist". I'm afraid the word does not form the foundation of anything at all, other than saying I don't believe in God or gods. We really need a better word to use in order to get across the actual foundation for shared our political and ethical goals.

I have a simple word that could solve this problem. It's called "egalitarian". An egalitarian believes in equality, and that best describes our goals for the removal of religious privilege, while promoting secularism, equal (or human) rights, democracy and other such values.

Thus, we can distinguish between egalitarian atheists and non egalitarian atheists. Egalitarian atheists (which I suppose includes the majority of freethinker atheists here) then have shared goals with most of the feminists, the lesbian and gay movement, the anti-racist movements and many others.

Acknowledging equality as a rational basis for our ethical and political goals, allows us to form coherent arguments and shared focused goals.

Until we recognize a shared ethical philosophy. I'm afraid we're destined for misunderstanding, endless division and incoherence.

Sat, 05 May 2012 02:08:35 UTC | #939816

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 7 by ZenDruid

Dang it, I was hoping to learn some physics out of this, what with the 'black bodies' in the title.

Sat, 05 May 2012 02:24:35 UTC | #939819

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 8 by xmaseveeve

Is this a joke? I mean, 'phrenology'?

Sat, 05 May 2012 02:28:36 UTC | #939821

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 9 by mordacious1

Comment 6 by AtheistEgbert

Thus, we can distinguish between egalitarian atheists and non egalitarian atheists. Egalitarian atheists (which I suppose includes the majority of freethinker atheists here) then have shared goals with most of the feminists, the lesbian and gay movement, the anti-racist movements and many others.

Exactly. Then we have (albeit fewer) egalitarian theists and I suppose there are some atheists in the KKK, I don't know how they'd react to this gentleman's proposals.

Sat, 05 May 2012 03:16:45 UTC | #939824

Quine's Avatar Comment 10 by Quine

... I suppose there are some atheists in the KKK

If so, they have to pretend to be Christians.

Sat, 05 May 2012 03:59:52 UTC | #939834

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 11 by mordacious1

Quine

Ha! You're correct, so I'll change that to "some atheists are racists, or bigots".

Sat, 05 May 2012 05:24:47 UTC | #939840

Dirty Kuffar's Avatar Comment 12 by Dirty Kuffar

An overly long and boring article ; the Trayvon case, despite having already been tried in public by race hucksters such as the Rev Al Sharpton, has yet to come to court, but I'd suggest Trayvon was shot because he was beating George Zimmerman's head against the tarmac. Furthermore, there is no mention in the article of the fact that many Africans were sold into slavery by their own tribes & tribal cheiftans, and by muslim slave traders.

Sat, 05 May 2012 05:55:00 UTC | #939845

memeweaver's Avatar Comment 13 by memeweaver

Too long, rambling and not spell checked. "descent/descendant, loose/lose, ..."

Financial compensation? By who to who?

He jumps from "the lack of critical thinking skills" to accusing atheists of sitting in insulated environments. Whoa!

Sat, 05 May 2012 06:54:02 UTC | #939850

Starry Plough's Avatar Comment 14 by Starry Plough

No mention of feminist black atheists.

Sat, 05 May 2012 08:12:46 UTC | #939857

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 15 by Stafford Gordon

My wife of twenty eight years standing is black, and we have twenty one year old twin daughters, both of whom are reading life sciences.

Any more silly questions?

I know where guys like this are coming from, I've met a lot of them over the years.

I think I can safely say that few get more irritated by this kind of mentality than my wife. He needs to move on and stop being a long winded bore.

Sat, 05 May 2012 08:27:59 UTC | #939858

achromat666's Avatar Comment 16 by achromat666

As willing as I am to defend blacks becoming atheists and freeing themselves from any religion (being both black and having become an atheist a couple decades ago) I'm all for seeing articles that deal with such issues.

I have no idea however why the author feels it necessary to draw parallels where they are not present. Whether or not Dawkins ancestry points to the slave trade (which even if true doesn't demonstrate anything regarding Dawkins' position on the issue) or the nature of passive atheism does not in any way affect the case of Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman.

Yes, the treatment of black people in the US can be traced back to the slave trade and the horrors it entails, but then to correlate the issues to this paragraph:

While something of a hopeful outlook is a useful approach to ethical conduct, it should be guided and monitored by a sense of realism – recognition of persistent human misconduct and the resulting moral and ethical challenges. Theists can always haul such problems to the altar, pray about them, ritualize them, or chalk them up to mystery. For the atheists, the resolution isn’t so easily achieved. The difficulty for atheists isn’t mystical. It stems from a lack of acute attention to the cultural worlds in which we live, worlds that are not so easily unpacked and addressed through appeal to science and logic. Cultural signs and symbols, cultural framings of life and life meaning are not necessarily guided by scientific method and do not necessary respond to reason. Instead they function by means of both logic and illogic. Mindful of this, a few questions should be asked: what is a proper atheistic response to moral failure? What is the proper ethical posture toward human problems that seem to defy reason and logic? And, in light of recent developments, do atheists understand and care about black bodies?

Atheism's position on ethical conduct stems from a lack of acute attention to the cultural worlds we live? Do atheist understand and care about black bodies?

What evidence is there to support that there is basis for either question? The factors described in the article are HUMAN issues, not theistic or atheistic, and for that matter not any one color or creed. I refuse to engage the rest of the article because of the blatant bias of the position and its utter lack of coherence.

Sat, 05 May 2012 10:25:33 UTC | #939869

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 17 by Peter Grant

Well, living in Africa, this atheist certainly does. Some black bodies are particularly beautiful. I find it odd that the author considers himself black, he barely even looks brown.

Sat, 05 May 2012 10:29:36 UTC | #939870

Anvil's Avatar Comment 18 by Anvil

Fuck me, that was hard work, Anthony.

It's smacks of pettiness, I know, to complain about spelling and grammar in this day and age, but hey, if I was about to press 'send' I would, and I do, give it the once over. Possibly get the little wifey out of the kitchen to give it a glance, too?

I am aware, however, on occasion, it is appropriate to ignore the spell-check and concentrate solely on the word-count - first year humanities essays demanding a minimum of 4,350 words that have to be in by 5:30pm spring to mind - but this was always reflected in the pitifully low mark because of its negative effect on content.

Perhaps Anthony was given a deadline?

Either way I'd be pushed to give this a 2:2 - and that on the basis that I saw a big improvement in the next assignment.

My notes would read:

Anthony, cut the chaff, get to the point. Do not use twelve words when one would do. Do not use long words when shorter ones will do (word-count will not distinguish - and neither will I). Do not obfuscate. Be clear. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Do not repeat yourself. Please read: "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" before your next assignment. If your conclusion is based on recommendations in social policy then please give some examples. If your outcome is to make reparations to a victimised group how is that reparation percieved by other groups in similar socio-economic situations? Are there examples where this has worked - or failed? Can you say anything new, here? Is there any evidence?

Finally, there are two well-known elephants in your room - universality, and gender. You have mentioned neither. Why?

Anvil.

Second thoughts? Just read it again: Fuck the 2:2 - re-scrub!

Sat, 05 May 2012 11:31:54 UTC | #939876

Sigbert's Avatar Comment 19 by Sigbert

All of humanity is of African descent and all of them were unfree at some point – black Americans are not special because of that. In fact, many Europeans were serfs until the 19th century, gaining their emancipation from around 1805 to 1864, roughly at the same time as blacks in North America. Most Asians had it even worse.

If the author of this diatribe would like to see the stance of atheists on slavery, I would recommend him to read Christopher Hitchens on North Korea. There are 25 million slaves there, today.

Sat, 05 May 2012 12:09:04 UTC | #939879

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 20 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 18 by Anvil :

Possibly get the little wifey out of the kitchen to give it a glance, too?

Is sexism really necessary here?

Sat, 05 May 2012 12:36:17 UTC | #939882

Anvil's Avatar Comment 21 by Anvil

Comment 20 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 18 by Anvil :

Possibly get the little wifey out of the kitchen to give it a glance, too?

Is sexism really necessary here?

Well, I'm not sure whether sexism was really necessary, but humour and irony in the casual dismissal of gender were certainly pointless.

Weren't they.

Anvil.

Sat, 05 May 2012 13:00:23 UTC | #939887

RikiTikiTavi91's Avatar Comment 22 by RikiTikiTavi91

So much Foucauldian drivel.

Sat, 05 May 2012 13:04:03 UTC | #939889

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 23 by Zeuglodon

Many atheists and theists share a hyper optimism regarding human progress.

I got suspicious about this point. I wouldn't call all theists hyper-optimistic, let alone atheists. It smacks of pigeonholing.

While something of a hopeful outlook is a useful approach to ethical conduct, it should be guided and monitored by a sense of realism

I lost interest soon after this. Of course we need a sense of realism, but wringing your hands over one murder's grand societal implications is like linking Hurricane Katrina to global warming - isolated cases aren't excuses to extrapolate about broader ideas. In other words, it is not a realistic assessment nor is it a realistic approach to solving future problems. The comments above mine only discouraged me from reading anything past the first subtitle.

As the descendent of enslaved Africans brought to the American hemisphere, I have in mind something much larger than an individualization of this transnational problem. I see this as an educable moment – an opportunity to think deeply about the underlying issues girding a long debate concerning some very important things such as: (1) the nature of privilege within environments of discrimination; (2) the limits of individual accountability within global systems; (3) the measure of collective obligation for redress of wrongs done; (4) the disregard of black bodies made possible through these other issues. And, turning back to the context of atheism, these issues point to a strong need for atheists to develop new frameworks for ethical thinking and praxis in often-absurd cultural worlds.

Not to mention his knowledge is out-of-date (atheists need new frameworks? Really? Like we don't have a vast range available to us already?) and his style of writing is as transparent as a brick in quicksand.

Comment 6 by AtheistEgbert

I read the entire article,

You're a more persistent fellow than I am. I gave up after the first few paragraphs because I understood little and liked even less.

I have a simple word that could solve this problem. It's called "egalitarian". An egalitarian believes in equality, and that best describes our goals for the removal of religious privilege, while promoting secularism, equal (or human) rights, democracy and other such values.

That's a good word to use, but it needs modifying to something like "progressive egalitarian" or "elite egalitarian"... something that suggests we're not indulging in Tall Poppy Syndrome or Crab Bucket Syndrome.

Sat, 05 May 2012 14:08:06 UTC | #939901

sheepcat's Avatar Comment 24 by sheepcat

A black body is an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation, regardless of frequency or angle of incidence.

The above quote from wikipaedia on black body radiation.

I thought this was a physics paper and got very confused.

Sat, 05 May 2012 14:43:47 UTC | #939908

Bryanderthal's Avatar Comment 25 by Bryanderthal

Uh huh. So, what you're saying is that we should end capitalism, have free higher education, healthcare, housing, food, clothing, and water for all, create jobs that promote the health and wellness of the local community but nothing too back-breaking, and apologize to your black friends for the actions of your ancestors until racism ends.

Sounds perfect. I vote we start by dismantling Bank of America and using their branches and management structure to form local slavery awareness centers. I'll run the atheist booth in South Sacramento, just so we don't look out of touch.

Oh, and speaking of being out of touch.....

Sat, 05 May 2012 14:52:51 UTC | #939911

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 26 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 23 by Zeuglodon :

I have a simple word that could solve this problem. It's called "egalitarian". An egalitarian believes in equality, and that best describes our goals for the removal of religious privilege, while promoting secularism, equal (or human) rights, democracy and other such values.

That's a good word to use, but it needs modifying to something like "progressive egalitarian" or "elite egalitarian"... something that suggests we're not indulging in Tall Poppy Syndrome or Crab Bucket Syndrome.

Obviously there is a contradiction to associate elitism with egalitarianism, since they're complete opposites. My point was to try and use a simple word to describe the multifarious movements that generally make up our political and ethical positions.

Sat, 05 May 2012 15:00:03 UTC | #939912

Ophelia Benson's Avatar Comment 27 by Ophelia Benson

Cultural signs and symbols, cultural framings of life and life meaning are not necessarily guided by scientific method and do not necessary respond to reason.

Well, maybe not necessarily, but science and reason certainly do help. There is research on culture and stereotypes and the impact they have. Claude Steele and Cordelia Fine are two excellent sources for this.

Sat, 05 May 2012 16:58:27 UTC | #939918

Ophelia Benson's Avatar Comment 28 by Ophelia Benson

Richard Dawkins was confronted, the ethical character of his atheism challenged in light of the manner in which some of his ancestors forged wealth through participation in the Atlantic slave trade...The rather clumsy challenge of Dawkins by that reporter and his response to the report provide an opportunity to reflect on an issue with enduring impact...

The challenge was more than "rather clumsy" - it was ridiculous. It wasn't "some of his ancestors"; it was one, from the 18th century - many generations ago.

Why didn't Anthony Pinn give the particulars of that journalistic gotcha? He didn't even name the newspaper, which was The Telegraph - not exactly friendly to atheists or even secularists.

Sat, 05 May 2012 17:05:23 UTC | #939919

genohex's Avatar Comment 29 by genohex

Comment Removed by Author

Sat, 05 May 2012 17:13:27 UTC | #939924

genohex's Avatar Comment 30 by genohex

"While each group points to the demise of the other as a key component in positive human development"

Excuse me?

This was the first of many painful red flags in that poor mess that really is summed up to tl;dr.

With the few crazed exceptions, humanists, secularists, and atheists alike, we do not wish the death of religious people, just the end of their insane, damaging ideas. While the case is quite different from the juxtapose, few and far between are the religious who do not (and viewed from within religious believers as the crazed exception) call for the death of all atheists, secularists, and humanists, along with those fellow believers who refuse to join their specific flavor of reality denial.

We ask for reason and embracing the beautiful natural world around us. They demand our heads, and the reward of eternal torture.

(apologies for the double post, Chrome decided to go bonkers and not play nice, or at all)

Sat, 05 May 2012 17:14:16 UTC | #939925